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ISSN 1011-3681


MARCH/APRIL 2019 Vol. 33 No.171

Contents March/April 2019 Editorial - Ian Cox ..........................................................................................................................................................5 The usual editorial guff and a little more First Bite - Andrew Savs .................................................................................................................................................6 A regular witty column on all things flyfishing and beyond World Championships - Linda Gorlei ...........................................................................................................................8 Report back on the recent event held in Dullstroom Global Warming - Ian Cox .........................................................................................................................................13 Keeping under the 1,5 Deg Celsius level In Pursuit of Perch - Bruce Black ................................................................................................................................20 Hunting the cautious river bream Ramblings and Reminiscences of a salty bugger - Graeme Neary ......................................................................26 A lifetime of memories No run of the Mill - Andrew Allman ...........................................................................................................................33 Dullstroom without Trout Stalking Trout in Small Streams - Marcel Terblanche ...............................................................................................39 The joys of fishing light for small beauties Stepping Up To The Water - Brett van Rensberg .......................................................................................................47 Getting the basics right Profile : Daniel Factor - Andrew Savs .........................................................................................................................52 Find out what makes him tick Summer Salmon in River Skjern - Terkel Broe Christensen .......................................................................................56 It's not for the the faint hearted Heritage Flies : Part 1 - Peter Brigg ..............................................................................................................................68 Historical series on South African Flies - the Mooi Moth. The Mooi Moth - Tod Collins ........................................................................................................................................72 Next time you fish an evening rise try this Club Profile - Andrew Church .....................................................................................................................................76 Barkley East Angling Club Women in Waders - Louise Steenkamp .....................................................................................................................79 A peculiar obsession Van Der Kloof Dam Fisheries project- Qurban Rohani .............................................................................................81 So what's really happening at Van Der Kloof Dam Wonderful Woods - Arno Crous ..................................................................................................................................84 Fishing down under In praise of Snowbee - Ian Cox ..................................................................................................................................91 Good kit at the right price Book Review - Ian Cox ................................................................................................................................................95 The Art of Being an Awful Angler by Tod Collins FOSAF - Ilan Lax ...........................................................................................................................................................97 An update of news and developments from the Chairman of FOSAF

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 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!

Photo: Graeme Neary

SOUTHERN AFRICAN FLYFISHING: • Available free of charge online at; • 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 EDITORS: Ian Cox (082 574 3722) Andrew Mather (083 309 0233) Andrew Savides (081 046 9107) CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE: Andrew Allman, Bruce Black, Peter Brigg, Terkel Broe Christensen, Andrew Church, Tod Collins, Ian Cox, Arno Crous, Kevin Goncalves, Linda Gorlei, Ilan Lax, Mac Muller, Graeme Neary, Qurban Rohani, Andrew Savs, Louise Steenkamp, Marcel Terblanche and Brett van Rensburg. Cover Bruce Black. 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. 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.

EDITORIAL Andrew Allman’s article in this issue, “No run of the Mill” refers to the importance of doing the right thing in the context of a fishing destination that has constantly done the right thing both in managing the Millstream resort and in contributing to the FOSAF and the trout value chain. His call for a common-sense approach in doing the right thing, both in matters environmental and in the broader scope of building South Africa’s future, resonated with me as did his enjoyment of the superb fishery that is Millstream. It is an approach that is echoed in Tod Collins’ ‘sense of the moment’, articulated in his must-read new book “The art of being an awful angler” that is reviewed later in this edition. We at Southern African Flyfishing were recently confronted with the sharp end of doing the right thing. You see advertising revenue has been slow in coming. This does not just affect us. It is a worldwide phenomenon. Retailers around the world are increasingly cutting out the marketing middlemen they perceive magazines to be, in the belief that they can use electronic media to effectively communicate directly with their customers. So, we were faced with the choice; do we call it quits or do we find a way to keep the magazine going in a way that does not constitute a constant drain on the editors’ personal incomes? Common sense dictates that one shuts the magazine down but the right thing to do is something else entirely. There are a lot of people who want to write for magazines such as Southern African Flyfishing. We have readers that enjoy reading what they write. It is very good stuff. We also enjoy producing the magazine. There are also a small but hopefully increasing group of advertisers that see benefit in using the magazine to reach the demographic we converse with. So, we have decided to press on. Our limited revenue stream requires that we part ways with Angler Publications. They have done a superb job in the presentation of the first three editions. we thank them for the sterling work they have done. This edition is our first attempt at going it alone. We are pleased with the result though there is room for improvement. We hope you like it as well. It is not all doom and gloom on the advertising front. The number of advertisers is growing as more advertisers outside the tackle industry recognize the unique reach of the magazine. So, if you like the magazine and the role it plays in promoting and informing members of the flyfishing community, pay heed to our advertisers and support them if you can. It is the right thing to do.


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Keep It Tidy

Telling Stories

by Savs My personal mission, not all that long ago, was to be the guy with the worst tackle who caught the best fish. I made it halfway too; my gear was atrocious. It was slapped-together junk of indeterminate age that, even in its heyday, would have been considered of significantly more utility in hand-tohand combat than on a trout stream. This period found me cultivating myself in the self-imagined mould of a Discerning Country Gentleman (a DCG). I bought books on birds and spent as much time squinting up at the skies as I did looking down at the river. I carried a neat zinger with a compass built into it in order to note the direction of the river relative to the passing of the sun so that, someday, I could say something brilliant about azimuths and valley orientations and how all this ensured that the straps of my creel frequently cut deeply into my shoulder. I pinned classic patterns into the sheepskin band of my equally classic hat and I faithfully memorised their burlesque recipes. In my truck resided a hermetically sealed folder of topographical maps and I would record onto them with red asterisks anywhere where a contour line on a water course looked vaguely different from those around it. I wore through the knees of a pair of heavy khaki trousers as I turned over rocks on the stream bed to look at the bugs that sheltered under them and I would save an ecologically sustainable sample of each of them in small glass vials so that I could on my return home identify them. My pocket reference guide to common trees would be extracted under a comfortable bower as I took my midday tea and I would reference the illustrations in the book to the shape of the foliage above me and the pattern of the bark against which I reclined. I was working hard to cultivate an aesthetic and, despite some paltry wins, I was entirely pitiful at it. To this day I can’t tell a tit from a toucan. The maps went with the truck when I sold it and it never crossed my mind to ask for them back.


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The compass fell off the zinger and the zinger itself came loose, taking with it a blunt pair of nail clippers. All that I found under the rocks were things that looked for all the world like pheasant tail nymphs, only smaller, and with not a single one of them looking anything like a thunder and lightning. The vials surfaced recently in a spring clean, their contents a goulash of noxious bacteria. All I know about trees is that if it’s got acorns on it then it’s an oak and if it has a few flies in it then it’s probably an ouhoudt. It was hopeless. I’m just not wired that way. The only thing that remains of this period is my inexplicable affinity for wide-brimmed Englishmade hats. But my real problem, you see, with being a DCG is that catching fish isn’t the object of the aesthetic. Everything around me was designed to fill in the time between not catching a fish and not catching another one. If you think that consistently catching fish can get boring you need to experience the exhilaration of repeatedly not catching them, but it’s an act that I wore as a badge of pride. Call me boorish, tell me that I worship at a false alter, but I love more than anything else in this word the actual physical act of catching a trout on a fly. It consumes me. It keeps me awake through quiet nights. If it continues to run this course I fear that one day, through sheer distraction, it will cost me my job and my family. This doesn’t mean that I simply want to stand at the water’s edge predictably reeling in one predictable fish after the other. I am satisfied to catch only a single fish when they’re being particularly difficult, a mess of easy fish and I’ll trade the coordinates to Zippermouth Creek to have a slight outside chance of maybe having the experience of being taken apart by a hog of nasty temperament and disturbingly psychopathic demeanour. I do however have a Rubicon that I haven’t as yet crossed. The vestigial remnants of what was once an ostensibly noble DCG aesthetic dictates that I still cast a fly line in the traditional way. My friends who fish competitively have all embraced the “leave no fish uncaught” tight-line style of nymphing. This technique is

as amazingly effective as it is monotonous and it is no small wonder that it has gained in popularity. I’ve spent hours explaining to these competitors the delight of a graceful loop and a perfect presentation, but they just stare back at me without even blinking. Competition anglers are so damned serious. So laser-focused. So single-minded. Uncompromising. Artless. Un-poetic. They do not know the names of the best pools and have read not one of the good books. When they speak, a set of red crosshairs becomes visible in my heads-up display and a voice in my mind squawks "target acquired”. I’m not competitive. I don’t really care that you caught more than me - I rarely remember exactly how many I did catch. When I was told that the international scoring system can have someone with 11’000 points beating someone with 14’000 points I rolled my eyes and muttered off to the bar. The thing is though, that they’re right and I’m wrong. Or I’m right and they’re wrong. Or (for any excuse to misquote Bob Dylan) “they’re right from their side and I’m right from mine”. It doesn't matter. It doesn’t matter in the same way that it doesn’t matter that the unusual contours on my maps never amounted to anything but an occasional nice walk. It. Just. Doesn’t. Matter. We are a bunch of ordinary people sharing a common passion but expressing it differently. In a half an hour on a riverbank just last Saturday afternoon I learned a new respect for the Sensei. When I rather wryly called him “exacting” as to his choice of gear he simply smiled. He took no offence because he understood the real truth and value of my flippant statement and the nature of the idiot behind it. The lesson has taken a full week to finally permeate my thick skull. Ultimately, our differences are just a statement of personal style. Of preference. The remains of a hazy underlying aesthetic handed down over generations like the family silverware and which, like that baroque candlestick, are largely useless. Even when we feel compelled to comment on someone else’s aesthetic lets not be mean about it. As in most things, there is an inherent virtue in keeping it tidy. 7

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World Masters Fly Fishing Championship, Dullstroom A report from Linda Gorlei

A few issues back in this publication , Cheryl Heyns, President of the South African Fly Fishing Association (SAFFA) at the time, announced the exciting news that SA would be hosting the 5th Fips-Mouche World Masters Fly Fishing Championship in Dullstroom. This first for South Africa and Africa was extra special because the event was also included as part of the World Angling Games. So it was in early February, that a good number of the world’s best competitive flyfishers in the 50’s plus age group, gathered in Dullstroom to compete in the Fips-Mouche World Masters Fly Fishing Championship. This is a relatively new category in the world flyfishing calendar, however, the fairly small number of teams entered, (seven in all from countries such as Australia, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the USA, and of course South Africa) underrepresented the skill levels which were outstanding. With the draw overseen by Fips representative Stefan Allacker, Competitors were drawn into one of four fishing groups. Each group only fished four sessions as opposed to the usual five.

These sessions took place at the Dullstroom Town Dam, the Lochs, Nooitgedacht Trout Lodge Dam and Rivendell on the Spekboom river. A colourful parade through the town kicked off the event. A pipe band led the parade which helped spectators and competitors get into the groove of what was an amazing few days of competition, fishing fellowship and fun. The ceremonial procession was followed by the business of the captains’ meeting and draw. The draw is very important as it is only then that anglers learn who they will be fishing against This is when the competition starts in earnest. A team’s overall placing points determine its position on the competition scoreboard. However, teams only compete one on one with other teams fishing in the same group. Sessions last three hours and fish are scored by length as well as points per fish. Anglers fish two sessions a day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. o, the first step in doing well overall is to ensure that your team does well in each session. It’s a case of do your best and help each other – work as a 8

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team to minimize placing points in each group. So how was the fishing? Day one produced some great scores on the Spekboom river, especially in session one where Jeff Currier (USA) caught 29 fish followed by 18 from the Spaniard, Javier Alvarez. Nooitgedacht Dam, which was fished using drift boats, also produced a top score of 18 fish. However, Dullstroom Town Dam and The Lochs proved to be a bit more challenging. Richard Gorlei (SA Men and the eventual individual winner) and Beth Grobbelaar (SA Ladies) both got off to a good start winning their sectors with 5 fish each. As is usually the case in these events, the fish count drop as the sessions progress. Conditions change and fishing pressure becomes a factor. The end of day one, saw four teams closely competing for top spot, namely the USA, Spain, Italy and the SA Men’s team. Session three got underway after a rest day with some rather gnarly weather conditions adversely affecting some sectors. Heavy overnight rain caused the Spekboom

river t o r i s e and become slightly discolored by the last afternoon session. However, this is sort of change is normal in competition flyfishing. T a c t i c s , s o m e o f w h i c h w e r e h i g h l y innovative, were adapted to meet the changing conditions. Competitive fly anglers live by the adage; “it’s not over till the fat lady sings”. Our fat lady is a hooter and depending how the fishing goes, her honk may be music to your ears or spell doom to your hopes and ambitions. If a venue like Dullstroom Town Dam did not produce on the day, a single fish in the last minutes could turn a low score into a high position, as was the case for Australian angler Jason Garrat. Cold, wet and windy conditions with mist and poor visibility resulted in many blanks being recorded for the day. This is not to say that the Dullstroom Town Dam was a bad venue and despite low overall numbers it, nonetheless produced the biggest fish of the tournament, 72cm a bus caught by Javier Alvarez during session 3. Followers of Trout Talk and other social platforms will know that South Africa’s Richard Gorlei took individual top honours. However, 10

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he would be the first to tell you the focus is on the team in competition fly fishing. Thus, it was with real jubilation that the Spaniards graciously acknowledged their title as world champions. This was a well-deserved win by a team that includes some former individual world champions in its ranks. The Americans, took silver, and Italy Bronze in the team championship. The SA Men’s team was placed 4th overall and the SA ladies team achieved a 7th overall position. The strength of completive women’s flyfishing

in South Africa is underscored by this result with Beth Grobbelaar’s phenomenal 5th overall position in the individual rankings. SAFFA was praised by the Fips-Mouche representatives for their organization of what was the first world ranked fly fishing event to be held in Africa. Please visit for all the results and the SAFFA facebook page for more incredible pictures that capture the spirit of this World Masters Competition.


