Southern African Flyfishing Magazine May/June 2020

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ISSN 1011-3681

OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF FOSAF

May/June 2020 Vol. 34 No.178


Contents - May/June 2020 Editorial - Andrew Mather ..............................................................................................................................................4 The usual editorial guff and a little more First Bite - The season that wasn't... Andrew Savs ........................................................................................................6 A regular witty column on all things flyfishing and beyond 39th World Flyfishing Championships - Dan Factor....................................................................................................10 Forel en Vlieghengel - Gerhard Delport .....................................................................................................................23 Dis 'n Vaal Vaal Winter - Terry Babich..........................................................................................................................34 Women in Waders - Roxanne Stegen..........................................................................................................................40 Talking to Bianca Viljoen Women Commonwealth Flyfishing Championships - Marlize Heyns ......................................................................45 Heritage Flies : Part 7 - Peter Brigg...............................................................................................................................54 The Red-Eyed Damsel Nymph Dirt Road Wild Trout Festival 2020 - Dave Walker.......................................................................................................59 The Danish MacNab - Terkel Broe Christensen..........................................................................................................68 24 Hours to mission it! Barbel and the Rubber Hackle Crab - Ed Herbst.......................................................................................................78 The Origins of South African Flyfishing - Ian Cox ......................................................................................................86 Horizon Tactical CompetitionNymph Series Fly Rod - Terry Babich.................................................................... ....91 COVID and Flyfishing - Kirk Deeter.............................................................................................................................95 FOSAF News - Andrew Fowler ....................................................................................................................................99


NAVIGATING THE MAGAZINE You will note that we make liberal use of hyperlinks both to pages within the magazine and to websites outside it. Links to external websites will enable you to further explore these topics. The idea is that you can navigate around the magazine from the contents page. Each item on the contents page is hyperlinked to the article in the magazine. This means you do not have to scroll through the entire magazine if you don’t want to, you can access specific articles merely by clicking on the link. We also want you to share the magazine with your friends on social media, just go to the share button when you’re looking at the magazine on issuu.com and you’ll be able to send a link via email, Facebook or Twitter. There is also a hyperlink on the bottom of each page linking you to our website where you can download back issues. Happy exploring!


SOUTHERN AFRICAN FLYFISHING: • Available free of charge online at www.issuu.com; • Published bi-monthly; • The official magazine of the Federation of Southern African Flyfishers (FOSAF); • Africa’s original flyfishing magazine LAYOUT AND PUBLISHER: Southern African Flyfishing Magazine (Pty) Ltd Registration No. 2018/356867/07 www.saflyfishingmag.co.za editor@saflyfishing.co.za EDITORS: Ian Cox (082 574 3722) Andrew Mather (083 309 0233) Andrew Savides (081 046 9107) CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE: Terry Babich, Peter Brigg, Terkel Broe Christensen, Ian Cox, Kirk Deeter, Gerhard Delport, Daniel Factor, Andrew Fowler, Ed Herbst, Marlize Heyns, Andrew Savides, Roxanne Stegen, Dave Walker.

EDITORIAL The World has certainly changed since our last edition. but this phase will come to pass. Perhaps too late for the current river season but the stillwater season may be where we can hope to wet our lines. There are going to be impacts on our industry, Kirk Deeter published a great article in Trout Unlimited and he has given us permission to reproduce this here. While written in the American context, there is much we can gleam from this article. On a brighter note one of the things we wanted to do is to introduce articles in different languages. I know we have 11 official languages but that might be a bit much! In this edition Gerard Delport writes about the history of South African Flyfishing. Ian Cox gives a different perspective on the same topic. Ed Herbst and Alan Hobson has come up with a rather interesting barbel fly. Alan has been testing it in and around his waters. Peter Brigg in our series on Heritage Flies talks us through the Red Eyed Damsel Nymph... a firm favourite for still waters.

COPYRIGHT Copyright in the magazine reposes in the Publisher. Articles and photographs are published with the permission of the authors, who retain copyright. The magazine and content may be hyperlinked and downloaded for private use but may not be otherwise hyperlinked or reproduced in part or whole without the written permission of the publishers.

International competition features strongly in this edition. The Men competed in the 39th World's in Tasmania, Australia and Dan Factor gives us his take on this event. Not to be outdone by the men the Protea Ladies competed in the Women Commonwealth Flyfishing Championships in New Zealand. Marlize Heyns (Blom) gives us an account of a very interesting experience and shares their successes.

DISCLAIMER While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this magazine, the publishers do not accept responsibility for omissions or errors or their consequences. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers, the editors or the editorial staff.

Our Woman in Waders is out there doing their thing. It would be really nice to see more of our ladies, and dare I venture, some of the partners of our male flyfishermen.

Cover photo: Darryl Lampert

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Terkel Broe Christensen writes about a most challenging achievement - The Danish Macnab! All I can say is it's not for the faint hearted!

Looking for some new kit? Terry Babich reviews the Horizon Tactical Competition Nymph series rod. There's a lot more so dive in and enjoy...

Andrew Mather

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Telling Stories

THE SEASON THAT NEVER WAS Savs Garrotte can currently be found in a holiday cottage with excellent views on the coastline of the Eastern Cape. When you consider the range of accommodation options made available by the state it’s not the worst possible place to face a mandatory quarantine. He only recently found a way off the islands and has to be kept apart from the rest of society for a while. I received a late-night message from him sent from an airport where he was laid over somewhere along his circuitous route home. A text message doesn’t convey much emotion but his anxiety was tangible. He explained, rather unnecessarily, that their prime guiding season is a bust and that his fledgling but promising career may have gone with it. The possible negative health implications resulting from hops through several international travel nodes are nothing to be laughed off either, but he had a duty-free beer in his hand and was in reasonable spirits. The Sensei is meanwhile unwittingly validating the outcomes of several academic studies into the link between a lack of stimulation and senseless vandalism in city kids - he’s throwing paper airplanes from the balcony of his multistorey apartment. An evening of critiquing my fly tying efforts may have, I fear, driven him to the edge of some dark place. When Nietzsche spoke of gazing into the abyss there was no mention of paper airplanes, but these are unusual times. My suggestion that he uses candles and paper bags to make hot air balloons to drift into the night sky was met with condemnation. The line that he draws between, for example, the number of fibres in a trailing shuck and the permissible degree of criminal misdemeanours that may reasonably perpetrated out of boredom are very fine. Everywhere else it’s much the same. The Giant is holed up with a few other single

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guys. In an ill-advised but amusing game of ‘chicken’ they are alternatively taunting cirrhosis of the liver and coronary artery disease. The outcome of their gambit remains to be seen but given the evidence the smart money isn’t on their longevity.

busy but that he’s not in the mood for tying. As it turns out, “I wish I had the time” was never the issue with any of us. To avoid the drudgery of his vice and bobbins he has taken his more than a decade old collection of assorted roadkill and is cutting it up and putting it into an equally old and impressive collection of used resealable bags.

The Supermodel has gone the other way and has been jogging five clicks a day on his new treadmill. He’s in a good state of general mental health despite, in an inexplicable throwback to the worst of nineties fashion, now sporting a grey and somewhat scraggly goatee. He spends his days lounging around his swimming pool looking like the love child of Hugh Hefner and Magnum PI. It speaks well of him that while the pool is a hurriedly purchased inflatable number that has a capacity for only one member of his family at a time this has dampened neither his spirit nor his enthusiasm.

McGupta has been working double shifts in his normal job and in an unrelated irony is making many tons of new plastic for the Pro to hoard. When in the time of a humanmade plague and the forced closure of most industries the production of plastic is seen as an essential activity you have to start asking some serious questions. For his part The Solicitor is indeed asking some serious questions and is earnestly engaged in the cut and thrust of social media debate. Arguments that run counter to his are met with logical and well-structured rebuttals. His research seems solid and I am a convert to his line of thinking. When trolls arise, as they will, he flays them mercilessly. While this may sound dashing the vision in my mind is somewhat dulled by the suspicion that he’s doing it in his pyjamas with wild hair and an unshaven jowl. In these battles a winner never really ever emerges, but I suppose that it helps to pass the time as well as anything else does.

Elsewhere friends are trying their hardest to remain busy and at least relatively sane. Doc has sharpened all of his kitchen knives and has painted the house. In that order. When dearest has a drawer full of razor sharp knives at her disposal chores tend to get done quickly and with a minimum of argument. The Pro tells me that he has a stack of orders for flies that could be keeping him

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Further afield OB1 has had his appendix removed in an emergency procedure and is thankfully well on the mend. Obelix is busy inoculating his cattle by day and braaing bits of them by night. Double-Barrel-Darryl has clearly not been rationing his wine. In what can only be an act of exasperation he has consented to his youngest dyeing his hair purple. The strange part is that it sort of suits him, although the rainbows on the Smalblaar are going to see him coming a mile off.

It’s terrestrial time on our streams. Walks through the veld would have grasshoppers on the wing and the windier conditions will have trout looking up for them. As the streams cool and aquatic insect activity dies down all manner of terrestrial insects move onto the menu. Hoppers become the special of the day. Every indication was that this autumn was going to be fantastic. Six weeks ago I moved to my vest a favourite vintage Wheatley fly box. That box and its contents are pieces of functional art. It contains hoppers tied by Madala and Goose, each to their unique personal vision of the same insect, spiders tied by Doc and both floating and sinking ants by The Artist. It’s a confidence box. We all carry a confidence box; the one without back-up patterns in it and where every bug is painfully perfectly tied and is a certified killer. Being right handed mine is always in my left hand uppermost pocket where it’s most convenient to reach.

Bramble Boy is working harder than normal and may well be singlehandedly carrying the Gauteng economy through this. Goose is trying to maintain the new order in a frontier town that’s having none of it. The word sjambok has been thrown around, and not altogether loosely. It’s all happening, folks. The one guy who has actually been out fishing lately is Pikey. The bastard has a river running through his farm and access to others that don’t require much by way of travel or social contact. I say bastard because he insists on sending us photographs - it feels a little like he’s walking around the battlefield and bayonetting the wounded.

As it happens, on the very day that it was announced that the ban on travel would be extended came the death knell to hopper season - the first frosts had fallen. Frost, you see, kills grasshoppers overnight and with them die this angler’s last-ditch hopes and plans. The snow that fell across the Drakensberg last night simply hit a further dozen or so superfluous nails into the coffin.

But even Pikey isn’t fishing today. His wife is apparently “dikbek” because of his regular daily absence so he’s opted for matrimonial concord over personal fulfilment. He tried his best to sound like the bigger person as he told us this but he sounded a little dikbek himself. It was suggested that he tell her that he’s going out to tend to the sheep but, as he pointed out wisely, that’s exactly how nasty rumours get started.

This trout season has truly been the season that never was. In what may be a quirk of our evolution or a vestigial hunter-gatherer memory it seems to me that we are far more attuned to the changing of the seasons than we may, in our high-tech-climate-controlled world, realise.

As for me, I’ve stood around pretending not to notice the fact that the average daily temperature has steadily dropped as the hours of sunlight have decreased. Avoidance is a lousy tactic though and it’s getting harder to lie to myself. Even a fool such as I can’t fail to see that lawn is growing a little more slowly and the aloes beside the pool are preparing their winter flowers.

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Back when I fished the shores near my childhood home we would mark off the year by the fish that were in seasonal abundance - the sardine run, kob moving in numbers into the estuaries, the pignose grunter and shad runs. Some seasons were even evident by the absence of something - the closed season on crayfish for example. 8

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As a charismatic, born-again trout angler my relating seasons to the fishing available hasn’t really changed as much as you might think, although ‘runs’ no longer feature in my almanac.

On the third of January last season Doc, McGupta and I had a special day. From the first pool we took well over a dozen fish including two that measured in at twenty inches. Then it got even got better. On the third of January this season the Pro and I fished the same stretch of river and the contrast was stark. The water was tepid and by ten o’clock I called it a day and turned my nose towards home.

Winter is the time of behemoth hens moving over shallow gravel in our dams in their futile attempt to spawn. Misty mornings spent inflating float tubes and the crunch of ice under flippers when launching make me shiver a little as I think of them. Hours of walking the bank looking for cruisers give way to long midmorning periods of facing into the wan sun while holding steaming coffee mugs. In this case the slugs of whisky are for once probably medicinal. Winters now include sliding over polished rocks to cast at Natal scalie in the seasonally clearer lower reaches of our rivers. It’s more than a distraction and is as much fun as you can have with your trousers on.

When the rains finally came they came in abundance, drowning both the banks and our hopes of spending time on them. When members of the national team use four millimetre tungsten beaded nymphs on the diminutive upper reaches of the stream that we shared that weekend it pretty much sums up the prevailing conditions. We fished lower down, where the stream becomes a river, using a technique called drop-shotting. It requires several split shots to be spaced apart on the point with lightly weighted nymphs on droppers above them. Make no mistake, it’s every bit as ugly as it sounds. We caught fish alright, but it was a graceless affair that did little for the soul.

McGupta opened this last trout season with a double-up of wild browns. The day started with snowball fights and breakfast rolls and ended with several dozen fish landed between three of us. Ironically, given that it was spring day, the snowballs that we were throwing at one another’s heads were the first snows of winter. The river was low but we assured ourselves that it would rain anytime now.

Since then the end of summer has come and gone and quickly behind it the best of autumn. We’ve spent what Madala calls “the sweet of the season” in involuntary, mandatory stasis and, let’s admit it, no small amount of fear.

It didn’t rain. And it continued to not rain some more. Every month for five months was the driest on record for the Midlands.

The nights are longer and are colder now . The hoppers are dead. Migratory birds have flown away towards a troubled Europe. The first snows have fallen and the sweet of the river season lies behind us, unchallenged. The bit of the trout season that is left lies beyond our grasp.

In late spring and early summer our rivers should come alive. The first rains rejuvenate the streams, the first thunderstorms scour out the muck and as the daylight hours grow longer the water warms, bringing with it an increase in aquatic life. By midsummer we have to keep our ears to the ground and follow two days after news of the smallest of thunderstorms to make the most of cooler temperatures and temporarily improved flows. By early November of this season the streams were too thin and too warm to fish without somewhat more than just a nagging conscience. www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

I am left with a sense of incompleteness, a feeling of abject sadness that has taken me by surprise. I feel disorientated, adrift. Robert Frost in three words summed up everything that he claimed to know about life - it goes on. So too with the seasons. 9

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39th WORLD FLYFISHING CHAMPIONSHIP With Daniel Factor Original Artwork By Trevor Hawkins The Protea flyfishing team recently competed in the thirty ninth edition of the Fips–Mouche World Fly Fishing Championships held in Tasmania, Australia. Despite atrocious conditions they finished in a credible eleventh position. Team captain, Daniel Factor, placed eleventh individually and together they achieved the highest ever finish for a South African team and individual in this competition.

not be the most difficult sector, but it definitely wasn’t easy. In session one there is always little bit of nerves and it’s always the worst for us but as soon as it passes by the competition becomes a lot more enjoyable and relaxed. Twenty four countries competed in this tournament and that means that there were twenty four people on the lake; two people and a controller per boat.

Competition flyfishing may not be every angler’s cup of tea but it is fascinating to learn from the discipline. Through their interaction with some of the finest anglers in the world they develop a set of skills that can be transferred to and used by the social flyfisher to catch more fish more often and to simply have more fun.

It was made more difficult because we were on boats that we were not used to. In South Africa we fish from inflatables or little fibreglass boats for our trout but here we fished off speedboats - the kind of boats that you expect to be skiing behind on Hartebeespoort Dam. It was a very different experience.

We spoke to Dan about his experiences at the competition and had him walk us through his sessions to learn how he goes about planning and executing a successful game plan. There’s a lot to learn and think about in here, not least of which is that even the most hardened competitive angler experiences no less of that indescribable thrill that the rest of us do when we’re on the water.

