Sterkfontein Dam Blog: Jan – Feb 2021

Early January 2021 saw our team disembark for a month-long season at Sterkfontein Dam, South Africas’ most rewarding and technical sight fishing venue.

Sterkies is renowned in South African fly fishing circles as one of the few local venues where anglers can enjoy consistent sight fishing opportunities. It is also well known as being one of the most technically challenging fisheries available, where its golden targets more often than not, only accept well-tied flies, light tippets and the correct presentation. Anglers and guides are required to up their game if they hope to be successful while fishing for smallmouth yellowfish as they cruise along the banks in search of an easy meal in the form of a surface trapped emerger or struggling terrestrial. In essence its crystal-clear water, hungry yellowfish and a box full of dry flies. You can imagine the excitement as we prepared for a month of dry fly fishing at our favourite high summer fly fishing venue!

This season we explored Sterkfontein Dam with a mix of new and familiar faces. Together we enjoyed some of the finest dry fly fishing sessions we’ve witnessed over the years, with impressive numbers of smallmouth yellows regularly brought to the net. The red hot fishing action included an impressive number of smallies landed in excess of 20 inches, plus the odd largemouth yellowfish, which is always a pleasant and welcome surprise at Sterkies.

With a season so full of action it was hard for us to single out the standout catches, however after some consideration the following are what we consider to be the top catches from our Sterkfontein Jan – Feb 2021 fly fishing season:

#1 – Guest Tom landed what must be one of the most extraordinary catches to have ever come out of Sterkfontein. A sight-fished, 17 lb. largemouth yellowfish on 5X tippet. This fish was spotted cruising in the open water and wasted little time rising to sip the fly off the surface. After setting the hook, Tom did a great job protecting his 5X tippet as the fish took close to 35m of backing off the reel during an explosive first run. A few nervous moments followed while Tom reeled in his largemouth and after what felt like a lifetime the fish was firmly in the net. Everyone on the boat was ecstatic and overjoyed that Tom was able to land this truly special fish. Well done Tom!

#2 Ross’ smallmouth was found slowly swimming along a wind lane in the open water. The shot required a short yet quick cast of roughly 30ft. He presented his fly perfectly, roughly 6 ft ahead of the fish and on the line it was moving along. Once the old girl spotted his fly, she sped up slightly, rose, and gently sipped the fly off the surface. A super catch, well done Ross!

#3 – Russell landed the heaviest smallmouth yellow weighed this season which stretched the scale to 3.94Kgs. This fish was taken on a #16 nymph suspended under a dry fly and following the hook up took loads of backing, wrapping herself in some soft underwater structure in the process. A little patience and some luck meant Russel was able to free his catch from the snags and eventually get it to the net. Great work Russell!

#4 – Henry enjoyed a stellar day landing 8 fish, all of which were longer than 17 inches. The standout catch that day was taken late in the afternoon while drifting along a large verticle cliff. This hefty smallmouth yellowfish fell for a terrestrial pattern and gave a great account for itself before tiring and being brought to the net. A great fish Henry, well done

#5 – Although we thoroughly enjoy it when our guests catch big fish it is not the be-all and end-all to a successful fishing trip. Some of the most rewarding moments for us as guides revolve around introducing new faces to the venue and providing useful, relevant fly fishing guidance. Moments like watching a father and son get a double or simply witnessing our guests improve their skills during their stay with us is what we value most!

Sterkfontein provided us all with an incredibly enjoyable month of guiding and fishing. Our guests caught some very special fish throughout this season and we shared more laughs and smiles than we can remember. A special thanks to all that joined us. We can’t wait for what next year has in store!

For inquires about our 2021/2022 Sterkfontein fly fishing season please get in touch with us via email at info@flycastaway.com. We’ve already begun filling slots for next year and with all the summer rains it looks as though we’re going to enjoy yet another bumper season.

Till next time,

The FlyCastaway guide team

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