Quick report 22/03/2013

Wednesday day night I get a message from Marius ‘Are you keen to fish pick you up @ 5am’ now while I was reading the message I was already parked in front of the vice tying a few crafty bunny’s ala Marius and thinking of big large mouth yellows eating my offerings with recless  abandonment  so a few seconds later I send a message back  ‘see you tomorrow’.

This was the start of my largy mission 3.0 and oh was it a interesting experience!

We were on the water by 6am and I must be honest dam it was hard waking up at 4:30am but I managed to drag myself out of bed.

 The water was looking good and we saw a few smallies rising in the early morning light.

The vaal river is stunning in the morning and everything looked good for a productive day out fishing. Man o man we weren’t disappointed! After we launched the boat and fished a section of rocky outcrops not to far of Marius was into his first fish an absolute beaut gold yellow large mouth. If you start the day of with a largy within the first 30min of fishing the fishing can only get better. Soon after Marius landed his fish a absolute bus largy boiled behind Marius’s fly just after he lifted it out of the water! Epic fishing if you ask me and it certainly got the hart pumping!

We moved of to a section with some nice structure in the middle of the river but for some reason the fish weren’t on these rocky outcrops. Now this shows you that these fish are consistently one the move from one piece of structure to the next.

After seeing no fish movement, we moved to points with a lot more current and BAM! First point fish number 3 explodes  out the water and no joy,  marius  sigh’s ‘this can not be happening ‘.

 Off to point number 2 Marius sits down to retie his tippet and I quickly change to a crufty bunny and shoot of my fist cast, the fly lands with a plop and to strips later I get a hard bump and I see the fish boiling but no take. My second cast fly’s out and the the fly land just left of rock sticking out of the water 5 strips or so  Mr largy inhales the fly like it is its last meal and does one of those I’m gonna swim straight to the boat down stream runs and you Mr fisherman will not be able to strip the line quick enough!! Yep that is exactly what he did! I just managed to get things under control and all the the fly line was out and  the fish was on the reel and that was when my next worst nightmare happened, in my haste to get everything sorted I disengaged the spool from the reel! Epic fail!! now it was me and the fish fly line in hand and  a spool drifting down stream what a balls up!I few tens minutes later Marius grabbed my largy and what a sigh of relief.

This was one of the most intense fishing experiences I had. After a few quick pics we safely released my fish and jeepers was I lucky. I can not get over the fact of how  super fast these fish are!! Largy’s are super  predators and I understand why guys get addicted to largy fishing.

Our day progressed slowly and Marius managed to land a few barbel, one or two nice small mouth yellows and few smaller large mouths.

We drifted back down stream where we launched the boat for one last shot at that big nunu from the morning and it was not long before it showed its fins! The same thing happened  again to Marius  just after Marius lifted his fly out of the water Mr largy boiled behind the fly, awesome stuff and one eager largy!, few shots later with no joy Marius picked up a bulletjie baber. That was how we ended our day out fishing.

Big thank you to Marius for inviting me along

tight loops









WEEKEND UPDATE -16/17 March 2013:

My son and I visited the river on Saturday after a night of howling wind anda loud and non stop electric storm.

It was a beautiful morning and when we assembled the inflatable we saw quite a lot of fish movement ,the water and air temperature had dropped a little but we were fairly optimistic .

We made our way upriver and when we approached one of my favourite underwater ledges we noticed some fish moving and small fish jumping. We decided on the Crafty Bunny as it was such a successful new addition to the Largiearsenal.What followed was quite a hectic hour of fishing ,we landed 5 Large mouths between 6 and 9 pounds and two big smallmouths.

It seems the fishing on the Vaal is definitely improving in the Potchefstroom/Stilfontein area and we have high hopes for a great winter season although the rest of April and May is normally also excellent Largemouth months !

Meanwhile we are planning a trip to the Orange river over Easter weekend, this has been on my bucket list for a few years and we hope the trip will be worthwhile.

Tight lines



Largemouth update

Some of the readers might have wondered if the Largemouth bonanza was but a fleeting affair,well, luckily it wasn’t .IW and I have been catching Largemouths on a fairly regular basis but they have proven to be as elusive and as temperamental as always .Fish of over 8 pounds have been few and far between. Wentzel also boated his first Largie of about 3kg’ and he was over the moon. The fish of a thousand or is it a million casts !

