Fly Fishing For Moggel In South Africa
How To Catch Moggel On Fly?
The Moggel (Labeo umbratus) is an interesting fish that that looks to be crossed with the Mudfish, Grass Carp and Smallmouth Yellowfish. It is a freshwater fish species that belongs to the Labeo family, which are Mudfishes (As we know them more commonly). The Moggel has a fairly small mouth that has 2 small barbels, and is distributed all around South Africa, at various fishing locations, and can be found in all of the provinces. They are common in the great rivers of the Vaal and Orange, all the major dams and rivers of the Eastern Cape and the Olifants and Limpopo rivers, where they have been introduced. They are quite a shy fish, and are believed to be a lot more common than what fly anglers may think.
More Information On The Moggel
The Moggel can reach lengths of well over 50 centimeters and weigh at over 3 kilograms. A 1.5 kilogram Moggel is a fish that has to be felt first hand on a fly rod and reel, as they punch above their weight. They are at home in dams and fast flowing water, although they do seem to prefer calmer water. They feed on a variety of items in the soil and off the rocks. Plant matter, insects and crustaceans are eaten. They start to announce themselves in the rivers where we fish after the first decent Summer rains, where they start their spawning and breeding cycle by migrating upstream.
The Moggel spawns close to rocks in shallow areas or flooded banks of rivers. They can often be seen tailing during the spawning process, and we strongly advise not pursuing these spawning fish during this time. Try stay clear of them and do not disturb the process as they are very vulnerable at this time of year. A big female Moggel can lay up to a quarter of a million eggs, of which these eggs get stuck on grasses and rocks. After 2 days or so the small Moggel hatch and are carried down stream into deeper water where they hold and start to grow. It is believed the Moggel can live for over 6 years, but the sizes of the fish suggest they may even live longer.
How To Fly Fish For The Moggel?
Moggel can be one of the most challenging species on fly to target. You can often see them in the rapids of the rivers feeding on algae and hatching insects and emergers. You can see them in dams and calmer pools rising like a Trout, but seemingly not interested in taking a fly. The best way to catch these elusive fish, is by matching the hatch, but it’s never that simple. You occasionally catch them while nymphing for Yellowfish, where they show their strength by fighting almost to the death. They are on of the strongest fish, pound for pound, you can catch on a fly rod. That is why you should use at least a 6 or 7 weight fly fishing setup, matched with floating line.
Tippet wise, you should use something strong, but at the same time it mustn’t be too thick, as Moggel are quite line shy. Ten pound maxima ultragreen is our tippet of choice for targeting Moggel. You can also catch them on small dry flies when they are rising.
The best flies to use when targeting Moggel on fly can be seen listed below:
Fly Fishing For Moggel & Barbel Video
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