Another long weekend and another trip to the Berg to dominate some wild browns and rainbows. Sadly my last minute booking meant Kamberg was he only venue available and I was forced to head there for the umpteenth time, which isn’t really a bad thing.
Friends of ours were staying at Giants Castle (yes, I was jealous) so Sharon and I headed for the Bushman’s River to kick the weekend off. We left just after 5am and were on the river by 8am ready to hunt down a few wild browns.
Thanks to the recent snow falls and heavy rains the river was high, but definitely fishable. Things started off slowly and it took me half an hour to get into my first fish, but when I lifted that wild brown from the water it was all worth it.
After a snack by the river we continued upstream and I picked up another 3 brown trout in the cool, Berg waters. Of the 4 fish I landed 3 were small and 1 was of a good size.
When we reached the normal exit point I climbed out of the river and we hiked the few kilometres back up to the camp. Bernard and Yolande were yet to check in so we relaxed on the deck until we heard the first rumble of thunder and the rain came down.
In the restaurant we each ordered a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich which, I must say, was great value for money. The R26 plate of food consisted of a small salad, a huge pile of delicious potato wedges and a wood fired toasted sandwich. Absolutely fantastic!
Just as we were finishing Bernard and his wife arrived and we all sat down and chatted for an hour or so. Eventually it was time for them to check in, and we needed to head back to Kamberg, so we jumped back into the Jeep and headed out.
At Kamberg we were greeted by the same friendly officer who was there on our last visit. He offers incredible service (with a smile) and is definitely worth mentioning. The chalets also seemed in much better condition than previously and I would definitely recommend them. Sadly however the office shop has really gone down. There were no flies on sale, only 1 dusty thimble and 4 Margate glasses for curios, and mostly empty shelves. I didn’t go into the rock art centre but I can only hope it was in better shape than the office shop.
In our chalet I tied up a few flies for the afternoon session while a rumbling storm passed overhead. When the lightning had subsided I took a jog down to the water where I was greeted with a nasty surprise. The top dam had been completely drained. Empty! I wonder what they did with the fish?
With Eland empty I headed to the bottom dam, Erskine, which was packed with no less than 8 anglers. I managed to pull out 1 small rainbow trout in windy conditions which looked to be the only fish of the afternoon. The catch return sheets were also completely blank so I was left wondering if the fishing was going down once again?
Sharon then headed down to the water in the Jeep so I took the opportunity to jump into the car and head back up to the chalet. We lit a fire, braaied some burgers, and then relaxed by a fire in our room. Eventually we got an early night and slept fantastically.
The following morning was a chilly 7 degrees, misty and rainy. We opted for the slow start and did a little reading in bed before frying up some bacon rolls. Sharon had forgotten the milk so I had to wait until 8am for the morning cup of coffee when the office opened and I could buy a R16 500ml long life milk.
Warmed by the coffee I headed down to the water, past the empty dam, and to the Mooi river. I tied on a home-tied bead headed nymph and took a look at the water. I was planning to fish up to the hatchery but the pool directly below my starting point looked so good I decided to give it a fish. Amazingly, on my first cast, I hooked into a small brown.
Feeling highly motivated (after struggling in the past) I headed upstream in tough conditions. The Mooi river, in Kamberg, has steep sides and no paths along the river banks. The runs and pools are often well over chest depth and leave the angler in a position where back-tracking is the only option. Then, once out of the river, the angler is forced to bash through thick bush looking for another entry point which is rarely easy to find.
For all my effort I landed no more fish on my tough route up to the hatchery. That said I did enjoy every minute of it and took the opportunity to take some photographs and generally have a great morning.
Sharon somehow spotted me on my walk back and so she was waiting for me when I got back to the car. We headed back to the chalet, had some lunch and relaxed.
I decided to have a very late afternoon session in Erskine in the hope that the low light conditions would improve the fishing. Sadly I missed just 1 fish while trying to force it through the reeds since I didn’t have a net with me. Other than that things were very quiet and my enjoyment came in the form of a spectacular sunset rather than fish.
Dinner was once again braaied and I’m glad to say we had yet another early night.
Monday morning was rather chilled and I decided not to fish. I wasn’t up for another epic mission in the river and the state of the dams meant they just weren’t worth another session. Instead we relaxed in bed reading and packed up the chalet slowly for our 10am departure.
From Kamberg we took a leisurely drive home stopping at all the regular places such as Gunters, which I cannot talk highly enough of. Unless you feel like sitting in a bar Gunters should be your choice over the Bierfassl any day. And any trip ending with German sausages can only have been a good trip.