Autumn Footnotes – Part 2

Autumn Footnotes – Part 2

Global Warming ? The winter just isn’t coming. In fact we are experiencing hot weather , by Autumn standards , and we’re a month away from winter solstice. The unseasonal temperatures has put a bit of a damper on the Beatis hatches , but at least the fish are hanging around longer before retracting to their winter holding water. This warmer weather did however mean that I could indulge in my current obsession – TRICO’s.

TRICO’S  , also called TRIKES for short

SIZE 14+ TRICO’s !!? Hell Yeah , this is Africa. These bugs must be the most misunderstood & ignored insect on my water , given their size and sheer numbers. The locals refer to them as “Batwing Mays”. I’m still battling to accept the fact that these insect are indeed Tricorythidae and not small Drakes (Drunella) . Their method of hatching from the bottom of the stream to the surface is a flat out mystery to me . The nymphs pre-hatch migration is super intriguing to both me and the fish. And the hatch of the males is a secret affair while the female hatch and spinner fall is completely overwhelming event. I’m as besotted with these females as the fish – we all go gaga when these big winged beauties literally choke the air above the water and hordes of them float , flop a quiver all over the surface.

TRIKE nymph immitation
Trico nymph migration
Fishing the trico migration
Trico males waiting for the females to hatch
Trico females


The whole event is a classic technical hatch. Meaning you want to pull your face off in frustration and excitement at the same time. There’s fish feeding all over – in the smooth flat bellies of the pools  , in the big back eddies  , in the current tongues , in the broken water at the head , in the slack behind boulders , on the inside (or outside) of those tricky ,tricky  seams. There’s big single fish and pods of smaller fish working up and downstream or criss cross on a current tongue .Some of the spinner feeders hardly sink subsurface between the eats while stuffing themselves. Basically the hatch should go ; female emergers ,female dun cripples, male spinners and then female spinners. But hell no….some fish are on emergers , some on cripple duns , some on duns , some on spinners , some on a casualty with only one wing flapping and some on “all of the above”. You get the picture?  I’m already shaking with excitement , just writing about this. To top it all off , the event only starts after the sun has dipped below the horizon. There’s very little time to cram in as much fishing as possible.Can fishing get any more infuriatingly technical ?  I do realize I have a problem and intend to consult a doctor ….. no , a professor ,  about these bugs.

The main event
That’s one hell of a lot of bugs about to hit the water
spinners & cripples
Early  fish on  trico emerger
These bugs even bring out the goblins





afternoon baetis fish
fish on my Trike nymph
Baetis dry fly action
Hiking out with the moon on the one side……
……and the evening star on the other side.

3 thoughts on “Autumn Footnotes – Part 2”

  1. Herman, I loved the story and the photos! The goblin shot is also my favourite. Man, I can’t believe this stuff has been happening in our country and I’m only catching on now – special place South Africa, world class fishing.


Leave a comment



Subscribe to our newsletter and get all the latest to your inbox!