The big mess-up for us is that we expected a southern hemisphere summer like in South Africa. It was supposed to be a warm Tasmanian December but they had the worst cold front that they’ve had in decades. We had weather that ranged between minus two and maybe two or three degrees during the day. There was snow and gale force winds throughout the competition.

Session 1, Sector Five - Little Pine Lagoon The weather actually turned out to be an advantage for the non-Australians. Tasmania is really well know for their big mayfly hatches and both the wet and the dry fly fishing that goes with it.

The nickname for this lake was ‘Little Swine Lagoon’ because this venue is normally a make-or-break for comp anglers. In this competition it turned out to www.saflyfishingmag.co.za www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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It gets very technical and the hatches only happen at certain times of the day. It’s very important to know when to change from a streamer to a wet and then to a dry fly and the Australians had really practiced and knew exactly when to switch.

and you can see the bottom over most of the lake. The depth and weed are what makes the mayfly hatches so prolific. It’s a renowned wild brown fishery. During preparation we expected a lot of wet fly fishing, stripping dabblers, snatchers and crunchers. They’re all medium mayfly imitations in sizes ten, twelve and fourteen that are fished under the surface. Where we found a hatch where we would change to a dry fly. With the conditions changing as they did we had to adapt our plans really quickly.

With the conditions changing from a summer to arctic condition it levelled the playing fields for the international competitors. The fish weren’t where the Australians thought they would be and they were actually at a disadvantage because they kept on going back to what they knew. The international guys who didn’t know what to expect adapted to conditions a lot more quickly and this is evident in the results from sessions one, two and three.

I was on the lake with an English team member, Tony Baldwin. We had a really good guide, Stewie Dickson, in our preparation and we had a very good idea of where to fish, but the sections of the lake to fish were really dependant on reading the wind on the day.

Little Pine Lagoon is a big body of water that doesn’t have much cover and is completely exposed to the weather from all directions. It’s not a very deep lake with a maximum depth of four metres and because it’s so shallow it is full of weed. Most Tasmanian lakes aren’t deep at all

Especially in the start of a competition your first few drifts are the most important because the fish have gone for a couple of weeks without seeing an angler.

© Trevor Hawkins

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Litte Pine Lagoon- © Trevor Hawkins

You need to understand where the fish normally hang out and then work out where to put your boat to get a really good drift towards them. You don’t want to be in the best spot but where there’s four boats in front of you because then you’ll only get fourth shot at a piece of water.

the conditions. I tried everything. I had hand warmers with me and even used arctic fox gloves that I had bought in Tasmania but I just couldn’t warm up my hands. Still, I got on the board pretty quickly with two or three fish really early and was up on my boat partner. I figured it out early; the fish were eating on the ‘hang’ but they weren’t deeper than ten centimetres below the surface. I kept three unweighted flies just under the surface and ‘hung’ really far away from the boat. My boat partner didn’t adapt and he wasn’t getting fish. I should’ve had a lot more fish and a better result but my hands wouldn’t work and I couldn’t hold onto the fish or place the net.

I had captaincy first. I read the conditions and found a nice shallow bank that we could get a really long first drift down. I started off with a hover line (slow intermediate) and a dabbler on top and tried a few small streamers, just to cover water. The wind was blowing and it was freezing. This was to our detriment because we just weren’t used to it like the Europeans and the English were. I’d never seen anything like it.

I managed a few good fish with the biggest being 527mm. My boat partner and I finished with four fish each. During his captaincy we went to a very quiet area where I had a really bad position in the boat and he managed to catch up. We finished sixth and seventh respectively.

I started off really well - actually both well and not very well - because my hands were frozen and I literally could not feel my fingers. I remember that on both the first and third casts I had fish on and I just couldn’t grab my line properly. I lost fish simply because my body was not used to www.saflyfishingmag.co.za www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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It was a good start and I felt positive. In a world championship a top ten place in a session is having done really well, but another two fish would have placed me in the top three. I knew that I could have done better but that our preparation was on the ball.

and a placing of fifth. My boat partner landed one fish and placed twenty second. I was very happy with that result. The beginning part of the session I found to be very good but we struggled a little bit toward the end. There was a hatch in the last half hour and we were able to covert a couple of fish on the dry. At the beginning of the session I fished a hover line with dabblers and streamers. Most of the fish were caught on the ‘hang’ and I still found that the fish were not deep - again just a couple of centimetres below the surface.

Session 2, Sector One - Penstock Lagoon Penstock is a lake that is stocked with both rainbows and browns. The browns stocking is not done from a hatchery. Fish from natural river systems or lakes with a good population of fish are moved to Penstock and other lakes in the area to boost their numbers. They’re still wildspawned brown trout.

As the wind picked up everyone went for deeper and deeper lines so that they could get a long cast in. With the speed that the boat was moving because of the wind keep they were trying to keep up and not lose contact with the fly. I still found that shorter casts with the slow intermediate line just under the surface was a lot more effective. I always say that I’d rather fish in the column above the fish than below it, because trout fish look up. This is true especially in a lake like this where they tend to eat mayflies or dry flies and are always looking up no matter what. They’ll come up to eat a fly but a trout never looks down so it’s not going to move down to eat your fly.

Penstock Lagoon is quite a big lake but very shallow with an average depth of only one metre and not a lot of areas deeper than that. You can see the bottom the whole time as you fish. This lake is very well known for its massive mayfly hatches, so this was supposed to be a dry fly fishery, especially in summer. Every world championship until now has had two sessions per day, a morning and an afternoon session, but this tournament was reduced to one session a day so that everyone could benefit from the amazing mayfly hatches that happen during the Tasmanian summer. With the huge weather system that was just getting worse there weren’t many hatches. Once again we had snow, day temps of a couple of degrees Celsius and gale force winds. The beautiful mayfly fishery that we expected was nowhere to be seen.

In the last half an hour I converted a couple of fish on the dry fly. The Tasmanians use possum tail for all their dry fly material - no CDC or deer hair - and it’s actually a very nice material that I’m looking forward to playing around with in South Africa once I get the opportunity to.

I fished this lake with one of the Mongolian team. He didn’t know the lake very well so I took captaincy. I had pretty good intel from my team as to where the fish were holding court so we started just off the wall onto a weed bed. I was very fortunate to get into the fish very quickly.

We were starting to figure out what the fish were doing in the weather. There were no secret patterns and everyone was fishing more or less the same type of pattern. It was all about work rate and most importantly converting chances. If you got six or seven takes in your session and you landed all of them you would do really well. Guys who had takes but landed one fish ended up all the way at the bottom.

I got some good fish with the biggest fish of my session being 507mm. It was a special session and I ended up with five fish www.saflyfishingmag.co.za www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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Session 3, Sector Two - Meander River

a goat) and then come back down to see the top of the beat. There was a pool with a cliff that I couldn’t walk downstream of and then maybe sixty metres above it.

This is the most well known wild brown trout fishery in this area of Tasmania. We were fortunate that where the rivers are it is a lot warmer than the mountain ranges where the lakes are found. It was probably ten or twelve degrees with no snow or gale force winds.

I found out that Lance Egan from the USA and a Spanish guy had fished my beat in the first two sessions. I knew that this water had been hammered and that for me to go through the same water as two top anglers and still get a top result was going to be very difficult.

The beats were extremely long with mine being just under a kilometre. This requires a huge strategic plan to fish them. I’d rather fish certain areas really well and really slowly then try rush and fish every piece of water in three hours. This is harder to say than it is to do.

When I walked the beat it took ten minutes to get over the mountain and I wasn’t sure what was between the water at the top and bottom of the beat. I made a bold decision and decided to start at the top of the beat. It was really, really nice pocket water and in my mind both anglers would have started at the bottom of the beat and would have not got to that top section - there’s way too much water and they wouldn’t have rushed it.

I first walked my beat and it was beautiful. For the first five hundred metres I was able to walk along the river and see the water. After that there were three or four hundred metres of it that I couldn’t access and I had to climb a mountain (like www.saflyfishingmag.co.za www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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I also knew that they did pretty well in their sessions so they would’ve already caught a lot of the fish that were in that first five hundred metres.

comp like that. I rushed the first few minutes and I snapped off a fish and lost a fish. It wasn’t going well and I could’ve got an extra three or four fish - and probably won the session - if I just got my head in the right place. It took me ten or fifteen minutes to realise what I was doing and I took a deep breath and was able to pick up another few fish.

I spent an hour and forty five minutes in that top sixty metres of the beat and fished it slowly and methodically. If I saw a fish I spent time on it until I caught it. I caught six of my fish up there and enjoyed sight-fishing nymphs to them. There were not a lot of big fish and my biggest was thirty centimetres but it was a really special session.

In the last three minutes I made a mistake that I preach to people not to make. I got to a section of water, saw a rising fish and with only a couple of minutes left instead of changing my rig and tying on a dry fly and catching it I threw my nymphs to it. The biggest mistake is to throw nymphs to a rising fish - you have a chance at catching him but more times than not you’re going to spook him or he’s not going to eat it because when they want to eat on the surface they eat on the surface, especially in a situation like we had in Tasmania where the weather wasn’t optimal for the trout.

After that I decided to go and try pick up a few fish at the beginning of the beat and I ran down. I did a lot of fitnesses training for this tournament but I can tell you that it’s not enough when you are nervous and while you run everything is flying everywhere. My heart was racing and I taught myself that if I ever get into that situation take a few minutes, redo a leader, relax and get my breath back, but all goes out the window when you’re fishing a

© Trevor Hawkins

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I ended up with eighth place for the session and a forth place overall. I was stoked, especially competing against the Europeans on the rivers. For me it was a huge achievement and I was confident and looking forward to the session the following day.

had being going there because the area had been closed. When we arrived that morning it was pretty flat - or not Titanic conditions - and we were told that the entire lake had been opened for the session. I knew that the other teams had intel as to where fish had been caught in the first sessions and would head back to them. If the fish were in the shallow part, like we had been told, then it would be a great advantage to fish for them for the first time. It was risky because it was about a twenty minute ride on the boat to get there.

Session 4, Sector Three - Woods Lake Woods Lake is a monster, monster, ocean of a lake. This was probably the hardest of the competition because it’s so big and is so open that the wind that gusted between seventy and eighty miles per hour affected everyone. It was so bad that for two of the three first sessions they had to close most of the lake because it was too dangerous for boats to cross.

I again had a Mongolian boat partner and although he had captaincy he agreed to go where told him to go because I was doing well in the competition. He chose the front of the boat and while we were drifting that bank he would be casting tight to the bank.

Our guide had given us information that there was a good nice shallow spot on the far side of the lake. I knew that nobody

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better the fishing was but the less protected we were. Halfway through our drift we were flying off our seats. My bags were going overboard and it was a disaster. The skipper didn’t want us to stay there but I squeezed it and asked for one more cast, just one more cast, because I because that’s where the fish were. It was a pretty successful first half of the session but my boat partner wasn’t landing his casts where they needed to be and I was frothing waiting for my chance to take my captaincy and get into a better casting position in the front of the boat.

© Trevor Hawkins

The game plan was to cast into water that was two to five centimetres deep where the little wild browns sit and to pick them off the edges. I was keen to execute the plan but the boat driver looked at me and shook his head and said that it was dangerous. I told him that we were allowed to and that I wanted to give it a go.

If you weren’t casting onto the bank you were casting nowhere. I knew where the fish were and I knew that he wasn’t getting all the way to them and was dropping a lot of fish. When the captaincy changed I got my spot and was banging casts right onto the bank and it was very successful - I dropped a few fish but I got some. I ended the session with six fish and a fifth place. The winner, an Italian, landed seven fish. I was only a couple of centimetres off that first place. I was happy with the result and the momentum gained.

Halfway through the ride to the other side the wind started to pick up. I looked behind me and it looked like D-Day. There were waves everywhere but luckily once we got through all of the messy water there was a tree line that protected the water that I wanted to fish.

After the session I was eighth overall. That was a great achievement but it is obviously a huge team effort with team members communicating where the fish are and what’s working.

We got into position and on the first cast near a tree stump I got my biggest fish of the session, a wild brown, at forty two centimetres. I started to fish the bank but it wasn’t as productive as I thought it would be, with only the odd take. We drifted four or five hundred metres and around a point and I took a fish. From then on it just got better and better along that bank. Unfortunately the fish were really small so we lost a lot of fish. If I had to do that session again I’d probably fish a four weight with a floating line. I was fishing a six weight but a four would’ve kept those little fish on. The further we got down the bank the

Woods Lake

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Once again there was nothing fancy. The fish were again really shallow and I was switching between a slow intermediate and a floating line and fishing really tight onto the bank with claret dabblers and small black streamers. The claret dabbler was definitely the fly. I enjoyed everything about the session except the boat ride back that was like a scene from The Perfect Storm.

the team, and I was really nervous. I kept telling Brett that I didn’t have a good feeling. There were two busses to the river. One was for the top seven beats and the other for the remainder of the beats that were much further downriver. You are normally only given your beat when you get to the river but because of the transport issue they announced the names of the competitors fishing the top seven beats at the hotel and I was called up. I felt like my wife just divorced me or that someone had taken a spear and thrown it through my heart. I wasn’t happy and neither were some good anglers on the bus with me and we complained the whole way about how unfair it is - you know boys, we sulk

Session 5, Sector Four - Mersey River This was probably both the worst and the best session I’ve ever had. We knew that the top seven beats were terrible. That was just the way it was. They were flat, laminar, shallow (several expletives redacted - editor) - horrible beats. Beats eight to twenty three were good with pocket water, riffles, cuts, heads and running water. We were lucky that our first four guys team members got the bottom beats but I woke up that morning knowing that I was eighth overall and had a good shot at getting a top three finish for

We arrived and I got given beat four, on paper the worst beat, and when I saw it I knew why. There was one piece of running water that was maybe a metre long and the rest was flat and dead. If a fish ever existed there I would’ve seen it from the bridge.

© Trevor Hawkins

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© Trevor Hawkins

During the four previous sessions on that beat only one fish was caught. I wasn’t impressed but I decided to be positive, the draw was the draw, and that if I could catch one fish for the team it would be huge to be able to say that we didn’t blank there - especially in session five where the water has already been hammered by world class anglers over four consecutive days.

stay positive. Further up the river I crossed at a little island where on ether side there was very shallow water. There was very little flow on the right fork. On the left there was a little more flow and a deep hole. As media and camera crew arrived I thought that I probably had the worst situation ever in front of me. I stayed positive and felt like something was going to happen and I fished the hole. I hooked into Free Willy ok, not that big but for the river and the situation it was a big fish. I was fishing 8X with a really small nymph and was trying to fish as slowly and as carefully as I could.

I decided to fish certain parts of the beat really well and not to rush it and try to fish everything. I fished less than a quarter of my beat in total. I started at the top of a pool - not the head because there was no real flow coming into it - where there was a deeper hole where I though a fish could be holding. I spent a lot of time fishing it methodically but I saw nothing and got nothing.

I wasn’t expecting a bigger fish because the average there was between twenty and thirty centimetres. As soon as I hooked it I ran straight into the hole because I knew that I couldn’t let any structure get between me and the fish.

It wasn’t a very good start but I tried to www.saflyfishingmag.co.za www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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A few minutes later I saw a fish move out of the shadow and back into the bank. I put Payette paste on my indicator and tied on a very small nymph. It came out and ate it and I landed it. At a little over 30cm I was onto two fish. I tried to fish the other water again but with two fish for the session I was happy. It was amazing and I have never felt so proud of a situation in my life. I wasn’t expecting to place anywhere near the top half of the pack with only two fish but I was very surprised when I got back to find that there were a lot of twos, ones and blanks. I managed to place tenth for the session. I was positive but a bit disappointed at not being able to get a top five finish for the tournament. I dropped from eighth to eleventh overall, for me a massive achievement, and my top finish in worlds as an individual. The team also finished eleventh. This is a great result for a team that is relatively inexperienced.

