Archive for the ‘CPS news’ Category

CPS Newsletter Sept 30 2010

October 1, 2010

Cape Piscatorial Society Newsletter                        September 30th 2010

Despite the fact that the fishing has been a little slow in the early season I suppose it is fair to say that it hasn’t been quite as slow as previous years when we couldn’t even fish. No doubt not only a plus for the anglers but equally for those small towns downstream of the fishing who haven’t seen half of their houses washed away this year.

Fly anglers I am convinced are a rather perverse lot, in the end it isn’t the fish that you catch that make you return to a specific water but rather those that you see but don’t tempt. Much the same with the poor fishing, I have been out on the streams more in the past month than I have for a long while, again that perversity, had it been good I probably wouldn’t have been quite so motivated, the sense that “we have to crack it one day” has kept me going.

A trip to the headwaters:

With that in mind I set off yesterday , of course hence the late posting of this newsletter, for the Upper Witte. This is a stream which I used to fish regularly, in fact in my youth we would head up there two days on the same weekend, making the trip twice in quick succession although rarely to fish the same beat. Back then there were fish in the lower beats, I suspect they are now gone or the numbers further diminished. The place suffers dreadfully from the over abstraction of water from the summer flows, bringing the water levels lower down to a standstill and I am sure that can’t be good for the trout, or for that matter for any indigenous fishes that aren’t yet on the evolutionary brink of growing legs and lungs.

I keep thinking that I should do an exploratory trip up the lower sections whilst the flows are still reasonable to find out for sure if there are any fish left down there. It is a pity, years back on my birthday I caught a 22” brownie below the hiking hut and it breaks my heart to think that, what at this time of year looks like excellent water, has been reduced to such a state by narcissistic self interest.

Irrespective of past agreement it does seem to me to be insane that anyone, person or organization for that matter should be allowed to abstract the entire flow of a river and one hopes that in time sanity and the law will prevail and the water in the Witte will once again flow during the summer months.

Headwater brownie, spectacularly colourful.

Mind you people all tell me that everything has an up side to it and if there is one here it is that there is fishing higher up, not only that but you need to be seriously motivated and relatively fit to access it. Hence there is less pressure on this water than almost any other beat under out control.

My little jaunt on Thursday probably equated to a round trip on foot of some twenty odd kilometers, I think that is enough to stave off the advances of the average couch potato. I did however find fish, a few I spotted and duly spooked and several I picked up prospecting at longish range.
The water up here is ridiculously clear despite its amber hue and the fish are equally not used to seeing anything much by way of movement so are particularly quick to take offense at any intrusion. Paradoxically at the same time I don’t think that they are particularly fussed about fly patterns and the like, they don’t see enough of them to form an opinion.

Presentation Presentation, the fly didn't seem to be too important.

It is a trip that I haven’t made in years, in fact I ventured further up the stream than ever previously and it was both challenging and fun despite the near crippling stomp homewards. These fish are as pretty as they always were; a particularly noticeable feature of the strain is a frequently bright red dotted adipose fin, such that for a second they look almost as though they were tagged. High up the pickings are thin and the water thinner so I doubt that there are many monsters up there, but there could be a few and I think that I shall have to make the trip again in the not too distant future, I just need a bit of time for my calves to recover. Still it was worth it, wonderful scenery, clear water and some genuine wild trout, not a lot of them but some. Working on the same basis that I measure the fuel consumption of my car you could say that working on the distance walked it averaged out at about fourty trout per hundred kilometers an entertaining if entirly useless statistic.

So October is upon us, the first month of the season passed and that means that summer should be around the corner, more stable conditions and removal of the rain jacket from your back pack to make way for the sunblock. The Cape Piscatorial Society’s Bells Fly Fishing Festival takes place in October, I don’t know if it is fully subscribed as I type but if it isn’t then you definitely want to enquire about it if you are a novice angler on our waters.

This festival has a special place in my heart because the one disadvantage of our catch and release regulations is that the fishing is a whole lot tougher than it used to be. I like that, I like the fact that it is more challenging, that there are more and bigger fish and that they demand greater expertise from the anglers. I also like the fact that if one finds and releases a 19” fish you know that it isn’t going to be whipped out next week by someone else and end up under a grill with some toasted almonds.

