Sunday morning started at the normal 5:30am for me when I packed the car and headed for the Kamberg Nature Reserve. Nick was heading up Sani Pass and so I’d decided to take the opportunity to explore the Mooi River which we’d always ignored for some unknown reason. Sharon was originally going to join me but ended up working at a golf day her company was sponsoring and hence I explored alone.
When I arrived at the reserve I parked at the picnic site near the gate and walked down to the river. My first impression was “WOW, what a fantastic water!” Carefully I climbed into the crystal clear water, which was flowing steadily, and began the trip upstream.
The upper Mooi River is certainly a technical wild Brown water when compared to the far easier Bushman’s River. The banks are often high and the vegetation is thick on both banks making casting tough.
The initial section had a lot of long, shallow runs. Walking along (and casting off) the bank was most definitely impossible and I was forced to wade my way upstream. Generally this is my favourite method of fishing these types of water but with it being so slow moving, and without rapids, I’m sure the fish heard me coming from a mile away. None the less I crept carefully upstream targeting the deep undercuts and vegetation providing ample hiding spots for the fish. Sadly this proved to be fruitless on this occasion.
As I moved upstream the long, shallow runs were replaced with large, deep pools. I should perhaps have switched to a nymph but instead fished them with a dry fly hoping for some surface action. I was forced on several occasions to climb the high banks (since snorkelling gear would’ve been required to make it through the pools) and force my way through the thick vegetation in front of me. What an adventure this was proving to be!
Eventually, roughly when I reached the dams, I climbed out of the river and made my way back to the car for a snack or early lunch. Fishing had been tough and I decided to spend the midday session fishing the dams in the hope of landing at least one fish.
Sadly the dams proved initially to be no more fruitful than the river. This could’ve been due to either the dropping pressure or the rising temperature which was nearing 30 degrees (or both). Failure however was not an option and I kept plugging away until eventually I got into my first fish at around 1:30pm. Amazingly the water came alive at this point with surface action visible everywhere. I got into a second fish almost immediately much to my pleasure after the hard morning.
And then, as quickly as it had come alive, everything went quiet. It was at this point that I decided to head home. I did stop off quickly at the old hatchery hoping to check out the section of Mooi above the weir.
Much to my amazement the hatchery canals have all been filled in (for quite some time from the look of things) and they seem to be renting out the building as accommodation. The section of the river here looked great but I couldn’t get passed the dammed up section without wading through a small feeder stream and so I decided to give it a miss. I headed slowly home stopping briefly at the Belgium chocolate shop for a few snacks.
Once home I went for a quick run to burn off the chocolate before climbing onto the couch and relaxing for the rest of the day.