Queenstown Gathering 2023

Queenstown Gathering 2023

The Queenstown Gathering 2023

Every July, the Queenstown Fly Fishing Club hosts its annual gathering in Stormberg, located in the Eastern Cape. The club boasts approximately 10 waters that are home to some of the largest trout in the country. The gathering accommodates around 36 anglers, with each team assigned to a specific water. The event spans from Friday to Saturday evening, with most participants arriving the day before and departing on Sunday.

The Xplorer Team embarked on their journey from Durban on an early Thursday morning, undertaking a nine-hour drive towards the Eastern Cape. They arrived early Thursday afternoon, swiftly unpacked, and headed straight for the water! This year’s gathering presented considerable challenges due to the weather conditions. Snowfall was expected throughout the country over the weekend, and the wind reached speeds exceeding 60km per hour, making fishing from a float tube nearly impossible. However, despite these tough conditions, the anglers managed to successfully catch fish.

The weekend witnessed the capture of the largest fish, weighing over 10lb, with several others surpassing this weight lost during the fight. The Xplorer Team fished in two dams during the gathering, and the heaviest fish landed by the group weighed well over 9lb.

What proved successful during the event?

Dayle Mack quickly figured out the fish’s behavior early on. He effectively employed a bloodworm and egg pattern in close proximity to the structure. The fish were particularly responsive to the bloodworm pattern, suggesting they were following a spawning pattern. They could be observed cruising near the banks, exhibiting typical spawning behavior by selectively picking their prey.

Later on, the team discovered that the fish were attracted to Blob patterns, particularly in brighter colors like pink and orange. Additionally, a few fish were also caught using slim strip leeches in darker hues.Due to the strong winds at the event, only a limited number of anglers were able to venture onto the water using float tubes and explore the inlets. Unfortunately, the challenging wind conditions restricted their access to certain areas where there may have been substantial populations of large fish. Undoubtedly, those unexplored regions hold great potential for encountering sizable fish.

The tackle utilized during the gathering consisted primarily of fast action 5-7wt rods, although there were occasions when 8wt rods would have been more effective due to the prevailing conditions. Anglers made use of intermediate and hover lines to help break the surface and prevent excessive bowing of the lines in the windy conditions. To ensure successful hookups, a tippet strength ranging from 1x to 4x fluorocarbon was employed. Additionally, it was crucial for participants to have reliable wind and rain gear to protect themselves from the elements. Lastly, good-quality waders were essential for comfortable and dry fishing throughout the event.

Overall, it was a fantastic weekend, and everyone is eagerly looking forward to returning next year!

Queenston fly fishing club – https://www.qffclub.com/