Ufudu Fly Fishing Newsletter – May 2022

MAY 2022 NEWSLETTER 

Since my last newsletter in September of 2021 a lot of water has passed under the bridge and for a quick summary of what transpired during this Covid-19 disrupted period, please note the following:

RECENT EVENTS AND TRIPS

Orange River solo survival trip:

Starting on the 6th of October I set off from a place called Klein Pella on the banks of this great river.  My craft was my trusty 4-meter sit-on-top kayak, the same one I paddled the whole Wild Coast in 2017.  For the next 14 days I paddled, wild camped, sourced fish for food and lived to experience the wild waters of this river and its harsh arid surrounds.

My trip ended at a place called Goodhouse, some 140kms downstream where I was met by a good friend, Laurence Van Eyssen from Springbok, who gave me a lift back to Klein Pella and fed me well.

Lessons learnt from the experience were that there was no plan B, so I had to think three times before I did anything to make sure that my survival skills and my fitness levels were up to the challenge.

Maldives Northern Atolls 2022 season.

I had five 10-night trips planned to the northern atolls for the 2022 season and thankfully all were fully booked.

Weeks before setting off on the first trip the Omicron variant was identified by our SA doctors and, as a result, South Africans (and several other countries) were banned from travelling to the Maldives.  Fortunately, sanity prevailed and I was able to join the first trip literally two days before it started.

I have just flighted our 2022 You Tube video and invite you to like and share it with friends as it will give you a pretty good idea of what transpired during the five trips.  The YouTube link is: https://youtu.be/_9VWfoDfgHs

With all that went before it, our 2022 season really was a great success.  There were good size GTS, bluefin, yellow spot trevally, triggers, bonefish and permit landed.

Landing a big GT in the surf zone is on the bucket list of most salt water fly anglers and this season did not disappoint with several fish over a meter lost and landed.  The adrenalin rush of seeing these fish eat a fly and speeding off into the distance with such incredible brute power truly is fly fishing heaven.

Special mention must be made of the GTs landed by Nick Mitchell, Rudi Hiestrermann and Ted Schwarting as these were all fish that were sight casted to in the surf, a real test of their patience and skill.

On the flats, GTs were seen regularly and several very good fish were landed on 9 wt. rigs. Shawn Carey, Rudi and Tony Whittaker will long remember the exhilaration of landing their good fish.  On many occasions however, these wily predators managed to frustrate anglers by spooking to casts or just refusing the well-intended fly offerings.

Particularly pleasing was the number of bonefish and permit landed during the season as these two prized species have historically not well represented on our catch rates.  Bonefish in excess of 60cm FL provided many guests with great excitement, as these super charged fish set off on blisteringly fast runs across the expansive flats.

A total of five permit were landed with several lost for some reason and others simply ignoring presentations.  Gus Pringle, Johan Meyer, Stephen van Staden and Mike Merry (two in one session) still have smiles etched on their faces.  I have no doubt that targeting these two iconic species will be high on the agenda for most guests who have booked for our 2023 season.

On the more technical side, guests landed a number of yellow margin and titan triggers, also species on every angler’s to-get-list. And if not, they should be, such is the challenge of landing them.

Finally, the ever-plentiful bluefin trevally provided excellent sight casting excitement to many of our guests as they really do punch well above their weight in terms of the excitement they provide.

Kenyan Fly Casting Clinic

In April this year I was invited to conduct a four-day fly casting clinic for the Scott family and friends in Kenya.  The family run very successful flower farming operations in Kenya, Ethiopia and Columbia and wanted to hone their casting and other fly fishing skills in preparation for their forthcoming trip to the Maldives.

All those who participated did so with much enthusiasm and determination and I have no doubt that their efforts and newly acquired skills will stand them in good stead next year in the Maldives.

The more guests practice and prepare their skills for any fly fishing trip, the greater their success and enjoyment and this initiative of the Scott family should serve as a very good example to all anglers as you can always improve at being a better fly angler.

A big thank you to the extended Scott family for their wonderful hospitality and friendship.