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On Global Warming by Ian Cox The special “summary for policy makers re p o r t t h a t wa s p u b l i s h e d b y t h e Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”) in October 2018 (the “2018 SPM”) is notable for two things. Firstly, it sets out the conservative consensus scientific view of what the world must do if we are to limit the average increase in global temperatures since pre-industrial times to between 1.5°C. and 2°C. Secondly, the States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait refused to welcome this report at the 24th conference of the parties (“COP”) that took place in Poland in December 2018. Consequently, the 2018 SPM report was only noted at COP 24. This means that the report cannot be adopted in terms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or t h e UNFCCC. Thus it has no official stautus other than being a report of the IPCC. This is significant because the UNFCCC convenes these meetings to enable , leaders from member countries to agree on what they must do to ensure that average global temperatures do not exceed the target set out in Paris Agreement. This allows an average increase of preferably less than 1.5°C but no more than 2°C. Blocking a report that says what must b e d o n e t o


achieve this suggests that key member countries are not y e t committed to dealing effectively with global warming. It looks like politicians are more concerned about the optics than the issue. People in the climate change industry have tried to counter this impression b y pointing out that only four countries refused to welcome the report. They suggest that the adoption of emission rules for reducing emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) is an important step forward. But the detail paints a different story. Countries that have committed to reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have done so on condition that the global rules for i m p l e m e n t ing and policing r e d u c t i o n s i n anthro pogenic greenhouse gas emissions are transparent and equitable Equitable rules must recognise that those few countries that are responsible for most of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions should also pay for the clean-up. This is the ostensible purpose of the fund. It is meant to ensure that the financial burden of reducing global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are spread equitably between the major source of these emissions and other countries. Return to contents

But the fund which aims to raise 100 billion USD is pitifully small. Germany recently committed 45 billion USD to redress the inequitable consequences of its own internal reduction strategy aimed at closing its coal fired power stations. But this fund has been criticised for being to small. The truth is that 100 billion USD is a pittance!It is thus very easy for member states t o a v o i d t h e i r c o m m i t m e n t t o r e d u c e anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions on the basis that the g l o b a l scheme is underfunded and thus inherently unfair. But, it is not just the lack of funds that is a problem. The rules also make it easy for contributors to delay and even avoid making payment. A big part of the problem is that there is a strong inverse correlation between those countries r e s p o n s i b l e f o r m o s t o f t h e w o r l d ’ s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and those countries likely to be worst affected by global warming. Paradoxically, the major emitters of anthropogenic greenhouse gases are often the least affected its adverse affects. Africa yet again draws the short straw. It has contributed comparatively very little to global greenhouse gas emissions yet it and Southern Africa in particular, is being hardest hit by its adverse consequences. It is thus very easy, even attractive, for wealthy countries to disown the problem on the basis that they will be able to manage the adverse impacts of global warming better than other countries. Trump's reference to "shithole countries" takes on a special relevance when viewed in this context. Current events seem to support the sense on gets that the real response to global warming will be a case of the survival of the fittest. The USA, for example, has in addition to watering down the rules policing contributions to the fund, has also resolved to repudiate the Paris Agreement as soon as this is legally possible. This means that come 2020,

one of the world's largest emitters of anthropogenic greenhouse gases will no longer be part of the global effort aimed at reducing these emissions. This is only the tip of the iceberg, UNFCCC member states are not in fact reducing their emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases. These emissions are still increasing. According to the estimates of the Global Carbon Project emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases increased by 2.7% last year. Worse still, the major emitters, who account for 70% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, are still responsible for most of this increase. China’s emissions are estimated to have increased by 4.7% in 2018, India by 6.7% and the US by 2.5%. Only Europe managed to keep its emissions static. In fact it seems that Europe is the only major emitter that is seriously committed to reducing its anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions But Europe started moving away from carbon-based energy generation several decades ago. Consequently, its emissions are already small relative to the size of its economy and population. Europe's reductions in its anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions w i l l not be enough n o t t o significantly affect the current or future rise in average global temperatures. This unfortunate reality begs two questions. Firstly, is this fair? Secondly, one may well ask; what is the point of a country whose contribution to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is relatively small trying to reduce its emissions if the big four emitters are not leading by example? Could efforts to reduce the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions of a country such as South actually leave it worse off than it would be if it concentrated its efforts on building its economy and the social. political and economic conditions necessary to successfully adapt to a changing climate? 14

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temperatures will reach 1.5째C by 2055 if nothing is done to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. This increase is likely to reach 3째C on average by the end of the century if these emissions continue to increase. The shocking news in the report was that we will only be able to halt the increase in average global temperatures at 1.5째C of if we start reducing emissions immediately and are able to reduce these emissions to zero by 2040.

After all, The reality is that no significant produces of anthropogenic greehouse gases outside Europe seem to have any appetite or indeed even the ability to reverse or even significantly reduce (mitigate) their own emissions. This is despite the fact that carrying on as usual is not wise. The 2018 SPC reaffirmed its finding that planet has already warmed by about 1째C on average since preindustrial times. It has expressed very high confidence that the rate of warming is accelerating and that average global


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that far exceeds his approval ratings. I suspect that this is why he has been able to role back of environmental legislation that was decades in the making with very little public opposition. I also suggest that it is why the only the hard left of Democratic Party are pushing hard for global warming as to be central to its political agenda. It is may also explain the rising tide of nationalism around the world and why politicians are, in the main, talking more about global warming than taking immediate action to deal with it. Thus, South Africa's plan to increase coal production and to build more coal fired power stations is probably a truer reflection of the real sate of affairs than all the rhetoric from government one hears or reads about in the media. However, I think It would be wrong to just blame government or politicians. They are after all a reflection of the mores and belief of societies they represent. Global warming needs to be seen as part of the larger process of change that is placing the global social order and balance of power under i n c r e a s i n g stress.

This means that most commitments to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions will be insufficient to ensure that average global temperatures are limited to 1.5°C. it is likely that current under-takings, will result in average global temperature increases exceeding 1.5°C by 2055 and 2°C by the end of the century, even on a best-case scenario. This means that irreversible climate change is inevitable even if countries honour their present commitments to reduce emissions. But even this seems unlikely given what is happening on the ground. Scientists no doubt hoped that the 2018 SPC would encourage the public and politicians to more concerted action . However, it seems that he opposite is proving to be the case. The truth is that it is very hard to persuade people to change, especially when this is contrary to their short-term interests. Sacrifices “for the greater good” are only palatable when someone else is doing the sacrificing. success is often only understood in relative terms. Thus being the least worse off can sometimes be seen as being preferable to fixing the underlying problem. In these circumstances it may be more politic to pretend that what is happening is not real, to mind your own back yard and profit from any relative advantage one may enjoy while defending yourself against those who are less fortunate. President Trump’s disbelief that global warming is real is an obvious example of this appraoch playing out in real life. Likewise the idea that building a border wall will be an effective bulwark against upheavals golobal warming and other problems is causing in other countries. It sounds terrible but the truth is that this approach enjoys popular support in the USA .

A big part of that is the a growing anger at the increasingly inequitable global and personal distribution of wealth and opportunity. Just as poorer counties don't want to pay for the mess caused by wealthy ones, so it is that people are becoming increasingly angry about being required to pay for the costs of economic growth that has unfairly benefited a very small group of people. It is a shocking fact that the combined wealth of the world’s richest 26 people now exceeds the combined wealth of half the world’s p o p u l a t i o n . It is no small wonder that this bottom 50% or what economist Professor Guy Standing calls the "precariat" has become increasingly distrustful of government. 16

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Efforts to deal with global warming are not immune to this anger, even in Europe. The recent protests against French president Macron’s proposed carbon tax on fuel gives one a sense of this underlying anger and the belief that measures intended to mitigate anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are inherently unfair. Increasing distrust in government makes it increasingly difficult for democratic governments to provide the leadership that is necessary. Leaders are increasing bound by the dictates of public opinion, no matter how misinformed this may be. T h e r e s u l t i s t h a t i t would be probably be political suicide for any leader to embrace the findings of the IPCC contained in the 2018 SPC. Imagine, for example, what would happen if South Africa reduced its net anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2055. This would entail halting all coal mining and fossil fuel exploration as well as closing all coal fired power stations over that period. Furthermore we would need to shift the bulk of the county’s transport infrastructure to electric power over the same period . Scientists may correctly advise that this is what we must do, but the reality is it cannot be done. Our already fragile economy would collapse overnight. Famine and anarchy would quickly follow. Many people would die. The fact is that we are hugely reliant on coal and oil and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The cure in this case is perceived to be far worse than the disease. This is no doubt why our commitment to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions provide for an increase in these emissions over the next 25 or so years. It is only then that emissions will stabilise and thereafter begin to reduce.


We are not alone in setting modest reduction targets which is doubtless o n e o f t h e r e a s o n s why g l o b a l anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are increasing. It is surprising then, given this reality, that government policy continues to focus on reduction is at best a long term strategy. TI suggest that South Africa would be far better served in the short to medium term if government focused its attention and resources in enabling South Africans to predict the consequences of global warming in Southern Africa and in taking steps to best adapt to the resultant change in climate. After all, these changes are, already happening and will become increasingly significant. The importance of making adaptation our number one priority is dealing with global warming is underscored by the awful fact that southern Africa falls w i t h i n a so called climat e chang e hots p o t . Temperatures in Southern Africa have already increased at double the global average and are projected to increase a further 1.5 times the global average by the end of the century. This means that average increases of around 2°C have already happened. Average increases of 3°C are likely by 2055 and between 5°C and 6°C by the end of the century. This constitutes a clear and present danger to the health and wellbeing of present and future generations of people living in Southern Africa. This is not mere speculation. We can already see the effect of global warming induced climate change in the shift in weather fronts southwards and the consequent drying up of the western and central parts of the country. This is already impacting on agriculture especially in the fruit growing areas of the Western Cape and in the western part of the maize belt.

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The Climate Change Bill that was published for comment in 2108 is much worse. Disingenuously described as framework law it in fact uses the threat of global warming transfer legislative power to the executive in contravention of the doctrine of separation of powers. If this this Bill becomes law it will increase government’s control over t h e access to and use of n a t u r a l resources and the economy. South Africans will lose their political voice as the legislature will be left powerless. Democratic participatory government will be replaced w i t h a p o w e r f u l e x e c utive answerable only to itself. This is a system that encourages corruption as well as stupid and oppressive government. The low to no mitigation trajectory that government has adopted means that we w i l l f a c e r a p i d environmental change. This process of rapid change is going to be painful and not just in South Africa. We are likely to see mass migrations of people along with an increase in armed conflict and human suffering. Famine will once again become a serious problem. Bad policy and law making will make this much worse. It will significantly add to what will already be high levels of instability in the Southern African region. Good policy and laws that address real issues and make the lives of South African better will have the opposite effect. Sadly there is no indication at this time that the South African government has any appetite for good law making. This sort of disaster is not new. South Africa experienced this sort of upheaval during the Mfecane that took place some two hundred years ago. It ravaged the country, decimating its population and opened the door to the settler and colonial expansions that created the country we know today. he impacts of global warming on South Africa are going to

Trout anglers will have noted these impacts on the nation’s trout waters. These are already smaller than they were. Moreover the anecdotal experience of flyfishers suggests that a significant portion of our present trout waters are becoming increasingly marginal. The detailed research still needs to be done but an increase in temperature of another 1°C or so by 2050 will probably wipe out large parts of our existing trout waters, especially in the Western Cape. The fishery will a l m o s t c e r t a i n l y be wiped out by the end of the c e n t u r y i f t e m p e r a t u r e s i n c r e a s e a s predicted. The South African Government is aware of this threat South Africa faces. Indeed, its chief negotiator said as much in an TV interview with the SABC in December last year. However, our actions do not presently match our assessment of the risk. South Africa response to global warming is heavily reliant on significant international financial aid as well as the world adopting an effective mitigation strategy. South Africa’s negotiating team pushed hard on both issues at COP24. But as I have already pointed out they came away with little or none of the international commitments this strategy needs in order to succeed. Strangely South Africa continues to pursue a m i t i g a t i o n b a s e d global warming strategy. A Carbon Tax Bill is presently before Parliament and is being pushed by government despite the fact it will have very little if any impact, reducing temperatures globally or in this country. It is, however, likely to cause our inflation rate to increase by at least 2%. To make matters worse, it is likely that ESKOM will be exempt from this tax despite being by far the largest emitter of greenhouse gases It follows that once again adverse consequences will be felt most by the poor, the middle class and private enterprise This is likely to severely retard economic growth and development.


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It is more likely that, just as government frustrated attempts to increase clean energy generation in South Africa, so it will also frustrate attempts to adapt to the consequences global warming. The current trajectory of government policy and law suggest that narrow ideolmaking ogical concerns and the need to exercise control are more important to government than enabling South Africans to adapt to the consequences of global warming. But, as I have already indicated, it need not be this way. South Africa has the knowledge and the resources to overcome this challenge. The question is whether we have the will to take up that challenge or are we going to continue to be a nation where the country’s future is sacrificed in pursuit of corrupt ideologies and individual wealth? I leave that question for the reader to decide.

be much more severe that the climatic events that triggered the Mfecane. However, our future need not be as dire. A great deal of research has been done in South Africa about what the country will look like look like climatically in 10, 30 or 100 years from now. We also have detailed research on the likely impacts of these changes on agriculture and in varying degrees on South Africa’s nine ecological regions. Research is also been done on crops which we can grow under these conditions. So, we are not moving into the future completely blind. We have the basic material to develop effective adaptation strategies. The Department of Environmental Affairs ( “ D E A ” ) h a s e v e n p u b l i s h e d a d r a f t adaptation strategy for comment. Unfortunately, this strategy is largely aspirational. There is no indication that government is going to create the conditions necessary to make implementation is possible.


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In Pursuit of Perch Hunting the cautious River Bream. by Bruce Black


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There are few things in fly fishing as enjoyable as targeting perch on light fly tackle amidst the spectacular scenery of an eastern seaboard estuary. While they are often overlooked by fly fishers after kingfish or other game species, perch are grand fly rod targets in their own right. They attain a respectable size, are relatively plentiful, and although they may occasionally slap a fly aggressively they can also display a level of caution that leaves a paranoid spotted grunter on a shallow sand bank looking suicidal and makes the consistent capture of big specimens a real challenge. Technically known as River Bream the fish was called perch by colonial types who felt it resembled their European freshwater perch. Other common names include porridge bream because mielie pap is supposed to be good bait for them and Slim Jannie because they are very good at removing said porridge from the hook without the angler realizing that he is getting a bite. Perch are common in estuaries from East London northwards with the scenic estuaries of the Wild Coast, Zululand and Maputaland supporting large populations. The not so scenic big harbours of the east coast – Durban and Richards Bay – also hold good numbers of perch especially in their

upper reaches. Estuarine species are built tough so that they can withstand rapid and extreme fluctuations in salinity and turbidity. While less degraded estuaries offer a better habitat and happier fish substantial populations can still be found in even the most damaged estuaries of the East Coast. Even close to the big cities it’s a fair bet that rivers long ago written off as dead still hold a few perch for those brave enough to risk their health fishing for them. Perch don’t attain a great size, the S.A angling record is 3.2 kilos. Anglers using bait and plastics take big fish fairly regularly but most fly caught fish are on the small side with anything over a kilo being regarded as a good fish. Despite their relatively small size they are strong fighters with even juvenile fish putting up a good tussle. While they feed throughout the year they do appear to be more active in the warmer months. From a fly fishing perspective the best time to target them in the estuary is spring or autumn when the water is fairly warm but not usually too dirty from rainfall. Warm, settled weather produces the best results with sudden cold snaps causing the shallow waters of the estuary to cool rapidly and put the fish off the feed.


