On Saturday we were out fly-fishing in the Underberg area. We had a storm in the early afternoon. Nothing special: just some wild wind, and 10mm or so of rain, and later the front moved in with a cool wind, a rumble of thunder and some rolling mist. Back home in Hilton that night I could hear a little rain on the veranda roof. That was it.
On Sunday, we took a drive under grey skies up to the Mooi River.
A selection of mid-summer images from the Trout streams of KwaZulu Natal. I have mixed them up: The Bushmans, The Umgeni, and the Mooi. All beautiful streams. All worth a visit.
The water sometimes runs high, and could be discoloured at times.
The black winged plover, or lapwing.
We don’t see these fellows all that often, and I struggled to get a picture of this pair. We were taking a walk on the hillside on a hot spring afternoon, and waiting for the weather to cool off before trying for some Trout at the evening rise on a nearby stillwater.
The birds kept taking off, circling, and landing between us and the sun, and seldom close enough for me to get a clear picture.
In the height of summer, our stillwater fly-fishing is a fickle affair. Picking your day is difficult, and hap hazard at best.
If like me, you are a working man, you already have the formula wrong. You will not pick your Trout fishing days: Government and organised religion will do it for you. You will have more fishing days available over Christmas, than at any other time of year. And these are the days you will be lumped with:
The water is flowing out of every orifice in the hills. It rushes and gurgles through tall lush grassland. Grassland that waves like a sea in the ever present north wind. A wind that fans giant swathes of obedient seed heads, blown and baked in white hot sun. It is a white hot sun, with a tinge of fierce copper in its light, that has your shirt sticking to your sweaty skin, and your face is glowing red at the end of the day. And that gurgling water that that runs in the grass, seemingly everywhere, enters the dams, where you realise it is peat stained. Brown, but somehow still cool against your waders. Out there on your float tube, the sunscreen is little comfort as your forearms cook in the sun. You splash them with water, apply more sunscreen, roll down your sleeves, and wet them again, unable to escape the veritable oven. Your legs meanwhile dangle in cool, but heavily weeded water. Water that offers up an irritating tendril of weed for your hook on every single cast, until you find yourself retrieving faster and faster to try to keep the fly up out of the stuff.
And while you are out there clouds will form up on the horizon.
The other day, PD came up the river bank to where I was standing and bummed a fly off me. Nothing unusual about that. But then, after I handed him a #18 nymph, I had to watch as he squinted, and cocked his head to one side, and held his hands out far in front of him.
(this was before he got specs, but I think it was a #8 woolly bugger he was struggling with)
I obliged and lent him a spike to clear the hook eye, but the show continued.