We chose to camp at Kalahari River Safaris near Kakamas as it was recommended by several people.
Setting up camp in 42C heat was not fun, but lucklily the site has lots of shade. At also has clean ablutions, ice and a bar.
The fishing in the areas was reasonable, but not 'on-fire' as it gets in spring. The bathtub temperature water must make the fish lazy.
My excuse for poor results :-).
We also fished below Augrabies falls in the Park. Note that reception isn't too clued up on the fishing, pointing us to above the falls.
The walk down to the river is steep, and once you get down you need to walk a few km's upstream to find moving water.
Note that it is very hot so take plenty of water, and save some energy for the walk back up, as it is murder in the heat. Try Platteklip Gorge at 3pm on a sunny day and you will get a feel for it.
The fishing wasnt bad, with my son Isaac managing a Grand Slam from the same rock with the same fly whithin an hour. I was targeting big largemouth, so predictably I blanked for the day. Having a cast and hooking into a massive catfish was fun for a while, but it beat me about 300 to 1.
The local Holy Grail was said to be Blouputs, where "the big largies queue up to take your fly".
After an interesting drive via Riemfasmaak we managed to blank for the day, as the fish must have been queuing up somewhere else. Blouputs has a large weir with a fish ladder which some fish were ignoring, preferring to hopelessly try and jump the weir.
Outeniqua Trout(less) Lodge
The next fishing stop was the upper Keurbooms River in the Prince Alfred Pass. We stayed at the Outeniqua Trout Lodge in a charming cottage, but only found out a week or so before hand that the Lodge was Troutless, and has been for some time.
We went anyway as the Kwaai River on the farm is reputed to have wild brown trout. It turns out to be almost as beautiful as the Jan du Toits river and was chock full of redfin minnows, with the brown trout in the upper reaches. My hiking takkies decided to fall apart at the wrong time, so we did not get up high enough to find the good browns. Serves me right for not wearing my new Chotas.
Somerset East Surrounds
Sneaking a Tenkara rod in, and fishing the waterholes in the Addo park was given some consideration, but when the moment arrived I didn't have the heart to shoulder out the elephants that seemed so happy there. Perhaps fly fishing for elephant could be done if I could find a way of casting a nice juicy tree.
It is not well know that Bruintjieshoogte, the mountains around Somerset East were the scene of much frantic searching for Unicorns in the past.
How this came about, I could not find out, but while driving to and from the fishing spots in the area we did see some fantastic wild animals. Varieties of springbok, rhino, and some exotic beasts from the middle east are all to be seen for free along the roads.
While looking for unicorns I spotted an Nguni bull with only one horn. Jackpot! an Ngunicorn!. Perhaps thats where the rumour started?
Isaac being instructed by Alan Hobson on the Little Fish river.
It is quite bizarre following the dry Little Fish river up into the mountains to where it is actually flowing, and seeing some massive trophy trout. Isaac had a go at one of them in a pool, but wasnt on for long. A water monitor swimming through the pool then spoiled as badly as a family of otters would have done.
The Angler and Antelope of course was our base, and they even gave us a midnight braai on New Years Eve, when we arrived back from Mountain dam after 9pm. If you havent been, what are you waiting for?
Remember to diet first and then put on your best tastebuds, as they are in for a treat.
Remember that if you book direct and mention StreamX you will be elegible for a discount.
New Years Day Waterfall Disaster
We had planned months in advance to picnic at the Glen Avon Falls for new years day in honour of Wendys birthday. Planning well in advance however does not mean that all goes well. Wendy was looking forward to a luxury picnic, and Isaac was looking forward to fishing in the pool below the falls.
Wendy caught in the serious downpour
We drove to the parking point and started lugging the r tons of picnic luxuries that the Angler and Antelope had provided. At some stage during the walk we noticed a mean looking cloud coming over the mountain, and it wasnt long before a soft rain started.
Alan and I discussed what we should do, as picnics in the rain aren't fun, but the main concern was the road out. Uphill and slippery clay.
The words "Lets see if it blows over in a few minutes" were hardly out of Alans mouth when the heavens opened, and almost immedeatly the water colour changed and the stream started to rise.
Doing our 'level' best to run uphill in clay, encumbered by bags was a farce, as by the time we got back to the cars, most of us had fallen in the mud and looks like dirty drowned rats.
Trying to drive out with 4x2 vehicles was a nerve wracking and dangerous episode, and I must have drained my adrenal gland three times over, but in the end we made it out to live another day.
Fishless days and Fishless (star filled) Nights
If you love wide open spaces, then the Tankwa Karoo is for you
If you love bright starry nights, the Tankwa Karoo is for you
If you love long, rough, bone jarring, tyre eating roads, the Tankwa Karoo is for you
If you love fly fishing, the Tankwa Karoo is for you
Yes indeed, that seeming barren land north of Ceres, is not only haunting beautiful, but carries clanwilliam yellowfish, and smallmouth bass.
It is home to the upper Doring (which flows into the Olifants near Klawer) and the Tankwa river, and the famous fishing spot at Die Mond.
Many large specimens have been caught at Die Mond, so it makes sense that in my quest for Clanwilliam yellowfish, that I head that way.
Oudebaaskraal dam, Tankwa National Park
But no, this bright spark had other ideas.
If the Tankwa river flows into the Doring, then the Oubaaskraal dam in the Tankwa Karoo park should hold some magnificent specimens!
That is, unless it has completely dried out since it was built in 1969. At a capacity of 34 miilion cubic litres, about two thirds the capacity of theewaterskloof
The end result was a sad score of zero fish, but I will be back soon.
The other score, was:
A full set of new shocks for my car, and broken suspension on my offroad trailer. I did mention that the roads were bad, didn't I.
If you can handle fishing with catching, the Tankwa Karoo is for you
Fishless days and Fishless Nights - Part 2
Given my current obsession with catching a clanwilliam yellow in the Tankwa karoo,
it will be no surprise to hear that I went back again.
Last time the trip cost me a set of new shock absorbers, but luckily this trip was cheaper, as I only shredded one R3500 tyre.
My Christmas list now includes one of those tyre pressure monitors, because, you guessed it,
I am going back again.
To save you some time and a sad story, we spend three nights at Die Mond, and two nights in the Tankwa park.
My fishing companion, Charles, managed to get two clanwilliam yellows at Die Mond, and my score was zero.
I lost a LOT of flies, and have learnt to be careful about what hooks I use, as I had a hook break on an unidentified big fish.
There are smallmouth bass and bluegills in the water to keep you from losing interest.
For those of you who have not been there, it should be on your bucket list.
The image on the left is the river at Die Mond, upstream from the campsite.
The Tankwa dam yielded nothing in the first session, but we did take out a canoe with a fish finder that told us there were fish.
Or free floating algae.
The second session was miserable as the wind was pumping which discoloured the water badly, adding to our misery.
With a persistent strong wind the next day, we gave the fishing a miss, but I havent given up on that dam yet.