A favourite of farm dams and local ponds, this aggro bridge troll the blue kurper deserves your attention as Leonard Flemming reports in issue 24.

The blue kurper, aka Mozambique tilapia or Oreochromis mossambicus as the scientists know it is a fairly large, deep-bodied, mouthbrooding and very robust cichlid that thrives in southern African waters. National and IGFA angling records are over 3 kg and plenty around that size have been caught on bait, lure and fly in South Africa. It is an aggressive fish that eats minnows, nymphs and annelids, but at times they become extremely tricky to catch and may even focus on green algae as main diet and especially to fatten up before the cold winter months.

It has a wide natural distribution from the lower Zambezi southwards along the coast in rivers and pans to the Brak River in the Eastern Cape; and it also occurs in the Limpopo system. Blue kurper were spread to many other waters, including the mighty Orange River, in southern Africa as a food fish for humans and also because of its popular angling status. Currently, most urban waters and especially municipal dams have healthy stocks of these fish in South Africa.

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Although they can be picky eaters and may sometimes seem near impossible to fool on lure and fly, many have been caught on smaller nymph, buzzer and midge larvae imitations. The odd big fish has come out on large Woolly Buggers, damsel and dragon fly nymph patterns; but I’ve had by far the best success catching them in all sizes on #12 red Squirmy Wormies and white Falloons.

I’d recommend a 5-6-weight rod with a floating line and 4X fluorocarbon tippet in general, but do carry some 5X and 3X with you to either step down for smaller or spooky fish, or to step up for when you encounter big, dirty fighters (they love diving into weeds).

You and your dag; grab a handful of abovementioned flies and take your dog for a midday stroll to the nearest park with a dam in your neighbourhood on a hot December day.  The odds of finding blue kurper basking on the surface in summer are high and once you’ve caught a few I’m sure you’ll return for more (warning: catching fish-after-fish of these hardy cichlids is extremely addictive).

For more from issue 24, get stuck in below.