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Friday, 30 September 2011


Quote: It is a very good quality in a man to own a trout stream". 

George Elliot, (1871) Middlemarch)

Almost every day I get emails telling me that I've suddenly become a very rich man. 

One of the more inventive one's:

"You have been bequeathed £11,000,000 by the late, John Paul Getty Jr. in a codicil to his will." 

The email is about an A4 page long. Actually says he left me £11, 300,007, Great British Pounds (GBP's). (Great British Pounds?) The £7 (GBP's) really impressed me.

The email goes on to say that I should not be surprised by this, as Mr Getty obviously met met on his travels around the world. (As if I would not remember).  

Well I don't suppose that this should surprise me too much, as the late Mr Getty and I moved in the same very rich, (super rich circles), my millions of cents obviously impressed him enough.

£11,300,007, (Great British Pounds) would make me a very rich man in Africa! Just imagine the fly fishing rods, etc.  

I could buy my own trout stream, (in South Africa, several hundred kilometres of trout stream for £11,300,007 GBP's)

Ah, if only.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Psalm 19.

My dogs forced me to go for a walk again and this was the result.

Can't say it any better than Psalm 19.

Reflected glory.

     "In the heavens he has pitched
         a tent for the sun,
       which like a bridegroom
         coming forth
           from his pavilion,
       like a champion rejoicing
           to run his course.
     It rises at one end of the heavens
        and makes its circuit
           to the other,
        nothing is hidden from its heat."

Ps.19: 4 - 6. (NIV)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Reekielyn 4.

Click on pictures to en large.

The stretch of river below shows three pools, which almost looks as if they have weirs built across them, these are natural stone, (dolorite I think?) dykes. The bottom of the three has a bottom of solid rock, I tried to wade it but notice that what appeared at a distance to be smooth flat rock, sloping to the top of the pool, was actually full of pot holes, cracks and fissures, some of them quite deep. An easy place to break a leg by suddenly stepping into a hole, but lots of holding place for fish.
I was in such a hurry to get to Reekielyn and the water that I left half my stuff behind, fly vest, wading staff, (walking stick of my grandfathers, with cord attached to loop arround my body), knife, sciscors, and half a dozen other things. Spent the previous week tying brassies, weighted PTN's, GRHE's and other nymphs. The previous Saturday I saw no surface activity so I thought deep nymphing is the way to go.

A long deep run just below the first pool.

Decided to use my three weight again, TFO, Finese Series, with 3 weight floating line, 4 x leader and 5 x tippet. The reel is a South African brand "Xplorer" STX 2/3 weight, wide arbour, nice and light, with a smooth drag.

Part of the run shown in the second photo. Deep undercuts under this rocky ledge, but very swift current.

Miniature waterfall, with rod for scale.

Top end of the run, with water tumbling down a small set of rapids.

I cast a nymph just over the lip of this outflow, a few metres of line, leader and tippet, just to the right of that furtherst clump of grass growing over the water. Managed to get a nice dead drift with the line coming back straight to me. I was actually "high sticking", with only a short piece of the fly line on the water. My second cast was just as good, with a nice dead drift, when suddenly my line started heading upstream at speed. That's when I discovered that I had two left arms, two left feet and ten thumbs. I was concentrating so on my presentation, that I forgot all about the possibility of a fish taking my fly. Needles to say I lost him.

Above, natures own arrangement. A clump of grass growing in some moss which has established itself on this rock. A symbiotic situation if ever there was one. This rock will often be submerged during the summer months, but the moss clings to the rock and the grass has its roots deep in the moss.

Trick photo, guess what? No, actually bird droppings consisting  entirely of crushed crab shell, legs and pincers. Natal rivers swarm with crabs and trout enjoy eating them to.

At this pool above is where I really missed my fly vest. In it were all my fly boxes and dry flies. Trout were milling about in plain sight and making very splashy rises, taking something off the surface. All the flies I had with my were weighted nymphs or brassies.

The main current in this pool runs against the opposite bank. In the photo you can see a shallower stretch about a metre from that bank, the trout were rising in the fast water flowing over this shallow stretch and in the slacker water on this side of the shallows. The stretch between this side bank and the shallows opposite is deep, about 2 metres, with a counter current.

I was within easy casting distance of the rising fish, nice fish, looked about a lb plus. All my cast were right on the fish, but they weren't interested in something that sank like a stone. After casting I retrieved the fly slowly across the pool and several times, as I was lifting the fly slowly from the depths I had several  pulls, one was on long enough to put a happy bend in my 3 weight for a moment or two.

What the trout might have been taking is some thing known as a Mooi moth, although I think a small elk hair caddis might have done the trick. Above is a very old South African fly used to imitate the Mooi moth. Blue dun hackle tail, stripped peacock hearl body, slips from the wing feathers of a mallard duck for the wing, blue dun hackle wound around the hook shank three or four times. Size 14 to 16 or even smaller. So guess what I'll be tying this week? I bought 200 size 16 dry fly hooks last week.