I even like the fact that because of the catch and release issue most anglers will offer quality advice to newcomers, something a whole lot less likely to happen if they think that their neophyte protégée is going to be having a good ol’ fry up with the product of his learning.  But it does make it hard if you are a beginner and the Bells Festival with its opportunity to fish with some of the best anglers in the province at least allows anglers to learn the ropes a bit faster than simply bashing about on their own without guidance. It is something quite special and if you are looking to improve your angling, or currently struggling on the streams then there cannot be a better investment than to attend this one.

I shall be posting some information and images of my recent Witte River Trip on my next post on this blog so keep you eyes open for that.

For now the sun is shining, the barometer seems to have settled somewhat from its roller coaster ride of the past month and things are looking up. If you are out and about on the streams over the weekend, as always, “Be Careful Out There”.


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

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

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.

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 :



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.


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.


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.


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

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

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.


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”


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Focus on Education

October 21, 2009
This post sponsored by Inkwazi Fly Fishing Safaris

This post sponsored by Inkwazi Fly Fishing Safaris

Focus on learning

This week seems to have something of a “back to school” theme, firstly I was invited to provide some casting tuition to learners from Tafelberg High School in Seapoint. These are a keen group of young anglers who have started a fly fishing club, and they invited me to provide them with some assistance on a glorious day on the beach front in Seapoint. We got a few odd looks from the array of dog walkers, pram pushers and designer jogging crowd but in the limited time available the learners seemed to pick up some of the basics and hopefully will be better prepared for their next outing on real water..

Learners from Tafelberg High School get some casting instruction from SAs "Master Caster" Tim Rolston

Learners from Tafelberg High School get some casting instruction from SAs "Master Caster" Tim Rolston

They also received a copy of “learn to flycast in a weekend” for their school library, and I suspect that after the tuition session that book is likely to be booked off the shelves for the foreseeable future, I only hope that they take out the odd copy of “mastering mathematics” as well, I wouldn’t like to be personally responsible for their academic downfall, or for that matter to simply provide a convenient excuse for it either.

Bell’s Fly Fishing Festival Cape Town.

Then this weekend The Cape Piscatorial Society in conjunction with Bell’s Scotch Whisky are hosting the “Bell’s Fly Fishing festival”. Although these events occur all over South Africa, the Cape Based event is unique in that there is no competitive portion.

Various expert anglers, guides and local sages on things piscatorial give up their time to assist and guide relative newcomers to the sport. With on stream practical tuition, guiding and advice. Whilst there are prizes to be had, they are all selected on a lucky draw basis.

The event is fished on the various trout waters of the Limietberg Reserve, managed by Cape Nature Conservation. The waters all operate on a strict no kill, catch and release only , barbless hooks only regimen of controls and are looked after in conjunction with CNC by the Cape Piscatorial Society.

The rivers have come down in levels after late rains that adversely affected the National Championships which were held on the same waters last week and the fishing and weather is set to be awesome. On the national front, the WP A team took the national title, M.C Coetzer finishing in first place. WP B team got the bronze and Gauteng took second place with their top angler Gary Glen-Young taking silver in the individual competition. WP’s Korrie Broos taking bronze .

International Day of Climate Action.


I figure that if you are interested in fishing you are more than likely interested in our climate as well, so you may like to be reminded that Saturday 24th October is “International Day of Climate Action” the goal being to draw attention to the 350 parts per million Carbon Dioxide levels in our atmosphere as a sustainable target based on the most recent scientific findings. If you are interested to learn more or find an action day event near you, or even to organize your own you can find out all you need to know from

Mud and Aquaculture

October 8, 2009

Mud, Trout, Small Flies and Long Leaders.

This post sponsored by Inkwazi Fly Fishing Safaris

This post sponsored by Inkwazi Fly Fishing Safaris

You may have seen the story in the Cape Piscatorial Society’s Newsletter about the pollution of the Smallblaar (Molenaars) River. You will find below the images of the filthy water pouring into the stream from the Du Toit’s Estate.

