Castleburn

Castleburn

Fresh Water, Review, Trip Report, Trout
I was lucky enough to win a 5 day stay at Castleburn in last years Xplorer UHTFC Festival. After (accidentally) letting it expire I managed to get it extended by a month and took the family up for a much needed break.  Having spent the weekend fishing the Boston Fly Fishing Festival this was intended to be a family trip. I did however manage to pack the  fly rod and to sneak away for the odd hour here and there. And I'm certainly glad I did - the fishing was great.  For the full (family) trip report please head over to my personal website. This blog post is going to be more focused on Castleburn's fly fishing, as well as any activities related to fishing. The Venue [caption id="attachment_2907" align="alignnone" width="1600"] Sunrise…
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Snow Hunting and a Tough Hour at Lake Ringstead

Snow Hunting and a Tough Hour at Lake Ringstead

Fresh Water, Trip Report, Trout
I recently took the family to the Drakensberg in search of snow. Sadly our adventure was less successful than planned. Although there was an abundance of snow, all of it fell high in the mountains meaning we needed to make our way up Sani Pass to get it. So far so good. The problem however arose as we began to make our way up the bottom reaches of the pass and quickly discovered just how dangerous the pass had become. Our first clue should have been the various news reports we heard on the radio clearly stating that the top of the pass was closed. However we chose to ignore these in the hope that we could drive up the pass just far enough to get to the bottom of the…
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Granchester – The 5 Year Return

Granchester – The 5 Year Return

Fresh Water, Trout
This morning I returned to Granchester, one of the Natal Fly Fishing Club's most popular dams, after a 5 year break from the venue. A quick review of the blog reminded me that it had been a tough outing with Nick picking up the only fish (you can read the story here). I was hoping for better luck. The drive up proved to be spectacular with mist filling the valleys, while the golden sunrise highlighted the autumn hues of the surrounding trees. In fact the view was so spectacular that I even put my fishing on hold to stop and take a few photos. [caption id="attachment_2842" align="alignnone" width="1600"] A golden sunrise in the Natal Midlands[/caption] I arrived at the waters edge just after 7am. It was 4 degrees (Celcius) with…
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A Low Bushman’s River

A Low Bushman’s River

Fresh Water, Trip Report, Trout
Amazingly it's been quite some time since I've had the pleasure of fishing the upper Bushman's River. It's always been one of my favourite stretches of river despite the fact that it generally produces smaller fish. I guess this is because for me it's not about the size when it comes to wild brown trout, but rather about the beauty of the surroundings. To be fishing under the Giant, with the Drakensberg looming above you, while ankle deep in cold, crystal clear water is hard to be beat. I'd wondered the whole drive about the water level after a season of low rainfall. When I got to the water's edge it was immediately obvious just how low the river was. My mind rushed back to a session on the Umzimkulu earlier…
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Back To Underberg

Back To Underberg

Fresh Water, Trip Report, Trout
Craving some trout fishing, Neill was kind enough to put together another boys weekend to trout mecca known as Underberg. I put in for a full day's leave on Friday (rather than the usual half day) in the hope of getting in a full day's fishing. Sadly this was not to be as Neill got stuck with customers which temporarily delayed our departure. Add to this that my car's fuel warning light had come on, and that Neill's car had battled to start the previous morning, and it was clear we weren't off to a great start. As it turned out Andrew and Richard weren't doing too much better, and we all arrived at Turner's Cottage at around 11am. Being close to midday I wasn't expecting much from the fishing, but it was great to…
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A Tough Weekend At Kamberg

A Tough Weekend At Kamberg

Fresh Water, Trout
[caption id="attachment_2466" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Fishing Erskine Dam, Kamberg[/caption] I recently spent a long weekend at the Kamberg Nature Reserve with my family. It's a beautiful venue and was once one of the most highly regarded fly fishing venue in Kzn. Sadly, since the hatchery closed, I've found the dam fishing to have declined, although they do claim to still stock them regularly. That said, it's still a great venue for beginners thanks primarily to the mowed banks making it an easy venue to fish compared to our many farm waters. And if you exclude the dams it still has a beautiful stretch of the Mooi river, which I was sadly unable to fish due to it being the closed season. Over the course of the weekend I only managed two short afternoon sessions of around…
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Trout In The Sleet

Trout In The Sleet

Fresh Water, Trout
I recently decided to take the family on a mini adventure to a very cold Underberg. Snow was predicted and it's not often that it falls over the weekend in accessible locations. I was therefore going to make sure that my little girl got to build her very own version of Olaf (as a parent I now get to reference Frozen). Our snow hunting on the first day proved unsuccessful and at 2:30pm it was clear that we would have to wait for nightfall for snow. I therefore decided to shoot off to one of the UHTFC's dams for a quick fish. I dropped Sharon and Emma off at the hotel and promptly headed for Lake Isabella, at Alan's recommendation. Amazingly as I passed through Underberg the sunny skies darkened and the rain…
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Castleburn And The Umzimkulu River

Castleburn And The Umzimkulu River

Fresh Water, Trout
[caption id="attachment_2484" align="alignnone" width="1200"] The view from Lake Madingofani[/caption] I was lucky enough to win a weekend away at Castleburn at last year's Boston Fly Fishing Festival (courtesy of the UHTFC). We finally decided to make use of it when my dad and Cassia flew up to Durban to visit Emma and us. The weekend was fantastic while the fishing was a bit of a mixed bag as my dad and I only made it onto the water twice over the course of the week. Our first attempt saw us heading down to Lake Madingofani (Castleburn Lake) for a late afternoon session. On the walk down we fished a few of the smaller dams, more out of curiosity than due to their potential. I assume these dams are targeted at beginners as we were easily…
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Fishing The UHTFC

Fishing The UHTFC

Fresh Water, Trip Report, Trout
Having been voted onto the UHTFC committee at the AGM, Neill and I decided that it was time for a club visit and informal committee meeting. In other words, it had been far too long since we'd targeted trout on fly and were itching to get back in the water. We phoned a few friends and had soon organised a group of 4 fishermen, and had booked accommodation at Twin Springs. I took the Friday off with the plan of heading to the Berg after my wife had left for the office. It was a good plan on paper, but fell apart when I tried to get my fly rods out of the garage after my wife had left for work. I soon discovered that she'd taken both garage door…
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