The pool, below the falls, that I mentioned in my last post, and thought might be very fish-able, is unreachable from this side. The opposite bank is very "verboten" to club members, also has large unfriendly signs up, "Private property, trespassers with be prosecuted".  The bit in front here doesn't look bad, but you have a cliff going down right into water that's more than a metre deep, and very fast.

Clarity of the water.
My learning curve for river fly fish is going to be very steep and very long. Just two outings and Iv'e learnt that Iv'e got a lot to learn.

Next week Friday school breaks up for a short 10 day holiday, so you know where I'll be spending most of this time. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Brown trout.

How do fish suddenly materialise, seemingly out of nowhere, and then just as suddenly "de-materialise" again and disappear.

While I was fishing one of the pools on the Mooi River at Reekie Lyn last Saturday, I cast my dry fly upstream, a #14 stimulator, and let it drift down past me through a short stretch of rough water, then retrieved it and cast upstream again. After about the third cast the fly became waterlogged and submerged in the short rough stretch. I let it drift until it started to drift upwards. I was just in the process of lifting the fly when a large trout materialised below and slightly behind the fly. Well I obviously did something to spook the fish, maybe the sudden hesitation of the fly as I started to lift the fly, something did not look quite right to it. As quickly as it appeared it disappeared again. Although I tried several times to entice it with different flies it just was not interested. A spooked brown trout stays spooked for a long time.

The first attempts to import trout into Southern Africa took place in 1875, but was unsuccessful. In 1890 ova imported from Loch Levins in Scotland were successfully hatched in Natal and released into the Mooi River, ththe Umgeni River, and the Bushmans River. As far as I know the Umgeni River does not have any trout left.

For many years  the brown trout in South Africa were thought to be a sub species called Levensis, but it is actually the same species as brown trout all over Europe, namely Salmo trutta. Brown trout occur naturally in the Atlas mountains of North Africa.

Falls/rapids on the Mooi River at Reekie Lyn. The pool below the falls looks very fish-able, I will try it this Saturday.

In this small horseshoe lake I spotted a Nile Monitor on Saturday, it obviously had taken to the water on spotting  me and then started to panic. It was trying  to climb out of the water on the opposite bank under the small tree growing right on the opposite side, but due to its panic kept falling back. Eventually it swam a bit further and made good it's escape. By the time I got my camera ready it was gone in the long grass.

Monitors usually wait until you almost step on them before they lunge away under your feet, not good for a bad heart. Monitors have often given me a bad fright while I've been fishing, it's not something you get used to having it suddenly erupt under your feet and launch into the water

Nile Monitors, (Veranus niloticus) grow up to 2.7 metres, that is about 9 feet. The one I saw, was not that big, but it was no baby either. Monitors, also known as Leguaan, in South Africa, from the Dutch for Iguana, like to live near water, rivers, streams, and lakes. Their diet includes fish, crabs, birds, and crocodile eggs.

The picture above is of a Monitor in a lake in Tanzania, note the different colouring of the two to suite their environment.  

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Reekie Lyn 3.

Riffles, pools, glides, rapids, you'll find them all on this stretch of the river

Looking upstream.

A long pool, several hundred metres long. Wade-able along the edges, but easily fished from the bank.

Tail out of one of the pools.


Shady pool, with deep undercuts against the opposite bank.

Another long pool looking upstream.


some humor Americans will love this one.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Reekie Lyn 2.

Quote: "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." 

My childhood was very happy, I think I relived part of it today.

I'm tired and every muscle in my body aches, this stretch of river is not for the faint hearted, unfit or lazy. You work for you fish here.

Where's the river?  Where you see the sunlight gleaming in the top of the sign, (below) the river plunges into a deep gorge.

In spite of being tired I'm happy, nothing beats a day at a beautiful river such as this. The solitude, the sound of water rushing over rocks and down rapids, the wind soughing through the trees, and everything looking like the first day of creation. What more can any person want.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Natal Fly Fishers Club sign next to the gate. The gate is locked but the locks are supplied by the club and each member has a key. Mine are attached to my car keys.

Where the Reekie stream enters the Mooi River on the left, looks like a very fish-able small stream, only about 300 metres are available to club members. . The Mooi river, upstream, comes in from the right.

Down stream, about 200 metres further the river plunges over a series of steep rapids, more like a waterfall. Thought I would come back and fish this section, but I was just too tired when I got back, maybe next time I'll start here. Here the river looks like a tame pastoral stream, but further down it's a wild tumbling river.

How to get down to the water, about 30 metres, !00', almost straight down. Worried about keeping my 63 year old neck and limbs connected to the rest of my 63 year old body.

