Sunday, 28 April 2013 07:51


Here is an update from Pierre Swartz on what has been happening in Graaff-Reinet.

(Click in the images to enlarge them)


Pierre Swartz tubing Nqweba dam

The Nqweba dam has been fishing extremely well since the start of the season in October 2012 which is now coming to an end with the onset of winter.  This was the first season that I started guiding clients to share this great fishery with other like minded anglers looking for something different. 

I include some photos of some clients who had a great time on the water with me since October 2012. 


Tim Van Heerden with a carp of over 4 kgs

The fishing has been absolutely spectacular and between 12 anglers we landed over a 1000 carp on fly with fish ranging in size from 1kg to 5kgs. Those large mullet were around but the dirty water and weed made it very difficult to target them successfully.  The Nqweba dam is mainly a warm-water fishery and the best times to fish here is between October and March. 


Anglers in the mist


Murray Brown


Martin Rudman


Stuart Bickell

Other news is that a small group of anglers from Graaff-Reinet and Murraysburg came together in GRT on the 14th April 2013 to form the Sneeuberg Aquatic Conservancy based in Murraysburg and our aim is to promote fly-fishing in the Camdeboo area, to stock previously productive waters with trout, yellowfish and other desired species and to conserve and protect the waters in and around the area.  The aim is to promote fly-fishing and fly-tying in all its facets in fresh as well as saltwater angling.


Pierre with a lovely catch from Nqweba dam


And with a great carp


Alan Withers

For more info regarding the fishing in Graaff-Reinet and surrounds please contact me on phone: 078 794 3821 or email me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." style="line-height: 1.3em;">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


From Clem Booth in the UK

I had an interesting couple of hours on the Tillingbourne, a little stream fished by Skues in his day. Finally we had some warmer weather; blue skies, still not the normal temperature, but we're grateful for small mercies.


The fish were tight on the bottom, but a couple deigned to take a nymph.


Look at the magnificent Perch taken by my fishing partner Sigi! A solid 3 pounds! It was a beautiful specimen indeed.



More from Clem Booth

I think we fly fishers are constantly striving to solve weighty challenges that escape the rest of the human race.
Mine was to find a good way to carry a net without wearing a vest....for example when travelling I take a lanyard along...much easier to pack, lighter and frankly a good way to reduce clutter.


Then along came this little gadget from New Zealand ...works like a charm and it's now possible to carry tackle, net and camera without being offered a Sherpa contract by the first would-be Everest climber who spots me!

A brilliant invention for people who walk a long way!

See Smith Creek net holster http://smithcreek.co/net-holster.php


Ian Cox spins a wonderful word picture around a tiny meadow stream (http://www.tomsutcliffe.co.za/fly-fishing/friend-s-articles/item/530-april-fool-a-story-by-ian-cox.html ) and George Brits introduces a fabulous stillwater not far from Burgersdorp in the Eastern Cape Highlands (http://www.tomsutcliffe.co.za/fly-fishing/friend-s-articles/item/527-leliekloof-an-exciting-stillwater.html ). Then I post a new stillwater pattern that really turned my head! http://www.tomsutcliffe.co.za/component/search/?searchword=hotspot%20damsel&searchphrase=all&Itemid=116 

Then I have done an article some of you may find interesting. it’s about how to dye feathers and furs using Veniards dyes http://www.tomsutcliffe.co.za/fly-fishing/fly-tying/item/589-how-to-dye-feathers-and-furs-using-veniards-dyes.html


From Tom Lewin at Frontier Fly Fishing


If you’ve ever experienced blunt nippers on stream, you’ll know the frustration of not being able to cut your 7X tippet can ruin your day. Cheap nippers don’t hold their edge at all well and most fly-fishers end up having to replace their snips regularly. Abel, manufacturers of the finest quality fly-reels in the world, have realised this and so designed and launched their Abel Nipper. Machined from T6061 bar stock aluminium, the nippers feature replaceable stainless steel jaws which are saltwater resistant and are able to cut anything from 7X to 100 pound leader as well as braid. The Abel nippers carry a two year guarantee on the jaws.


From Andrew McKenzie from NSW Australia

Take a look at the attached photo.  It was taken on a river West of Christchurch.  We are perched on a rock some 15 feet above the river.  This is not a hatchery – I just have to say that!  The “small” fish you can see in the top middle of the photo would be around 5lb – what must that large fish diagonally down to its left be? 


And, no I didn’t hook him.  He came over once and had a good look at my flies, but when the indicator went down I struck into nothing.  I hooked six fish in this aggregation, landing four of them.  The best was just under 8lb.  It was better than TV sitting there watching these guys swim around.  Every time I return from New Zealand I can’t wait to get back there again!


See if you can spot this trout holding in a run on a Cape stream. It shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. It’s a nice 14 inch fish and pretty easy to spot.

IMG 8143900A

If you spotted the fish, well done. But how many saw the second trout, also quite large, in an unusual holding position just behind it?!


