There were times early in the season when I went to the mountains to fish only to find the streams running on empty, their ribs showing. I choose not to fish at these times, the fish are stressed with limited holding water, they’re vulnerable to predators, water temperatures are high, oxygen content low, I don’t need to exacerbate their problems – the rains will come, the rivers will flow again and the trout will still be there – I can wait.
It was mid-January, It was one of those rare days at the height of the devastating drought that has ravaged the country – temperatures cooled, skies clouded and there were intermittent rain showers binging some temporary relief. The garden outside the window looked rejuvenated, a new beginning, there was a freshness in the air and that wonderful earthy scent of damp earth.
I sat at my fly tying desk, with the sound of the welcome rain on the roof, replenishing favourite flies for when the streams would be flowing strongly again. Among them was a Klinkhamer tied like the original Hans van Klinken pattern – what could I do to perhaps make it more attractive to the trout? Simple changes – replace the dubbed abdomen with stripped quill or similar so that it will hang better below the surface as an emerger should and add a few squirrel tail hairs over the eye tied in Para RAB style to add to the general bugginess as a searching pattern.
Little did I know on that rainy day that the variation would prove to be so appealing to trout from the rivers of Wild Trout Country to the upland streams of the KZN Drakensberg. I first fished it on the Upper Bell River above Rhodes, where it accounted for 10 or 12 rainbows including a couple of 14 inch fish and another larger fish lost at the net, out of this Lilliput water. Since then I have had days on my home-waters when I have used the Klinkie almost exclusively – it’s a good fly.
Photo Andrew Mather
All images and copy in this post are copyright Peter Brigg Photography © 2017. All rights reserved