Eventually  found a way down, only a 60 degree slope. Made the mistake of setting up my rod before I started down. Spotted these small yellow flowers among the rocks, the slope all the way down is littered with these loose rocks. Got so engrossed with the flowers that I forgot my rod there, had to climb 20 metres back up the slope to fetch it.

This is where I went down. Spotted a Nile monitor lizard in the horseshoe lake on the left on my way back. After the summer rains this horseshoe lake will be part of the main stream, should be a good place to fish a deep, weighted nymph.

Looking down stream.

The river is only about 2 metres wide here. In the top left hand corner is a big patch of foam, I was casting my fly here but could not get it deep enough. A big hatch of small flies was coming off all the rapids and riffles. My decision to use a three weight rod was wrong, a 5 weight with Czech nymphs would have worked better. The wind was also blowing downstream, making up-stream casting with a 3 weight difficult. I think most of this stretch of river could be fished Czech nymph style.

To quote General MacArthur, "I'll be back". All I need is a corn cob pipe and lots more fluids. Only took one 750ml bottle of juice with me, need about 3 times as much. Only managed to explore about a third of the available water, took me five hours.

Rest of the story and more photo's next post.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Reekie Lyn

Tomorrow I'm hoping to fish this stretch of the Mooi River on the farm Reekie Lyn.

This is a brown trout stream. Most of the fish are said to be quite small, but fish of up to 2lbs have been taken recently. Taking my three weight TFO Finese Series rod that I built up last December from a kit I ordered From J Stockard.  

There is about 7km of river to fish, which should keep me busy for the better part of the day. We had some good rain on Monday night so the water levels should be good.

Photo credits; Natal Fly Fishers Club. (

Mooi Afrikaans for pretty. Many rivers in South Africa were named Mooi river by the Afrikaans pioneers. Water was scares and I suppose every river looked pretty.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Azaleas to sun set.

For those who have eyes to see beauty is every where.

When I got to work this morning I spotted this azalea bush that had burst into bloom over the weekend. Just to beautiful to ignore. 

This afternoon late, when I took the dogs for their walk and went to tease the fish with a fly, I was treated to this sunset.

Who can ask for more in this life?

Sunday, 11 September 2011


Coming home from my evening walk with the dogs I noticed the moon rising.

Seems to be peeping through the branches as If it can't make up it's mind to show itself.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Nguni cattle

Nguni cattle arrived in Southern Africa about nine hundred, or more, years ago with the arrival of the Nguni people, Swazi, Zulu and Xhosa. A truly indigenous breed. The cattle below are not pure bred, but there is something in their colouring, horns and shape of the head that is very distinctive of them.

Nguni bull in the foreground.

During the days of the old Zulu kings, Shaka, Dingane and Cetswayo, nguni cattle were selectively bred for the colour and patterns on their hides. Each Zulu regiment had it's own distinctively coloured shield, six foot high and about three feet wide at it's widest. The shield would cover the whole body of the warrior.

The shield was used more as an offensive weapon than a means of protection. A Zulu warrior was trained to use the left edge of his shield to pull away the left edge of the enemies shield, leaving the left armpit open for a killing thrust into the heart.

Nguni cow, this time brindle in colouring. In the days of the old Zulu Kings, all white cattle were the property of the King, who had huge herds of pure white cattle. *Africans don't need brands to identify their cattle, they can tell at a glance, which is theirs among hundreds of others They know their animals the way we know our pets.

Commercial farmers are beginning to value the unique qualities of Nguni cattle. They are hardy, very resistant to tick borne diseases, and survive in conditions where fancier breeds don't stand a chance.

In both pictures you can see Sissie, she is actually very scared of cattle but believes she must face her fears by attacking them, not that she makes much impression on them. Nguni cattle are used to dogs and people and except for an irritable stamp of a hoof, mostly just ignored her.

*The law today, though, says that every cattle owner must brand his animals with a registered brand, this is to combat theft.

Friday, 9 September 2011


I was in a reflective mood this evening when I took my dogs for their regular walk, took my spinning rod instead of the fly rod. Between flicking the plastic lure over the water I reflected on many things, life, getting old, God, religion, work and a million other things. It was just one of those reflective evenings. My dogs were more intelligent, they just enjoyed what was.

The fish must have been in a reflective mood to, not one bothered to look at the lure.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Above the moon reflected among the water weeds.

Cell phone tower and sunset reflected on the water.

The moon reflected in a cattle water trough.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Beating the heat.

Took a walk down to the bottom dam on the farm, Sunday about 11am. Due to the Berg Wind conditions it was rather warm. The dogs found the water irresistible.

Sissie and Tombi cooling of in the shallows.

Sissie loves the water, but she has the floatation ability of a brick, so she stays in the shallows.