LIKE GHOSTLY AQUATIC HODORS THEY ARE BIG, SPOOKY AND SPECIAL, and to catch big (really big) largemouth yellowfish takes time and effort. Justin Rollinson of Flycastaway weighs in on what it took for him to get this beauty.
WHAT: Largemouth yellowish, aka “largie”, “Labeobarbus Kimberleyensis” or for those of you who have put in the time – the one and only fish of a thousand casts. “Exceeding 40lbs” is more than enough information for you to want to wave your fly rod around for days on end in hopes of a trophy fish. However, keep in mind that the possibility of not even getting a single bite is what largie fishing is all about. Yes, I have had my fair share of blanks chasing these fish but that’s what keeps me driven. It gives me that spectacular sense of achievement with every fish I land. I guess happiness is the overwhelming element that this fish never fails to deliver. It is said that a fish of 20lbs is around the age of 27 years old, which could be hard-core evidence that the largies flourish within their own time and live to tell many tales of how many flies they’ve refused.
WHERE: This beast was estimated between 20-24lbs and was caught on a special spot on the lower Vaal River, which made the experience even more significant to me. These spooky, illusive fish can be targeted on the Vaal and Orange River systems and their larger tributaries.
HOW: Largies are usually targeted off an inflatable boat as far away from the car as possible in sections with flow and depth, making casts against structure and breaks in the current, tail outs of pools etc. In all honesty, I don’t have a full understanding on how to master these beautiful creatures, however, I loiter in spots where they are likely to be moving around and with every cast and hour that passes by; concentration is in full force. Theories are continuously running through my mind and hope bursting at the seams that maybe I could be lucky enough to have mastered the art of largie fishing, whilst freezing my nuts off in the early morning hours.
Largies are strong fighters so don’t go under gunned. Six to 9-weight rods are generally what the guys are using, purely to turn those bigger flies over more effectively. I use my trusted G-loomis 6-weight Streamdance and thus far haven’t experienced any problems. I also have a second rod set up – my 7-weight TFO BVK – with a different line on it so I can work different depths without wasting time. For the leaders I use 10-12lb fluorocarbon tapered but you can go up to 15lb in dirtier water (it doesn’t have to be fluoro). Lengthen it according to the depth of the water you are fishing. Remember largies have to see the fly above or ahead of them to eat it according to their eye structure. Generally I use a fly line one weight heavier than the rod I am using. I mostly use a floating line but also move over to the intermediate in those deeper pools for swinging flies consistently.
When it comes to flies, generally baitfish patterns are the go to flies for largies, but they feed on a variety of different aquatic invertebrates, for example; crabs, tadpoles, etc (don’t be scared to play around with different patterns.) This one was caught on a Size 2, old faithful black Muishond
WHO: Well, if you want to make this a personal mission, buy a boat with a trolling motor and get out there. It will take time and dedication. Alternatively, get in contact with FlyCastaway who can set you up with day trips to the Vaal river. We have also just started an operation on Vanderkloof dam and the Orange River. We could lead you in the right direction of possibly ticking largies off that species bucket list. There are also numerous operations on the Vaal and Orange River systems that are also easily accessible on our good friend Google.