These fish are extremely strong and it took me down river and I fought and controlled it for about ten minutes, trying to keep as calm as I could. I followed it down and landed it. When that fish landed in the net I screamed out of pure relief. I have never felt that good in my life. I’ve been fishing for most of my life and I’ve never had a fish that turned me emotionally like that fish did. I was just screaming and the controller and the media crew were laughing and clapping and screaming and it was such an unbelievable moment. It was probably the hardest session of my life because of the fishing and situation I was in but that fish reminded me of exactly why I flyfish - it was just pure ecstasy and I’ve never felt like that before.It was the biggest fish of the session, a 440mm wild brown. I felt so good that I hadn’t blanked and got a fish for myself and the team. I ran back, my whole tempo changed and a few casts later I got another fish, from the shallow water on the right of the island, but it was undersized. www.saflyfishingmag.co.za www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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FOREL EN VLIEGHENGEL IN SUID AFRIKA Gerhard Delport Hengelaars in Suid Afrika geniet die sport van vlieghengel vir forel al vir meer as honderd en dertig jaar.

behaal met die Bruin forel en in 1891 is ses duisend klein vissies in die Mooi-, Boesmansen Umgenirivier geplaas.

As vlieghengelaars is ons veel verskuldig aan die pioniers wat ten spyte van geweldige moeilike en hartroerende mislukkings nooit moed verloor het nie. Hulle het uiteindelik daarin geslaag om reenboog en bruin forel in die Wes Kaap, Oos Kaap en Kwazulu Natal te vestig.

Later is nog een honderd duisend eiers ingevoer waarvan drie duisend een honderd klein forel vingerlinge in 1891 in die Mooi-, Klein Mooi-, Klein Tugela-, Klip-, Umgeni-, Umlaas-, Yarrow-, Inyamvuma- en Illoworivier vry gelaat kon word. Hulle het minstens twee keer salm eiers in gevoer maar daar is bevind dat salm nie geskik is vir Suid Afrikaanse waters nie. Die eksperiment met die rooi-forelle was ook nie suksesvol nie.

Die eerste keer wat gepoog is om forelle na Suid Afrika in te voer was in 1875 deur beide 'n Natal en ’n Kaapse hengelaar. Die poging het egter misluk. Vroeg in 1880 het ’n groep hengelaars, wat daarvan oortuig was dat die skoon en koue waters van die bogenoemde provinsies wel geskik is vir forel, weer besluit om forel eiers in te voer.

In 1892 is ’n derde besending van een honderd vyf en sewentig duisend eiers bestel maar meeste van die eiers het op die skip vergaan oppad Suid Afrika toe.

Twee van die baanbrekers in die projek was Mnr John Parker van Yorkshire, ’n boer in die Howick distrik van Natal, en Mnr Lachlan Mclean, die algemene bestuurder, van die Union Castle-lyn in Kaapstad. Twee keer het hulle forel eiers uit Skotland ingevoer sonder sukses.

Teen 1893 is daar nog geen resultate gesien in die riviere waarin die forelle vry gelaat is nie en die Natalse regering het alle belangstelling in die forel projek verloor. Daar is egter eers in 1896 bevind dat die Mooi-, Boesmans- en Umgenirivier 'n forel bevolking het. Die Natalse regering het ’n aktiewe rol begin speel en ’n visteelstasie is op John Parker se plaas “Tethorth” in die Howick distrik opgerig.

John Parker het in 1889 daarin geslaag om die destydse Natal se regering in sy skema te laat belangstel. Hy wou forel in die koue, skoon water van die Drakensberg vestig en die regeering het ’n allermintige vyf honderd pond bewillig. Teen die einde van 1889 is ’n besending met tien duisend Atlantiese Salm eiers, dertig duisend bruin forel eiers en tien duisend rooi forel eiers vanuit Skotland ontvang. Salm en Rooi forel was nie ’n sukses nie maar daar is sukses www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

Forel hengelaars is baie aan John Parker verskuldig. Sy nagedagtinis word geeër op die landgoed van die wêreld beroemde “Trout Bungalow” geleë op die oewers van die Mooirivier in die Nottingham Road Distrik. Hier, in 1926, is ’n gedenksteen met

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Riverside Plaas op die Mooirivier (Andrew Fowler) www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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sonwyser opgerig, met die volgende gegraveer.

is KZN vandag ’n forel ryke provinsie met meer as veertig riviere wat forel bevat.

“Erected to the memory of John Clark Parker by lovers of the Gentle Art of Trout Fishing. By his untiring efforts trout were first introduced in Natal in 1884 thereby giving much pleasure to many persons”

Mnr Lachlan McLean het dieselfde gedoen vir die Kaapland as wat John Parker vir Natal gedoen het. Saam met Mnr McLean was ’n handtjie vol geesdriftiges wat gehelp het en hulle het dieselfde uitdagings gehad as wat die manne in Natal ondervind het. Die regering van die destydse Kaapland was die groep simpatiek gesind en in 1894 is ’n forelteelstasie in Jonkershoek, ’n klip gooi van Stellenbosch, opgerig.

Mnr Lionel A Day het vir John Parker opgevolg as beheer beampte van die Natalse Binnelandse Visserye. Mnr Cherrington Sutton het hom opgevolg en te danke aan die harde werk van die manne

Baden-Powell, Trout Bungalow, 1936 www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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Bushmansrivier (Andrew Fowler) www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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Later is nog ’n forelteelstasie gebou by Pirie, King Williamstown. Hierdie teelstasie was baie suksesvol en miljoene forel eiers is van beide die twee teelstasies na kopers regoor Suid Afrika en so ver as Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) versprei.

Dullstroom en Lydenburg baie bekend vir forel waters. Net buite Dullstroom is die Santarivier wat goed bekend was vir sy bruin- en reenboog forel. Die dorpsdam in Dullstroom aan die voet van die Grote Suikerboshkop het gesorg vir groot reenboog forel.

Riviere wat bekend was vir mooi reenboog- en bruinforrel is die Eersterivier, wat grens aan die skilderagtige Stellenbosch, die Bergrivier en Lourensrivier. In die Ceres en Worcester distrikte was die Heksrevier, die Holsloot- en Smalblaarrivier alom bekend as van die beste reviere om forel te gaan hengel. Die Maclear distrik van die Oos Kaap was al in die 1940’s bekend vir die besondere groot forelle in riviere soos die Tsitsa- en Mooirivier. In 1900 het Lord Milner, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick en ’n Mnr D.C. Greig besluit om forel na die Transvaal provinsie in te voer vanaf die Jonkershoek vis teelstasie. ’n Klein visteelstasie sou in Doornfontein, Johannesburg, opgerig word. In 1903 is die Transvaalse Forel Akklimatiseeringsgenootskap gestig en die genootskap het ’n visteelstasie in die Mooirivier naby Potchefstroom opgerig. Tussen 1903 en 1911 is klein vissies aan ’n aantal riviere voorsien, maar teen 1911 was daar egter geen forel in die riviere gevestig nie en die aktiwiteite is gestaak. Mnr F.C. Braun van Lydenburg het egter op sy eie besluit om foreleiers vanaf die twee teelstasies in die Kaap in te voer. Hy het daarin geslaag om in sy klein teelstasie vis groot te kry en het begin om forel in strome rondom Lydenburg te plaas. Dit sluit in die Sterkspruit, Potspruit, die Krokedil- en Sabierivier. Die Lydenburg se vis teelstasie het by Mnr Braun oorgeneem en was verantwoordelik vir die teel en voorsiening van miljoene forelle in die Oos- en Noord Transvaal. In die destydse Oos Transvaal was plekkies soos Belfast, Machadodorp, www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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As kind het ek groot geword in Dullstroom en saam met my pa forel leer vang. Met ’n klein Abumatic toe knyp katrolletjie, ’n stok en ’n Mrs Simpson voor aan die lyn geknoop, met ’n paar korrels bokhaal as knyp loodjies sodat ek die vliegie kon uit gooi, het die forel gogga my gebyt nog voor ek op Dullstroom begin skool gaan het. In 1984, as tien jarige, het ek my pa se ou forel stok uit die khaya gaan haal en hy het my geleer om die lyn te gooi.

praat onder korreksie, die bedrag was iets soos vyf rand vir n lisensie en om by die Dullstroom Natuur Reservaat te kon in gaan om te gaan forel vang moes jy vyftig sent betaal. Ek moes natuurlik baie karre was en tuinwerk doen om daai vyftig sente by mekaar te kon maak. Oos van Dullstroom is die dorp Lydenburg en in die jare 1930-1970 was die riviere en spruite in die Lydenburg omgewing baie bekend vir hulle forel. Name soos die Sterkspruit, die Pot, Alex loop, die Waterval-, Krokedil- en Sabierivier was as die belangrikste riviere en spruite beskou wat forel gehuisves het.

Ek het elke middag na skool op die grasperk gestaan en oefen tot daar blase op my hand was. Dit was ook nie lank nie toe het ek saam met my pa gaan vlieglyn gooi. Met skool vakansies kon my ma nie huishou met my tot sy my by die dorpsdam gaan af laai het vir die oggend nie.

In die destydes Noord Transvaal is daar twee uitstekende forel riviere gewees naamlik die Helpmekaar en die Broederstroom en dan natuurlik die Stanforddam wat gelee is in n skilder agtige omgewing.

Voordat ’n hengelaar in Transvaal kon forel vang moes hy ’n provinsiale forel lisensie koop wat geldig was vir ’n jaar. Ek

Mooirivier Forel (Andrew Fowler) www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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Umgenirivier (Andrew Fowler)


begin kompiteer met die veselglas stokke. In daai jare was ’n Fenwick grafiet stok beskou as van die beste op die mark en moes n hengelaar bereid wees om ’n volle twee honderd en vyftig rand neer te sit vir so ’n stok. Vandag word daar nie meer verwys na die gewig van die stok nie maar wel na die nommer van die vlieglyn wat gebruik word vir ’n spesifieke stok. ’n Nommer 3/4 stok is ideaal vir strome hengel. ’n Nommer 5/6 stok vir hengel van die kant af en dan vir die groot vis soos katvis en tiervis kan tot en met n Nommer 9 stok aangeskaf word om die ou grotes te boelie. Die katrol – Vir forel is ’n katrol wat sowat negentig meter se agterslag saam met die vlieglyn op meer as voldoende. Ons gaan nie nodig he om ’n forel met die katrol te baklei soos met ons groter vars water en sout water spesies nie. Dit is egter steeds belangrik om die katrol skoon en geolied te hou om te verseker dat daar nie drama langs die water ontstaan nie.Die lyn – Soos reeds genoem word die vlieg lyne vandag in nommers geklasifiseer. Dit is baie belangrik dat die lyn en die stok moet reg balanseer. Dus kan jy nie ’n nommer 7 lyn gebruik op ’n nommer 5 stok nie, dit gaan net veroorsaak dat die hengelaar ’n swak voorlegging van die vlieg doen. ’n nommer 5 grafiet stok kan ’n nommer 5 of 6 lyn gemaklik hanteer.

Hengel toerusting Hengel toerusting vir forel hengel is ’n baie belangrike aspek van die sport. Vlieghengel is die enigste wettige manier om vir forel te hengel. Vlieghengel het verskeie komponente wat bespreek moet word.

Vlieglyne het ongelooflik ontwikkel saam met die tegnologie maar daar is steeds basies drie tipes lyne 1. Dubbel afgespitste lyn (double taper) 2. Boepens lyn (Weight forward) 3. Gelykdukte lyn (level).

Die stok – Die pionier hengelaars het gebruik gemaak van ’n gesplete bamboes stok van 9.5 tot 10 voet lank. Soos die tegnologie oor die jare ontwikkel het het die gesplete bamboes stok plek gemaak vir veselglas stokke wat ligter en veel sterker is as die gesplete bamboes stokke wat jou soms geknak het met ’n grote voor aan die lyn.

Vlieglyne verskil ook dat lyne dryf, stadig sink of vining sink. Die sink tempo word bepaal deur die hoeveelheid duime die lyn sink per sekonde (Density per Inch). In Suider Afrika se varswaters vir forel word daar meestal van ’n lyn gebruik wat baie stadig sink 1,5 duim per sekonde (bekend as intermediate

In die vroeë 1970’s het grafiet stokke www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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line) en dan die sink lyne wat 3 duim per sekonde sink (DI3). Daar is wel damme in die land waar henglaars ’n 5 of 7 duim per sekonde sink tempo nodig het om in die diep water te hengel. (Veral ons kompeteerende hengelaars gebruik die 5-7 duim per sekonde lyne om die vlieg vinniger by vis uit te kry wat diep is.)

Voorslag – Die voorslag of soos in die 1940’s die katderm lopers genoem was, word gebruik om die kuns vlieg met die vlieglyn te verbind. Vandag kan ’n voorslag gekoop word wat reeds op gemaak is of dit kan self gebind word deur verskillende diktes nylon lyn aan mekaar te knoop. Die standaard lengte voorslag is normaalweg 9 voet lank (lengte van die stok) maar bedrewe hengelaars kan n voorslag van tot 15 voet uitgooi sonder ’n probleem.

Dryf lyn word oor die algemeen gebruik in strome waar vir forel gehengel word maar wel ook in damme wanneer die forel op die oppervlakte vreet en ’n hengelaar vir ’n honger forel ’n klyn dryf vliegie uitgooi.

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Kunsvliee – Kunsvliee kan ook in drie groepe geklasifiseer word. 1. Die Droë vlieg 2. Die nat vlieg 3. Nimfe of larwes.

larwe en volwasse staduims. Die insekte word onder die water oppervlakte aan getref en is meestal klein. ’n Hengelaar kan begin om klippe in die forel stroom om te keer en te kyk watter insekte hy vind. Dit sal vir die hengelaar gou uitwys wat se tipe nimfe of larwes hy kan naboots vir ’n honger forel.

Droë of drywende kunsvlieg is ’n nabootsing van insekte wat op die water oppervlakte dryf. Van ’n sprinkaan tot miggies word nageboots vir ’n honger forel. Vliegies wat baie bekend is en goed werk is die DDD, Elk Hair Caddis en die Parachute Adams. Die vliegies is meestal klein en word in hoek grote van 12-16 gevind meestal.

Die forel hengelaar bevind hom gereeld in ’n pragtige gebied waar kristal helder water strome hule oorsprong het. Die hengelaar word bewus van die natuurskoon terwyl hy rustig stap na sy stroom of dam. Daar steek hy himself versigtig weg om seker te maak hy word nie gesien deur forelle wat naby die kant op en af swem op soek na iets om te eet nie. Dit neem nie lank nie en die hengelaar raak mee gevoer met die klank van voels rondom hom, dalk die vinnige blik van ’n nat otter langs die stroom of ’n rietbok wat rustig aan die oorkant van die dam staan en vreet.

Sink of nat vlieë is ’n nabootser van insekte en ander lewe wat onder die oppervlakte van die water gevind word. Van klein vissies, vars water slakkies, bloedsuiers en naaldekoker nimfe. Die sink vliee is die tipe vliee wat meestal gebruik, want forel voed hoofsaaklik op prooi wat onder die water oppervlakte gevind word. Vlieë kan op hoek grote van ’n nommer 4-12 gekry word. Baie bekende en effektiewe nat vlieë in Suid Afrika is die Mrs Simpson, Walkers Killer, Redeye Damsel en Papa Roach om maar net ’n paar te noem.

Forel en vlieghengel gaan oor baie meer as net die vang van ’n vis. Dit is ’n plek waar ’n gejaagde hengelaar kan onstnap en vir n ruk net stil en rustig raak in die natuur. Teen donker, wanneer die hengelaar terug stap huis, toe kom hy moeg maar gelukkig tot rus.

