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