Date: 12th to 14th December
After struggling to launch our boat due to residing water levels, we eventually made our way to our first spot. Everyone was keen to see what day 2 would deliver after catching an 18.3 kg beast of a catfish on the first day.
We pulled out our boat on the shore and quickly secured it; after which we grabbed our calling rods.
Calling setup for Catfish:
- Blue Marlin Big Shot 13 ft Calling Rod
- Penn Fathom Star Drag 12 reel
- Berkley Whiplash 100 lbs. braided line
- Lumé Lures Madpumkin Large Fast Sinking (different colours)
It wasn’t long before everyone caught a few, including a triple up by Chris, Koos and Victor. I hooked-up with another big catfish, but just like the monster of the previous day, it immediately threw my hook after setting the hook.
The morning went slow with only a few small fish coming out. I decided to switch over to trying for some of the tailing carp I saw on the close-by flats. Must say this was not one of my best carp sessions as I had a few hook-ups, but nothing seemed to stick. I cast to plenty of feeding fish with no luck, seems like these carp just showed zero interest in the leadhead I presented to them.
We moved around a bit with little success until we came across a small submerged island. On this island we caught several small catfish on calling, but no monsters. We decided to leave the island and head to the opposite bank which looked very promising. On our way to the bank we came across large shoals of Moggel. They were lying dead still below the surface with only their mouths opening and closing. I have never caught one of these elusive buggers before – finally, here was my chance to add a new species to my life list! As I set up my carp dipping rod to try and dip a few of them, I heard Koos excitedly calling me as he just landed his first Moggel and it was hooked solidly in the mouth! (Moggel are usually foulhooked, rare to catch one in the mouth).
Moggel on dipping setup:
- Mitchell Privilege Pro 13 ft. Telescopic Rod
- Abu Garcia Revo S casting reel
- Berkley Fireline 20 lbs. line
- Wolf Lures Small Carp Leadhead
I saw a smaller Moggel lying suspended within casting distance. With our Minn Kota trolling motor I moved closer on a low speed to ensure that I don’t spook the fish until I could reach the Moggel. With an accurate dip I placed my leadhead in the Moggels mouth; the Moggel then took the lure and after I set the hook it gave one short pull before surfacing. Chris netted the fish and I was super stoked to catch my very first Moggel on my first attempt for the day – with this new species added to my life list I know stood on 67 freshwater fish species caught on lure in Southern Africa.
The Moggel didn’t fight much which was a surprise to me. Must admit that this was one ugly fish, not really soft on the eyes! We saw several other Moggel hanging around; some were dark while others were a pale white colour with orange spots on them. I pretty sure some of them were spawning as I saw some of them earlier that day, which were swimming in circles after one another. Chris had some bad luck with the Moggel, only managing to foulhook one by accident.
The sun was heating up the water nicely by the afternoon and the wind subdued; we saw a few shallow bays explode with fish activity – hundreds of carp tailing in ankle deep water all over! Chris took this opportunity to target some of them on fly and he was very satisfied as he caught more than 10 of them in as little as two hours. Some of the other guys also enjoyed catching them on fly.
Victor managed another better size catfish (11 kg), while Koos got schooled by a monster that ran him on the rocks before coming off.
That afternoon the wind picked up again, it was blowing quite hard and all the dirty mud stained water was pushing up directly on the area we were fishing. We decided to call in the brown stained water as we weren’t very keen on tackling the waves to fish another spot. Koos and Victor waded down the one side of the bank, while Chris and I took on the other side. Everyone got a few hook-ups with small cats of up to 8 kg. I missed one big boy three times; with the third hook-up it once again threw my hook! Same thing happened with Chris which was a darn shame as it was his first hook-up with a solid cat.
At this stage, I realized that we need to critically look at the way and tackle that we use for these big cats as we were losing too many big ones. Like they say, the itch has started. Little did I know that the itch would need to get much worse before I really addressed the problem. (As mens dom is moet jy sukkel, soos my pa altyd sê).
We ended the day with a new specie added to our tally, a number of carp caught between the other guys and a lot of cats – with each of us losing a big one (Big Catfish 5 vs. Us 0).
The next day wasn’t much eventful. We woke up to windy weather and noticed that it was also colder. We decided to fish the river inlet and here we only managed to catch several small catfish; biggest being 8 kg. I had a few big cats which came to inspect my lure, but no takes. Chris was happy to add Moggel to his tally after he managed to dip on in the mouth and I also caught a slightly bigger one.
The river was covered with schools of them. Everyone also managed to catch a few carp on this day on fly which was a lot of fun.
And so another trip came to an end…I would need to visit Barberspan again as I had a score to settle with all the big cats we lost during this trip.