Nimfe of larwes is vlieë wat die verskillende lewens siklusse van water insekte soos steenvliee naboots tussen die www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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DIS 'N VAAL VAAL WINTER Terry Babich

The big C-19 is keeping us off the water and the thought of fishing the Vaal River in winter is not normally the most exciting. The fishing prospect are looking rather bleak for the next few months, and that is of course only if we get a “get out of jail free” card.

almost mythical existence. Land a few of these and you will become a household name overnight, only to be whispered in awe. Largies require a lot of work, well placed flies and an endurance that will keep you alert for that one single bite that will come when you’re probably least prepared for it.

The Vaal normally sees only a few anglers during winter. A couple will try their luck at dry fly fishing and a few diehards will be out there flogging the water in the scant hope of landing a largie or two. This seems to be where it all ends. Don’t get me wrong, this fishing is great when it comes together, but that is just it, it’s hardly ever fireworks and for most landing even one fish is a good day. More fishless days are accounted for on the Vaal in winter than in basically any other fishing. Yes, I know that that isn’t the case for everyone, but it is rather daunting.

One of my clients, Jack Lotter, had some good success with a fly called the BDSM this past season. But behind its success were a lot of hours, hard work and determination.

I am going to touch on a few methods that can be used for species that can still be actively targeted in winter and which should result in pretty good success. The key to this is that you need to be open-minded and prepared for all opportunities because you seldom know the exact circumstance that will present itself on the day. With all the different rods and gear sticking out from it your boat will look a lot like a porcupine on heat. We can start with the obvious species, the largemouth yellowfish. This fish, because of its difficulty to catch and frustrating scarcity, seems to have an www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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Jack Lotter's BDSM Fly Pattern www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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This is what largie fishing is all about - hard work, good accurate casting and time on the water. So here is the bomb. It’s not the most exciting fish around. Poof bang bang bang. I just got shot, murdered, as the readers all gasp in surprise. If you want a largie then get out there, stay in touch with your flies and don’t even leave home until you can cast like really well if you want to see any measure of success.

Leading up to the hatches and dry fly action why not you throw a few streamers, small MSPs or a small leach? The upside to this is that there are some really good size smallies around and with the water in winter being so much clearer they fight like hell and give a very respectable account of themselves. Last winter I spent a bit of time on the water with Geoff Muir. We spent a lot of time drifting and swinging nymphs and caddis patterns in the tail-outs. We landed a good bunch of fish. Interestingly, the strike indicator came out to play and delivered more fish than the conventional nymphing methods. If you’re keen you can do a bit of deep water nymping you will be well surprised at how the yellows, muddies and the occasional moggle keep you busy and how good tallies of fish can be landed.

Why am I so ugly about largies? Because ladies and gents there is much more to the Vaal in winter than just that. A few anglers with good skills and a good ability to spot fish will be out there, especially late afternoon, throwing diminutive flies at some respectable smallmouth yellows. This is a lot more exciting. The weather and conditions can throw a damper on the day but when it comes together it is great sport.

Jack Lotter with a nice winter cat off the boat www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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If you like muddies like I do then dredging really slow and deep in tail-outs and sand banks will deliver a good few tugs. Heavy flies accompanied by a few bright coloured caddises will do the job. Yellows have a preference for natural and orange colours and muddies love chartreuse and red. Coming back to being prepared for anything, many mudfish were landed last season on black flies fished to tailing fish. Yes, you heard me, ”tailing fish“ in shallows and slow flowing water and, yes, in the mouth. That’s fishing for you, every year might bring something different.

over the bubbles, let the fly sink to where the fish is and either leave it until you get a tug or give it a little pull every now and then. These bigger carp are happy to snap up a nice gaudy fly and will keep you very busy on a fly rod if you hook one.

Just remember that all fish must still eat in winter

Sometimes you actually see them tailing and you can cast more directly at the fish, but you need to be careful not to spook them. If the water is still warm you might be able to physically see the fish and present a carp tugger, a caddis or a fritz to it. You may even see a bubble line or foam on the surface and have a chance to drop a fly in front of the carp or drift a fly to one.

The Vaal is full of really good carp, although they are a little more difficult to find and catch. But they are there. A good method to use is to keep an eye out for feeding bubbles. If you can sight fish to this species you can rig up with a conventional inverted or upside-down fly so commonly fished abroad for carp. Cast www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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The key here is that if you see foam on the water you should go and investigate as you may only see the fish on close inspection. No, this foam doesn’t always means pollution, it is often a completely natural phenomenon in winter. You will also see catfish here and these can also be caught on dry fly.

fly will do the job. You should be able to spot the characteristic sight of fish breaking the surface in the shallow, slightly warmer water or even the herding of small bait fish against the river banks. Cast over them and do a slow, steady, nearly continuous retrieve and you will almost certainly go tight. Just be prepared to be in for a long fight. The average size of a winter catfish can be over ten kilograms with some whoppers making a regular appearance.

Before this gets too long-winded let’s quickly touch on catfish. They are in abundance in the river and landing one in between rocks and lifting it onto the boat can be a real challenge. But challenges are what flyfishing is about, isn’t it? You should still be able to use your six weight for catfish, although I would suggest something heavier if you want to actively target them. A big MSP or weighted largie

Just remember that all fish must still eat in winter and that they just do it differently compared to in the summer months.

Richard Wands guided into a largie

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WOMEN IN WADERS Talking to Bianca Viljoen Roxanne Stegen

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Woman in Waders are delighted to be interviewing one of our SA National Ladies Fly-fishing Team members, the beautiful and colorful in every way Bianca Viljoen aka Bee. Bianca was introduced to fly fishing by a friend Brian Gradidge in 2014, admirably, it took her a devoted year to land her first fish in Dullstroom. In 2015 Bianca joined the competitive fly-fishing circles, and from thereon has blossomed into one of SA’s flyfishing darlings, representing in the Nationals over the past few years and most recently chosen to represent South Africa to compete at the Commonwealth Championships near Ta u p o N e w Z e a l a n d . S a d l y , t h o u g h unexpectedly she was unable to compete during the tour. I’ve grown to love her more through the interview as her humility, lightheartedness and emotional expression bursts through every word.

at four different spots I fished in NZ. And my angel pin!! Oh my word this seems like alot but when your chest pack is prepped with Daniel Factor next to you…you have to pack only the minimum so I sneaked in a few extra goodies when he wasn’t looking… hahaha) Good grief that’s one tasty pack! Any gear you cannot go without? My angel pin, C&F Scissors holster pin (game changer especially when you use small flies and battle to see …I prefer scissors instead of nippers to cut tippet at an angle. Oh and Did I mention lip-ice? I have this habit of biting my lip when I concentrate. Are you a brand lassy or will anything do as long as its functional? Oh my goodness…this is a unfair question. I am sure you’ve heard the saying “if you look good you fish good” LOL…so I do like nice goodies…but in all honesty, I have learned rather to spend on quality that will last. I usually do some homework first before I buy gear.

Ok! before we dive into the juicy bits, let’s get the technical stuff out of the way! What is your preferred style of fishing and target specie? Czech Nymphing, Trout (don’t we all target Browns) and off course the exhilarating Stream fishing for Tigers.

Do you have a “go to fly? And if so please share!

What gear is currently in your fly bag?

I sure do. I love a scully zonker, the head is craft fur, tail zonker and the tag is orange marabou. So, like a “muishond”, the craft fur is just to hold the shape of the pattern from just about any angle, it pushes a bit more water and the zonker offers good movement. I also love a dry fly tied by Alan Hobson called B’sBling. B's Bling Klippies and Karoo is a pimped version of Alan’s Klippies and Karoo. Basically, its an attractor dry fly terrestrial that resembles similarities of a caddis/sedge/moth and/or a grass hopper with the natural colouring of Klipspringer hair and feathers of Karoo birds. The jazzing up Alan did is in his words “the unmistakable element of your character”, purple flash as the abdomen with a pink and purple sighter.

Ummmm still packed for NZ river session. I use a JMC Chest pack. In there I have;- 3 flyboxes (nymph box, dry flies and combos pre chosen) that also has a few streamer flies, Trouthunder Tippet (3x 4x and 5x) 1 spool 2 tone indicator line, black permanent marker, pencil, dry shake, dry shake liquid, loon floatant, payette paste, snake river mud, 3 neon wax sticks (black, green and pink), Dr. Slick tongs, C&F scissors holster pin on, C&F magnetic chest pin on, Smith Creek rod holder sling, 2 magnets for my net (one placed on my back and other on the side), 4 foam line holders with pre prepped tippet riggs for the river, mini medical kit, mini sun screen, Simms rain coat, 2 flemings chewy muesli bars and 4 cobble stones picked up www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

. I must also add, I have started tying my 41

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own flies a few months ago and nothing beats that feeling catching a fish on your own fly! I will always remember the day I caught a fish on my own fly at the Vaal on ‘n pheasant tail nymph! A continuous series of happenings that feeds the amazing!

value. This is a life philosophy isn’t it?

Who has influenced and inspired your flyfishing career?

Couldn’t agree more with you Bee, we never stop learning. Firstly on this topic specifically a hearty Woman in Waders congratulations! You’ve recently returned from New Zealand representing SA Ladies Flyfishing, what was the biggest personal takeaway from this experience?

many other names I would like to mention. I think the key is to learn from many and allow all people to inspire. I learn from every person I associate with. “What not” or “what to” then build on the “what to” I can apply and add value. This is a life philosophy isn’t it?

I have so many people I follow for different disciplines. My husband James and our friend Brian Gradidge who are not only my inspiration but my biggest supporters and motivators, Daniel Factor, Alan Hobson, Mark Yelland, Martin Davies, Jeremy Roschester, Derek Manson, Colen Shabangu, Rowan Black, Jan Korrubel and Denise van Wyk to name a few, the last few months NZ anglers Billy Thrupp , Cory Scott, Marlene Skeet and then last but NOT least my Mpumalanga Flyfish Association Tribe and the South African Mens and Ladies Commonwealth Team 2020, SAFFA and SASACC. There are so many other names I would like to mention. I think the key is to learn from many and allow all people to inspire. I learn from every person I associate with. “What not” or “what to” then build on the “what to” I can apply and add

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Thank you. I was chosen to be the Ladies Team Manager. This honor was another level of thought adding to the responsibility as a representative angler but also it organize. It contributed to my own personal growth. We are all unique beings with own personalities that can add so much value to the people we associate with. Meeting people from around the world previously only seen on social media, fishing in totally different and mind-blowing rivers and lakes. The event, the Commonwealth Championships, is the ideal gathering for “fishing in friendship”.

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One cannot ignore that amidst this great adventure to New Zealand you and the team were dealing with the COVID-19 global pandemic, we’ve learned that you had to deal with social distancing, limited numbers at prizegiving as well as quarantine on your return home. How have you internalized this? Lots of emotions pop up thinking back only weeks ago. The harsh reality of the unexpected! When we left South Africa, we stocked up with face masks and hand sanitizer for when we travel. Our team had prearranged training days out at different venues. For that we were quite isolated from people. Because we were more than 100 people who attended CFFC event the amount of people gathering was monitored. Not more than 50 people were allowed to dine together. Names were recorded at the table where you sat and with whom. Everywhere we went was recorded, the venue you visited would have a book where you write your name in with a contact number should you have been exposed in any way to the virus that record will be used. Its internalized but it will haunt me forever. After training sessions out on the rivers and lakes being actively prepping for this event days before arriving at Wairakei Resort Taupo, my team mate and roomy Lucinda van Niekerk suffered a severe sinus infection. That unfortunately had to be reported as the organisers of the event were clear that we report any signs that could relate to COVID. We were then instructed by authorized agents acting on behalf of the NZ Ministry of Health to isolate separately pending test results that took days to be made known. Thank goodness for technology. Having meals using Whatsapp Video call, limited family members, friends and newly made friends who knew of our situation, dropping off spoils at hotel doors, conversations at a www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

distance, sending messages and voice notes supporting us. After prepping for months, travelling and psyched-up we could not partake in the championship, coupled with people understandably treating us at a distance were mentally challenging. Not ever having to deal with such a pandemic this unique situation was dealt with at best at the time, being a bench mark for the measures put in place to avoid possible positive testing and spreading. Faced with cancelled flights more than once, spending literally hours online to numerous call center’s trying to get flights back home one cannot put in words what goes through your mind. Survival instinct kicks in. Adhering to regulations that was put in place and the reality of the seriousness of the situation. Friendship, family, perseverance, love and a good sense of humor were the lifelines when looking back now are priceless and, in a way, numbed the disappointment of not being able to compete and the anxiety caused by the reality of the situation. We could at least attend the casting competition on the last day and the closing ceremony with the rest of our team as well as our very supportive South African Mens team. The amazing fishing and site seeing pre comp are now memories that light up the total experience. So with that I would like to acknowledge my team mates of the South African Ladies Fly Fishing Commonwealth Team 2020, Marlize “Blom” Heyns (Captain), Renthia De Waal, Greer LeoSmith who made us proud during the Championship and Lucinda van Niekerk. Small things like a sandwich with butted corners, looking at the washing machine during its cycle washing clothes, apples and pears, semi raw egg, and never-ending horrible music while waiting in line on a call, all contribute to memories with a smile. We all as individuals have strengths and skill that was put together to make a difference. It was a privilege to have had this experience with you.

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The “land of the long white cloud” looks incredible, what do you think it is about fishing in NZ that attracts so many anglers across the globe?

fish different venues and disciplines i.e. rivers, lakes and still waters with members, learn from them and of course the fly tying gatherings are so much fun.

So many things attract anglers! NZ is one of the destinations with the most amazing rivers and lakes to fish. The character of the NZ people, their humbleness is a reality. Their conscious efforts to preserve, nurture and upkeep their environment is something we all can learn from and apply. When you step into that space one cannot but have utmost respect for what will be a guaranteed mind blowing and humbling experience.

With the lockdown so many clubs and associations have arranged fly tying via the use of technology, smart way to these forums going. To get into more detail, within your province there are training events arranged, guest anglers are invited to share their experiences and expertise. Specific prescribed trials are held during the year and teams are selected to represent and participate then on national level, every province has an opportunity to host. Being affiliated, participating and performing you work on your ranking. When national teams are selected you are invited to participate at a trial weekend where various applicable skills are tested. Being a team player is of course also a huge factor in this selection.

For those inspired to follow in your footsteps and represent SA, give the Woman in Waders readers where to start and how one gets selected? Firstly, join your local fly-fishing club and province. It is the platform where I have grown and learned so much, every session. The South African Fly-Fishing Association “SAFFA” functions as the coordinating body for various Member Associations representing recreational and competitive fly anglers encouraging development in fly fishing be it at National, Provincial and learner level. Not only is this a platform for you to meet likeminded anglers with passion for the sport but also a platform for you to go out and

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As a Woman Fly fisherman in SA, you’re speaking our language in propelling woman Fly fishing forward what’s the single bit of advice you’d offer any newbie? Stay true to yourself. We all have our own way of fishing and coupling your unique way with adding little bit here and a little bit there, you will develop and enjoy this amazing sport even more! Emphasis on enjoying the journey all the way!

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Women Commonwealth flyfishing Championships New Zealand 2020 Marlize Heyns

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Wow, this was going to be my year and I was going to take the bull by the horns and live by my saying ‘ek bang niks’.

which should be about a three-hour drive but for mum and I a six-hour drive, because we don’t trust the GPS (oops), but hey we got to see most of the North island of New Zealand at and max speed is 100km/h. Finally, we arrived at our destination on the Tongariro river.

I got back from fishing in the Seychelles on the magical island of Astove hunting new species and the…wait for… ‘the gangsters of the flats’-GTs. I got back home, had one day to change from salt water fly fishing gear to freshwater gear and back on the plane for my next fishing adventure, in one of the top fly-fishing destinations in the world. This is what we trained for the Commonwealth fly fishing championships 2020 New Zealand, and this is my story and one I would never forget.

