With only two weeks remaining in the river season I was beginning to feel the pain of having only had one outing, mostly due to a snapped Achilles. Thankfully I managed to get a pink slip on Sunday and recruited fellow Baha Boy Nick Nortje for a trip to the Bushmans.
I picked up Nick at around 6am in Pietermaritzburg and continued the long drive to Giant’s Castle. We arrived at 7:30 and started kitting up. It was Nick’s first time on the rivers so this took a bit longer than usual. We whipped off his intermediate line and wound on a new floating line, eager to get onto the water.
The river was flowing at a good rate as we stepped into the chilly water, slightly downstream from the swing bridge at th picnic spot. I had tied on an Elk Hair Caddis, which worked well for me on previous visits, while Nick started with a Royal Wulff.
Other than a cold front that had passed over 24 hours before, the conditions were perfect. There was a slight breeze blowing up the valley, but it was sunny, and the water was cool. Thus I was rather upset when an hour in we had caught nothing. This said, we had managed to spook a large number of fish. I can only image our poor result was due to us trying to fish side by side, as well as a bit of rushing due to over-eagerness.
Eventually I managed to pick up a nice sized wild brown on a White Wulff in the tail of a pool. Shortly after this Nick picked up his first ever river fish on his Royal Wulff. We continued upstream slightly more relaxed now. I landed two more fish, and Nick missed a nice rise.
Satisfied that we hadn’t blanked, we headed to the restaurant for lunch. A few beers later we were feeling rejuvenated and headed back down to the water.
Our afternoon session was far more successful. We were fishing better together and weren’t rushing to get ahead of one other. Nick was also starting to get the hang of the river, and had shortened his casts, realising that he wasn’t in a dam, and that long casts only resulted in excessive drag.
We also fished the pools a lot better. In the mornings we’d been neglecting the tail ends of pools, much to our determent. I’m sure everyone has made this error at least once. You see a good pool, rush up to it, and cast straight to the head rather than fishing the tail first. Once we rectified this we managed to pick up fish in most pools.
I picked up a further 4 fish in the afternoon session, mostly on Elk Hair Caddises. Nick managed another 1 but did miss a good few rises. I also missed a lot of fish in this session and could’ve ended up with 3 or 4 more. If I had to guess, I’d put this down to lack of practice and too much slack in the line.
All in all it was a great day. After walking back to the car through a herd of Eland I was feeling more than satisfied. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get in one more fish this season.