Roadtrips and float trips must rank as two of coolest things to do when you have some spare time. Putting the two together is even better! On the 1st of Jan, we piled into Delilah Bakkie, rather hungover, and headed off. No rush, just open road ahead!
Our destination was the Orange River. We went via the Tankwa Karoo National Park and Augrabies Falls National Park before arriving on a section of the Orange above Onseepkans. Roadtrips are always about the trip, and although was destination was important, getting there needed its detours. A couple of flat tyre’s – it’s time to replace! – wine tasting, padstal visits and general exploring was the order of trip.
The plan was a social rafting trip. 24 friends for four nights along the banks the Orange. Wilderness Ventures run a damn fine outfit. Willie and Andre have been running this section of the river since before I was in high school – probably around thirty years. They know the river. And they fly fish.
It was 11th, possibly 12th trip with them! Yip, I’ve spent time out here too. And joining them for an outing is always a treat.
While the trip was focussed on friends and fun, of course a little had had to be done too. JD Filmalter and myself spent fair time with the long rods while Sean Power led the bait lads. Willie, Andre and Pottie (guide #3) also snuck in some good fly time.
For a social trip where waboba balls and frisbee flew across the river, birds were spotted and added to lists, many beers were drank, rapids run and general laughs, splashs and fun were continuous, a surprising amount of fish were caught.
Using a slightly different leader concept – more about it later – we caught a lot of fish. Too many Smallmouths to count, a Largemouth, several Moggle and of course a Catfish. Guys and girls who had never fly fished before caught fish. And although the river low, it was not nearly as clear as hoped for.
A particularly good moment was Gavin Memper catching his first fly caught fish, a moggle, and then another Smallie only casts later. He stood poised, heron like, for the better part of the evening and caught himself enough Yellows to make many seasoned fishermen jealous. JD caught some stunning fish – the last good one of trip in particular. We were on a drift before the waboba throwing frenzy when J hooked a beaut, we almost did ourselves in boating the Croc on the slippery rocks in order to land his Yellow. It looked carplike it was so fat. And JD’s big Barbel on a #5, lots of swimming!
I got a dew fine fish too, my favourite of the trip was early on the morning of day2. Being an early riser, I was before most of the camp – despite the hangover from the previous nights shenanigans – and took myself upstream for a swim and a fish. The sunrise colours reflecting off its golden flank will not be soon forgotten.
Despite the great fishing, loads of fun was had. Great food, awesome friends and winning memories. It’s one really needs from a holiday!
PS – We will be going back to do a fly fishing focussed trip so watch this space.