Thankfully, on Sunday, I woke up feeling somewhat better than I had when I fell asleep. I packed up my kit, got into the car, and headed for Nick’s place.
Two hours later and we were pulling into Giant’s Castle Nature Reserve. It was 6 degrees and the water in the Bushmans River looked chilly. After quickly kitting up we opted to give the bottom section of the river (from the gate upwards) a fish since we’d never fished it before. It certainly looked promising, but would it produce?
Stepping into the water immediately confirmed our earlier fears…it was FREEZING. In fact, it was the first time I could remember where my legs were actually burning while wading upstream. Thankfully this was soon forgotten as I got into a nice fish just 15 meters upstream. Amazingly it was a Rainbow Trout and not our chosen quarry of wild Browns. I’m assuming it had cunningly escaped from the hatchery just outside the reserve…sneaky little bugger.
Having caught a fish so early in the day we had high hopes. Sadly that was the last fish we saw in the morning session as we made our way up the scenic, but cold, stream.
For those of you planning to fish the Bushmans, the bottom section certainly is fantastic. It is however definitely nymph water as it’s a lot deeper and faster flowing than the stretch from the day visitor’s area upwards. I suppose this is logical since it’s below the point where the Mtshezana River joins the Bushmans…two rivers, twice as much water (in theory).
By the time we’d walked out of the valley and reached the car I was feeling somewhat ill. I swallowed a Disprin, hoping it would relieve my aching body, and then tried to get some food down which proved to be somewhat of a lost cause.
Not being one to give up, and hoping to get Nick into a fish, I opted to fight through the pain and head down to the river for another beat. Thankfully the drugs seemed to kick in and soon I was feeling a lot better.
Nick and I fought our way up the river (yes, we’re far t0o competitive) during which time I managed to pick up one small Brown Trout.
The section above the picnic spot was flowing beautifully and was greatly suited to the dry. That said there seemed to be very few fish around. I’m not sure if it was due to the pressure drop or the fact that the Browns may have started breading. Either way we struggled.
Eventually we reached the fork higher up and made our way out the valley and back to the car. Besides the sickness and tough fishing it had been a great day. I wasn’t feeling up for a third session and so we headed home.
We did try and stop at the hatchery for a look see but it was closed. We also spotted fish rising on the way home in a river parallel to the road. After quickly setting up the rods we gave them a quick 5 minutes but soon realised they weren’t interested in the fly.
All in all a good day at the river and an awesome weekend despite having felt kak for most of it.