Makhangoa Community Camp: 16 – 19 April 2016

Sometimes a fishing trip is just not long enough. I believe this was the case with Peter, James, Quintin, Jonathan, Andrew, Nic, Mike Wilson and Mike Blackbeard who came in for a weekend to the Makhangoa Community Camp. It was a trip of personal bests, ‘new species’ for some and a strange encounter with a fearless trout.

On their day of arrival Peter, Quintin and James were still fishing the Malibamatsu River while the rest of the pack rolled into camp. As with most groups, it was a mad rush to get the heaps of luggage carried down from the cars, and to get the gear sorted. Once settled in they were flying down the gravel road toward the estuary to get lines in the air and flies in the water. Mike x2 were in their inflatable raft along with Jonathan (Cat) patrolling the cliffs across from the woolshed and getting into a couple a fish straight away. As the last light was fading they were still out flogging the water while the troops from the Malibamatsu had had enough of the baby trout and finally made their way to camp. It was a good start to the trip and it ended with a world class braai by Andrew.

On day two there was another boat on the water and a healthy competition was on the brew between the two teams. The only problem was that the Seahawk 2, captained by Peter, had a slow puncture and had to be pumped regularly to prevent it from becoming a lob-sided death trap. Regardless of the deflating situation it was the Seahawk that took home the honours with the most fish.

As part of the community tourism project, we also train community River Rangers to help us police and protect the fishery, and offer assistance to guests where possible. For one of them, Ngahle a.k.a. Martin it was a special day too as he cast a fly rod for the first time. I showed him the basics and without too much hassle he soon got the hang of it. Hopefully one day, with a bit of patience and hard work, he will be a fly fishing guide.

Anyway, back to the fishing. Andrew, James and Peter were keen to do some river fishing so I took them up to Ed’s pool where we found a trout with a bit of an attitude problem. He was hovering in the glassy water over a piece of bedrock, sticking out like a sore thumb. First Peter had a crack at it, casting at the fish that simply refused his offerings time and time again. We changed flies, tactics and still it wouldn’t budge. Then we decided to see if it would spook if I went closer, but this little guy wouldn’t go. Eventually I waded in, took some pictures and put my hand right underneath its belly and lifted him up. It was only when it broke the surface that it decided that maybe it was safer to run and hide. This little guy was either deaf or dumb, but definitely the most unfazed little trout I had ever seen. For Andrew it was an awesome session, he stared off by harassing some small trout, then landed a very nice fish of about a pound and shortly after caught his personal best river trout of two pounds in pocket the size of a bathtub. He was not the only one to get a personal best that day. Jonathan fished the village pockets section that afternoon and caught a lovely four pounder on a hopper, it was truly a great day for these two gents.

In the meantime Mike2 was fishing the estuary and Mike ‘Willows’ caught his very first smallmouth yellowfish, well at least that’s what Blackbeard told him. I later identified it as a Mudfish. Mike was rather disappointed that he didn’t get his prized yellowfish, but at least he was in the right family.

Although the trophy fish eluded them and the yellows outsmarted them, it was a ‘lekker’ trip with some ‘lekker’ guys and I hope to see them return to this magical place in the year to come.

Best wishes boys!