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Thread: Pongola River - Calverleys Camp Trip Report

  1. #1
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    Default Pongola River - Calverleys Camp Trip Report

    Good Day Guys,

    As I said I would here goes a little trip report...

    Getting There:

    The Camp is located about 15km from Jozini on the banks of the river. Its approx 500 km from Jo’burg and 350 km from Durban. It's advisable to drive with a Bakkie as the last bit of road to the camp is a bit hectic. You can however park your car in Jozini at the Tiger Lodge and arrange a pickup by Menzi if required or get on the inflatable’s at the dam wall and fish all the way to the camp (about the whole day)



    Preparing:

    I had a few conversations with Menzi and Peter Calverley regarding flies required and tackle to use. It was suggested I take a 6wt with a fast sinking. Flies in dark colours with the usual tiger fly colouring. So I tied up some flies, mostly clousers and a few brush flies as I have noticed the guys targeting tigers up in Africa use them with great success.



    Day 1:

    Arrived at the Calverleys Camp at 7:30, after a quick breakfast and a chat to the local expert and camp manger, Menzi, we hit the water heading downstream from the camp each angler in his own Ark Croc inflatable and a paddler. There are a few deep holes downstream but the majority of the pockets holding fish were a mere meter deep!! almost sight casting to them. Menzi suggested that I use my Orange/Black Clousers and that was what I used most to the trip.

    As we got through the first rapid into a big hole Menzi suggested my paddler (Samu) grab onto a tree in the middle of the main current. I made a few casts upstream with my intermediate line (don't make the same mistake) to get my fly down. It wasn't even 5sec into my retrieve an I was on!! big time!! reel screaming and palming as hard as I could to get a better hook set. Then she decided to jump after about 30m, a sizable tiger of around 3,5kg, and then nothing turns out my haywire twists aren't up to scratch...

    We caught around 12 Tiger fish the rest of the day with probably three times that being lost. But I atleast got my fist tiger on fly!!


    Actually my 2nd tiger, but first photo





    Day 2:

    We got onto the river about 7km upstream from the camp. My fist feel for the river upstream. There are large rocky bottom holes and some nice rapids that hold fish. Just the night before I tied a red and black clouser with some added lead to get it down in the deeper rips and holes, but to my avail I lost it on the first hook up and again a sizable beast. I had to settle for my baby tiger clousers that had the same lead to get them down. It worked with me landing another three tigers for the day and losing a lot more.

    the highlight of the day must have been when we reached our pickup point around midday. Menzi suggested that Brent a follow fly fisher (only 12years old!! ) stand on a rock ledge and fish along it, the water drops to about 5-6m along the ledge. It wasn't 5min and he was ON!! like in ON!!! Menzi picked him up with the Croc and they got the fish onto a nearby sand bank. When he lifted that fish out the water I was about 150m away and it was huge!!

    Samu and I headed back to help with some photos and there in the water was a 5,5kg tiger subdued by a little 6wt rod and a 12 year old boy. Amazing stuff!!



    I only fished for two days, but it was enough to guarantee that i will be back for that big one, definitely sooner than later
    Last edited by Ko7Ad; 11-01-12 at 11:58 AM. Reason: Pictures/More Info

  2. #2
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    great stuff!! great report. Well done
    Frederick

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  3. #3
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    Great report Konrad. We are stopping off in Pongola on the way down to Cape Vidal and I have a day's fishing booked with Menzies on the 30th doing the drift from the dam wall down to the camp.

    After this report I cannot wait!

    What flies worked, colours, etc?
    Was your intermediate line enough to get down to the deeper holes?
    Bryan Williams

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    awesome stuff dude!

    pity about the haywire twists...

    i dont want to sound "cocky", but if you want, i can help you out with that? been doing it for many years and havent had issues with it...

    might be your initial twists arent locked properly or might not be twisting around eachother properly...

    let me know...
    bushveld scalies - worth the blood, sweat and tears

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    I was given this knottable wire made by Cortland which seems pretty cool which I am planning to test out:

    Cortland Toothy Critter

    You can use most regular knots and based on a few intial tests this stuff seems to hold well. Will see how it holds up against the real deal next week.
    Bryan Williams

    “My Biggest worry is that my wife will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it!”

    Check out my albums

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan View Post
    Great report Konrad. We are stopping off in Pongola on the way down to Cape Vidal and I have a day's fishing booked with Menzies on the 30th doing the drift from the dam wall down to the camp.

    After this report I cannot wait!

    What flies worked, colours, etc?
    Was your intermediate line enough to get down to the deeper holes?
    Lucky bugger you will love it trust me!!!

    Flies that worked seem to be Clousers in either Black/Red, Black/Orange. I did fish my baby tiger flies with some great success which are Orange/White/Light Blue/Black Back in that order. But I'm sure others will work too. The 5.5kg tiger was taken on a all yellow clouser.

    Just one thing Bryan, get used to stripping fast. As fast as you can!! I have 4 blisters on my casting hand and "trigger finger" on my retrieving hand after two days.. Not even fishing my 10wt the whole day in the surf punishes me like that.

    About the intermediate, I wont say its a good idea. I wished I had a fast sinking line the whole time I was there. but generally the fish will come up to get your fly in the top 1m of water but its not ideal. Try getting some heavy clousers, hard to cast but it helps a bit getting them down.

    Quote Originally Posted by gazzarowan View Post
    awesome stuff dude!

    pity about the haywire twists...

    i dont want to sound "cocky", but if you want, i can help you out with that? been doing it for many years and havent had issues with it...

    might be your initial twists arent locked properly or might not be twisting around eachother properly...

    let me know...
    I need all the help I can get!! you are correct about my initial twists. Instead of putting both wires in a V and twisting I was twisting the tag-end around the main wire.. that i think was the main issue. and caused the wraps to slip.

    Bryan - Menzi uses the knottable wire. So I think you are on the right track there. The normal steel wire seems to bend after every strike and take away a lot of the flies action.

  7. #7
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    used to use this stuff for pike, knots great ... i use mainly duncan loops with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan View Post
    I was given this knottable wire made by Cortland which seems pretty cool which I am planning to test out:

    Cortland Toothy Critter

    You can use most regular knots and based on a few intial tests this stuff seems to hold well. Will see how it holds up against the real deal next week.
    ---------------------------------------------
    http://wildjohannesburg.blogspot.com

  8. #8
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    Cool. Will try that. Was testing the perfection loop which works well but I believe that this isn't the strongest knot around.

    Will try the duncan loop.
    Last edited by Bryan; 21-12-11 at 02:42 PM.
    Bryan Williams

    “My Biggest worry is that my wife will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it!”

    Check out my albums

  9. #9
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    WOW, lovely trip.

    I have done a couple of trips to the dam, but never below the wall.
    Guess I have to do that, after this trip report.
    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.
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  10. #10
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    that wire looks similar to the wire some guys use for shark fishing. i helped Daniel tie up some shark traces last night and the stuff knots great...and with regards to knot strength Bryay, i dont think the rule applies to wire as much as line

    what's the duncan loop?

    @Ko7Ad: i thought so seriously important for the two wires to wrap around eachother initially otherwise they will slip.
    put them at 45 deg to eachother and hold it there with thumb and index finger and twist. just by holding them together and twisting, your fingers should keep the wire at the 45 or so degree angle.
    3 twists like that and then 3 twist of tag end at 90 deg and you're set

    maybe have a beer somewhere and have a look at it?
    bushveld scalies - worth the blood, sweat and tears

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