While it may seem like the cold hasn’t quite set in yet, the crisp mornings of the Highveld are a stark reminder that Autumn is upon us. This is the first Autumn cycle I have been through in the last 10 years and the fishing has been as good as I remember all those years ago.

With Autumn there was always a certainty of stable weather, and atmospheric stability is one of the main driving forces behind Southern African fisheries. The yellowfish of the Vaal River have had a late summer heat wave and are now settling into a slightly deeper water routine and starting to look up. As a fly fisherman and an enthusiast of fish eating off the top, there can be no better time of year to find the larger female Smallmouth moving all the way up through the water column and hold in a lie, so similar to trout. It is now when you can pursue big fish, often trophy fish on the surface which require the right amount of technicality in a fishing sense. Small pockets of magic can be found on the old faithful nymphing river that remind us, there are many different moods of the Vaal.

With a definite uptick in Black Woolly bugger sales, it means that the bread and butter season of South African flyfishing is here, it’s the season of the rainbow and brown. With the cooler nighttime temps, and a combination of an extended long summer, we are seeing a very interesting phenomenon happening, there is an abundance of larger prey items (frogs, tadpoles, dragonfly nymphs, tilapia and barbus species) coinciding with the cooling of the water, stimulating the natural metabolic rates of the trout. This means that fish are actively hunting in the shallower margins during low light hours making it the perfect recipe for some explosively visual action. As the cold starts to linger longer, its worth slowing your fishing down and presenting natural flies to the more wary and bigger fish for the chance of landing a summered trophy.

A new gem of South African fishing is starting to reveal itself in the small cosy town of Clarens - the mighty Ash river. She flows strong and cold thanks to the Lesotho Highlands water project, and has quickly become the home to a completely unique experience in trout fishing. Using an American styled drift boat, we are able to tame the intensity of the river and fish for wild spawned, fin perfect rainbow trout in a part of the country characterised by sandstone cliffs and ever waving Poplars. Either using delicately presented nymphs or sometimes hauling a larger streamer with a very suggestive name, the experience of fishing a river in this environment is unmatched in our landscapes. Please contact  for more info.

And finally, we go from the delicacies of 3 to 5 weight rods with 5x tippet to the heavy metal nature of one of the planets most veracious predators, the Tigerfish.  Autumn is a great time of year for these fish for our Pongola based guided operation because the chance at catching a real trophy is a distinct reality. With high waters that have settled down after a long summer, the Tigers will move with aggression through the structures and blitzkrieg unsuspecting prey items in their last remaining shelter. The unique African experience of waking up early and shaking off the chilliness of the morning with accurate casts, surrounded by the sounds of the African bush, waking up into a routine set in the annuals of time, to the roaring of a large fire, the smell of cooking meat and the gentle caress of a Gin and Tonic to keep the mozzies away. We are looking forward to our season; follow along our social media posts to see the results and for any information, please contact

Autumn is a time of year when the change is stark, where the cycles of life of the summer have ended and the predators of the water are capitalizing on the last opportunity Summer has provided for them. It is the time of year for big fires, insulated clothing and most importantly, big fish.