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Perch enjoy a varied diet - there are few small estuarine life forms that they won’t eat. The normal diet consists of small fish like glassies and crustaceans such as crabs, mud prawns and swimming prawns. The small black crabs found on the banks of the warmer estuaries are particularly favoured and perch will often come into shallow water to feed on them. In addition to these run-of-the-mill food types perch will also eat grain, fruits and insects, with falls of flying ants in spring triggering hectic feeding activity in the upper reaches of some estuaries. In the marinas of the big East Coast harbours perch have become accustomed to a diet of plate scrapings thrown overboard by yachtsmen and I know of a couple of big specimens that lurk under the keels of moored yachts waiting for handouts. Targeting these tame fish probably wouldn’t go down well

with the yachties so they are best left alone. A four or five weight outfit matched with an intermediate line is ideal for perch unless you intend to cast a popper or surface pattern in which case a floating line is required. Most of the estuarine situations where the species is targeted are shallow, so sinking lines are unnecessary and in fact are often counter productive as they drag the fly through the bottom sediment and create a disturbance that terrifies everything with fins except gurnards who quite like it. Rod length leaders and fairly light tippets give the best results. Perch will tackle most small fly patterns with Clouser’s, flippers, poppers, zonkers and Charlie style patterns all being successful. It’s nice to have lots and lots of salt water patterns and to gaze intelligently into your fly box while the missus admires you from the bank and possibly takes a photo but in truth all you need is a few Salty


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This perch fell for a salty bugger


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hanging around close to it. Perch are particularly partial to these small fish and will often take up permanent residence in the immediate vicinity so that they can pop in and grab an unhappy meal whenever peckish. Productive structure includes bridge supports, reed beds, rocky areas, the bases of wharves and jetties, submerged timber, mangrove roots and, probably best of all, the overhanging semi submerged branches of the lagoon hibiscus. During low light conditions and in the lower reaches of the estuary perch are less structure dependent and will feed actively in the fresh sea water pushing into the system at the mouth and over the sandbanks on the rising tide. Big perch are particularly active at night when they forage in the shallows for baitfish and crustaceans. Perch can be targeted from the bank but a watercraft confers huge advantages as most of our estuaries offer very limited bankside access. Boats are essential when

Buggers in sizes 8 and 6. This is a simply deadly pattern for estuarine work. Carry some with bead heads for deeper water and a more exaggerated diving motion and some unweighted to work slowly in shallow water. Olive is a particularly deadly colour for perch but chartreuse, white and pink are also effective. During falls of flying ants in spring and early summer perch grab downed insects off the surface and at times like this they can be taken on small deer hair poppers or an unweighted Salty Bugger treated with floatant and given the odd twitch to suggest a struggling flying ant coming to a soggy end. Accurate casting to structure is essential when targeting big perch during the day in the upper reaches of the estuary. Structure provides shelter for small baitfish like glassies. Look at any piece of submerged timber or structure in the estuary and you are almost guaranteed to see a worried looking shoal of glassies


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fishing the big harbours and estuaries. When fishing from a boat a small electric sneaker motor is a great help in maneuvering in and out of fishy locations quietly. Kickboats are ideal in blind rivers and small estuaries where there are no toothy nasties. An angler in a kickboat can sneak right into structure and drop the fly close to lurking fish without spooking them. A stealthy approach is essential with noise being kept to a minimum. While small perch may tolerate a noisy approach big fish are extremely cautious and will fade quietly into the green at the first sign of something untoward happening in their patch – this is probably the reason that they got to be big fish. Perch are one of the few species that will make an effort to bite you when you are removing the hook. Although they look inoffensively breamish they come equipped with serious dentition. Sharp canines in the front of the jaw and heavy molars in the back are designed to make short work of hard shelled crabs and can inflict a painful bite on fingers trying to release a hook. The sensation is rather like closing a finger in a car door studded with nails so keep

digits clear when releasing perch. In addition to unfriendly teeth, the species also has a fierce array of spines that they keep erect while being handled. Dropping an unhappy perch onto an inflated kick or pontoon boat can lead to deflation and hysteria. The prospect of a punctured kick boat is not too terrifying when you are on a small stillwater and can get out and walk home but it is quite another story when you are three kilometers up a Wild Coast river and can’t get out at all, so caution is advisable. Estuaries are home to a great variety of species. The fact that one never knows what will grab the fly next is what makes them such fascinating places to fly fish. Other species that one could hope to encounter when targeting perch include a variety of kingfish species, sea pike, cock and spotted grunter, river snapper and Malabar rockcod. Perch probably don’t feature too prominently on the salty fly rodders bucket list but while they may lack the speed and glamour of species such as kingfish, a good perch on fly is no mean achievement and targeting them can add both variety and enjoyment to a day on the estuary.

A good looking Perch


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Once upon a time or a long, long time ago always sounds like a good place to start a story. This however started just less than sixty years ago (Long time ago I hear you say). My salt water fishing started in East London where I grew up. My dad has never been a fisherman but would happily take me down to the beach regularly to pursue my interest. Some areas close to town and others a little way out. Gonubie, Yellow Sands, Glen Eden, Queensberry Bay and Nahoon to name but a few. What makes these venues special is that they are all on tidal river mouths, and have some fantastic gulleys and ledges in the area. This fishing was mainly rock and surf type and techniques were picked up from experienced fisherman over some time. In 1980 at the age 25, Wendy and I decided to relocate to Durban for better employment prospects and hopefully a good future. Due to work commitments and small children, fishing was not a too common occurrence but still enjoyable when it happened. In 1986 I met my friend Pete who was at that time a competitive angler and fishing with him really upped my game. It was through spending time with Pete and some of his team mates that learning to read water became easier and I got to know some really good spots. Without a basic knowledge of this you will be dead in the water (pun intended). Early in 1990, Pete told me that he had seen some guys fly fishing in the Durban Harbour. My reaction was that it must have been an hallucination, as surely you don`t fly

fish in salt water! A trip down town to the then Kings Sports and a long chat with the late Jack Blackman, we both came away with a fly fishing kit. This came in the form of a Kingfisher Malachite 9 weight with an Okuma reel and a Cortland 222 line. The rod and reel are still in the garage today. Talk about the blind leading the blind. Ignorance by the bucket load and lots of laughter and teasing. In amongst all this we signed up for a fly fishing clinic with Uncle Jack. This took place over a weekend where he put us through theory as well as casting tuition, really very valuable. We ended up spending many hours fishing some great spots up and down the coast and of course, the Durban harbour and in the company of some already accomplished fly fishermen. These guys are still around today and still enjoying wielding the long rod in the salt. Alan O`Connor, Mike Wentzel, Hoosen Bobbat and Richard Schumann. My first salt water fish on fly came at the Mzamba River mouth just below the Wild Coast Casino. The fly used was a Beady Eye and the fish, one of the bigger Large Spot Pompanos. It was only 35cm long but left me wobbly kneed for a while. These are the days we tend to remember for ages. In 1992 I became a member of Durban Fly Tyers and the above mentioned guys were already there. Invaluable lessons learned at this club as we used to spend a lot of hours fishing and testing the flies we had tied. This club exists to this day and I am still a member and still enjoying it.


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Around this time I went on my first trip to Cape Vidal with DFT. Oh boy, the start of a love affair that has carried on to this day. This place is just so special that I have tried to get there twice a year and sometimes more often, but unfortunately not in the last while though. We have enjoyed some fantastic trips here and caught many species of fish. One particular weekend comes to mind when six of us landed over 400 fish. The fish landed here are mostly small to medium size. Most commonly caught are Shad, Large spot pompano, Cape moonies, Threadfin mullet, Stonebream and Blacktail. In our earlier days up there, we used to catch a lot of Kingfish but unfortunately not so over the last ten years or so. No one seems to have an explanation for this. In the early days there were a good number of us that would drive to Vidal for the day on a Saturday and due to the fishing being so good we would drive back up on Sunday again! Fortunately logic does prevail and we started spending three day weekends there. It was during 1998 that I stopped the ski boating and rock and surf angling in favour of fly fishing only. This has always been

predominantly salt water, but I do enjoy a bit of fresh water fly as well. During the nineties my work took me to Richards Bay for 2 to 3 days a month. It was during this time I got to know the guys from the Oxeye Fly Fishing Club very well and ended up doing Durban Fly Tyers weekends there hosted by them. It was during this time that I spent a lot of time fishing and finding my way around this harbour. I think one could spend a week fishing this bay and not fish the same spot twice. Groynes, flats, drop offs, piers and channels. It`s all there and fish in abundance too. I am still good friends with some of the guys there and still get to fish here regularly. One very nice thing is that on our overnight stays here we get to live on board a friends catamaran on the water in the yacht mole. The North Coast area including Balito, Westbrook, Mdhloti, Tinley Manor, Salt Rock and Sheffield beach are also spots that have been worth visiting over the years. These areas have always produced some really good size Rainbow and Ladder Wrasse, that really give a good account of themselves. 29

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Vidal - on a calm day!


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While talking of areas and spots, one cannot leave out Durban Harbour. Without contradiction I think all of us salties started out fishing in the ``BAY``. The bay, now compared to those days, is a very unfortunate mess. The litter and pollution levels are so high that it is quite unpleasant at times. Many species have been caught here on fly. Springer, Torpedo scad, Pick handle Barracuda, many species of Kingfish and never discount the ``Durban Bay Bonefish``. This is the nick name given to Sand Gurnards or correct name Bar Tailed Flathead. With a face only a mother could love, this fish gives a really good fight and they get up to a good size too. If they come to the party, in a session you can easily land a fair number of these fish between 15 and 40 cms. If it is a quick hour out the house you want, then Casino Beach or the Snake Park beach is a good bet. Due to there being no structure here you are mainly going to catch Large Spot Pompano (Wave Garrick), Cape Moonies and Thorn Fish. No big fish but on the day, they can be plentiful. If you wander off down the South coast, two good spots are Illovo and Carridene with Carridene being the better. Unfortunately this

is no longer a very safe spot to fish due to vagrants living in the dunes in the area posing an ever present threat to safety. A bit further down the road is Scottburgh, Park Rynnie and Rocky Bay. These stretches offer some really good rocky areas interspersed with sandy beach areas which create some good channels and holes as the tide runs out. Over the rocky places you are liable to encounter the same species as on the North coast and always in plentiful supply are Yellow tail or Black tip kingies and Big eye kingies. These fish will always let you know who is boss and fight you till they are on the beach. Unfortunately nowadays access is limited to a lot of the good spots both North and South due to development having gone ahead in leaps and bounds along the coast, and in many instances residents not wanting people parking in their neighbourhood because of inconsiderate folk and safety and security issues. A little further down the road we get to Uvongo and the Orange Rocks area. These are the home waters of the gents from South Coast Fly Anglers and I am certain they would be very pleased to host any one who would like to fish this area .


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I have also fly fished the East London, Port Elizabeth, Sedgefield and Wilderness areas with varying levels of success and the Cape Town area with very little success at all. I do think the lack of success is probably due to very little time spent in the region. Over this time this hobby/pastime has brought me into contact with some truly interesting people and I have had the honour

and pleasure of fishing with and learning from some really talented fly anglers. There are days when the fish come to the party and days when they don`t. That is why it`s called fishing and not catching. During the initial clinic with Jack, one thing he said sticks in my mind to this day. "Your fly rod will take you to some wonderful places, and mine has".


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No Run of the Mill Dullstrom without Trout! by Andrew Allman

“Dullstroom without trout! You’ve got to be joking? Where will we stop when we go to Kruger”? That scenario hardly seems a future that many of us wish to contemplate but it could c o m e t o p a s s i f t h e D e p a r t m e n t o f Environmental Affairs succeeds in their plans of listing trout (and other economically viable species) as invasive. No prizes on my sentiments in this prolonged and calamitous debate but for those of you who are caught inbetween the DEA, academics and angling organisations; what consultation, if any, have you had with regards the National Environmental Management

Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) amendments and likely impacts of enforcement? I have seen evidence of 19 papers detailing the biological invasion as though it were the Battle of Majuba. I have seen no orchestrated response from those being invaded. All I know is that we are fundamentally One Country; fighting the ills of poverty, crime and corruption (PCC), yet divided on the apparent conflict in our midst? Recently FOSAF took the unprecedented turn of turning to the Courts for a solution although this action could be delayed by the recent sad passing of the Minister. For those of you who are conservation passionate flyfishers or just Koos and Thando, out there enjoying a weekend away from it all, this article is for you! But it is also for the many who work in the industry and 33

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contribute to making our stay in Dullstroom such a lovely experience, which causes us to return time and again; we salute you all but ask that you stand up NOW and reclaim what is rightfully yours. The bottom line is trout is a predator and eats indigenous fish, amphibians and invertebrates. But, it has been doing so, for many years and nature has a way of settling issues for itself without the interference of Man. Trout, was however introduced here from abroad, as were the Jacarandas of Pretoria, the Flamingos of the Karoo and a host of other aliens that have become commonplace in our daily lives. Yes, it is right to protect what is endemic to this land but surely there must be a balance? To however suggest that one size fits all in our myriad spectrum of what we know as the Rainbow Nation, would be an understatement at the very least. What thrives and occurs naturally in one area, is not necessarily the same for all regions and could have disastrous environmental impacts if there was one standard sweep of the brush for all biodiversity implementation. Imagine, for example if we switched all the trout

holding streams to yellow fish or barbel, what would then be impact to that decision? Can we consciously pull the plug on trout and not offer the billion- rand industry an alternative option or at least bridging ground? Can we not live together in harmony? There has to be some common ground that preserves and conserves but does not bite the hand that feeds! Once, when I was young and impetuous, I could not wait for our annual holiday to leave the city limits for a treasured fly- fishing experience and so I went down to the local spruit and enticed a barbel to my fly. I recall the ensuing ‘fight’ was for me as stimulating as watching the Sunday night newsreader on our b l a c k a n d w h i t e T V, a n n o u n c i n g i n unmodulated tones, the weekend results of English Football games. With no disrespect to either the football supporters or to flyfishers in this particular species category, I cut my line! But should there not be a place for all in our fledgling democracy with regulated survival programmes based on a proper business case or each species; whether it be threatened or thriving? Should there not be


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p u b l i c marketing o f w h a t i s a t i s s u e w i t h a n i n t e g r a l understanding and review of the socio/economic impacts of go/no go/doing nothing? There needs to be better communication! This debate has up until now excluded the user and service provider. There is a decision tree model being bandied about by academia, but I am not sure to what extent the street vendor, lodge owner or restaurant owner in Dullstoom is aware of its existence; nor of its applicability to their own particular circumstance. For many, the extinction of the Marico Barb may not hold a second thought? Or, what if the Vemiculated Sailfin Catfish ended up in the Braamfontein Spruit, would that get your attention? But what if the purity levels of the very water that you drink were threatened by the increasing numbers of carp dredging up all manner of ills? And, what if your very livelihood were threatened by the proliferation or extermination of aliens? In South Africa, we sometimes sit on the fence. Even to the extent of not making a decision is a reality today. But what if the change affected you personally and permanently and also those who may follow in your footsteps? Would you still tread so wearily, if you knew more? There is a party, of citizens, both alien and indigenous that sits outsides of Trout SA, DEA, SAIAB, and FOSAF.