IMG 8143900



Dave has let me know that Fly fishing Dreams, his 2014 calendar, will be available in June.


See http://davidlambroughton.com/#/813801/Fly-Fishing-Dreams-2014-Calendar


From Martin von Holdt

My youngest son, Ryan (11), has become the latest victim to fly fishing fever, and after our recent week-long fishing trip to Rhodes, is now certifiable.

Here he is on the stream feeding into the Bell on Boarman’s Chase, with a sprightly rainbow caught on a Para-Adams.


He is becoming really keen on tying his own flies now and, as a 12th birthday gift for 5 June, I bought him a copy of your ‘Elements of Fly Tying’. I would really appreciate it if you could also personalise this copy for him. He would be as chuffed as a sparrow, and of course so would I.

Hopefully this will lead to him tying flies for his old man as well...

(My son Robert ended up tying the loveliest RABs I ever saw! Fly tying kids have their uses!)



From Mike Backhouse

Many of your readers were privileged to know Rob Karssing as I did.  You would agree with me that Rob was a very special person and it is rare that one has the opportunity to come across such a person in one’s lifetime. Though I only knew Rob for a short time, sixteen years to be precise, I regarded him as a friend of a lifetime.  To truly appreciated the many lives that he touched in a positive way, you had to have attended his memorial service on Wednesday 20 March 2013 where he was described as a devoted husband and a loving father, a respected colleague, a brother in Christ, a steadfast friend and, most of all, a mad keen fisherman.  Rob was a passionate conservationist who loved nature and most of all things piscatorial. Hence his IsiZulu name, Thando Fish, which translates to, ‘Like Fish’.


(I knew Rob Karssing back in the days when he ran the Kamberg Hatchery for the then Natal Parks Board. I echo Mike’s sentiments about him. He was a true gentleman of our placid pursuit and a great fly tier as well, with many innovative patterns to his credit. He died after a courageous, five year long battle with cancer. Tom Sutcliffe.)


Towns and villages in the north Eastern Cape Highlands such as Maclea, Ugie, Barkly East and Rhodes,  loom large in the early annals of South African fly fishing so it is fitting that the region will be represented at the South African National Woman’s Fly Fishing Championship this weekend.

The team will be led by Jacky Steytler Lamer. She will be joined by Antoinette Naude, Ansie Janeke and Janine Coetzer and they will fish the Smalblaar River in the Western Cape Province near Worcester and the Lakenvlei Dam near Ceres.

I joined them for a day’s fly tying, leader construction, knot tying and discussion of tactics and while this will be their first experience of competitive fly fishing I am sure they will aquit themselves well.


Tony Antoinette Ansie

Tony Kietzman discussing knots with Antoinette Nel and Ansie Janeke. (Photo by Jackie Steytler Lamar.)



Says Garth Nieuwenhuis

The UHTFC has been on the rise and has seen a resurgence over the past few years. It truly is an untold gem of trophy still waters and enticing rivers. I have enjoyed great success there as a member over the past two years. Just look at the number of fish caught in the rivers over the month of March! www.uhtfc.co.za


The Mooi River above Kamberg

On the 6th of April I was fortunate enough to fish a section of the upper Mooi above Kamberg with Graeme Steart.



Graeme Steart with a pretty brown trout from the Mooi


Whilst the fishing was tough I did manage to catch my first brown trout; one on a nymph and one on a dry. To say I'm hooked on river fishing would be an understatement;  like flicking a switch on to find a magnificent room that you have passed many times but for some or other reason never had the courage to look into.


Garth Niewenhuis with his brown trout above and below


I had an email earlier in the week from Peter Brigg with information on this piece of the Mooi:

There is a stretch of the Mooi River between Riverside and Kamberg Reserve that is in tribal lands which the KZN Competitive group have been assisting the local community to turn it into a fishery that will benefit the community. Linda Gorlei has been very involved and has asked me to fish it and give some feedback. It looks promising and being just above Riverside there is the prospect of some decent browns


In a happy climate of philanthropy a bamboo rod yet to be made by Steve Boshoff was auctioned off at the Wild Trout Association (WTA) Festival last month in Rhodes. The successful bidder was a gentleman from Cape Town who bid R12000. The WTA has already paid R9000 of that sum to the Children’s Hospital Trust (CHT), the fundraising arm of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town! Ed Herbst covered the rest, the rod maker’s modest fee of just R3000 to cover his costs.

So thanks are due to the successful bidder, to Dave Walker of the WTA, to Ed Herbst and to Steve Boshoff, the crafter of things fine and elegant. I have been asked to add some artwork to the rod in pen and ink, which it will be an honour to do.


A Steve Boshoff bamboo

I have been a Trustee of the CHT for the past eight years and rarely have I experienced such a novel and wonderful token of generosity. The staff were delighted. And it’s important to know that the CHT guarantees that 100% of any sum you donate to them is spent precisely on the cause for which you give it – caring for seriously sick kids.  See http://childrenshospitaltrust.org.za/



From Mike Mitchley

See Fin Chasers - and it’s free! I’m really impressed.


