The largemouth yellowfish, which can grow to more than 20kg, lives in the Vaal River and is an unrelenting fighter when finally enticed into swallowing a fly. In 2009 a study compiled by the Centre for Aquatic Research at the University of Johannesburg estimated that the annual economic value of yellowfish angling on the Vaal River was about R133m a year. But fishing tourists are now staying away, because of the Vaal’s pollution. In July the river experienced a mass fish die-off, the largest since 2010. Fly-fishermen who hunt the largemouth yellowfish call it "the fish of a thousand casts [of the line]", because it is elusive and huge skill is required to catch it. Foreign fishermen come to the banks of the Vaal and pay good money to catch a uniquely SA species. In July, farmers and locals hauled out thousands of rotting fish from the river, in an effort to clean it up. There have been reports of increased effluent flowing into the river, because of malfunctioning sewage works along...

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