Archive | November, 2015

Last Day Fishing in South Africa

blog-Nov-28-2015-1-fishing-sterkfontein-damThe wind has finally subsided.  The clouds and cold, and today even drizzle, however continued on so it was another slow start for us and for the yellowfish of Sterkfontein Dam.  Because it’s the last day, Granny joined us from the get go despite hating the cold and rain.  Our friends of FlyCastaway, Tim Babich and Ryan Hammond took us directly to Elizabeth so Granny could see this beautiful section of Sterkfontein.  Unfortunately, the mountains and mesas were completely socked in.

 

blog-Nov-28-2015-2-flyfishing-sterkfonteinThe yellowfish were there.  They were hard as heck to see with the dismal light conditions but once you got high enough you could pick them up.  But getting them to look at a dry fly was near impossible.  Tim resorted to one of his little inventions he calls the cormorant and he made five blind casts and caught five nice yellows.

 

blog-Nov-28-2015-3-yellowfishing-sterkfonteinI went right over and snagged one of Tim’s concoctions from him and sight fished it as a dropper below the beetle.  Even the sight fishing with the nymph was challenging and in an hours’ time I only landed one fish.  Tim landed another two fishing it blind so I took off the dry and put on two nymphs, one of my own Vladi nymphs and the cormorant.  It took some time but I ended up landing my largest yellowfish of the trip on the cormorant.

 

blog-Nov-28-2015-4-granny-currier-on-sterkfonteinThe weather improved throughout the day and the fishing should’ve also but instead we went from seeing lots of yellowfish to a few to absolutely none.  I recon this species is similar to a brown trout and when they aren’t eating, they aren’t eating.  Other than catching a random largemouth bass, the only good fish hooked up after lunch was by Tim and after a great fight he lost it.  We were disappointed because Sterkfontein has some huge largemouth yellowfish in it and I have yet to set eyes on one.

 

blog-Nov-28-2015-5-sterkfontein-dam-south-africaWe packed it in around 4 and you guessed it, we went straight for the charcoal and prepared for one final and massive fridge cleaning barbeque.  Regardless of the difficult weather and fishing here on Sterkfontein Dam, this has been a stellar last segment.  Just spending time fishing with Tim again and meeting Ryan made this part worth it.  Thanks very much to these guys and FlyCastaway for taking the time to show us a place long on my list.

 

Tomorrow morning we’ll return to JohannesburgTim and Ryan will turn Granny and I over to Gerhard Laubscher and his wife.  We’ll spend the night and next day with them then begin our long journey home.  Expect one final entry for this trip with a recap and a few final photos.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

An Education Fishing the Sterkfontein Dam

blog-Nov-27-2015-1-jeff-currier-fishing-sterkfonteinA horrible front has moved in.  The strength of the wind is the same as yesterday yet it’s done a complete about face.  Our temperature has dropped from an enjoyable 75° to a miserable 55° so with the wind it’s no less than horrifically cold.  Yet we’re at the renowned Sterkfontein Dam to fish for yellowfish so we had to give it a try.  After an extended coffee time and breakfast Tim Babich, Ryan Hammond and I put on our ice cold wet wading shoes and socks and headed out to do our best.  Granny stayed behind again and is working on becoming an expert in Cricket.

 

blog-Nov-27-2015-2-ryan-hammond-fishing-sterkfonteinOnce on the water we headed for a place called Elizabeth.  Elizabeth is considered one of the most beautiful parts of Sterkfontein and Tim and Ryan have had excellent yellowfishing there.  The boat ride was rough and wet.  I wore my rain jacket but mistakenly didn’t put on the bottoms and got completely soaked.  We didn’t make it all the way in one shot but rather tucked into a protected bay for a break and a quick look for yellowfish.  Sure enough they were there and we took our positions.   Ryan hooked up almost immediately.

 

blog-Nov-27-2015-3-yellowfish-on-sterkfonteinThe bay was remarkably calm considering the ocean-like waves on the main lake.  Without the wind it felt warm and then the sun poked through teasing us as if there would be a break in the storm.  Meanwhile Ryan’s smallmouth yellowfish created a storm of his own charging far out in the lake and back several times before he was landed.  You can see why they’re so strong by the deeply forked tail.

 

About the time Ryan released his yellowfish Tim was hooked up.  I was thinking I should put down the camera and get to fishing but I’ll tell you from experience, if you’re looking for a nice segment of photos with fish than take advantage.  The fish may not come later especially with this crazy weather.

