- including Clem Booth reporting on fishing at Estancia Laguna Verde on Lake Strobel in Patagonia, a fly vest for sale, Ed Herbst writes of the Pink Lady and Koos Eckard's rod making skills, some interesting patterns tied using klipspringer hair, bidding still open on Clem Booth's generous offer of a Sage 0-weight rod, Sage reel and fly line extended,a high-end second hand fly rod 3 ,4 or 5 wt fast action fly rod wanted by a subscriber, KZN fishing report from Jan Korrubel, plus a quiz and some wonderful images of the month...
Clem Booth reports from 'Paradise'
Back from another wonderful trip to Estancia Laguna Verde at Lake Strobel In Patagonia. The weather wasn't always great with some strong winds to contend with, but we also enjoyed some good days and, in any case, there is always a way of getting the fly into the water! On the calmer days, I fished a bamboo rod which was purpose made by Chris Carlin in Alaska and it worked a treat. Coupled with a reel by Joe Saracione, it was more than possible to deal with some pretty huge fish. The rainbows in the lake – 'chromers' as the guides call them - are the finest specimens one could ever imagine; silver and with a girth which confirms the adequacy of the food source!! Smaller flies did well this year and I had good results on smallish Teeny nymphs which I tied up on very strong, heavy gauge hooks!!
Purpose made Chris Carlin bamboo rod, the Joe Saracione reel and one of the 'chromers'
Click in images to enlarge them
Lake Strobel is a unique place in a part of the world which seems so very different to everywhere else on the planet. The fishing is challenging (we don't target the spawners which crowd into the river) but rather concentrate on the huge, steelhead-like rainbows which inhabit the lake. the combination of crystal clear water and sight fishing to these wonderful creatures is pretty special.
Huge, steelhead-like rainbows inhabit the lake
We also visited the might glacier at Perito Moreno near El Calafate. Breathtaking and hard to imagine the vast pieces of ice which topple off the front take 1000 years to get there!
The mighty glacier at Perito Moreno near El Calafate
Lunch at Strobel is a great affair! We all get together with the guides to chat about the mornings exploits whilst enjoying the wonderful fair offered by Estancia Laguna Verde.
Fly vest for sale
Donald Ferguson says:
I've bought the attached Nutria jacket which I'd like to sell on. There's no manufacturer's label, it's only marked as XL.
Fly tiers Barry Ord Clarke and Christian Schmidt sent these pictures
Barry lives in Skien in Norway and Christian in Augsburg, Germany, and each had recently, and separately, asked if I could provide them with a piece of klipspringer skin. I sent them each a modest selection of pieces. Soon enough these picture arrived, and thereafter a box of beautiful patterns Barry had tied using klipspringer hair, including a Goddard Caddis and a Kaufmann Stimulator!
Barry Ord Clarke's Tom Thumb dry fly tied with klipspringer hair
Christian Schmidt's experimental klipspringer hair emerger
Blake Dormer writes:
I'm looking for a second hand, high-end fly rod. I just can't afford a new one. I'm keen on a 3 ,4 or 5 wt fast action (looking for casting performance). Might be keen on a reel for it as well just depends on how much I'm in for.
Quiz of the month
Barry Nehring asks, 'What trout is this?'
Although Barry retired from the Colorado Division of Wildlife in 2011, he still continues to work as a part time employee, collaborating with his former colleagues in cold water fisheries research, and focusing primarily on the parasite that causes whirling disease in many species of trout and salmon.
This piece was sent to me via my friend Roger Baert who is a longstanding friend of Barry Nehring. Roger, still a keen fly fisher, is retired and lives in the south of France. Many South African's will remember him as the founder of this country's first specialist fly tackle store, The Flyfisherman.
Images of the month
From Valentine Atkinson – New Zealand 2016
From Peter Brigg of a Drakensberg stream
Quote of the month
Looking at Pete Brigg's lovely photograph I was reminded of Wolf Avni's words when he describes a very similar Drakensberg scene in his book Bitch-Creek Nymphing & the Millennium Bug...
'Here, high in the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg World Heritage Park, the streams scythe down wild, untrammelled, narrow courses, dropping a thousand metres and more from the high escarpment till, reaching the Park's borders they enter a gentler domain of settlement where the valleys broaden. ...'
'I live in this place with one foot in either world. It has become a part of me and I a part of it. Its images and its mythologies are the pith of a reality that carves across the last boundary between the modern and the primal. It is seen clearest with the eyes closed. Its most enduring moments are often gone in a flash of fins as a fish melts into a pebbled streambed...'
