I spent Sunday morning on the second beat of the Smalblaar River. Neil Rowe had called and invited – I was very excited seeing as I hadn’t fished the lower sections of the river in several years and all the reports I had were of great fish being taken over the season.

After a quick stop for coffee and fruit salad from the “Mecca” in Gardens, I headed up the N1 to meet Neil at the Klip River Bridge at 9am. The sun had only just just appeared over the epic vista of the du Toits Kloof Mountains. The river, considering the rain the previous week, was looking stunning. The fish, however, weren’t buying into the mid-morning start and proved very frustrating – nothing quite like casting to sighted fish only to have them flip you the fin.

There were loads of mayflies, both charcoal grey and dun, in the air and spider webs but no amount of matching changed the results. We put down to lazy trout and (hopefully) it would  turn on later. I eventually caught a 10 incher on a small brown Good Doctor’s Beetle. Neil then landed a similar sized fish on a caddis after targeting a group of fish that were rising in the eddy of a bigger pool.

Although it did get better, it never got classic. We caught a few fish. I missed most of Neil’s due the the fact I was playing photographer of mayflies and happened to land a beautiful rainbow on a very ugly fly – self portraits are a mission on the stream!

A big thanks to Neil for the great day.