More often than not our motivation for travelling to any fishing destination is the size of the fish, our desire to hold a trophy aloft being the underlying driving force.Yet the fight in any fish will always trump girth and this is generally dictated by it’s environment, so finding the wilderness areas that are blessed with a clean, pure water source is invariably our primary focus.
Hence, hunting wild fish is without fail our ongoing quest.
And when it comes to Trout, this is a tall order. There are thousands of man made impoundments in South Africa that house these fish, but few allow them to grow naturally, less are fed by a pristine catchment and non allow natural selection to dictate the quality of the fishery…..that is to say that no stocking at all takes place and every Trout you encounter is truly wild spawned.
That is except the haven of Giants Cup Wilderness Reserve.
The waters of Giants Cup would make any gin look turbid and if you think that ripping and stripping is going to yield a dividend then think again. These fish are a little more discerning than what you’ll find in your average Trout dam, so attention to detail at the vise is required if you want to convert more of your casts
But there’s no shortage of healthy weed beds in this magnificent water, that support a wonderful population of wild Rainbows. Finding the channel fed by the river flowing out of the cup is the key to unlocking this dam and it is where you will find the fish congregating.
This vital catchment in the Southern Drakensberg also feeds one of the finest freestone rivers to be found in KwaZulu-Natal Natal giving you an option on your visit of stalking the banks of the Umzimkulu.
Now I find river fishing a lot easier than still water for the simple reason that from the bank you can often sight your target, but at the very least the structure and flow of the water will always indicate where the fishing should be holding, taking the question of. ‘Am I casting where the fish are?’ out of the equation.
There’s all manner of techniques for catching river Trout, but next to dry fly, my preference is swinging a good streamer and provided you focus your efforts in the right areas (wherever there’s a break from the current), all it requires is adding a little pace to your strip.
In the slower moving water, it’s all about putting your fly right up against the overhanging structure, letting it sink into the zone and then being aggressive with that strip.
The Southern Drakensberg from vantage point of the Giants Cup Wilderness reserve is a gem that every fly fisher should be inking into their calendar. It stands head and shoulders above any other self proclaimed wild fishery and with the spectacular river of the Umzimkulu on it’s doorstep you get to experience wild Rainbow Trout fishing at it’s finest.
You just won’t find a better setting in which to throw a line and although no fly fisher would admit being content without some fish action, the surrounds are capable of making you forget Trout for a while.