Not a bad spot to live and work! The lake at Giant's Cup. Photograph by Wolf Avni.
The Pink Lady and Koos Eckard
Ed Herbst writes:
The Pink Lady is a classic Catskill wet fly but, for me, it could equally describe the only South African woman writing regularly about fly fishing at the moment. Pamela Simpson writes a regular column for 'Flyfishing' which combines charm and panache.
104 people attended the Cape Piscatorial Society’s end of year braai at the Oceana Power Boat Club near the V&A Waterfront last year which was where I met Pamela and her husband Bruce and I asked them to fish what is now known as the Bushwhack Beat, some newly acquired water which is, effectively, the headwater of the Smalblaar.
Pamela Simpson fishing the Bushwhack Beat
Pretoria-based rod builder, Koos Eckard, has created a rod which beautifully sums her up and, as always, it blends functionality, craftsmanship and artistic individuality. It is bright in colour but low on reflective flash.
Koos Eckhard in his workshop
I previously commissioned two rods from Koos as presents for friends, one for Sharland Urquhart and another for Andrew Ingram, and each one has met the brief perfectly.
Koos Eckard, a sign writer by trade, creates designer rods for clients that are of such rare quality they redefine the phrase ‘state of the art’.
Pink Flamingo for the Pink Lady – Koos Eckard’s ‘Palm Grip” Sage 2-weight for Pamela Simpson
Clem Booth's exciting rod offer EXTENDED
This immaculate Sage 0 weight rod, the iconic SPL model, together with a matching Sage reel and Sage 0 weight line is still up for grabs to the highest bidder subject to the reserve price being met. All are in mint condition. The proceeds will all go to the Children's Hospital Trust (CHT), the fundraising arm of the Red Cross War Memorial Hospital. It is a beautiful piece of kit and I wouldn't give it up easily, but for the CHT it would be an admirable reason. I will cover delivery of the outfit to the successful bidder
(New this outfit would now cost in the order of R15 000! Bidding will be open until midnight on the of 20th of March and I will announce the successful bidder in my next newsletter. There is a reserve price. TS.)
KZN fishing report from Jan Korrubel
I am happy to report that a lot of water has passed by under the bridge since my last report some time last year! I can say that literally - the Moller’s, farming at Riverside up in the Kamberg, report receiving some 400mm of rain since the start of the year. Here in Nottingham Road, my gauge tells me we have had half that. I am pleased, however, that the rains have fallen up in the catchment areas where they are most needed.
As a result, the Mooi and Bushman's rivers are flowing again - see below the "before" and "after" images of the Mooi River at the Reekie Lyn waterfall taken in November last year at the NFFC/Vagabond River Clinic and the upper Bushman's River also taken two weeks ago.
The Mooi at Reekie Lyn before (above) and after (below)
The upper Bushman's River two weeks ago
However, the "Green Drought' still continues across the Midlands meaning that while the countryside is looking lovely, and the stillwaters are showing signs of improvement, it might still be a while before water levels are fully back on track. I suspect that this is because the water table took a major hit during the worst of the drought at the end of last year, and the rains are simply being sucked right back into the thirsty earth, leaving minimal runoff to service the dams. Simply put, we still need more rain to ensure that the coffers are full for the upcoming rainless winter.
While I have made three trips to the rivers in recent weeks, the fish have been scarce, with only one fish brought to hand on each of the trips.
Mooi River brownie.
With the rains, the Mooi River has picked up some colour, while the Bushman's is running clear and near perfect. I suspect that the fish have either taken a (severe) knock with the drought. You can see in the picture below, the waist-high plants in the river bed, which clearly demonstrates the lack of water.
Waist high plants in the Bushman's River
Or they have moved lower down to the holding pools and are still process of moving up...I hope the latter, fingers crossed. Water temperatures were 18 and 19 deg.C on the Mooi and Bushman's respectively.
Had a friend come and visit in the week, and we did some stillwater fishing. Water was coloured and warm (can't be certain as I lost my thermometer off my float tube, but definitely 20+ deg.C), but we managed to winkle out some fish on a dark olive streamers patterns (Zonker Strip Leech and Marabou Bugger).
Stillwater rainbow from the Midlands of KZN
Answer to the quiz
The fish is a tiger trout, a sterile hybrid cross between a female brown trout and a male brook trout. But it is a TROUT. The person in the picture is fisheries research scientist Barry Nehring (circa 2010).