Things got off to a ropey start when Sharon woke up sick at 3am. “This can’t be good,” the fisherman in me thought. Thankfully after taking a few pills she climbed back into bed and we managed to doze for another hour or so until we climbed out of bed at 4:30am.
We packed the car slowly but Sharon seemed to be feeling a little better so I kept cautiously quiet. Just after 5am we pulled out of the complex and finally started our long weekend away. Our first stop was of course the BP garage for freshly brewed coffee before setting our sights on Giants Castle and, more importantly, the Bushman’s River.
We pulled up to Giants Castle gate at around 7:30am after an easy 2 hour drive. After the usual formalities we parked at the visitor’s picnic sight and I kitted up my rod ready to hit the stream bubbling far below us.
Sharon was thankfully feeling better as we descended into the valley, climbed into the cold water, and began wading our way upstream. In the second pool I hooked into my first wild brown trout of the trip. It sipped an elk hair caddis off the surface of the stream, much to my delight, and then ran for the hills.
In the next pool I spotted another fish sipping gently from the surface. I pointed Sharon in its direction and passed her the fly stick. She gently laid down a cast and almost immediately the fish rose to the fly. Sadly she wasn’t ready for the unexpected splash and forgot to strike, but she loved the moment none the less and it got her keen for the rest of the morning.
Further upstream I landed another wild brown in a big pool. Immediately after this pool was a second larger pool and, as I dropped my fly into it, a large brown rose and smashed it savagely. It was the largest brown I’d seen in this stretch of river but sadly it snapped me off. None the less it really got the adrenaline flowing and I was itching to lay down another cast, hoping for a second chance.
Sadly it was at this point that I realized I hadn’t packed any tippet material into my jacket. FAIL! Sharon opted to stay at the pool and swim while I ran the 2kms back to the car to fetch more tippet material.
By the time I got back to Sharon I was hot and sweaty so we relaxed in the pool and shared a coke before continuing upstream. The fish was long gone.
I managed one more fish before deciding to call it a day and head back to the car. We picnicked under the trees on egg mayonnaise sandwiches before climbing back into the car and heading for Glengarry where we were camping for the Easter weekend.
We arrived at Glengarry just after 1pm and set up camp besides the river. I then took a walk around the venue, scouting the stretch of Little Mooi River as well as the golf course and the two on-site dams.
The stretch of river had some potential but was murky and flooded with kids tubing and swimming. The bottom dam apparently only held bass and had potential, especially from a float tube, since the majority of the bank was surrounded by tall reeds making fly fishing near impossible. Plus a lot of bass fishermen were eagerly chucking plastic worms into the murky water. The top dam however, called Trout Dam, was much cleaned and offered good fishing opportunities for anyone with a fly rod. It looked like my best bet.
The rest of the afternoon was spent playing bowls which took us a while to get into after Sharon kept throwing the jack well out of bounds. It definitely looks like a game worth playing when I can no longer beat a squash ball around a court.
That evening we relaxed in a relatively noisy camp with a glass of wine and braaied hamburgers. Thankfully we’d packed our own braai since there were none in the campsites. So if you’re going to camp at Glengarry, go prepared.
After braaiing I had a cold shower in the left of the 2 bathroom buildings. Again, for those of you camping at Glengarry, the showers in the left building are heated by a donkey boiler while those on the right use gas. Go for the showers on the right; they’re infinitely hotter.
It was chilly in the tent that night but our sleeping bags kept us mostly warm. We lazed in bed on a cold Saturday morning and eventually climbed out of our cocoons at around 7am. Sharon and I then went for a walk around the premises and took a few photos before cooking some fantastic bacon and egg rolls.
It was then time to hit the golf course, something neither of us had done in quite some time. Glengarry offers a 9 hole, 18 tee box, course. It consists of 7 par 4s and 2 par 3s. The holes are short but it plays a little like a links course with the hilly terrain and often windy conditions.
