Whereas I won’t be caught dead driving fifteen minutes to target 40cm leeries, I’ll drive hours to hunt smallstream trout. In my favourite stream a 40cm trout is absolutely a trophy. It’s weird. Perhaps I just have different ideas of what good fishing entails in salt water as opposed to fresh, but then why do I love both so much? It’s not that simple anyway; I think when I figure this one out I’ll know a lot more about myself.

rainbow trout fly fishing western cape LeRoy Botha

rainbow trout fly fishing western cape LeRoy Botha

I’d never really thought about it until just the other day when I took my boy for a bit of trout hunting. We had an incredible day, taking turns to end with twelve trout each. Not that anyone’s counting, that’s an amazing score for the tiny spring creek we fished. We were totally counting.

rainbow trout fly fishing western cape LeRoy Botha

rainbow trout fly fishing western cape LeRoy Botha

rainbow trout fly fishing western cape LeRoy Botha

rainbow trout fly fishing western cape LeRoy Botha

Near the end of the day, I also caught a 19cm Cape Kurper.

We see many of them and often catch some in between the trout, but this guy is easily three times the weight of any other Cape Kurper I have ever seen. I’d be surprised if I ever see one this big again. He made me think that it’s not that I don’t like targeting small fish. It’s that I like catching good fish. I was so bloody stoked with this silly little beefcake of a fish, you don’t even realise. I’d tell you all the details of busting through seriously thorny bush and golden orb web spider apartment complexes to get to the little pool under the big willow where I thought Adam’s woolly bugger would work best so I stole it off him and proceeded to catch a fish that put such a bend in the rod that I thought it was a trout until I saw the flashes of gold. But you really had to be there.

Cape Kurper Sandelia capensis LeRoy Botha Fly Fishing

Orb Web Spider LeRoy Botha

I’m not scared of these things, but I am not cool with their nests, man. You have no giant piss-coloured death trap idea.

Sandelia capensis is endemic to the Western Cape. They coexist with trout in many mountain streams. Currently recorded as a single species, a genetic study pointing to a species complex is underway. Hardy, aggressive little fish, they belong to the Anabantidae, which includes climbing perches, gouramis, snakeheads and the Siamese Fighting Fish. Given all the above I’m a little surprised they’re not called Kaapse Karate Kurper, but maybe we can chuck it in the hat when the new species are named.

Cape Kurper Sandelia capensis LeRoy Botha Fly fishing

Until recently: a big. Henceforth: a dink.