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Granchester – The 5 Year Return

Granchester – The 5 Year Return

Fresh Water, Trout
This morning I returned to Granchester, one of the Natal Fly Fishing Club's most popular dams, after a 5 year break from the venue. A quick review of the blog reminded me that it had been a tough outing with Nick picking up the only fish (you can read the story here). I was hoping for better luck. The drive up proved to be spectacular with mist filling the valleys, while the golden sunrise highlighted the autumn hues of the surrounding trees. In fact the view was so spectacular that I even put my fishing on hold to stop and take a few photos. [caption id="attachment_2842" align="alignnone" width="1600"] A golden sunrise in the Natal Midlands[/caption] I arrived at the waters edge just after 7am. It was 4 degrees (Celcius) with…
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Wavies and Cappuccinos

Wavies and Cappuccinos

Salt Water
Back before I had 2 children, in the days when my job was less time consuming, I used to often fish before (and after) work along the beaches of KwaZulu-Natal or in the Durban harbour. Those days now seem like a distant memory, although in truth it wasn't all that long ago. This morning I got to relive those days and realised that perhaps they're not out of my grasp, and reminded me that I'm getting a little lazy and that I can still wake up at 4:30am on a work day to get to the water. The fishing itself was very much a non event in terms of size and numbers. We fished a pushing, neap tide for an hour and got maybe five fish between the three of us. They…
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Fun on Fly at Umngazi River Bungalows

Fun on Fly at Umngazi River Bungalows

Salt Water, Trip Report
[caption id="attachment_2780" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Sunset at Umngazi River Bungalows[/caption] We recently headed to Umngazi River Bungalows for a week long family holiday. The weather was sadly not ideal (for a family holiday) with most days being overcast and drizzly, with the added benefit of a few spectacular evening storms. On the up side it generally only rained in the afternoons and, despite the clouds, it was still warm enough to enjoy the beach and the pool. Conditions were also good enough to grab the fly rod and head for a quick fish (but then when are conditions not right for fishing?). The water was dirty from recent rains and chats with other anglers weren’t promising as nobody had caught a fish. But you can’t catch without a fly in the water…
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The Xplorer UHTFC Festival 2016

The Xplorer UHTFC Festival 2016

Event, Fresh Water, Trip Report, Trout
This year the UHTFC decided to host it’s inaugural UHTFC Xplorer Fly Fishing Festival. Apparently the club has hosted festivals in the past, but these were well before my time and have long since been forgotten by club members and the committee alike. Bruce Taylor put his hand up and did the majority of the planning and leg work, while I organised the advertising and online registration (and presence) for the event. In the end we opened it to 25 teams of 2, as well as 2 Xplorer teams, meaning we had 54 anglers. Alan did a great job organising the waters and we were privileged to include venues like Sani Valley Lodge (Lifton Lake), Giant’s Cup, Lake Naverone, and Castleburn in amongst the lineup of club dams. The committee made the…
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A Winter’s Day At Hella Hella

A Winter’s Day At Hella Hella

Fresh Water, Trip Report, Yellowfish
At 4am I was awoken by the sound of pouring rain which left me wondering if our trip to the Umkomaas was still on the cards. Thankfully as I lay there the downpour slowly abated and by the time I climbed out of bed there was just the slightest drizzle. I made a few rolls, packed the car, and then waited for Keegan and Nick to arrive so that we could head for Richmond. After a quick coffee stop we were soon descending into the Umkomaas valley. It was a chilly 10 degrees when my car started pulling to the left and I was forced to pull over. As I feared my front left tyre was flat and so began my first ever tyre change in the Fortuner. Apparently you're…
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The Boston Fly Fishing Festival 2016

The Boston Fly Fishing Festival 2016

Event, Fresh Water, Trip Report, Trout
"I can safely say that the Boston Fly Fishing Festival is by far my favourite festival." Yes, it's a line that I often start my annual Boston post with, but it remains true. And this year was no exception, despite what were very tough fishing conditions. We got off to a great start by entering two teams instead of our usual one. The more the merrier proved to be true, although sadly we were unable to find a farmer who was able to accommodate all eight of us at a single venue. Neill, Bruce, Keegan and I therefore stayed with Helen, who had put up Team Baha for several years, while Andrew, Richard, Dan and Dave stayed in what became known as cat cottage. Now I'm not 100% sure what that…
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Natal Scalies On The Umkomaas

Natal Scalies On The Umkomaas

Fresh Water, Trip Report, Yellowfish
With Leo heading for the UK we decided to do one last outing with the fly sticks prior to his departure. Our chosen quarry was the Natal Yellowfish, aka the scaly, on the Umkomaas River just outside of Richmond. We had a great turnout with 6 of us making our way to Hella Hella via the mandatory coffee stop. Although I'd fished the Umkomaas on multiple occasions it was the first time I'd been to this particular stretch, and I was suitably impressed. Hella Hella boasts a beautiful section of river, nestled under looming cliffs and running through thick indigenous forest (complete with far too many thorns). The conditions were good, although not perfect. It was perhaps a little chilly with the air temperature measuring 12 degrees on arrival. I unfortunately didn't measure the water temperature but it…
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A Low Bushman’s River

A Low Bushman’s River

Fresh Water, Trip Report, Trout
Amazingly it's been quite some time since I've had the pleasure of fishing the upper Bushman's River. It's always been one of my favourite stretches of river despite the fact that it generally produces smaller fish. I guess this is because for me it's not about the size when it comes to wild brown trout, but rather about the beauty of the surroundings. To be fishing under the Giant, with the Drakensberg looming above you, while ankle deep in cold, crystal clear water is hard to be beat. I'd wondered the whole drive about the water level after a season of low rainfall. When I got to the water's edge it was immediately obvious just how low the river was. My mind rushed back to a session on the Umzimkulu earlier…
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