GN Trials 3 – Pilgrems Rest – 3 River Sessions

The 3rd annual GN Senior Men’s Trials was held in Pilgrims Rest on the weekend of the 18th – 20th of May.  You could feel the excitement building up the week before as there was a lot of banter on the Whatsapp groups while the new guys quickly realised that you should take all of it in with a spoon of sugar.

Friday night was cold and rainy, most guys arrived after dark due to work commitments. This saw many chaps driving in the mist for the last 50 km of the journey. The early birds started the fires to warm up as the night was cold and rainy through the thick mist that covered Pilgrims Rest.

Everyone finally arrived just after 9 O’clock the evening, after settling in and unpacking the bags and kit, the guys were summoned for a meeting and draw for the next day. The draw was quick and effective…

Group Draw

Group A

Luke Coetzer
Frederik Kruger
Micheal Afonso
Dries de Bruin

Group B

Divan Steyn
Jannie Jacobs
Marius Grobler
Vian Ferreira

Group C

Bradley Cottle
Michiel van Rooy
Aubrey Ferreira
Conrad Jacobs

Group Sector Draw

Session  Sector 1  Sector 2  Sector 3
1 A B C
2 C A B
3 B C A

Session 1

Beat   Sector 1  Sector 2  Sector 3
 1  Dries De Bruin  Vian Ferreira  Conrad Jacobs
 2  Frederik Kruger  Divan Steyn  Michiel van Rooy
 3  Luke Coetzer  Marius Grobler  Aubrey Ferreira
 4  Micheal Afonso Jannie Jacobs  Bradley Cottle

Session 2

Beat   Sector 1  Sector 2  Sector 3
 1  Conrad Jacobs  Dries de Bruin  Vian Ferreira
 2  Bradley Cottle  Micheal Afonso  Jannie Jacobs
 3  Aubrey Ferreira  Luke Coetzer  Marius Grobler
 4  Michiel van Rooy Frederik Kruger  Divan Steyn

Session 3

Beat   Sector 1  Sector 2  Sector 3
 1  Divan Steyn  Michiel van Rooy  Micheal Afonso
 2  Marius Grobler  Conrad Jacobs  Luke Coetzer
 3  Jannie Jacobs  Bradley Cottle  Frederik Kruger
 4  Vian Ferreira Aubrey Ferreira  Dries de Bruin


Saturday morning was an early start as we decided to a quick 45-minute presentation on euro nymphing and Dry fly fishing to benefit the new guys that recently joined the group.  The Dry fly fishing was presented by Vian Ferreira and he took us through the basics of casting and where and how to place your dry fly as well as present the dry fly with the least amount of drag to the fish. Divan Steyn presented the euro nymphing techniques. Everyone benefitted from this in some way as they picked up 1% changes that they have forgotten or never knew.

The groups all moved to their sectors as the rain started drizzling down. The water clarity was really good although the river holds a lot of silt at the bottom. which made wading difficult. For the most part, the river is accessible from breaks in the foliage. Some beats were particularly difficult to fish with lots of overhanging trees and high banks. The number of fish caught was really low only a total of 26 fish came to the net over the 3 sessions. We must add that there was a low pressure over the area that only started clearing up after the last session was done.

The biggest fish for the trials was caught by Jannie Jacobs measured 345mm. Divan Steyn caught the smallest fish at 150mm.

2 -4 fish was the number to beat in every session to win the sector some argue this should have been closer to 10 fish but there was just not a lot of fish in the sectors.

The fishing was very technical with no sun throughout the sessions meaning dry fly was not considered as a method. All opted to fish single or double nymph depending on the water conditions. This was fished by making bow and arrow casts as well as directly upstream and up and across due to the narrow river and trees it made casting difficult. Some underhand casts were required to get in under trees and foliage hanging over the river banks.

All and all it was a great experience for all, each and every person managed to hook into a fish but not all managed the art of landing these fish. Small fish are always able to wiggle their way off the hook at some point during the struggle.

The final results of the trials are as follows:

Final Results

 Rank  Name  Placing Points  Bonus Points
 1  Bradley Cottle  6  2674
 2  Conrad Jacobs  6 1480
 3  Vian Ferreira 7 1900
 4  Divan Steyn 7 1470
 5  Jannie Jacobs 8 1310
 6  Marius Grobler 8 1010
 7  Frederik Kruger 9 2330
 8  Dries de Bruin 9 570
 9  Micheal Afonso 9 564
 10  Michiel van Rooy 9 510
 12  Aubrey Ferreira  12 0
 12  Luke Coetzer 12 0