However apparently Deon Roussouw of Nature Conservation has been in contact with the transgressors and they have agreed to close the outlet from the dams whilst the work is underway and only reopen them once the water has had time to settle out.  With rain today hopefully most of the filth will be washed out of the system in short order and be back to normal.

Digging out old ponds caused severe discolouration of the waters of the normally pristine Smallblaar Stream.

Digging out old ponds caused severe discolouration of the waters of the normally pristine Smallblaar Stream.

So well done to Deon and to Molopong Aquaculture for taking action to protect the stream.. I understand that the new owners of the estate have requested a meeting with the CPS chairman to obviate similar problems in the future, all of which are good signs of some concern and cooperation..

I am not sure that really makes me feel a whole lot better about having an intensive fish farming operation on the banks of a pristine mountain river but it is a start that they have taken our concerns seriously enough to stop or reduce the damage, and that is all to the good..

DuToits Polution #1

Gone Fishing:

Due to the pollution of the river, as mentioned above, and to avoid a total waste of my afternoon having been booked to fish on the Smallblaar, I rescheduled to fish the Elandspad, Phoned the office, established that there was no-one booked and managed a couple of hours of remarkably good fishing given the late hour, near dark conditions and a nasty, cold and gusty wind..

The tiny tiddlers that seemed to be the only fish we could take a week ago were replaced by some nice fish and a decent hatch of mayflies did no harm, although most of the fish weren’t rising.

The only word of warning is that despite the still moderately high water, the lack of sunshine and the blustery wind the better trout were still quite reluctant to commit to any fly that was too big or which dragged in the slightest. A difficult presentation to make when fishing with a long fine leader in an inconsistent gale. It would however have been impossible with a shorter leader as the complex currents would have dragged the fly in moments.

I didn’t fish well, so the “good fishing” epithet refers to the trout and the stream and not the efficacy of the angler. I missed fish, broke off on fish and messed up more often than I would normally expect. Mind you the weather wasn’t nice and didn’t make things easy.

The top fly? Yet again the Spun Dun, although the smaller poly yarn version worked better it was very tricky to see in the poor light and much of the time I had to use a slightly larger deer hair version, which was more visible but I am convinced that some of the fish failed to commit to it at the last moment and , as the Brit’s would say “Came short”. When possible under the conditions, 7X tippet, an 18’ leader and smaller more sparse fly patterns did the trick, and if the fish are being that discerning already we are going to have our work cut out later in the season. I think that I might start breaking out the #22 hooks shortly.. 🙂

Something new: I ran out of floatant the other day and in a rush didn’t have much choice, the tackle shop where I stopped only had one lonesome container of Loon Payette Floatant, there were no alternatives available so I took it. It is a fairly solid paste with the consistency of “lip gloss”,  in a small plastic “bucket” type of container and you simply rub a smidgen onto your fingers and then on to the flies. Having sullied almost all of my fishing shirts with greasy dribbles from the normal “upside down” semi liquid floatants this stuff looked to have an advantage. It worked really well and proved to be far less messy, plus it doesn’t have the problem of squirting all over the place due to the change in pressure from driving up to the mountians. If it can stand the heat in summer without pouring all over my shirt fronts I might have found something of a winner here.  I think that it is probably supplied by Jandi Trading here in South Africa and you should keep your eye open for it, currently I am quite taken with the stuff.

I will say that it is a long time since I have been on the water in the late afternoon, it is frequently not that productive and usually I am either returning a client to his hotel or simply too tired to carry on into the dusk. I really must try it more often, despite the adverse conditions the fishing was, as said, very good and had I been “on form” I would have had thirty fish in a couple of hours.

New Website Launched.

September 9, 2009

Forgive me father for I have sinned, it has been three weeks since my last post.. Things have been more than a little hectic, not least because I have been studiously banging away on the keyboard to try to put together and updated website at But that has  now been completed, if they every really are and the only thing standing between me and some fishing is dreadful weather.. Oh well that is always the way of things early in the season and we have come to expect as much.

This post sponsored by Inkwazi Fly Fishing Safaris

This post sponsored by Inkwazi Fly Fishing Safaris

WOW..1100 visits this blog has now had over a thousand visits, not a lot in the grand scheme of things perhaps but rewarding none the less and thank you to all of you who have taken a look at the content and provided feedback.

