Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November 2008 Middle Vaal Report

Just when you think you have seen it all on the internet … in terms of fishing and related stuff of course, you somehow happen upon another website bursting with photos and information useful to the fly angler. This is a local site and if you’re into dragons and local damsels (no rugby cheerleaders) it should be your first reference My experience is that as one progress along the fly fishing evolution scale you start to appreciate more and more on an outing. It’s not just about the fishing and suddenly you start questioning what all these wonderful things you see are. On a recent trip to the upper Vaal I was fortunate enough to flush an owl. But what was it a Spotted Eagle owl or Cape Eagle owl? Returning along a different path I flushed the whole brood of 4 chicks and mom. The one owl turning in flight to display the bright yellow eyes of the Spotted Eagle owl.
Do you fancy adding another dimension to your fly tying? How is this for a departure from the mundane two dimensional stuff we usually see

Water and Weather forecast
While mentioning websites, the Weather SA guys have gone interactive with great new functionality on their new site. It will require proper broadband but there are cool features like Google Earth with various weather overlays. I really like the one with a graphic of the previous 24 hour lightning strikes displayed – certainly a handy bit of info when you’re planning to wave a 9’conductor around the next day.
“The rain is here good and proper, the flows are already up and the visibility is shot until autumn. Sad, but a dimension of the Vaal that makes it true to its name. Keep an eye on the flow data I find the DWAF site reliable at the moment, with the Randwater information very erratic. You decide for your own safety, but I don’t like fishing over 30 cubic metres per second.
Insect Activity
Flows and visibility means that it would be pretty much heavy caddis larvae (rockworms) and hotspots for most people. Minor flooding should scour out some atomic or San Juan worms. Over simplification maybe but if you can get these flies into the ZONE you will catch fish.

Approach and Technique
I don’t profess to catch a fish on every cast but I really believe we have covered all the bases in previous reports. I recently picked up some great advice from two members of the Sexyloops community. One from New Zealand another from Obama country.
The thread centres on fighting big fish in moving water. You can follow the whole bit here:;f=4;t=9615;&#top
Neil (NZ)
“Bob you could add to that, when fishing in flowing water the use of the current.
Getting the fishes head moving across the flow and closing its gill cover (with the water pressure) tires them quicker than anything I know. It may sound terrible that your trying to suffocate the fish, but hey we fight them into exhaustion letting them sit in the current with their mouths open is just like reviving them and can only prolong the fight
On rivers with a wide bed that can contain a flood, with beach areas, fish can be subdued quickly by holding a steady rod position then walking down stream slightly and away from the water. Pulling the fish back and into shallow water.”

And from the States
Matt Klara
“Some engineering to think of regarding reel start-up inertia and rod angle and tippet protection. Someone posted recently that start-up inertia has more to do with line friction in the guides than on the reel. Static friction is much higher than dynamic friction. And the friction on the guides increases the deeper you candycane the rod. So, a strong tippet, very low rod angle (less than 45 degrees), and a silky smooth reel is a good combo.”
A lot to think about when that big one does eventually take. You should be playing the two scenarios in your head when the fishing is slow. Stay sharp!

I think the time is over to exclusively fish for them. Unless you head West and follow the river until the flow drop and the clarity improves. Carl Nel has posted some great photo’s of superb clarity below Kimberley. The other option is to go Stillwater like Sterkfontein. Alternatively target them when fishing the deeper channels in the rapids, by using bigger flies and crab imitations.
FOSAF with the help of Keith and I will be publishing an information pamphlet for Vaal venues, tackle shops and other important distribution points. Fishing Owl, Trevor Babich contributed and sponsored the first print. Please take one, give to your mates and take to heart what is written - the future is in all our hands.
The fourth edition of the FOSAF favourite flies are out and ready to fill the Christmas stocking. This is really a top quality local product worth the support.
The year is rapidly running out, I’m not sure there will be another update on the Vaal. The next one might contain more holiday ramblings of the yellows near Calitzdorp or the possibilities of a new venue near Philippolis

Carl & Keith

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