Southern African Flyfishing
By Jonathan Boulton,
Mpumalanga, South Africa
Southern Africa has to be one of the most diverse and intriguing parts of the Dark
Continent. From white sand beaches, rolling Savanna with abundant game, mighty
rivers such as the Zambezi and Okavango and high mountain ranges with gurgling
streams. Like its scenery Southern Africa's fishing is equally as intriguing and diverse.
Hydrocynus vittatus translates literally as the striped water
dog. Arguably the worlds best freshwater gamefish, this pure predator inhabits the warm
rivers North of the South African border. These fish have conical pointed teeth and they
attack their prey with the savagery that only something evolved in Africa can. An excellent
quarry on the fly, spending more time out of the water than in it when hooked. The Zambezi,
Okavango and Chobe Rivers provide nerve-shattering sport in the months of August through
December before the rainy season makes things very unpleasant. Fishing is from drifting boats
so as to avoid temptation from local crocodiles. Large deceivers and Clousers minnows are
very effective, and a stout wire trace [leader] is a prerequisite.
World-class game viewing can be enjoyed as you flick your fly into likely eddies and backwaters,
as some of the best fishing is situated in Game Reserves such as the Lower Zambezi National Park.
Also present in these waters are the numerous bream species, all very
susceptible to the fly and weight for weight surprisingly dogged fighters. Accommodation is in
luxurious lodges or safari style tents with superb cuisine and service.
Missing the green, green hills of home, along with cricket, tennis and pink gins
the British colonists that first landed in the Cape shipped out fertilized trout ova with
varying degrees of success. The first successful plant was in 1834. Since then trout have
expanded their range, producing exceptional fishing in South Africa's high altitude rivers
and still waters. Not having any native trout present the introduced Loch Leven browns
are genetically unadulterated, as are the wild Mcloud strain of rainbows. There is something
uniquely African about walking down to the river in the cold morning mist while baboons in
the cliffs above bark their warning call. Fishing is hands and knees stuff, presenting upstream
nymphs and drys to very spooky fish. Exclusive access is guaranteed on the top waters in
Mpumalanga, an easy 2 hour drive from Johannesburg. There are no closed seasons or permits
required as all waters are private. Also available is professionally led wing shooting and big
game hunting safaris. Accommodation is in world class country lodges, with award winning
wines, cuisine and service or alternatively less pampered in stone cabins with home cooked
Often called South Africa's inland bonefish, this warm water fish inhabits most
of the large river systems throughout the country. It feeds in the fastest riffle water on nymphs,
emergers and adults. Once hooked it puts up a phenomenal fight said to rival the most
supercharged of river trout. There are several sub species
yet all are thick-set, full finned fish, and averaging around 3lbs with a good specimen
weighing in at between 6 and 7lbs.
The Southern most tip of Africa has a lot of coastline and that's not even including
the Mozambican and Seychelles Archipelago's. Warm water currents bring pelagic
gamefish right inshore and large Kingfish (Trevally), Bonito, Queenfish and many others
can be cast to by fly rodders from the beach and from boats drifting close inshore.
World-class snorkelling and diving is to be enjoyed with inshore reefs and flats providing
habitat for numerous species of fish, turtles, whales and dolphins. Lavish beach side lodges
provide an excellent setting to lay your head after a long day of sun, sea, aching fore arms
and delectable seafood.
South Africa can be reached by a number of direct flights, with Johannesburg International
being the main focal point from which to start any of these trips. The country is totally geared
to tourism; it is friendly and safe and has a currency that sees foreign exchange receiving
unbelievable value for money.
Mavungana Flyfishing Consultants is a company offering fully guided packages for all the
fishing Southern Africa has to offer, totally inclusive of pick up and drop off at Johannesburg
International Airport. All the guides are fully qualified and experienced. Transfers from the
airport are done in an air conditioned saloon and fishing excursions in a 4 wheel drive vehicle.
All equipment and flies are provided.
Please check out our web site for more information
and photographs and e-mail us for package prices. ~ Jonathan Boulton, Mpumalanga, South Africa
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