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SSouth African fly-fishing is assumed to pivot around the trout, but there’s an exciting indigenous creature called the yellowfish that deserves just as much interest. These wily fish give a good account of themselves in any tussle and are hardy enough to recover when caught and released. Invest in a Czech Nymph and cast away.
Apart from a massive trout fishing industry, South African fly-fishing also includes the indigenous yellowfish, said by many to be the finest sport-angling fish in the world.
For many years there has been a friendly tussle between South Africa's fly-fishing community and the wily yellowfish running in the Vaal and Orange River systems. Working on a catch-and-release basis, fishermen wait for the yellows near the various outflows of the rivers, the quiet sections where the fish in turn wait for their food to float by.
Some sage fishing advice, here: cast upstream and allow your fly to float past the yellow. Once you have caught him, hold him gently in the current so he can revive before being released.
You get two types of yellowfish In South Africa: the largemouth and smallmouth. They are classic angling fish, specifically twinned with fly-fishing – in fact, the yellowfish industry along the Vaal River alone has an estimated annual turnover of R1.2-billion.
Another strong yellowfish area is the Kraai River-Bokspruit-Sterkspruit complex near the mountain village of Rhodes in the Eastern Cape, just south of the Lesotho border. Rhodes locals have been known to turn simply lyrical in their descriptions of fishing for these agile indigenous fish.
Some of the best areas in South Africa for trout fishing are the Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Cederberg in the Western Cape and Dullstoom in Mpumalanga province.
The most sensational fly to hit the South African fly-fishing scene in recent years is the Czech Nymph, which, they say, has revolutionised fly-fishing for yellows. The names of other good flies include the Muddler Minnow, the Silver March Brown, the Flying Ant, the Grasshopper and the Small Popper.
Fly fishing in South Africa takes place between September and May.
Fly-fishermen in South Africa can generally talk for hours about equipment, so pop into any fly-fishing store for expert local advice.