Easter weekend saw us heading into our second trials of the year, we chose Schoonspruit as the venue for this trials. Schoonspruit offers great accommodation for 14 people in a house with 90% of the rooms facing the dam. Incredible interior with a bathroom for every room. It is nestled on the edge of the escarpment with 7 natural fountains and a spectacular waterfall on the property. They have a good stocking policy introducing new fish every few months.
We decided to hold the trials on Saturday and Sunday as Friday was a public holiday and allowed everyone to arrive on their own time at the venue. Marcel suggested that his wife Carin would assist with cooking lunch every day as she wanted something to do while the rest of us was on the water fishing. Friday afternoon she prepared a delicious Chicken Noodle soup. During the evening spirits were high at the braai with a lot of banter and conversations going on. We used this time to go through the rules for the new guys that joined as well as the draws for the 3 sessions ahead to see who would be fishing with which partners. By pure coincidence, we also had Daniel Factor staying in the boathouse as he wanted to fish the dam for the weekend. Having one person short we asked him to join in and fish as a ghost angler for the trials.
Friday afternoon was spent tying flies, sorting out leaders and for the adventurous a trip to the waterfall on the farm.
Saturday morning everyone was up and prepping for the day ahead, each day brought its own challenges. Saturday morning was overcast with little fish-action around the dam. As everyone was already aware of who they were partnered with for the first session we had a draw for the boats. The session started around 8 am and gave us a good indication of how the rest of the weekend would go. The guys started getting into fish early on in the session but this did not last long, with 5 boats on the water the fish realised what was up and soon got shut mouth, you had to work hard to get fish in the boat. The session ended with a total of 21 fish being caught.
During the break between the sessions, Carin prepared Rotis, curry potatoes and mince for lunch, you could see the delight on every angler’s face as the food was ready by the time we got back to the house, we got properly treated with some amazing food.
With the weather being up and down during the day we started getting rain an hour before the second session started. The colder weather changed tactics around as we started seeing more rises on the surface and fish higher in the water column due to the colder conditions of the water above. The second session started around 2h30 pm following the draws for who gets which boat. This session was tougher than the first with varying weather conditions and cooler temperatures than in the morning, fish were moving around and the boats were scattered around the dam. We ended the session well with good results and fish on the boats. This session saw 11 fish come out, this was down a few fish from the morning’s session.
Glad to get out of the wet and cold weather everyone headed back to the house to a hot shower and warm fires throughout the house. As usual, the braai fires were started and conversations around the day’s catches were shared with the guys. Flies were tied fill the boxes and new patterns added to try and fool the fish into biting more regularly. Everyone was in bed early as the day’s activities took its toll on the energy levels.
Sunday morning started out wet and windy with rain from the early hours of the day, the moral was low due to the rain with guys struggling to get out of bed and into the wet conditions waiting for the last session of the trials. we decided to move the last session out by 30 minutes in hope for the rain to stop. This didn’t happen and ended in a wet and Misty morning session. At one point the fog was so thick you could barely see the end of your line after each cast. You could just make out the voices and direction of each boat during the tick fog unaware of how other competitors were doing during the session, halfway through a flying ant hatch saw incredible action on the surface with each boat having close to 40 fish rising around them, tactics changed considerably with almost every angler going to floating line to get there share of the rising fish to the boat. This was the most exciting part of the trials except for the Easter egg hunt later in the day. Oh boy and do not forget the lunch that would await us on our return to the house. During the course of the session, the fog kept rolling in and out as the session progressed. The rain kept drizzling down from time to time and ensured a very wet day on the water. Total fish caught during this session was 18.
As I mentioned before Carin (by now being called a master chef and being forced to attend every other trial from here on out) prepared an Easter Sunday lunch to remember, dished up a leg of lamb with a traditional mielietart and white bean salad paired with a Pavlova dessert. The guys got stuck in properly, We would again like to thank Carin for the amazing food she prepared and to you Marcel for arranging this.
So back to that Easter egg hunt, as it was Easter Weekend Marcel arranged easter eggs and we had a little easter egg hunt to finish the weekend off, the rules were simple 10 guys 9 easter egg with a mystery punishment for the guy without an easter egg. The original idea was to take the foofy slide into the dam but due to weather conditions being less ideal the vote went against that.. see the video below:
The results of the trials came down to this:
1st Dries de Bruin
2nd Marius Grobler
3rd Ronald Smith
4th Conrad Jacobs
5th Marcel Destombes
6th Freddy Kruger
7th Ronnie Smith
8th Jannie Jacobs
9th Luan van Kraayenburg