UPCOMING TRIPS

MALDIVES 2023: NORTHERN ATOLLS (fully booked)

We have five 10 night live-aboard trips planned to the northern atolls of the Maldives for our 2023 season.  The demand for these trips was such that without any advertising they were all fully booked within days of me returning from Kenya.

If you missed out on our 2023 season you may want to consider coming on one of our 2024 trip dates which have just been confirmed.  Please see below.

MALDIVES 2024: NORTHERN ATOLLS

There are five 10-night live-aboard hosted trips planned to these atolls at the best tides and season for the beginning of 2024.

Currently I cannot give you a trip costing as the boat charter rates have not been finalised.

If you are interested, please let me know and I will pencil you in on the understanding that your reservation will only be confirmed once rates are finalised and you are happy with the Ts&Cs of the trip.

As a costing guideline: please add approximately 5% to the respective 2023 trips costs below.  This will give you a good idea of what the 2024 trips are likely to cost.

2023 Trip costs:

  • Trips with a maximum of 4 guests all with single accommodation: $5550pp
  • Trips with a maximum of 6 guests: 4 x shared accommodation: $4600pp sharing.

2 x single accommodation: $5000pp single sup.

 

2024 TRIPS DATES AND AVAILABILITY

TRIP 1                   9 – 18 JANUARY (New moon: 11 Jan)

  • Maximum number of guests: 4 single cabins
  • Availability: 4 rods

 

TRIP 2                   23 JANUARY – 1 FEBRUARY (Full moon: 25 Jan)

  • Maximum number of guests: 4 OR 6 (4 x single OR 4 x sharing + 2 x single)
  • Availability: 4 OR 6 rods

.

TRIP 3                   7 – 16 FEBRUARY (New moon: 9 Feb.)

  • Maximum number of guests: 6 (4 x sharing + 2 x single)
  • Availability:                 Full

 

TRIP 4                   22 FEBRUARY – 2 MARCH (Full moon: 24 Feb.)

  • Maximum number of guests: 6 (4 x sharing + 2 x single)
  • Availability:  5 rods (4 x sharing + 1 x single)

 

TRIP 5                   8 – 17 MARCH (New moon: 10 March)

  • Maximum number of guests: 4 single cabins
  • Availability:                 Full

 

General Trip information

  • Trips are all live- aboard on the very comfortable safari dhoni Gahaa, a boat and crew that have been looking after Ufudu guests for eleven years.
  • For comfort, the plan is to limit two or three of the trips to a maximum four anglers in single accommodation.
  • Three of the trips will have a maximum of six anglers with four sharing (sharing rate) and two in single accommodation (single supplementary rate)
  • Trips costs above, all exclude international travel costs.
  • I will host all the trips.

 

 

2022 ROCKTAIL BAY FLY FISHING WORKSHOP

I am planning on holding the next workshop this year to coincide with one of our winter storms that are common in July/early August each year.  It is during these spring tides that the SW wind whips the surf into a raging frenzy, bringing the GTs that run wild, smashing baitfish and providing huge excitement for us all.

To land a meter plus GT in those weather and surf conditions is a challenge that only a few will dare to face.  If you feel you are up for this, please let me know and watch this space carefully, as dates can only be announced closer to the time and will be weather dependant.

THE UFUDU SHOP – Great winter specials.

As of 1 June, most stock items will be on sale at a 35% discount.  Stock items include the following:

Fly rods:              Stealth, TFO and Hardy

Fly Reels:             Stealth, Greys

Apparel:               Columbia, Simms

Sunglasses:         Smiths

Wading boots:   Stealth

Gear:                    Landing nets, fly boxes, loon products, scissors/clamps and more!!

I would imagine this offer would be more convenient for KZN based/visitors as you would need to call prior to your visit the shop to see what bargains you can find.

I am not always at the shop, so please call me on 0828021677 to arrange your visit.

LAST WORD:

Fly fishing, as with knowledge, “the more you know, the more you know that you don’t know”.

Stay healthy and best regards
Ben.