Monday, 20 February 2012

Czech Nymphing and some Kindergarten Smallmouth Yellowfish

I fished the Vaal River between Parys and Potchefstroom on Saturday with my girlfriend and some friends. As we arrived at our venue we where met with gloomy skies and a fine drizzle of rain. Although conditions were not ideal, nothing was going to keep me out the water.

The first few hours I was exploring the water and spotted some Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) feeding on some overhanging reeds. I made a few casts at them with different fly patterns with little to know interest. Will have to conjure up some kind of a vegetation fly for the next outing, something that represents fallen reed leaves or hyacinths. I moved on further down river and spotted a shoal of Carp (Cyprinus carpio) tailing in the shallows, this got me quite excited with some fish probably weighing around the 5kg mark. The carp was slowly moving towards me and I quickly tied on a bloodworm pattern and drifted the fly past them with no response. After another try the fish were so close to me that I could almost touch one of them, he eventually noticed me and startled the whole school.

After wasting some time on these alien species I rigged up a Czech Nymph rig with three flies: a lead and thread caddis as my control fly, a PTN and a orange bead brassie.

Green Lead and Thread Caddis Larvae
I started fishing my way up to a set of rapids and after about the first cast hooked into a fish that came of a few seconds later. A half an hour later while fishing in the rapids I eventually hooked my first little yellow in the fast water on the control fly.

The Average Size
A few casts later and I was into another little yellow, this time on the orange bead brassie. This seemed to be the trend of the day, I caught about 20 fish with only one fish being over 1kg. I reckon the water clarity made the bigger fish skittish and complicated things. Although I only caught small fish it was still quite fun and the kindergarten kept me busy practising my bite detection.

One of the Toddlers
Eventually I found that drifting my rig down stream in the fast flowing rapids in the rapids produced the most fish. I caught about 8 fish in about 20 minutes with this technique and it also delivered the biggest fish of the day.

Another victim to the orange bead brassie
Biggest for the day!
The Technique

What I basically did was stand in the fastest section in the rapid facing downstream and fishing in the tail end of the rapid. I would lift my flies up place them in the fast water and let them wash down into the slower sections. As soon as my line started lifting I would bring my rod tip down, low to the water and start a slow retrieve. Most fish where hooked as soon as the line started lifting or on the slow retrieve. The most important thing was always to keep in contact with the flies to detect any bites. This technique proved deadly and I could even detect the smallest of fish hitting my flies.


  1. Hi Pieter! I'm from Spain, and in my country fishing barbels on fly.
    Its more similar to the yellows, the spanish barbels and yellows are from the same family.
    Hope keep in touch.

    Nice yellows!

    1. Good day Calos,

      I have seen barbel on television before, they look quite similar yes, just think that the barbel have a more downward facing mouth! I you would ever like to fish for Yellowfish you should plan a trip down to South Africa, you would enjoy it! What rivers do you fish in Spain? I would love to comae and fish for the Wels Catfish in the river Ebro!

    2. Hope go to south africa someday! I would like fishing all the barbels in the world...
      In spain are more species of barbel, for example the comizo, his mouth more upward and big like the bigmouth yellowfish.
      But all the species eat dry flies.

      I fishing in the Tajo,Guadiana,Duero and Guadalquivir rivers basins, and more...

      The catfish form the Ebro it is an introduced specie, and extermined the barbels.

    3. I saw a program about the guy that introduced all the alien species, some people are just stupid!

      You must let me know if you want to plan a trip, we have 9 species of Yellowfish. Could be an interesting trip and it would take you through the whole of South Africa so you would see quite a lot of the country!

      Would be nice to fish with you maybe someday, you can show me around on your waters and how to catch barbel!

    4. Would like to learn the techniques and flies you use on that side, I like the dry flies you tie!