|Date of Report: Tuesday, 20th November 2018|
|Name: Andrew Fowler
Phone: 082 574 4262
Many years ago, sitting slit eyed on the porch of the hotel in Prince Albert in the Karoo, peering at the shimmering heat of the Karoo, I asked the toothless waitress when their rainy season is. She replied “dit reen baie min hier Meneer”. I replied “Ja, ek weet, maar ek vra maar net: as die reen kom, in watter seison kom dit ”, after pausing, and adjusting her doek, and looking off at the same heatwaves ,and in a display of poetic and humorous wisdom, she replied “ Meneer verstaan nie: Dit reen baie min hier Meneer”.
It is feeling a little like that here in KZN. Die reen kom, maar dit kom so bietjie bietjie. In other words a spit and a spot, with Karoo-like , shimmering heat in between. The Rivers have dropped alarmingly in the last 10 days, and the water is warm…… really warm. The cool misty days in between, and we are having a few, seem to be little reprieve from the energy sapping heat. Now this type of heat is not abnormal for this time of year. It is also not all that problematic. It is only problematic when it is not accompanied by good strong, runoff bearing rain, and that is what we are lacking.
The NFFC had its annual riparian owner’s lunch yesterday, and I noticed that none of the farmers mentioned water. One doesn’t talk too much about such jinxable things you know. You just have another beer and act cheerful. The farmers and the fishermen did a fair bit of that…acting cheerful and drinking beer that is.
But looking back a few weeks when the winds were a little cooler, and the water levels almost as high as yesterday’s spirits, some good catches were coming in. I saw yet another picture of a New Zealand proportion Brown from the Bushmans, learned of a red letter day on the Mooi, and pointed some fishermen to the Umgeni where they hosted a terminally ill colleague, and were delighted to get him into a few Browns.
Wayne Stegen had a day to celebrate on a club dam, using a hopper. There were apparently no hoppers about, but the Rainbows seemed to know what it was, because Wayne says they ate it with abandon. Then just a week ago a fish of over eight pounds came out of a dam on the Drakensberg side of Mooi River. That one was taken on one of the hot days! I don’t know what fly it took.
I had an evening out the other day, that was reminiscent of summer school holidays. I say that because we nipped out after three in the afternoon, travelled light, in shorts, and with pretty much just a fly box and a rod. The east wind died in time for evening, and a few fish started to move. My buddy got one on a dragon. Later I caught one on a very small Corixa pattern that Shaun Futter taught us a few years back. Then I was snapped by a fish on a dragon. The minnows were jumping like herded baitfish, and there was the odd angry swirl, and I took a fish on a second dragon. I suspect they took it as a minnow. I hadn’t changed fly, because it was too dark to trust that I would get any fly back onto the business end after I snipped the dragon off. I seem to remember fishing after dark on a warm evening with muddler minnows on David Kimber’s dam when I was a schoolboy.
Either way…try a big dragon, or a minnow imitation, chasing a small corixa or backswimmer. This combo makes perfect sense in warm water and low light, fished in the margins, where trout chase dragons and minnows which chase corixae. My reserve pattern would be a tadpole imitation….either Waynes Salmo Taddy or the old traditional “Taddy” . The taddy can be black, but don’t ignore the brown, and almost translucent tadpole of the Platana frog.
As I write this, I hear thunder. And if I am not mistaken, I just saw the tea lady remove her doek altogether and go stand outside looking skyward. I think I will go and join her. Meneer verstaan.
Note to souties: That bit at the header in Afrikaans: It doesn’t work in English….sorry.