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Thread: Jozini Dam Tips, Techniques & Reports

  1. #1
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    Nov 2007
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    Default Jozini Dam Tips, Techniques & Reports

    Guys,

    As per previous threads over the years on Jozini Dam, I'd like to combine the knowledge of Jozini on this thread.

    I've read through all of them and it brings a mixture of views.

    Im leaving for Jozini of Thursday with 9 other guys and we are looking at making a successful trip of this opportunity. We have sourced info from everyone we know and now its time to tap into you guys.

    If anyone have recently fished there, please share some thoughts, tips and techniques on Jozini. Any information on the dam and fishing will be great.

    We will appreciate it a lot.

    A detailed report with photos will follow next week.

    Thank a lot!!

    Troep

  2. #2
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    Sep 2006
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    Vanderbijlpark
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troep View Post
    Guys,

    As per previous threads over the years on Jozini Dam, I'd like to combine the knowledge of Jozini on this thread.

    I've read through all of them and it brings a mixture of views.

    Im leaving for Jozini of Thursday with 9 other guys and we are looking at making a successful trip of this opportunity. We have sourced info from everyone we know and now its time to tap into you guys.

    If anyone have recently fished there, please share some thoughts, tips and techniques on Jozini. Any information on the dam and fishing will be great.

    We will appreciate it a lot.

    A detailed report with photos will follow next week.

    Thank a lot!!

    Troep
    Hi Troep,
    From a buddy of mine. A DI 5 or a DI 7 is the line of choice. 6 - 9 # rod. Sparsely tied baitfish imitations, chartreuse over white, blue over white.

    This trip was 3 months ago though.
    It's not in the catching, it's in the learning something new.
    view albums at. http://www.flytalk.co.za/forum/album.php?u=659

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Mordor (Jozi)
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    Default

    Thanks Herman,

    Dis 'n begin. Ek gaan als try en julle terugvoer gee.

    Groete

  4. #4
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    Dec 2006
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    Pretoria Gangsters Paradise
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    Default

    Ja, the choice in line all boils down to how fast you want to have to wait before you start the retrieve, I've witnessed a tiger see a fly and give chase from over 15M away.

    Major things to watch out for is the wind, it turns that place into an inland sea, so be weary.

    Red & Black, Green & Black, Gold & Black ... the colour isn't really the major factor, more a question of finding them and retrieving like a bat out of hell with the difference between a 10lber and a 2lber coming from your selection of structure to fish.

    Be sure to work the grass and any channel you can find, also don't be shy to fish seemingly 'barren' cliffs, with sheer dropoffs that plummet into the depths, there be monsters.

    You will definitely get less hits on steel than on a shock tippet, don't waste your time trying to find the right balance and technique for shock/bite tippets on your first trip, use the trace and get your fish out.

    Last tip, strip strike as hard as you can and repeatedly to set the hook, if you wonder if you set the hook properly ... you probably didn't, those bastards are expert at spitting you out on the jump or when they come up. Remember to (like with bass) drop your rod tip down & to the side, keeping it under the water surface when a fish jumps or is coming up.

    Good luck, hoop julle kry mooi vis en goeie weer, ek gaan in Desember :-)
    "Hierdie drol het baie vlie" - Ago 2014.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2009
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    gauteng
    Posts
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    hey Troep

    my father was there this past weekend and he said there were hundreds of tigers! he doesn't flyfish and got quite a few on spinners etc...

    the tigers were hanging out by the channels 10yards or so from the banks where there is underwater grass. these channels were full up.

    they had a big storm on sunday and battled to get off the dam on the house boat, so be careful regarding weather.

    there were some very big fish around as well.

    from what i know and the research i've done, blue over white is always good. but i reckon almost any well presented fly should do the trick...

    here is a report on jozini i found the other day...

    unfortunately nothing regarding flies but could help...

    Tiger Fishing Jozini Dam
    Where to find Tigers at Jozini

    This is the million Dollar question, and the answer is that they are all over the dam, they cannot leave or migrate.

