There’s always a little trepidation before the official start to the Trout season.

With the waters having been rested over the heat of Summer you are never 100% sure of how the Trout have faired or if they’ll react to your finest cast.

Fortunately the 1st leg of the TOPS Corporate Challenge showcased what the WildFly waters have to offer and gave almost everyone cause to celebrate. As all who’ve enjoyed the festivities at the legendary Notties will attest to, these celebrations started well before anyone harrassed a fish. But level, if somewhat ropey heads prevailed and most were on the water as the sun made an appearance, which was fortunate, especially for Jardus Smith from the Hamill Bandits.

His very first cast delivered an instant response he wasn’t expecting and after a few heart stopping moments, he landed a 66cm, 9lb Rainbow Hen that would earn him the deserved acolades.

An impressive 159 fish were recorded in the first 5 hours of the opening session, which understandably created a very festive lunchtime in the beer garden, with blue skies and enthusiastic tales of exploits on the water, adding to the atmosphere. Talk of Damsels and Dragons echoed around the team tables, adding much credence to the advice that had been dispensed by the WildFly guides the night before.

After an entertaining casting competition to keep all the anglers on their toes, it was back out on the waters to take advanteg of the sublime conditions.

The afternoon session proved without a doubt that Trout were still feeding with abandon, another 110 fish making it to the net and a good few of these breaching the 7lb mark.

Just the time you spend on the picturesque Trout waters in the foothills of the Drakensberg is enough to raise a glass, but many of the entrants had notched up their personal best fishing session, giving just cause to celebrate in style. As always, after a little imbibing, the secrets of everyone’s success on the water was dispensed freely, so it was no surprise that the 3rd session again delivered over a hundred quality Trout. But the clouds then rolled in earlier than expected, throwing a spanner in evey fair weathered fisherman’s plans.

Those that ventured out into the misty vales for the final session were very well rewarded, with many fish in excess of 7lb’s as well as another couple of Trout exceeding the hallowed 60cm mark. With the temeperature dropping, the trophy Trout had woken up!

A total of 442 Trout were caught and released in the opening weekend of the TCC, which had tributes and toasts flowing all evening.Shenanigans off the field dominated the prize giving, with a bounty of sponsored goodies dished out to all and sundry. August beckons for the five teams that made it through to the grand final, who earned themselves a fishing holiday for their entire team, compliments of WildFly Travel.

A big hand to Kobus Potgieter and the Outdoor Warehouse team who took top hours as the winners of the 1st leg of the TOPS Corporate Challenge.

As we’ve come to expect from SA’s leading festive fishing event, the TCC yet again set the benchmark for 2024 calendar year.