That is you, Joe Public and where do your sit in this whole conundrum? It is with this background that I returned to my favourite Mpumulanga town, Dullstroom and to Millstream Farm. It is here, where we were informed there are 22 different flyfishing waters but also not informed that many of those weirs were undergoing maintenance work, and so not fishable. It is here where pollution and weed treatment is on- going and it is here where governing rules abound and good folk tend to follow them for the congeniality of all, who collectively use that private property. In the ’ little black book’ provided in the Millstream cottages, we learn of the ethos of Millstream expounded by Andrew Levy. The moral obligations of all to the quarry, to other f l y f i s h e r s , t o t h e l a n d owners, to t h e environment and to ourselves. Simply spoken; to do the right thing, all the time. Millstream is one of the premier flyfishing estates in Mpumalanga and is well managed but people do not always respect the Big 5 Aspirations of the self- imposed Credo. Sadly, I observed unsavory handling of trout caught and of overcrowding. According to Jackie Vincent the Resort Manager, any overcrowding may be due to hot spots and then it is up the anglers to move


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The town has tried to keep it’s diminutive identity by not yielding to the more lucrative deals offered by mass market retailers and in so doing has created a niche market that is distinctive from its neighbours of Belfast and Lydenburg. I guess one would be wrong in saying that the thriving tourist economy is built on Trout but it does open the poser for debate? Millstream Farm is nicely positioned just a few kilometers outside of the town, and yet far enough away from the offending plastic bags that litter the side of the road and the deafening roar of weekend Harley’s, to make one truly believe that they are out in the countryside. There is a gate levy, presumably for the upkeep of the estate and the rental accommodation does not come cheap, (if you are not staying via a recognised time share company) but then what is the price for peace and tranquility? The whole area is fenced and as per explanation from Jackie is in fact just a boundary/game fence and was never intended to keep people in or out. Security guards with dogs patrol the farm nightly. We observed from our car, the slanted greeting from the herds of grazing game and a multitude of resort activities, including tennis, horse riding, walking and even playthings for the little one’s, but the real focus of Millstream trip had to be on fishing, flyfishing to be exact and our quarry was non- other than the famed alien itself, TROUT!

...Many did not and it was a bit like Le Mans with people dashing for a vacant fishable spot. When I speak of ‘fishable’ waters, I include accessibility to space without weed infestation. Jackie, goes on to say that water flowing into the property is analysed every three months. Water quality is a concern particularly the nitrate and ammonia levels, mainly due to poor management of the local municipal sewer works upstream, as these nutrients are what causes algae blooms and excessive weed growth. Millstream is well governed, yet volume and capacity to handle, together with an element of unruly people still confound even the best intents of any flyfishing establishment. Jackie expounds further “Pollution of waters throughout the country including the Witpoort river flowing through Millstream is a concern and Millstream Board of Directors and Farm Management are engaged with various role players to try and ensure that the water quality does not deteriorate but we are limited to what we can influence or control”. My point in raising this aspect, is to question how widespread we as a country comply with the moral values so aptly defined by Millstream? Do we as a GENERAL public conform to laws and would the implementation of the aforementioned changes to the Act, be any different from what happens now? Situated at a leisurely- paced two and half hour drive from Johannesburg, Dullstroom is ideally placed for weekend jaunts and there is enough to do in the surrounding area for even longer stays.


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Our assigned accomodation was panoramic being built on the raised ground overlooking Millstream Lake with 5 bedrooms,two with double beds and three with twin beds. Two rooms have ensuite bathrooms and the other two bathrooms have a shower and toilet each. Two families of four could therefor easily be accommodated with space enough for the in- laws HIGH UP near the rafters. (pun intended). The living area is open plan and designed such that one need not feel claustrophobic but cosy enough for everyone to snuggle up around the evening fire. There is outside braai facilities and the town is close enough for meals if you are not inclined to cook for yourself.Nights are still

cold in the Mpumalanga Highlands with Dullstroom, sitting at 2000m. This is just about the right altitude for trout to thrive with no closed period being necessary. There is a pub in the town with a fire, which I am told burns constantly, 365 days a year. There can be hot periods followed by cold; and the mist that arises with cooler air can make the whole place look a bit medieval, not unlike Scotland. And, that folks is why Dullstroom, all year round is a hive of activity with weekenders clogging the coffee shops and the local dams and Tourist Buses, diverting their route from the shorter N4 to the potholed R33 just to sample this easy, quaint lifestyle. And it is all thanks to 37

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that alien little fellow, the Trout. But what of the fishing experience in Millstream? Understand there is volume at work here folks and it is managed conservation. Records are kept of fish caught, released and kept to aid restocking programmes. Some fish have been caught a few times and ‘once bitten twice shy’ is a truism for survival. Consequentially, what works in one water does not necessarily apply to others. Nor does, what worked yesterday, automatically follow the same pattern for the next day. It does require a bit of trial and error, which as flyfishers gives us the opportunity to finger select through the plethora of flies that sit in our box. I do however try to limit my fly selections to a few; to what normally works for me on most waters at different times of the day. I find it hard not to land a trout on my black/ orange beaded Woolly Bugger or even the Red Eyed Damsel. At special times of the day, the DDD rules. Millstream was a little different though. One evening, the water was like boiling soup with trout rising all over the place but none being interested in my particular offering. I went across to a fellow fly fisher for a chat and he withdrew a self-made variation of a DDD from his box but carelessly dropped it. Both, being the other side of 60, we battled to find the miscreant on the muddy ground and I promptly did the right thing by offering my box, as replacement fly to my new friend. That tended to cement the friendship and we met several times at waters around the estate where we shared useful fishing titbits to one another. I gained a lot of fishing knowledge from my buddy who has been visiting Millstream for more than 20 years. One pearler, was to leave the waters when a certain insect was attempting to enter every orifice of your body as the trout go off the bite. I persisted a few times to fish through the swarm of prying insects but soon found the advice proved correct. I also learned from a young teenage boy who spoke of the papa roach. In windy conditions when the trout feel safe to come out and play, the papa skimmed fast over the water is a killer.

Thank you mate for sharing that one with the old man. For the rest, the fish caught and released were small, most under a pound although a few possibly over that mark. I did not take any trout out of the water, preferring to release from the net, as the water temperature was high. Happily, none were killed at my hands. There was also no shortage of fish and if I had a bad fishing day, it was because of me, and not the fishing! The experiential at Millstream is akin to steak and chips offered by one of the better family restaurants. There is abundant trout and the restaurant goers seemed nice. The fishing industry needs Millstream as much as the patrons need a safe place to rest, eat and follow their passion. There is a feel good vibe emanating from the entrance gate and it keeps on flowing through the public spaces to one’s own assigned area. There is a good spread of trout activities to satisfy both the novice and the pro. Sure, fishing with volume can be a challenge but can also be an opportunity to learn of new dishes, from someone nearby. This smorgasbord of offerings should satisfy every flyfishing whim with even very small streams open to test the flyfisher when water levels do rise. And then, there are the side dishes for those who do not wish to partake in the sport of Kings, but do enjoy getting out with family and friends and just experiencing good times together. All of this is done within rule; and with due care for one another. It is a bit like a laager of fun and peace in a safe environment. My family felt this was the greatest plus factor about Millstream. Will we have our say? Will flyfishing, farming and stocking of waters be affected? Will, I return? Do fish swim?


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Stalking Trout in small streams by Marcel Terblanche


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landscapes and environs we stalk trout in are dream palettes of fantastic colours and sounds. Fragrant mountain herbs and grasses deck the valleys with colourful splashes of wildflowers between, the birdsong in the summer fynbos is as enticing as the movements of a bushbuck quenching its thirst beside an ancient fern in a deep forest stream. Each stream has its own fingerprint and character and the trout that live there are unique and individually painted by natures brush. The tackle we use on small streams is beautifully crafted, pleasing to the eye and feels good in our hands. Completing the painting is the very artful act of deception, presenting our feathered creations as though we are weaving a spell with our wand. Naturally this romantic visualisation probably won’t appeal to all fly fishermen, especially those who just fish to catch fish. Also many of our younger generation and neophytes to trout fishing haven’t yet had the chance to experience the true beauty and wildness of it all. The emphasis in modern fly fishing has become more about the specialised tackle,

Stalking trout in remote small streams is the ultimate for me. It satisfies all the things I have ever desired from fly-fishing. Make no mistake, I have had loads of fun fishing for other species over the years, but 90 percent of 25 years has been dedicated to stalking trout on the small trout streams in the mountains and forests of the southern and western cape. I have always been passionate about trout and special secluded waters, the idea of flogging full length lines all day in the salt or popping bass bugs in the neighbourhood pond just lost its appeal to me in my student years already. It’s that classic painted image from those early 1900’s outdoor journals with a trout fisherman knee deep in a rushing Rocky Mountain stream about to bring a trout to net that appeals to me, the embodiment of the romance and true spirit of being an outdoorsman, the very essence of being a soul fly fisher and trout bum. I’m sure many of you will agree that trout fishing is a genuinely artistic pursuit. Every aspect of it exudes art to some extent. The


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the hard way; Afternoons after school were spent studying trout habits in the Eerste river rather than our mathematics text books. Growing up back then, we never had access to the CPS waters or the clubs fantastic library and resources that Capetonian trout fisherman had. We had to dig for information on how to do things and then put them to the test on the stream. Occasionally CNA would have grand overseas fly magazines and the Stellenbosch Libraries set of Joe Humphreys video cassettes saw the most play through my mom's VHS play-

gadgetry and competition and less about mentoring and cultivating good traditions in outdoorsmanship and appreciation of nature. It must be terribly confusing for a 13 year old to start fly-fishing today, where does he or she even start, just choosing a rod must be an awful decision making process with all the convenient choices and flashy brands with equally bling price tags advertised on every second social media page. My best friend and I grew up on a legendary South African trout stream, the Eerste River. We learnt stream craft


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-er and likely got worn out quite a bit, because Joe’s speech became slurred and the visuals grew wonky. Of course we had access to the writings and fly patterns of South African small stream legends Ed herbst, Tom Sutcliffe and Tony Biggs whose stream craft we read about and studied in this very magazines first editions in the early 90’s. They were our tutors in trout and their guidance laid the foundation for us to build on. I am so grateful that we learnt that way though, the struggle was real and we experienced so many facets of trout fishing that are almost non-existent today. We also learnt to tie flies on our own and how to build the perfect stream fishing leaders. Many a fly rod and reel were modified and we

engineered our own unique rods for the stream. One of my favourite reels for small streams was a modified Shakespeare reel. In those days they only cost about R50 and they were duly brought back to the workshop to be modified and machined by grinder and file to create a small diameter lightweight stream reel. They looked great and felt great but didn’t always work so great, nonetheless they withstood the rigours of our weekend missions up the river. Things progress as you get older and over the years being on stream becomes second nature, a calling to be there more than a desire or need. Techniques and tactics became refined and almost minimalist, 20 years ago I chucked my fly vest out and settled on a more 44

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attractor and trigger type flies anymore, when I present my offering to the trout I want to see it take the fly knowing that it really saw an ant drifting on the surface. It has become all about the stealthy stalk and ultimately the sweet deception realised at the take. There are a handful of very special streams where I like to dwell and fish. There are a handful of very special streams where I like to dwell and fish. Some of them I’ve known for most of my life and others not so long, but either way they are unique and secluded and don’t see too much of humanity. Nowadays I fish alone mostly; it’s my quiet time, my meditation, a Shangri La away from the unrealities of so-called real life. It’s the very art in the painting of the rocky mountain angler that resonates with me.

traditional trout bag that held my few tackle items, a streamside lunch and a rain jacket in case of an adverse change in weather. No one really needs a third of the paraphernalia that inhabit some anglers fly vests. Times on stream are precious so being bogged down by heavy fly vests and unnecessary stuff is just unpleasant in my experience. My kit now for any day on a stream includes 3 tippet spools, my fly box, Mucilin, floatant and some indicator material and a spare furled leader which all fits into a compact leather trout bag; my rod and reel, and of course, my leather hat. My fly box reflects that minimalist approach and I have a handful of trusted patterns that over time have proven their worth packed into one small hand-sized fly box. I love fishing fly patterns which in my mind are taken by the trout as the real thing. I don’t enjoy fishing


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Stepping Up To The Water - Part 1 in a Series Brett van Rensburg While we all fish for our own reasons we share a common goal - to catch more fish. In this article I am going to spend time focussing on simple changes you can make to your fishing on a river that will certainly improve your catch rates. A question that I am often asked when arriving at a river that we are about to fish is, what flies should we put on? Ten years ago I would have grabbed my box and started running through various options. Today I am far less inclined to look at flies but rather the water and conditions we will be fishing in. The truth is that a fish is far more likely to eat an average fly that is well presented at a good speed, at the right depth in a good piece of water than a perfect fly that isn’t anywhere near to it. To better your catch rate you want to keep your flies in the fishy “hotspots” for long periods of time.

Having said that, let's unpack this idea. The first thing to consider when arriving at the venue you are about to fish is weather conditions. Is it extremely hot or overcast? What is the wind doing? What is the pressure up to? All these factors will contribute to the feeding habits of different species of fish. Let’s look at trout in a river. If the weather is very warm for a period of several days the fish will start looking for deeper pockets and pools where they are able to hide in the cooler water. They will most certainly feed in the early morning and late afternoon when temperatures are lower and their energy levels are higher. This is a common rule understood by most competent fisherman, however how does this change if you were ishing the same river for yellowfish? Interestingly enough, the way that these fish feed in the heat is completely different to trout. 47

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Yellowfish tend to feed off the bottom with their heads aimed towards the gravel and rocks. When the weather is cooler they tend to stick to this method of feeding, but when the weather is hot and the sun is at its highest this species tends to look upwards and feeding starts to take place slightly higher in the water column. Often an angler on the Vaal will have a lot of success in the first few hours of the morning by fishing heavy nymph patterns bumping along the bottom. As the heat of the day sets in they tend to catch far less - sadly this is often blamed on the heat. In my personal experience yellowfish tend to feed more in the heat, a lot more! The trick here is to lift your rod tip and ensure that your flies are not right on the bottom of the river but rather 10-20cm from it. This little trick will improve your midday catch rates substantially when fishing for yellowfish. As an added bonus these fish tend to hit the

flies much harder when fishing higher in the water column. Alrighty then. Now that you understand the conditions and have an idea of where the fish will be feedings, lets classify our river. A common mistake I find fisherman making is the tendency to fish where the fish aren’t. I know this seems like a crazy comment but it’s very often true. Although it’s not a perfect science, river fish tend to hold in similar types of water and, by fishing these hotspots, you will increase your chances of success substantially. Whether fishing in a competition session or just out on the water with mates I always classify my water into three categories, A,B and C water. As I walk my beat I break my water sections up into these categories. The idea is that my A category water should hold the largest numbers of fish and, if I don’t find success in this water, I move onto my B water.


