Monday, January 10, 2011

West Coast on Fly - Olifants River Mouth & Brittania Bay

I spent the last week of 2010 on the West Coast on a family holiday and hoping to get some fly fishing in I went to my old friend Google Earth.  I ended up at one place.... The Olifants River Mouth.  It looked fantastic on aerial imagery so the first chance I got I made a break from it.  Its a 3h40min drive from where I was staying.  Usually with that sort of drive I expect the fishing gods to go easy on me.  Conditions looked good and I was set to arrive just before high tide at 14:30.

On the Satellite image it looks like the Northern bank will be the naturally prouctive spot for my quarry.  Wit Steenbras (White Steenbras), but on arrival.... A disaster.  Not only was the road rutted like a moto-x rhythym section, but the entire area was closed off for Aluvial Diamon Mining.  I begged some security guards for access to the river but they denied.  So naturally, I moved 3 concrete pylons, opened the gate with an indemnity stating that deadly force will be used if this barrier is crossed due to illegal mining activities and 4x4'd as far as my Prius would go.  Luckily that little car is a soldier, its been places i got stuck in my 3.0l D4D Hilux but somehow the torque and weight over the front axle gets it out of anything.... Even when its skidding on mud on the floorpan.  It took me covering some holes with boulders but eventually I got within sight of the river.

the hike in
Not feeling particularly safe at this point I packed by gear and began the hour hike to the spot I'd located on Google Earth.  All along the way there are holes where diamonds have bene sivved and most of the equipment was abondoned and still lying around (holidays).

I got to the spot, got prepped and the tide began to push.  I noticed a massive problem again. Erosion.  The diamond activities mean that the upstream flow runs about as clear as a river in flood.  Even at high tide.  This was no good, and fresh from getting chased off a flat by a Bull Shark bumping me up the coast I wasnt too keen on standing waist high in this water.  I tied on a prawn immitation under a Kio Kahuna strike indicator and did a few drifts... but feeling uncomfortable decided to navigate around to the other bank.  Its one hell of a drive but an hour later I was at the mouth on the Southern bank.  It was running clean here and same technique, I started drifting flies in the now outgoing tide.  I did this until sunset with no joy, eventually arriving back after 10pm.

Hike In
The Spot
Along the way I did notice a few spots that looked good for some shallow water calnwilliam yellowfish exploration.  Ill indicate the spots below;

It was time to switch to an easier quarry- Sand Sharks on Fly.  You can spot these guys by the ventricles on the top of their heads when theyre submerged.  And Brittania Bay has a lot of them.  A lot.  The trick is to spot one before it spots you.  Then on a heavy sinking line tie a short leader and strip a small crustacean fly about a foot over its head.  (apparently dropping it next to one and waiting for it to sit on it works too).  The strike is just like youve seen them eat baitfish on discovery.  They cant fight to save their lives but its good fish spotting practice and cool to see them up close.

Apparently Varkvlei is another area that produces for Sand Shark and Cow Sharks (7 gill) and Velddrif.  There are some Shad (Elf/Bluefish) under the bridge at Velddrif too but this time of year its hell.

My next trick was to try chumming at night in the Sand Shark spot for hopefully a few spotted gully sharks.  I chopped up about 200 sardines and with a thrower made out of a water bottle begain putting out a slick.  After chumming for 3 hours I put a sardine out on a hand line under a balloon.  My thinking is when I see action on the balloon Ill pull in, teasing the shark close and then when its close enough Ill cast a fly out.  Well, under a new moon alone on the rocks with some bush behind you isnt fun.... And no sharks came in this time.  But I know the technique will work elsewhere so It want be the last time its tested.

pilchards, chum thrower, fire wood

Teaser under the balloon

stripped and ready for sharks

More Sand Shark Pics:

Fly Fishing Brittania Bay
Fly Fishing Varkvlei
Fly Fishing Velddrif
Fly Fishing Olifants River Mouth
Fly Fishing for Sand Sharks
Fly Fishing Varkvlei
Fly Fishing West Coast


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