How often do we sit around waiting for the perfect conditions to hunt trophy trout? Looking at all the different weather apps, following the moon phases and making every excuse why not to be wetting a line.
Living in the foot hills of the Natal Midlands I have no excuse for the lack of waters to fish, be it still water lakes or the free flowing rivers streaming out of the Drakensberg mountain range.
A couple of weeks ago we decided to wait it out as a massive thunderstorm pasted overhead, sitting beside a twelve hectare lake in the Little Berg, braving the elements.
An hour must have passed by with the storm finally moving off into the distance. We had been flogging the water all day with very little success and not much feeding activity from the Trout. The odd Fish Eagle flying over looking for a meal also went hungry.
These high altitude lakes have some of the best dry fly action you can think of. I had rigged my Xplorer T-50 9ft 4 weight with the Rio LT DT4F and a Rio 12ft 4x leader and a Foam Peanut Hopper in a light olive colour.
Conditions were perfect despite most weather stations showing a massive plummet on the barometer. Normally fishing on a dropping barometer means the fish are sulking at the bottom of the lake and are normally not too keen to feed.
Well a small window in the feeding habits and a hatch of flying ants can change anything! Watching as we started to stalk a few fish feeding on the wind line, I made a short cast off of the bank. I presented the hopper to a fish that had just ever so gently sipped a flying ant off of the surface. I popped the hopper once, just to straighten out the leader. Seconds later the fish appeared and gently sipped the hopper off of the surface. As I tightened up on the take the fish exploded through the waters’ surface stripping line from my reel. A couple of good runs and the fish was at the net.
Putting loads of pressure on the fish will mean landing them a lot quicker. It’s amazing how much pressure you can put on 4x tippet, making sure the rod is being used as a shock absorber. A couple of quick pics of this fin perfect specimen and a safe release.
The fish continued to feed for a small window period as long as the flying ants were landing on the water surface.
Dry fly fishing to me is the ultimate, long leaders light tippets and willing fish sipping terrestrials off the water. Of late I have only been casting to Trout feeding on hatches with a wide range of terrestrial patterns from #18 Elk Wing Caddis patterns to Big Hoppers and frog imitations. The take is what it’s all about, from gentle head and tail takes to the aggressive smash.
Lets’ hope we can all get back to our favorite waters soon. Remember isolation is the only way we as a society can get the better of this Covid-19 virus. Take this time to prepare your tackle for the next outing, get behind those vices and fill those boxes.