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This process continues until I catch fish or run out of water. By doing this I am also able to manage my time on the water, spending as much time as possible in my fishy hotspots. Also important is balancing your time in a hole, most fisherman will sit in one spot and completely destroy it before they leave. A good trick is to catch a handful of fish and then move to a different spot allowing the hole to rest, the fish will very quickly move back into this space, allowing you to get good numbers out of this spot for a longer period of time. A great example of river classification combined with time management came in the second session of the 2018 Commonwealth Fly fishing Championships held in Ireland. I was given nearly 1km of river as my beat - very daunting. When walking the river I identified 5 pieces of A category water and a number of B water. My initial plan was to spend even amounts of time on each piece of water but I quickly realised this would not work. After just 10

same as the first. Holes 3,4 and 5 were very different and held large numbers of bigger fish. When I had reached the top of my beat I had just an hour left of the session, instead of fishing the whole river section again I just fished the final three holes which produced good numbers of size fish. This decision and time management on the water allowed me to win the overall session.

A well defined eddy forws in the opposite direction to the riffle at the head of a run

Hmmmm, now we know where to fish and when to fish‌ what’s left? Oh yes! How to fish?

A pool of deep, slow water with a shallow tailout flows into a classic deep run with uniform currents

minutes in the first hole I had caught 8 fish of which only 1 fish measured to t h e competition standard. I quickly moved to the second identified spot which was exactly the

It's all happening here - A riffle is formed where the flow goes over a shallow rocky bottom on the left bank. The run tails out in a narrow passage. There's even a small and very accessible eddy on the right bank.


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Picking the right technique and presenting it correctly then becomes extremely important. It is at this point that we start to consider leader setup, tippet diameter, weight of flies and technique. The type of river and the flow you are working with will to a large degree determine the technique that you should use. Now let’s find the depth! This is when the weight of your flies comes into play. If you feel like your flies are not drifting at the right level, you are probably right. Change them until you find that warm fuzzy feeling that you are looking for. Keep in mind the species, where they feed at certain times of day and the specific conditions facing you. Be mindful and get the flies in the fishy zone. On one a recent trip to the Vaal I spent some time working on technique with a longtime fishing mate, Barry Ubsdell. What was

interesting was that while Euro nymphing Barry found much higher success with a very high rod tip and brass beads. This meant that the flies were drifting higher in the water column in the heat of the day and the fish were feeding in this zone. This success was due to making minor changes and testing the water at different levels. Wow, all this said and we haven’t even looked at a single fly. You see my point! Now that you have looked at conditions, the water and presentation it’s time to pick a fly. Now please don’t get me wrong, fly selection is certainly a key contributor to catching good numbers of fish, and time should be spent making sure you use the right flies. My hopes in this article are more to highlight the importance of getting it all right, rather than just picking a feather out of a box - Brett.

Brett van Rensburg came to our attention when while representing South Africa as a Protea Angler at the Commonwealth Games. The team updates that he would deliver daily on a supporter's chat group had us in stitches and we knew that we had to have him aboard. Brett has kindly offered to share his knowledge and insights with us over the course of a series of articles. His instagram handle is flyfishing_sa


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Telling (Dirty) Secrets Getting to Know Daniel Factor Andrew Savs When she came to pick me up I had caught so many fish that she couldn’t afford to pay for them and she insisted that I change from the spinning rod to a fly rod hoping that it would slow me down a little. On my daily commute home there is a traffic light that I always seem to catch catch on red. I try my hardest to stare fixedly ahead of me but I inevitably turn my head to look out of the passenger-side window. Between the Pakistani barber shop and a curry take away there is a tackle shop. The tackle shop has a 2mx2m shopfront window covered by a photo image of a young man in a trout stream holding a brown trout in his signature single-handed arms-length pose. Having to see larger than life images of other people catching fish while you dodge taxis is enough to piss you off - but when you meet the guy you can’t help but put that aside. The man in the picture is Daniel Factor, Protea Flyfishing Team member and passionate ambassador of the sport. Daniel will often call ahead of a visit to fish a KZN river and I’m always overcome by his genuine interest in how I’ve done recently; the fish I’ve caught or lost, how I went about fishing for them, the state of the rivers, flows and such. His interest is authentic and while next to someone of his skill and experience I’m a plonker of the most clumsy variety he treats what I say as being worthwhile. You just can’t help but to like the guy. Dan has an attitude that is infectious and never does a negative word leave his mouth. We were very excited when we recently got the chance to speak to him.

(He’s also very honest. Oh brother, is he ever honest.) FFM: Where did the whole flyfishing thing start for you? DF: It was in two places, kind of. My mom used to take my brother and I to Footloose Trout Farm in Fourways. It was one of those places where you had to buy bait and fish for trout with spinning rods. One day I decided to use trout eggs and splitshot. When she came to pick me up I had caught so many fish that she couldn’t afford to pay for them and she insisted that I change from the spinning rod to a fly rod hoping that it would slow me down a little. FFM: Did it slow you down? DF: No. Not really. We went to Rainbow Trout Farm in Muldersdrift and I caught my first trout on fly - with my very first cast! FFM: Bloody hell! First cast! Impressive! DF: Yes, I went to the hatchery pond around the back, cast in and there were like thirty fish fighting each other to get to onto the fly. FFM: looks around anxiously, wondering if this thing is going in the direction that he intended it to. FFM: "coughs" OK, apart from hatchery ponds, if you could fish in dams or streams or the ocean or whatever which would you pick?


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DF: Rivers. Rivers, rivers, rivers. FFM: And if you had to pick one river to fish? DF: Just one? Where? Like anywhere in the world or just at home? One I’ve been to? One I'd like to go to? FFM: Anywhere in the world. Any river. One you’ve been to, one you would like to go to. Whatever. Just pick one. DF: Oh, ok. Bolivia for golden dorado for sure. FFM: I'd love to go there bDF: and also the Bushmans in KZN, the Eagle and the Blue in Colorado, the Ribnik in Bosnia and the Kraai in the Eastern Cape FFM: That's some bucketliDF: and the Soča in Slovenia. FFM: Can't leave out the Soča. Competitive angling. Where did it begin for you? DF: Dries du Bruyn of Gauteng North introduced me to the competitive side of the sport as a junior angler. From there I was invited along to fish with Gary Glen Young and Herman Botes. FFM: What is it about competitive angling that you enjoy most? DF: The travel. Meeting people from all corners of the world. I make absolutely no money out of it and I’m busy spending my children’s education doing it. FFM: How long have you been competing? DF: Jeez, around twelve years I think. I no, I suppose around twelve. I started as a sixteen year old. I’ve done the local SA Champs, seven World Champs, a Commonwealth Games, Junior Worlds and an Oceania championship FFM. Best memory while competing? DF: Easy. The World Champs held in Colorado. I had a tough beat and the team game-plan just wasn’t working. I decided to change it up. Standing in chest deep water I

caught four fish in the last fifteen minutes of the competition and finished in fourth place out of twenty-eight countries. FFM: Most embarrassing memory while competing? DF: Umm. Easy. Worlds. My Marshall didn’t understand a word of English. I told her that I needed a poo and she just stared at me. I tried to find somewhere private but she totally refused to take her eyes off me. FFM: <thinks of something appropriate to say> Ha-ha. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? <hesitates before asking> So, like, what did you do? DF: Pulled off my pants and, facing her, I pushed one out. FFM: <rubs temples and changes subject> How many days a year do you fish? DF: 200? I don’t know. 220? Probably. Maybe more. It’s hard to say. FFM: Are you serious?. You’re married. How do you get that past your wife? DF: Oh, thats not hard. I have the most supportive wife and without her nothing would be possible. It is important to find a balance and this is still something I am trying to figure out. I don’t think there is any other woman in the world that would be able to deal with me the way Jadey does. You see, the trick is to be obsessed with fishing by the time you meet them and they won’t try to change you. <fights back laughter and slaps thigh, wipes tears from eyes> FFM: You clearly don’t understand women, but what advice would you give to people thinking of entering the world of competitive flyfishing? DF: Stay away from the politics! No matter how good you are there is something to learn. Listen to the people around you and learn from them - the most complete anglers understand, are 54

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competent and comfortable with all of the techniques - there’s no place for specialists here. Adapt to conditions. Know the techniques and spend the time needed to practice them. If there is a technique that you don’t know or are less confident with then that is the one that you should be practicing the most. FFM: This makes a lot of sense. Do you have a particular mentor? Someone that you admire. DF: French angler Grégoire Juglaret- I’ve loved fishing with him. FFM: What do you do in those rare moments in the year when you aren’t fishing? DF: I’m building my new business, X-Factor Angling. I do corporate fishing getaways and guiding. I also do educational clinics in aspects like dry fly fishing, “Euro” nymphing, techniques for yellowfish, trout, etc. Between all of that I work as a representative for Pure

Fishing SA. FFM: OK, we know that you had a hard hike up a Western Cape stream today, went shark diving yesterday,are going tuna fishing tomorrow and leave for the monster browns of Chile in a few sleeps time. <rolls eyes and sighs> One last question. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only choose one fly what would it be? DF: Anything but a GUN. I believe that the weight of the fly is the most important factor. Choosing a correct weight according to the depth and flow of the river will affect the quality of the drift. With a good drift a fish will almost eat anything. Although I do believe the colour of the bead for specific conditions makes a difference.

For Bookings or enquiries contact Daniel on +27 (0)73 455 6575 or e-mail


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Summer salmon in River Skjern by Terkel Broe Christensen


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Being successful at salmon fishing is not for the fainthearted. It can be oh so difficult and most of the time it is pure hard work. And then there are the very select days when you apparently can’t do anything wrong as the author witnessed when fishing for salmon on the Danish River Skjern with a local expert. In mid-June, most of my friends had left home for salmon fishing in Norway. Back home, I was regularly updated by Facebook’s endless stream of messages directly from the waters. Some anglers complained about lack of rain and generally lack of salmon running through the rivers during the hot spell. Other anglers jubilate after having landed the salmon of their dreams. Salmon fishing has always been like that, a cocktail of fascination and frustration: for those who are away on salmon fishing as well as for the ones having to stay back home. Salmon fever My lot last summer had nothing much to do with angling, as I had to stay home to work and wouldn’t be able to travel. Since the opening day, I had considered quite a few times going to River Skjern, though. This river is one of the few in Denmark having runs of salmon. But this year was a very special one as very few salmon were present when the fishing opened on April 16th. In a way it was okay with me as I then could relax and concentrate on my work and family without being inflicted by this strange disease called salmon fever… Schools of salmon During the first week of June, everything changed as I started reading reports of salmon caught in the River Skjern. On June 10th ten fish were caught. The 12th another ten salmon came to the net. And then the 15th another nine… I decided to make a visit to the sluice gates at Hvide Sande. The sluice regulates the water level in the Ringkøbing Fjord where the Skjern River has its estuary. Consequently, all salmon running this river has to pass by the sluice and as is the case when salmon have to swim under a bridge, they often hesitate. The presence of schools of salmon here and there and the tell-tale splashes of mighty fish

jumping is a sure indication of running salmon. I text a sms to my fishing pal Kenny and ask him to update me on the situation in the river. Kenny is a keen salmon fisher himself and works at the House of the Salmon – the visitor centre at River Skjern. This means that he’s in daily contact with dozens of anglers. This gives him invaluable information on what’s going on where at the moment. Kenny’s reply is short and straight to the point: ”I’ve lost two salmon so far, 6-7 kilos, after 20 seconds and 10 minutes fight, respectively. It is now the moment! I plan going fishing Tuesday and Wednesday – can you join me?” Shelter from the wind I manage to get two days off and head for the river Tuesday morning. When I meet Kenny at 9 o’clock, he has already been fishing since sunrise on the lower part of the river, yet he hasn’t seen anything. He suggests that we try a new location. We decide to go further upstream in an attempt to avoid the harsh westerly wind. Though we try to find a place where we can be the first on the beat, each time we drive down to the river, one or two cars are already parked there. After driving around in vain for half an hour we realise that today the majority of anglers on the river have one common priority: to f i n d s h e l t e r f o r t h e s t i f f w i n d . A s a consequence, they flock on the same, sheltered stretches of the river as we are looking for. We decide to try a location downstream of the the Sonderby Spang foot bridge, some 25 kilometres from the fjord. As we cross the meadow to get to the river, Kenny kindly invites me to fish down first. I’m fully aware that his greatest wish is to 57

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Kenny Frost with his first salmon of the day. It measures 86 centimetres and weighs 6.8 kilos.


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fish down first himself, and though I would love to fish down first, I decline in a friendly manner: “No, I’ll follow you… "I have to change my leader, first.” For a moment, I think back when we were kids and were less courteous. We used to race down to the favoured bend in the local brown trout creek to in an attempt to be the first to cast out our Mepps spinner. Did that salmon take my fly? I start fishing just below the bridge while Kenny walks a few hundred m e t e r s downstream to begin his fishing there. The wind makes it hard to get the line out and the casting isn’t particularly artful. Worse still, the wind pushes the line on the surface in a manner that negatively affects any feeling with how the fly fishes. There is a fine balance between getting your fly close to the bottom where the salmon are holding and getting snagged. After ten minutes fishing, I get stuck in the bottom in the middle of the stream and by striking hard I succeed in freeing it. As I start taking in line for a new cast a bright salmon leaps near the opposite bank making a significant splash. I estimate it to be between five and six kilos.

I fish on with renewed enthusiasm after having yelled to let Kenny know that I just saw a running fish. Despite the wind, my casting is suddenly near to perfect. I have to fish out three casts before it really blows me away that my fly is gone. And then I realize the reason the salmon leapt: it had kindly been released by my breaking the tippet when I stroke hard as I thought the fly had snagged! I rush down to explain what happened to Kenny, then quickly rushes back to take up the fishing again. An old dinghy attached to the bridge offers me a place to sit while I change the leader and I am fully absorbed on selecting a new fly when I hear Kenny shout: ”Fish! Fish!” A large salmon jumps out of the water, just as I turn to see what’s going on. Kenny tries to follow the fish as it runs downstream. I, too, start running as fast as I can. Though it is a strong salmon coming directly from the sea, Kenny manages to get it under control and ready for the net in no more than 10 minutes.

Kenny Frost with his first salmon of the day


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Salmon with sea lice. As lice fall off after a few days in fresh water, sea lice are a sure sign of a fresh fish..

Greetings to our friends in Norway “It’s a keeper!” Kenny exclaims. It is his first fish this year. The fish is killed, photographed, measured and weighed and we make a small video sequence and send it to our friends fishing in the Gaula in Norway. A plethora of likes and enthusiastic comments on Facebook follows the photo of the salmon. Kenny’s update that reads: ”A salmon to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary later this year!” Coffee and muffins Salmon often run the river in small schools, so one salmon caught does, more often than not, mean that there are more in the vicinity. We fish on for a couple of hours, then Kenny persuades me to have a break and to go to the nearby village and celebrate the catch with coffee and muffins. In the village, the salmon is admired by all that we meet. After the break we concentrate on some of the classical spots

higher up in the river: Skobæk Creek, Ahlergaard Farm and Borris Krog Bridge. The river runs narrow and deep up here, and in some places overhanging trees make it difficult to fish efficiently. Under the branches Kenny shows me how to cast so as to make the line fly just under the trees. Then the fly is given slack line to allow it to sink. It may cost a fly now and then to fish the lies under the branches, but is well worth it, Kenny explains. Sea trout love to stay in places like that during the day. And the salmon, too, in fact. But the two species have different preferences. Whereas the sea trout will typically hide in the shaded darkness, the salmon prefer to lie at the edge between the shade and the sunlit water. I do have a slight take, when covering a lie under an old spruce. A sea trout? I think so. Though it could as well have been a salmon.