 

blog-Nov-27-2015-5-beetle-fly-patternsLast night I fished with some of my home patterns and got some looks but couldn’t find a yellowfish to commit.  Tim gave me a few of his special yellowfish beetles and I tied one on.  They’re spectacularly realistic looking and honestly I can’t wait to show one to a fish on the Henry’s Fork next season.  Unfortunately the first two yellows that saw the beetle refused and spun away.

 

blog-Nov-27-2015-4-tim-babich-flycastawayTim and Ryan use 5X tippet while I was stubbornly using 4X.  When the second yellowfish turned from my beetle I dropped to 5X but was again refused.  One thing I sometimes notice on stillwaters is that the tippet often squiggles on the water next to the fly.  On a river you mend and it goes away but not where there’s no current.  When I can see my tippet from thirty feet away it must be ridiculously obvious for the fish who is inches away.  Tim taught me a great trick to help with this.

 

Tim slides two of the smallest tungsten beads made on to his leader.  Then he adds 20” of 5X tippet.  He slides the beads down his leader to the tippet knot and secures the beads against the knot with the tag ends then clips them tight.  What happens is that when his fly hits the water, the weight of the beads quickly pull the tippet under right up to where it butts to the fly.  This eliminates the exposed squiggly tippet and it’s a much cleaner presentation leading to far more eats than refusals.

 

blog-Nov-27-2015-6-tim-babich-flycastawayIf you’re wondering about this technique sinking the fly, well it does if it sits out there long.  But one thing with yellowfish is that you drop your fly right in front of them so within a few seconds they either eat it or keep on going past.  It’s this quick reaction time that makes it essential to sink that tippet ASAP and the beads do that.  I learn great tricks from friends like Tim around the world.

 

blog-Nov-27-2015-7-sterkfontein-damIt seems you catch a couple yellows in an area and it’s time to leave.  After Tim landed his we went some time without seeing another.  That’s when we continued on to Elizabeth.  I was not disappointed with the Elizabeth’s scenery despite the cold gray day.

 

blog-Nov-27-2015-8-eland=africaAs we were taking in the scenery Tim spotted an enormous bull eland.  The bull was by himself and perhaps because we were approaching from the boat, his curiosity kept him from fleeing before I snapped this decent photo.   The eland is the largest antelope in the world.

 

 

blog-Nov-27-2015-9-jeff-currier-fishing-sterkfonteinAt the next spot my action kicked in.  Only first I had to pay the price of a beetle.  When I fish light tippet at home I use up to three feet of it.  The long tippet stretches and absorbs the weight of large fish enough so it doesn’t break.  With only 20” of tippet for Tim’s bead system, you better set the hook a bit softer because there’s not enough tippet for the absorption stretch.  I broke off the first yellowfish because I set like I would at home.  Luckily the next one I handled much more gently!

 

By the time we wore out Elizabeth it was 1 PM and we went back for Granny.  It was a long boat ride to get her but we promised if it got nice out we’d rescue her from a day of Cricket watching.  Well it was nicer when we returned to get her but by the time we got back on the water for the late afternoon session the weather went to heck again.  The wind picked up and the clouds thickened so spotting yellowfish was difficult.  That being said we landed a few more although Granny had a tough time with the short piece of 5X and broke off three yellows on the take.

 

blog-Nov-27-2015-10-sterkfontein-damThere’s a lot to learn for we American anglers in South Africa.  That’s the beauty of fishing here.  That’s the beauty of fishing the world – you keep learning new tricks.  There’s never a dull moment and just when you think you’re pretty good at this fly fishing you find out there’s plenty more to learn.

 

Tomorrow is our last day of fishing this trip.  The weather looks to remain awful so we’ll just do our best.  I’ve already fallen in love with Sterkfontein so I’ll be back again soon.  Tomorrow will not be the “last day” here by any means.  Time for the evening feast. . . .

 

A special thanks to our friends of FlyCastaway for taking Granny and I to Sterkfontein Dam!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing Sterkfontein Dam

blog-Nov-26-2015-1-clarens-south-africaThe Clarens Inn roosters had us up before 5 AM today.  Some people get worked up over such but I grew up raising Rhode Island Reds and I wish I had some roosters back home in Victor.  The early start had us ready to rock to begin the last chapter of this southern Africa adventure.

 

blog-Nov-26-2015-2-flycastaway-fishingThe last chapter is with my South Africa friends from FlyCastaway, Gerhard Laubscher, Tim Babich and Ryan Hammond.  Like Tourette Fishing, FlyCastaway is a phenomenal fishing company that guides groups to various exotic destinations.  FlyCastaway specializes in the Indian Ocean islands of the Seychelles and St Brandon’s.

