GN Still Water Trials 2 – Schoonspruit

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


Gauteng North Ladies had a very rewarding practice session at the Vaal river

Gauteng North Ladies had a very rewarding practice session at the Vaal river this past weekend. The practice started of with a 5-hour theory session on Saturday after which the girls braved the cold water for the practical part.

The girls did exceptionally well in adverse conditions landing a couple of gold slabs. High morale, perseverance and unrelenting focus. Bring on the Nationals! Blue Machine!

GNFFA Trials – Lifton Lake

During each competitive season, we host multiple trials that count towards ranking points. This year was no different with the 2nd trials being a still water trial.

Everyone interested gathered for the event at one of the most pristine locations available to us, Lifton Lake at Sani Valley Lodge. In total 12 Anglers gathered for the event. As tradition would have it the Friday before the start of the trials cars were packed and the boys were on the road to the venue. Most anglers enjoyed a practice session on the Friday with mixed emotions and broken spirits they all gathered at the venue after their practice sessions.

Friday night was spent around the fire covering almost all conversations around fishing and techniques to be used during the trials. The hype of activity was around the boats as some had a few leaks that required attention.

Before everyone retired to bed the following day’s activities were discussed around start times of each session. Shortly after all retired to their respective rooms. The night had it’s own hype of activities with one late comer only arriving at midnight, trying to search for the room he was assigned to. After a phone call and directions, he was directed to room OR-1-B-1 (this caused an outburst of laughter in the specific room as it was actually pronounced “Oribi”).

Saturday morning saw everyone rising early to get to the showers and set up the kit for the day’s activities.  They were spoiled with perfect weather with a slight southeasterly breeze. With all up and ready the newly created mobile app was put into use by doing the draws for the 3 sessions to be fished. Within 5 minutes all new who their boat partners were for the rest of the trials.

Everyone gathered at the dam to start the session. Eyes were glued to the water to spot any indication of fish activity on the water. Boats were inflated and kit packed. Due to the low light conditions and limited time the night before more repairs were required 10 minutes before the first session, guys were running around frantically to get glue and patches, some had to take pumps as a necessity on the boats. This saw the session being delayed by 15 minutes. With all hands on deck, an argument ensued on which side was port side and starboard of the boats as directions were given regarding the use of the newly developed drogues.

At exactly 9:15 all the boats were in the water and on their way to the first fishing spots of the morning. This saw boats being steered in all directions as most had other ideas of where to find the fish. The lake was split into two sectors and the first sector was decided by way of a coin toss the morning of the first session.

During the first session, fish was hard to find in total there were 4 fish that made it to the net. Some came out in the deep while others were caught on the edges of the lake. Marcel was able to get into a decent fish which ended up being the biggest of the trials as well. A Beautiful Rainbow Hen measuring 505mm.

Vian was in the lead with 2 fish to the net followed closely by Marcel with the biggest fish out of the batch of 1 fish guys.

The break in between ensured for its own entertainment as boats had to be moved from one sid of the 85-hectare dam to the second launch point of the day. Daniel and Vian assisted with the move and had the luxury of a trolling motor to assist with this task.

The second session saw 15 fish getting to the net and 1 angler retiring from the session due to medical issues. This left 1 angler without a boat partner and the decision was made to allow him the use of the trolling motor as rowing would have greatly affected his movability on the dam. This session saw more fish to the net and Daniel took the lead with 4 fish from the deep channel running past the dam wall. Vian came in second getting 2 fish to the net and Aubrey losing out on top spot losing 4 and landing 1 in the process, his strategy the second session was to target the shallows for cruising fish.

The third and final session on Sunday saw all anglers back on the boats and in full competition mode. It was a close race for the first places as the fish were few and far between. The third session also saw the opening of the lake to fish any where you would like. Most anglers opted to stay where they knew the most fish came out from the previous sessions. This session was even tougher with the gin clear water weed beds could be seen as far as 7.5 meters down in the water. The first fish of the session was landed by Jannie Jacobs an hour and a half into the third session. Followed closely by his boat partner Daniel Factor. Their strategy was to start in the shallows and give it 10 minutes to see if the fish would gulp a fly, they were chased away by 3 otters filling their bellies on the scrumptious trout.  They moved to where they knew they could get fish and this strategy played well into their hands as Daniel managed 3 fish to the net in first place and Jannie managed 2 to take the second spot. The rest of the spots 3 anglers in total got 1 fish each and had to battle on size to get the third spot for the day. The third Session only saw 8 fish to the net.

In total throughout the 3 sessions, 27 fish was caught with 4 being a decent size, the rest was made up by stockies and the smallest being a 21cm rainbow trout.

The Final results for the Trials are as follows:

1st Daniel Factor
2nd Vian Ferreira
3rd Marcel Destombes
4th Kevin Goncalves
5th Marius Grobler
6th Ronald Smith
7th Jannie Jacobs
8th Dries de Bruyn
9th Berno Swart
10th Aubrey Ferreira
11th Conrad Jacobs
12th Ronnie Snr Smith