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The House of the Salmon at River Skjern is a visiting centre for anglers. Here anglers purchase fishing licenses and get updated on the latest news about the fishing.

Nothing beats a fly rod bend over in a full bow.


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Salmon on!


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First salmon landed.


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An evening salmon

in the river by an eel fisherman. There is no way, Kenny can counter it as the poles are connected to another pole on the bank by a cord – and the fly line is running under the cord. This time he is really caught up. Slowly but relentlessly, Kenny approaches the pole. Now there is a danger that the rod will be knocked against the rusty metal, risking to break the rod or, worse still, he will lose that fish. We are both wearing short rubber boots as there is no need for waders when fishing at the height of summer. “I think that salmon will cost you a wet sock!” I say. Kenny has no time for comments. Quickly he hands me his cell phone and wallet, then wades out. A meter from land, the water reaches to his belly button. Yet he needs to wade out further. He takes of his glasses and cast them to the bank. Cautiously, he wades takes a couple of steps into deeper water and manages to free the line from the first of the two iron poles.

After dinner, we decide to return to the spot where Kenny caught his salmon earlier the same day. As we cross the meadow, Kenny once again asks me if I want to fish down first. This time I’m less generous. I just accept the invitation right away and walk down to start fishing where Kenny had started his fishing this morning. Not even five minutes of peace does Kenny grant me this time before yelling: “Salmon!” Oh no, I think, not again. It’s not fair. That was ‘my’ salmon! As I start reeling in, Kenny is reduced to a mere spectator as the line run out at an unbelievable pace. The fish has set off in direction downstream towards the fjord. In a few moments time the fish passes me. More than 100 meters of backing are out. The rod is bend over in a full bow, and Kenny starts running, too. Caught up! A little further downstream, the salmonpulls between two iron poles placed out

General Practitioner is an effective salmon fly in Danish rivers, too.


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Treading water to keep the head above the surface of the water and fighting the salmon at the same time!


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Swimming with salmon Suddenly Kenny is afloat and fights to get the line past the second iron pole. He actually manages to free it and feels several hard jerks in the rod from the salmon. The fish is still moving downstream at a steady pace. More than 150 meters of the backing are out now. Thanks to the buoyancy of the wadding jacket and good foot work, Kenny manages to stay in the surface. His head and arms are on top of the water – most of the time. In between, he ducks under, then he resurfaces like a walrus and spits out a mouthful of water. Despite Kenny’s past career as an elite open water swimmer, he has to fight hard and for quite a long time to get foothold some 50 meters further downstream. He is shivering with the water pushing on his full body up to the neck. I reach out a hand to help him safely back onto land. He shivers like a drowned water


rat as he trots of downstream in his water-filled boots. Slosh! Slosh! Slosh! The salmon shows signs of fatigue and Kenny can regain the backing while I try to get some good shots with the camera. An invitation with guide About half a mile downstream from where it took, we find an appropriate spot to land the fish. It is netted without much drama and quickly released. Suffering from mild hypothermia, Kenny’s body shivers violently. Quickly we pack the tackle and head for the car. After Kenny has had a warm bath at the House of the Salmon, we send a text message to our mutual friends fishing in Norway, ”Salmon six kilos caught and released. If you should decide to stay home from your salmon holidays next year, we could fish together, here in the River Skjern. What do you say? I can guide you, if you wish?!”

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Heritage flies - part 1 by Peter Brigg

On the one hand, the reasoning behind our fly patterns amounts to a kind of mythmaking that explains the way they are; on the other, our explanations are like performance art and all quite mystifying. Either way, they bear the stamp of our individual minds. Our theories are impressed with something of who we are, and the choice of patterns we carry discloses something of us. Ted Leeson. Inventing Montana. Fly fishing is often spoken of as an art form just as fly tying is in its own right, a craft, a form of artistry. This series of articles is a celebration of this artistry, the innovation and the talents of local fly tyers their vision and imagination; these are our heritage flies. To begin with it is appropriate to step back and revisit the history of fishing flies, where it all started, how fly tying has evolved and the origins of our own particular South African style; unfolding

stantly forming and worthy of recognition. The use of artificial flies to deceive fish was first recorded at the end of the 2nd century when Roman Claudius Aelianus described the practice of the Macedonian anglers on the Astraeus River by saying “...they have planned a snare for the fish, and get the better of them by their fisherman’s craft ….They fasten red wool around a hook, andit on to the wool two feathers, which grow under a cock’s wattles, and which in colour are like wax” 68

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Little was written on fly fishing after the earliest recordings until the book attributed to Dame Juliana Berners, The Boke of St Albans was published in 1496. It contained a Treatyse on Fysshynge with an Angle in which there are instructions on rod, line and hook making, dressings for various flies and the times of the year when they should be used. And, then there is a record dating back to the 15th Century of a manuscript held at the Bavarian Abbey of Tegernsee, which lists some fifty different fly patterns for catching various species of fish including salmon and trout. In 1676 Izaak Walton’s classic, The Complete Angler (1653) was expanded by the addition of a chapter by Walton’s friend, Charles Cotton in which he listed 65 trout flies that also reflected a marked understanding about regional variations in fly patterns. This chapter chapter is regarded as significant in the context of the progress and diversification of fly fishing and diversification of flyfishing and consequently imitative fly design. However, the firsts book which dedicated complete sections to fly tying appeared in 1774. The Art of Angling, by Richard Bowker is regarded as the first handbook on the subject. He provided a list of his own flies, suggesting a sound knowledge of entomology and even described his ideas on techniques of fishing, such as the upstream methods. In the 19th century fly fishing on the slow, clear chalkstreams of southern England like the famous River Test in Hampshire, F M Halford imposed his idiosyncratic view on dry fly fishing and established a follow-ing of anglers preoccupied with this single method approach, rejecting nymph and wet fly practices. Fly fishers needed to have flies that would float over the weed that typically grows close to the surface of these streams: a requirement that became the foundation for the construction of their beautifully tied dry flies imitating in part-icular the adult mayflies. It is understandable, therefore, that the purists were shaken to the core when Edward Mackenzie Skues promoted the use of nymph and wet fly techniques in these streams were

were shaken to the core when George Edward Mackenzie Skues promoted the use of nymph and wet fly techniques in these streams, a method he expounded the virtues of in his two books, Minor Tactics of the Chalk Stream and The Way of a Trout with the Fly. Skues’ techniques were more readilyaccepted and popularly practiced in Scotland and northern England. W C Stewart, a Scotsman, was one such proponent of the wet fly and who published a book, The Practical Angler in 1857. Perhaps one of his better-known flies being Stuart's black spider which is still being used to good effect to this day. exact imitations; the same approach followed by modern day fly tyers. He also advocated the importance of replicating the insect’s size, form and appearance rather than to tie exact imitations; the same approach followed by modern day fly tyers. The European colonialists who reached North America during the 18th and 19th Centuries, brought with them to their new land, a knowledge and interest in fly fishing. By the end of the 18th century the sport had taken root in America. The explosion of interest saw the emergence of anglers like “Uncle Thad” Norris, Theodore Gordon, Edward R Hewitt, George LaBranche, and a host of others who not only fished the rivers of the Catskill mountains, but also made contributions to a distinctive, American style of fly fishing and fly tying. This tradition established the Catskills as the "Birthplace of American Fly fishing". Theodore Gordon who inherited a British chalk stream tradition of fly fishing, pondered over it, and then spawned a uniquely American school. Experimenting with hair wing flies he developing the so-called “Bumblepuppies". These were the the predecessors of the buck-tail patterns that were subsequently used so extensively. He had laid the foundation for the Catskill School, which eventually had a huge impact on 69

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American fly tying. During the second half of the 19th century trout acclimatisation took place around the world with brown trout ova from hatcheries in ScotlandAustralia, New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa. In South Africa the introduction of trout into our waters initially in the then Natal a n d C a p e P r o v i n c e , w a s m o s t l y b y Englishmen who had settled in the country. The efforts, often under very difficult and trying conditions, of men like A R CampbellJohnston, Lachlan MacLean, J D Ellis, and John Parker eventually paid off and many of our waters were first seeded with trout in the 1890s. In the late 1800s and first half of the 1900s fly fishing techniques and the flies used on South African waters followed almost entirely the British school; traditional flies like Invicta, March Brown, Teal and, Coch-y-bondhu, Greenwell’s Glory, Wickham’s Fancy, Adams, Alexandra, Iron Blue Dun and many more, dominated the scene.

These early English influences progressively changed over time with the growth of all aspects of the sport in the USA. Since the 1970s there has been a decided swing in f a v o u r o f t h e A m e r i c a n a p p r o a c h , influenced also by the similarity of our waters to those in the USA,. However, a decade later, new fly-fishing techniques and, the introd-uction from anglers in Europe of bead-head nymphs (Roman Moser) and materials such as Cul de Canard (Marc Petitjean) have also had a significant impact, not only on fly tying, but also on some of our fishing methods. Notwithstanding the roles that the British, Americans and later the Europeans have played in shaping our direction, we as South Africans have created some truly unique fly patterns for both fresh and saltwater fish species – these are our heritage flies.


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Mooi Moth 1900 Based on limited early records the Mooi Moth was more than likely the first imitative dry fly to be tied and fished in South Africa. It clearly reflects the British influences of the early 1900s with its upright matching slips of wing feather. The fly is referred to in a number of publications commenting on fly fishing in South Africa, the earliest reference being in

the Hardy Catalogue (BAS Printers Limited 1923) in an article titled Trout Fishing in South Africa. It also appears in SAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oldest fishing record book at Trout Bungalow that is situated on the banks of the Mooi River outside Nottingham Road. Unfortunately, the originator of the Mooi Moth remains a mystery.

According to the late Bob Crass, the fly seems to have been used to imitate large mayfly hatches, possibly Neurocaenis, often experienced in late afternoons on the Mooi River in Natal. Jack Blackman cited its dressing as: Hook - Size 14 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 16. Tail - Blue dun hackle fibres. Body - Stripped peacock quill. Wing - Slips from a grey wing feather. Hackle - Blue dun.


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THE MOOI MOTH by Tod Collins


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We crossed the great Mooi river in the village with that name, over a good sturdy bridge and the road began to climb. I didn’t notice it the first time but the railway line between Durban and “The Reef” used the same bridge, but on separate tracks alongside where the cars went. We turned right as the road was climbing, past a sign that said “Treverton Preparatory School for Boys” and drove through two rows of gumtrees to the long low white buildings. Then we went to school there for quite a few years. It was tough at that school for boys - about two hundred and fifty of us from all over the southern half of Africa – because there were bullies from Durban and Jo’burg, and track suits hadn’t been invented then and the winters were freezing especially when the wind howled from the snow on the mountains. The school uniform didn’t include

long trousers and our jerseys were thin and because most of us started there when we were six or seven years old there was homesickness and not many woman teachers only men. Those men were tough too, quite a few of them came from other walks of life and applied to the headmaster for a job as a school-master and if Mr Binns liked the fellow he’d teach. After two years of teaching, if Mr Binns hadn’t sacked him, he was given a certificate qualifying him as a teacher. Or so the bigger boys said. The two sports we all had to do were rugby and boxing. The third sport that quite a few desperately homesick boys or the tougher chaps who wanted to become legends did, was running away. When a bloke did that it caused a wave of excitement through the school wondering how soon he’d get caught. The railway police were in on the job with the headmaster, we reckoned, because


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they often found the kid on the train or skulking on the station and he’d be brought in Mr Binns’ brown van without windows. But one fellow from Jo’burg – Philip Silberman a really tough little guy who played scrum-half for the first team when we were the bigger guys – wasn’t caught for a week! And he came back under his own steam, not the brown van. Because he was hungry. If you had posed a general knowledge question to any of us bare-kneed boys, even the tough guys who did the bullying andcame from Umbilo or Mafeking, asking to name any two rivers in the world, I reckon all of us would have said, “The Mooi river and The Grantleigh spruit.” Well, obviously we knew the Mooi because that was our home for about nine months each year and we could see it from the main rugby field that was also the main cricket field when the snow wasn’t on the ‘berg. The Grantleigh spruit was a trickle that became a torrent after summer storms, and it ran alongside the main road opposite the entrance to Treverton, and joined the great Mooi near that double-purpose bridge. The railway line had to cross the spruit so there was a tunnel under the line where the water flowed. Clever chaps like Prof Coppens called it a culvert but to most of us it was just a long dark tunnel. Philip Silberman called it his “den” for that week. Philip definitely became a legend. Quite a lot of us were country kids and even those who came from Umbilo or Kitwe and other towns took an interest in nature things. There was a big light on the side of the wall of the dormitory called “The Cage” (other dorms were called The Tin, Little Thatch, Big Thatch, The Barn ) that shone into the quadrangle where a huge pine tree grew. That light stayed on all night I think to let brave boys, if they really wanted to, go for a pee at the joints on the other side of the quad. That light attracted moths, a myriad moths of amazing variety. Thus collecting moths, like collecting birds’ eggs, was a fairly popular hobby and not a crime in those days. The beautiful biggish white ones with red rings around their bellies


that mostly came when the Christmas holidays got closer was a favourite and quite a lot of us didn’t catch and kill those because we thought it was bad luck for the exams. The chunky red ones were favourites and even today, over sixty years later when I see such a moth I am whirled back to the early mornings, or just before a master shouted “lights out” at Treverton when we rushed outside to see what moths were under that light. Because moths mostly came out at night, and Philip Silberman for his week in hiding only came out at night to fetch the bread and jam that a co-conspirator had hidden for him, he became known as the “Mooi Moth” right through until Treverton Preparatory School for Boys had to close after Mr Binns died. Over thirty years passed and I was settled in Underberg as a vet. Nostalgic in a way because from Underberg we look at The Giant from one, and at Treverton we looked at it from the other. For a spell – too short a spell – a special man managed a farm called Burnbrae on the banks of the Mkhomazana river adjacent to the road that joins Himeville with Nottingham Road and beyond that, Mooi River. He smoked a pipe and had a nice slow gentle way of speaking. He came with a reputation of being a fine trout fisherman and because half the reason I came to Underberg was just that, during or after the work I did on his cows we used to chat flat-out about trout fishing and flies. Once, I remember clearly, I moaned that I hadn’t caught a single Brownie even while the Nzinga river was boiling with the evening rise after I’d spent the day doing George Laurens’ cattle at Mount le Sueur. He gave me a little simple fly with grey wings that he’d tied, and said, “Next time you fish an evening rise, try this. It’s called a Mooi Moth.” That special man was Jack Blackman. I think I used that fly until it was just a bare hook … or maybe, being an Awful Angler, I left it hanging from a basket willow somewhere, or wedged under a stupid rock on a stream bed.

