Smallstream Surprise

Smallstream Surprise

Recently I decided to drop in on a new piece of water that’s been haunting me. Blueliners will know how unknown possibilities can chip away at you. You just gotta scratch that itch. The water looked small , thin and off colour due to rains. Doubt started welling up as I “trekked” downstream to a suitable starting point. Per fact there should be fish in this stream…But is there? I surveyed the head of a pool and crept into position trying to get a feel for the place since I couldn’t see into the water. I dropped a tentative cast in there. The fish took the nymph on the dropped and my click-n-pawl sang like a morning canary…SURPRISE!


Now a fish on a first cast can be a bad thing at times if your’e the superstitious kind .The rest of the morning  panned out superstitious free and a couple more followed. Some were strong fish in thin water, hunting ‘trikes’ (trico-nymphs).


I got a solid take in a bucket between some boulders that held promise. When I brought the fish to hand, I got my biggest SURPRISE. I noticed that it had an odd-looking mouth. There were no signs of  injury and it looked like this could very well be an Incomati chiselmouth (Varicorhinus nelspruitenis). It could also be a deformed smallmouth yellowfish, because this fish is very much outside of the chiselmouth  distribution. But the more I study the photos (I’ve included all below) ,the more I’m convinced it could be a chiselmouth. I would appreciate any feedback from fish fundi’s  and anglers familiar with chiselmouth?

Note the olive dorsal colouration with white belly and darker olive edged scales along the lateral line
Note the single short barbel




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