Tuesday, October 25, 2011

November 2011 Middle Vaal Report

Sunrise on the way to the Vaal
The red-chested cuckoo calling was a sign that the summer rains were on the way. This is the call for all fly fisherman to get to the Vaal and enjoy some of the best fishing we've had in. Kobus and I headed the call, took a Friday off to fish the Vaal far from the maddening crowds, only to run into a Bells festival in full swing at Elgro River Lodge. I was glad for a river and not a dam, we would’ve been stumped, next venue was perfect not another fisherman in sight. Since my previous trip on 1 October clarity improved to a meter, perfect for a bit of sight fishing and I think the limit when it comes to close in fishing. I could cast to feeding fish and watch them react to the fly coming into sight.

The fish get excited and one can clearly see the eager head movement of the take, while there is no sign of movement on the indicator. A timely lift of the rod connects to a very surprised fish shooting off to deeper water. This particular section has one of the prettiest runs on the Vaal and when clear reminds me of famous rivers in Montana.

The channel cuts between 2 islands, long strands of water grass gently undulating in the reduced flow, occasionally opening up to reveal the gold of a yellow. I wish the Vaal could always look like this. This is the 3rd week of October and it certainly feels like summer is here. I’m hearing all the summer migrant birds in the garden – paradise flycatcher, cuckoo and purple-backed starling. We are experiencing a heat wave in Gauteng at the moment, not great for fishing and fisherman. From our previous trip we had one younger member with some serious sunburn, my advice always cover up as much as possible, long-sleeved and legged trousers are the best option. I try to avoid adding sun cream while fishing – some foreign oily substances get onto your flies – opting instead to cover up early in the morning. Baseball caps although they look cool is another thing to avoid, rather get a wide brimmed hat with a dark under brim fabric, makes spotting fish a lot easier. A Buff is a handy sun protection garment, although fairly expensive. I was standing in the queue at Woolies and noticed a similar piece of material at R30, unfortunately in feminine colours. I have a feeling of being ripped off when I paid 5 times that. Next time you see a guy with a mauve buff it might be me☺.

During these hot spells the fish are also at risk. Oxygen levels drop in the warmer water impacting their recovery time after a fight. Make sure you spend more than enough time to revive the fish in the flowing water. If you struggle in finding fish in the regular spots, realise that they do not like the direct harsh sunlight. Find shaded areas under the willows or against the bank undercuts shaded by vegetation. Try fishing in the cooler times of the day, spend the hottest times resting up for the afternoon session. I’m noticing the small black ants are becoming very active, moving nests and collecting food. Although I do not have this down to a science, my experience from previous years is that this indicates the big rain is about 10-14 days away. Get yourself onto the river!

Cheers Carl
There is still plenty of beauty on the Vaal

1 comment:

  1. AMAZING pics! Awesome blog, you got a new follower