The latest newsletter from the Cape Piscatorial Society follows:

Cape Piscatorial Society Newsletter.                                      Thursday, September 10, 2009

There are times when I completely impress myself with my psychic and spiritual powers, not the least important manifestation of which is the ability to produce rain when called upon to do so. It has become apparent over the years that all I need to do to induce unexpectedly severe precipitation is to book a beat on a trout stream in early September. The moment the booking is confirmed and I have grafted like a dog with other tasks to free up time to allow some piscatorial pleasure the heavens open.

In fact, this time around the process was so completely effective that not only did it rain but the weather deteriorated sufficiently to produce snow on the Stellenbosch Mountains and to ground a bulk tanker off Blouberg beach and if anyone finds out that it was my fault things could get a little tricky. I may find that I am in fact responsible for a localized environmental disaster and all I really wanted to do was to go fishing..

So in short, I have managed to induce foul weather once again, failed to hit the streams in the first two weeks of the season and consequently have very little to report. I did get a report from Greg Madgin, he apparently did manage some stream time on Saturday and despite high water was able to cast a line and catch some fish, although he reported that the Elandspad was particularly slippery underfoot. In fact he alluded to problems with the grip afforded by his Aquastealth soles, a problem that I have never faced but we shall see.

As an aside Greg also mentioned that he curtailed operations early to get home to watch the rugby, but of course slipping into frigid torrents may have proved a little more exciting and less frustrating than actually enduring the total pig’s ear that the Boks made of their first attempt to secure the tri nations crown. With some good fortune perhaps either the streams or the Boks will perform better this weekend..

There is still hope:

I am due to spend some time with the WP B team this coming weekend, in preparation for their assault on the National Fly Fishing Championships to be held on our local waters in October. So may have something to report next week. In fact, given that I didn’t actually make any bookings I may just circumvent the weather Gods and trick them into allowing some sunshine. Let’s hope so.

Forthcoming events: Fly Fishing Heritage Day

Don’t forget that we have a new national holiday a week next Thursday with Fly Fishing Heritage Day being celebrated at Stream X in Milnerton on September 24th. Craig Thom will be hosting an open day with various attractions, including but not confined to Fly tying and fly casting demonstrations and / or instruction as well as copious amount of beer and apparently a “fly casting challenge”. I suspect it would be best if you partake of the challenge before the beer but then on the other hand both my darts and pool playing is generally improved by intake of some “Dutch Courage” so who knows? .

An interesting aside:

I was recently reading a book on bites and stings, (Bitten by Pamela Nagami.M.D.) an odd subject you may well think but interesting none the less. One of the chapters dealt with the infestation of fire ants that has gradually moved across the continental United States. These nasty and highly toxic little critters have apparently even been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of trout who have fed on mating swarms of flying fire ants and succumbed to the toxins contained therein. So not only, as we all know, do trout just love ants but it would seem that they are even willing to die for them.. the efficacy of including a few ant patterns in one’s fly box can’t be sneezed at.

And Finally:

I have recently launched a completely updated “Inkwazi Fly Fishing” website, with free downloads, some fly pattern information, links and lots of other , what I hope will prove to be, useful stuff. You can check it out at

First Find the Fish.

August 11, 2009

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”..

Cape Piscatorial Newsletter July 16th

July 15, 2009

Cape Piscatorial Society Newsletter

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Had enough rain yet?

I suppose I could fish out of my window, there is enough water in the garden to easily cover a ten pound something but it doesn’t really appeal and to be frank it is too darned cold to be considering such activities. I also happen to have been particularly busy so that hasn’t helped.

On a positive note the dams around Cape Town are apparently at all time highs and that includes the new public water works facilities in main road Somerset West and Camps Bay, although rumours that we will be moving the Bell’s Festival indoors to Blues Restaurant are premature. There is a fair likelihood that the water will have subsided come September. It has however been pretty miserable out and about, if you have kids on school hols it more than likely has been pretty miserable in as well but that is another story entirely.


The only real options are some stillwater angling and I would suspect that Lakensvlei would be performing particularly well at the present time, the fish seem to revel in the colder conditions and of course you can always take a break and build a snowman next to the hut if things are a bit slow.