 

blog-Nov-26-2015-3-fishing-sterkfontein-damI met Tim in Farquhar last December where he was the head guide.  Gerhard passed through Victor back in June and I had dinner with him at the Knotty Pine.  Somehow Ryan and I haven’t met till today but it seems like we’ve known each other for years. The plan for the next two days is to fish the famous Sterkfontein Dam for yellowfish with Tim and Ryan. Gerhard is recovering from a surgery so Granny and I will stay with him in Johannesburg on Sunday and Monday on our way home.

 

blog-Nov-26-2015-4-sterkfontein-yellowfishTim and Ryan picked Granny and I up in Clarens at 11 AM and we drove straight to Sterkfontein Dam.  The drive took slightly over an hour and to get there we backtracked through Golden Gate National Park.  We traveled through here on the way to Lesotho from Durban a week ago.  When we arrived, Sterkfontein was an inhospitable wild ocean of whitecaps with sandstorms overhead.

 

blog-Nov-26-2015-5-flyfishing-sterkfonteinThis was indeed a “Monsoon Currier” situation.  Tim and Ryan have us booked in a condo overlooking Sterkfontein in the Nature Reserve Site so we checked ourselves in.  It was so windy that the gusts jolted you as you walked.  It was quite hectic unpacking the vehicle and transporting our stuff in the condo.

 

blog-Nov-26-2015-6-sterkfontein-damWe moved in and got comfy.  Granny and I have been traveling so long our stuff explodes all over the second you open a bag.  I grabbed the fishing stuff which for these last few days will consist of my 4- and 5-weight rods and a variety of terrestrials.  Sterkfontein is famous for its dry fly sight fishing for yellowfish.

 

Once unpacked we sipped beers and ate lunch while hoping the wind would ease.  It didn’t and finally Tim said let’s go for it.  I’d never go on one of my lakes back home in these conditions but Tim and Ryan are captains and drive boats on the ocean for a living.  They also know their boat was made for this weather.  Before we could change our minds we launched and were bouncing our way to the Rock Quarry where some bays may be protected from the wind.  I’m sorry but it was so intense I didn’t crack a photo.  Granny opted out to stay back and watch Cricket.

 

blog-Nov-26-2015-7-tim-babich-ryan-hammondIt was late when we reached the Rock Quarry but today wasn’t planned as a big fishing day.  It was windy here too but fortunately the steep Sterkfontein banks protected the water’s edge and we could see yellowfish immediately.  Tim and Ryan guided me for the first ten minutes then I assured them I’d be good to go.  This is a weekend away from work for them and Sterkies is one of their favorite places so I want them to fish and not worry about me.

 

blog-Nov-26-2015-8-flycastaway-sterkfonteinConditions were incredibly difficult with the wind and our time was short for this session but I found enough fish to realize that this will be more challenging than I expected.  The yellowfish I cast to have PHD’s in fly patterns and spend their time scanning the cliffs for unwanted visitors.  I had two fish rise to my fly only to nudge it away and spook.  The rest spooked on my false cast.

 

blog-Nov-26-2015-9-sterkfontein-flyfishingThe three of us met back at the boat before sunset to make the crossing back to the condo.  There were fierce clouds in the distance.  The fishing results were Tim landed two and Ryan one to go with my blank.  I’ll be asking a lot of questions tonight so I can up my game tomorrow.

 

blog-Nov-26-2015-10-south-africa-barbequeThe next two days will likely be an education for me but challenge is what I like.  This famous place has long been on my list.  And I know you won’t believe this, but it’s time to fire up the barbeque!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fishing in Lesotho with Tourette Comes to an End

blog-Nov-25-2015-1-jeff-currier-fish-artI packed the rods last night so there would be no 5 AM temptation to fish the camp pool.  Instead me, Granny and the Tourette fishing guides sipped coffee and reminisced about our great four days all while I left my mark at the Makhangoa Community Fishing Camp.  I haven’t done art in weeks so I broke out my sharpies and drew the brown that got away on their refrigerator.

 

blog-Nov-25-2015-2-clarens-south-africaAt 8 AM we descended on the four hour drive back to civilization.  Granny and I dumped our stuff back at the Clarens Inn and Backpackers.  Tonight we’re staying next to the “Beehive” in the “Greenhouse”. Then we had a nice lunch in Clarens and after said our goodbyes to my great friends of Tourette.  I never know where I’ll fish with them next but it’s always incredible so I can’t wait.

