I’ve always had an affinity for Smallscale Yellows but never quite understood them. They feed and behave unlike any Yellowfish I’ve come across. We had 5-10kms of the Elands River at our disposal yet ended up fishing one pool, no longer than 200m, for three days…

I’ve truly never seen Yellowfish so concentrated in my life, I’m talking hundreds in one pool, it was ridiculous. Interestingly the year before I had seen the exact same behaviour on the Elands, however, just on a different section of the farm, of course with not much to show for it.

James Martin having a time with the stockies.

Sure, fishing long delicate leaders can be tough and even just detecting the eat in slow water can be borderline impossible but still far from the most frustrating aspect of pursuing these fish. Watching these fish blatantly and whole heartedly reject any form of offering for hours on end, hits a little different. Turn hours into days and you understand the weekend we had…

In “the zone” with Declan Kennedy.

Thankfully we weren’t short on booze though, with a good group of oaks and a stockie every now and then just to keep spirits high. All in all, it was a weekend away in the midst of lockdown to a part of the country, in the heart of Mpumalanga, that I thoroughly enjoy and in hindsight I truly couldn’t have asked for much more. Frustration is one heavy understatement when targeting these fish; but in saying that, many lessons were learnt and the drive to crack these fish, personally, has grown evermore. I will be back.

Brent Poultney making it happen.



  1. Leon Marais 10 September, 2020 at 07:48 - Reply

    I take it this was on a private farm?

    As a ‘normal’ flyfisherman without access to private venues one of the most frustrating things is reading these articles but not having access to the venues.

  2. Tim Leppan 11 September, 2020 at 15:22 - Reply

    Hi Leon,

    Indeed it was a private water, however, in saying that some of the most amazing parts of this river flow through the town. Next time you driving through the area, stop off at the Waterval Boven municipal dams, there’s a section of the Elands River right below the two dams where we’ve seen some great fish!


  3. Michael Dalby 25 October, 2021 at 17:59 - Reply

    That is not just any yellow you’ve been stalking either – the Bushveld Smallscale Yellowfish is found on this 60km stretch of the Elands river, with this population isolated by the Waterval-Boven and Lindenau falls (just above the confluence with the Crocodile river). They grow to about 4kg although we don’t often see them over 2. Have a look at the ERYCA on flyfishingsouthafrica.com if you’d like to find out a little more about the species.

    We’re also always open to new members – with any luck our website link should be included below.

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