Nymphing – when the going gets tough



With high temperatures and low water levels, the 2nd last drift of the 2022 Kalahari season was shaping up to be a cracker. Hitting the water on Day 1 we were very surprised when by lunch time we had only managed to pull out a Barbel and a small smallmouth yellowfish . Never the less we fished into the evening hoping that as the sun went down the fish would turn on. Again we were met with disappointment when we were only able to land a few small Barbel, fishing both streamers and using a variety of nymphing methods. As we sat around the camp fire that evening, we soon forgot about the slow days fishing while the sun set behind the mountains and we were met by the tranquil sounds of the Kalahari wildlife. 

A pleasant surprise using non conventional nymphing methods

With the morning session of day 2 being mostly slow moving water with a lot of vegetation along the banks we decided that we were best off drifting close to the sides and slapping flies against the fragmities. After an hour or two of slapping Anton Bakker was rewarded with a stunning 5 and a half pound smallie that ate right up against the bank. With this being the first decent fish of the drift hopes were once again high as we continued to fish different water in search of feeding largies. Just before Lunch Anton was able to land another nice smallie while nymphing an Alphlexo crab pattern in a well-structured rapid. That evening while fishing a tail out Anton managed to pick up the first Largie of the trip bringing the day to a close. That night while indulging in some delicious roast leg of lamb we had a visitor come by our camp. Coming right into the open we experienced an awesome sighting of a small spotted genet. 

Redemption by Euro-nymphing

After blanking day 3, we decided that it was time to change strategy. As we shamelessly set up the euro nymphing rods we were certain that we were going to catch some fish. As suspected, we were right. Just 15 minutes into the morning session Michiel Scheepers went tight with the biggest fish of the drift. A beautiful 6 pound Smallie. After a large number of smallies had been landed, with the itch scratched, we decided that it was time to get back to the streamers. This thankfully paid off in the afternoon when Anton was able to land a respectable 4 pound Largie bringing our last full day on the water to a successful end. 

Packing out 

While fishing the last few hours before takeout we were able to reminded about  how lucky we are to be able to experience this amazing place. Passing a rocky area we caught a glimpse of two water monitors who had managed to catch a rat. We sat and watched them for a number of minutes before we headed to our pick-up point. A slow trip on the fishing front, but an unforgettable wilderness experience – get in touch to find out more!

euro nymphing largemouth yellowfish

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