Under the Bridge.. A Bridge over Troubled waters…. Don’t burn your bridges… Bridging the Gap… We spend a lot of time using bridges as metaphors in this day and age… from old sayings like “Don’t burn your bridges” that your grand parents always seemed to be warning you about, to modern bullshit “Ad Agency” vernacular on “Bridging the Gap between brands blah blah fuck off toothpaste” we certainly are surrounded by a lot of bridges…. its in music, its in modern language… its everywhere…

I guess we seldom think about what goes on under the bridges anymore though… As a kid we always heard the stories of bridges in the forests with evil trolls underneath them… these tales scared some of us shitless, and lured others into adventuring into the deep dark moss covered caverns under bridges of our youth in search of those fabled trolls…. either in search of the fright of our lives, or to prove to our parents/cousins/uncles/grand parents who told us these stories that they we’re talking kak….

We recently met two real like “Under the Bridge” dwellers on a little mission to get our Golden Bone fill… Having seen Leonard and Pete’s recent report on Thundercats and Carp in the Poo Hatch of 2015, I was jonesing for a little Carp mission myself… with having a very busy last couple weeks at work, I’d only managed one session on the Carp this spring/summer season, and while that session had been successful, with me connecting to a lovely golden slab in a new piece of water, all it really did was whet the appetite for more..

Kevin and I hatched a plan for  quick session to the new piece of water I’d fished successfully two weeks before… On arrival, a cloudy sky and blustery wind had us facing not the greatest of conditions for sight fishing to spooky selective carp, but we thought fuck it, and rigged up and started stalking…. we started spotting fish soon after, amazed at how a 10lb fish can materialise over a white sand flat almost like a ghost, where seconds before there was nothing… Low, fast flowing water made presenting to the fish incredibly tricky and apart form having one cruising fish turn off his path and attempt to such down a sinking squirmy unsuccessfully, we had no joy.. Platon joined us on a quick break from baby sitting duty, and suggested we move up river to try another area he’d seen some big fish hanging around the day before…

We jumped in the cars and shifted upriver… where we were greeted by still blustery weather, and clouded skies, but, in the slightly deeper water, and under the bridge, we found what we were looking for… Golden Trolls in the form of feeding Carp… Platon was the first to hook up, within minutes of us arriving… his fish took off at an absolute rate of knots… into the backing in a blink of an eye, with no sign of stopping… this was a BIG fish… without a doubt the biggest any of us had hooked on this river, and it was powering off without any slowing down… like the Golden Troll it was, it headed back up under the bridge, and with little option but to hang on and try turn her, the inevitable happened with the leader popping under heavy tension… the power of these bridge trolls had really taken us by surprise..

Platon trying in vain to hold onto his first Golden Troll..

Platon trying in vain to hold onto his first Golden Troll..

Gutted at loosing what most definitely would have been a PB, Pla rerigged, upsizing his tippet a bit in the process….

At this point we bumped into another Under the Bridge dweller… Ashley has called this bridge his home for the last 9 years, and as can be seen from his neat little set up, he’s made quite a home out of it….

Casa Del Ashley... Under the Bridge...

Casa Del Ashley… Under the Bridge…

Shortly thereafter, Platon went tight again on another Golden Troll… having upsized his tippet, and having hooked the fish a little further away from the bridge, he could do battle with a little more control, and soon had his Personal Best Carp sliding into the net in Kev’s outstretched hand..

new PB for Pla... awesome fish mate..

new PB for Pla… awesome fish mate..

A face only a mother and weirdo carp fisherman can love...

A face only a mother and weirdo carp fisherman can love…

Sent on its way to play with its friends, Pla had to leave to make an appointment at his sons school… Just as he was waving good bye, I put my squirmy in front of a large Troll that had slowly moved into range and was feeding intently… I briefly lost sight of the position of my fly, but knew it was relatively in line with the Troll I was locked in on… this was potentially the biggest Carp I would hook, so my focus, and nerves were on point… I gave the fly line a short twitch, in hope of seeing where my fly was without disturbing or spooking the beast… Just after I did I saw the fish’s body language change immediately… it sped up ever so slightly, tipped down, fins and gills flared… classic carp eat.. text book.. what we all chase… I lifted slowly and immediately felt the tension…

“Good fish, good fish” I shouted, taking a few running steps backwards up the bank to make sure my line was cleared… Expecting the fish to explode across the river, I was surprised to see it shaking its head, and not reacting much…. for the first few seconds… then it took off, slowly, but steadily across river… Pla stuck around to shoot a few pics, probably expecting to be done in a few minutes and be able to make his appointment back home… Unfortunately such was not the case… Never before have I had my ass handed to me so hard by a freshwater fish.. my turbo charged troll decided to teach me a lesson… after running across the river, then heading up under the bridge, and back around under some weeds, I figured the only way to keep this fish from dealing me the same hand Pla’s first fish did, I had to get in the water… throwing car keys and fly boxes on the bank, I jumped into the not so clean water with rod held high, landing net clipped to my pants in pursuit of this Troll… I lost a flip flop in the process, but thought fuck it, its a small price to pay…