LUGGAGE FOR A FISHERMAN by Thaddeus Norris (American Angler's Book -1864)

From Paul Cutis in Wales, quoting from the above book:

There were three of us, our baggage as follows: Item, one bottle of gin, two shirts; Item, one bottle schnapps, two pairs of stockings; Item one bottle Shiedam, one pair fishing-pants; Item, one bottle genuine aromatic, by Udolpho Wolfe, name on the wrapper, without which the article is fictitious, one pair extra boots; Item, one bottle extract of juniper-berry; one bottle brandy, long and wide, prescribed by scientific skill for medical purposes. Also rods, tackle in abundance, and a supply of gin; in addition, each of us had a quart flask in our pockets, containing gin. We also had some gin inside when we started.

 (Note both 'genuine aromatic by Udolfo Wolfe' and ' Shiedam' are brands of .... well, gin…

Paul Curtis.)


Further to the debate in the last two Newsletters sparked by Bob Wyatt’s latest book, What Trout Want, in which he questions ‘educatedness’ in trout, Steve Dugmore, a local master bamboo rod maker and professional architect, adds this splash of fuel to the fire...


Steve Dugmore

I had an extraordinary experience a while back which I thought I should share with you. It is almost unbelievable and, without the witness that I fortunately had, I would be opening myself up to the proverbial 'Fisherman's tall story" in relaying it to you. So with witness at hand here goes:

 My wife, Karin, and I took off work and spent the day on the Elandspad. I had booked beat 4 and we walked up to the cave enjoying the cool crisp morning air and the knowledge that we would more than likely have the place to ourselves.


The lovely Elandspar River, Western Cape


 I started fishing at the cave pool. There were a lot of 9 inch fish in the riffles at the base of the pool and some 10-11 inch ones lying low in deeper water. I decided to use this as a sight-fishing opportunity to test out some fly patterns I have been experimenting with. Having caught a couple of smaller fish and experienced numerous rejections, a larger fish of about 16 inches materialised in the middle of the pool. I immediately focused my full attention on it. It appeared to be beyond temptation until I abandoned my experiments and tied on a RAB. Almost immediately the fish rose up to the fly, hovered below it for a second and then nonchalantly sucked the fly in. I very gently but firmly set the hook. With a single flap the fish bolted for the depths and I was left with a slack flyless leader. I pulled in the line to inspect what had given. The tippet had snapped off at the knot. I put on some fresh tippet and another RAB and carried on fishing.

 About 5 minutes later a fish jumped out of the water twice. It was obviously the same fish trying to get rid of the fly in its mouth. It then swam around just below the surface 'mouthing' the fly. I tried to tempt it to take another fly knowing the chances were less than zero - although stranger things have been known to occur. It was therefore ironic that at precisely this point  things really did become strange.

 The fish began to swim towards me just below the surface in what could best be described as a sidling motion. It appeared to be looking at me with one eye and keeping the other eye on the safety of the deeper water. The fish came within two feet of the rock I was standing on. I very slowly crouched down and the fish then came right up to the rock. It put its mouth slightly out of the water literally two inches from my boot. It seemed obvious to me that the fish wanted me to remove the fly! I very gently slid my hand under the fish. It let me do so until I applied a little pressure at which point it bolted back for the pool and disappeared into the depths. Thinking that was that, and not a little amazed and disappointed - particularly that I didn't have a net at hand - I carried on fishing.



 Sure enough about half an hour later the fish jumps out of the water again and starts swimming towards me. This time it passed in front of me and stopped about 3 feet away to the side in thigh deep water. I lowered myself inch by inch into the water and approached the fish with my hands palm up under the water. The fish sidled up to my hands and I was able to slide them underneath it. With my heart pumping, I very, very slowly cupped the fish in my hands. It again felt the pressure and moved away a foot or two only to return again. This time I increased the pressure on the fish very steadily until I had it firmly around the tail and belly. At this point the fish gave a very powerful flap and in my determination not to let it go I very ungracefully lost my balance and both fish and I ended up completely underwater together. Still clutching the fish I surfaced, removed the RAB and let the fish go. It swam around me for a minute or two and then made its way off downstream leaving me dripping wet and somewhat bemused.

(Okay, now how strange a story is this? I was at Steve Dugmore’s house only last week and over a pot of stove coffee, his wife vouched for the whole thing. She watched it all, as she said, with her own two eyes! The only reason Steve could think a fish would behave this way is that it had been caught and released so many times it associated humans with removing artificial flies from its mouth – an interesting development in the catch-and-release ethic if it is so! I hope Bob Wyatt reads this! By the way I persuaded my wife to join me on this section of the Elandspad once and we were encircled by a threatening bunch of hostile baboons. She’s not been inclined to join me on a river ever since!)

Tom Sutcliffe



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