This week was a real opportunity to spend time with old friends and the chance to make a couple new ones.
We welcomed into the Makhangoa Community Camp some great old friends from Fly Castaway, Tim Babich, Gerhard Laubscher and Ryan Hammond. Joining them were Paul Boyers from the Guides Company, as well as Kallie and Alan.
With flyfishermen such as Gerhard, Tim, Ryan and Paul it was no doubt that these couple of days were going to produce some great fish. As it turns out Kallie and Alan were no slouches with the fly rod either, even though Alan hadn’t cast a 5 weight for a number of years.
Everyone self drove into camp and were, as the conditions were excellent , quickly onto the water. Crystal Clear, warm, skinny water and plenty of fish willing to come up to a well presented dry. It wasn’t long before everyone was into fish and enjoying the sight fishing on offer.
The first evening we fell asleep to massive thunderstorms, and as expected we
rose to a river that was discoloured and flowing strongly. We weren’t overly concerned, as the skies were clear, and within half an hour it was already visible how much the water level had dropped.
By the time we had finished breakfast and were packing the vehicle (aka the fly mobile), the river was back to its normal level and the visibility was increasing fast.
This is one of the great things about this special fishery, is the fact that the catchment is completely undisturbed by agriculture, and any rain runoff passes through the catchment quickly. This means that the time that the river is
affected by high or dirty water is very limited.
We decided to fish the top beat, and during the vehicle ride up river everyone’s eyes turned to the river which, by the time we reached our destination, was gin clear and skinny. There was absolutely no doubt that this was going to be a world class day of sight fishing.
What followed was a blur of walking, catching sighted yellows, and enjoying the incredible scenery.
What did stand out was a really big rainbow that Gerhard had a shot at towards the end of the day.
It is hard to say how big the fish was, but it is safe to say it was above 6lbs.
Although Gerhard made an awesome stalk, at the moment when he was about to pull the trigger and make a presentation, a cloud came over the sun and bought the visibility down to a point where Gerhard last sight of the laid up trout.
Gerhard did end up having a shot at the fish, but it wasn’t meant to be and Gerhard was left wondering about that beautiful fish on the walk back to the fly mobile.
The following day we awoke to a high river after another night of violent storms, and although the same scene the previous day had disheartened everyone’s spirits, everyone now knew that this wouldn’t affect the fishing for long.
Having enjoyed such superb fishing the previous day, everyone took their time over breakfast, tied a few flies, before heading out to spend the morning session on the dam. Here casting dries to cruising fish, such is the norm at sterkies was the name of the game. The fishing was excellent and everyone had their share fare of good sized yellows.
On the drive back to camp, everyone was eager to get back for lunch and to see how the conditions in the river had developed while we had been spending time on the dam. It was a great sight, as the water level had dropped and the clarity improved. A quick lunch was enjoyed before we headed out to fish the section of water from Ed’s Pool up through some great pocket water.
In the early stages of this afternoon session, the water was still cool and although the yellows would come up for a dry, it did take some skill to get them to eat. There were some great yellows taken in tough conditions early on in the session.
With the slightly cooler water, there were a few trout around and Tim managed a couple smaller rainbows. A fish that did stand out was a massive brown trout that Tim fished to. Estimated at around 7 pounds, it rushed the fly twice, but failed to eat it.
As the session wore on, the water carried on clearing until it was it was back to its normal clean state. The last few hours of this session was superb, with fish coming up to the dry on almost every cast. Ending with a massive rise on the home pool, where there was literally hundreds of yellows sipping midges off the surface.
In the end, two days were just not enough and it was with heavy hearts that we said farewell to group. We are sure it won’t be long before they are back in camp again, having some cold beers around the fire and looking forward to some world class sight fishing on the Bokong River.