I returned from my first trip to Sterkfontein with a beetle addiction.

I had tied quite a few beetles, but I particularly enjoy tying fishable realistics. Im happy to report that the fish would go an extra mile to eat the realistic imitations. In two cases, doing a 180 deg turn to engulf the fly before another fish could get to it. I eventually lost all my beetle flies and had to resort to store bought beetles. They worked some of the time, but there was a definite difference. What stood out to me was how the fish would sometimes rise in the water column to get a higher vantage point for inspection. Prior to this, i’d have mainly been concerned with silhouette, but that last bit of visual confirmation resulted in a definite eat on the realistics.

It didn’t take long for me to start scouring the banks for beetles. The sheer biodensity of beetles in this ecosystem is phenomenal. Trees, grass and flowers almost saturated with beetles.

I’d mainly found 3 beetle species.

Spotted Maize Beetles (Astylus Atromaculatus)
Hairy Darkling Beetles (Tenebrionidae sp)
Christmas Beetles (Anoplognathus spp.)

A lot of my joy in freshwater comes from catching fish with different techniques or flies, even if not the most effective. The beetle part excites the crustacean tier in me.

Spotted Maize Beetles (Astylus Atromaculatus)

the underside of a maize beetle

My maize beetle impression

Maize beetle impression underside

a clump of beetles

Hairy Darkling beetle (Tenebrionidae sp)

hairy darkling beetles and my imitation. The fish did not seem to like the silicon legs as much as the round rubber legs

My darkling beetle. By now somewhere on a bank in Sterkfontein dam

Christmas Beetle (Anoplognathus spp.) – one of my cats favourite delicacies

Christmas Beetle

My christmas beetle fly

Leave A Comment