But, when you spend enough time on the water and you have a good idea where they will turn up eventually ,and you happen to be on the water at that specific time and place –Halleluja!

Such a day was Friday 08 March, the wind was howling but we managed to get off early and we headed off to the river with a lot of enthusiasm and a freight load of flies. I had foul hooked a huge Largemouth who must have just missed the fly the previous weekend and managed to boat a single scale which would in my opinion have been fitting armour for a monster fish well over 10kg’,and I also landed 4 smaller fish in the same area. This was the reason for our frenzied haste. I had this nagging feeling that they were going to be active that afternoon.

We hit the river at about 14h00 and we fished our way up to the promising area with no fish and a heck of a tail wind. When we drew close we saw two big fish porpoising in the big waves created by the wind. We could however not elicit any strikes, we saw some small baitfish jumping in the same area and we were still positive as we slowly made our way upstream.

Suddenly a fish showed itself only a leader length away from the boat and IW indicated where it was as he had a long line out and was unable to cover it.I flicked the Crafty Bunny out and it turned and grabbed the fly on the second attempt .I asked IW to drop the anchor while I played the silver specimen of approximately three kilo’s. As soon as I released it I made a long cast across and upstream and just started a jerky retrieve when a big Smallmouth hit the fly ,when it came close I noticed a huge yellow following it and I knew this was a big Largemouth attracted to the commotion. The Smallie came off and IW and I both launched a cast in the same vicinity, a big fish nailed IW’s fly and he was extatic when he could finally bring it to hand, we took a few photos of this beautie of approximately 15 pounds and I was next with a fish of about 12 pounds, then we landed fish of about 8 pounds and a fish of close on 10 pounds. We ended the day with 7 Largies and a Smallmouth.



This was different to our first encounter in January where the fish were holding tight to structure and accurate casts were important to ensure success. These fish were hunting and feeding in open water with a rocky bottom and scattered submerged reefs and pinnacles. All the fish were taken on a Crafty Bunny fly.crafty bunny

I could not fish over the weekend but they were conspicuous in their absence as the same area produced only two baby Largemouths for a number of Anglers. Such is the nature of the beast!


Tight lines ,


DSCF0245 8313 8313 (2) 8313(1) 8313(2)


Two weeks have passed since that glorious weekend on the Vaal, and needless to say we have been trying to recapture those moments by follow up visits.

For anyone who knows the Vaal and Largemouth Yellows, this was a very optimistic endeavour but IW,the “Largemouth Yellow protégé”, who is now solidly hooked on Largies hit the water in the week following the weekend  after doing an early shift (lucky bugger) and managed to test what he had learnt on a new piece of water closer to home.

He was scarcely on the water and I was slaving away in my office when I received the sms, he had just boated a brute Largie estimated in the 7kg range and a huge Smallmouth. Great news but needless to say frustrating if you’re unable to join in the fun! He was not a popular guy for a while and I believe someone even has a pair of cement boots prepared in his exact size !IMG-20130124-00518

We had another outing last weekend but the strong wind and sudden green algae bloom made fishing almost impossible and extremely unpleasant. I managed a juvenile Largemouth and a decent Smallmouth and Mudfish and my partner Tinus landed a Smallmouth and a mudfish. Both Muddies were caught on Buggers and hooked in the bottom part of their noses which indicated that they have somehow also developed a fetish for Woolly Buggers!

IW and his Father in law drew a blank for the day and this I  believe was sweet justice!               

Well ,the level of the river was also dropping and combined with the mentioned poor conditions this does not auger well for Largie fishing,they prefer a steady flow and or rising river and this is one variable that has not been proven wrong yet.

The river flow rates dropped to a steady 15 cumecs for the last few days and we decided to do an early shift and fish the river yesterday at a venue close to home.The river still had that green algae bloom present and there was a strong wind with overcast conditions but we still had a great afternoon on the water ,only one juvenile Largemouth came to hand but we managed to boat 4 big Smallmouths which made the outing more than worthwhile.

Latest update from the vaal is that the flow is well over 50cumecs and the dream of steady flows and hungry largy’s over the weekend are gone.