    In the River Section you will find Tiger fish along the edges of the weed beds, in the little bays along cliffs and rocky points, by submerged trees and stumps and as this section is not deep and only goes to about 12m you will also find tigers in the mid water section. The river section is a popular choice and not to far from the launch area. Be warned that the river section is full of crocodiles of which some are huge, and you must always keep clear of the hippos who do not like being disturbed and will chase you on your boat if you come to close, hippos are dangerous and will kill you with no regrets. At the end of the river section there is a train bridge and you are not allowed past this point.

    The Bay Section has always produced good fish and there are a lot of weed beds in the area which always produce good fish, on the western side there are the shallow weed and grass beds; on the northern side there are a lot of stumps; and on the eastern side there are some good grass and weed points. Points always work well. The river and bay sections are good in the Tiger spawning season in September to November.

    The Main Dam is huge and as you come out of the bay area on the eastern side the is a large flat and shallow area with isolated submerged structure which often hold good fish, on the western banks there are lots of weed beds extending far in to the dam and the it is not deep, there are also some nice bays along the western banks and a lot of dead trees. The top northern section of the dam is in Swaziland. The middle section of the main dam is deep and along the Lebombo mountain’s there are a lot of steep rocky banks, little bays with trees and some weed beds. Again beware of the hippos. The main dam fishes well through out the year and in the winter months you will find Tiger fish in the deeper water. The wind can blow at Jozini and the main dam can become like deep sea fishing with waves up to 2m and closely spaced, then it is better to stay in the river and bay section which is more sheltered.

    The Gorge is one of the most beautiful places of the dam and often you will find yourself isolated here with just you, the water and the nature around you, it is a long boat ride of almost 20Km from the launch site, it is a must see area. The gorge gets to about 50-60m deep in the middle section, there are a lot of steep rocky banks and drop offs where you will find fish, and there are many bays with good structure, and with all the bays there are also many productive points. There is some weeds here but not to much.

    Big Tigers are found here, and the fishing can be hard but rewarding, with this area being productive in the winter.

    RIGGING AND FISHING THE LURES MY STYLE

    Leaders
    You can fish with or without a steel trace; personally I prefer to fish without a steel trace and use a 300mm 12-20lb Flouro Carbon leader with a 100mm 30lb Flouro Carbon Bite trace onto 10-16lb braid or even use a straight 20-30lb Flouro Carbon leader, you will get more strikes like this, but you also risk getting bitten off more often. I prefer the flouro as it is a little more resistant to abrasion than mono; you will also need to be really sharp when you get your strikes to set the hook and keep the line away from the Tigers teeth.
    To minimise the risk of your lure being bitten you can use a short 100mm No. 3 stainless steel wire trace tied to a 200-300mm 12-30lb flouro or mono leader using an Albright knot and then 10-16lb braid or even just use mono as your main line if you have no braid. A long steel trace will serve no purpose and will upset the movement of your lure. I prefer the braid as you have direct contact with your lure and zero stretch when you need to set the hook fast, and believe me you need to set it fast.

    Surface Fishing for Tigers
    I will start with rigging soft plastic lures weightless and fishing them on the surface, this is my favourite way and the way I rig the lures is pretty much snag free, and you get to see your lure swimming, the fish chase and hit your lure whilst fishing.

    With this method I use a 2/0 to 5/0 wide gape Bass hook depending on the size of your lure, which must have an acute angle on the bend by the eye to hold your lure in place. I then rig the lure the same way that one would rig a Bass lure, but there are 2 things I do differently, I do not bury the point of the hook in the lure as it is then very difficult to get the hook to penetrate the tigers hard mouth, I also use a drop of super glue on the shank of the hook by the eye to hold the lure in place as tigers have nasty habit of pulling your entire lure off your hook.

