The 20th of March 2014 was a special day for seven members of the Windknot Flyfishing and Conservation club. It was the beginning of the long awaited trip to Vanderkloof Dam. It was the first organized trip to this venue for the club. Agostino, Roberto, Jeremy, Erich and I departed from Klerksdorp at around 5:00 and after 500 km we arrived at the small town of Vanderkloof at around 12:15. We soon found our chalet and after unpacking we had to report to the police. The captain explained that they wanted to know who is on the water in case of an emergency. In the meantime Tom and Andrew also arrived.
We hit the water around 13:30. Erich and I explored the water close to the launch on my Arc Seal, while Jeremy and Rob ventured farther off on Jeremy’s Arc, Agostino was on his jetski and Tom and Andrew were on Tom’s boat. It was not long before Erich caught his first Vanderkloof Smallie and the first fish of the trip. Shortly afterwards I also caught a Smallie. Erich hoped to catch a Largie as it would be his first and it was not long before he hooked his Largie! He was a happy man! The rest of the afternoon we landed a few more Smallies before we called it a day. Considering that it was our first visit to this venue, we did quite well on the first day as everyone caught some fish.
That evening we discussed the possibilities of this magnificent dam that is 100 km long and some 15 km wide with numerous islands and bays where one can spend weeks or even months to cover only a small part of this huge body of water.
The next day was disappointing for most of us as the fish were nowhere to be found. We tried every fly, every good looking spot, various depths and retrieves, but the fish were gone!
On Saturday morning a fairly strong north-westerly wind was blowing and we only had battery powered motors for the two inflatables. We also wanted to explore the shore opposite to the launch area. Fortunately Agostino offered to tow Jeremy on his Arc and Erich and I on my Arc to the opposite shore.
Erich and I found a small bay where I caught a smallish Largie. We then drifted along the shore for about an hour without luck. At about 12:15 Jeremy called for help on the radio. He hooked a big fish and wanted us to assist him as he would not be able to net the fish on his own. My first reaction was that we were to far from him and would not be able to make it against the wind in time to assist him. About 10 minutes later Erich called Jeremy to learn that he was still fighting the fish! We immediately lifted anchor and after about 20 minutes we saw Jeremy in the middle of the lake! It took us another five to ten minutes before Erich mounted Jeremy’s Arc with a landing net in hand. For the rest of this story, you will have to wait for Jeremy’s version! To wet your appetite, have a look at the picture below. That evening everyone was talking about the big fish. Calls were made to spread the news and I am sure by 21:00 on Saturday evening even the State President knew about it!
Although we did not catch many fish, everyone agreed that the trip was worth while and that we need to go there again. The accommodation was good and thanks to Agostino (with some help from Roberto, Jeremy and Erich) the food was excellent! We even had some pasta on Saturday night!!
After some time on the water on Sunday morning we eventually had to go back to reality. For at least some of us Vanderkloof will always be the place to go to if you want to catch big fish.
After about 40 minutes since the fish was hooked on a 9 weight outfit.
At the time of our stay Vanderkloof Dam was overflowing.
– Herman Loubser