Today was a public holiday in SA, human rights day. So no work, slept late, got up,(05h30) normal time is 04h30). made coffee and had some breakfast, a nice big juicy mango. Talking of coffee, Estcourt has a huge Nestle coffee factory right in the middle of town, claims to be the biggest coffee factory in the southern hemisphere. In this town you don't have to stop to smell the coffee, you don't have much choice. Lying in the middle of a very productive agricultural area all our factories process agricultural products. Wood processed into hardboard, pigs into bacon, milk into milk powder, maize into maize meal and a couple of animal feed producers.
Took my dogs, my 6 weight fly rod and walked to the bigger of the two dams yesterday afternoon about 16h30. Took some photos of the smaller dam on the way, and saw way to the south west, over the Berg, clouds building up. Continued on to the bigger dam, about 15 minutes walk, and looked back at the clouds, they had covered the whole south western horizon. Decided to try my luck any using a foam beetle cast into reeds and grass in the shallows. Managed to hook one 6 inch bass who performed some acrobatics and threw the hook. By now the sky was black and I decided to head for shelter. You don't want to be caught out in an African thunder storm waving a carbon fibre rod about! Got home just in time the sky opened with a crack and the rain came down.
This has basically been the story the whole summer regarding bass fishing in these two dams. Summer means good bass fishing, but with the weather being so unstable the fishing hasn't been good. We had a dry summer last year and during the winter the dams shrunk to about a third of their normal seize. As the water receded green grass appeared. The herd of cattle on the farm loved to graze this grass fertilizing the bottom of the dam. With the good rains this summer the dams filled up quickly. With the well fertilized dams the water is swarming with all sorts invertibrate life, I think the bass are so well fed that anything I try and tempt them with does not interest them. But I'm not too disheartened there is still about six weeks bass fishing left.
In winter I fish for trout, mostly in still waters, but I still do some bass fishing. Although bass become very lethargic in cold water and their metabolism slows down reducing the need to eat, though they still need some food. Summer months my bass fishing is restricted to early morning or late afternoon, the sun will cook you in the middle of the day. In the winter I fish for bass from about 11 to 2 o'clock. I use intermediate line and almost no retrieve letting the fly sink slowly. Bass pick up the fly and start to swim away and I tighten up. Lots of good fun.
I've been tying flies for a trip to the upper Mooi River in the Kamberg Nature reserve, which lies right in the foothills of the Drakensberg. Dry flies, RAB and DDD's, The RAB is a variant type fly and the DDD is a spun deer hair fly a bit like an Irrisitable, and weighted ZAK nymphs some Ptn's and Grhe's.(code that fly fishers understand) These SA patterns can be seen with full tying instructions and photographs on Tom Sutcliffe's web site, the link for which I put on a previous post.
God willing and weather permitting I'll make the easy 60km trip next week. Hopefully I will have got a new data cable and be able to download some photo's of the scenery in the beautiful Kamberg valley, the river and with luck of some trout. Will try out my new 3 weight TFO rod that I built from a kit ordered from the US.
Next blog I'll explain why I chose Drakensview as my blog name and where the name Drakensberg comes from and what it means.