Cutting a long story short, I spent the next 20 minutes plus in a full on tug of war with this fish… my newly found Sage XP 5# was getting a baptism of fire in my hands, and the little Abel Creek 2, with its dragless Click and Pawl, was singing a rather sharp tune… During all this, our Under the Bridge dwelling friend Ashley had left the comfort of his abode under the bridge, and dragged his deck chair out into the sun.. kicking back with a home rolled smoke in his hand, and his ear phones plugged into his little radio, he watched this crazy white boy with the funny rod, and funny hair, wearing only one flip flop, battling waist deep in the river in front of him with one of his fellow Bridge Dwellers… all the while being filmed/photographed and taunted by the other “laarnies” on the bank who were shouting encouragement to start… and hurling abuse towards the end due to the length of my tussle with this fish…

Finally managed to slide the net under her, and while she was not as big as I initially though, she was still my best Carp on fly in a river, and by far the longest and toughest battle I’ve had on a fly rod with a fresh water fish… A true brawler, whose head I simply could not lift… Could have perhaps had something to do with the Propellor on the back end took:

Troll Propellor....

Troll Propellor….

Trolls in the Grass..

Trolls in the Grass..


Scales on Scales...

Scales on Scales…

Ashley had watched all these Shenanigans quietly with a bemused look on his face from the comfort of his deck chair in the sun… A little while later when I walked past him again, he looked up, smiled at me and said ” Lekker fish Laarnie” and gave me a subtle thumbs up…. This spot has since been christened “Ashleys Lounge”… And I now have come to think of these Trolls as his pets…

We fished a little longer, but my 25 minute dance in the water had disturbed the party, so we called it quits…

Kev had pulled hooks on two fish that day, and decided on a bit of redemption the next morning on a really quick little solo session, and pinned a fat Troll himself in Ashley’s Lounge…. Thankfully Ashley, while not only being a gracious host, is pretty handy with a smart phone, and managed to snap a few great shots of Kev’s troll before she was sent back to play…another fish with immense power and a Tail like a dinner plate

Kevs' Redemption Troll

Kevs’ Redemption Troll – Check out that paddle on her ass end…

Art by Ashley

Art by Ashley


Troll Candy


Sometimes its nice to go play under the bridge….. with the Trolls…


  1. Ray 17 November, 2015 at 18:35 - Reply

    Brilliant, I love everything about this post!

    • Andre Van Wyk 17 November, 2015 at 18:38 - Reply

      Thats cause you, like me, like trolls and weird shit Ray! 🙂

  2. Platon 17 November, 2015 at 19:38 - Reply

    Loved reading this Dre and reliving it through your eyes. Trolls forever!

    • Andre Van Wyk 17 November, 2015 at 21:10 - Reply

      Hahaha, Trolls forever indeed… We need to put the video together man… the footage of your bust off on that beast is classic… and your triumph on slipping the net under the next one… too good!

  3. Rex fey 17 November, 2015 at 19:49 - Reply

    Andre u make me want to go catch a troll. U a great story teller. That’s what I love about feathers. Diversity in stories, and no pussy footing around. Telling the story as it happens and as u would tell it to your mates around a braai!

    • Andre Van Wyk 17 November, 2015 at 21:09 - Reply

      Thanks Rex… You should come down and chase some Trolls sometime pal… bring those madly prolific fly tying skills into the Troll world… Buddha knows we need more patterns for these things cause they ain’t always gonna eat theSquirmy… Bring the little fella and the wife down, and we’ll go play with some Trolls… Scales over Spots bru…. Scales over Spots… 😉

  4. Kevin 17 November, 2015 at 20:10 - Reply

    Spot on bugger! Reading this is almost better than the actual fishing. Ashley’s Lounge… Haha. Never checked a more chilled dude- parking on his chair, dipping slowly to his tunes, shades and trucker cap on, smoke in hand, watching the shaggy larnie wade through his pantry 😉

    • Andre Van Wyk 17 November, 2015 at 21:12 - Reply

      So right Kev… his most classic comment though was after we’d chatted a bit, and he quietly asked ” Laarnie, next time you catch one, maybe you can keep it for me to eat”.. I asked him “Nooit Ashley, won’t it make you sick?”… He replies back “Nee Laarnie, ons brand hom fucked up, gaanie ons sick maak nie..”…. Gold…

  5. Kevin 17 November, 2015 at 21:24 - Reply

    Fecking mint!!!

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