    Lures that I like to use are paddle tail lures, flukes and any fish shaped lure. My favourite lures are the Strike King 4” Glass Minnow paddle tails which have produced more tigers than any other lure I have used. The plastic that the Strike King and Z-Man lures are made from is much more resistant to the tiger’s sharp teeth when compared to other plastics and so last much longer and you can catch several fish on one lure. It is my opinion that the movement of your lure is the most important factor and colours and other features are secondary. Tiger fish like bright colours, and I think this is because they are visual predators and here are some colours that I have found work very well: Pearl, White, Green, Pearl/Blue Glimmer, Space Guppy, Green/Gold Flake, Green/Silver Flake, Baby Bass, Chartreuse, Bright Green, Pink, Electric Chicken, Red and any of these colours in two tone creating a contrast. Some plastics float and some sink slowly and both can be used, the floating ones will sit on the surface whilst the sinking ones will move in the surface.

    For fishing the weightless lures I prefer a 6’6” Medium to Medium Heavy rod with a fast action and definitely a spinning reel set up and a lighter braid like 10lb. I personally use a Shimano Crucial 6’8” medium spinning rod with a Penn Sargus 2000 spinning reel and 10lb Double X braid. This kind of set up will allow you to cast these light weights well, and still have the power to land you a larger fish.

    Fishing these surface lures is exciting and you can cast to the edges of rocky banks, around trees and stumps, over submerged structure, into weed beds, next to and parallel to weed beds, into open water, into channels and water pockets by weed beds, and along flat banks and shallow waters and grass areas.

    Your retrieves can vary from fast to slow and you can even just leave them drifting to get a strike, with fluke and fish shaped soft plastics you should use a twitching retrieve or twitch and pause retrieve which will get the lure darting from left to right, with paddle tail lures that have built in action you can just do a flat retrieve or twitch and pause, or flat reel and pause. Vary your speeds until you find one or two that gets you strikes and then you can stick with these. Sometimes the Tiger Fish want it fast, and sometimes dead slow, and other times in between, so you must experiment.

    Surface fishing works best early morning, late afternoon and in overcast or cooler conditions, I find that when the water is flat or clear faster retrieves work better.

    Fishing for Tigers Drop Shot Style
    Here you pretty much use the same lures and colours that are used for surface fishing detailed above; the difference is in the rigging. Here we use jig heads from 1/8 ounce to 1 ounce with size 1 to size 6/0 hooks according to your soft plastic bait size. The best sizes are lures in the 4” and 5” size fished with ¼ ounce jig heads and size 2/0 hooks.
    It is important to rig your lure straight and you must use some super glue to keep the lure properly secured so the Tiger Fish does not steal it.

    Paddle tail lures and flukes are very effective for Tiger Fish and can be fished with a flat retrieve; or a twitch and pause retrieve; you can fish these fast or slow depending on your depth. You can let them sink and retrieve them very slowly along the bottom of jig them up and let them fall again. You can cast them at rocky ledges, in front or parallel to weed beds, around trees and stumps, around isolated structure, submerged structure and even on flat bottoms. I have found very few Tiger fish deeper than 12m. You must vary the speed of you retrieves from fast to dead slow until you find what get the strikes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Mordor (Jozi)
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    Thanks a million guys!! Really informative!!

    I hope I dont dissapoint you guys!!

    Ive tied as many as possible variants Clousers, Baitfish, Gurglers, Poppers and Deer Hair...

    We'll see what happens!!

    Hold thumbs - I'll give the verdict on monday!

    Ciao

  7. #7
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    Vanderbijlpark
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    Quote Originally Posted by gazzarowan View Post
    hey Troep

    my father was there this past weekend and he said there were hundreds of tigers! he doesn't flyfish and got quite a few on spinners etc...

    the tigers were hanging out by the channels 10yards or so from the banks where there is underwater grass. these channels were full up.

    they had a big storm on sunday and battled to get off the dam on the house boat, so be careful regarding weather.

    there were some very big fish around as well.

    from what i know and the research i've done, blue over white is always good. but i reckon almost any well presented fly should do the trick...

    here is a report on jozini i found the other day...

    unfortunately nothing regarding flies but could help...

    Tiger Fishing Jozini Dam
    Where to find Tigers at Jozini

    This is the million Dollar question, and the answer is that they are all over the dam, they cannot leave or migrate.