Because of the competition rules and regulations, we could not fish some parts of the magnificent fast flowing water, but we walked and stalked the river watching big fish taking turns eating the fly of the season, the lace moth. We were in absolute awe of the river and knowing there were lots more to explore. Similar in size as the Vaal river but the flow is something to behold. The clarity of the rivers is unreal, but slippery because of the drought. So, studs added to our wading boots made conquering new terrain a little easier.

March 2020 the year and month has arrived after months of endless preparation. The ladies team representing SA is myself Marlize Blom Heyns(captain), Renthia De Waal, Greer Leo Smith, Bianca Viljoen(manager) and Lucinda Van Niekerk. Finally arrived in New Zealand the ‘Land of the Hobbit’. Day has become night, and night has become day. Still a bit confused but one thing is for sure we were all ready to hit the water and fish.

All five ladies met up in Taupo, our home base for the next few days. Let the game begin! The next day we met up with one of our first local guides Marlene Skeet, a colourful lady you just have to love and she knows a thing or two about fishing as a bonus.

With a long drive from Auckland to Turangi

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After spending 2 days with Marlene we managed to catch a hoard of fish, but most important she helped us to catch and land monster trout, I call them ‘monster fish on steroids the size of which we do not see in South Africa. If there is one lesson that II have learned in our first few days on the water is, that one should not underestimate the strength of the smaller trout they fight like the devil is in them, no jokes. All the rivers we fished including the TT(Turangi) are invested with natural fish, I literally had to carry a stick to fend them off, an experience of a life time.

on a water that you’ve never fished before. On Lake Rotorua you want a brisk wind to churn up the surface and a beautiful straight and controlled presentations as these fish are a bit more skittish and plonking is also a technique used here. Let me put this in capital Letters the HANG is so, so important. The day had finally arrived, we moved into the hotel which would be home for the next week. Meeting up with the rest of the teams, old friends, new friends, some being celebrities which we only see on social media. Still one sizes up the competition, because hey, you won’t be there if you didn’t want to do well or win. But one thing that makes the commonwealth fly fishing championships so special is because its fishing in friendship. But with some unfortunate news the Canadian teams had to head back as their country called them back with the looming pandemic that was seeping into different parts of the world… coronavirus or as we know it now Covit-19.

At sparrow fart we met up with our next local guide, Christopher Young, luckily for us he is an ex South African and we could ‘gooi the Afrikaans’ now and again. He took us to the back country on a river similar to Whanganui and Whakapapa, I have to mention, on our way to the river we saw incredible sights including active Volcanos with steam coming out of them and snowy peaks. Back to fishing, Chris what a ‘Legend’, he guided as into landing a lot fish that day, and I had an unbelievable time catching my first big brown in that river!!! He helped the girls with a tweak here and there and some good NZ tips.

In-between all of this just before the comp one of our ladies Lucinda had to be tested for Covit-19 and Bianca had to selfquarantine separate from Lucinda because they were roommates, this wasn’t an easy time because being captain this is the last thing you want , not knowing what the result would be, if all will be ok and if they would get the tests back in time, maybe losing two of our team mates, everything was uncertain. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the results back in time, and couldn’t take part in the competition, my heart still goes out to them because they went there all the way and couldn’t finish and it would have been their first-time fishing in the Commonwealth. But with good spirits and lots of support we had to keep going and fish on.

Our first sight of Lake Rotorua was from a spot where the haka was invented, what a privileged experience this. Lake Rotorua is the second largest lake on the North island of New Zealand by surface area, and covers roughly 80km square km with a dept of 10 meters in the deeper parts of incredible clear water. Lake practise session we met up with another EX South African Johan Venter and Nick Langdon. We couldn’t wait to get on the water and catch our first New Zealand lake trout. Hundreds of black swans, which we called “Volstruise” because of their size joined us for fishing that day. I was really proud of the ladies that day. We all caught and learned something new, like one does www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

The competition started difficult, with nerves and new waters. The ladies took this time to adjust and settle into rhythm. A better day followed with more fish. My game plan was to target the smaller fish in the margins and 48

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the bigger fish in faster, deeper water. Anything goes as long as you get your flies in the right column and a perfect drag free drift. In the pancake water I used a dry and drop and in the faster water I double nymphed with great success. Drop-offs at the tail end of pools were very productive. I lost plenty of fish doing the crocodile death roll and a few jumps in-between. End of the day we all done well with no blanks this boosted overall team and individual morale. Cometh hour, cometh the man. Here we are, at a beautiful smaller lake called Lake Karatua which is a hydro lake and water depths vary from day to day. The day before my mother had a session on lake Karatua and she rose above and out fished most of the competitors in that session with the secret fly called the 991 and some good skills, so thanks Mamma. My lot fell on a boat with name of murphy’s law and I knew ‘lekker man lekker’. We had good wind to cover water with good pace and drift. We started on the edges of the lake and I used the best line since sliced bread, the camo

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intermediate line. I started with long straight presentations in the shallows, paused for 3 seconds then rolly-polly. I got hits on the drop or by the third retrieve and sometimes on the pause. Caught the smaller fish like this on the 911 and black woolly bugger. I used two flies at least a meter apart because of the weeds and structure in this lake, this seemed to hit the spot. We went into deeper water and concentrated on the drop offs. Where my boat partner changed to heavier line and I decided to go higher because I could see the fish feeding on surface. Went to my floating line with 911 on top dropper, unweighted nymph on middle dropper and point fly was a GRHE with a copper bead. My boat partner asked me what technique I was using and I my brain went into bullshit mode and my mouth said it’s called midge lobbing. I continued with a slow figure of 8 just keeping contact and boom, boom the bigger fish started to fill my nett, I knew this was going to be a good session. There was a few of us that caught 11 fish and one angler caught 13, it was going to be close. Ended the session with my boat partner Gary from Northern Ireland with a well-deserved beer as we said goodbye to this beautiful lake.

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Because of covet 19 we were not allowed more than a 100 people in the same room. So, with precautionary taken we had prizegiving done in the open and dinner was served in two separate ROOMS with a mirror image. Prize giving was short and sweet with everyone ready to mingle. For the first time in the Commonwealth they acknowledged the ladies who participated. I was very surprised when they

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called my name for the third place. Unbelievable to me, I got a first place in my group in the last session!!! With hard work and good prep building on my previous experiences to help me. I stayed calm, level headed, going slow and not rushing. Always thinking about the next move before you do it and a bit of thinking out of the box gives you good results.

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Everyone started to check out and by the evening the hotel turned ghostly quiet setting the tone for the next couple of days. At least this time we kind of followed the GPS. Announcements of lockdowns and flights being cancelled, constantly checking flights, endless phone calls flights changes, silent chaos everywhere. Auckland was like ghost town in a Doomsday movie. But that is a story for another day. We met up with the rest of our South African team mates at Sydney airport, we were lucky to walked straight into them, as we were all cover with masks and gloves, something new none of us were used

to. What an experience and what a year so far! Thank you for all the sponsors Q4, JJ Viljoen Attorneys and our practice sessions from an anonymous human loving people. Thanks to everyone for their support and love. Thanks to my teammates for that little bit of Magic that each one of you put towards our great adventure. Mamma Renthia the veteran of our team, a shoutout to your achievements and for taking on your 6th Commonwealth Championships! Stay safe all.


Heritage Flies - Part 7 The Red-Eyed Damsel Nymph Peter Brigg In chapter four of Tom Sutcliffe’s book Hunting Trout, titled “The Lakes at Inhluzane”, he describes this small area of the Dargle in the foothills of the Natal Drakensberg as containing a number of extremely fertile dams. They formed the crucible in which many, if not most, of our contemporary dam fishing flies and tactics were formed during the 1970/80 period.

While tying flies one evening for the next day’s fishing trip, Hugh ran out of black chenille and used red instead. The next day Tom Sutcliffe had a blank day and Hugh caught twelve good trout - good in Natal terms being from three to seven pounds. This led to the development of what became known as “Hugh Huntley’s Red-eyed Damsel” which is now tied and sold commercially in South Africa. Although the first fly had a dubbed fur body, the fur was later replaced with olive marabou. It is normally tied on a 2x long shank hook in sizes 8 to 14.

It was In 1986 that by serendipitous good fortune, Hugh Huntley’s Red Eye Damsel was created. Some three decades later it remains a default pattern in the fly boxes of anglers who fish dams for trout

HB Huntley was born in Pietermaritzburg KZN in the mid-1930s, his nickname was Hooks and Bullets, which says a lot about the direction his life took. It was during the 1970's that Tom Sutcliffe first got to know him.

For many years anglers in the then Natal had used tiny loops of black Tuff chenille to represent the eyes of one of the staple foods of trout in Natal dams - the damselfly nymph. www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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The friendship that developed meant that they ended up regularly fishing and hunting together for the next 25 years. Hugh died in May 2006. I asked Tom about their friendship and of course, the Hugh Huntley’s Red Eyed Damsel.

“Hugh developed the Red-eyed Damsel and the Orangeade, but the truth is he tied many other useful patterns that, for one or other reason, didn’t stand the test of time – not to mention a few that may have been way ahead of their time. His sedge dry fly, for example, with a maroon seal’s fur body palmered with ginger hackle and topped with a wing of deer hair was almost identical in its tying to an Al Troth Elk Hair Caddis, long before any of us had ever heard of Al Troth".

This is what he had to say ‘ Adjectives don’t do this man’s outdoor skills any real justice. He was the best wing shot I ever knew, a wonderfully steady and measured fly fisher and, in his prime, he was undoubtedly the best fly tyer this country had. He tied with enviable speed, discipline and mastery. In judging any other fly tyer’s skills he was always clear. He believed anyone could tie a decent Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear, but tying a perfectly winged Connemara Black as Hugh used to put it, “… sorts the men from the children”. And I guess he was right, at least when it came to demonstrating any real mastery of fingers over feathers.

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“Again with the Red-eye and Orangeade, as with the DDD, it was the Old Dam on Heatherdon in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands, and the 20 plus other lakes we had nearby, that formed the perfect crucible for stillwater fly pattern development in the 1970s and ‘80s. That I was around back then to share in all this with Huntley, to get to fish for close on 25 years with someone as savvy and as gifted as him, was sheer, magnificent luck".

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“There’s little I can say about the Red-eyed Damsel that would come as even a mild revelation now, given that the pattern has been around a long time and remains one of the most used nymphs in South African stillwaters. Its origins go back to Hugh’s earliest damsel nymph imitation, a simple fly tied with a dyed olive cock hackle tail, a dark olive wool or seal’s fur body ribbed in gold, olive hackle tip legs and a thorax of bronze peacock. Hugh tinkered with the fly, later using olive marabou instead of seal’s fur or wool for the tail and body and black chenille for the eyes".

day they were invented, and said as much which, in retrospect, was as poor a prediction of things to come as the prognostications of all the sceptics who thought Alexander Bell’s idea of a telephone would never work". “I got to know the sort of conditions when the Red-eyed Damsel worked best up at the Old Dam. It would typically be a mid-summer morning on a bright, mildly windy day when the water had a nice surface chop and a green-tinted, glassy clarity and the occasional dorsal fin was showing just off a patch of weed. We always said you had a few seconds to get the Red-eye into the spot, that it should land gently and sink, but not be weighted, and that you immediately wanted to ‘feel’ the fly by taking up the slack. After that it was just a case of retrieving slowly and hanging onto your socks".

“The change from black to red chenille was entirely serendipitous. Hugh ran out of black chenille one night when we were on an extended stay up at the Old Dam and just swapped to red. At the time I didn’t think those bright red eyes would last beyond the www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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“The one short cut people took with the Red-eyed Damsel that Hugh could not handle was winding the twisted marabou around the chenille eyes in a figure of 8 to form the head and thorax. He argued, rightly I believe, that it added too much bulk, robbed the impression of movement and lost any hint of legs. He would break up a tuft of marabou into tiny pieces, dub the bits onto lightly waxed olive thread and then wrap evenly in figure of eights around the chenille eyes to form of a really buggy looking, slightly tattered thorax".

tied a few black and brown Red-eyes, and he was mighty fussy about the quality of the marabou he used. The fibres had to have lustre and if he was using green, then it had to be a rich olive green and not the lifeless, washed out pale or bottle green you see on too many commercial copies these days”. Little did Hooks and Bullet Huntley know at the time that his Red Eyed Damsel would go on to be one of South Africa’s iconic stillwater fly patterns. I have no doubt that it will continue to bring many a trout to the net in the years to come.

"I’ve mentioned the colour olive, but Hugh

Original RAB tied by Tony Biggs www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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Recipe Hook - Size 8 to 16, long shank nymph hook. Try Tiemco 5262 or 200R Thread - To match body colour 8/0 Tail - Tips of olive or brown marabou barbs tied the length of the shank Body - The tail marabou is twisted together as a rope, wound as a body, and then ribbed with fine oval gold tinsel or green Krystal Flash Thorax - Small pieces of marabou fluff to match body colour dubbed onto the thread Legs - As an option, Krystal Flash fibres can be added as legs. Match the colour, i.e. dark green with olive, copper with brown patterns Eyes - Red Tuff Chenille trimmed to length.

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Dirt Road Wild Trout Festival 2020 Dave Walker dave@wildtrout.co.za or info@wildtrout.co.za

Many present-day folk may not have heard of or even come across an action/adventure television series that ran from 1983 to 1987 known as “The A-team”, starring, amongst others, the late George Peppard as Col. John “Hannibal” Smith. Occasional immersion into their fantasy world in the absence of anything worthwhile to watch on the SABC broadcasts of those days was the order of the day.. Apart from the lighthearted, fleeting entertainment, the only thing that I recall was Hannibal’s bottom-liner of ”I love it when a plan comes together”.

requirements that go into the festival - but I digress…! Sunday, the 15th March, heralded the arrival of a handful of participants who had been able to arrange for their absence elsewhere for a full week. They duly made use of their time appropriately and booked beats for the days before the main event. Guides that had also arrived on Sunday occupied their time with stream assessment to better equip themselves for the task ahead. A few more folk trickled in on Monday from a fishing venue near Rhodes where they had spent the week-end. Tuesday saw the arrival of the bulk of the participants and registration commenced with the issuing of goodie bags. The evening dinner started with a word of welcome, event housekeeping and the introduction of the guides.

This year’s event was much the same. Those of you who have organised any events will appreciate the amount of time and occasional frustration that goes into all of the pre-event stuff. Planning the programme, getting the word out there, responding to enquiries, reminding folk to submit their entry forms, reminding some of them to fork out and much more is one part of the picture. Bearing previous negative experiences in mind and at the behest of the regular participants, a single gathering and dining point was preferred, in particular Walkerbouts Inn was the venue of choice. Being based in a remote village, menu planning and execution is but a fraction of the logistical www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

After breakfast on Wednesday morning, the annual “Tackle Fair” at the River Park on the banks of the Bell River, hosted by local resident, Sean de Wet on Wednesday morning got underway heralded by perfect weather. The fair creates an opportunity for participants to “get the feel” of alternative tackle to their own. 59

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The fair included sage advice from the “Master caster” Mark Yelland who was assisted by several of the event guides. The main purpose of the festival was, of course, to go flyfishing so soon enough, folk took off into the far distance to indulge their passion on the rivers and streams. In fact, having had almost 400mm from December when our summer rains started until the festival, the rivers and streams were in prime condition, possibly somewhat “fat”, as opposed to the opposite epithet being “thin” water! And so the beat went on with perfect weather, the occasional cloud providing a bit of passing shade with a slight breeze to cool the brow. Then Friday afternoon arrived and, as it happens when weak fronts skirt the escarpment, a south-easterly had dumped a trademark bank of clouds along the escarpment. Associated with this weather phenomenon is a cold wind. Being thoroughly chilly, it blew many enthusiasts off the water. Local legend has it that this is a www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

wind that blows no good for fishing, in particular, fish largely go “off the bite”. Inevitably, there were occasional willing takers of the fly but the noticeable decline on the day is clearly illustrated in the Fish/day graph adding credence to local lore.