 

blog-Nov-25-2015-3-clarens-breweryNot much went on this afternoon and evening for fun.  I’m so far behind on the blog that we settled into the Clarens Brewery and I typed away all afternoon.  This evening we had some Italian food at a restaurant called Mosaic Pizzeria.

 

In the morning we start our last leg of the trip.  My friends from FlyCastaway will be arriving to take Granny and I to the famous Sterkfontein Dam for a few days of stillwater yellowfishing.

 

We are so grateful for Tourette Fishing – Try Fight it in Africa for inviting us to join them on guides’ week in Lesotho.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Monster Trout in Africa

blog-Nov-24-2015-1-troutfishing-africaToday was our last fishing day in Lesotho and to say it went well is an understatement.  I awoke at 4 like most days here in Africa.  I told Granny I was making us coffee and then going down to the camp pool to catch the huge rainbow I missed yesterday.  She got up but wasn’t confident enough in my plan to meander down the steep trail just yet.  Instead she witnessed this first jump all the way up from our hut.

 

blog-Nov-24-2015-2-jeff-currier-troutfishing-in-africaThe rainbow jumped at least six times completely clearing the water more like a steelhead on an Oregon river than a rainbow from a small stream in Africa.  He couldn’t hold back on my flying ant pattern for the second day in a row.  This time I hooked him.  His battle lasted nearly five minutes on my 4-weight Winston.  As I landed the incredible rainbow Granny arrived in time to click of a few memories.

 

blog-Nov-24-2015-3-fly-fishing-lesothoThe first part of the day worked out like a dream.  Next in line was to put a spanking on the smallmouth yellowfish.  Instead of joining my friends of Tourette on a long march upstream, Granny and I opted to fish from camp up.  I fished these nearby pools on that cold, cloudy, windy first day and was blanked.  A little redemption wouldn’t hurt while perhaps luck was in my favor.  After breakfast we headed on down the steep trail past the camp pool and started hunting for fish.

 

blog-Nov-24-2015-4-flyfishing-for-smallmouth-yellowfishOn that difficult first day I had a yellowfish munch my Carty cicada on the next pool up from the camp pool but I lost him.  When we got to that same pool today a yellow was mulling around.  If these fish hold territories anything like a trout than this was the same fish.  I offered the opportunity to Granny but she was comfy watching.  I was crouched behind a rock and when the fish turned his back on me I dropped my ant to his side.  Without any hesitation he ate.  I hooked him and he spun line off my reel just like the other day.  The only difference today, he didn’t get away.

 

blog-Nov-24-2015-5-granny-currier-fishingGranny and I fished today the way we used to in New Zealand.  The fishing is tough there as it is here.  I always carried a bottle of wine in my pack.  When we caught a fish we took a few moments for a small glass of it.  Well, I carried a nice bottle of red that I purchased in Clarens for each yellowfish today.  We didn’t expect to be divulging so soon but there were no complaints.

 

 

 

blog-Nov-24-2015-6-flyfishing-for-smallmouth-yellowfishThe wine drinking slowed us down which is exactly what you want when sight fishing.  We moved slow and methodically.  Granny and I are a dangerous team because I have good fish spotting eyes yet Granny’s may be better.  After that first glass we wandered to the next pool and nailed another yellow and poured another wine.  The weather was hot sunny and calm.

 

blog-Nov-24-2015-7-jeff-currier-fishing-lesothoGranny and I managed to finish our bottle of wine with ease before we left the third pool.  In fact at the third pool we landed three yellows and perhaps would’ve landed more had a young Lesotho boy not watered his animals before us.  We didn’t care though.  When you’re in a foreign land far from home it’s not only about the fishing.

 

blog-Nov-24-2015-8-granny-currier-yellowfishNaturally, even after the wine was gone Granny and I continued.  We fished hard right up till the sun was gone and spotting fish became too difficult.  We ended up landing a total of seven of the golden gamefish of Africa.  Granny slammed the last fish in Lesotho for us THIS TRIP.  We had so much fun and enjoyed stalking the yellows and the huge trout here at Tourette Fishing’s Makhangoa Community Camp that we must return to see it when it’s not in drought.

 

blog-Nov-24-2015-9-fishing-in-lesothoWe got back to camp about the same time as the Tourette boys.  They went far upstream and had excellent fishing as well.  We kicked back outside and shared the day while the sun set over the mountains and at exactly the same time the full moon rose.

 

blog-Nov-24-2015-10-Tourette-FishingIt was the last night for most of us so as you expect we celebrated our fantastic time together.  We finished the rest of our Maluti Beers and South African wines and every piece of meat we had left went on the fire.  The third chapter of this amazing journey comes to an end tomorrow when the guides of Tourette Fishing drop Granny and I off in Clarens.  Stay tuned for our next and final segment of this kick ass adventure.

 

A special thanks to my friends of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa for bringing Granny and I to the Kingdom of Lesotho!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing in Lesotho

blog-Nov-23-2015-1-jeff-currier-fishing-lesothoIt will be difficult to return home in ten days to deal with winter and even harder to deal with the shortest days of the year.  I can’t stand short days.  Down here in Lesotho it gets light at 4 AM and I’m halfway through my coffee by 5.  And just like the last two mornings I ventured on down to the camp pool.

 

blog-Nov-23-2015-2-jeff-currier-trout-fishing-lesothoThe camp pool started disastrously.  I saw the brown trout and he no longer responds to any fly I flick his way.  I also saw two rainbows and the first was an utter monster.  I got my size 12 flying ant out and front of him and just like the brown trout on day one he rose and devoured it.  I set and once again, as if there was no hook in my fly, I didn’t even nick his huge mouth.  Before I could get too distraught, out came this rainbow and without missing a beat I dropped the ant on him and got him.  Phew!

 

blog-Nov-23-2015-3-granny-currier-fishing-lesothoI want the other rainbow tomorrow.  I kid you not, he’s bigger.  These African trout of Lesotho are something to write home about.  The guys came down to photograph today’s then we had breakfast and let the morning warm up before fishing.  Then Mark, Johann, Keith and I set off way upstream.  Granny had a “ladies day” and chilled out at camp.

 

blog-Nov-23-2015-4-smallmouth-yellowfishWe drove the Cruiser upstream as far as the Makhangoa Community road allowed possible.  Then we hiked to exactly where Mark, Johann, Granny and I stopped fishing yesterday.  This is the beginning of Beat 3.  The day was significantly warmer and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  The river has dropped another few inches and our ability to spot fish was phenomenal.  We arrived at the first pool around 11 AM and the smallmouth yellowfish were cruising everywhere.

 

blog-Nov-23-2015-5-jeff-currier-keith-clover-yellowfish“Cruising everywhere” doesn’t mean easy fishing.  I’ve already learned to respect the yellowfish’s ability to detect any sort of trouble in his neighborhood, especially an angler.  Keith and I got in position, he slightly upstream of me.  I can assure you that when I made my first cast the yellows sensed trouble.  I sped my attack up before they were completely aware and got my flying ant over them and luckily one ate.  Just as I stood up for battle Keith hooked one from another school.  Minutes later we landed double trouble.

 

blog-Nov-23-2015-6-flyfishing-for-yellowfishLanding a double in this low water was a miracle.  We went at least another hour before the next hook up.  This time is was Johann and this fish took him for a ride.  I tell you, I’ve only seen what the guys are referring to as average sized smallmouth yellowfish but they certainly fight hard.

 

blog-Nov-23-2015-7-yellowfish-of-lesothoWe kept the yellows coming slowly but steadily.  Everyone caught at least one.  By the end of the day we landed seven fish between the four of us.  I was happy with two of those.  My second was special because I stayed back and worked this fish for an hour.  He refused my special ant, the ball biter, and a variety of flies.  I finally got him on a beetle.

 

blog-Nov-23-2015-8-flyfishing-lesothoWe ended our long hike where Beat 4 starts.  Beat 4 is so high up that only Keith has fished 4.  That says a lot because Mark guided two seasons here at Lesotho.  The last few pools we fished had that crystal clear blue looking water and once again Lesotho has reminded me of New Zealand.  This place is spectacular.

 

blog-Nov-23-2015-9-tourette-fishingThe walk back to the Cruiser was long but enjoyable.  We hiked straight upwards for about ten minutes then took a narrow locals trail along the side of the mountain and looked down on the sections of the river we spent the day fishing.  It’s an awesome view and the once again the locals were friendly and curious.  But the river is low.

 

blog-Nov-23-2015-10-keith-clover-flyfishingLike every night this trip dinner was a delicious event.  We polished off more steaks, veggies and you name it.  Naturally we washed the scrumptiousness down with wine and beer.  Screw going home to the short days, Granny and I might just stay here!

 

A special thanks to my friends of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa for bringing Granny and I to the Kingdom of Lesotho!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

My First Trout in Africa

blog-Nov-22-2015-1-tourette-fishingWe awoke to a much nicer day than yesterday.  It was freezing cold but the clouds were gone and I could see right away the river came down a few inches.  I got up at 5 and slammed my coffee, grabbed my 4-weight LS and went back down to the camp pool.  I had a meeting with a brown trout.

 

 

 

blog-Nov-22-2015-2-trout-fishing-lesothoI went back to the exact log I sat on yesterday.  Guessing the brown to be too smart to eat my Carty cicada fly again I replaced it with a small red Chernobyl ant.  I pulled enough line for another bow and arrow cast and I waited.  The clarity of the water improved greatly and within minutes the same brown I missed yesterday swam slowly past me.

 

blog-Nov-22-2015-3-trout-fishing-africaThis time I opted to enjoy him for a few minutes and I watched him work a complete beat.  He swam past me then disappeared under a bush then out deep and around and back.  For his second pass I was ready and I shot my fly out and it plunked a foot in front of him.  Like yesterday he came charging but this time, like only a trout can do, he put the brakes on a millimeter from my Chernobyl and pushed it with his nose then took off.  Today’s chance was one and done.

 

blog-Nov-22-2015-4-ball-biter-flyI wasn’t off to a roaring start to do better than yesterday.  At least yesterday morning I got that tricky brown trout to eat.  I hiked the hill back to camp and the Tourette boys and Granny were just serving a big breakfast of bacon and eggs.  Keith was tying a few of their favorite flies for here, the Ball Biter Ant and he gave me a few to try for the yellowfish after breakfast.

 


blog-Nov-22-2015-5-flyfishing-in-LesothoMark
, Johann, Granny and I headed upstream after breakfast.  Despite the sunshine, the day was warming up slowly.  Rather than fish from camp we walked upstream a half hour and started in what they call Beat 2.  The scenery was unbelievable but the fish were nowhere in sight.
blog-Nov-22-2015-5-granny-currier-fishing-lesotho

 

What I love about this trip so far is that most of the fishing has been sight fishing.  Spotting fish then trying for them is a true art that I learned in New Zealand twenty years ago.  It’s not like in the US where you fish blind or look for risers.  Here you actually look for the fish swimming or hiding in his lie.  It wasn’t till almost noon when the water warmed enough that the first yellowfish moved to the shallows.  Granny got first crack at a school of three but after a cast they sank to the deep of the pool.

 

blog-Nov-22-2015-6-flyfishing-for-yellowfishJohann suggested for Granny to take off the dry fly and switch to a nymph to prowl for the sunken yellows but she’d have none of it.  She offered the idea to me and I told Johann to come down and do some nymphing while we watched.  Johann will be guiding for the next four months so he gladly went in to action.  Within minutes he landed the first smallmouth yellowfish of the day.

 

blog-Nov-22-2015-7-jeff-currier-trout-fishing-in-africaWe covered a bunch of water over the next hour unsuccessfully.  The water temp is simply too cold after last night to entice the yellowfish to get active.  Johann continued to nymph all the normally prime locations but he couldn’t move much.  I broke down and blind fished a bushy caddis fly in search of that first African trout.  It wasn’t looking good when totally out of the blue a small fish smashed my fly and in came a 10” rainbow.  I’ve now caught trout on six continents!

 

blog-Nov-22-2015-8-granny-currier-yellowfishingWe must have walked and fished our way several miles today.  It wasn’t till the very end that we caught our first yellowfish on a dry fly.  Mark spotted the happy fish and put Granny into position.  My lady can fish and sure enough she got him on my home favorite flying ant.  After she released him we reeled it in for the long walk back.

 

blog-Nov-22-2015-9-LesothoI didn’t notice from down on the river bottom while we were fishing but we’d passed right under the hillside village of Makhangoa Community.  On the way home our trail took us right through the village.  It’s amazing to see these people living so happily in their primitive way.  They were friendly and kind to let us take some pictures.  It’s these very people who watch and protect the river from poaching and work with Tourette.

 

blog-Nov-22-2015-10-maluti-beerIt was a warm night around camp.  Not only is the rain gone but it seems the cold followed in the rains footsteps.  We sat outside and grilled steak and sipped the beer of Lesotho, Maluti, till it was too dark to see.  This warmth should finally wake up these smallmouth yellows!