    In the River Section you will find Tiger fish along the edges of the weed beds, in the little bays along cliffs and rocky points, by submerged trees and stumps and as this section is not deep and only goes to about 12m you will also find tigers in the mid water section. The river section is a popular choice and not to far from the launch area. Be warned that the river section is full of crocodiles of which some are huge, and you must always keep clear of the hippos who do not like being disturbed and will chase you on your boat if you come to close, hippos are dangerous and will kill you with no regrets. At the end of the river section there is a train bridge and you are not allowed past this point.

    The Bay Section has always produced good fish and there are a lot of weed beds in the area which always produce good fish, on the western side there are the shallow weed and grass beds; on the northern side there are a lot of stumps; and on the eastern side there are some good grass and weed points. Points always work well. The river and bay sections are good in the Tiger spawning season in September to November.

    The Main Dam is huge and as you come out of the bay area on the eastern side the is a large flat and shallow area with isolated submerged structure which often hold good fish, on the western banks there are lots of weed beds extending far in to the dam and the it is not deep, there are also some nice bays along the western banks and a lot of dead trees. The top northern section of the dam is in Swaziland. The middle section of the main dam is deep and along the Lebombo mountain’s there are a lot of steep rocky banks, little bays with trees and some weed beds. Again beware of the hippos. The main dam fishes well through out the year and in the winter months you will find Tiger fish in the deeper water. The wind can blow at Jozini and the main dam can become like deep sea fishing with waves up to 2m and closely spaced, then it is better to stay in the river and bay section which is more sheltered.

    The Gorge is one of the most beautiful places of the dam and often you will find yourself isolated here with just you, the water and the nature around you, it is a long boat ride of almost 20Km from the launch site, it is a must see area. The gorge gets to about 50-60m deep in the middle section, there are a lot of steep rocky banks and drop offs where you will find fish, and there are many bays with good structure, and with all the bays there are also many productive points. There is some weeds here but not to much.

    Big Tigers are found here, and the fishing can be hard but rewarding, with this area being productive in the winter.

    RIGGING AND FISHING THE LURES MY STYLE

    Leaders
    You can fish with or without a steel trace; personally I prefer to fish without a steel trace and use a 300mm 12-20lb Flouro Carbon leader with a 100mm 30lb Flouro Carbon Bite trace onto 10-16lb braid or even use a straight 20-30lb Flouro Carbon leader, you will get more strikes like this, but you also risk getting bitten off more often. I prefer the flouro as it is a little more resistant to abrasion than mono; you will also need to be really sharp when you get your strikes to set the hook and keep the line away from the Tigers teeth.
    To minimise the risk of your lure being bitten you can use a short 100mm No. 3 stainless steel wire trace tied to a 200-300mm 12-30lb flouro or mono leader using an Albright knot and then 10-16lb braid or even just use mono as your main line if you have no braid. A long steel trace will serve no purpose and will upset the movement of your lure. I prefer the braid as you have direct contact with your lure and zero stretch when you need to set the hook fast, and believe me you need to set it fast.

    Surface Fishing for Tigers
    I will start with rigging soft plastic lures weightless and fishing them on the surface, this is my favourite way and the way I rig the lures is pretty much snag free, and you get to see your lure swimming, the fish chase and hit your lure whilst fishing.

    With this method I use a 2/0 to 5/0 wide gape Bass hook depending on the size of your lure, which must have an acute angle on the bend by the eye to hold your lure in place. I then rig the lure the same way that one would rig a Bass lure, but there are 2 things I do differently, I do not bury the point of the hook in the lure as it is then very difficult to get the hook to penetrate the tigers hard mouth, I also use a drop of super glue on the shank of the hook by the eye to hold the lure in place as tigers have nasty habit of pulling your entire lure off your hook.

