12 December to 22 December 2014
Last December my dad and I together with Morris fished Vanderkloof (VDK) for the first time. During the 5 days on the water we experienced one of the best fishing trips of our lives. My dad caught five exceptional largemouth yellowfish (4 over 8kg and his current PB of 10kg), I caught a 7.5kg largy, we both caught several smallies of up to 3kg, we both caught a catfish of over 18kg and Morris caught a 20kg job – all and all, this was exceptional fishing! So, as the end of the year was approaching my dad and me together with Morris and Sampie planned to take on VDK again this December, but this time things worked out so we could fish the dam for 9 days of which I fished 6 days on the dam from a boat.
Once again we booked our stay at Pride Rock Lodge as we have only received the very best service and hospitality during previous stays here. What I love about this guesthouse is that they have an incredible view of the dam (perfect for enjoying a beer while discussing your day on the water while watching the sun set over the dam), they make nice boat lunchboxes on request (so you don’t have to worry about what you are going to eat or have to prepare each day for while you are out on the dam) and they serve marvellous breakfasts, lunch and especially dinner (dis soos jou ma se kos). Here is a link to their details if you plan on fishing the dam soon; http://www.vanderkloofdam.co.za/pride-rock-lodge/
So, our trip started off with Sampie and me giving the river under the dam wall a try. It was time to have some fun as we got out our fly rigs to catch some Orange River yellows. I’m not sure what setup Sampie used during this session, but I got to give me relatively new Greys fly setup a go.
Tackle for fly fishing the river:
- Greys XF2 Streamflex 6 weight fly rod (9 foot)
- Greys GX300 fly reel
- 20lb Power Pro braid backing
- Greys 6 weight floating fly line
- Straight 10lb Seaguar Red Label fluorocarbon line
- 2 flies (most success on a flashy white nymph – need to get the name of it)
Our plan was to fish under the bridge found right behind the dam wall. I have seen loads of yellowfish and muddies at this spot before, so I know this place has potential. On our arrival we stopped on the bridge and first had a look at the water to see if there is any fish activity. To our luck we spotted several yellowfish shining on the rocks below us as well as plenty of muddies. Viskoors was running high as we scuffled downhill to get to the water. I started off with fishing three flies (to see what pattern the yellows prefer). I moved to fish a rocky ledge breaking the rapids where I saw a few yellows cruising about. A few casts in a yellow smacked my fly and hooked itself (very aggressive take!). The little fellow gave a great fight for its size before I tamed it.
After this fish I managed to catch two other yellows which were a bit bigger, but I didn’t take pics of them. I also lost a big smallmouth yellow due to the hook coming loose. I saw many muddies feeding around me on the rocks, I landed two foul hooked one’s and had a few on where the hook came loose (always a challenge to catch them in the mouth). Though the yellows were cruising around they didn’t seem to be interested in my offerings. I tried several flies with minimal success. The one’s I did manage to get took my fly as it hit the water so it seemed that they took flies high in the water column (next time I should try a dry fly here). In the short time I fished the river Sampie also managed to catch his first smallie on fly and a few others, he fished blind in the rapids. I also managed to catch a small catfish which gave me a proper fight. The catfish took my fly as I was stripping it back to me.
All and all we didn’t catch too many fish but it was a good start to our fishing holiday. The next day we would go out with the boat on the dam to see what we could hook on to.
Here is the fly I used; Disco Midge with wings (Thanks Pieter Snyders for ID’ing it)