Ryan Weaver is a good friend and great fisherman. Thank heavens he also has access to some lovely waters. I had beat six booked on Holsloot for the day based the thought that being a tail water, it may help with the higher than normal early season water levels. However, upon arriving at the gate, it wouldn’t open – the number I had got at the CPS office just rang – I had obviously missed something!
So the Hollies was not to be. About turn. Ryan made a quick phone call and access was granted to the Suzman’s water on the Upper Smalblaar – this section of river is below the section known as the Transport Beat and is sometimes opened to the CPS under special circumstances. It is, however, not available normally and many an angler has found themselves, purposely or otherwise, on the wrong side of the sign.
The water on the streams at the moment is high, but by no means too high to fish. The water is still cold though and the deeper water meant many moments of getting the nether ends of the anatomy uncomfortably wet. I took a calculated risk and wet with a dry – there were a lot of mayfly in the and I am rather partial to fishing a dry on the dry. Plus the almost uniform flow of the opening section of the beat made for exceptional dry fly water.
I opened my season with a beautifully wild rainbow on a #16 Tan Caddis. It was good to know that despite the cold and fast water, the fish would be coming up. However, this trend didn’t continue and the bulk of the fish were taken on Green Grubs, with the last one of the day on a #14 GRHE with an orange tungsten bead.
It’s been a long time since I fished the streams early in the season and you definitely need a different approach. The high, fast water means spotting fish becomes extremely difficult. You need to rely far more on your ability to read the water. Your ability to ‘see’ the deep water, understand what bubble lines mean, identify lies and spotting eddies becomes crucial.
The fish that came to hand were beautifully conditioned after what was a relatively dry winter – it’s only in recent weeks that the rivers have really raged and I think the fish have had a rather happy holiday from us!
To be honest, we started late and finished early – it was a lazy day’s fishing – but it was cracking day and a superb start to the season.
Enjoy the photos: