Winter Flyfishing - By John Henry Sinclair

Winter Flyfishing

With the recent rain in the Free State and Gauteng, It forced me to move back to the shallow waters. It was because of the muddy water and I wondered if it will spoil my trip to Soetdoring Nature Resort. Last year’s winter drought meant I caught carp in deeper clean water, and because I last caught carp on fly three months ago I was looking forward to it.

The water I chose for this expedition was Waterworks at Krugersdrift .This bank makes a lot of little bay areas in which carp loves to swim in. Upon my arrival I rigged up and was ready to go on the hunt. One must be willing to walk for kilometers on end during winter just to maybe catch that one or two carp on fly, and that’s exactly the reason why you have to everything to perfection.

My choice of rod for this day was my X loper 6 weight. This rod has more than enough backbone to keep the fish out of the long winter grass. I used a 0.21mm leader, 8ft in length and a CDC Kutling fly. I like to use ‘Palereje’ flies in winter. My 6 weight float line was white. I personally think that even in clear water, the color of your line won’t matter, just as long as your leader is long enough it won’t scare them away.

After walking about three kilos, I saw a big winter carp in one of my favorite bays. It was a lovely day out with the temperature on 20?C in mid-June! With the carp feeding in the shallows I knew, it was now or never. I casted my fly out to about 30 cm past him and then retrieved it slowly passed his lips. It swallowed the fly and then it was on! I set the hook with a gentle strike. What I noticed was that carp was actually not as actively fighting as maybe in summer. Must be the cold water making them more dormant. The carp still put up a decent fight and after a few minutes I landed a lovely 2.64kg carp in my net.

With my first carp landed after a long 3 hour hunt, I needed to find the next one. About 2.5km from where I caught the first one, I saw a large carp. I just saw its tail flipping and saw that it was feeding aggressively. Carp is not predators and will therefore not strike at something, but I could see it was struggling with something. I realized that the success of the day would now lie in the next cast, it would have to be executed perfectly. As I casted the line to and fro, I realized what a lovely sport fly fishing is. I casted and the fly landed on its nose.. Was it too close and now it would swim away?

No, “FISH ON”! The carp took the fly and sped off into deeper waters. I was anxious because I knew there was sharp rocks and the line was only that strong. Luckily I could turn the carp and shortly after it showed itself in all its glory. The carp was on its side and reflected the afternoon sunlight. A long one, golden yellow of color. Do you get something more beautiful than that? After it put up a good fight for another 5 minutes, I was able to land it. A most beautiful Krugersdrift dam carp of 4.254kg.

Unfortunately my camera fell into the water and I could not get a picture of it.At least my day ended on a high note and I could return home. This winter session was worth it.

Thank you Krugersdrift – until next time!