So 5 days after the end of the world (possibly the hottest day since the earths creation), My Motley Crew (as a well dressed fly fisherman friend put it) and I, headed up the Elandspad river/stream thingy for our annual pilgrimage to fish beat 4. Our wives and girlfriends tagged along. Our aim was to catch wild river trout on extremely light flyfishing tackle.
Now to get to beat 4?? you have to take a leisurely stroll, that we were assured would only take about an hour … so imagine our surprise when an hour and 45 minutes later we were still slogging it out… up hills, down valleys, climbing ladders, clinging to bushes for dear life what what. Ja so anyway, we should have known because the guy who told us it will take an hour is the same guy that claims he caught a big fish in this river, however, photographic evidence of this phantom fish escapes him and he was conveniently fishing alone at the time too. That’s what happens when you fish alone I suppose.
THE SHADOWS FROM SHADOWS BACK TO SHADOWS
We had a good time and despite our unofficial clothing and choice of colour we caught a good number of fish. I managed to catch my biggest fish ever for this river, happily … sorry CPS, sadly it was a Smallmouth Bass. It turned out to be one of my top 5 most enjoyable catches ever. Myself and my PFF (Phantom Fish Friend) were standing waist deep in a pool in the late-ish afternoon and Myles had just released a nice trout, as it swam away we saw this shadow come out of the shadows (strange I know). It was the biggest shadow I have seen on these trout streams since like forever and big shadows that spawn from other shadows are extremely rare in these woods. Myles saw my face light up like a house decorated with cheesy Christmas lights. The fish swam away into another shadow … we frantically looked for something that I could tie on and fortunately Myles had one Orange Woolly Bugger tucked away in a very small …shadow… of his fly box. It is worth noting at this point that it is a downright travesty and worthy of expulsion/drowning/public flogging?? for a Western Cape Stream fisherman to have a Woolly Bugger in his possession, fortunately for me Myles didn’t get the memo. It was barbless nogal so he is forgiven. So I cast this barbless bugger out into the shadows, not feeling confident that I would catch that other shadow, you know the moving shadow because the pool was fairly large and he had moved off as I’m sure you would have guessed by now…into the shadows. During the first few casts myself and PFF discussed that it was unlikely I would get him because he had practically swam through our legs, but how awesome it would be if we did. I was about to lift the rod on my 5th cast to target the shadows upstream when I was greeted with a serious thud on the other end of the line. I immediately said to Myles “I’m on, that’s him !”. We proceeded to giggle for the next 5 minutes as I fought this fish on my 3 weight fly rod with 6x tippet and did I mention it was a barbless hook? Over boulders, under bushy overhangs, back and forth but eventually he ran out of steam and into the net. It was sick! Not the fish, the experience. Hi-Fives and a few pics later we let him swim free into the…shadowy depths.
We put together a short video of the days events, sadly my smallie was not caught on film but we did get a few pics.