|Date of Report: Saturday, 8th February 2020|
|Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262
The weather has been as steamy as one should expect at this time of the year. The Natal Fly Fishers Club, having imposed a 2 rod per water, per week, limit for a few weeks to extend the “holiday season”, (for those who had taken time off or travelled specially to fish) has now closed most of its stillwaters. Closing the waters when temperatures are high seems to have yielded dividends in terms of the autumn fishing, and fishing results in general, so it is probably a good move. Another private stillwater I have access to, closes from 15 Jan to 15 March each year, so this is not an uncommon practice.
But far from leaving us tying flies and moping around the house, this move pushes our attention to the rivers, which is where it should be in the summer anyway. The early part of the summer was a bit bleak to say the least, on account of heat coupled with a lack of rain. Well, we still have the heat (which is keeping the puffadders happy), but we now have plenty of rain, and nice full rivers. In fact, the risks of heading out now, are that it might have stormed in the headwaters, leaving you with an off-colour river, and you won’t know unless you go and take a look.
My encouragement to you, is to go and take a look. Nine times out of ten, the naysayers in their armchairs back home are wrong, and there is some fine fishing to be had. Oh, and don’t believe all that stuff on Facebook either, not because it is a lie, but because it refers to one stretch of one river, on part of one day. So, don’t let it put you off all rivers for weeks. If you find your river very full, pack some tungsten bead flies on fine tippets, and get your fly down. Also remember to fish side channels, the very edges of the river where the flow is slower (and I mean an inch from the edge!), and the tailouts. Remember too that Brown Trout do seem to get a nasty, aggressive, sort of mouse-eating streak when the water is off colour. So, if all else fails, sneak off where your prissy mates can’t see you, and fish something big and hairy. You will get away with this if you keep a few such flies in an opaque box which you bury deep in your vest, and if more often than not, they witness you flicking dainty parachute flies. And dainty parachute flies is exactly what I recommend on those rare days when you get out there and the water is as clear as gin, not flowing too fast, and there is a cooling breeze.
I also want to use this opportunity to promote the Bushmans River Community Flyfishing project. The start of the season was very slow for them on account of the poor conditions, but the Bushmans has been looking marvelous, and Sylvia Mbatha is waiting to take your call, so let’s support this worthwhile fishery. Sylvia can be reached on 072 220 1403. Remember they have four beats over over 2 kms each, and a long stretch on a special tributary. I have recently seen pictures of some really good browns from this water.
Sylvia Mbatha: Booking officer of the Bushmans Rover Community flyfishing project
Roy Ward on the Bushmans