The late spring rains arrived. The trout held deep – behind structure, in crevices, undercut banks, in calmer back eddies, in places where the strong currents were weaker – nature’s life-blood rushed, swirled and plunged above them in a torrent on its downstream rush to the eastern seaboard. To say that the fishing was a challenge is a gross understatement, we cast heavily weighted nymphs, with large tungsten beads, some also pregnant with lead, and still watched as natures force swept them away with no respect for our efforts – there was little hope getting them down to where the trout were in hiding. We tried all the techniques we knew, but none worked effectively, even using back eddies and whirlpools to suck the flies down brought no reward and the trout were impossible to pry from their deep lies.
But, the weekend with three generations of the Brigg family in Snowflake cottage on the banks of the Bushmans River, all keen flyfishers, was a time to remember, of indelible memories. We walked, talked, laughed, had fun and explored all around us reveling in the beauty and fauna and flora of the Drakensberg Mountain environment.
The rain stopped and by day three the water level had dropped by 24 inches and although still fast and tinged with colour, conditions were improving and the bottom structure was beginning to show in places. We were up early to get in an hour fishing before packing and pointing the SUV’s nose away from the mountains and towards our home in the east. I eventually managed to net and release three browns a small 8 incher and two around the 16 inch mark, all solid, butter brown and heavily spotted. They fell to a Mooi River Hooker MRH – not my usual fly for small streams, but the fishing demanded desperate measures!
Provided the rain Gods were understanding and backed off for a while, I knew from experience, that in another two days the river would be in prime condition, clear, flowing steadily and the trout would be on the prod, rising to the dry fly this time – the heavily weighted weapons of mass destruction relegated to a dark corner of the fly box. But, the dry fly would be for another day. As we drove down the freeway, back to the rush of another kind – the city, traffic, people, grim and noise – we spoke of plans for our next trip to this little slice of paradise – the trout whisperers will be back.
All images and copy in this post are copyright Peter Brigg Photography © 2014. All rights reserved.