The Cape Streams, or commonly referred to as ‘The Streams,’ are without question by any standard - world-class freestone rivers. Much like the kind of rivers you might find in Europe, especially your Scandinavian countries, these streams are spectacular. Almost as spectacular as the scenery surrounding them.
The past couple of years have seen some record temperatures in the Cape, resulting in shorter seasons and lower water levels. However, despite this the fishing has still been good. But make no mistake, a day on The Streams will still challenge any angler. Be it your approach, skill level, casting ability or knowledge on trout – there’s sure to be some element that will make you think twice. However, with this said, The Streams are by no mean the most technical rivers in the country as long as you have a good approach and presentation. Fish generally won’t refuse a well-presented fly, drifting with the buddle line from a small tail out, leading towards an overhang. However, consider the following points for your next trip down to the Smallblaar or Moelenaars.
Look before you leap. Only fools rush in as they say, so simply put, your approach is paramount to your success. Walking straight down to the waters edge will often spook a fish which will intern put the whole pool down, especially if that fish was towards the head of the pool. Hang back, sit down, and observe. Spotting one feeding fish, understanding its behavior, targeting and catching that fish is far more rewarding in any case.
Dress for the occasion. Tying in with the first point, its not deer season in the US. Orange is not the new black. Mottled, neutral colours such as tan, brown, olive and possibly light blue are the way to go.
Setup at the waters edge. Many a rod tip has been broken by walking down to the river with an already set up rod. The bush is thick, and sometimes you need to crawl to get through a spot. Save yourself the trouble and carry your rod down to the river in a tube or rod cloth.
Change is as good as a holiday. Admittedly, we’ve all done this. Picture the scene. You’re standing knee deep in the river, slightly hidden by a large boulder. You see the fish, holding. Just hovering, every now and again darting up to the surface to grab a tasty morsel before dropping back down between a submerged rock and an overhang. You make your cast, 45 degrees upstream to the fish, it rises and eats the fly – your strike! And miss... You immediately present the same fly to that fish and hope for the same result. As they say, that’s the definition of insanity. That fish probably wont eat the same fly, or if you’ve had a rejection, the same applies. Stop. Change flies – I’d suggest something either smaller or totally different. And if you can afford to, step down on your tippet. That might mean going from 6X to 7X, or even down to 8X in some cases - but it’s worth the effort.
R and R, like the drink, but not. Rest and rotate. If you’re fishing with a buddy, the best is to fish one at a time. This allows the water to rest and isn’t as pressured, and your poor mate behind you isn’t fishing to every spooked fish you’re presented your fly to. This can be done in the form of every hooked fish, landed fish or missed fish. Allowing your partner to also spot for you, something that can be invaluable.
My last piece of advice to you is to try something different. The water on The Streams is very different from river to river, stretch to stretch. Sometimes and 18ft leader with a size 20 F fly is the way to go, other times a single nymph presented on a French leader is a batter option – you just never know. And when all is said and done, its time to enjoy a glass of wine and reminisce about the days catches, losses and what you’ll do differently next time.