Our annual Midmar camping and bass pilgrimage got off to a rocky start on Friday afternoon when I received a photo of a decimated gazebo from Nick. He’d taken a half day and had headed up early with the family to get a small advantage over me with the bass bashing. Much to his dismay however all that this had resulted in was him setting up camp amidst a huge hail storm, which in turn had left his gazebo looking like nothing more than a trodden on spider with too many legs.
Not deterred by his cries Sharon, Emma and I packed up the car and headed for Midmar with the new Cassa da Priors. We arrived shortly before dark and began setting up the new tent. It was a race against time and sadly the tent was not what we had hoped for. It was poorly designed, broke while putting it up, and leaked. None the less we were now committed and therefore sat down to an ice cold beer, ready for the stormy night ahead.
Clearly the storm had left everyone fatigued and we all headed off to bed early. But I guess it wasn’t too bad an option since, after many sleepless hours in a flapping tent, we were up early and ready to head out on our first bass bashing session.
After kitting up the rods and prepping the boat we launched and headed for our new favorite spot. Sadly the water was exceptionally muddy and low, and we were left guessing as to where to go next. We opted for the old location X where the water was at least clean and finally got down to it.
Although we could see a lot of fish (carp and bass) they weren’t in the least bit interested in our flies. Eventually however Nick hooked into a small bass which saw him getting onto the board. Things remained quiet and eventually we opted to head back to camp to spend some time with our families.
Much to our surprise we were greeted by an empty camp and so, after flicking off the bank for a while, we opted to head out once again. We fished some of the nearer bays which were equally as dirty and came up empty handed. The fishing was clearly going to be tough.
Back at camp we picnicked on the grass with our wives and daughters while mulling over our options for the afternoon session. Sharon, Emma and I also took a drive out passed the Mandela capture site where piles of flowers had been left in honor of Madiba’s recent passing. We stopped for an ice cream at the Piggly Wiggly and then headed back to camp for the afternoon fishing session.
The wind had picked up but it looked positive in that, due to its direction, we were hoping it would clean up some of the bays. Sadly however we were wrong. Thankfully we did eventually find some clean water but were forced to share it was a fly fisherman on a float tube. He wooed us with his tales of the previous day, claiming he’d caught and seen so many fish that it was like being in an aquarium. That however was no longer the case as we all fished the weed beds without so much as seeing a fish.
Back at camp we lit the fire and braaied up some rashers and steak for dinner. The weather played ball and we had a slight drizzle, but thankfully no big storms. That night we all slept like babies, well, until 5am when Mila politely woke us up for an early morning session.
By 5:30am we ‘d launched the boat and were at location X. Almost immediately I picked up 3 average sized bass on the surface. And then, for some reason, we decided to move. Bad idea! Our next venue had muddied up overnight and showed no signs of producing any fish. On the up side I was finally on the board and we’d seen some action.
Back at camp we cooked up some egg and made egg, steak and onion rolls. It was a beautiful day but the wind was up so fishing was no longer an option. Instead we found a sheltered area on the grass and relaxed while our daughters played in their splash pools.
Since Monday’s weather was predicted to be heavy rains we opted to pack up while the tents were dry. It meant heading home a day early, but it also meant not having to dry tents at home and a morning session to Inanda Dam where the fishing would hopefully be better.
Definitely not our most productive Midmar weekend, but a great weekend none the less.