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Andrew Mather's 18" rainbow on Lovedale beat

From personal experiences it is indeed scary to be out there in the mountains on horseback and in comes the cloud. Within minutes one can hardly see beyond your trusty steed’s head and trust the steed, one must for they know the route far better than the riders! One forgets to tie a warm jacket to the saddle only once. Thereafter, standard operating procedure is to roll the jacket up and tie it to the pommel, just in case! But I digress yet again!

coaxed no less than twenty fish to his net, three of which were 406, 431 and 457mm in length! Mather’s other days were many more and many less but the sizes on day one proved that drought is not necessarily the death knell of fish and of trout in particular. At this juncture, having mentioned sizes of fish recorded, I must hasten to add that the annual event is not a competition. It is a festival, i.e. a gathering of like-minded people in celebration of fly fishing and celebrate participants did with aplomb. I should also mention that firstly, despite the misperception that it is a closed “by invitation only” festival and secondly, that it is only for “experts”, nothing could be further from reality. On point a), anybody, irrespective of age, gender, colour or creed with an interest in fly fishing is welcome to complete their entry form and participate. As far as the second point is concerned, to quote the inimitable Peter Brigg, “There is no such thing in fly fishing as an expert. One learns something new every day”.

As is generally the case, the front passed by leaving yet another beaut of a day ahead. The troops duly moved out yet again to embark on the battles of the final day on the water. Being the last outing of the 2020 festival, participants were hard-pressed to leave the battlegrounds but darkness and fly fishing in the mountains are not good companions so sanity prevailed! The evenings during the festival were, as always, festive occasions filled with many “war stories” with participants recounting events of the day. For one participant, Andrew Mather, the first day on the water was arguably the most memorable as far as fish numbers and size are concerned. Mather www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

Although in the minority, a number of fly fishing ladies have participated down the years as have several school-going 62

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enthusiasts. In fact, several of these lads are no longer scholars but in the next phase of their lives where they can go fishing without parental approval and return to the area on a regular basis. One of this year’s participants was the result of the then-looming lock-down and school closure, Greg Miller even managed to outdo his father Craig once or twice! Sorely missed was Martin le Roux’s delightful daughter Daryl whose schooling commitments took priority this year. So for those of you who have waded through this account of the 2020 event, rest assured that all you need is a passion for fly fishing!

vicinity of 25% of the rods also recorded their catches, the extrapolated figure would have been 1464 trout. Unfortunately, there are always a minority who, despite many appeals, don’t and didn’t submit their returns for whatever the reason thereby confounding the event catch records and shame on them too! It would be most remiss not to make mention of all of the kind folk that put their shoulders to the wheel, in particular, a very hearty word of thanks to our main sponsor, Dirt Road Traders who provided participants with fine fleeces and arranged for the printing of the 2020 edition of the Wild Trout Association fly fishing guide book. It is now on sale and, incidentally, is the most comprehensive, fly fishing guide book on the WTA waters in the Highlands of the Eastern Cape. In superb full colour, it is 195 pages of everything you would like to ask about fly fishing in the Highlands and much more. For a copy, contact our secretary, Margie Murray, info@wildtrout.co.za.

The size range graph augurs well for the future as far as bigger fish are concerned especially for the coming summer for the simple reason that the majority of the festival catch recorded was in the 151-250mm size range. Survivors will be well into the next range or possibly even beyond it by then. For the statistically inclined, a total of 1053 trout were recorded however, had in the

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Cane, silk and dry fly...nothing better! Photo: Peter Brigg.

For the auction, Frontier Fly fishing of Johannesburg were kind enough to provide a Sage blank to rod builder, Derek Smith who crafted a fine 4 wt rod that, together with a Scientific Anglers flyline commanded the highest price of the evening, sold @ R9500. Frontier also provided Scientific Anglers Amlitude fly lines plus peaked caps, tapered leaders and spools of tippet materials for the goodie bags. Tim Martin provided two bamboo frame nets and Andrew Savides, a “Japanese” net and the for mer also provided us with a “Bambooze” rod tube, a thoroughly unique product. Kingfisher of Pietermaritzburg added a Daiwa outfit to the list of angling paraphernalia while Jan Korrubel of Kingfisher offered a day’s guiding in the Midlands. Peter Brigg and Ed Herbst added a signed copy of their fine publication “S A Fishing Flies” to the fare and dwelling on publications, Peter Brigg added no less than 4 copies of his publication “Call of the stream” to the mix .In keeping with current events, Jan Korrubel concocted a “Corona virus kit” complete with various accoutrements! Marcel Terblanche, artist, flywww.saflyfishingmag.co.za

tier and fly fishing guide from the Western Cape gave us one of his artworks, notably depicting a scene in the area. Tony Kietzman also offered a day’s guiding in the Highlands. Jackie Lamer, who had previously guided during our festivals donated a 15 year work of dedication in creating an image of a trout by way of a multitude of minute circles each coloured in at a later stage. Ken Quick conjured up a unique fly-box container that had yet another fly-box in it filled with a wealth of aptly named flies that Quick had tied for the festival. Dirt Road Trader’s buffs added grist to the mill and Shaun Futter’s wild olive fly-box conjured up great memories for me. While at school, my dad taught me how to do woodturning on his lathe. He also had a stash of wild olive that I used to turn candle sticks, wooden bowls and in particualr spinning tops. The fad didn’t last too long as I was soon banned from “top season” at school on account of my wild olive tops were the death knell for many a competitor’s commercial top! 65

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Match the hatch!


A pair of Polaroid-type dark glasses s p o n s o re d b y N e i l W h i t e o f D o r a n ’ s Pharmacy in Aliwal North went quickly while Stoepsitfees blankets gave rise to concentrated bidding raising that raised R1900 for the Rhodes Animal Care Project (RAC). Last but by no means least, Jay Smit of Jayvice fame added a J-bobbin and a pair of J-pliers to the fare on offer that was soon snapped up. This reminds me of some years ago when the one and only Ed Herbst sponsored a Jayvice for the WTA that was to be kept at Walkerbouts in case tiers wanted to practise their art but didn’t have their vice with them. It has gravitated to the logical place in the function room at Walkerbouts where participants dine and tiers gather in a specially equipped corner where they demonstrate their versions of their favourite flies. By the end of the proceedings, over R28000 was raised for the WTA kitty.

Prior to departure after the event, several of the “old hands” expressed the view that the 2020 event was the best that they had been to. I have been pondering on this observation ever since and am still somewhat perplexed. Was this a subjective view based on personal experiences or bias or what was the difference between 2020 and previous festivals, pondered I? So, with a measure of objectivity, I asked myself what are major elements are that comprise a successful fly fishing festival? Other than peripherals such as accommodation, my answer is three-fold. The major elements are; success on the water, catering and the prevailing weather. Minor elements such contents of the goodie bags, auction items, range of liquid refreshment, beat allocation are important, add to the picture but are not fundamental. Then throw in the human element. Interestingly enough, less than 20% of the 2020 participants were first-timers. The rest of the crew were all well-acquainted with each other including the guides who added an additional element to the mix. With relatively few new faces, this festival seems to have evolved into an un-constituted old boys club of a piscatorial bent!

Down the years, the auction has generated a significant amount that has been and is used for various worthy causes. On a national level, we have supported the FOSAF war chest in the battle against the Department of Environmental Affairs dubious and flawed anti-trout policy. Locally, other charitable causes such as the Rhodes Animal Care and Rose Garden projects are supported as well as contributions to the Rhodes Tourist and Information Centre and the River Park where the Tackle Fair is held.

As we all know, weather is beyond us mere mortals’ control but this year, it could not have been better. In fact had we ordered it, it would most likely have got lost or probably been stolen en route! As far as fishing success goes, an average of 10,5 fish per day for each completed catch return is not to be sneezed at! Lastly, full tummies with no complaints regarding breakfasts, lunchpacks and dinners leaves me with a single conclusion, the major elements were all top drawer.

Dinner on the last evening was an opportune moment to acknowledge a number of people and entities. Accordingly, the WTA would like to record our thanks to all of the sponsors ranging from Dirt Road Traders to Mukheibir’s Sentra in Barkly East who provided the goodie bag groceries and to all of the auction item contributors. In addition, thanks to all of the participants whose participation fee not only covers the cost of the event but contributes to the costs of running the Association. It is also appropriate to thank all of the Wild Trout Association riparian members without whose co-operation, there would be no WTA!

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The three major elements accounted for, my version of the festival has come full circle, the end being the beginning - ”I love it when a plan comes together”. Planning for the 2021 Dirt Road Wild Trout Festival is already underway so don’t be shy, join us next year and dilute the “old toppies’” numbers! 67

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The Danish MacNab: 24 hours to mission it! Terkel Broe Christensen Photos: Bo Fomsgaard and the Author.

Catch a salmon in the River Skjern and a sea trout in the River Karup – and do so within the same day. This challenge has become known as the Danish MacNab. The requirements are stringent indeed, because both fish have to be caught on the same day between 00:00 and 24:00 – and not just within 24 hours. This does not make the challenge any less demanding. Kenny Frost

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The original MacNab is a Scottish tradition. Some have called it the “hunter’s triathlon” because between dawn and dusk the hunter has to shoot not only a deer and two grouse but also catch a salmon.

a couple of years ago, I was close. I had been lucky to catch a nice salmon in the River Skjern and went to the River Karup to fish again that same evening. Absolutely nothing happened until just around midnight when, all of a sudden, a bow-wave rose up behind my surface-fished tube fly, then accelerated and inhaled it. Fish on! Although it was by no means a giant fish, I was electrified with excitement when a sea trout of about two pounds came to the net. I had a special feeling of relief and gratitude as I gave the fish its freedom after a quick picture.

As an angler, it can be interesting to set goals too. And the dream of bagging that very big catch can certainly be a long-term goal. But then there are other challenges which have nothing to do with size. The Danish MacNab is one such challenge. It is a goal which, although it certainly doesn’t preclude a little dreaming, will test even the most experienced river angler to the extreme – no doubt about that. On top of that, you need a solid portion of good oldfashioned luck! Otherwise there is no way you will land a salmon in the River Skjern and a sea trout from the River Karup – on the same day.

I knew it was a bit late, but I just felt an irresistible urge to share my joy and called Bo Fomsgaard, the man who coined the phrase Danish MacNab. Bo loves to set, and meet, self-imposed challenges and he has successfully met the ultimate challenge of catching a salmon in the River Skjern and a sea trout in the River Karup on no less than six occasions!

Close, but no cigar! I have tried this challenge myself but never quite succeeded, although on one occasion

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Luckily, he answered the phone and listened patiently as I told him how I would like to join the exclusive club of anglers to have bagged a Danish MacNab.

the sea trout on the same day – it’s a quarter past midnight!

Then Bo asked me a question I didn’t quite understand.

“Oh, more than two minutes may actually have passed. I mean, I had to fight the fish for a while before it came to the net. The time does count from the moment the fish takes the fly, doesn’t it?”

Confused, I desperately pleaded my case:

“You say you caught it only a moment ago?” “Yeah, I released it less than a few minutes ago.”

Bo was not in the least responsive to my manufactured excuse. The rules were strict and he took pains to enforce them.

“Well then you didn’t catch the salmon and www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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“I’ll acknowledge that if you had caught that sea trout 15 minutes earlier, you would indeed have been a full member of the club by now. You may of course be lucky to hook and land another salmon during the next 23 hours and 45 minutes…”

I thanked him with reverence for this bonus information. But, unfortunately, I had no opportunity to get to the river to try my luck the next day. And the MacNab trophy, which I had believed to be within my reach, remained something almost unattainable.

Pharyngeal teeth of a grass carp

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Interview with Bo Fomsgaard

stretch of river in the town of Karup.

The ultimate test of sporting prowess

Since the first summer sea trout took my fly there back in the early 1990s, I have caught fish in Karup every season, and my capture of the first River Karup sea trout of the season still means a lot to me.

Bo Fomsgaard has been fishing the rivers of the Jutland peninsula since childhood and has caught more salmon and sea trout than most in his home waters, the rivers Skjern and Karup. Read how Bo got started – and how he got the idea of the Danish MacNab.

A few years later, I was invited to join a local angler’s club which had at its disposal a stretch of fishing on the River Skjern. I caught my first salmon there at the end of that same decade.

When did you start fishing the rivers Skjern and Karup? When angling for trout and grayling started to decline back in the late 1980s, stories started circulating about big bright sea trout being caught in the River Karup. It was back then, that I started taking the bus to what was then the Herning Angler’s Association’s www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

The dream of the big fish. When I started fishing the River Skjern, very few salmon were being caught. It was before we saw the positive effects of the tremendous task of restoring the river’s stock of wild salmon. 74

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Double click to edit text

Then, in the years after 2000, more and more salmon started returning to spawn. From then on, anglers could go to the river with a realistic hope of hooking a salmon.

The idea came about by chance more than 10 years ago. Back then, you could wait longer to report fish caught in the rivers than you can today. Catches now have to be reported within 24 hours.

To d a y , a s m o r e a n d m o r e a n g l e r s experience, you can hook the fish of your life in this river.

I used to wait until the end of a week and then reported the fish caught during that period.

So far, my biggest fish from the River Karup was a sea trout weighing 11 kilos (24 lb). My largest salmon from the River Skjern were in the 12-13 kilo (27-28 lb) range.

On one occasion, I reported two fish, a salmon and a sea trout, caught the same day but in two different rivers. This probably doesn’t happen that often, I thought, so perhaps I should see if I could repeat the feat.

And then there were the significantly larger fish that were hooked and lost: the ones that got away…

In the years that followed, I sometimes made it so that when I caught a salmon in Skjern, I went home to the family, had dinner and put the kids to bed before heading off for a late evening’s fishing in the River Karup.

The idea of the Danish MacNab “How did you actually come to coin the phrase angler’s MacNab?”

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Once in a while, I would manage to catch what my friends would later term as a “Danish MacNab”. An exceptional feat “Is bagging a Danish MacNab something you expect to do every season?” No, far from it. It’s not something I do every season, nor is that the intention, as it is a difficult exercise, although the fishing is getting better and better every year.For someone like me who loves angling in those two rivers, it’s nothing but a fun, noobligation little challenge. The earliest time of year I have achieved a MacNab was in June, but August and September would probably be the best months to make a MacNab attempt because this is the peak of the fishing season in the two rivers. The sea trout won. My job only allows me to fish in the afternoons and evenings, so it’s not always possible for me to fish in both rivers on the same day. But when I am able to do so, it gives the trip

to Karup an extra boost when I feel there is the possibility of a Danish MacNab and when it all depends on the next few hours of fishing in the darkness. I have tried my luck a few times this season, though without success. I was close on one occasion: I managed to land a salmon and headed off to River Karup where a sea trout took my fly. Unfortunately, though, I lost the fish with the gold medal on its neck because it fell off my hook! An extra pleasure It’s important to emphasize that I don’t get obsessive about the MacNab challenge. I just get that extra bit of pleasure when my angling skills are recognised and my winning number comes up. Setting and meeting a self-imposed challenge like this is also a way of making angling less formal and more fun at a time when a good many anglers have allowed themselves to be convinced that the size and number of fish is what it is all about. So in this spirit I hope that other anglers will pursue the ultimate test of sporting prowess that is the Danish MacNab.


Barbel and the Rubber Hackle crab Ed Herbst

When Alan and Annabelle Hobson visited some outdoor tourism shows in the USA recently to promote their Wild Fly Fishing in the Karoo business they found, somewhat

to their surprise, that the Americans were most fascinated by sight fishing to barbel illustrated in this video clip which was taken fishing on dams in the Karoo and near Somerset East.

