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Month: September 2018

ASSEGAI RIVER 2018-09-01

ASSEGAI RIVER, SMALLSCALE YELLOWFISH

The Dept. of Water Affairs had opened the sluices of Heyshope Dam a few days before the arrival of my guests Dèhan Bezuidenhout and Jarryd Bach. Making the Assegai rise a few inches, this also affected the water clarity. During the night lying in bed I could hear the water flowing stronger and the sound of the water coming down louder. When we woke up for coffee I could see from the deck of the cabin that the water was flowing much stronger than the previous day.

       

For the first days fishing I had managed to gain permission from the land owner that a very productive section of the Assegai River flows through and has bigger and larger sections than those close to the cabin where we were staying on the river. This section had been closed off to fisherman for about two years and I believed that it would produce some spectacular catches for my guests.

On arrival at the planned honey hole we were informed that we were not to drive to the place I had in mind to fish first and that we should walk if we wanted to fish it. I ran this by Jarryd and Dèhan and they were keen to make the hike. After setting up our kit, we took a brisk walk to the pool. It looked clear enough and I placed them on the most productive spots letting them cast into deeper waters from the sandbank we had waded out onto.

       

After about an hour with not even a take from a yellow we decided to move, the reason for fish being scarce becoming apparent as we came across a number of operations where sand for building was being pumped out of the river. Since it was not too late we packed up and returned to the waters in close proximity to the cabin.

Here on the first hole where I placed Jarryd he went tight, with a smallish but healthy Assegai Smallscale, the next moment we saw Dèhan who was upstream on the same pool’s rod bend and his reel complain as what looked like a decent fish really put the screws to him.

I managed to make my way around the pool to, help him netting the fish, after a good fight and numerous attempts to get the fish closer, for the net to come into play I managed to net a proper sized Smallscale Yellow, that would have easily pulled a scale past 2,5kg and even a bit more. A few quick photos and we set the fish back in the river.

The pool had been spooked by now so we moved to a couple of other pools, here Jarryd managed another Smallscale Yellow, but with the river running turbid it was difficult fishing, yet the guys pushed on until it was nearly dark and we decided that a cold beer at a fire with a couple of steaks would be a better idea.

The next day we were up and out early again, the water still flowing strong, at one of the first pools where we stopped I managed to land a good sized yellow in faster water.

But that was it for the day, I really gained a lot of respect for these two enthusiastic anglers the weekend, even in sub optimal conditions and the fishing being really difficult they never lost heart, kept on plugging at it and were at least rewarded with a few fish for their efforts. What really set them above some of the anglers I have fished with was the fact that after I tried to slip a portion of their guide fee back to them it was discovered and returned to me. Absolute gentlemen they were about it, no griping no complaining.

The flies that were productive on this outing were Brown V Rib Caddis, Emerging Caddis, my Sand Dragon now renamed by Dèhan as the “Bytjie” (bee) and A Green Bodied Brassie with a hot orange bead. These flies stood out in the murkier water.

Till next time on the water

Warm Water Bends

SPIN FISHING ASSEGAI SMALLSCALES

SMALLSCALES AND CRANKBAITS

After spending some quality time on the Assegai River with skilled Protea Artlure angler Rudolph Venter, Koos Bonema and local experienced angler Pieter Heyneke, we came to the conclusion that casting lures on light tackle setups is not just a fun filled activity but also a highly effective method of targeting the Smallscale Yellowfish of the Assegai River.

Because of this we have decided to add light tackle spin fishing to our package for guests who would like to cast lures to the Smallscales on this river.

   

Short drives from one pool in the river to the next keeps the fishing pressure at a minimum, often allowing anglers to return to a productive pool again at a later stage in the day, the drives are quite scenic along the river and what seem like endless plantations, Fishing is mainly done from the river’s banks, casting to the edge of reed stands and other structure such as submerged rocks, sometimes wading is required and a stealthy approach into the water will ensure that fish holding close to the edges of the river are not spooked.

A minimal degree of fitness will go a long way especially getting in and out of the river and moving up and down the river from one spot to the other, the river isn’t very overgrown and mostly flows through gentle sloping gradient as it makes it way to Swaziland.

   

Most fish range between 500g to 1,5kg but on most outings fish of over two kilograms are caught and the odd trophy sized fish of over 3,5Kg has also been taken from the river, when spin fishing the number of fish is usually less than using fly fishing methods, but here its quality fish over quantity that sets using spinning methods apart, as the larger fish are often more predatory.

On a new pool are the first couple of casts are the most productive, from there the fish become slightly unsettled and will move to deeper cover, this is where the deep diving lures that stay in contact with the bottom are most effective. As soon as it becomes clear that the fish in the pool being fished are no longer bumping lures, it is time to move to the next holding spot, sometimes the next pool is within walking distance, at other times some driving to the next spot may be required.

When a fish shows itself by rising to the surface, a quick cast into the ring usually gets a fish that is close to the surface to turn and investigate the disturbance on the water’s surface often resulting in a strike, Smallscales can often be quite inquisitive and sometimes after the lure lands let it sit for a second or two, the fish will often pick the lure up as it slowly sinks

Recommended Setup

A 7 – 8 FT Medium to medium heavy Spinning rod paired with a good spinning reel loaded with braid and a 3ft fluorocarbon leader of up to 15Lb is sufficient to cast the required lures and also put the brakes on these steam trains.

Effective Lures:
Salmo
Hornets 3cm
– White Shad
– Black Tiger
Rattlin Hornet 4,5cm
– Yellow Holo Perch
Rattlin Hornet 5,5cm
– Sexy Shad

Rapala
DT Series Crankbaits
Shadraps
– Bleeding Olive Baitfish

If you would like to fish for some really decent sized Smallscale Yellowfish, on some of the most scenic rivers please feel free contact me for more details.