Welcome to Warmwater Fishing!

Warm Water in South Africa

By Adam Crooks
I live and fish in sunny South Africa. This story might sound strange to you but just remember we're talking about the land of weird creatures. Just look at giraffes and you'll get my meaning.

Anyway on with the story; to start, let me put you in the picture.

"Warm water" to us doesn't necessarily mean panfish. Most of the fishing we do is in warm water and includes species like Tigerfish and Yellowfish. We do have mountain streams that run cold enough to provide for some decent trout fishing, as well as some still waters that are found in climes suited to the well being of trout. The trouble is these places are seldom within easy day trip distance. For this reason most of us fish the waters close to home which in turn are invariably warm.


The most popular of the species we target in these local impoundment's (and some rivers) has got to be the Largemouth Bass. My personal favourite (as evidenced by some of my replies to the bulletin board ) is the African Sharptooth Catfish. These are an incredible fish. I've dug them up out of dried up "lakes" and rivers where they've burrowed down to wait for the next big rains. True story! They build tunnels that they line with mucous and live there, apparently none the worse for wear until their homes fill up with water again.

Many of my best flyfishing memories revolve around these amazing fish (we call them barbel). A good one to start with is the day I got bit!


I was float tubing a clear piece of stillwater near home and I'd caught a couple of fish already. I was moving to a new spot when I noticed a school of smallish Barbel (about 5 lbs) milling around. I stopped to take a look, this lake is gin clear, and to my combined delight and terror a Barbel swam up to my flipper and bit it! I don't I think I need to tell you how odd it is be the hunted hunter. The scary part is the fact that these fish reach HUGE sizes. The all tackle record is somewhere around 136lbs! Imagine what a fish that size could do to your leg!

Anyway since they found a crocodile in that lake I don't fish it anymore! The barbel is also our freshwater "tax man," they are not above stealing the fish you're playing. This normally happens in the Vaal River which is home to my next favourite species - the Yellowfish.

By way of describing the fighting prowess of this fish imagine a Carp that's been on an Olympic training schedule all it's life; now imagine hooking this supercharged Carp in really fast water. If you're not twitching by now you should consider another sport. In my opinion the "Yellow" is also our most handsome fish. Picture a sleek, golden hued fish with a powerful tail.

My favourite story regarding Yellows happened a few seasons ago while a friend and I were searching fairly shallow water for an obliging Yellow or two. First up my friend hooked and lost a sizeable specimen, no big deal this happens often enough. The strange part happened about half an hour later. I hooked into a good fish and upon landing it found that my hook had somehow pierced the eye of another fly that was still stuck in the fishes lip! It turned out that the fly in the fish belonged to my friend who was only to happy to have his favourite pattern (shrimp) back.

I have many more stories to tell and I will try to keep them coming! ~ Cheers ~ Adam Crooks

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