Waters & words

Archive for December, 2012

Wading fast water

In KZN we generally don’t do our fly-fishing for Trout in big strong rivers. As a result there is not a lot written about wading and wading safety or difficulty in these parts. But of course at this time of the year, it is not impossible to find yourself on a fast piece of water, that is still clean enough for you to want to fish it.

Generally the Umgeni is unfishable from a water colour perspective, if it is too fast to wade. The Mooi, and the Bushmans on the other hand, can run a pale slate grey colour, with lots of white water, and be fishable. Fishable that is, with a fair amount of lead on the business end, if you are working a nymph.

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And as I have written elsewhere, our KZN rivers are not as easy to wade as those of the North Eastern Cape, where one has the luxury of long gravel beaches and spurs to wade along. The Mooi has many stretches of nasty angled rock, tossed into runs like those “dolosse” on a breakwater. Sharp angled pieces, that scatter the river bed, with deep crevices and holes between them. Then on the upper Bushmans there are stretches where the water’s edge signals a vertical drop into the river channel, and in high water to step off there would see you in 4 ft of fast flowing water.

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Christmas break

Today we closed up the office and all went home for the last time this year. The place was deserted early, the town had taken on a sort of festive quiet, if there is such a thing, and the common frame of mind was one of “It is done”.

Christmas break.

A time of hot bright mornings, violent aggressive afternoon storms, and the countryside a sea of waving green veld.

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A gill bodied nymph

Some time back, I worked on a few methods of achieving a “gill body” for my nymphs. I was convinced that Ostrich herl was the way to go. I think I still am convinced. For the time being at least. It has such fine dense fibres, that seem perfectly sized for nymph gills. This is particularly so for the smaller nymphs, #14 and #16. The problem with this material is that it is so frail, and even a good ribbing fails to protect it, and it ends up tattered. The main problem is that the stem of the herl is frail.

So what we did here was to wind a body of V rib, leaving spaces between the wraps. Then the herl gets wrapped into the spiral between the strands of V rib, where it’s stem sits low and protected, but the lovely fine fibres of the herl protrude.

Then trim the fibres top and bottom

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And here is the body that results:

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How you put the rest of the fly together is up to you, but here is an idea:

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Damsels

A damselfly pattern I use for Trout on still-waters.


My Space

I don’t know if all us fly-fishermen are afflicted with this thing, but I suspect most of us are. Just take a look at our fly vests. A myriad of pockets, zips, buckles and zingers. And if we fish with a backpack, you can be sure it will have hidden pouches, rain cover, waterproof key pocket, secreted expansion zip and the like. Fly boxes: row upon row of little compartments that clip open. And then there is the fly tying desk!

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Merciful professor of mathematics and Trout

Before leaving the hospital, I was careful to check with the surgeon that he did indeed recommend fly-fishing the following day as part of my recovery program. He confirmed that with my feet in the water and some beer going in the other end, my very recently attended to kidney would be happy as can be.

By the following morning the effects of the general anaesthetic had worn off enough that when PD texted to say “are you up to this” I replied in the affirmative without hesitation, and he was forced to overcome his own stress induced lethargy, and come over to help me load the canoe.

We fished one of the lower lakes on the farm. An easy water, where the fish are obliging.

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