I recently had to go back to South Africa for work, well some would call it work, but for me as well as being a guide I’m also in the aquaculture game. Being a trout farmer is more of a passion than a job, however sometimes that passion keeps me very busy with little time to fish. I mean basically I travel around to my clients (most of whom are close friends) water bodies, where I stock them with trout. Over the years I have stocked a lot of water with both Rainbow and Brown trout. Probably over 600 different venues of which at least 85% are stocked annually. So yeah, I get to go to some awesome places and hang out with some even more awesome friends while doing it.
During my last trip there was this one place in particular that I had been stocking for years and years that I’d always wanted to fish that dam too.
It just so happened that a really genuine friend, Juan, had moved on to the property that had this amazing piece of water on and so the plans were made to go fly fishing. Not only was fly fishing on the menu but some venison for the evening braai (barbecue) produced by another friend Anton from Zulu Waters. The plan was to fish the evening rise, shoot the breeze over the braai and to fish the early morning session the next day.
So I loaded up my gear , my trusty 5wt 9ft guide ll , XPLORER 5/7 wt reel loaded with RIO Lake intermediate line and RIO, XPLORER 9ft ultra strong tapered leader and RIO Powerflex plus 2X high performance tippet. Ready for those big fish.
The weather was playing along nicely and we ended up with a pearl of an afternoon session. We got on the water with a small boat perfect for two and it wasn’t long before we started casting to fish moving along in the shallows, which I thought were feeding on small minnows. At least that’s what I told myself as I had recently strapped up a few minnows which I was super keen on trying.
It wasn’t long at all before we started pulling on some really decent and well conditioned fish. They were all in the 6-8 pound range and gave a great account of strength and an acrobatic display. We both spotted a few fish that we rekon were over 10 pounds moving in and out of the multiple swirls that we could see. Just before the light faded to much Juan hooked up on one such fish and with much enthusiasm the fight was on. It ended just as suddenly as it started with a barbless minnow coming flying out the water as the hog spat the hook. We packed up and went up to the house for the much anticipated venison braai and chat.
Early the next morning we were back on the water at sun up only to have the perfect weather again. This time it was my turn to hook into a hog fish and that didn’t take long, but I was with the same fate as Juan the evening before. I had the fish on for a bit but it seemed to show itself right next to the boat before spitting the hook. Lots of colorful language later and we were both looking at each other laughing at what had just happened. Fishing just started after that, with catching some beautifully looking trout. Last time I saw this one particular lady was one year earlier when it was stocked at 10″ size. Awesome growth rate right there, indicating that the waters were in great health even after the recent droughts. I happily returned her to grow some more! Perhaps we see each other again next year?
All in all that’s what it is about right there …..Good times, great friends and awesome fishing. Happy days.