Bjorn and I took the road early on a overcast and misty morning to fish the river on my family's farm. Upon arrival we were greeted with rain so we started to sort the fishing gear while waiting out the bad weather... Within a half an hour the the rain stopped and we were ready to hit the water. The Vaal was flowing around 20 m3/s and the water clarity was great, so we rigged up for long line nymphing. This was Bjorn’s first trip in a very long time and he needed to get himself into some fish to build the confidence. After a rusty start in the rapids he got his rhythm back and was into some smallish Yellows. In the course of the morning Bjorn was rewarded for his patients with a good size Yellow and later that day he hooked a beauty of 2kg. My first yellow for the morning was a 1.8kg that was lurking behind a big boulder in the rapids, he made me work hard before admitting defeat. Pound for pound these fish are one of the toughest fighters in the Vaal and they will give you a good workout just to remind you! As the day went on I hooked a fair amount of Yellows in the faster water, they were all in the 1kg range. Most of the fish were taken on a light green Caddis imitation and of course the Hotspot Brassie.
Later that afternoon I notice a fish tailing in the shallow pool above the rapids, after a stealthy inspection I realised this was the biggest SM Yellow I ever saw in the Vaal - my guess was well over 7kg! With great excitement and shaking hands I calmed myself down and tried to observe this monster from 20m away, it was tailing in 1 feet of water busy feeding on something. I decided to rig a long 12lb leader (strongest I had) and a big bright yellow Foam Hopper, I was ready to induce this beast to take my offering. I made a long cast and landed the Hopper 3 feet ahead of the its feeding lane, after a short twitch I got his attention. He quickly raised his head and inhale the Hopper, I gently lifted the rod to set the hook and then all hell broke loose! Within 10 seconds I saw a massive bar of gold going airborne and head shaking, it then shot straight for a submerged tree and I got broken off.... I was in a moment of shock and disbelieve, I then realized I just lost the fish of a lifetime! It all happened so fast and I never had control of the situation, I tried to convince myself I was overpowered and outplayed but it’s not always easy to except. Unfortunately I remember the big ones I lose longer than the ones I catch...I guess that’s part of the game and that’s why they call it fishing and not catching
As a consolation, I waited for the afternoon hatch and hooked a few good yellows on dry fly (Adams & Stimulator). Sadly Bjorn could not join in the fun because the day just got to long for his back... It was an awesome hour of fishing and it took my mind off the one that got away - nothing beats dry fly fishing on the Vaal.