Just remember to dress warm and I wouldn’t even consider float tubing in a wet suit unless hypothermia is some sort of twisted sadomasochistic goal of yours.. it is going to be chilly out there with a capital “C” I would be sorely tempted to skip the beers and take soup.

There is of course fishing to be had closer at hand, with Jonkershoek hosting the Bell’s Festival on the 25th of this month and Eikendal will be open and should be offering good fishing. On all the stillwaters there is a considerable likelihood that the fish will be getting into spawning mode and acting a little strangely so orange patterns and annoying attractors are valid choices if the imitative approach doesn’t work.


Saltwater action is obviously not at its best at the present time but there have been quite a lot of snoek about so those with a boat and a hankering to get down and dirty with some big toothed denizens of the deep could well consider that an option. I haven’t been snoek angling in a long time but it can prove to be great fun and if conditions are pleasant makes for a super outing. All you need are some very large flashy flies and a fast sinking (DI7) line and you are in business. Just a case of making sure that the flies get down deep enough and that usually means that you need what ever little breeze that there may be going in the same direction as the current. Opposing forces will tend to keep the line too shallow. Plus remember that for whatever reason the fish seem not to be keen to take a fly if there is a lot of bait in the water so you need to either wait until the commercials move off the shoal or find your own fish for success. We have always used very flashy 4/0 Clouser style flies, if only because they don’t foul as easily when casting and they are something of a handful to throw without any more drama. Large dumbbell eyes keep them sinking which prevents fouling with the fast sinking lines, and remember some bite trace of wire or heavy mono you will get a lot of bite offs if you don’t.

The River season:

Now is certainly the time to start preparations, I am busy tidying up my fly tying room and there is a possibility that I shall actually be able to see the floor by September, it needs a real sort out and I have to get on with building up a stock of patterns. I have however at least put a rod rack into the cupboard so that I don’t get brained by stray rod tubes every time I open the door.

I start every winter with good intentions and this time I may actually get around to it. The promised postings of fly patterns and instructions haven’t been forgotten, although they have been a tad delayed but I will keep you up to date on that score. With the National Championships to be fished on our home waters again in October I think that the Bell’s Festival will be held in September so keep your eyes open for notification of the exact dates coming soon.

For all of the bad weather, the necessity of the electric blanket and the lighting of the gas heater every day the positive side to things is that there should be a good flow of water in the streams throughout the season , it is just now a case of waiting out the remainder of the winter months, tying some flies and being as best prepared as possible come September. It seems a long way off but it isn’t really, let’s just hope that the streams will be fishable early and we won’t have a late deluge as last season keeping us from fishing for an additional month. Withdrawal symptoms are setting in already and further delays could be hazardous to one’s health.

If you are heading out to the dams or off into the briny in search of snoek, as always “Be Careful Out There”.


CPS Newsletter June 2nd

July 2, 2009

Cape Piscatorial Society Newsletter.                                                                                   Thursday, July 02, 2009

Here we are a third of the closed season over with and for once the berg winds are blowing and winter seems to have taken a slight step back. If you are a meteorologist or simply a pessimistic old fart you will know that this in more than likely a harbinger of climactic holocaust to come but for now I suppose one should try to enjoy it.

There is due to be some rain today but the first part of the weekend is predicted to be warm and sunny again so a pleasant time to be out and about on a dam somewhere casting a line. Eikendal, Jonkershoek and La Ferme all offer fishing relatively close to home and will provide the chance to still get away in time to watch the rugby in the afternoon.

My only trouble is that I have been so busy with tiling peoples bathrooms and laying laminate flooring that I really haven’t even considered fishing for the past week and have no plans that things are likely to change on that front in the near future.

I did venture out ,at the kind invitation of Mercedes Labuschagne, to fish at La Ferme last Sunday, the weather was great, even perhaps a little too pleasant for quality fishing but it was glorious out there in Franschoek and well worth the trip if only for the drive through some spectacularly scenic countryside. There was a pretty good turnout of anglers for their competition and although the fishing was a little slow, fish were caught, prizes awarded and I think that pretty much most of the people enjoyed there time. One of the wonderful things about such venues is that they offer a great opportunity for children to start enjoying fly fishing in relative ease and safety at the same time. Lets face it, our streams these days are not the ideal place for a young neophyte to cut their angling teeth and the smaller venues with plenty of casting space offer a wonderful introduction to fly fishing.

