To state the obvious, I couldn’t contain myself after seeing Dale Hes’ photographs of his infamous farm ‘Dam Slam’ (previous post). I’ve always enjoyed catching kurper and have had this unrealistic dream of catching a 1 kg bluegill in Southern African waters since childhood. So I shamelessly invited myself to his next trip.
I didn’t expect much to be honest, because big bluegills are scarce in our country and it can be frustratingly difficult to make a big kurper eat a fly…Not to mention the bucket list 8-10 kg grass carp that live in that dam. Besides, Dale had spent much time chasing these fish and only recently had his best day, which is an indication of how much time goes into these fishes with fly tackle. One could, for instance, probably get all of those fish with a tin of worms and a float in one outing. With fly tackle it is a whole different experience and luck plays a big role in my opinion.
Anyway, it turned out to be a near perfect day on which each of us got our Dam Slam and Dale lost a grass carp to a dry fly hook that just couldn’t handle the pressure from the first run. We landed several big bluegills (some were so big they parted knots and got away) and decided to weigh my biggest; to our amazement it pulled the scale to just over 1 kg. Although not weighed, Dale landed a fish that was every bit as big as that one and what was even more astonishing was that we saw stuck-up fish hiding under grass that were even bigger. Unbelievable!
I guess we’ll return till we’ve landed a grass carp and a mystery bluegill each. The flies that were most successful on the outing were the modified Bloody Squirmies and a natural, weightless Woolly Bugger. The largemouth bass, bluegills and kurper were all caught on both patterns – these flies are some of my current favourites and I use them on most outings, as you may have noticed. The Woolly Bugger will feature in a basic step-by-step post soon.