Trout In The Sleet

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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 began to bucket down.

When I arrived at the water I was greeted by another angler and we stood under the lapa chatting as the rain fell. He’d been fishing for a few hours but hadn’t picked up any fish. Not a good sign but time was running out and this was going to be my only opportunity to flick a fly over the weekend. I pulled the hood of my Columbia jacket over my head and walked out into the rain.

For the first 45 minutes I fished from the bank, sadly without any luck. I couldn’t help but think that if I was out on the water my chances would be better. I therefore manned up, headed back to the boat shed, and launched one of the rowboats. I hadn’t made it far from the bank when I noticed some white fly on my pants. Odd, I thought, brushing it off, only to realise that it was ice. I looked up only to notice that the rain had turned into sleet. It wasn’t snow, but we were certainly one step closer.

Warren fishing in the sleet
Warren fishing in the sleet

I positioned the boat between the two small islands and began prospecting the weed beds. I had at best another 30 minutes before I needed to rush back to the hotel to make the kick off. Fishing remained slow and it was amazingly on my last cast that I connected with my first and only fish of a day. It may only have been a 30cm stockie, but it felt like a massive victory to my frozen fingers. I promptly released it and called it a day, rowing back to the boathouse. I quickly shed my wet clothing and jumped into my car, surprisingly dry.

Back at the hotel I dried off, warmed up, and then we headed into the Himeville Arms pub for the rugby. It was packed to the brim but we thankfully found a half table nestled in the far corner where I could see the screen from. We ordered food and drinks, and then Sharon entertained Emma while I watched the Boks take on the All Blacks. The pub food was great (especially Sharon’s chicken schnitzel), the beers were cold (and delicious), and the rugby was promising (until the last 10 minutes).

Not a great session, but any time on the water is time well spent.

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