“he difference between fly fishers and worm dunkers is the quality of their excuses.” -Anonymous



IMG-20130130-00143Tight loops Marius


I was wondering about this weekend, should we really go out and take another fishless beating after last weekend’s fiasco? Not a single Largemouth seen or caught in a whole day of ceaseless flogging? The question begged whether our beloved Vaal and its denizens have finally given up and succumbed to the merciless pollution and disregard. Were there still sufficient numbers of these majestic fish alive to warrant all the time, effort and expense to pursue them?

But……being a sucker for punishment and Largemouth junkie I decided to give it another go with my friend IW. It was his second attempt at Largie fishing and the first one was a total blank. I think he seriously doubted all the stories I was telling him.

It was the Windknot’s year start gathering at the ELGRO river lodge and I decided to do a drift below the Lodge .The prognosis weather-wise was rain, rain and some more rain thrown in for good measure. When we hit the water Saturday morning there was that ominous pressing silence before a storm, but I was very excited as I could see a lot of fish movement on the underwater ledges.

It soon became evident that there were a few decent Largemouths around, they were porpoising and showing off their fins in classic Largie fashion, they had me trembling and shaking in my boots as we started prospecting the structures with weighted Black WoolyBuggers,my favourite Largie fly when fishing in fast current ,casting upstream ,up and across current and even downstream at underwater rocks and rocky ledges.

Well, what followed was one of the most exhilarating and goose-bump crazy days of Largie fishing I have ever experienced. We ended up with seven big Largies and about 6 big Smallmouths on the Saturday and 8 Largies and a lot of Smallmouths on the Sunday, we were smashed up by huge fish three times, twice as a result of fish making a headlong unstoppable rush into submerged trees and once when a big fish cut my leader on some sharp rocks. Awesome fishing and a weekend we will never forget! We also caught two small Largies which gives us hope for future fishing and we saw enough fish to indicate that a healthy population of Largemouths still exists. Here are some of the better Largies we caught



year start

Good day fly fisherman and woman

I would like to start of this post by saying thank you to all who joined us at the year start function. It was good to see every one again and to see the new faces in the club , thank you for the guys who drove all the way from Pretoria and Jhb and for every one new in the club.

The weekends weather was not the best but some of the guys caught some nice fish in the conditions.

Lastly I would like to thank Kobus , Gusti and Piet for taking the time to organise the weekend fishing and accommodation.

See everyone at the next club day!

Tight loops

Garden route report

Good day

I hope all of you had a awesome holiday with friends and family!

I was lucky enough to fish the garden route while I was on my holiday and had a great time fishing the salt.  The weather was incredible and the fish where willing to take the fly!

My target species for the week or so was the Garrick. Now these fish are super fast and aggressive predators. The estuaries in the Southern Cape are packed with them and if you put in the hard work you will be rewarded!

Most of my fishing was done early in the morning and late afternoons and the fish were more active on a dropping tide the reason for this was most of the bait fish were concentrated on the sand banks on the high tide and with the dropping tide it forced them of the sand bank into the channels where the garrick were waiting for them.

I was joined by Erich for a few fishing sessions and I just want to say thank you for the company we had a absolute ball one afternoon taking a number of fish!

The garden route is a special place and I highly recommend taking the family for a holiday!

I have a few tips for you if you consider fishing the area.

1. Gear- fish a 7wt and 10wt/9wt floating line or intermediate

2. Learn to cast a full fly line before you go on holiday most of the fish were taken between 15 and 25m out.

3. A stripping basket is a must and a double handed strip will give you the speed on the fly.

4. Flies top water flies like flipper, crease flies and standard poppers work really well  and clousers in chartreuse.

Tight loops






What a memorable long weekend, and what a way to spend it at our favourite Yellow fish venue with good friends!

Tinus, IW ,Trompie and I arrived on Thursday evening and after pitching our tents we decided to hit the water at about 23hoo as the fish were rising everywhere and we could not resist the temptation!

Tinus and I missed a few takes on black Hoppers and Beetle patterns or rather the fish missed the flies and we decided to head for the dam wall where there was some light reflected on the water. We were surprised to find the Yellows quite eager, willing and able and we each boated 4 before we decided to hit the sack. IW and Trompietried another area and also missed some strikes but it seemed that either a full moon or some artificial light is required to be really successful at night.