There were a number of youngsters fishing and I was most encouraged to see them there, in the days of PlayStation and other electronic and indoor distractions it seems that far too many children don’t get out and about anywhere near as much as they should and when you live in a place as attractive as the Cape one can’t help but think that is a pity. Not to mention darned unhealthy to boot.

La Ferme Franschoek.

So a very big thank you to Mercedes for the invite and if you have never been to La Ferme you should plan a visit some time. What with lovely surroundings, cottages to rent and ostriches and buck wandering about the place it would make for a super weekend getaway with the kids, get in some fishing and still not requiring you to drive too far. There is a further report back and some images of the competition venue to bee seen on my Fishing Gene Blog at if you would like to see that. Don’t forget to link to the RSS feed on the blog so that you can be notified of updates other than the CPS news. There will be more coming along on there in the near future, including fly tying information and of course as soon as the streams open one would hope that regular updates of the state of play on our waters will feature as well.

Future events:

Don’t forget the Jonkershoek Juniors Develo Junior Fly fishing festival is to be held at Jonkershoek on the 11th, more information can be obtained from plus for the more chronologically advanced there is the Bells Fly Fishing festival on the 25th of July , that is if the juniors leave any fish in there for you. Information available from the above web site.

Fly Tying at Eikendal.

The fly-talk crew will be hosting fly tying again this evening, a regular event on the first Thursday of the month for those interested. Start time for the session is 18.30 and they repeat the demo on the following Saturday, you can reach the fly talk guys on


From all accounts the fishing at Lakensvlei has slowed down a bit of late, I suspect that the fish are getting a little distracted by the breeding season and with hormones raging they are playing silly blighters and proving a little more difficult to tempt to the fly. Still that said the fishing was tremendous before and it isn’t half bad now either but on my last visit it required some work to find fish and rewards come to those who persevere, try different lines, methods and flies and cover some water to try to find the fish.

Piscator Website:

Craig Thom has been doing quite a bit of work on the CPS website at and things there are being revamped gradually. One of the innovations is to have revolving advertising so that all advertisers get a fair crack of the whip, you may have noticed the changes. For those with services, venues , tackle or whatever for sale to the fly fishing community the advertising offers some cost effective exposure to a selected target market and you can get your banner put onto the site for only R750 per annum, peanuts on the advertising front these days. If you are interested please contact me on or Craig at . Should you require any assistance in designing your banner I can do that for you for a small fee so even if you are not a graphically orientated person there is no reason to miss out on the opportunity. Links to your own websites etc come as part of the package so let us know.


This reminds me that I am not sure if Craig has yet put downloadable subscription forms on the site yet? I will check up as subs are now due and we will make sure that you can get the required information from the site by next week.

Finally sorry that there has been a glitch in transposing the internet links on this newsletter to the e mail verso sent out to members, I am hoping that we will have solved that problem but if not know that we are working on making it all easier for you.

For now if you can get out fishing make the most of the weather, if not tie a few flies, the stream season is approaching faster that you think and as always it pays to avoid that made dash to the vice in August when you suddenly realize that you boxes are severely depleted. Right the sun is up and after a very early start to the day to keep you all informed I have to get on my bike and do some more work, no rest for the wicked. If you are venturing onto the water somewhere, as always  “Be Careful Out there”.


June 25, 2009

Cape Piscatorial Society Newsletter. Thursday June 25th, 2009

Well not a whole lot going on in my little fishing world right now, the poor weather and the desperate need to actually do some work has sort of interfered with things a little. I did have another attempt at the carp over the weekend in the good company of Tom Southwood. Tom really just wanted to get the hang of some shortline nymphing technique before he heads up to the Orange River and he did at least hook a carp. Close enough for him to get something of a surprise as to the size of the brute but the line snapped or something and it was lost before hitting the net. Mind you it stayed on just long enough to make the look on his face a real picture.

