The Kalahari Drift season has begun, and we’ve just completed our first drift. The water level has been steadily decreasing since our arrival on the Orange River, and it’s also becoming clearer. Conditions are looking promising, and the fish have been actively feeding.
Initially, the cold front made the start of our drift challenging, particularly in the deeper sections. However, things took a turn for the better when Rupert and Dennis both landed smallmouth yellowfish in front of our camp on the evening of the second day. We knew that our luck was about to change. That night, Rupert decided to try some barbel fishing and successfully caught his biggest one, weighing in at 16 kilograms.
The Night of the Massive Largemouth Yellowfish
The following day, the pressure hadn’t fully stabilized, so the larger largemouth yellowfish continued to elude us. Thankfully, we managed to avoid a complete blank thanks to a few smallmouth yellowfish catches. After the success of the previous evening, Rupert was eager to try his hand at more barbel fishing while we prepared dinner. We found a deeper rapid downstream after a short walk from our campsite. The first barbel was small, barely bending the fishing rod, so we quickly cast again and settled into our chairs. Moments later, the rod was pulled down, and the drag started to sing. “That’s a better fish,” I remarked. After a few seconds, we heard a massive splash on the surface. I told Rupert that barbel sometimes splash when hooked. Then another big splash and a vigorous head shake. “Okay, that’s not normal; this might be a largemouth yellowfish. Let me loosen the drag just a bit.” After about 15 minutes, we managed to bring the fish to the side. As soon as it came into view, I shouted, “IT’S A LARGEMOUTH!” Seeing the size of the fish, I sprinted like a Kenyan athlete to grab the net from the boat. We successfully netted the 12-pound fish and were both astonished by its size. After taking a few pictures, we released it strongly back into the dark waters and went on to catch another five or so barbel that night. I won’t forget that night anytime soon.
A Productive Day of Fishing and Surprising Catches
With the success of the previous evening, we were filled with optimism for the following day. It started off on a high note when Rupert hooked a 2.5-pound largemouth yellowfish just below our camp. After capturing some pictures, we continued fishing. Unfortunately, Rupert had another bite, but the hook pulled. After lunch and a brief afternoon nap, Dennis and Rupert took a break from streamer fishing and switched to their 4 and 5-weight rods to catch some smallmouth yellowfish, both landing some decent-sized ones.
Dennis and Rupert’s Grand Finale
The last day blessed us with excellent weather, and both Dennis and Rupert made the most of it. Dennis started by catching a mudfish on a nymph in the mouth, quickly followed by a largemouth yellowfish measuring 57 centimeters. Rupert rounded off our drift with another small largemouth yellowfish just before we reached our take-out point.
It was a fantastic start to the season, filled with laughter, memorable catches, and captivating stories shared between two lifelong friends exploring the Kalahari wilderness together. Join us for the 2024 season by clicking here!