Fly Fishing in Africa

Guided 14 Day Fly Fishing in South Africa with Peter Baxter March 2014

June 10, 2013
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Download article as PDF Trip Itinerary PDF Dates: March 14 thru 28 2014 Cost: PP US$4950.00 All Inclusive In Partnership with… This trip is available for a maximum of four anglers, with additional space for family and friends not fishing. Multiple excursions are available at each location for those not involved in fly fishing. The character of this is fly fishing for trout. The opportunity exists for bass or yellowfish fishing on a fly, but primarily we will be hunting trout. This is a trip that would best suit the technical angler interested in exceptional dry fly and small stream/headwater work. Conditions in South Africa offer a superb synergy of climate and geography to produce sizable, spirited wild bred trout. […]

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Dry Fly Headwater Fishing in South Africa

May 8, 2013
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Download article as PDF They say that the pinnacle of a fly fisherman’s art is mastery of the dry fly. In fact there are those that say that the use of any other technique is not fly fishing at all. I am sure that this is overstating the point, but the small stream, small tackle principal is definitely addictive, and in my experience at least it is easier to catch a fat, torpedo sized trout in one of the warm water dams and reservoirs of the Eastern Cape of South Africa than it is to tempt a seven inch wild bred brown trout to rise up for a dry fly on the crystal clear streams of this superb fly fishing […]

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Fishing the Headwater Streams of the Western Cape

March 3, 2013
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This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013The Western Cape hinterland of Cape Town enjoys a well fleshed selection of fly fishing opportunities, quite a few of which are along the lines of stocked dams and reservoirs, but there are also a good number of wild stock streams and rivers, all within a few hours drive of the main metropolitan area. The best of these can be found in the Hawequas Mountain Catchment Area in a wide arc between the towns of Ceres in the north and Grabouw in the south, including Wellington, Worcester, Villiersdorp and Somerset West. Fishing these streams was without doubt […]

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Lagoon and Estuary Fishing in the Western Cape

March 3, 2013
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This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013By the time I made my way down towards the East Coast – that is the coast of the southern rump of South Africa – I had begun to run into a time crunch and could not really make the best of the opportunities available. I did, however, pull into the small coastal town of Hermanus, usually famous for its Southern Right Whale breeding runs, but also located at the mouth of the Klein River and one of the recognized coastal fly fishing hotspots along the East Coast. Hermanus itself is a lovely spot. In the African […]

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Highland Lodge, Eastern Cape, Home of The Bloody Big Fish

February 8, 2013
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This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013It was Wolf Avni who urged me to make a point of visiting Highland Lodge just outside Dordrecht in the Eastern Cape, enthusing in his inimitable way about some environmental anomaly that produces outrageously big trout. I had earmarked Thrift Dam as the likely source of the big fish I wanted before the end of the Eastern Cape leg of the trip – this is after all big fish country, but having failed to land that big fish, my hopes shifted to Highland Lodge. I drove up from Queenstown early in the morning, reaching the Stormberg at […]

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Thrift Dam, a South African Fly Fishing Legend Exposed

February 5, 2013
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This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013Thrift Dam was suggested to me by author and adventurer Kevin Thomas as being something of an oddity on the South African Fly Fishing circuit – this for reasons of it having been at one time an experimental water administered by the Rhodes University Ichthyology Department in the study of trout in South African waters. According to Kevin, it was reputed to hold some of the largest trout in any South African water. The other point he mentioned was that he had heard that it was now inaccessible without a four-wheel-drive vehicle. I added it to my […]

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Fishing in Rhodes, Eastern Cape, South Africa

February 3, 2013
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This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013(The image on the left is Tony Keitzman in 1992 with a prize winning trout) Leaving KwaZulu/Natal and entering the Free State is also about leaving the brash, California style mindset of that particular part of South Africa and entering an older, more culturally defined region of the same country. South of the Orange River things are very different. The perennial South African color issue is less sharply defined here. There is far less of that clear black/white divide in the south than there is in the north, and more of an historical blending that reveals a […]

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Fishing – or Not – the Beautiful Thukela River

January 28, 2013
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This entry is part 4 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 4 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013The Thukela River proved to be a disappointment. The story begins a few miles south in the Giant’s Castle Reserve where I fished the Bushman’s River, catching several ten inch brownies, but once again, as had been the case everywhere so far, that big fish eluded me. I had deliberately avoided seeking any advice on the upper Thukela River, located within the Royal Natal National Park, because I suspected that if I did someone would warn me that fishing hereabouts would be a waste of time. The Berg region had just received a comprehensive dousing thanks to […]

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Small Stream Fishing on the the Bushman’s River

January 25, 2013
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This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013After spending a week or so at the coast to take refuge from a wave of turbulent weather that washed over the sub-continent towards the end of January, and after taking care of a little bit of business, I set off towards the Drakensberg uKhahlamba National Park to test out the fishing in one or two of the many rivers that flush off the flanks of the escarpment, feeding ultimately into the catchments of the two big brothers of KZN rivers, the Thukela and the Umzimkulu. I had already fished the Umzimkulu outside Underberg, unsuccessfully I have […]

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Fly Fishing in the Southern Drakensberg