Commonwealth Championships.

For those who haven’t kept up to date with these things it was refreshing to note that the South African Team at the Commonwealth Championships fared far better than the World Championship team and came in a credible fifth place. I have been criticized in the past for suggesting that the Commonwealths are more difficult than the Worlds and although the level of competition may be a tad lower there are other factors to consider. Not the least that in the Commonwealths, especially when held somewhere in Great Britain you are competing against almost entirely “local” teams. England fielded one team, Scotland both a men’s and ladies team, Wales two teams, Isle of Man two teams. That’s already seven teams who have intimate knowledge of the style of fishing and quite often the venues. So it is tough for the “outsiders”. The Aussies also put up two teams as did Canada , so there were only four teams to beat who one could consider didn’t have some sort of “home advantage”, and even the outsiders had the benefit of being able to share information with ten anglers per country fishing. I think that it was a great effort and well done to the South Africans a really good effort. There is some more information about the results on my blog at and full results and information about the tournament can be found at

Although my life is spectacularly boring from the fishing perspective there are a number of events and happenings of note in the near future which may well be of interest to you all.

Fly Fishing competition in Franschoek.

La Ferme are hosting one of their fishing competitions out in Franschoek on Sunday the 28th, and there is a strong rumour that I will be giving a casting demo at some point during the day. Mind you my mother always told me that pride comes before a fall, which in this instance more than likely means I shall end up with a fly in my ear and egg on my face. Wonderful language English that you could do both of those at the same time.. I understand that English is the only place in the universe where you can tread on thin ice and end up in hot water.. now there is something to think about. Details from

Juniors Fly Fishing Festival at Jonkershoek.

Then Jonkershoek are hosting in conjunction with Develo Flies a Junior fly fishing festival out at their venue in Stellenbosch on the 11th of July. You can pick up more information about the event from the following links. but just in case you think that it is only of interest to juniors there will be a raffle for a grand prize of ten grand’s worth of Sage fly fishing gear so might be worth taking your son along, entering the draw and having some coffee whilst you wait to see if you are a winner. Proceeds will go to the Pebbles project to assist children with special needs.

New Stocking at Fly Talk / Eikendal.

Phillip tells me that they have restocked and have put some fish in the bottom dam now as well, so your chances of success are accordingly increased.

Events Calendar at StreamX..
You can also access an up to date list of forthcoming local events at the following website.

FOSAF joint meeting with Yellowfish Working Group, the committee supplied me with the following information for publication to draw your attention to the following.

The Western Cape FOSAF chapter is enjoying a fresh start. We currently see yellowfish and other indigenous species as priority species in the Western Cape and would like to expand yellowfish waters for recreational as well as preservation purposes in the province. Hence, FOSAF WC would like to engage
with the WCYWG in an official meeting on Tuesday evening, 30 June 2009, at 19:00 h at the Bells Jonkershoek Flyfishing Academy. All interested parties are welcome to attend, the main objective of this event would be to select committee members for both parties and hopefully engage for future
prospects. From a WCYWG perspective, the main topics of discussion will include the draft scope of the WCYWG as set by Jan Rossouw, and stocking and regulation of yellowfish waters in the Western Cape. This will hopefully create a foundation for a positive future for our indigenous species

So there it is, all news and no news really, a lot going to be happening in the near future but not a lot to tell you about right now.

Keeping track. (Use RSS feeds to keep track of updates to this blog.)

In  case you don’t know, and to be honest I didn’t until a few weeks ago, you can be notified of updates on this blog by clicking the RSS feed notification at the bottom of the page. You can then elect to have notifications sent to your e mail (Microsoft Outlook for example) and not have to check in to see if there is anything new as you will be notified of any updates when you log into your e mail.

So as I sit the rain is hammering down outside, the rivers will be in full flood and for once I need not worry about it as the season is closed. In fact it has been almost a month and although the withdrawal is severe we are almost a third of the way through the doldrums and before too long I am going to have to start sorting out those fly boxes, organizing some new wading boots and generally getting myself in gear for spring. Well it is still a long way off but no harm in dreaming about it.

If you are venturing out over the weekend, as always “Be Careful Out There”..