A Wintery Nyala Pans

With the (trout) streams having been closed for almost two months now I was starting to get some serious withdrawal symptoms. I needed to get into a river, and I needed to do it now. So I picked up the phone, gave Nick a call, and we put together a trip to Nyala Pans to fish for the Natal yellowfish (or scaly as it’s perhaps better known).

Knowing that the fish are a little lethargic in winter I got off to a leisurely start and climbed out of bed at 6am. By 6:30 I was on the road and by 7:30 I was at the water, cup of coffee in hand, and kitted up. The drive had gone by quickly and the condition of the dirt road had been fantastic. As for the fishing conditions, well the temperature on the waters edge was around 5 degrees and I’d seen lows of 2 degrees during the drive.

I wondered down to the waters edge in a thick mist and began fishing my New Zealand style rig in an upstream fashion. The water was chilly and very clean, and I was hoping to pick up a couple of fish despite the cool weather.

Nick arrived shortly after me with his wife and daughter who were along for a picnic. After setting them up he joined me in the river and we worked our way upstream. By 12pm neither of us had landed a fish although I had missed one. Nick then decided to head back to his family for lunch while I remained positive and carried on upstream. Despite finding some fantastic water I eventually called it quits at 1pm, still fishless.

After a quick lunch on the grass we picked up our rods and got back into the water. The air temperature had finally risen and the water was also feeling a bit warmer. These two minor changes seemed to do the trick and I picked up a feisty scaly of just under a kilo on my third or fourth cast.

Warren Prior with a scaly
Warren Prior with a scaly

A little later I also picked up a nice fish of around 1.5kg which gave a fantastic fight. Both fish were in good condition although one did have a small growth on its skin.

Sadly Nick was not as lucky and when we eventually wound up at around 3pm he was forced to concede defeat and head home fishless. That said his day wasn’t a complete loss as his daughter took her first steps during lunch time, and I’m certainly going to claim credit for them.

All in all it was a fantastic day’s fishing in some tough conditions. We’ll be back!

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