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Barkly East Angling Society

To purely give a historical and factual account of the Barkly East Angling Society would be an injustice to its rich history and spectacular surroundings. According to the local newspaper archives, the Society was officially started in January 1928, but only one meeting was held. On Saturday 20 September 1930 another meeting was held and the Society was established under the name of “Barkly East Trout Angler’s Association”, with strict ethics and rules - a gentleman’s club. Many years before the establishment of the “Association”, in 1894, brave“piscatorial enthusiasts”, as they were called in the newspaper, fought for the introduction of trout into the area. The journey for fingerlings by rail and oxwagon from the Newlands Hatchery, some 1200 km, would have resulted in extremely heavy losses. These heyday strategist were undaunted and waited for trout ova to become available. Their first application for ova in 1905 received favourable consideration, but it was only many years later that the valuable ova (£1 per thousand), arrived. By this time the ingenious enthusiasts had constructed

“breeding boxes” that were painstakingly tended by “planters” until the fish hatched. And so began the story of trout in Barkly East. The ethics of the day were very different to those of today and the practice of “catch and release” was unheard of. The first river fish caught was recorded in January 1912. The fish was approximately “a foot long”, and caught in the Sterkspruit. It was surmised that the fish was one hatched from the ova placed in the Diepspruit and must have made its way to the Sterkspruit via the Kraai River. The Angling Society has evolved into more than just a club for elite “piscatorial” gentlemen trout anglers to a family and conservation orientated society that has great respect for all of the fish species occurring in the region. The Society is always striving to instill the highest ethics in all of its members. While the anglers pursue their gentle art, families can explore the quaint shops in town, or visit the surprisingly well kept museum, play a round of golf, bird watch or cycle. Some of the guest farms have wonderful hiking and horse trails. 76

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Barkly boasts of not only some of the most scenic drives but also many of the highest mountain passes in South Africa - nine in all, the highest being Ben McDhui at 3001m. Also among these are the TiffindellTenahead Traverse at 2720m and Naude’s Nek at 2590m. The area is a photographer’s paradise with streams,

mountain flora, stone bridges, caves, rock art and the ever-present mountains begging to be captured, so much so that the town has hosted the Cape Photographers’ Congress. Where other than at Tiffindell can you ski and drink "Upside Downers" while hanging from skis?


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Although the summers are warm to hot, with spring and early autumn being generally pleasant, never leave home without a jersey or jacket as the weather can change in an instant. Although there is no fishing in winter it is still worth a visit. If you are lucky enough to experience a snowfall you will witness the truth of the old cliché a “winter wonderland” as the scenery is transformed. But beware, you will also learn a new meaning to the word cold. Come prepared, thermal underclothes are an investment.

Upcoming angling events include the BNationals, Junior Nationals and a possibility of the A-Nationals. The BEAS is hosting their second annual River Festival on the 23rd of March. There are limited spaces available for this competition. Contact: Andrew Clark: +27(0) 84 516 6471 Cloete du Plessis: +27(0)82 337 7564 E-mail: Website:


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Women in Waders - A peculiar Obsession. by Louise Steenkamp.

Take a primitive ancestor of the bony fish, with more chromosomes than a human and a brain smaller than a peanut M&M, and what do you get? A creature so mysterious, one has no choice but to become completely obsessed with trying to outwit and outsmart it. If I had read about such lunacy just over a decade ago, I would no doubt have felt some pity towards the author for not realizing their place in the food chain. Little did I know…My infatuation with fly fishing (and in particular trout) wasn’t immediate – it took hubby years of persuasion before he finally convinced me to give fly fishing a real go. Of course he had the unfair advantage of knowing that once the proverbial bug bit, and with my “somewhat” competitive nature, the deal would be sealed quickly. I’m not even sure why it’s so addictive – I do know however that my story is not unique – just Google “obsessed with fly fishing” and it produces

over 17 million hits! I think it lies somewhere between the thrill of finding the fish, the adrenaline rush when you feel a good tug and know (or think) you got something right, the intense focus to get this elusive beast to the net and released safely, and the overarching feeling of gratitude towards it for being a valiant opponent and participant in your conquest. There’s also the academic pursuance that becomes inevitable at some point, if you’re at all inclined to be curious. Researching entomology, ecology, trout feeding behaviour, rod actions, polarisation methods, etc. becomes part of everyday life. Finally there’s the philosophising over how somehow all of this is a representation of life itself – like trying to solve a puzzle where the picture keeps changing, with the inherent knowledge that even a whole lifetime is not nearly enough to really figure it out…


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Whats happening at Van Der Kloof Dam by Qurban Rouhani

No angler can be comfortable with the fact that this investigation includes the use of gill nets, but likewise one cannot help but applaud the fact that government is adopting a research driven approach to fresh water fishery reform. This project has nonetheless resulted in a great deal of criticism with some recreational anglers, including flyfishers, claiming that the project poses a threat to the protected largemouth yellowfish and that it is unlawful. FOSAF, whose Yellowfish Working Group has been active in conserving yellowfish and promoting fly fishing for yellows for over 20 years invited the Project Leader to report on

Introduction The future utilisation of South Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fresh water fisheries is a matter of considerable controversy. This fishery has been legislated as the exclusive preserve of the recreational angler for over 100 years to the point where catching and releasing protected fish species is now regarded as an act of conservation. But behind this lies over a century of racial discrimination which sees black fishermen and women marginalised as poachers and despoilers of the environment. Government is, not unsurprisingly, moving to address this situation. Hence t h e Experimental Fishery Project at VDK.


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the project. That report is published here with the kind permission of Qurban Rouhani and FOSAF. Rouhani Reports For the most of you, the Experimental Fishery Project currently being undertaken by Rhodes University on Vanderkloof Dam is by now a familiar topic. It has been covered and debated extensively in various fishing magazines and social media, and this is a good thing. The participation of the public in such processes is not only welcomed but is a vital part of our democratic freedoms and our obligations to achieve a society that has equal opportunities for all of its citizens. However, these debates need to be informed by facts and as such I will be contributing to this newsletter on a regular basis to keeping readers update on progress. There has been much concern and anguish amongst recreational anglers about the experimental fishery project â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which within the historical context of the recreational fishery sector â&#x20AC;&#x201C; is understandable. The experimental fishery at VDK and the processes that have driven it, should be seen as a positive step in how we democratise inland fisheries (it would be of use here to become familiar with the Draft Inland Fisheries Policy that DAFF has recently released). The process regarding the project at VDK effectively began in 2014. For the first time in freshwater fisheries (and possibly even in marine small scale fisheries) government (lead by the Northern Cape Department of A g r i c u l t u r e , L a n d R e f o r m a n d R u r a l Development) set up a co-management process (called the Advisory GroupAG) to bring all stakeholders and role players together to develop and agree on a framework for an experimental fishery on Vanderkloof Dam. The AG has no equal, it included relevant representation from


national, provincial and local government departments, civil society, the ratepayers ass-ociation of VDK town, small scale fishers as well as representation from SACRAA/SASACC as well as the local angling club (and of course Rhodes University). A broad spectrum of views, interests and needs, were all brought together at the AG. The operations and functions of the AG were not only inclusive but also transparent, in that each m e m b e r o f t h e A G f r e e l y communicated the outcomes of the process to its constituency. Over four years, the AG debated, negotiated and eventually adopted what is now called the Experimental Fishery Management Plan (EFMP). This document, almost 100 pages in length, using scientific principals, outlined every step and detail on how an experimental fishery project would be carried on Vanderkloof over a period of two years. Only once the EFMP was agreed and signed off by every member on the AG (and this is an important point that recreational anglers need to bear in mind) did the permit application begin. Two permits (exemptions) were required, one from the Northern Cape Department of Environment (DENC) to conduct the overall research, and the other f r o m t h e N a t i o n a l D e p a r t m e n t o f Environmental Affairs (DEA) and this was in relations to the Largemouth yellowish (a TOPS permit). The project has acquired both of these permits and as such the research is fully compliant and legal. It is important to point out here, that the permits/exemptions include the use of gill-nets, long lines and fyke nets. There should be no ambiguity on this. Our fishery project is open to inspection to any government body, and as an institution of higher learning we are required to comply with all regulations. The experimental fishery project has two thrusts, it has a biological Return to contents

determine if the experimental fishery can become a community- based fishery will be informed by scientific data and include input from the members of the AG. All of the fish caught in the experiment are eaten by the community and as such nothing is discarded. In August of 2018, we began the biological and socio-economic research, and I can confirm that all of our catches are well within limits set in the EFMP, even for the largemouth yellowish. We provide regular updates to DENC, DEA and to the members of the AG, so again what we do is transparent. What is important during the next two years, is to allow the experimental fishery to run its course, allow for data to be gathered in an environment that is free and fair. Then based on sound scientific data, guide the process further. On my part, I will continue to provide regular updates. May I also encourage readers to visit the Vanderkloof fisheries website and to download the EFMP

component (to work out sustainable catch per unit effort, gear selectivity, sizeâ&#x20AC;Ś) and the other is the socio-economic component (and I believe is the part that is widely misunderstood). A key question of the research is not only to work out what can be sustainably caught, but whether it can be economically sustainable? And to do this, fish need to be marketed to determine what are the market forces and how would this impact on a possible small scale fishery. So, the project does market fish locally, but this is done though the prism of an experimental fishery and not a commercial fishery. The data from the marketing of the fish is as critical to the project as is to what we catch in our nets. Only if when we have proved biological and financial viability will the experimental fishery transition to a community owned small-scale fishery. The results of the experiment fishery have always been (and will continue to be) freely available to the AG, and this means that the process to


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Wonderful Woods Point - a side dish of solitude Arno Crous


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The dust angrily erupts from under the vehicle as we enter yet another corner at a speed that brings the tail out a bit over the loose corrugations, but a measured counter steer keeps it in check while the right foot keeps feeding the engine to climb the next rise at the corner exit. The road undulates like a roller-coaster as it weaves side to side and up and down to the rhythm of the mountainous terrain. A wall of towering trees closely hugging the road are a constant reminder of caution against losing concentration. Driving gravel roads sort of comes with the fly fishing package. Yes, one might get to a lot of the fishing spots, some not half bad, with mostly tarmac under the wheels but somehow the quantity of gravel under the wheels seems in direct proportion to the quality of the fishing, or at least according to me. It is thus best to learn how to drive the slippery stuff! (On a side note, the roughness of the gravel under the wheels also comes into the equation, once you start stretching the theory out a bit, and some of the tracks I have had to tackle in Australia to get to the ‘good stuff’ would make a fit mountain goat break out in a sweat.) The vehicle’s progress seems to fade to the subconscious background as we excitedly analyse the day’s fishing. A day that would easily lull one into a false sense of having cracked the secret trout code, but more later about what happened on the day. Our fishing destination of the day was a last minute choice. I have fished, always with success, and camped there several times in the past but haven’t been there for a few years. Daryl hasn’t been there at all yet and we didn’t mind travelling a bit as we were keen to find some alone time on the water. Melbourne is bulging with millions of people and the surrounding easy-to-reach water can get very busy, a particular problem if you

want a side dish of solitude with your main course of flyfishing. As the crow flies it’s around 100km to the little hamlet of Woods Point, but due to the terrain the journey by car takes the good part of 3 ½ hours! Logging trucks work the road hard and ensure a constant supply of corrugations and potholes to test your driving style. For most part the road snakes along the ridgeline that forms a tiny section of Australia’s great dividing range. Rain falls on the south side of the road making it a short 100km journey to the strait isolating the island state of Tasmania from mainland Australia, while rain falling on the north side of the road has you settling in for a long journey of a few thousand km’s via the Murray-Darling drainage system to exit into the ocean not too far from Adelaide in South Australia. The ridgeline concertinas the road into so many bends and twists that one hardly ever seem to point in the direction of your destination. The scenery is breathtaking, the stands of mountain ash trees are arguably some of the tallest trees on planet earth and are densely packed as each of them fight for their place in the sunlight. The wall of tree giants and massive ferns dwarfs the car as we speed past. The Goulburn river as it flows through Woods point is tiny and gin clear. Even the recent heavy rains and late-season snowfall only lifted and chilled the water, leaving it still flowing astonishingly clear. The source is only a handful of kilometres upstream from the town centre but the flows are always good, possibly due to ground water off the higher mountains in the area. From the town the Goulburn makes a big loop through truly trackless country before meeting up with the gravel road again at Knockwood camp ground, where it is now as a much larger river. In this trackless country 86

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one can just imagine the countless pools and runs that almost never see a fishing rod. One day I will get a helicopter to drop me down in there, but that dream fits in next to the dream about winning the lotto! From Knockwood, and for all of the around 80km downstream to Lake Eildon, the gravel road never leaves the river by too far and in some cases the river squashes the road tight in against some towering mountainside. The deep green pools move in to almost under the car’s side mirror it’s so close. There are plenty free camping spots next to the river along here between stretches of private property. The river continues to grow considerably, receiving water from rivers that hold their own in terms of noteworthy fly fishing destinations and each deserving their own in-depth review. The are names that make most fly fishermen “in the know” sit up in anticipation; Big River, Jamieson River, Howqua River and Delatite River, not to mention the countless hidden small creeks

and tributaries with healthy heads of, sometimes rarely fished for, trout. The skies are still grey in remembrance of the preceding days of rain and a few clouds wring out the last drop or two. We exit the forest onto the only piece of sealed road for about 75km in all directions. This is the main street of Woods Point, its barely 200 meter long grandeur slightly spoiled by the traffic - a couple of chickens, us and two parked travelworn elderly farm bakkies (or ‘utes’, short for utilities, as they are called in Australia). Surrounded by a hand full of colourful cottages, a tiny general store and vintage hotel complete with local watering hole the main street just about gives the extent of the little village. It is hard to believe that in the mid-1800’s gold rush days this used to be a raging metropolis of a few thousand people, four hotels, three banks, a post office and some establishments of ‘questionable entertainment’. Nature is slowly but surely claiming back what was its own to start with.


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We half expected the river to be high and dirty, as most would after a good soaking, but to our delight our view from the main road confirmed it was running clear and only slightly up. After a quick photo of the iconic, although sadly now closed, timber shack petrol station we selected 4wd as we followed the track down the river valley and past some spectacular freecamping sites. The track crosses through the river in a few places and the muddy, slippery exits make the 4x4 work for its money and the exhaust make bubbly noises as it drops below water level in the deeper crossings. A couple of kilometres downstream we settle on a pretty, vacant camp site complete with a picnic table to help us into our waders and clean long-drop toilets to help us in times of other need. With hardly anyone around we basically had the stream to ourselves. Daryl beat me to kitting-up and I graciously, through slightly clenched teeth, offer him the first cast which promptly brought the first trout to hand; a tiny little colourful parr-marked rainbow that’s so small it almost had to dislocate its jaw to fit the fly into it. The trout is lively in the frigid water that is so chilly that the release process, after a few quick photos, leaves fingers numb with cold. The water clearly hadn’t forgotten that some of it was still snow the day before! Daryl’s 00wt Sage loved the small stream size and its tip danced briskly, even with the stream’s smaller residents. In quick succession he had three trout in as many casts - another, better sized, rainbow and an even nicer size brown that all swam away health and strong, if not a bit wiser. It was my first outing with a Fenwick Aetos 3wt that I acquired second-hand for a song a while ago now, but have been too busy with other rods on bigger rivers to give it a try.