    Lures that I like to use are paddle tail lures, flukes and any fish shaped lure. My favourite lures are the Strike King 4” Glass Minnow paddle tails which have produced more tigers than any other lure I have used. The plastic that the Strike King and Z-Man lures are made from is much more resistant to the tiger’s sharp teeth when compared to other plastics and so last much longer and you can catch several fish on one lure. It is my opinion that the movement of your lure is the most important factor and colours and other features are secondary. Tiger fish like bright colours, and I think this is because they are visual predators and here are some colours that I have found work very well: Pearl, White, Green, Pearl/Blue Glimmer, Space Guppy, Green/Gold Flake, Green/Silver Flake, Baby Bass, Chartreuse, Bright Green, Pink, Electric Chicken, Red and any of these colours in two tone creating a contrast. Some plastics float and some sink slowly and both can be used, the floating ones will sit on the surface whilst the sinking ones will move in the surface.

    For fishing the weightless lures I prefer a 6’6” Medium to Medium Heavy rod with a fast action and definitely a spinning reel set up and a lighter braid like 10lb. I personally use a Shimano Crucial 6’8” medium spinning rod with a Penn Sargus 2000 spinning reel and 10lb Double X braid. This kind of set up will allow you to cast these light weights well, and still have the power to land you a larger fish.

    Fishing these surface lures is exciting and you can cast to the edges of rocky banks, around trees and stumps, over submerged structure, into weed beds, next to and parallel to weed beds, into open water, into channels and water pockets by weed beds, and along flat banks and shallow waters and grass areas.

    Your retrieves can vary from fast to slow and you can even just leave them drifting to get a strike, with fluke and fish shaped soft plastics you should use a twitching retrieve or twitch and pause retrieve which will get the lure darting from left to right, with paddle tail lures that have built in action you can just do a flat retrieve or twitch and pause, or flat reel and pause. Vary your speeds until you find one or two that gets you strikes and then you can stick with these. Sometimes the Tiger Fish want it fast, and sometimes dead slow, and other times in between, so you must experiment.

    Surface fishing works best early morning, late afternoon and in overcast or cooler conditions, I find that when the water is flat or clear faster retrieves work better.

    Fishing for Tigers Drop Shot Style
    Here you pretty much use the same lures and colours that are used for surface fishing detailed above; the difference is in the rigging. Here we use jig heads from 1/8 ounce to 1 ounce with size 1 to size 6/0 hooks according to your soft plastic bait size. The best sizes are lures in the 4” and 5” size fished with ¼ ounce jig heads and size 2/0 hooks.
    It is important to rig your lure straight and you must use some super glue to keep the lure properly secured so the Tiger Fish does not steal it.

    Paddle tail lures and flukes are very effective for Tiger Fish and can be fished with a flat retrieve; or a twitch and pause retrieve; you can fish these fast or slow depending on your depth. You can let them sink and retrieve them very slowly along the bottom of jig them up and let them fall again. You can cast them at rocky ledges, in front or parallel to weed beds, around trees and stumps, around isolated structure, submerged structure and even on flat bottoms. I have found very few Tiger fish deeper than 12m. You must vary the speed of you retrieves from fast to dead slow until you find what get the strikes.
    NOW THAT"S WHAT FLYTALK IS ABOUT>

    Brilliant advice.
    It's not in the catching, it's in the learning something new.
    view albums at. http://www.flytalk.co.za/forum/album.php?u=659

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    gauteng
    Posts
    1,207

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    thanks Herman

    lets keep it alive guys...

    good luck! looking forward to the report back on Monday Troep!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    9,078

    Default

    I have taken quite a few groups to Jozini.
    There are plenty fish. and the majority are smallish.

    The biggest frustration is getting the hook to set and stay set.

    I have found the best way for this is (when casting right handed), is to twist your body slightly anti clockwise.
    Place your right foot in front and move the left slightly backwards.
    Extend the right arm slightly.
    Start stripping in front of you, until the left hand is round about the groin area, or next to your hip.
    The most takes happens towards the end of the strip. With this strip, you will have another half a meter to ,75m to set the hook.

    This little change in stance, have increased the hookup rate with almost all the guys, I have taken to Jozini, exponentially.
    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Mordor (Jozi)
    Posts
    619

    Default Jozini Report November 2010

    Guys,

    As promised here follows the report:

    On Thursday the 4th of November we left Nelspruit at 13h00 from the West End Drankwinkel to stock up on our "padkos".

