Posts Tagged ‘Barometric pressure’

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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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 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 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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