Changing Tactics by Jeremy Rochester


Changing Tactics by Jeremy Rochester

After many years spent targeting Brown Trout on our local rivers I have had moments when you think you know it all and within days you get stumped again. Our local rivers in the Natal Midlands offer so much variation from fast flowing rivers to small creek fishing, each river has so much to offer.
Our river seasons in KZN runs from the 1st September to the end of May and offers some of the country’s best river fishing.
Over the years I have spent countless hours fishing these rivers with the technical style of fly fishing, casting upstream with indicators and nymphs and fishing drag free runs, casting dry flies into fast runs and skating dries. Sure these tactics have produced some stunning browns over time and I have learnt a hell of a lot. With so many new styles of fly fishing in rivers around know a days, there is so much to try and keep up with, especially with the youth coming into our sport they keep growing with new ideas and styles.


Brown caught nymphing a section of the Mooi River on Dalcrue farm. Photo John Geils.

Spending many hour on the water with an old fishing mate Murray Cairns, he would always ask me why I went fly fishing. He would always head to the pools on the meandering streams and cast downstream and across producing some stunning river trout over the years. He always rubbed it in and was constantly on my back about my old school tactics of ethical river fishing.
This season I have had some of the best Brown trout fishing I can ever remember, living amongst the hills here in the midlands and having the opportunity to steal a few hours in the afternoons has been special.


Brown caught on the Mooi River. Photo Jeremy Rochester.

Casting big flies and swinging them across the current can make for some exciting fishing as these Brown Trout are aggressive while looking for a proper meal. Fishing a Xplorer T-50 9’0” 5 weight rod lined with the new Rio InTouch Grand fly line makes for a perfect combination for this sort of fishing. The Rio InTouch Grand has a very heavy front taper and easily casts big flies on long leaders. Minnow patterns and dragons have been my go to flies tied with loads of lead to get them into the zone quickly. Fishing a floating line with a 12 foot leader gives you loads of control and getting the flies into the right depth of water. Between fishing the rivers of Lesotho and our own home waters here in KZN I have caught some amazing Brown Trout this season swinging a proper meal for these fish on the heads and tails of the these local rivers.


Brown Trout Mooi River. Photo Gareth George.

I really enjoy the slower waters of the river in the deeper pools. The late afternoon is my favourite time of the day, waiting on that inevitable hatch as the sun starts to dip behind the Giant. Casting a long line, to weary fish as they sip away at the hatch on the surface film, works best this time of year. There is a small window of opportunity as the light fades quickly.
With only two weeks of the river season left I am sure to be stealing a few more sessions on the river before the still water season kicks in. Float tubing the still waters and all the festival fever starts soon so back to the vice.