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Fishing The Umkomaas River

22 January 2019
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The Umkomaas river with its source high in the Drakensberg mountains winds its way into the KwaZulu Natal Midlands and finally into the Indian ocean at Umkomaas town. It is the only major river system in KwaZulu Natal that does not have a dam on it and has a reputation as a nature lovers paradise, the Umko canoe marathon, Sani to sea mountain bike ride, birding, photography and fishing.

Crusader Safaris has for many years had all the best hunting tied up in long term leases and also owns 15 000 acres of this hunting paradise. On this privately-owned piece of land is 10 miles of the best freshwater fishing available in the rivers on southern KwaZulu Natal.

Hunters are all adventurous by nature, wanting to see and experience as much as possible while enjoying the most authentic hunting safari available. Not only is the Umkomaas valley and Crusader Safaris synonymous with free range hunting, indigenous animals and wonderful trophy quality. We believe the experience is what counts and what brings hunters back year after year, a few evenings fishing for the aggressive yellow fish on fly or spinner or throwing a bait for a large barbel while sipping on a cold drink of choice and watching the sunset over the Umkomaas conservancy is what memories are made of and a great way to unwind after a successful days hunting.

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The yellowfish is our African equivalent of a trout, a feisty little river fish that fights hard for its size. 25 inches is a good one, they are best caught on the fly or with a tiny spinner. When the water is still warm and the colour of ginger beer the fishing is at its best, this is usually in the early and late season.

If the water is on the dirty side, possibly due to the rain we always have the option of taking a piece of liver from the monster Nyala or Bushbuck taken during the hunt and baiting up for one of the old barbels that call the river home.

The serenity of sitting back on the banks of the river either throwing a fly or trying for a barbel or catfish while watching the sunset, Fish eagle calling overhead Natal francolin rustling around in the reeds puts a lot of the day to day challenges of life into perspective.

With baggage restrictions and travelling with fishing gear somewhat difficult, we make sure that we keep all the fishing tackle, you might need in camp. Hunting is always the first priority and is the reason to be there. Often after a morning of successful hunting, we may decide to spend the afternoon close to camp and head down to the river to try catch a few fish. 

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Some of the best fishing spots on the Umkomaas river are right at camp where the Mkobeni joins the Umko or a little further downstream. These top fishing spots are all within 10 minutes of the camp.

Whether the fishing is successful or not it’s a great change of pace before an early morning start and the challenges of free range plains game hunting with Crusader Safaris in the Umko river.