The dilemma that every fly fisher faces at a TOPS Corporate Challenge will never change. The object of the weekend is to rekindle long-standing friendships that are all too often marginalized through digital communications. But, one is also expected to make an effort at the waters edge and contribute to your team’s scorecard, if for no other reasons than to justify your future invite.

It’s a balancing act that is generally toppled at Notties on opening night, with the animated conversation reliving the exploits of the last TCC gathering.

TCC leg 2

Knowing that the waters hadn’t really sparked in the 1st wave a few weeks back, after the opening celebrations of it’s 18th anniversary, the talk soon circled back to the feeding habits and holes of the Trout in WildFly waters.

The dam draw is held in some reverence as all of these lakes have memories and reputations that grow with every fresh glass. I’ve yet to enjoy a trip down memory lane in which a big fish on a particular water didn’t get the better of some angler!

And unfortunately, all eyes turn to the one bestowed with the responsibility of stocking these waters, as if an intimate knowledge of these fish is a prerequisite to giving them a home.

But, having managed most of the dams for the last couple of decades, I have learned a few valuable lessons about Trout, not least of which is expecting them to repeat what happened yesterday let alone last year. It is with this in mind that I pass on the chatter about their current behavior.

This is decent intel, considering that 264 Trout were recorded this last weekend, with more fish over 50cm measured than in any other leg in the event’s history.

Where to be fishing is the first question in a dam interrogation.

Trout invariably favor shallow water in the early am or late pm, feeling quite secure in low light from any potential predators, so the spillway of a dam is a sound starting point, as are the banks with a gentle slope.  These fish are surprisingly close to the bank, so don’t start slapping the water and stay out of your float tube, sight your Trout and lead moving fish with your cast.

This is something that Craig Cowell knows only to well, teaching the big Trout a proper lesson, recording the two largest fish of 59cm and 61cm.

Craig Cowell

As did Andrew Stuart, who caught 16 fish at an average of 49cm.


Not to mention Ian Cribbins

who in a single session

landed 6 fish all over 50cm!

Despite Winter, and the spawning behavior that can make the fishing a little frustrating, one also has to remember that they still must feed, so the other common GPS in the fly fisher’s Google map is weed-beds. It offers them cover and weed is the suburbs of a lot of insects/fish food. So don’t spend your time ripping and stripping the deep water in Winter… work the weed!

Wayne Stegen and Andrew Beech from the ‘Zimmers’ know this only to well, both landing a 56cm fish in the last session to earn their team a 5th place finish,

with the Non-descripts Taking 4th.

The top 3 teams were all on a count-out, such was the quality of fish with Gavin Cowell’s 4 fish all over 50cm in the final session rocketing his team, the ‘Nymphomaniacs’ into 3rd.

Gavin Cowell

‘WBHO’ were close runners up, but Bophelong Construction were crowned champions of the 2nd Leg of the TOPS Corporate Challenge.

The ‘Glass of Not so Serious Awards’ continued to give every team just reward for their antics off the field and the festivities had the last say, which is probably the most sage advice you could give to anyone when it comes to fishing!