Recently Elgro river lodge hosted their annual Small Mouth River Festival on the banks of the vaal river just outside Potchefstroom. For those of you that have had the privilege of fishing this amazing stretch of river know that it is one of SA’s top fisheries. With the target species being Smallmouth Yellowfish and for those lucky few in the know choose to target the elusive Largemouth Yellowfish. Xplorer Fly Fishing was there sponsoring prizes and working with the anglers to help them get into those slabs of gold.
The event kicked off on Thursday evening with the 65 entrants eager to hit the water. The evening kicked off with a presentation by Horst Filter about the amazing rivers he guides on targeting the largescale and smallscale yellows. After Horst’s talk the anglers have their beats drawn, excited to tackle up and hit the waters early the next morning.
Friday the anglers had a cracker of a day. The river was low, possibly the lowest I’ve seen it in a few years. The anglers had to pull out all the tricks to get into fish. With the river being so low and the clarity better than usual, one can’t get away with the close quarter nymphing throwing big chunky weighted flies, which is the usual practice on the vaal. Approaching from a good distance and presenting the flies accurately in the deeper seams will allow a smaller tungsten bead head to get down to the optimal depth without spooking the fish and getting snagged on the bottom. This I find is best achieved with an Xplorer Guide II 10ft 5wt Fly Rod and a Guide III 5/7wt fly reel spooled with RIO’s Euro Nymph line and RIO Flouroflex plus 4x and 5x tippet. This set up is designed to cover all your ranges of nymphing techniques… long distance and short. I spent the morning fishing with Andre Belbin a local Potchefstroom resident who had a brilliant session with 12 fish. A picture of Andre and one of his fish is below.
Derek Cuthbert from Brandhouse came through for the day and spent a few hours on the water. Derek saw a good fish rising under a tree and was adamant to hook it. A few seconds later Derek’s rod was bent and he landed a good smallmouth.
Friday evening was spent with fishing tales and hearing good reports coming from the anglers which set a good mood for our evening talk by Anton Hartman on targeting Largemouth yellows. Anton’s talk was very informative and the anglers left better equipped as to the feeding habits and where one would locate these prize fish.
Saturday the bruised and battered anglers did really well. Learning from their previous days experiences there were some high catch rates being reported. Most of the gents had a brilliant day getting off the water early for the Rugby to watch SA beat Wales. After a nail biting game the long awaited prize giving took place. With a talk from Mark Yelland, covering the general info of effective fishing, from etiquette on the river to tackle requirements. The show was left up to Kobus Fourie the owner of Elgro Lodge. Kobus as always had an amazing prize giving making sure each and every angler received a prize.
The annual Elgro Smallmouth Festival is an event worth attending and good friendships and fishing is always guaranteed.
If you are interested in fishing at Elgro River lodge their website is : http://elgroriverlodge.co.za
The lodge caters for the whole family with a variety of activities. River rafting can be arranged or a spa treatment for your other half. Definitely worth a visit.