Archive for September, 2010

Fly Fishing and the Pursuit of Enlightenment.

September 27, 2010


A recent conversation with a  client made me consider writing this particular blog, it isn’t a new idea  but it may well offer some explanation as to why fly anglers are the way they are, if nothing else it might provide us all with a good excuse for our apparently peculiar behavior and stave of the straight jacket.

People may think that we are nuts but at least we have purpose.

So why on earth did we focus on fly fishing in the first place? there are after all a good many other ways of catching fish, certainly a few may outlawed, and where I grew up for example the license actually specified  some illegal methods such as “bailing”.

That is the blocking off of a pool with rocks and then bailing out the water with a bucket until such time as all the fish were high and dry and simply netted or picked up. You have to consider that although perhaps not sporting, it must be pretty effective and equally demanding of both time and effort. I was always somewhat moved to admiration for anyone who would go to that much trouble.

Truth be told however you can catch fish with nets, worms, float tackle and even dynamite I suppose depending on your ethical tendencies and consideration of the law, but us fly anglers decide to make it tricky from the start. We may not actually recognize this when we set off on our quest but what has happened, even subconsciously is that we have already decided that “How” we catch fish is more important than simply catching them. It is a complexity that is likely to worsen with time.

It's not what you catch but how you catch it...image courtesy of http://www.sustainablesushi.net

We all go through phases and despite the implication to the contrary, in reality no particular phase is better than the next, it is simply a natural progression over time and most of us have and indeed are still working our way through those phases.

To start with one simply wants to catch a fish on fly gear, this isn’t that remarkable, even when one considers the evidence. When you set off it seems highly improbably that one can hook and land a fish on such dainty gear or with such a tiny hook and for the first year or so each fish is something of a miraculous surprise. As though one still can’t quite believe that it is possible, a sort of “pulling an aquatic rabbit out of a hat”, generally accompanied by a good amount of grinning into a camera.

Those first fish are like magic tricks.

Then once  one gets used to the idea things change a little and we all want to catch lots of fish, (this phase can return at any given moment and there are few anglers who given the chance won’t want to catch masses of fish at least on occasion, although as a concession to more modern ways we generally don’t want to kill and eat them).

Again this will eventually pass and become “too easy”, then we start to target a specific species, generally trout but it could be bass or yellowfish or leerfish or whatever. This will absorb another season or two before we start to fine things down further and want to catch big fish. The big fish urge can turn us backwards, re-evaluating on which species we are going to focus our attentions. It is easier to catch a big largemouth yellowfish than a big trout for example and some anglers will then deviate from their freshwater beginnings to the salt in the expectation that most saltwater fish are larger than freshwater ones. Equally, and I myself certainly did this at one point, we switch to fishing stillwaters, again because the size of the fish on average is greater.

At some point it is likely however that one starts to recognize that catching large fish that were stocked into a small pond a week previously and which will take anything that hits the water on account of imminent starvation really doesn’t cut the mustard and we move on to more “tricky” quarry.

Size becomes more of a relative measure as we realize that an 18” trout grown out naturally on a catch and release stream is in some way a more valuable trophy than the ten pounder from the stocked pond. Or that a bonefish from the flats is rated above a mackerel that has been brought to the boat in a chum line. Perhaps we walk further into the mountains because that in some manner implied greater commitment, or target impossibly tangled streams simply because it is difficult.

These progressions continue for us all, perhaps not in the same order and some of us will branch off into esoteric pursuits only loosely linked to fishing in the first place. On- stream photography, entomology or fly tying that really have little to do with our actual success on the water but provide an interest and entertainment none the less.

I am not sure where the point of actualization comes, if it ever does but most of us end up wanting to catch a particular fish in the way we desire. So we will eschew the easy trout or the chumline, we will avoid the faster runs in pursuit of a fish rising on an impossibly difficult flat. We will decide to fish lighter line, smaller flies or target impossibly large salt water species for little more reason than it is something we haven’t yet achieved. Perhaps even that no one has achieved.