We hit the water early the next morning after almost zero sleep and we had quite a good day ,the fish were not as prolific on the surface as expected but everyone managed to land a few big fish on Hoppers ,next day we experienced a storm second to none but we managed good fish on surface and submerged flies and it turned out quite satisfactory. We managed a few good Largemouths as well with Tinus hooking a 3kg fish from a submerged tree on a Woolly Bugger.IW and Trompie did not travel as much as Tinus and I but their strategy also paid off and they took numbers of fish on Beetles and Hoppers and were taken to the cleaners often quite close to the campsite.Another good friend joined us on Friday-Gerhard and he was rearing to go.

The next day we sight fished to lovely yellows feeding on flying Ants and this was fantastic fishing, there was also a hatch of unknown Moths which were very similar to Caddis but lacked the characteristic tent wing shape as well as long antennae of adult Caddis. The fish were taking these Moths all along the shoreline and were also smashing the hatching pupae in the surface film .The fishing was challenging but extremely exciting and rewarding as they often smashed a pupae or adult Moth and immediately headed back to the depths again which made accurate targeting very difficult. Some however were chasing fluttering Moths and an accurately presented fly resulted in a hair raising and exhilaratingattack. That night an electric storm with heavy rain hit us and we were cowering in our tents and praying for the morning to arrive, which did, perfectly clear and with no clouds in sight and almost zero wind. This was our last day and Tinus and I decided to target some submerged structure in the form of old diamond excavations which we happened upon the previous day. This proved a good choice as Tinus managed to take three beautiful Largemouths over 3kg’s on a rubber legged Bugger.I was less fortunate and only managed a smallish Smallmouth Yellow.We will however re-visit these areas again especially in wintertime for Large mouths.We then headed for the shoreline where the Yellows were smashing Moths and I redeemed myself with a skating Caddis pattern which they could not resist ,the takes were vicious and exciting and this was a fitting end to a great weekend .

This was IW and Trompies first Taung and first Stillwater trip ,needless to say ,they will be back!

All the days produced quality fishing, what more could we have hoped for? Next trip planned for 11 January .

Merry Christmas and tight lines in the New year!!




Short report

We have been super busy at work the last few weeks and time was no friend of mine but we managed to wet a loop.

We had some super fishing and we managed to land and release some awesome fish.

Weather wise we fished really rainy conditions and on those days you think you should really stay at home we had our best fishing!

Most of the fish where caught on weightless PTN variations in natural or hot spot and little black mayfly patterns.

Mustard caddis patterns tied on a small circle hook also produced some good fish.

I just want to say thank you to Rob, Gusti and Eugene for making every trip a total pleasure.

PS check it out – Espresso on the river!

Tight loops and happy holidays

24/11/2012- What a day!

What a day!!!!!!!

Someday it all just clicks on the water and Saterday  was one of those days. After a long hot week I was super amped for a lekker days fishing. The plan was to go fish a spot near Stilfontein, weather predictions for the day was mild rainy conditions and man did it rain at one stage I was soaked head to toe and to the bone.

But let’s get back to the fishing and I can summarise it in one word Awesome!

I have never experience such good fishing in a long time and it was one of my best days on the Vaal and I realised when things click on the Vaal it is one of the most productive pieces of water I have fished. We had a short upstream hike/ drift to the section of water we were going to fish and it looked good. From the get go the fish were taking the flies without thinking twice.

All the fish were in a good condition and fat and healthy.  The Smallies were taking the flies incredibly hard and I had a few fish jumping after setting the hook and there were one or two occasions where I popped my leader with fish to fast out of the blocks for me.

The flies that worked well on the day were PTN hot spots, little black mayflies PTN’s  with a hot orange bead , GHRE in Black, old faithful mister mustard caddis, black caddis control flies with hot orange bead and nymph skin caddis patterns with a gold bead on circle hooks.

We got off the water late with the hope that the fish would start rising after the monster mayfly hatch we experienced and wow what a hatch, clouds and clouds of mayflies but with the wind not playing the game it was hard spotting the fish but I think if the conditions stay the same we might have some incredible dry fly fishing in the coming weeks!  

I just want to say thank you to Gusti and Rob for making it an incredible day out and thank you for the good company and great chow like always.

Some photos to follow!