Friday, April 24, 2009

April 2009 Middle Vaal Report

Just got back from a family holiday in the south of Mozambique. First time there and although I saw but a small part of the country what an eye opener. Shocking how war can put a country back and how difficult it is to make a comeback without natural resources. Tourism is great but it’s a fickle business based on seasons and school holidays. The rest of the year there are mouths to feed and it seems the sea as a natural resource is taking the brunt of the demand. Shore fishing was limited especially on fly. It may be seasonal it may be due to my inexperience, but snorkelling the pools did not reveal much more for the fly to entice.
I wish I could make a stop at Horst Filter on the way back. Although the rivers are not optimal it certainly beats sitting in the Easter traffic. Anyway, fishing the Luneburg area during winter is still on my to-do list.
Water and Weather
Joy when I got back and noted that the Vaal is getting back to fishable levels. I know for a fact there will be plenty of people out on the river before winter sets in. Autumn is a very productive time on the river, the fish are still to be found in the faster shallower water for those enjoying wading. There is also the opportunity to fish from a boat in the pools-as the clarity improves you’ll get great dry fly action.
Insect Activity
The archive of reports covers this subject well. If you do fish dry flies it will be mostly mayfly imitations.
A report just in from Gary la Grange is that the fish are certainly on the bite and there a big ones eager to take the fly. The smallies were hesitant to take a dry but obliged to take unweighted sub-surface patterns. Herman Botes reports that the yellows were very eager to take a dry on election day, pale morning duns (Adams) and Blue Winged Olives were hatching.
This is the start of the optimal fishing season for largemouth. Visibility will improve with the absence of rain and flash floods. The very big barbel move into winter mode (bottom of the river) and the largies take up their position as the prime predator in the river. When it comes to flies for the largies you have two choices:
1. Pick an all round fly e.g. MSP or Woolly Bugger in black. Tie it on and stick to it for a full day working all likely spots at all depths.
2. Pick 100 different great attractor patterns for fresh-& saltwater predators. Tie one on and stick to it for a full day working all likely spots at all depths.
You need dedication and perseverance to succeed with largies. It’s not the fish a minute stuff you get with the smallies in a hatch. You can spend a full 10km drift improving your casting and watching smallmouth feeding on #16 MF on the surface. Or you can hook into a 5kg largie at 10am and the day (year) is made.

This is not about fishing. I'm getting more into my photography. Upgraded to DSLR and a new Canon lense.

Carl & Keith


  1. Hi Carl/Keith

    Not sure which one is getting into the SLR photography - but you might want to check out Local site with lots of activity.


  2. Thanks Jean,

    Keith has always been a dab hand with the Canon 20D. I have seen some of Wolf Avni's photo's on there.

  3. Hey Carl/Keith

    Still not sure which one of you is the avid photographer, you both may be, but i love the photo's, especially the macro shots, im still young (18) but im also an avid fly-fishermen and regularly go to the vaal to have a go at these beautiful fish, i like that yoour blog is outlining the issues on environmental issues regarding the Vaal to raise some awareness to the gravity of the situation.

    Photography and fly-fishing are two hobbies/passions/obsessions which can collaborate really well, the places that our piscatoral quarry take us is some of the most stunning in Southern Africa. Im also making an attempt at some macro Photography, let me know what you think about it if you guys have the time, cheers Jean Pierre.