January 14, 2013
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This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013Underberg is a small town located on the southern rump of the Drakensberg Mountains, and is known primarily for its dairy output, but also as a well rounded recreational area for the metropolitan hubs of Gauteng and Durban. The South African Drakensberg comprises the east and south facing escarpment of the range (with the bulk of the high country beyond falling into Lesotho) which is for the most part protected within the boundaries of various park subdivisions, providing a sweeping wilderness preserve, some 130km in length, and in places 20kms deep, comprising some of the most breathtakingly […]

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Giant’s Cup: A Fly Fishing Education in the Foothills of the Drakensberg

January 14, 2013
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This entry is part 7 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 7 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013High in the catchment the rivers run clear thin and clear as gin…and fishing requires the lightest touches, ultrafine tackle, faultless presentation and tiny flies.. Those few magic weeks before spawning begins are, in the opinion of this humble pen, the most rewarding angling to which an aesthete can aspire. In calf-deep water, with nowhere to dive, even a two pounder becomes as acrobatic as a gymnast and more cunning than an octopus – Wolf Avni,  A Mean-Mouthed, Hooked-Jawed Bad-News Son-of-a-fish Particular thanks go to Ian Davis of the UHTFC, and Wolf Avni, author, philosopher and student […]

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Cath Fly Tying, Tying Flies in Kenya

January 8, 2013
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Download article as PDF I was surprised recently to be contacted by Catherine Akondo of Kakamega, Kenya, exploring the possibility of marketing trout and bass fishing flies tied locally in Kenya and marketed through a few organizations in UK, Canada and the US. The company, Cath Fly, is an offshoot of the more famous Ant Top Fly Company based in Nairobi. The minor anomaly of something as northern hemisphere, and perhaps as arcane, as commercial fly tying in a place like Kenya is probably not as odd as it seems, bearing in mind not only that most commercial fly tying takes place in the developing world for the western market, and that Kenya, with quite a few indigenous fly tying […]

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Connemara Township, Nyanga – A Fly Fisherman’s Paradise

January 5, 2013
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This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013The greatest peril in life lies in the fact that human food consists entirely of souls. All the creatures that we have to kill and eat, all those that we have to strike down and destroy to make clothes for ourselves, have souls, souls that do not perish with the body and must therefore be pacified lest they should revenge themselves on us for taking away their bodies – Inuit Proverb The Nyanga leg of Fly Fish Africa 2013, Get the Reels in Motion, was a little bit of a lesson in the futility of planning, especially […]

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Lake Kariba and the first Tiger Fish

December 31, 2012
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This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion - Fly Fish Africa 2013

Download article as PDF This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Getting the Reels in Motion – Fly Fish Africa 2013Arriving on lake Kariba on Christmas eve did not bode well for fishing. The party seemed to have started early. Neil Gordon, an old friend who was joining us on the lake, and who I had bumped into earlier in Harare, wandered unsteadily over to our lake side chalet fairly late in the afternoon. He and I had chatted in Harare a few days earlier over a few beers about the prospects of catching a decent sized tiger fish on a fly. He was, and is, a Kariba aficionado, and although he had heard or it done […]

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South African Fishing Flies

December 15, 2012
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Download article as PDF It really is quite extraordinary how well supported, deeply rooted and innovative the South African fly fishing fraternity is. One of the first things I did when I arrived in the country was to make my way down to the local bookshop to see what literature there was available on local South African fly fishing destinations and lore, and I picked up the latest edition of the FOSAF (Federation of Southern African Flyfishers) publication, Favoured Flies and Select Techniques of the Experts, which offers a selection of the preferred fly patterns of a number of recognized South African fly fisherman, most, if not all of which are tied by the contributors to the book. A Selection […]

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Catching Kariba Bream on a Fly

November 27, 2012
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Download article as PDF Bream in their many forms are a ubiquitous fish throughout Africa, and although they have a slightly mundane reputation – perhaps because they are so common and are caught in such large numbers, even to the extent that they are a dietary staple in many regions – they are a worthwhile sport fish, and are caught reasonably easily on a fly. There are many different species distributed over much of Africa, but the Kariba Bream could be one of three species: Red Breasted Tilapia, or Tilapia rendally, commonly known as a pinkie, found in large schools, and known as a decent fighter, although seldom caught at weights over 1kg, Nile Bream, or Oreochromis niloticus, quite a […]

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Fly Fishing for Zambezi Tiger Fish

November 26, 2012
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Download article as PDF In the Pacific Northwest the killer game fish to catch on a fly is the legendary Steelhead, but in southern Africa the bad boy on the block in the Tiger Fish, a game fish par excellence, and one hell of a fish to catch on a fly. Tiger have been sought after as a game fish in the region for many years, probably since the fist baited hook was dropped into the Zambezi. As a sport fishing quarry, my memory of tiger fishing was that it tended to be caught on a specific, two-tone spoon that was white or silver on the outside and red on the inside, presenting an orange/silver flash as it was retrieved. […]

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Fly Fishing in South Africa

November 8, 2012
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Download article as PDF It usually comes as quite a surprise to many European and North American fly anglers to learn that a strong and long standing tradition of fly fishing exists in South Africa. In fact both Kenya and Zimbabwe also offer modest fly fishing options – each of which being a little bit of a hangover from the period of British occupation during which great efforts were made to replicate the best of the British isles in Africa. The same is true in South Africa, of course, but having experienced a much longer Europeanesque experience, the tradition is much more deeply rooted in South Africa than it is further north. It is still certainly possible to have a […]

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