Pholela Rainbows

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Warren Fly Fishing The Pholela

With a long weekend upon us Sharon and I planned a last minute trip to Cobham. Why Cobham? Well I wanted to fish a river and this was the only venue available on such short notice. That said I’d fished the Pholela in the past and had gone home empty handed, so this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to change that.

We arrived at Cobham on Saturday morning and set up camp. By the time we’d set up and eaten lunch the weather was looking somewhat ominous. None the less I opted to head out for an exploratory trip up the river while Sharon relaxed around camp.

The river was flowing both high and quickly but was definitely fishable. As a result of these conditions, and the fact that there are a lot of long deep pools on the river, I opted to nymph the river rather than fish it with my preferred dry fly.

Shortly after starting the heavens opened and I was stuck in a torrential downpour. Being a Baha Boy this worried me not and I continued upstream, glad that I was fishing sub surface as the surface was a mess. Thankfully the rain didn’t last long and before I knew it the surface was still once again. And this is when an amazing, and annoying, thing happened…as my fly was drifting back towards me a Rainbow came flying to the surface and attacked my strike indicator. Grrr! Is that considered a missed fish?

Warren With A Small Wild Rainbow Trout

I quickly removed the nymph and strike indicator and started fishing the surface. Almost immediately I picked up a small Rainbow Trout with a Royal Coachman. Finally, a fish from the Pholela. With my job accomplished I headed back to camp to start a fire and cook dinner.

The next morning started with another trip up the river. This time the sky was clear and the conditions looked good. As a result Sharon joined me and followed me up the river on the bank. I opted to start this session upstream, roughly where I had finished the previous day’s fishing. Again I put on the dry fly and I amazingly picked up a fish on the third cast.

It took me close on another hour before I got my next fish of the day. All three fish were caught on Royal Coachmans. And two of the three fish were picked up in the tail ends of pools. No fish were picked up in the pools themselves and the final fish came in a slow riffle.

I definitely feel that if I’d spent more time nymphing the pools I might’ve picked up some larger Rainbows. Sadly I only had one rod with me and changing from nymphs to dries every 20 meters was just too much of a pain.

At this point Sharon was looking somewhat bored on the bank and so we headed back to camp to go on a hike.

For those of you planning to fish the Pholela, it’s a tough, technical river. That said it feels fantastic when one produces a fish. Get out there and give it a bash.

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