First Find the Fish.

Cape Piscatorial Society Newsletter

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Lakensvlei Dam

Lakensvlei Dam

Would you believe that despite the onslaught of cold fronts I have actually managed some fishing this past week. Thanks both to Paddy Coleman a client and friend who wanted to fish Lakensvlei, and to Ian Lourens who kindly allowed me to once again use his boat.

We headed out of Cape Town late on Monday evening and had a very pleasant stay overnight at the Ceres Inn before heading out just after breakfast to hit the water. We had considered the option of foregoing the pleasures of a cooked breakfast and hitting the water at first light, but really come the frigid dawn the idea lost it’s appeal and we only pushed the boat out at around nine.

There was a slight breeze blowing down the dam and slightly towards Bob’s house which seemed pretty pleasant for drift boating.

You may recall that my last trip up there suggested that the fish were feeding in deeper water on daphnia and perhaps the odd crab and given that for Paddy it was his first attempt at drift boating I thought we would aim for a long drift down the middle so as to “settle into” the process if you will.

Now the international teams, who have a great deal more expertise at drift boat fishing than any of us South Africans will tell you first find the fish, then worry about the depth and finally the fly. This piece of advice has always stuck with me and I take it to mean that in a boat the first thing that you want to do is cover water.

There was a time when I would never have fished out in the middle but it has worked for me before, and with word from the locals that they had also been taking fish in deeper water, and given that there can’t be much to eat out there in the middle other than daphnia I put on a select of flies including a hot orange Booby on the top dropper. Orange is a traditional attractor colour for daphnia feeders, but this first drift was really supposed to be a matter of getting into the swing of things.

We hadn’t drifted thirty yards when I hit the first fish, a superb silvery rainbow and within two casts I hooked up his brother. Then another two casts and I was into fish again, it seemed like we had really cracked the code but the last fish had badly tangled the leader in the net and by the time I had it sorted we had drifted out of the action.

Aiming to repeat the drift we rowed back and started again but the notoriously fickle wind at the dam had us blowing much faster and in a different direction this time and we missed the fish. No matter what we did we couldn’t repeat the drift over what I was sure was a serious concentration of fish and we remained fishless for several hours despite working hard at finding them again.

We picked up a gorgeous brownie up in the inlet arm but that seemed to be a once off event and we found no more fish. Eventually the wind abated and swung back again and we could drift more in the region where we had contacted fish in the morning. Paddy had a similar experience to mine on one drift and after hours of trying he took two fish in two casts. I picked up one more and that was about it for the day. Eight fish in total, all taken on sinking lines and every single one of them took the orange booby.

So it turned out that we had found the depth and the fly , we had even found the fish, it was just tricky to stay on them with the variable winds.

All in all an interesting  day , although we worked really hard at it, success coming in fits and starts depending almost entirely it would seem on whether we could get the boat over that pod of fish. We didn’t kill any, so I can’t confirm that they were on daphnia. Perhaps it is better that I don’t know, nicer to imagine that one is right than to risk finding out the opposite.

Wherever you are fishing next, I hope that you will “find the fish”..

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