I love climbing in the car in Cape Town to set off Eastwards. Towards Knysna, the Garden Route and Home.
With three weeks of fishing coming up, I was as excited as ever. My first mission was a detour close to Mossel Bay just to check the condition of the lower Gouritz. The river was crystal clear and made me even more intent to fish for winter yellows here. After Mossels, I made routine stops at view points of all the estuaries from Little Brak through to Sedgefield.
A phone call to Peter to catch up and check in – he’d fished Goukama that morning – put me a little more in touch with the area. Goukama has fished badly and therefore, thanks to only four fishing days, was scratched from the list. The focus would be on Knysna and Sedgefield.
Mom and Dad live within two minutes walk of the Donkey Bridge, a great area for juvenile Garrick and grunter pushing up onto the flats. A bit of time spent prospecting this area got the casting arm loose and left me a little weak kneed with a very close encounter with a grunt that seemed to be sniffing my prawn; my prawn obviously disagreed with the grunt’s high browed culinary expectations and melted into the background while leaving me smiling ruefully…
Welcome back to chasing grunter!
A trip to Sedgies resulted in a chance meeting with my old surfboard shaper and a loan of his new Supfisher.co.za fishing stand up paddle board. The fishing was tough with skittish grunts in the shallow water.
The Knysna grunts proved no easier and regularly gave me the middle fin(ger) because cruising off the mud leaving only a frustrated me staring at a bow wave. Damn I hate to love these fish.
I managed a trip to the family farm at The Brink where, after collected a bag of oysters, set about fishing the gullies. I have realised that this type of fly fishing is going to take so work. Deep gullies with rushing, broken water make staying in contact with fly, while trying to get it to the feeding zone, a difficult task.
And staying in contact with the fly is paramount. I’m going to have to spend some serious time exploring and experimenting. I know the fish are there. It is simply a matter of adjusting to environment.
The following days where spent on Knysna chasing tails and experimenting with flies. Its been good to actively pursue the “spotted mud squirters”. They are a serious challenge – I believe they are South Africa’s finest (and toughest) flyrod quarry – and the challenge seems to be never ending.
I’m off the Transkei tomorrow. So a shift in focus coming up.
All the photos: