Its amazing what a good night’s rest will do after being completely exhausted. I awoke this morning feeling sharp and after coffee with the FlyCastaway team we drove about an hour from our cabin here in Lesotho to a river they fish twice a year. Once again, despite predictions of rain, the sky was blue and temperatures were comfortable for wet wading.
The nice thing I remember about fishing in Lesotho last year with my friends from Tourette is that these rivers are remote and untouched. Unlike any trout river I know back home, you never see another angler. Today was only us and we were likely the first anglers to descend into this canyon to fish in eons.
Where we met the water was less than a mile from where the river meets the reservoir. Ryan, Brendan and Craig went downstream, Gerhard and I went up. The high water line was 30ft above us leaving the river bottom well exposed with dead tree stumps protruding and dried up silt-mud to walk through. There was also plenty of rock which made for nice casting platforms.
Like yesterday the smallmouth yellowfish were abundant. The difference today however, the smallest yellows were bigger than yesterdays biggest. Gerhard and I took turns catching fish. The yellows were so cooperative it wasn’t a long wait between turns.
Best of all, today was entirely sight fishing. We could see the yellowfish cruising near the surface in the back eddies and slow water places while in the rapids they could be seen hugging rocks in inches of water. All you had to do was plop your fly within 2ft of the fish and you’d get them to eat.
Hooking yellowfish is harder than trout. Yellowfish mouths aren’t ideal for surface feeding. This is surprising being that they look up so readily. You definitely go through phases where you hook and land three in a row but then you miss twice that. Half way through the day I figured out the timing needed for each hook set depending on the angle in which the yellow ate my fly.
I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I estimated catching 50 smallmouth yellowfish today. The fishing was no less than mind-blowing! Gerhard spent most of the day shooting photos while I went on and absolute tear. I haven’t had a day like this in a long time. Miles and miles of fish filled river and no other anglers beating me to the next pool.
We finished our fishing around 6 PM. It was a grunt hike from the river back up to the vehicles. Along the hike up you pass locals herding sheep and chasing donkeys. Fly fishing in Lesotho is a wild setting to say the least. Last but not least, in the truck was our cooler full of beer, and well deserved, my South African friends declared today the best ever on this river. Wow! I’m a lucky guy. We kicked back and took it all in before returning to the cabin.
My jetlag was long gone tonight therefore I had it in me to have some fun. I always travel with my Sharpies so I busted them out and sketched a rising yellowfish on Brendan’s chest pack. Brendan aims to incorporate his pack into a yellowfish hero shot somewhere in the near future. I can’t wait to see it and I can’t wait to hit a new river again tomorrow. The team says we should meet the largest yellowfish of our trip. . . .