FOSAF FLYFISHING REPORTS - Yellowfish - East Free State

Date of Report: Tuesday, 13th April 2021
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Name: David Weaver
Phone: 083 303 4230

What a crazy season it has been.  With the resort being closed it has meant that we have had to do some mad shuffling to find launching sites.  First up, a huge shout out to Craig Hill and Qwantani for allowing us access to the dam.  Without them a lot of flyfishers would have had a very blank season.  Secondly, thank you from all the guides that operate on the dam, you really came through for us.

Guiding out of Qwantani really is a pleasure. Their facilities are top quality. The launch site and harbour are fantastic.  The accommodation is superb, and the staff and restaurant are top class. Being on the western shores also means that you are closer to the better fishing areas.

It was a season for the Largies, with a number of big fish being caught in the 15lb range.  I do ask that if you are intent on targeting these awesome fish that you are prepared in the following way.  A 7 or 8 weight rig with strong terminal tackle is required.  This will allow a shorter fighting time and the fish will recover and be released easily.  Make sure that you have a large enough net, with soft mesh so that the fish does not suffer undue stress when landing. 

ONCE IN THE NET, ALLOW THE FISH TIME IN THE WATER TO RECOVER, WHILE YOU GET YOUR CAMERA READY.  Largies fight deep and I feel that they need time to adjust their swim bladders before being yanked out of the water.

I put this in capitals to stress the point.  Once it has had some time in the net, briefly lift the fish, take some photos and return the fish to the water soonest.  If you are intent on weighing the fish, please make sure that this is done in a weighing mat and as briefly as possible.  The above advice goes for all fish…. once in the net, keep it in the water so that it can recover before lifting it clear of the water, you will notice the breathing slows.  If you are planning an extended photo session, return the fish to the water so that it can get air regularly between shoots.  Make sure that you don’t squeeze the fish around its vital parts, hold it tight around the tail area and support its upper body on you hand.  Make sure to wet your hands before handling the fish and never put it down on the hot deck of the boat.

My last request is that… if you are going to post your pics of the Largie that you caught on social media, please ensure that the location is not obvious in the background.  There are unscrupulous lure anglers that have been known to trawl, with trebles around areas where Largies have been caught.  Keep it single and keep it barbless.  Thanks.

The restrictions on access to the dam was, in retrospect, a pleasure.  The fishing pressure was lower and this meant eager fish and great fishing.  The weather conditions meant that the season was protracted and there was still good fishing to be had right through till late in March.  I was on the water on Monday 5th April and the water temp in the dam was 18* with the sheltered bays having water temps. of 20*.   We found lots of feeding fish and enjoyed a spectacular Balbyter (small Black ant) hatch, with the fish eagerly taking small ant patterns.  It will be interesting to see how long the season will last.

The dam is very full 94.3% with water still being pumped up from the Tugela.  Eskom is really charging the ‘batteries’.

This will be my last report for the year, so until October when I pen my next report, enjoy your winter trout fishing, or whatever species you entertain yourself with when there aren’t Yellows to be caught.

David Weaver