    We drove via the N4 through Malelane to the Mananga Border Gate on the Swaziland Border - it was about 44 degrees outside, and the humidity was very high.

    We then drove straight through Swaziland via Big Bend and we came out at the Golela Gate about 40km from Pongola - you can see Jozini Dam from about a kilometer from the gate.

    At this stage there were lightning everywhere and the rain was coming to get us.

    We stayed at Pongola Game Reserve - Leeukop. Its a beautiful place with all the amenities you can think of. A nice big boma, thatched roof chalets, pool and enough thatched roof places to sit under throughout the day and braai, chat or whatever. The bushveld in the area is also very beautiful and is not as dense as the bushveld in the northern part of the country or the lowveld.

    There are a lot of game to see along the way to the dam, we saw elephants, rhinos (about 30) huge kudu, nyala, massive crocs, hundreds of hippos, giraffes, massive warthogs, millions of birds and the list goes on...

    We left for the water at 5h15 to get the guides at the jetty at 6h00. We immediately hopped on the boats and off we went...

    20min later we were on our first spot! 10min later and the guide was into his first tiger. I thought okay this is going to be a weekend of a million fish...

    We got a lot of takes at the first spot and it died down after an hour or so and we left with 3 fish on the board. (All of these fish were caught using, sardines without a float). We were fishing about 5km from the inlet as the water was very muddy, so we looked for less murky water near weed patches.

    As time passed we got less and less takes. We moved on the the opposite side of the dam with a lot of weed patches, water was about 1.6m deep according to the fishfinder. I took out my 10wt with a chartreuse baitfish immitation and started working my way through the weeds stripping not too fast as the guide said not too fast in the morning. After about 20 minutes I got my first real strike, and it took the fly and bit my 30 pound leader off as if it was a piece of 7X.

    I got another 2 takes after that on a blue deceiver bending the piano wire in all directions, but the fly did not set properly.

    It was 11h00 and the 3 boats came together and we discussed our success - we were the only boat that got anything...

    We got lunch and went back for the afternoon session at 14h00. The whole afternoon we did not get one bite between 12 people on 3 boats, using liver, sardines, chicken heart, chicken liver, flies, rapalas, spinners, poppers etc.

    The weather started changing and a massive eastern wind came up blowing huge waves and the guide said we should leave as the boat cannot handle waves very good - as soon as he suggested it, his reel went screaming and he got a nice tiger of about 1.5kg. And that was it for Day 1.

    The night we braaied lekke thick steaks and sat around the fire till late.

    The next morning we were at the water at 6h00 again. Full of hope we set off again looking for tigers. The water colour was worse than the previous day as it rained a lot throughout the night. We went back to the spot we started the first day, the wind was very bad, and so I didn't take out the flyrod as the boat was going in a lot of directions when anchored and I was casting between other peoples lines.

    We didnt get a bite at the first spot - we left for another about 2km towards Swaziland. After fishing for about another hour a hippo slowly came towards us and eventually chased one of the other boats.

    When we came together at 11h00 for lunch the reports were bad - 1 fish for the whole morning session.

    We went back at 14h00 for the afternoon session - the wind picked up and the clouds were building up and I could hear the lightning building up...

    An hour later it started hailing golf balls - we went back to the jetty as the waves was about 3m at this stage. We waited in the jetty as the hail came down - we helplessly looked at the 4x4 and vito in the hail...

    It kept on raining and we called it a day...

    All in all it was a very good experience. I think conditions could have been a lot better. Water clarity was bad, wind was bad most of the time, and the wind and rain caused some trouble when fishing on a boat on Jozini as the waves are huge.

    We had a lot of fun and we enjoyed being "out-of-office".

    We fished mainly weedbeds in shallow water as the deeper water was not productive at all.

    I cannot really comment on the success of flyfishing as it was not really successful. The guide told me that he took Jonathan Boulton out for a week in September and they had a lot of success.

    I'll attach some photos later.

    Regards

    Troep

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