Perhaps there is an end, maybe one day we cast at a ten pound trout, sipping tiny trico spinners. Lay out a degreased 25ft leader with 8X tippet onto the calm waters and after an extended battle land the fish only to let it go again anyway. At this point I suppose one will disappear in flash of white light and ascend to the next level of consciousness, give up fly fishing and start working towards something really tricky like telekinesis, or spoon bending or even immortality.

There is no fish.. image courtesy of "The Matrix".

I suppose we are all trying to improve, maybe reach some understanding and control, but I hope that moment of enlightenment doesn’t come too soon because for now I am still rather enjoying catching fish. To me that seems about enough for the present but I am still a little fussy about how I catch them and I suppose that in the end that is what it was all about in the first place.

Brought to you by Inkwazi Flyfishing in the interests of, if not edification, then at least sanity.

CPS Newsletter Sept 23rd 2010

September 22, 2010

With the Cape Piscatorial Society’s office still not fully functional and Jean away, the regular newsletter is once again posted here for the benefit of the members. I trust that you will find it useful.

Cape Piscatorial Society Newsletter September 23rd 2010

Of course it could simply be that I am getting old, I don’t remember fishing so many times in the early season and being so darn cold all the time. Perhaps my memory is failing, perhaps my blood is thinning or possibly it is simply that for years the rivers have been too high to fish in September so I never noticed?  Hell I don’t know but it has been a “Funny Ol’ start” to the season.

Perhaps it is simply that over the course of the close season our dreams are made up of rising trout, clear water and blazing sunshine because that is how we like to think of our fishing more than the fact that it is the actual reality of things. Apparently memories are selective, which is why we have larger families than perhaps we should for the well being of the planet. According to the experts, if women really remembered what child birth was like and didn’t simply switch on false recollections of sweet little glowing cherubs then we would be into negative population growth in short order.

Either way be it reality or a false recollection of “the way things were”, I have to say that I have personally had something of a disappointing start to the season and haven’t really “Hit it right” as of yet.

I have received some reports of anglers who have had great fishing but I would have to say that on average the reverse has been true and most seem to have enjoyed less sport than they expected.  There are other oddities as well, I like to believe that everything in nature has a logical answer; trouble is that we don’t necessarily understand or see that answer.

Take for example the browns on the Smallblaar/Molenaars beats. Not a week or so ago in pretty grim conditions Mike Spinola took a number of really good quality browns whilst I didn’t manage any and only caught small rainbows. A week later Mike fished the same water and lo and behold he only caught rainbows, that is the same angler on the same beat, odd.

I have for a while wondered if browns don’t respond differently ( compared to the rainbows),  to variations of water height, barometric pressure and the like but I don’t really have an explanation for this state of affairs, although as said I suspect that there is one. It could be an advantage in that when one species isn’t playing ball the other is but it is something of an oddity none the less.

Anyway perhaps the cooler and variable conditions are a blessing, one suspects that we have had a lot less rain than usual and should things heat up too quickly we are likely to be in for a hard time of things come summer, I say come summer as it obviously has yet to arrive based on the time it takes in a hot shower for me to recover after a day on the water.

Fun experimenting at Fizantakraal,

Fishing tiny dries on fine tippet to large cruising fish proved very interesting.

I shan’t bore you with all the details here, you can look them up on a previous post on the Paracaddis Blog (Big Fish on Fine Tippets) if you so wish, but I did have a very interesting trip last weekend.