Promoting fly fishing in the Karoo – Alan and Annabelle Hobson in the USA Alan says Americans are fascinated by big freshwater predators such as Northern pike and muskies.

hook a barbel of about 10 kg on a beetle pattern in a shallow inlet furrow to the Darlington Dam near the town.

In Europe it is the Welz catfish that fills this role and I enjoyed this article about Neil Patterson fishing big streamers for this predator in the middle of Florence.

Alan has located some superb barbel dams linked to dairy farms near the town.

I was aware of the barbel potential in Somerset East after watching Al Spaeth www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

The milking sheds on these farms have to maintain high standards of hygiene and so they are hosed down each day. 78

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Sight fishing for barbel like this appealed to the anglers Alan and Anabelle Hobson met during their recent promotional trip to the USA

The water from these sheds is then filtered through wetlands before running into the dams. This nutrient-rich water creates an ideal environment for a plethora of aquatic organisms and the barbel quickly reach the

10kg mark and more. Alan fishes 9-weight rods equipped with the Shilton SL7 reel and 200 metres of gel-spun backing for these fish.

Alan Hobson applying pressure to a big Karoo barbel

The rooms at Branksome Country www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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Here’s where it gets fascinating Barbel have poor eyesight and rely on their ability to pick up vibrations in the water to locate their prey. The artlure anglers that target big barbel on dams like Vanderkloof and Gariep use a Rapala Shad Rap fished below a Marlin teaser lure.

The teaser attracts the barbel which then takes the smaller plug. To mimic this on a fly rod, Alan uses a small popper strung between two micro rings as the attractor and, on the point, he uses a lightly weighted fly which must be easy to cast and easily seen and sensed by the barbel.

The size of the Karoo barbel make the use of a Boga Grip essential www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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Crabs are a staple in the diet of trout, bass, barbel and yellowfish in the area and my sense is that the ideal material for such a pattern is the Fishient 0.5” Lively Legs Crustacean Brush in Bronze Back and Black for clear water and Bronze Back and Tan for turbid water.

Scottburgh factory because, with coronavirus Rand running at 19 to the Dollar at the time of writing, it helps if you don’t have to pay overseas transport costs to import fly tying material. I use a straight-eye #6 Ahrex SA 250 Shrimp hook but a Grip bass fly hook such as the 30012 is substantially cheaper.

Hold this material against the light and the tan and black synthetic core almost glows and the thin, rubber legs wiggle at the slightest movement.

Bead chain on top of the hook helps flip the fly into a hook point up-position without weighting the fly too heavily – crabs are shallow-water creatures.

We are indeed lucky that we have Cliff Rochester developing materials like this in his

The first stage of the author’s ‘Lively Legs’ crab imitation www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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The author’s crab pattern in Bronze Back and Black for clear water

Another alternative would be the plastic bead chain which is sold in Venetian blind shops with a piece of flat lead in top of the hook shank to turn the fly the fly over.

water. After that the Crustacean Brush is tied in at the hook bend and wound forward to the eyes where it is tied off. Leave about a millimetres of space between the wraps so that you don’t trap and legs and stroke them back as you wind the brush onto the hook shank.

With the success of the Red Eye Damsel in mind, I cover the bead chain with Solarez Bone Dry Black UV resin and I then use Solarez Fluo Red resin mixed with red glitter dust to make the fly easier to spot in turbid www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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You could add even more movement by adding a tail of zonker strip fur or another soft and mobile material like marabou to make a super-wiggly Woolly Bugger I then trim out any rubber strands that are touching one another and would be prone to mat together. For deep, fast water such as the Orange River in the Richtersveld, one could use lead or tungsten dumbbell eyes. About 20 years ago, I attended a fly fishing function in Maclear where the late Dr Douglas Hey was the guest speaker. As a child he was taken along on fishing trips to the newly-stocked rivers in the area by his father, Sydney, author of Rapture of the River. His task was to clean the trout caught by his father and his friends. He told me that

their stomachs were packed with crabs but he never found any indigenous minnows. I am hoping that Cliff Rochester will make a quarter-inch Crustacean Brush to enable even smaller crab patterns to be tied because crabs are prolific in small streams in the Western and Eastern Cape. Juvenile crabs are small when they are born – about the size of a match head – and they go through several moults before reaching maturity. They are predated upon through all these stages and a quarter-inch brush would enable imitations to be tied which would be easy to cast on 0-3 weight rods. With the coronavirus making recreational overseas travel almost impossible, it makes sense to explore our own fishing possibilities more extensively and Somerset East provides excellent fishing for trout, bass, yellowfish and barbel within an hours’ drive of the town.

The author’s crab pattern for turbid water

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The Origins of South African Title Flyfishing written by First Second Name Ian Cox name Photos: other

It is widely believed that flyfishing came to South Africa with the introduction of trout in the 1890’s and that it was impossible to catch yellowfish on fly before the invention of the TVN nymph. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The early history of flyfishing in South Africa was all about targeting native species such as yellowfish, witvis and kurper. As Bertie Bennion pointed his book The Angler in South Africa that was published over a century later these fish were targeting by what he called ground fishing as well as flyfishing.

Bill Hansford Steel writes tantalisingly of flyfishers targeting native fish in the late 1700’s but does not cite a source for this statement. Craig Thom who has a talent for close research tracked down a reference in Lord Sommerville’s journal to an attempt to catch yellowfish on fly on the Reit River in 1801. Craig has tracked down where they fished and he and his daughter have caught yellowfish on fly at that location.

According to Hansford Steele traditional English flies of that time such as the Greenwell’s Glory and the Black Gnat which were brought out in the luggage of travellers rather than being specially imported. Both he and Bennion were of the view that flytying only began in the 20th century. But one must question whether this was indeed so. After all Canon Pennington was encouraging boys to take up flytying as early as 1909.

That, of course is a story in and of itself which we hope that Craig will publish one day.

His book Trout Fishing for South African boys suggest a robust make your own culture that

But there should be nothing surprising in this. We know the English were avid anglers and that fly fishing was already popular in the United Kingdom at the end of the eighteenth century. The first British occupation began in 1795 but Englishman started arriving in the Cape before that. My wife’s ancestor, for example, came out in 1791 as an English teacher and settled in Swellendam. While history does not relate whether he was a flyfisher, he was of a class and came from a district where flyfishing was already popular in Britain. Officer’s in the army travelled nowhere without their guns and their fishing rods. Many of these would have been fly rods. www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

was already in existence in the early 20th century. According to him a boy with a pocketknife, a few hooks and a ball of string and a bit of ingenuity could achieve much. You made your own kit or did not fish. It was what he did as a boy in the North of England. “And the first trout”, he exulted, “a lively fellow rising beyond a bed of weeds under the shadow of the old grey church, caught with a home-made fly on a self-knotted, selfselected horse hair caste, was to me the bursting of a bud that grew into a strong branch on a sturdy tree.”

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And it was not only the end tackle that was home made. Rods were also home made with the pieces splined and bound together with waxed string. “Metal joints, ferrules as they are called, were never used in our parts fifty years ago.” As for lines well you made your own out of horse hair and his book contains detailed instructions on how to do this.

Bringing trout to South Africa and successfully introducing them into South Africa’s rivers was a very expensive business. It took over two decades to get right. There has always been a strong commercial purpose behind the introduction of trout into South Africa. This investment was expected to pay dividends. The Boer War got in the way of this venture, but things began to take off thereafter. Trout fishing became organised with clubs and farmers offering fishing and hotels the necessary accommodation. The Trout Bungalow was taking visitors by 1907 as were hotels in Nottingham Road and Rosetta.

He was equally robust on the subject of fly tying. Yes there were famous English patterns tied using the feathers of English birds but according to the good padre local feathers and locally tied flies did just as well and often even better than the professionally tied imports brought from home.

J Spranger Harrison in the 1940's

So, while our literature bestows the title of South Africa’s South Africa’s first indigenous fly on the “Kom Gouw” (circa 1859) it is likely that South African flyfishers were quietly tying their own much earlier than that. This after all what was any half decent northerner would do back at “home”. I think it far more likely that the Kom Gouw and Fred Kerr’s Special which he designed on the ship out to South Africa and which closely resembles the Kom Gouw owe their fame to the fact that they were also used to catch trout. There is much speculation as to why trout were introduced given that the yellowfish and witvis both offer very good sport. Wardlaw Thomson suggests that this was because anglers wanted to target fish from home, but I think his observation that South Africa’s freshwater fishery was not economically viable gets much closer to the truth. Then as anyone who fishes for yellows will tell you; they are not that good eating and can become very difficult to catch. They don’t hang about like trout do and are much more skittish. www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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For the more adventurous camping was to be had on the Bushmans and at Game Pass on the upper reaches of the Mooi.

cousins.

So, it should come as no surprise that books began to be published extolling the magnificence of South African trout fishing. The first was Dumaresque Manning’s Trout Fishing in the Cape Colony published in 1908 followed the next year by Tetlow’s Fly Fishing in Natal.

Wardlaw Thomson’s 1913 book The Sea Fisheries of the Cape Colony is the exception in that it does refer to fly fishing for native fish. But this was a more scholarly work aimed at describing the fishery rather than promoting recreational fishing. The new trout fishery comes in for a lot of attention, but he does mention in passing that yellowfish rose readily to the fly.

This was reproduced almost word for word in the Natal Descriptive Guide and Official Handbook that was published by the South African Railways in 1911. Interestingly I also have the 1895 copy of this guide which makes no reference to freshwater angling trout or otherwise. All these publications all heavily promoted trout fishing to the foreign visitor so it is not that surprising that they were told that the South African trout would rise to the tried and trusted favourites of their British

The rising popularity of trout fishing did not bring an end to targeting native fish on a fly. This is probably because trout fishing was an expensive pursuit in the years before the war regardless of what Pennington may have said to the contrary. A trip to the trout bungalow from Johannesburg to the Trout Bungalow took involved an 18 hour train ride to Nottingham road followed by a ride of a further 2 and a half hour ride weather permitting.

Mr and Mrs Harrison after an outing on the Umzimkhulu River, Natal www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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It would take you longer by car assuming you were one of the wealthy few who owned such a conveyance. Accommodation would set you back just over 9 shillings a week which was then the equivalent to the day’s wages of a skilled tradesman in Britain.

South Africa devotes a whole chapter to fly fishing for yellow fish and what he has to say is as valuable today as it undoubtedly was then. Next to nothing else was written in book form about fly fishing trout or otherwise between the wars that did not come from Bennion’s pen. But a great deal was written in periodicals that were published in this country and abroad. Bennion wrote much of the earlier stuff which has still to be collated. However, Spranger Harrison kept a scrap book of his writings in the 1930’s which I have been privileged to read. He writes extensively of targeting yellowfish and other native fish

Trout fishing trips were special affairs. Unless you lived on the doorstep of a trout fishery your normal fishing was likely to be targeted at native fish found closer to home. This all changed after the first world war when transport became much cheaper. That said flyfishing for native fish was still very popular in the 1920’s and 30’s. Indeed, Bertie Bennion’s marvellous 1923 book the Angler in

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For example, in 1934 he writes of catching a ten pound barbel on a black gnat and a two and a half pound yellowfish hen on an Invicta. It may have been nearly 100 years ago, but this passage still resonates:

and thither by the gentlest of zephyrs. Fish were rising all around, feasting with utter abandonment, and apparently wholly forgetful of their life's teaching; '' Safety First." I dropped my fly into the huge ''bell" made by the head-and-tail rise of a big fish. Instantly a dark torpedo-like streak flashed from the depths, but fish and fly never connected. The. former reached the latter, but, for some unaccountable reason, refused it. There was a mighty swirl, a golden flash; and in the fraction of a second the suspicious fish had disappeared whence it came.

“It is a rare occurrence, I should imagine, to become positively sated with fly fishing for any species of fish. It must be almost unique to become sated with fly fishing for smallmouthed yellowfish. Yet, such was my experience on the occasion I am writing of. I commenced fishing at 6.15 p.m., just as the kurper were finishing their late-afternoon rise. I did manage to hook one splendid little halfpounder that fought gallantly before succumbing. Then the yellowfish appeared.

With that one exception, I did not miss a single fish, and they rose at nearly every cast. Between 6.25 and 7.45pm I caught thirty-two. Most of the fish were small, running 4 to 6oz • a dozen weighed between 8 and 12oz., one scaled at 1 ½lb. I returned all to the water with hopes of renewing my acquaintance at a later date when they had matured”.

A perfect evening ! The swallows and martins were flying low, ever and anon swooping towards the water. For millions of gnat-like insects were sailing merrily over the placid surface, blown hither

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HORIZON TACTICAL COMPETITION NYMPH SERIES FLY ROD A Review - Terry Babich This Euro nymphing thing is growing like crazy and with it the need for specialised rods. More and more anglers are trying their luck at Euro nymphing with great success. I find this type of fishing to be very technical and it calls a rod with a very specific function.

Both models are designed as specialty Euro nymphing rods. This means that they have a softer tip action for bite detection, the taper necessary for the casting action required to get the flies down in the best way possible and the subtlety to not break the light tippets that are necessary to fish most effectively. These rods also have a back bone to them that allows you to pull rather hard and land fish in conditions that you previously would never have dreamed of on a light rod like a three weight.

The whole technique is geared up to increase the sensitivity of the rod and to detect subtle bites while getting your light tackle rig into the zone where the fish are. Seems obvious? The technique requires that you cast light leaders with lighter flies than what we have been accustomed to fishing with when using other methods. The flies need to be placed accurately and one has to get them to sink quickly. All of this needs to be done with a rod that still has the ability to pull strong fish in fast flowing water and land them on tippet that previously we would not have dreamed of using. These rods are designed with all that in mind.

So having fished these rods and having landed a few stream trains (and catfish) in the river I was pleasantly surprised. I have always been an advocate of fishing as heavy as possible without limiting your catch rate and getting the fish out quickly for a safe release. Never did I dream of fishing a three weight in the Vaal for yellows and being able to horse them out in the way that I can with this rod. The six weight also works well in the river but being that little bit heavier it means that you will probably use it for extremely fast water and maybe line-up on the tippet. Not a bad thing at all. Although I haven’t fished it off the boat as yet it has also doubled-up as a fast-loading casting rod. I did test it on a few grass carp and was surprised that it handles fish in the twenty pound range without any trouble. I would however suggest using a longer net for such large fish as I don’t think that this is what it was designed for with that soft tip. But staying true to myself I am inclined to really test tackle to its maximum and maybe a little beyond that.

This brings me to the rods itself. Frontier Fly Fishing has developed two models in their rage that are specifically geared up for this competition-style method of nymphing. That doesn’t mean they are only for the competition guys. These rods are for anyone who wants to refine their fishing and catch more fish. The rods come in ten foot long three weight and ten foot long six weight derivatives to fill the two basic niches of flyfishing - trout and yellowfish.

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Balance Control – The utilisation of a down-locking reel-seat transfers the rod’s swing-weight further down the rod to enhance feel and sensitivity in the tip. There is a small fighting butt on both rod models.

Rod Protection – Horizon Competition Nymph rods come packaged in a partitioned cotton bag inside a protective, zip-up Cordura tube.

This

Measurement Wraps – Incorporated into the superb finishes of the rods are measurements wraps, placed 30cm and a further 20cm from the butt, giving a total length of 50cm from the end of the fighting butt. This allows the angler quick and easy access to important measurements. www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

Quick Assembly – All sections have witness marks, or alignment dots for easy assembly.

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Frontier Fly Fishing have made use of good quality components on the rod with a AAAA cork handle and the latest NANOHOOP graphite technology in the blank. The rods have a matt finish which I rather like. They also have markings on the blank for the easy measuring of leader requirements in competitive angling. Even if you’re not a competitive angler making use of these markings to consistently tie the same leader will help you catch fish more consistently. As we all know without references we often tie a different leader every time we break off or lose a fly (a rather bad habit I might add). In summary, I have been very happy using these rods and I am sure I will be using them for a long time to come. I would comfortably recommend the six weight version for a budding flyfisher and the three weight for the experienced angler. Just remember that they have soft tips and fish them accordingly.

