Thursday, October 01, 2009

October 2009 Middle Vaal Report

Every now and again a really good story comes in via e-mail this one I think is worthwhile posting:

Steve and his buddies were hanging out and planning an upcoming fishing trip. Unfortunately, he had to tell them that he couldn't go this time because his wife wouldn't let him. After a lot of teasing and name calling, Steve headed home frustrated.
The following week when Steve's buddies arrived at the lake to set up camp, they were shocked to see Steve. He was already sitting at the campground with a cold beer, swag rolled out, fishing rod in hand, and a camp fire glowing. "How did you talk your missus into letting you go Steve?"
"I didn't have to," Steve replied. Yesterday, when I left work, I went home and slumped down in my chair with a beer to drown my sorrows because I couldn't go fishing. Then the ol' lady snuck up behind me and covered my eyes and said, 'Surprise'."
"When I peeled her hands back, she was standing there in a beautiful see through negligee and she said, ' Carry me into the bedroom, tie me to the bed and you can do whatever you want'.....
So, here I am!"

Anyway I had one of those moments the last weekend in September. Not the see through nightie moment, no I got to go fishing as the family were holidaying in Balito. Man I missed the Vaal – not fishing for the last 5 months - driving there through thick mist really got me searching the memory banks for info on what to do when I get there. But it is like riding bike once you’re on everything just comes back to you.
I read my old reports – I do – there is some good advice stored in there. But every year or season is different, nature just has some things that does not run linear. I still vividly remember 24 September in 2001 fishing a farm called Carryblaire for the first time. I met Chris the owner’s son at a wine tasting and cracked an invite to a then private venue. It was a red letter day we seriously klapped the yellows, in those days I still counted and tallied something like 50 and they were big fat wintered fish. [Nowadays I would call it a day before I get so many in a small area.] The big green rock worms were on every rock you turned over . I have never had a day like that again on all subsequent 24 Septembers.

We arrived at the venue with no other fisherman in sight. Okay a good start and the weather looked promising clear skies with a moderate breeze. The obligatory fish were rising in the pool while we strung up our rods and got the boats ready. Off we went heading upstream stopping at the tail-out of the first big pool. There is a nice high ridge affording a eagle’s eye view of the pool below – which revealed very little apart from some splashy rises. A splashy rise does indicate fish but if you are one-up with a CDC emerger it’s a futile exercise. So I suggested the rapids to my novice fishing buddy while I held just below him in the eye of the pool.

I kept an eye on him and it seems as though his casting was good enough but he had too much distance on his casts. Clearly he’s done some saltwater fishing. My position did not deliver any results so I decided to move through the rapids to a glide. As I got closer I noticed rises along the current line. Perfect head and tail rises clearly indicating surface feeding yellows – bingo! I got a good cast in, the fly landing right in the feeding lane, but it drifted past untouched. Second cast was a better presentation and I added a big upstream mend. A good fish appeared, took a natural and then sip-swallow-ziiiinggg I had my first fish on since 27 April. Damn it felt great.

Unfortunately the moderate wind picked up after that one fish, the hatch petered out and the fish disappeared from the surface. The rest of the day was spent unsuccessfully searching for rising fish and fishing the rapids. I got one brute from a deeper hole in the rapid that gave a good account of her self.

My fishing companion was still fishless at this stage, having tried for the rising fish and then reverting to the rapids again. I noticed that with his long casts he was not in control of his flies and proceeded to show him to fish closer to him. The visibility was around 80cm so there was no reason to fish 15-20m ahead. I had no strike indicator and had to really work the line to stay in touch with the flies. On the second cast a male fish obliged to show that what I suggested makes sense! Heck I love it when they make it look simple. I then lost something unknown, maybe a muddy or a catfish. The fly that produced all these fish was a tan coloured caddis larva.

In the area I fished I could clearly see the muddies spawning along the margins in the shallowest of water. The big pools had massive carp getting amorous. I have also read reports of yellows spawning. PLEASE DO NOT FISH OR WADE AMONGST THESE SPAWNING FISH. Yellows don’t all spawn at the exact same moment, if you hold back and fish the deeper channels and glides away from the riffles you will get feeding fish.

Good luck tread lightly.
Carl & Keith

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