I suppose that every fishing day is a little different and the purpose of the day can change unexpectedly. Some times I am happy working on getting great presentations, sometimes I want to catch a lot of fish and then there are those outings when I simply want to target one particularly tricky trout, it all depends. One thing that I do enjoy on occasion is to experiment, to see how fish react to different things and for that matter how I react to them. This past weekend I unexpectedly found myself experimenting on how large a fish I could tackle on tiny flies and ultra-fine tippets and the results were quite amazing. I took fish up to nearly three kilos on size 18 dry flies and 7X tippet and broke off or lost an amazingly small percentage of the fish. Don’t kid yourselves, these weren’t simply flaccid, tailless stockies, these fish went wild when hooked and I saw my backing more than once, something of a rarity on my three weight I have to say.  Again I would recommend that you have a look at that post on the blog, but one thing that it did make clear to me, there is absolutely no reason why one should feel under gunned fishing ultra-light tippet on the streams. Further that if these relatively uneducated trout react so positively to tiny dries and so negatively to the nylon then it does behoove us to take a little more care and consideration when targeting the trout in the streams. In fact I would suggest to you that if you don’t already take a spool of 7X with you (and quite possibly 8X for that matter) and that you don’t carry some form of leader de-greaser as well then you are limiting yourself, particularly as the water levels drop and the sun comes out. I do hope that it will come out, one supposes that will be the case at some point.

Weather Information:

It appears that one site that I have been using and recommending for weather info and barometric pressure had some problem with it however it seems to be working fine again now the link for the main site is http://www.southafricanweather.co.za.

Detailed Barometric Pressure Charts are available from this site.

I have however found another one which will give you a long and detailed forecast for the Worcester area, which of course is nearer to the fishing than the Cape Town one. You can reach I on http://www.windfinder.com/forecast/worcester_airport

The detail is quite amazing and I include a screen shot of the forecast for the weekend as an example.
It however doesn’t seem to be deadly accurate as I was on the river on Tuesday and whilst the forecast indicates no rain, it rained for most of the day, at least in the mountains.

Parachute Flies:

I have been having a lot of fun with parachute patterns of late, as per the above and I have developed some great improvements in the way that I tie them which makes them more durable, I think more imitative and a whole lot easier to tie, particularly in small sizes. I shall be giving a demo of these techniques at the Stream X Fly Fishing Heritage Day celebrations at Stream X on Friday if you would like to learn more.

Some but no longer all, of the modifications can be found in a free downloadable E-book at Smashwords if you have yet to look at that.

River conditions: From fishing on Tuesday I can tell you that the water levels are up again, probably a welcome thing in the longer term but there must have been more rain in the mountains than there was in Cape Town one would imagine, so be prepared to take some nymphs with you and a rain jacket. Luckily we did both but the wind was very chilly and the rain on and off for the entire time we were up there.

The weather is still looking a little cool and dodgy over the next few days, but one is going to hit right at some point and as my old saltwater fishing mate Greg Clarke used to say “in fishing there it is no good waiting for the news, you need to get out there and make the news or you are going to miss it”.

So wherever you are heading over the long weekend, as always “Be Careful Out There”. Tim

Newsletter hosting courtesy of Inkwazi Fly Fishing Safaris:

This newsletter is hosted on “The Fishing Gene Blog” courtesy of Inkwazi Fly Fishing Safaris, the Cape’s longest standing full service trout guiding operation.

Big Fish on Fine Tippets.

September 20, 2010

Small flies, fine tippets, big fish and broken reels.

I was recently invited to join a group at Fizantekraal Lodge in the Limietberg. The venue is stunning but the fishing in the ponds isn’t really my cup of tea most of the time and the main attraction was the opportunity to fish parts of the Kraalstroom River, a tightly overgrown crystal clear stream that runs through the property.

On the first day we fished sections of the stream, it was tricky stuff with trees enveloping the river and making casting extremely testing,  forcing us to resort to “bow and arrow” presentations a lot of the time and flipping both dry flies and weighted nymphs into the runs and plunge pools in search of fish. The fishing was thankfully quite reasonable and it was fun to experiment on these relatively naïve and seldom targeted small stream trout.

However having walked up parts of the river to a section that seemed to be devoid of fish for some reason I headed back to the lodge to join the other guests for lunch. The route taking me right past the stocked ponds which hold fish anywhere from 1 kilogram up to 3 plus. They are relatively small impoundments but the fish are only stocked at a rate to replace those taken by visitors and as a consequence things aren’t always quite as easy as one might imagine. The fish have seen it all , or so you may think, and can prove difficult and spooky in the clear water.