Want to have your product reviewed? I have been asking suppliers to the flyfishing market for tackle or fishing related items for review. No-one seems to have anything they want me to check out! Maybe they’re afraid I will break it - fair enough, point taken. Hahahaha. If you have something that you think needs to be shown to the public and you are brave enough for an honest review about it then contact me at ofishallybabich@gmail.com and let’s make this a regular insert in the magazine! Let's see what you have to offer and how it stands up to the BABICH destruction test . The SA market is a tough one and needs good quality products tested under local conditions. This is a good platform to use to present your goods to the market or make them aware of an already existing product.

Frontier Fly Fishing says: "The new Horizon Tactical Competition Series of rods has been designed from the bottom up with input from some of the world’s leading competitive anglers. The rods have been carefully thought out and designed with the utmost attention to detail. The 3-weight rod is specifically designed for Euro-nymphing with a quick action and sensitive tip and the butt of the rod has been strengthened for anglers who want to target large fish on light tackle. The versatile 6-weight rod is perfect for Euro-style nymphing as well as making long casts on still waters. The additional strength in the rod’s butt will assist in subduing big fish, while the sensitive tip helps register subtle bites from nymphing fish and protects the lightest of tippets." SA Flyfishing Magazine spoke to some other experts: "Both the 10 3 & 10 6 are very capable, honest sticks. You could easily spend twice the money for something possibly 5% better in the metric that matters most - how they fish." Gary Glen-Young "They are not perfect and I want another butt section for my 10 3 with an eye on it (10 3 shortcoming for nymphing) and hopefully locking rings that are easier to grip (shortcoming on both the 10 3 & 10 6). The 10 6 casts almost as well as my 10 6 Hardy Zenith. The 10 3 would be the first rod I would take on any "nymphing" trip if I did not know how I would nymph and could take only one rod." - Herman Botes (who fished a 10 3 one afternoon on the Val and bought himself one the next week- editor)

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COVID 19 and Flyfishing Kirk Deeter As we seek an ‘out’ to stay-at-home orders, how should anglers fish and how should guides conduct trips?

who also happens to be a dedicated fly angler and a good friend. If anyone is legitimately positioned to see “both sides” of the “should we fish/guide, and how argument,” it is Eric J. Esswein, MSPH, CIH, CIAQP, FAIHA, CAPT, USPHS (Ret.), CEO, Emeritus Health and Safety, LLC.

Editor’s note: The following is written behalf of Trout Unlimited and Angling Trade Media, and in partnership with the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) and Kirk has kindly granted SAFFM permission to reproduce this artilce.

In the past, Eric was instrumental in creating public health strategies to battle SARS and Ebola, and at this time he is on the front lines against Covid-19, literally trying to save the lives of many people. Still, he took time to answer some very pointed questions about DIY angling and how guiding might look in coming months, because that could save the lives of people in the fishing community.

A month ago, I tackled the fly-fishing “elephant in the room” with this piece in both Angling Trade and on the TU blog. It was related to the coronavirus pandemic, namely, can and should anglers be fishing now? The general conclusion was “yes,” where states allow, in a hyper-local context and under a number of strict guidelines.

Here’s what he had to say about using a fly rod as a better than average measure for social distancing:

Now, we are starting to reach the next level, as many states are easing “stay-athome” restrictions. Anglers are ready to fish more — and guides/outfitters/shops who have felt the financial impacts of shutdown are chomping at the bit to resume some type of operations.

“With progressively diminished ‘stay at home’ ‘safer at home’ restrictions, all types of fishing will increase because it’s our passion. Agreed, a 9–ft. rod is the “ultimate social distancing yardstick” and that analogy should be exploited, however, a rod, used in that manner is only as good as the intent and expertise of the user.  So how the user actually behaves when using the rod as a physical distancing tool is critical.

So, let’s tackle another elephant — what might guide trips and DIY angling practices look like in the “new normal?” The truth is, it’s going to be much harder to reach general consensus on these matters, as different areas of the country have different levels or precautions and restrictions. Nobody can give exact catchall guidelines for fishing in all 50 states and beyond.

“In a pandemic, consistent social behaviors are critical in breaking the chain of transmission and SARS CoV-2 is highly transmissible. Admonitions for behaviors and actions are textbook: maintain at least a 9foot fly rod distance apart, wear some type of face covering, e.g., a neck gaiter/Buff, don’t drive together, net your own fish… fish hyper-local, fish mostly with family members.

For a qualified perspective, I reached out to one of the most credible public health and infectious disease experts in the world — www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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Additional guidance is suggested: Screen yourself using CDC guidelines for COVID-19, seek medical care if you are symptomatic, fish alone, plan and prepare to be completely self-sufficient, have all the tippet, floatant, flies, all the nostrums you’ll  need for a day afield or plan to go without.

involves first trying to eliminate the hazard,   n ext substitution of a less hazardous substance or material, next engineering out the hazard, next, using administrative controls (policy and procedure and worker training to understand the hazard and the controls), lastly use of personal protective equipment (PPE).  In a pandemic, we are faced with this: decision making in the face of uncertainty, do we really understand “hazard” and “risk” and what controls can be used to limit exposures.

About the importance of candid in-advance communication with people you intend to fish with — as friends or clients: “If you plan to rendezvous with a buddy, have a forthright ‘risk communication’ discussion before your trip. Discuss if anyone is experiencing cough, shortness of breath, fever (101.4 F or above) or feverish symptoms, if any have had any high risk encounters in the past 14 days (grocery shopping, close contact with the general public for periods longer than 30 mins, while not wearing a face covering, not washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or using an alcohol based sanitizer after dermal contacts with commonly touched surfaces). SARS CoV-2 is agediscriminatory, folks 55 and older have a much higher risk for contracting the virus than folks 45 and younger and if you are over 65 and you contract COVID-19 the risk of death is 22 times higher than those 55 and younger.  My observation is that folks on guided trips can afford to be guided and, lets face it, are often older. Guides and shop staff tend to be younger in my observations; they have lower risks for serious health effects.  Folks with pre-existing heart, lung and kidney disease are at higher risk.  Is fishing now really worth the risk if you are older or have existing health concerns.  Can you wait?

Unfortunately the public does not understand hazard vs. risk very well.  A hazard is something that can harm or even kill us, risk is the probably or likelihood we will be exposed to that hazard and an adverse outcome will occur. A large hole in a sidewalk is a serious hazard; the risk is falling in, sustaining serious injury or even death.  Securing a sturdy metal plate over the hole totally eliminates the risk but not all risks can be eliminated in a pandemic. Often we begin to control risks through actions we can take personally to understand the hazard, our behaviors and the behavior of those around us. If we all do this, it’s a force multiplier, hence ‘stay at home.’ We can decide not to do something, or at times foolishly to do something: ‘Hold my beer, watch this shit…’  SARS-C0V-2 is a serious hazard, so we need to understand how our decisions and behaviors influence the risk we may be exposed to; this comes down to making informed choices and personal decisions about how much risk we are willing to tolerate.   “A real life fire-breathing example: on a float trip or when wading, a tangible hazard is falling from the boat and drowning, slipping and falling when wading, entrapment against a log or rock: drowning or serious injury.  We control the risk by wearing a life jacket, listening to the guide, not drinking alcohol to excess, sitting down and bracing while in rapids, wading safely, wearing a wading belt, using a wading staff, not wading in swift currents or past our wading strength or skill levels.

On weighing hazards vs. risks:   “Now it gets a scant technical, so please bear with me… In occupational health and safety (and what I teach my South African graduate students) we control workplace hazards by first understanding exposure risks, then using a paradigm called the “hierarchy of controls” (HOCs) to control or minimize exposure risks.  The HOC is prioritized and www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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On implementing the HOC’s for COVID-19 and fishing:

based hand rub. No hugs after a big fish day.

Elimination:  decide if the joy derived from fishing is worth the risk one may encounter in times of a pandemic and high COVID-19 transmissibility.  We are still in the acceleration phase of this pandemic, the risks are still high. If you decide to accept the risks of being out with a guide or others, maintain physical distancing as much as possible. Perhaps that means no float trips, waiting until new cases of COVID-19 are decreasing for a 14day period. Any guide trips should require agreed upon no touch guiding, no shared food, guides not handling clients rods, and touching clients only in an emergency.  No handshakes, use an elbow or toe tap to greet or say goodbye.

Clients should be asked to wear a face covering or a neck gaiter, and BTW these are on sale in our shop for 30% off for guided trips but you have to stand away from the register and other shop customers, and we are limiting customers to 3 at a time in the shop at any one time for physical distancing purposes to protect our staff and our customers.  Please don’t pet Otis the shop dog, he loves it, but he does not want to be a fomite (technically he can’t be because fomites are inanimate objects such as doorknobs, phones and such that can hold and transmit virus).  Still, don’t pet him during the pandemic.

Substitution:  we can’t substitute a virus of lesser transmissibility or pathogenicity but we can substitute another experience:  binge watch fly fishing shows and videos, tie flies. Read Harrop’s Trout Hunter….  Some of this is a waiting game, for now.

PPE,  has a big place in a pandemic and for some of the right reasons, especially in healthcare.  For fishing and in shops, face coverings are recommended but the degree of how well neck gators and cloth face coverings really work to prevent transmission is unknown, there’s no data yet.  But yes, recommended.

Engineering controls:  not a lot here that’s particularly useful, hard to engineer out a virus.  A vaccine would help; it’s a long way off.   Administrative controls: Keep COVID-19 symptomatic clients out of shops and off boats as best as possible.  If guides and shop staff have symptoms they should not be working.  This involves developing and implementing policy and procedures (e.g., waivers we sign before a float trip that give clients caveat emptor that in a time of a pandemic there will be risks) but the shop and guide are doing everything possible to limit the risks of transmission.  Using alcohol– based hand rubs, washing down frequently touched surfaces in shops and on boats, posting signage on shop doors: if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms please do not come in, phone into the shop, pay by CC, curbside pick–up of your order.  No shaking hands when greeting clients, tipping can happen and should but the guide needs to wash his/her hands or use an alcohol www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

Regarding fishing from boats now: That’s where a clear caveat emptor needs to be discussed with the guide and client before the trip.  Is the shop insured for force majeure events, of which COVID-19 certainly falls under. Phone calls with the client before a trip to inquire:  are you symptomatic, have you had any high–risk exposures, can we do a walk and wade trip instead of a float?  Risk communication needs to occur with clients and shop staff.  Here’s what we are doing, but we can’t control the risk 100%  Re: pangas and flats skiffs; one client likely poses less risks but all boats are potentially floating hot zones (e.g., cruise ships).  Again, shops need to “have the discussion” and provide risk communication to clients before the trip to qualify if they are experiencing symptoms and acknowledging there will be some degree of risk, explaining that with 97

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and shop owners are doing what they can to follow CDC guidance for prevention.   The main points for control now are going to be taking whatever actions can reduce risks of transmission by following CDC guidance for small business, clear risk communication with clients, shop staff and guides and until the pandemic is better controlled acknowledgment there will be risks for exposures because some risk can be controlled to some degree but not entirely.  Clearly stating what measures are being taken on the part of the shop and guide and asking clients for mutual actions for behavior and actions on their part will be required.   So please, take all that in and consider it carefully. Here are my personal takeaways and how I’m going to apply it to my fishing, going forward. Numero uno, all anglers should strictly abide by the local regulations imposed by their states, counties and local communities, foremost. When somebody goes rogue, breaks the rules and gets somebody sick, that could have ramifications for all of us.   I think DIY angling and hyper-local fishing will be the main focus for the next several months. Smart guides and shops will adjust business models to tap into this as an opportunity, per haps becoming more “coach” than the guide who ties on your flies and nets your fish.

I think most trout trips can and should be walk-wade, and social distancing by at least the length of a fly rod is easily understood, even “catchy.” Meet people at the fishing spot; don’t drive together. Wear PPE and know which way the wind blows. I feel really bad for guides who have no option but to guide from a boat. But I think you need to watch the science. Different states already have different precautions, which I understand and respect. New Zealand is now operating with 1-meter distancing guidance, which is much more do-able in the boat context, it seems, than 6feet. Either way, I’m not having any nonhousehold people in my boat until 6-foot distancing guidance is clearly lifted. Communication, verbal screening, and candor are all critical things. Liability may be a legitimate concern. The highest risk group for COVID-19 is 55 and older, which happens to reflect many anglers, and the vast majority of guide clients. To date I have been nothing but impressed by the vast amounts of poise and character displayed by the angling community as a whole, and guides and outfitters in particular. We will continue doing our thing to offer discussions, updates, and information as we all work through this. Take care.

Photo: Leevashin Ramnaryian


FOSAF NEWS Andrew Fowler A farming acquaintance recently wrote of an organisation that represented a seemingly noble cause, but in a way with which he didn’t perhaps quite align.

people and to whom subs are paid. Invariably those organisations are stuffy and dour, be it by perception, reputation or in fact. People talk over a pint about how their levies disappear into some Ivory tower somewhere, and complain “what value do we ever see”. Most often their levies do cover overheads and activities that are difficult to define or value.

He said this: “Please take care as to where you throw in your lot in terms of membership. I realise that all you want to do is be a member of an organisation that fights all the big fights out there that might challenge your ability to farm both now and into the future.

But when your pastime is down on its luck, or threatened by some or other turn in the tide, then people rally to the cause. They can do that by starting a competing organization (read: descend into petty politics), or they can do it by rallying behind the aforementioned “stuffy bunch”, and making it their own.

But remember this too please. Once you have paid your subs, please take the effort to stay informed. Hold your organisation responsible by making sure you agree with what they are doing. You don’t have to read the news all day. Just stay informed.

And when that threat has abated, organisations either peter out for lack of direction, or they survive and become stronger, having built their purpose around the threat, but while doing so, building a broad base of usefulness and value-adds.

Because remember, your organisation needs your opinion and input regularly, in order to make sure it represents you effectively. Go to AGMs. Read emails and news letters, and read the WhatsApp messages.”

And just as often, there is some coup that was thwarted, about which members know nothing, and the industry watchdog or representative body goes on as an unsung hero.

Those words resonated with me. They resonated because note that at no point does he say “resign” or “don’t join”. In fact, what he is saying is “get involved”.

What on earth does this have to do with flyfishing?

In just about any industry or sport or endeavour, you encounter, there exists an organisation that represents that body of www.saflyfishingmag.co.za

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FOSAF. FOSAF is the body that represents our sport, and all the species for which we throw a fly. It is there to represent us when environmental degradation threatens. It is there to police sloppy corporate governance that may affect our waters or fish or permissions. In fact, it is there to do anything that us flyfishers deem appropriate for a national federation representing our clubs, venues, and target species. FOSAF will be as good (or as bad) as we make it. So, what does flyfishing need? What are our causes? Pollution in the Vaal. Legislation against Trout. Yes…we get those. What else? Broader environmental degradation perhaps. How about service delivery by the government or municipal departments whose action determines water quality across the country? What about angler access to public waters? What about your club’s access to fish for stocking? Are you happy with the state of repair of government run venues and resorts where you used to

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fish? What about coastal and freshwater fish populations and actions that could and should protect them? Are there things about the importation of fishing tackle that you don’t like? Do you have ideas about how a subsistence community and paying flyfishers should share a fishery resource? This reminds me of a quote I saw the other day, and which I for one have sort of adopted as my own mantra. It goes like this: “I kept thinking that someone should do something about that. Then I realized that I am someone” So, my challenge in respect of FOSAF is this: Be someone. Don’t descend into petty politics. Join. Lead a coup if that’s what you believe is needed (bloodless please). Share, like, and comment. Send a voice note. Speak your mind (but fairly). In other words, do something other than that apathy thing. Got it? Be someone!

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