When to throw a line?
“Whenever I get a chance!” is a knee jerk response and only too true ,as we very often don’t have the luxury of choosing our leisure windows.
But urban schedules notwithstanding, few would argue that our limited fishing time should be calculated to provide maximum enjoyment. Whether this satisfaction is merely spending time at the waters edge, unwinding or having your fly abused by obscenely large fish, when to spend your precious fishing time should be the first consideration.
And if it’s river Trout that you’re chasing then April is the prime month to set a play date. Brown Trout are as a fussy fish as you’re likely to find in South African rivers. Their legendary eyesight and stealthy ability to remain undetected in gin clear water make them a formidable opponent, so picking the right time to target this finicky fish will determine whether you whittle hours away, changing flies, perfecting your presentation and drag free drift or wrestling with hungry fish.
At this time of year, the catchment rains have hopefully abated, allowing the KZN rivers to clean, water temperatures are dropping appreciably and this combined with the good flow rate has the Trout moving upstream, still feeding until the overwhelming urge to procreate has them settling into suitable spawning areas. However, this fish is wary enough not to make an appearance as the sun peaks, so choosing the right time of day is paramount. The golden hour just post dawn and pre dusk is ideal when looking for surface action, but a cloudy day can reward you throughout, if you’re happy to resort to nymphing or stripping a very imitative streamer.
You always hear the stories about days gone past where the Browns were bigger and the fishing better, but quite frankly living in the past bares no fruit that you get to enjoy and let me tell you this week, myself and Jeremy Rochester enjoyed the finest river Brown Trout fishing session that either of us have ever experienced at home or abroad! The Brown Trout of KZN are alive and kicking! Talk of the drought devastating populations, I would debate when it comes to Salmo Trutta, as it would seem that the larger specimens have lived up to their reputation as survivors.
We’ll reserve judgement on our fisheries, until the catch records reveal the level of recruitment in terms of the younger populations, but the upper reaches are recording equally as good catch numbers albeit smaller in stature. Where and what fly is the age old question. I am a self confessed fly fishing heathen, so on landing my first good Brown Trout on a #6 Zonker Minnow, you stood more chance of knocking me out than getting me to change fly. But we also nymphed with large Caddis patterns, although I would argue that it was the induced take through the vertical hanging of the fly that was more the catalyst than the actual pattern.
The dry fly stayed that way. Where else but on the finest Brown Trout fishery in South Africa…..dis Mooi!