Although far from playing fantastic rounds we both played much better than expected. Plus with the mountains in the background and the autumn hues on the trees who really cares what their final score is anyway?
After our round of golf we relaxed in the coffee shop where Sharon had lemonade while I ordered the biggest chocolate milkshake I could see. It tasted a little strange but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Eventually I put it down to me having had a sip of Sharon’s lemonade first. The true problem with it was only revealed to me later when I was proudly told that it was made from home-made ice-cream. This in itself was not a problem. The problem was that the homemade ice-cream was lemon flavoured. Oops.
I then headed up to the top dam to flick a fly while Sharon relaxed in camp. Despite the howling wind there were a lot of people trying their luck. This included a couple with the most beautiful chocolate lab. I fished for around an hour and a half and was rewarded with just one small bass. So much for it being a trout dam? The other people caught nothing but the majority of them seemed to be new to the sport and couldn’t cast further than a few meters in the howling wind.
Our trusty braai once again served us well, this time with fantastic chicken kebabs and an amazing salad. It was just what the doctor ordered after a busy day on the golf course and at the dam.
The night was once again cold but this time I was prepared and pulled on my omni-heat base layer. What a difference it made. The previous night’s shivers were replaced by a comfortable warmth and a good night’s sleep.
On Sunday morning we climbed out of bed, brewed a pot of coffee, packed some muffins and headed for Kamberg. The small morning trip got off to a bad start when we discovered, halfway there, that we’d left our coffee back at camp. Too late to turn back we ventured forth to the lakes, coffeeless.
Sharon’s ankle was still a little swollen from the morning on the Bushmans (and a round of golf) so I decided to fish the dams where she could suntan next to me. The water was the cleanest I’d ever seen at Kamberg but the wind was picking up giving me a nice ripple on the surface to hide me from the fish.
I fished my way around Erskine Dam since Eland was relatively crowded being Easter Sunday. Things started off slowly but suddenly I hooked into 2 fish in 2 casts, sadly losing 1 of them. Things then went quiet and I didn’t sniff another fish for the next hour or so.
It was then that Sharon decided to fetch something from the car and we discovered I’d lost the car keys. Having fished around a rather large dam I was a tad concerned we wouldn’t find them, leaving us without a spare set and a little stranded.
Sharon headed for the car in case I’d dropped them there while I headed for the spot I’d removed my jacket, hoping they’d fallen out then. Thankfully Sharon found them on route to the car and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Sharon then went to the picnic area by the car while I continued fishing and landed another small rainbow trout. At this point I decided enough was enough and returned to the car for a small picnic lunch.
Back at Glengarry we headed straight for the golf course for another quick round. We both got off to a shocker of a start but, realizing score didn’t matter and the beauty of the course, we relaxed and were soon back in the swing of things. I even managed a beautiful birdie on the 7th hole and just missed another on the 8th.
After golf we had another drink at the coffee shop but this time I made sure I steered clear of the so called chocolate milkshake.
Seeing as I’d only seen a few small bass come out of the dams I decided to give the afternoon session a miss and instead relaxed around camp with Sharon. We played some cards and enjoy a bit of sherry as the sun set and the chill once again engulfed us.
That evening we braaied a lovely rump steak which we enjoyed with another gourmet salad. And just because it was Easter Sunday we toasted a few hot cross buns on the fire for pudding.
We’d been warned of rain on Monday morning but thankfully woke up to the most beautiful morning. The tent was covered with dew so we packed up slowly giving it time to dry. We also took the chance to fry up some bacon and Sharon’s famous scrambled eggs with pieces of hot dogs.
By 11am we were fully packed up and ready to head home. What a fantastic weekend! Although the campsite had been noisy during the day it was quiet at night. Glengarry, although not my first choice, offered a lot to do and was perfect for kids. And although the fishing isn’t great on site, it’s perfectly located to fish a lot of the Kamberg and Giants Castle waters.