Matt Gorlei of FlyBru has been workling with the Kalahari Outventures guys for a few years now. He got in touch to share the latest video he’s made of catching smallmouth and largemouth yellows on Flexo/Alphlexo crabs on the Orange river.
“We had the week off last week due to a group of clients cancelling on us at the last minute. It happened to be at a time where the crew were due a bit of a break, so we decided to use our time off to make a video. We treated ourselves to a drift down the stretch of the Orange River which we work on with Kalahari Outventures in the Kalahari Largemouth Yellowfish Conservancy.
All in all, fishing was on fire and we did really well on the Flexos. The fish seemed to be feeding much harder on the crab imitations than on the streamer and baitfish flies we have predominantly been fishing for the bigger Smallmouth and Largemouth Yellowfish. Reasons for this could be a few things. Most likely is that the abundance of baitfish in the system at this stage of the season means our flies are being lost in the clouds of millions of actual fish which these yellows have clearly fed hard on; as the condition of these fish show. A crab seems like an easy meal for a yellow, it doesn’t swim well after being dislodged or falling off structure in the edges and is easy picking for a feeding fish. What we noticed is they eat it when they eat it. There is no second guessing. This is probably due to these fish knowing that if they don’t get the job done first time around they either get robbed by another fish or the crab fights back.
It has probably been a year since we tried the flexo crab for the first time. It worked, we caught fish nymphing them in the rapids at first, which didn’t surprise us considering the way fish feed and the amount of them that will feed in some of these rapids on a good day. Since then, we have tried and tested the fly in all sorts of water and conditions and its proved its effectiveness. What works?? Well the profile of the Flexo is second too non, when imitating a crab. Its design is perfect for this type of fishing where sink rate is everything, the flexo has the ability to plummet in good current and looks like a crab actually tying to swim to the bottom where they are able to find safety. Fishing them on a slow swing works as well as on the sink seconds after a cast onto structure. We found colour of the fly doesn’t make a huge difference but there must be a contrast between the legs and the body. A size 6 and more rugby ball shaped fly for nymphing in faster water and a bigger flatter profile fly on a size 4 hook for fishing deeper in less turbulent water. We tie in lots of weight and we fish them tight on structure with floating lines and long leaders. A year ago, we knew the fly could catch fish but now after time using the fly we have realized that it’s actually super effective and we catch good size fish on them. I mean think about this…desert sand flats and cruising yellows, presenting a Flexo crab in skinny water… it wouldn’t be the first time that Smallmouth Yellowfish have been compared to a ‘freshwater bonefish’. It’s time we flip the script on that, because in my experience a bonefish would be honoured to be ‘called the saltwater yellowfish.'”