Smalbaar River - South Africa

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by msteudel, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. msteudel

    msteudel Mark Steudel

    After spending the last year in Kenya not doing any fly fishing, my wife decided that for my birthday we should go out with a guide and have him get us acquainted with South Africa's "Cape Streams".

    We headed about an hour outside of Cape Town through the Huguenot Tunnel, which is a 2.5 mile long. We met up with our guide, Phillip Meyer, who is South Africa's Fly Fishing Champion. Our river booked for the day was the Smalbaar, a beautiful freestone stream located in a valley with jaw dropping mountains on either side. From the parking lot we walked about a kilometer to get to our "beat". Many of the rivers are managed by the Cape Piscatorial Society, which regulates the rivers and dams.

    The fishing was tough, clear water, skittish fish, long leaders, and short casts, made for more fishing than catching. Most of the fishing was done from your knees or crouching behind boulders. Most casts were maybe 15 feet, which usually meant you had only about a two or three feet of fly line out from the tip. Not really being able to load the rod made casting awkward. We were encourage not to do any false casting so it was a pickup and shoot, with a strong wind at the back it helped, but it could also suddenly push your fly one way or the other. At the end of the day my knees hurt (fortunetly the guide brought knee pads), my back hurt, and my arm hurt. We didn't catch too many fish, three fish total. At one point I sat on three fish for about 45 minutes switch flies to get them to take, and finally did. Here's some shots from the trip.

    Check out the second pict, off my right shoulder is a white spot which if you zoom in is actually the fish airborne.

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  2. mike doughty

    mike doughty Honorary Member

    that's awesome and very unique. where in kenya are/were you? i went down to watch my cousin graduate from high school at rift valley academy.
     
  3. msteudel

    msteudel Mark Steudel

    We divided our time between living in Bungoma, which is in western province (about 45 minutes from the Ugandan border) and Nairobi.

    Why was your cousin going to school in the rift valley?
     
  4. flybill

    flybill Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!

    That's sweet! I have a few South African friends and am amazed at how beautiful their country is! One is a flyfisher from the Durban area and his dad and his father in law both flyfish. I hope to get down there in the next few years. I'll plan on meeting them on one of their trips back home.

    Pictures I've seen are awesome and parts of SA look like areas that I've fished in MT. I also just recently ordered a book on flyfishing South Africa and got this info from my friend Mark after I mentioned the book that I bought. I don't have the book yet, but it looks good and I'll post a review once I actually get it!

    SOUTH AFRICAN FLY-FISHING HANDBOOK by Dean Riphagen

    "Dean Riphagen, an avid fly-fisherman and fly-tyer, began his stillwater fly-fishing career more than 25 years ago on the lakes and ponds of KwaZulu-Natal, where he was taught by some of the province¬Ęs leading fly-anglers like Tom Sutcliffe and Robin Fick. His extensive fishing experience across all the provinces of South Africa has provided him with valuable insights into all aspects of stillwater trout fishing. In addition, Dean is a field editor for The Complete Fly Fisherman, has given talks, slide shows, fly-tying demonstrations and clinics across the country and is well-known for his innovative stillwater patterns. He is the co-owner of Frontier Fly Fishing, a specialist fly-fishing shop located in Johannesburg, and author of the successful The South African Fly-fishing Handbook.

    He is from the same province as me, so look out for the area called the Drakensburg moutains where we fish a lot."
     
  5. mike doughty

    mike doughty Honorary Member

    my uncle was a pilot missionary in zambia, 2 of my cousins were born in zambia and the one went to high school in kenya. stayed in nairobi, did tsavo national west and hit mombasa. i work around the ugandan's here, they have been helping me with my zwahili.
     
  6. msteudel

    msteudel Mark Steudel

    Where do you live in Washington? I was hoping to find some sort of community that I could try and keep up my limited swahilli.
     
  7. mike doughty

    mike doughty Honorary Member

    double post
     
  8. mike doughty

    mike doughty Honorary Member

    i am from washington, living in utah but am currently deployed to iraq. besides my swahili is limited to the basic greetings and such