Monday, 30 May 2005

Trout on the fly

I posted some pics of two of the trout that I caught this weekend in the Eerste River flowing through Stellenbosch.

We had a great day and caught and released a number of smaller ones - but these two bigger ones we kept for a braai :-) Usually trout don't grow much past a pound in the river - maybe because trout are not supposed to survive in the Western Cape. Our water is too warm during the summer, often the water level becomes too low, some parts of the river even stops flowing.

They are very shy in the river and we had to stalk them, taking turns to sight-fish the pools. The vegetation on the banks of the river is no help either and it was hard to cast into the best spots, because there is simply no room for a proper back cast.

My companion caught his biggest one on an olive dragonfly nymph imitation by casting across a larger pool and retrieving the nymph past some overhanging plants. We saw my trout rise in a pool as we struggled between a fence and the trees on the riverbank. It was impossible to cast upstream as a branch covered the lower entrance to the pool. So I had to crawl through the brush on the bank and enter the river above the pool. Keeping low, I cast a montana nymph into the stream just before the rapids entering into the pool and fed some line at the speed of the current, so the nymph would drift past her lie.

Only on the third cast did the current take the nymph past the right spot. She struck at the fly so violently that there was no need to set the hook. I had to get up from my kneeling position and keep her out of the current, then steer her away from some branches hanging into the water as she wanted to cut my line there, then she made a run for the lower end of the pool using the current against me, but I could turn her and kept her head up, giving her line when she demands it, but bringing her back in as she relented. On the fourth turn she gave up and I could land her without much of a struggle.

Opening her up later revealed that she specialised in hunting freshwater crabs (found a couple of partially digested crab claws) and dragonfly nymphs. But man, she was in really beautiful condition - the biggest trout that I've ever caught in a river. *Sigh* You had to be there, I suppose...

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