Waters & words

Archive for January, 2014

Summer fishin : “hot , wet, & wild”

With the water temperature in the lake varying from 21.3 degrees at 5 metres depth to 23 degrees at the surface, this was always going to be a tough day’s fishing. The sun was out in the morning, and I sat out there on the tube, lathered up with suncream, thankful for the breeze, and not entirely confident.

Underberg lake (2 of 5)



To reconnoitre:To Survey, make a reconnaissance of, explore, scout (out), make a survey of, make an observation of.

Something I like to do from time to time, is to go and find a “new” piece of water, to give it a look over, and to “plan the attack”, so to speak. These expeditions steal precious fishing time, so they are best undertaken on those hot blustery days when, if you were out there with a fly rod, you would be sleeping under a tree anyway.

Stillwaters seldom need this kind of work….they are by their very nature, easy things to look over. You can arrive at a stillwater with your tackle and a packed lunch, and get right to it. Small streams on the other hand, are an entirely different matter. Maybe there is something to be read into that: Streams meander along hidden valleys, sometimes inaccessible by road, or choked in thick bush. You can get a pretty good idea of a stillwater on google earth, but a stream is not so easily summed up. You have have no choice but to walk in and go and see for yourself.




A buzzard

From a way off I thought this was a steppe buzzard


A closer look revealed a rufus coloured underbelly. An immature Jackal Buzzard I thought at first, but of course that bird has a rufus band across the chest.  As an amateur birder I really cant be sure. All I know is that those primary feathers look very familiar. I have two of them stuck in my fishing hat!

Yesterday I saw a book on raptors in the bookshop, and with only  a mental picture, I decided that it probably is a Steppe Buzzard. They are fairly common, but their plumage varies a lot.

Someone please help me to identify this one!


A handsome fellow either way!

Tenacity and persistence

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes have to check myself. I have to take note and avoid falling into the trap, the lazy trap, of going through the motions, and not fishing properly.

Typically at day’s end, or when fishing in less than ideal conditions, ones mind starts to wander.

The most classic symptoms of this are probably:

  • starting to retrieve the fly too fast
  • lifting off to cast earlier than you should: not fishing the cast out
  • Moving to a new spot and failing to fish the water under your feet, but just casting “out there”
  • not bothering to change fly or line, even when you know that conditions dictate that you should, but it is nearly home time, or lunch time, etc.
  • fishing a stream faster and faster, and skipping what you tell yourself are “marginal spots”
  • failing to stalk and fish the tails of the pools, instead going straight to the sweet spot up in the throat of the pool.

There may be some more that are not popping into my mind right now, but I think you get the idea.

It is day’s end, or about to rain, or your fishing pal is up ahead and you feel you ought to catch up with him, so you hurry past some good pocket water, your eyes fixed up ahead to see where he is.


These situations all conspire to rob you of rewarding fly-fishing experiences.