What an awesome rod it turned out to be and it might become my go-to trout rod for smaller streams. It is as light as a feather with a crisp, sharp, accurate feel that places the fly on a dime at small stream trout distance, time and again. It wasn’t helped by the fact that I was initially the weak link in the casting process, not finding the rhythm for the first pool or two and missing takeafter-take while Daryl brought in fish-afterfish. Then it suddenly clicked and it was game-on. Both of us still missed a few fish because there were so many fish around that some were sitting where no sane trout should normally be and this left us ill-prepared and found us sleeping on the job. Our cameras were working almost harder than the fly rods as we took turns to work the perfect water and stunning surroundings. One could say that the fish came easy but, then again, every time one of us stuffed the cast, didn’t mend correctly or didn’t stay 100% on the ball our catch rate quickly went down to none. I was secretly convinced that the planets had aligned and that we were both enjoying, in my case probably briefly, fly fishing nirvana where our speckled friends were rewarding us. Even though most of the fish caught were on the smaller size, in keeping with the size of the water, some were not half-bad at all, spattered with spots and with fat bodies filling both hands as we held them, semisubmerged, ready for the release. Browns outnumbered the rainbows, both in size and in quantity, but only when our drifts were perfectly dead. One memorable brown must have followed my fly’s trajectory though the air as both Daryl and myself saw it race across half the pool to intercept it as it landed, eaving me ample opportunity to lift into it neatly. Our screams of joy and amazement echoed down the valley.


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Dries were the order of the day, but Daryl had a small nymph below his dry and more than a few trout chose it over the dry. The water, being crystal clear, ensured they were looking up - or at least I used this as an excuse when Daryl asked why I didn’t also hang a small nymph off the back when, actually, I was so keen to get in the water that I couldn’t be bothered spending extra time tying intricate knots with the fishing so good. We each had to tie on new flies as the others got chewed up by fish after fish. Size and shape not as important as drift control and presentation, and possibly sticking to fine, long 7x tippets in the gin-clear water. A truly memorable day! When our watches finally chased us off the water, reminding us of the long journey back, we tried to count and realised that we had both lost count, but could estimate conservatively around 25 each… at least. I am secretly sure

though that Daryl might have gotten a fair few more than me, but let’s just keep that between us. Some pools offered up two or three nice trout so that where we could we would, on hooking up, play the trout down into the lower pool leaving the higher pool less disturbed for the next cast. I have a sneaky suspicion though that if we went back to the same river the next day we would battle to even buy a fish without knowing what suddenly we would be doing wrong as it had worked so well the day before. That is just the nature of trout. What I do know is that each was released with care and handled with dignity. We will be back though… hopefully to camp for a few days, but, then again, there is so much likeable water that we still need to visit around Victoria it might be a while before we get back here. 90

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In Praise of Snowbee by Ian Cox

This is not a sponsored piece. Save for a fly line I was given to review five or so years ago, all the gear mentioned in this piece was bought by me at normal retail prices for my own personal use. It is not for trying that I have not got free gear to review. I have asked, more than once. I have even asked to borrow gear for this purpose. But to no avail. While lawyers are good pleaders this one is no good at begging. I am writing about Snowbee gear because I think they make good stuff at exceptionally competitive prices. I did not think that way originally. I started off thinking that their gear was cheap and nasty. That changed in about 2012 when I bought what was a very cheap Snowbee backpack thinking I could always throw it away if I did not like it. I liked it a lot, so much so that I still use it to this day. I am hard on gear, so it is with some surprise that I tell you that it is still as good as new.

I never reviewed my backpack , probably because I was only contributing to the Bobbin rather than editing it at that time. However, I did talk about it which must have prompted the agent who is Durban based to give me a line to try out. It was a 3wt Snowbee XS. This line was world flyfishing champion Pascal Cognardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s floating line of choice. It is still my 3wt floating line of choice and is in near perfect nick despite hard use over some five years or so. It has lasted and fishes much better than other lines that cost twice its price. A meeting with said Pascal Cognard in 2012 persuaded me that I needed a new fly vest that could carry a lot of gear.

I searched high and low but eventually settled on the Snowbee Geo which was then retailing for about a quarter of its Simms equivalent. I loved that vest even though I abused it mercilessly. It finally gave up the ghost at the end of last year. I wanted to buy another one, but I have grown beyond the size range of on offer, so I was forced to find an alternative. My mate Jay Smit of Jvice fame swears by these new-fangled sling packs. Snowbee sells one at about a third of the price of Jays top


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of the range model. It fits my corpulent frame and decks out with all my kit and caboodle rather well. I have used it a couple of times and love it it to bits. My Christmas time search for a replacement vest brought me nose to nose with Snowbee’s extendable boat net. Apparently, these have found favour with competitive anglers who like the fact that it comes with an interchangeable short handle for river fishing. The fact that spare net bags are available is an added bonus. I love extendable nets. I already own a Snowbee extendable collapsable net. I bought one after the competitor’s model broke and because the Snowbee net was much cheaper. I have had it for a couple of years now and it has not broken. I did not really need another net, but the added reach of this extendable net was a temptation I could not resist. You see the longer the net's handle the quicker you bring a fish to the net and the less time you spend fighting it. This makes a big difference to fish mortality in a warm climate such as you find fishing in summer in KwaZulu-Natal. I have used it fishing in conditions that were really o hot to fish and it was the reason that the 2.2kg beauty I hooked swam away strongly. I stopped fishing after that. I was not fishing for the pot and it wasn’t fair to be out there in the first place.

My list of Snowbee goodies does not end there. A winter trip to Thrift Dam required that I replace any neoprene waders. I had not used my old ones for some time. They sprung a leak quite quickly. Needless to say, I was not too keen to buy that brand again. The Snowbee offering were a lot cheaper and much more sturdily built. They kept me dry and toast warm at thrift despite harsh conditions and are still waterproof despite the stress my large girth and heavy frame place on its seams. This is even when seated in a kick boat. They also match my Snowbee neoprene gloves which is very spiffy.


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Which brings me to the subject of reels. I am a fan of cassette reels. I am not alone in this. SA flyfishing champion, Daniel Factor is as well although I carry around about a quarter of the line he does. When Dan changes the sink weight of the line I change the speed on my trolling motor. Only joking. The trolling motor is broken. It is a piece of Aussie made crap that leaked after a few outings. I do however use a fish finder on dams when this is permitted. But back to reels.

tough on equipment? I love these reels but while the one is still going strong the drag on the other reel packed up after about 5 years. The agent does not carry spares so I replaced it with the much more expensive spectre cassette which also comes in a spiffy carry bag. I have used it a lot in the last two or so years and it still looks brand new, despite the abuse.

Am I the only one who has difficulty in finding the perfect fly box. It is like trying to find a good hat. You think you have the one only to find after a month or two that it is not the one. I have used Snowbee’s slimline fly box kits for about three or four years now. The neat zip bag hold five boxes. Again, no fly boxes lying around and they are see through and slim so they do not bulk up your vets. and the right fly is easily found. I have two which is cool for everything but my bulkier flies. I use Xplorer’s large silicon insert boxes for them. Three of these boxes fit inside the Snowbee’s zipper bags As you can see I own a fair chunk of Snowbee gear. I do so because it I functional, robust and reasonably priced. I highly recommend their stuff.

I originally owned some very cheap but serviceable stock Chinese cassette reels. However, I long lusted after the much nicer cassette reels offered by Snowbee. These irresistibly were sold in a pouch with three spare cassettes. I do like gear bags. They make packing so much easier and quicker. My mate had bought the top of the range Geo reel. My supplier did not have this is stock, so I bought the much cheaper Snowbee Onyx. Two for the price of one I thought. It was a mistake. Did I mention I am


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tod collins' "The Art of being an awful angler" A review by Ian Cox Tod Collins’ “Art of being an awful angler” is one of the best flyfishing reminisces I have ever read. I say so, not just because of the quirky subtlety of the title and the journey you embark on when reading this Underberg veterinarian's tale of a lifetime of fishing. That is enough to make this book great. But what makes it extraordinary is the way Tod describes those fishing moments of being, not in the context of the fantastic angler (FF as he calls them), but foranglers for whom fishing is a pastime rather than their main preoccupation.

Tod is well qualified to write this book. His is the busy life of a country veterinarian, naturalist cum canoeist and mountaineer and family man He has number of well received books to his name. He claims to be an awful angler, but do not be fooled. According to Tod, awful anglers can and do fish. It is just that they do not make fishing the centre of their lives. Angling, for the awful angler lies more in the warp and weave of the cloth into which the tapestry of their lives is stitched. It is not the main event.


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Tod writes well making this an easy read. The book weaves a skilful tapestry of stories, some of which are hilarious, in a book where fishing and especially trout fishing, give expression to the wonderful sense of being we all enjoy from time to time. It is a book where the story lies more in the reading than the plot. Its bloody clever and simply wonderful.

But this is not just a trip down memory lane. Tod is a river fisherman who fishes simply but is aware of and enjoys his surroundings. Like most of us, he loses as many fish as he catches. But he is an awful angler who loves to fish. There are lessons that the FF or the fanatically fantastic fisherman (an FFF) can learn from this book. The rest of us will take pleasure in the laughs, the travails and the pleasure of experiencing a fellow anglers joy of being on a river and in the moment.

The older reader will love his passion for the old traditional patterns such as Connemara Black, the Teal and Green and the Walker Nymphs. Who amongst us still fishes the Mooi Moth? Tod Does. And the names. Tod has lived and worked in Underberg for decades. The characters who made this fishing mecca famous are his friends and mentors not just in fishing but also in life.

Bookshops are hard to find these days. I live in a city of over 3 million people but must travel over 40km to get to a half decent bookshop. If you are similarly afflicted, you c a n c o n t a c t To d C o l l i n s d i r e c t l y a t to purchase a copy.


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From The FOSAF Chair by Ilan Lax 2019 is well and truly upon us. I have been so heartened by the vibrant discussions that take place on the various flyfishing groups on the dreaded Facebook. Trout Talk and Yellow Talk for example, provide safe platforms for a range of posts from flyfishers on almost every aspect of our craft, including some hardtopical debates. The only material not tolerated, are attempts to advertise commercial products or troll your fellow anglers. Apart from that, the discussions while sometimes heartfelt and heated are seldom judgemental or personal. Treat yourself to a sample of some of the variety of topics that are being posted. I’m pretty sure you’ll go back for more. I am pleasantly surprised at how much can and has been done by flyfishers who are giving back to our communities and the earth. Here I think about the places we generally visit to ply our craft. So many rural communities can benefit from a little involvement and help with organisation, planning and support. Good examples of this are the NFFC’s BRU and Bushman’s river projects and SAFFA KZN’s Tendele project. As far as our Court Application against the Minister of Environmental Affairs is concerned we received an opposing affidavit and are aiming to file a response by the end of February or early in March. The case will then be set down for hearing but exactly when this will happen, will depend on the availability of a court date. This is going to take some time,

but we remain confident of a positive outcome. DEA’s failure to properly comply with its own laws and to consult the public on this and many other matters is the main reason why we have a failed biodiversity management regime. FOSAF once again calls for the development and adoption of a much-needed White Paper to guide biodiversity protection, management and utilisation in South Africa. The on-going crisis of managing the health and safety of our rivers in the Vaal basin continues to be source of grave concern. That the SANDF had to be called in to provide support to try and fix the crisis speaks volumes about the management failure at every sphere of government. The SANDF deserves praise for the work it has done. This continues despite difficult working conditions and government’s reluctance to provide the money needed to do a proper clean up. There can be little doubt that this unacceptable problem was caused by a failure of government and service delivery. Sadly, it is the health and wellbeing of people and ecosystems that must pay the price for these failures. Our thanks go out to all the people and organisations monitoring this situation and working to find solutions. FOSAF is very much part of this effort. Please continue to help us help you in this regard. The experimental fishery project that is underway at Van der Kloof Dam continues to 97

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attract criticism from some flyfishers. FOSAFâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s position as an organisation is clear. South Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fresh water resource belongs to all South Africans. We also recognise the legacy of inequality that has restricted access to this resource and that this needs to change. However, such change must be implemented responsibly so as to ensure that the use of this resource, by recreational, commercial or artisanal anglers takes place on a sustainable basis. A responsible approach to redressing the past requires research to provide evidence driven measures and solutions for sustainability. This means that the ecological and socioeconomic risks and benefits of alternative methods of harvesting the resource must be researched so that informed decisions can be made. FOSAF understands that this is an experimental scientific project aimed at testing the feasibility of a community-based fishery. It is thus intended to provide the necessary evidence and data that will assist in this decision-making process on how such fishery resources are utilised in the future. While we share most anglers concerns about the controversial use of gill nets, we do not agree that this alone is sufficient reason to shut the project down. As far as FOSAF is aware the project has received the required approvals and permitting. Whilst the issue of gillnetting is controversial, this formed part of the permitting/approval but subject to compliance with the project management plan. The role of FOSAF and other NGOs must

be to ensure that the project complies with the management plan and then to scrutinise the results and outcomes to provide an independent oversight/watchdog function. We thus need to give the project a chance to run its course in a reasonable and compliant manner. If issues and problems in relation to proper compliance emerge all parties are free to report these and take action. Proper information must inform our actions. It is vital that flyfishers explore a range of options to support and include previously excluded communities in the sustainable use of our fishery resources. High handed and draconian measures in the name of biodiversity conservation will not build the trust and cooperation necessary to foster these precious fishery resources. Experience has shown that working with communities to develop an appreciation of the value of such resources is a far better and more effective approach to ensuring their sustainability. FOSAF has noted the untoward nature of some comments about this situation. FOSAF will not engage in personalising the situation by playing the man rather than the ball. This is offsides and unnecessary and does not add to the validity of our arguments. The use of freshwater systems as fisheries is the subject of new and emerging policy formulation process. FOSAF will, as it has always done, engage with this policy process, in the best interests of flyfishers and in line with our policies and values.

FOSAF Memberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Draw #171. The winner is Dr Mike Birkett Membership no EP0010 of Howick whose prize is a two night midweek self catering stay at Lake Naverone in the Southern Drakensberg.


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Profile for saflyfishingmag

Southern African Flyfishing Magazine March 2019  

Africa's original flyfishing magazine focused on all things flyfishing in Southern Africa

Southern African Flyfishing Magazine March 2019  

Africa's original flyfishing magazine focused on all things flyfishing in Southern Africa