 

A special thanks to my friends of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa for bringing Granny and I to the Kingdom of Lesotho!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Challenging Weather Leads to Blank on Day 1 Fishing in Lesotho

blog-Nov-21-2015-4-tourette-fishing-africaThe rain hit hard through the night here at Tourette Fishing’s Makhangoa Community Camp in Lesotho.  We’re thanking the rain gods because they are experiencing serious drought.  November is the end of rainy season and the beginning of the dry season. The yellowfish rivers should be high and full of fish.  Instead water levels are already the lowest my friends have ever seen.

 

blog-Nov-21-2015-2-flyfishing-in-lesothoAfter the night of rain the morning clouds were thick but there were a few pokes of sun that snuck through making this gorgeous scenery even more dramatic.  The air was surprisingly chilly much like at home on a summer morning.  It makes sense however because our elevation here is same as home at 6,250 feet.

 

blog-Nov-21-2015-3-tourette-fishing-lesothoOur visit here will be four days.  Granny and I were generously invited by my friends of Tourette to be part of their opening of Makhangoa Camp for the season.  All their guides will be here by the end of today and this is their guides party like we have back home in late October.  It’s a real privilege to be part of this.

 

blog-Nov-21-2015-5-flyfishing-with-mark-murrayAfter my coffee I grabbed my Winston 4-weight and wandered down the steep hill from our hut to the camp pool.  Tourette’s guide whom I met last night for the first time, Johann du Preez, has been here a week setting things up and mentioned there are a few trout in the camp pool.  This excited me because I was unaware of the trout being here and I’ve never caught a trout in Africa.  How cool would it be to add an Africa segment to my “Trout Bumming the World” PP?  I tied on a Peter Carty cicada and my choice baffled Mark.

 

blog-Nov-21-2015-4-flyfishing-lesothoIt was 6 AM.  The sun was warming things fast.  There wasn’t an ounce of wind and the camp pool was deep and still.  It was stunning in beauty with the hillside colors and the reflection on the water.  There was something about it that rang of a few big fish hidden in there.  I snuck carefully through the trees trying to spot a fish.  The clarity was off but I still had six inches of visibility.

 

blog-Nov-21-2015-6-flyfishing-lesothoThings weren’t as quiet as it looks in the above photo.  Its spring here and the swallows and weaver birds were going crazy.  Up on the hillsides local Lesotho boys graze their sheep.  Occasionally they yell to one another from a mile away.  They say one word at a time spacing their sentences and amazingly the person a mile away understands and they go back and forth with the conversation.  It’s incredible and Victor, Idaho suddenly felt like a million miles away.  I grabbed a seat on a log to listen and watch the weavers weave their incredible nests.

 

blog-Nov-21-2015-7-african-brown-troutI must have relaxed for ten minutes when lo and behold a respectable brown trout swam by in the one tiny opening I had between the riverside trees.  I had absolutely no way for and overhead cast so from the log I popped out the cicada pattern with the deadly bow and arrow cast.  The cicada splatted and the brown charged the fat black dry fly and ate it so fast Mark would’ve fainted.  I set and as if I didn’t have a hook in my fly it slipped right out of the browns mouth without touching him.  The brown bolted and I was horrified!

 

blog-Nov-21-2015-7b-granny-currier-in-lesothoThat would be my one chance in the camp pool.  These are extremely wild trout here in Lesotho and a second chance was not in the cards.  Regardless of my failure to hook the brown I was pumped as heck and returned for breakfast and to organize Granny to hike upstream and fish more.  I proved we had a chance to catch some fish.

 

blog-Nov-21-2015-8-flyfishing-lesothoThe weather conditions diminished fast.  The wind came up then we had a squall of rain then hail.  The temperature dropped again.  It went from hard to see fish to nearly impossible.  We struggled through the rest of the morning before Granny gave up.  We’d walked upstream a mile and I returned with her with plans of a nap and some blog catch up.

 

blog-Nov-21-2015-9-flyfishing-lesothoThe Tourette guys knew sight fishing for yellowfish was brutal for today and they opted to work on camp.  After lunch I failed at napping and couldn’t get my writing mind in order.  The river below our hut just kept calling me despite the fact that now the home pool had whitecaps.  The sun returned with the cold and wind so I went back out solo and walked a couple miles till sunset.  Miraculously I spotted one cruising yellowfish and got him to destroy the cicada.  Unfortunately I lost him on the first run.

 

blog-Nov-21-2015-10-tourette-fishingIt was a hard day on the water but I gave it all I had.  The good news is that the skies have cleared and Keith Clover and the other guides arrived tonight with a weather report of constant improvement over the next three days.  We finished the day with beer wine and lamb chop stew.  All is good in Lesotho!

