What makes big Trout suddenly come out to play?
The weather obviously has an impact, as barometric pressure is unequivocally one of the few legitimate excuses in every fly fisher’s bible of reasons why we didn’t trouble the scorers.
Their temperament could be another, although this insinuates that they have a personality and short of their urge to feed, flee or fornicate, I just don’t give them that much credit. That said, they have the ability to both excite and frustrate and if that isn’t reminiscent of your better half then counseling is in order.
Feeding fish is what defined the 2nd leg of the TOPS Corporate Challenge and some chunky Trout saw fit to grace us with their presence. In the first session, Alex Bidder landed a 60cm Rainbow from Oakbrook, setting the benchmark for other contenders who landed 57 and 58cm from dams in the WildFly stable, with Hendrik Fourie getting three such beasts before lunch, only being outshone by his fishing partner, Rhuan Nel who nailed a 59cm beauty, this being his very first Trout on fly, caught at Loch Bess. It set the tone for a Trophy Trout weekend.
The great fare from the legendary Notties, with entrants respecting the new normal of social distance but still engaging in some festive banter across the tables, saw the Top Dogs (#1 fly fisher in each team) and Blobs (the unfortunate souls that caught the least) swapping tales and misleading fly patterns. Deciphering the red herrings, it became apparent that black and olive strip leeches along with red eyed damsels were doing the damage.
As one can expect from the Midlands weather, the wind drove the fishing down from 137 in session one to only 72 Trout in the 2nd session, but to get an opening tally of 209 fish in a day (with only 12 teams due to Covid event restrictions) had every fly fisher up before the sun on the second morning. Mist and drizzle coupled with a plummeting thermometer was the order of the last day, and yet many more fish breaching that 50cm mark continued to get everyone’s adrenalin pumping.
The inclement conditions were ideal for the Brown trout, which accounted for a surprising amount of catches, but proved to be too much for some, who retired gracefully to the warm embrace of Notties. Comparatively, only 106 fish were recorded in day two, which was attributed more to air than rod or competitive pressure. But to get 56 Trout over the half-meter mark making it to the net you didn’t have to wonder why so many smiling faces anxiously awaited prize giving.
Biggest fish was ultimately decided by virtue of species, being a gorgeous Brown of 60cm from InverMooi Estate caught by Gavin Bailey and top angler was justifiably given to Eddie Kriedemann from ST Fergusson for his total of 22 feral Trout.
Qualification for the illustrious final has never been closer with 9 teams in contention, but the last telling session witnessed WBHO and RoadSpan Royals being outshone by Bophelong Construction who took top honours. Hardy, Sage, Greys, Horizon, Xplorer, Airflo, Scientific Anglers and Rio left all the entrants with a bucket load of prizes, along with a dram of Bains to raise a glass in celebration.
With just one leg of the TCC left and the grand final being held in the 1st week of November, Spring and the subsequent hatches are sure to see many more hungry Trout looking for a playdate.