Makhangoa Community Camp: 8th – 13th February 2016

The old-timer gang consisting of Davo, Mkulu, G-man, John, Phellam and Pieter stormed the mountain kingdom with high hopes of tussling with some Lesotho gold. With a few of the group back for their 3rd visit, we were eager to welcome old friends and meet new guests alike. The group from Natal arrived at the Makhangoa Community Camp with the Bokong River in near perfect condition, but steadily on the drop. The good rain from the week before was trickling away, but there were plenty of fish around to keep these fine gentlemen busy for their 5 night stay.

Shortly after their arrival at camp they had their rods set-up, and the troops headed down to the spring-riffles section below camp. As usual some cast went astray and a good portion of fish was spooked, but once the chaps found their rhythm they proceeded to land plenty yellowfish, both on dry flies and nymphs.

On day two we headed further downstream towards the footbridge. The unusually low dam level allowed us to fish an extra kilometer of river that would normally be part of the dam. As a result we could sight-fish the shallow run to hundreds of yellows that were on the move upstream. Many fish were fooled into eating their humble offerings, and as one can expect for these high altitude speedsters, many of them raced upstream and popped tippets like it wasn’t even there. Needless to say we had to drag the guys off the water, especially Davo who was not too interested in leaving Homepool anytime this year!

The plan on the third day was to fish the second beat, and work the pockets and runs in front of the village, but with dropping water most fish evacuated the runs and opted for the deeper pools. This didn’t stop us from catching them, and with a slight change in tactics lines went tight and reels screamed in no time. Pieter was slaying the fish on the nymphs in the head of village pool. Phellam was determined to raise fish to the dry and it wasn’t long before he found little honey-hole where the yellows were sipping surface flies with abandon. For the afternoon session the guys went back to their pools and waited for the evening rise. John got stuck into some proper fish with the rest of the gang close on his heels. That evening was spent in camp, with many stories being shared over an ice cold yeast, accompanied by some world class camp cuisine out of the modest kitchen.

On day four it was Mkulu’s time to shine. We made our way to the end of beat two and worked Back-eddy pool with tiny nymphs. The first to strike was Pieter followed by G-man who hooked and landed a bus of a Yellow. Mkulu was yet to get stuck in, but after threatening him with a whiskey ‘strafdop’ he started hooking them yellows pretty easily. As the evening rise came on Mkulu was on form, it must have been the fear of the whiskey, but he landed and released a bucket load of fish before the light faded.

These gents proved that experience does count, but also that an old dog can learn new tricks 😉 Another good trip to the Makhangoa Community Camp was wrapped up with good wine, great food and even better stories. As always, it was an absolute pleasure hosting this group at the Makhangoa Community Camp, and we are eagerly looking forward to their next visit in 2017!

Tight loops

Johann and Stu