 

A special thanks to my friends of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa for bringing Granny and I to the Kingdom of Lesotho!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Makhangoa Community Camp – Tourette Fishing

blog-Nov-20-2014-1-fly-fishing-in-lesothoIt was gorgeous around the beehive this morning on the premises of Clarens Inn Backpackers.  Granny and I have been up at crack a dawn which is around 5 every day this trip and we sipped coffee till 7.  Then friends Mark Murray and Stu fired up the Land Cruiser and we eased our way into the tiny unspoiled mountainous Kingdom of Lesotho.

 

blog-Nov-20-2015-2-flyfishing-lesothoWe were headed for Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa’s latest addition to their long list of spectacular fishing destinations, Makhangoa Fishing Camp.  This place is home to some of the finest smallmouth yellowfishing in Africa and undoubtedly one of the most scenic areas.  It’s also a place where you can whiteness the local people living exactly the way they were thousands of years ago.

 

blog-Nov-20-2015-3-mark-murray-photographyThe drive was more like traveling in Idaho than Africa.  We crossed the border into Lesotho then drove up and up and away.  We went up the winding Mafika Lisiu Pass for the first hour and reached an elevation of 3090 meters (10,138 feet).  It was freezing cold and windy up top.  This is one of only a few places in Africa that receives a heap of snow during their winter.

 

blog-Nov-20-2015-4-katse-damAfter summiting the big pass we travelled up and down slightly but remained at high elevation.  Then we came to the Katse Dam, the largest dam in all of Africa, and an obvious observation could be made, Lesotho, along with much of South Africa is in severe drought.  The Katse Dam is so low that parts of the huge reservoir aren’t connected right now.

 

blog-Nov-20-2015-5-flyfishing-lesothoGranny and I were fully aware of the drought.  Not only did my friends of Tourette warn us that we wouldn’t see Makhangoa Camp in its normal state but we’ve dealt with water restrictions in South Africa throughout our trip.  The drought is just as serious here as it is in California.  While everywhere should be lush and green in November this year the landscape is brown and dry.

 

blog-Nov-20-2015-6-makhangoa-comunity-campOn the bright side, there was rain in sight.  Massive storm clouds formed as we drove and around 4 PM as we pulled into camp the skies opened up.  I heard chants of “Monsoon Currier Rules” from my friends of Tourette and we got soaked unpacking the Cruiser with smiles.

 

blog-Nov-20-2015-7-tourette-fishingThere will be no fishing tonight.  Since we moved into our rooms the rain has become heavy and the thunder and lightning is intense.  It’s quite chilly and were all hunkered down around the wood stove sipping beer and wine and just about to make a big spaghetti dinner.  The office contacted Mark and said we can expect the storm to last till the wee hours.  This is great news however it’s likely that the river will blowout for fishing tomorrow.  Till tomorrow. . . . .

A special thanks to my friends of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa for bringing Granny and I on their guides week to the Kingdom of Lesotho!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Travel for Lesotho Begins

blog-Nov-19-2015-1-flyfishing-for-yellowfishWhat a fine time it’s been so far here in South Africa!  I can’t thank Craig Smith and Edward Truter enough for the incredible fun Granny and I have had with the fishing, wildlife and sightseeing so far.  But today we began the journey we came for – fly fishing in the small country of Lesotho for smallmouth yellowfish.

 

blog-Nov-19-2015-2-tourette-fishingWe left Ed’s at 6 AM and flew to Durban.  We met my friend Rob Scott of Tourette Fishing – Fight it in Africa and drove to their office in Pietermaritzburg.  There I met with other Tourette friends Keith Clover whom I haven’t seen since we filmed the tigerfish segment to Connect in 2010 and Mark Murray whom I met tigerfishing in 2013 and fished with in Sudan both 2014 and earlier this year.

 

blog-Nov-19-2015-3-jeff-granny-currier-ZAThis afternoon Mark and Tourette guide Stu Harley (met Stu today) drove their 1991 Land Cruiser six hours from Pietermaritzburg to Clarens where we’re spending the night.  The drive was uphill the entire way and the last part was through Golden Gate Highlands National Park.  We saw herds of zebra, eland, wildebeest, springbok and hartebeest.

 

blog-Nov19-2015-4-jeff-currier-in-clarens-saWe are at the Clarens Inn Backpackers and Granny and I are staying in the “Beehive”.  An interesting room with just a bed and a boiling pot and some instant coffee – perfect.  We are off to the Highlander Restaurant for dinner.  We’ll head for Lesotho in the morning.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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