As I was walking past one of the ponds I saw a large fish cruising and despite the fact that I was rigged up for the river with a #18 parachute dry fly and 7X tippet I simply couldn’t resist the temptation to have a cast.  The fish lazily deviated slightly from his previous path, hovered under the tiny dry for a few moments and then inhaled it with confidence.  That was where the fun started, to date it was by far the largest fish I had tackled on such fine gear and I had to be exceptionally careful to let the line spin off the reel each time the fish ran, jumped or shook its head. To be honest I had little real expectation of landing it, but after a spirited and lengthy battle he was netted. The fish weighed in at approximately 2.5 Kilograms, a very large fish to be taking on 7X tippet material and a tiny fly.

Fizantakraal Lodge.

After lunch and a little more thought it struck me that the one thing that these fish don’t see from most anglers is a tiny dry fly and they would on occasion rise to naturals as there were good midge and mayfly hatches on these ponds.  So I headed out to see if I might repeat the process with another fish and sure enough the same result, a solid take an exceptionally spirited fight and a fish of just over two kilos in the net. I seemed to really be on to something and proceeded to experiment more and more, the gambit worked like a treat although the fish did prove to be very tippet shy and even that fine nylon needed to be degreased and sunk below the surface to avoid a lot of refusals.

The Author with one of the tiny parachute patterns that proved so effective. Yes that is 7X tippet !!

By the end of the weekend I must have taken well over twenty five fish using these tiny dry flies and fine nylon, fished on a Stealth Deep Red 8’4” 3wt rod. I actually only broke off on three fish the entire time and trust me that wasn’t because they didn’t put up a battle. The largest fish which jumped feet in the air on several occasions was estimated at well over three kilos and I lost him after he took me well into the backing, dislodged the pawl on my CFO reel due to the speed of the runs and finally snagged me in some sunken bushes. One more fish also ran me into the bushes and pulled the hook out. The final breakoff was from a tiddler which had entered the dams from the stream, a fish of no more than eight inches. This fish took the fly just as I was pulling in to re-cast and without the shock absorption of a soft rod to protect it the tippet broke like cotton.

This tiny Olive Parachute proved particularly effective.

The whole exercise proved to be extremely interesting and I think that the key points were these:

Firstly that it is in fact entirely possible to land such large fish on such light gear with more than a modicum of success, to be frank I didn’t think that it could be done with any regularity  until I tried it.

Secondly that even in a stocked pond environment it proved to me that the fish, as with their natural stream cousins,  are more than a little susceptible to a well presented small fly and it proved to be a truly winning tactic despite the fact that it was really discovered by accident.

Thirdly it was obvious that one really needs to develop what cricketers refer to as “Soft Hands”, that is the ability to play a fish carefully, pulling hard when you can but ready at a moment’s notice to let go when the need arises. I think that this is a skill that takes time to develop and I know a lot of anglers don’t like to fish so fine even on the river where the maximum size of the fish is probably twenty inches or so.  Although this was really pushing the envelope I do fish this fine nylon regularly if not indeed most of the time. I suspect that the more one uses such light tackle the more one gets used to it and compensates, which is a great advantage when called upon to fish light  as one still maintains ones confidence.

Finally the role of the rod is critical and again reinforces my view that many rods are far too stiff, perhaps offering some advantage to distance casting but failing to protect light tippets when a fish is hooked. This to me it is essential, that a rod, and particularly a light stream rod, provides functionality for casting, controlling the drift and protecting the tippet when one hooks a fish. It proved quite amazing how much pressure one could put on a fish with such light tippet so long as the tip was there to protect against sudden resistance from the fish.

It has long been my position that sharp small hooks actually hook fish better than larger ones and it was interesting that with the size of these trout  the hook ups were frequently in the bony jaws of these fish and yet the hooks penetrated and held, often being quite resistant to removal. Given the limited pressure one could apply on the strike due to the light tippet this provides more evidence still at how effective sharpening hooks and removing the barbs can be.

