past articles written by Malcolm Meintjes

(Author of Zambezi Tiger, Remarkable Flyfishing Destinations of Southern Africa, Trout Through the Looking-Glass and other titles)

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                                                                SPRING INTO SUMMER (1997)

You may have heard it many times in recent days. About how quickly the time has gone. Was it not only yesterday that I looked forward earnestly to Spring and the emergence of the various forms of fly life that would draw the trout to imitative patterns in general and to the surface in particular? Now, in the blink of an eye,  Summer has awakened with its own set of idiosyncrasies.

 Through to early December, I had been quite happily fishing a floater when, all of a sudden, the trout disappeared to the bottom. Ours not to reason why, I sighed, though I persevered with the floater and the favoured Marabou and Copper in the top end of Dullstroom's Suikerboschkop dam. My associates took a more logical line and forayed deep where they were well rewarded with more than the odd rainbow to 2 kg. 

There is no doubt. If you wish to catch fish pretty much all the time, adaptation is the key. If you prefer a particular method of angling, you will have to take the advantage when it is offered. 

As the days grow longer and hotter, trout will tend to lie in the depths during the brighter moments. If you have not had much experience with a floating line and the little tricks that can be employed, sinking lines will certainly be of advantage though weed may be multiplying at a phenomenal rate.

 I savour my floating line fishing even when common-sense prevails upon one to make a change but manipulating a sinking line to great effect is an art in itself and should be treated as such. If you are keen on a trout or two and have no wish to scent the early morning sparrow, nor brave the multitudes of evening caenis, be prepared to search the dark channels with a solid sinker on the majority of days until April. If your favoured dragonfly or daphnia patterns produce nothing, switch to some minute pheasant tail, olive or Hare's ear nymphs - around size 14  Alternatively, if you have a good bloodworm imitation, such as Diggers Red, employ that off deep water dam walls with a slow sinker. Retrieve slowly using the figure-of-eight method and a modicum of patience.

A warning though. For the past twenty years the angling in the Eastern Transvaal goes into apparent decline from Christmas through to late March. It has little to do with the number of fish in the water, but more aligned to the stressful weather and water conditions that prevail. Very often I have found the variables, during those months, to be so adverse that the trout put on little weight and may even decline in condition factor during these months.

Do not be overly disappointed if catches are sparse.


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