Another Underberg Weekend

Another Underberg Weekend

Hail As We Arrived

Having been up to Underberg earlier this year I was quick to accept another invitation to go up and fish a few of the UHTFC (Underberg Himeville Trout Fishing Club) waters. I put in a half day’s leave and met Neill at Plantations at 1pm. We promptly packed up the Jeep and were soon on the road to Alan’s house in Underberg.

After weeks of rain (over 400mm in a month which normal has around 90mm) I was glad to see that the weather sites all agreed that it would be a sunny weekend. That said there was a severe storm warning for the Underberg area on Friday and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Thankfully we had just carried the last of our bags into the house when the rains came down.

Lightning filled the sky and and cracks of thunder surrounded us. The lights flickered but thankfully didn’t go out as hail began to belt the earth. Amazingly it was all over in 10 minutes which meant we got to head out to a nearby water for a quick afternoon flick of the fly rod.

Hatch On The Grange
A Nice 1kg Rainbow

We opted for the Grange since it’s easily fishable from the bank, and we certainly won’t going to get caught on the water if the storm returned. The fishing was a little slow but this may well have been due to the conditions which had passed overhead.

I was lucky enough to pick up one small rainbow trout in the short evening session, and it came about in a highly unusual manner. After fishing the inlet for a while I wondered over to Neill who was fishing the wall. After siding up next to him I flicked my fly into the water and began stripping line off my reel for my first cast. Suddenly a fished jump a few meters out and I lifted my rod to put in a quick cast. Amazingly I was on! The fish must’ve taken my dead drifting fly while I stripped out line. After a short fight I landed the 1kg rainbow and took the mandatory photo before a quick release.

Back at Alan’s place we had a quick beer before heading out to a local restuarant for a fishermans pie (which was excelent) and a few more beers. Not bad for the first evening.

The next morning we climbed out of bed at 5am, had a quick cup of coffee and a rusk, and headed for Lake Ringstead. After the rain the road down to the water was muddy and slippery but the Jeep and Subaru made it down easily.

It was an awesome morning; very little wind, blue skies and 15 degree water. Their was also an abundance of life in the water from minnows to frogs. Several hatches also came off during the morning. Life around the water was just as alive with buck to the vibrant Red Bishop.

Alan was first into the water and had landed a lovely 5 pounder before Neill and I had even finished pumping up our tubes. After seeing this I was quickly onto the water and landed a nice 5 pounder shortly after kicking out. This was followed by a fish of around 1.5kg before heading back to the bank for a quick snack.

A Misty Morning In Underberg
Warren Prior With A 5 Pound Rainbow

The next session was a good one and produced 6 more fish for me. One of these was a 5 pounder while the rest were in the 1 – 1.5kg mark. Sadly I also lost a bus after it bit me off on a long run. Neill also did well landing two 5 pounders and five other fish. Alan got just the two 5 pounders off the boat.

The farmer had asked us to keep a few fish for the pot so I gutted them all and was amazed at what I found in one of the fish; a few minnows, a full frog, frog bones, dragon fly nymphs and snails. The full frog really amazed me since it looked bigger than the fishes mouth.

At around 2pm we headed back to Alan’s for a little relaxation before heading out to Blair Athol for a short afternoon session. Sadly this session produced no fish for any of us. I missed a single fish as I lifted my fly from the water but that was it, all was quiet. Blair Athol is a beautiful looking dam and perhaps on another trip I’ll fish it from a tube which may be more productive.

Black And White Rainbow Trout

Back at Alan’s we planted ourselves firmly in front of the TV to watch the Sprnigbok game. It was a little dissapointing despite the fact that we won the game. This was followed by a very late 9:30pm braai and a few more beers, and then we hit the hay.

Again we were up at 5am on Sunday. This time we headed for Northlands for a short scouting session before heading over to one of Alan’s waters. We arrived to a mist covered water and could not even see the opposite bank.

After being given the low down as to where the weed beds where we headed out. Alan was again the first into a 2 pound rainbow (I guess it must be the local knowledge). Fishing however was tough and I was disspointned when I missed a hard hit. None the less I continued fishing while Neill picked up a 2 pounder next to me. It was only when we decided to move that I checked my fly only to find the tip of the hook had snapped off. FAIL! Always check you fly after a fish (or nearly catch a fish).

Neill With A 5 Pound Trout

With the mist having lifed we headed for Alan’s water which definitely looked the part. It wasn’t too big and had well defined weed beds. For the last time we inflated the kick boats and headed out onto the water. It fished well with Alan getting 3 fish, Neill 1 (he dropped 2 others) and myself 4. All of them were in the 1kg range and strong fighters. In fact one of them took shortly after the line landed and promptly took me into backing.

At around lunch time we called it a day and headed back to Alan’s place. We packed our kit into the car and started the journey home. Another fantastic weekend in Underberg, and a big thank you once again to Alan.