I know that I shall have a lot more confidence fishing 7X tippet on the rivers in the future and have another tactic to try on stillwaters when the opportunity presents itself.

Courtesy of Inkawazi Flyfishing Safaris: This post is brought to you by Inkwazi Flyfishing Safaris, Cape Town’s premier full service trout guiding suppliers, in the interests of better fishing.

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Cape Piscatorial Society News

September 16, 2010

Cape Piscatorial Society Newsletter.                Thursday Sept 16th

This time around, as Jean is out of the office the newsletter such as it is, is being posted on this blog and this will continue until the office is up and running at full capacity again.

Of course it also means that we can have some images in the news, something problematic with the e mail versions due to all those darned corporate firewalls. Yes we know that you read this stuff at the office. 🙂

So here is the news, Brought to you courtesy of :

INKWAZI FLY FISHING SAFARIS and the “FISHING GENE” Blog.


LOW PRESSURE BLUES:

I have had a number of people contact me about the variations in the barometric pressure since the previous post on the Fishing Gene Blog

It would appear that despite my desperation and loss of confidence, what a thing confidence is when fishing, a lot of people have endured what appeared to be perfect conditions without seeing much or any activity at all. Nick King wrote to me to say that despite perfect conditions and hatching Holsloot spinners on the river of the same name he saw precisely no activity on the part of the fish. I have been out three times since the start of the season and things have been poor.

The first trip produced one faint hearted refusal from a fish in the shallows. The second with a client was chilly and again without much by way of activity although we did find one feeding fish which was missed three times after the obligatory changes of flies. On Sunday I fished with Mike Spinola again and once more the conditions looked great. There were towering clouds of mating mayfly spinners above the parking spot and the sun shone out of a blue sky. The first pool showed no rising fish, rather unusual for that particular piece of water, and we battled on. The first fish a brown took my fly right up against the bank and promptly turned downstream into a strong current under the overhanging trees and hooked up the leader in the branches. Not an auspicious start to the season.

The going was slow but Mike did far better than I did with a number of really great browns around sixteen inches or so and fat as the proverbial brewer’s apron. Mind you the luck wasn’t totally with Mike either when he lost a good fish which after jumping a few times headed under, what he obviously knew to be a good rock hidey hole and stuck Mike’s leader under the boulders, it was that kind of day.

I only managed a number or small rainbows, at least I finally broke the duck for the season but the fishing was very poor, except for a period around three thirty in the afternoon when all of a sudden we picked up fish back to back in a number of pockets, catching more fish in half an hour than we had all day to that point. A review of the barometric chart once at home showed a falling glass all day with a leveling off for a period around three thirty, a coincidence? I think not.

I do wonder if we never noticed this as much in the past or whether with the rivers being fishable earlier in the year than normal we are still in the midst of some spring like unseasonable pressure changes. It would appear however that right now if you are out on a rising glass you do well and if not then you are in for a hard time of things. If you would like to check out the pressure charts for Cape Town you can visit the link HERE it won’t help a lot but might provide a decent enough explanation or at least excuse.

HOLSLOOT BLUES

Shane Saunders was also in contact to say that he did poorly on account of the pressure drops, and also that beat two of the Holsloot is badly in need of some brush clearing, apparently things have got so bad on this notoriously overgrown section that now less than half of it is actually fishable.

Perhaps time for a working party on that piece but we need to liaise with Cape Nature as to how best and when best to tackle the problem. Cutting back the bush at the wrong time of year or in the incorrect manner makes things worse not better and one can replace a single old branch with a dozen new shoots if one isn’t careful.

HOOK UP BLUES:

Yet another day on the river trying to beat these cold fronts and really not that nice, low cloud, fog, howling gales in all directions and pretty darn chilly but that wasn’t really the problem. The problem was my striking. Odd isn’t it? when it is working we pay it no heed and when not, well it is I suppose like the golfer’s yips, you simply cannot get it right. I suspect that I was snatching at things a bit too eagerly, what with waiting for days to get a half decent chance at a feeding trout, or even finding a feeing trout for that matter.

I think that perhaps the timing of the strike and the tempo of it as well for that matter is one of the most difficult skills to master. Not least because you cannot practice it without willing fish and I have noticed that it is one of the abilities that seem to be lost over the course of the closed season.

Anyway I missed far more takes then I should have done and that was frustrating. All the more so when you know darn well that the fish aren’t going to give you a second chance. A few times I resorted to a nymph and hooked up on the fish that had been missed or perhaps had “come short” previously but as said, somewhat annoying.

When one is fully tuned in, probably from a lot of fishing and therefore practice, one adapts to the fish , a slow rise and a slower strike, a snappy rise and a suitably hastened response, whatever it is I am currently missing it but hopefully in time I shall get back into the groove.

On the plus side the rivers are in fine fettle but then again they probably shouldn’t  be at this point on the calendar and without more rain it is going to be a warm and low water summer season so the best weather you can find at this juncture should be the time to get out there.

YouTubeVideo:

I have also recently uploaded a couple of clips of feeding trout in the Limietberg Reserve, watching fish, even on video does tune the eye and helps develop the skill of fish spotting when out there on the water. If you would like to check out the video you will find it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DxpT7of4MM

A still shot from the video capturing a trout at the very moment of rising to take a fly.

Don’t Forget:

Presentation from Liquid horizons at the club rooms this evening. 16th Sept


A presentation on fishing in Pategonia with Liquid Horizons, complimentary snacks will be provided.

7.00 for 7.30 at the clubrooms in the Mercantile Building in Hout Street

Flyfishing Heritage Day at Stream X.


Stream X are hosting their open day on Heritage Day, that is September 24th in case you have forgotten.

This is usually a fun event and a great place and time to meet up with various anglers, experts and novices alike. Learn some new tricks and enjoy some socializing over a draught beer.

I am planning to be there and for one thing will be demonstrating my improved methods for tying parachute patterns, so I hope that we shall see a good turnout.

Volunteers: Cape Stream fishing data capture.

With all the variations of the fishing of late and the reports I have been receiving from various anglers I an considering undertaking  a study of the fishing through the season and I am looking for anglers who might be willing to participate in the project. What it would require would be some fairly specific data on catching fish on our streams, the requirements would be specific but not overly detailed and the results would be kept anonymous. Obviously I am looking for straight no bullshit, no inflating the figures types of information. If you fish fairly regularly and would be willing to provide some detailed reports on a regular basis please contact me on the e mail rolston@iafrica.com

The information wouldn’t reveal your favourite beats or best fly patterns or anything like that so you need not worry on that front, I am just interested in collating a lot of data and it would be helpful to have more information from more anglers than just that which I can collect on my own.

Finally:

As with previous newsletters which are sent out personally from the secretary: I end with the following thoughts. If you are out fishing, driving, watching rugby or simply surfing the internet. “Be Careful Out There”

Tim

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Handling the pressure.

September 6, 2010

Darn, three months without fishing can be a long time and in these parts we are blessed that our closed season on the trout streams is so short. In other parts of the world it can last a lot longer and limitations of fishing aren’t only dependent upon the legislation but you have to put up with frozen waters, snow and even fish kill so I suppose there isn’t too much to complain about.

However the fact that anglers across the globe have more limited options than we do here in Cape Town doesn’t make those three months pass any faster and by the time the season opened I was more than ready to hit the streams.

There have been distractions, fly tying for myself and others and of course  some time on stillwaters boat fishing which alleviates the pain a little but what I really wanted was some time on a stream.  I do consider myself something of a stream specialist if only because casting a fly over moving water is more entertaining, perhaps one might even argue that it can be entertaining even when unproductive, something that lake fishing rarely manages in my mind.

So it was  the rivers although high were  at least at fishable levels in the first weekend of the new season, a rarity of late it has to be said, Mike and I headed for the water. Fly boxes filled to the brim with crisp new patterns in abundance and buoyed with enthusiasm, not least because we had only recently watched “The Source New Zealand” on DVD. Our trout weren’t going to go to those proportions even on a good day but we did hope for some top water action. There is little that raises the spirits more than watching even a moderate fish rise on the current to intercept a carefully presented dry fly.

As said the water was high but more than fishable and we had carefully selected a beat which had some width to it allowing for the presentation of dries in relatively shallow water despite the fact that the season was only recently opened.

Mike rather likes a spot of nymphing and we experimented with varying methods between us, at first simply reveling in the pleasures of casting over moving water. The wind was bad though and getting worse, a howling NW gale straight into our faces, that direction of the compass a harbinger of cold fronts more often than not and with them the drop in barometric pressure.

Now I have for a very long time held that the fishing goes off when there is a sudden barometric drop and frequently there is little to explain the sudden disappearance of the fish but for the weather charts, even in the middle of summer.  There are plenty out there who still doubt this but I have been snookered more than once for no apparent reason only to find rain within the next 24 hours. It isn’t that the fish are picky, they simply aren’t there and one doesn’t even spook them when wading never mind actually see any rising.

We battled the wind and really to be honest had quite a bit of fun trying against the odds to find a cooperative fish. In fact at one point I did find one and a trout appeared under the dry before refusing it. It seemed a little odd this early in the season for the fish to be as fussy but closer examination revealed a dreadful little tangle of nylon around the fly, the result of bashing it into the force ten gale for most of the morning. Usually I would pick up on something like that in short order but conditions were such that the mishap wasn’t that obvious except of course to the fish which promptly decided all was not well and wouldn’t come back again.

Mike is a good angler and better friend and we work well together on the stream, in fact we both commented that we seemed to be having a great deal of fun despite the appalling results, by which I mean we never saw or rose another fish the entire day. We fished methodically and carefully, played with getting some camera shots of the fly floating down the stream and other diversions but it was apparent that the fish really just were not on and there was nothing to be done about it. Our hopes were raised with the appearance of some blue winged olives along the bank but still not a fish moved and I was ready to take bets on the movement of the barometer, I know these streams and there are fish there and they should have been feeding but they weren’t.

The next day was cloudy and I was expecting rain at any moment but by late afternoon things still remained dry and I was beginning to doubt my predictions, surely Mike and I couldn’t have fished that badly, it had to be the pressure. Late evening and the heavens opened and the rain poured down so I went in search of a record of the atmospheric pressure to see what had been going on.

The graph below, courtesy of www.southafricanweather.co.za clearly illustrates the cause of our poor day.

A plummeting barometer and the fishing goes to hell.

The bottom dropping out of the glass precisely at the point we headed for the stream. Somehow the trout know about the weather even when the anglers don’t and once again this adds fuel to the fire when it comes to argument. To me it is simply proof, the fish don’t feed well on a rapidly dropping barometer, or at least the trout in our streams don’t.  I am too scared to look at the barometer before I go fishing, it could give me too good an excuse for non performance but seeking answers in retrospect seems reasonable.

So whilst I still hold to the maxim that the best day to go fishing is any day you can get away, I am equally convinced that  the day you can get time away from the office and the car from the family, you would still do well to pray that the event coincides with a rising barometer.

We will have to delay catching the first trout of the season, but we did at least learn something and we had a great time casting into that gale. With fish rising and light winds next time (we hope) it is going to seem dreadfully easy. So I am not sure if the season has really started for us, based on going fishing it has, but should one consider the capture of the first trout in September, well then we still have to wait our turn.

Obviously some people had more success than us over the weekend, at least that is what I hear but at the same time the numbers weren’t fantastic. You may be interested to see some great underwater shots on Morne’s blog http://theafricanflyangler.blogspot.com/ check it out.

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You can find out more about fishing the steams of the Western Cape on that address, loads of free downloads, fly patterns and more. If you enjoy this blog don’t forget to leave a message, it’s nice to know we have readers out there who appreciate the effort.

May the road rise to meet you, the wind be always at your back and the barometer rise when you head for the water..

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