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ISSUE 12 NOV | DEC 2018

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THEMISSIONFLYMAG.COM

A PLASTIC PLANET, NEW ZEALAND, TREASURE ISLAND, MARK YELLAND, TOM SUTCLIFFE, BEERS, BEATS & MORE


experience counts for everything Some of the most dedicated anglers we know are women, and T&T Ambassador Abbie Schuster is at the forefront of her generation of pro guides. Whether hosting trips, crushing albies on the Vineyard, or at the oars on a New England tailwater, her experience and insight helps us to approach rod design with a unique perspective. Abbie’s knowledge, expertise, and understanding are passed to our craftsmen, who strive for perfection and uncompromising performance in every rod we make. To us, Abbie and her fellow professionals are our unsung heroes. We salute you.


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W W W. T H E M I S S I O N F LY M A G . C O M ISSUE 12 NOV / DEC 2018

CONTENTS Cover by Conrad Botes Photography Oliver Kruger

22 UNDERCURRENTS: FISHING ALONE With Tom Sutcliffe 24 A CONSERVATION MESSAGE From Hank Patterson 28 HIGH 5S With Stu Harley 34 PORN FROM THE HORN With Nicola Vitali 46 TREASURE ISLAND With Stu Webb and the Astove Atoll permit 52 IN THE HANDS OF THE GODS With Jeff Forsee in New Zealand 64 THE NATURAL With Mark Yelland

REGULAR FEATURES 16 Wishlist Fish 18 Beers & Beats 20 Munchies 26 Troubled Waters

Salad Bar 72 Payday 78 Shortcasts 80 Wands 82 Lifer 88

Jeff Forsee deep in New Zealand’s back country. Photo Greg Houska


THE SHAPE WE’RE IN By Tudor Caradoc-Davies & Ingrid Sinclair Photos Oliver Kruger, Ray Montoya and Ben Pellegrino

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f you ever have reason to visit one, you’ll find landfills are scary places. As acrid vapours seep upwards into your nose and eyes, all around huge vehicles tip and churn through mountains of trash, while weirdo birds like sacred ibis and seagulls scrounge somewhat impossibly for scraps. Some of it is recognizable - an old SD card, a Simply Asia packet, the sole of a shoe – most of it unrecognizable minced plastic. Standing on layer upon layer of manmade detritus, it’s easy to get post-apocalyptic visions of the future, one where we’ve turned the whole world into a midden of our plastic crap and where it’s hard to believe anything living or natural (save maybe for carp) could exist. Forget that future. The really scary thing is the present. We still have fish and decent fishing in parts, for now, but things are changing apace. Places that used to be pristine are now trashed and places that are thought of as pristine are vulnerable to plastic pollution and its evil twin climate change. “You should have been here last century or the century before,” the old timers say. The ancient Greek meaning of ‘plastic’ is to shape or mold and when it was first discovered some 60 years ago humanity got seriously excited about the world we could mold for ourselves. Who could blame us? Plastic was and still is seriously useful. It allowed us to do so many things we could never do before, so we worked it into all our systems. We did this so well that now it seems impossible to extricate ourselves from the shit we have gotten ourselves in to. And make no mistake, everyone from climatologists, geologists, glaciologists and your mum all think we are fucked. This is not some whack job, crystal-hugging, David Avocado Wolfe-quoting lunatic fringe. These are leading scientists, realists, the people who know what they are talking about. They are not just raising a flag, they are hitting the panic button. That’s why Facebook and Twitter feeds vomit morbid environmental news stories on a daily basis. The northern white rhino has one sole survivor before it too goes extinct, fish stocks have plummeted, since 2016 50% of the Great Barrier Reef has died, global wildlife populations have fallen 60% in just over four decades according to the WWF, the ice caps in the Artic and Antarctica are melting at unprecedented rates, some island nations will become submerged in the near to medium-term future and the planet is on track for a 4 degree increase in temperature

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by 2040 (when just a 2 degree increase spells out climate genocide). But the hottest topic of all is that there’s plastic in EVERYTHING. From the nylon we use as anglers to the cars we drive, the straws up turtles’ noses, the plastic car parts in whales’ stomachs, the devices we use every day, clothes, packaging and a thousand other uses – plastic is everywhere and in everything. Even in our diets – from table salt to the fish we eat. It’s in … our poop. Innocuous and inevitable as it may seem, plastic – everything about it, from beginning to end, pre- to postconsumer – is unkempt, chaotic, a tumbleweed ripping through the world, a tangle of stocks and flows, knots and not-knowns. And plastic pollution is, as formally described by the social sciences, a “wicked problem”. Wicked: not as in evil, but as in maddeningly complex. This wicked plastic tumbleweed is material, political, economic, emotional, symbolic, and social. It has no clear beginning or end, cannot be contained by nets or bins, barrier or borders. It is produced, distributed, consumed and disposed of through networks both intimate and dispersed, which crisscross the globe and whose tentacles stretch and search, forever in relation with all other spheres of life on Earth. The dilemma is not only that plastic is dangerous, but that currently it is also essential to life as we know it. One of the biggest problems when trying to explain plastic is that us humans generally have a hard time understanding scale. For example: People don’t realise how far apart a million and a billion are. A million seconds is about 12 days. A billion seconds is about 32 years. A trillion seconds? 32 000 years. Now consider: Studies suggest that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the ocean — enough to circulate the Earth’s equator 425 times (14 million kilometres). Altogether, the combined weight of plastic in the ocean amounts to about 269 million kilograms. And that isn’t counting the plastic already piling up in landfills around the world, or the plastic in stores wrapped around your favourite pre-steamed veggies from Woolworths, ready to be purchased, or the plastic that is yet to be produced or the plastic that leaks into the ocean on a daily basis – by some accounts, a refuse truck’s worth every 60 minutes. The numbers are terrifying – by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea (by weight). 2050 sounds far away, but actually it’s only about a billion seconds away. And did we mention, like a really cheap, shitty diamond, plastic also lasts forever?

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The biggest culprit by far is single-use plastic. Today, approximately 42% of all global polymer production is used for single-use packaging, and as a result the share of plastics in municipal solid waste (by mass) increased from less than 1% in 1960 to more than 10% by 2005 in middle- and high-income countries. In South Africa, more than 53% of plastic is used for food packaging. Considering the scale of the situation – 7.6 billion humans on Planet Earth at last count, almost all of whom come into contact with single-use plastic in one way or another every single day – it’s absurd, downright irresponsible, to believe or preach that by refusing a straw or buying a reusable tote we will be making even the smallest dent in the consumption of plastic. It’s simply not true. Growing middle class and “improved” living standards around the world? More single-use plastic! Bamboo toothbrushes, hemp totes, glass water bottles and other “fixes” are either too impractical and inconvenient, too expensive to produce and distribute at scale, or reserved only for the wealthy privileged few who have the financial resources and the time to shop at the newest zero-waste store or the fancy organic farmer’s market on the weekend. The fact is that alternatives to single-use plastic are not accessible to the average human being. Don’t turn the page just yet, there’s more bad news. Hold tight. There is no solution. Not yet anyway. Fundamentally, plastic is a by-product of fossil fuel refinery, and as long as oil production grows, so will the production of plastic. At its core, plastic pollution is the result of a combination of myopic design flaws, poor solid waste management, simple supply and demand, and overconsumption (upon which the success of capitalism so desperately depends). Without changing any or even of a few of these basic building blocks, it’s highly unlikely we can solve the problem. But what about the genius Dutch teenager with the gadget that cleans the ocean? Great effort, but that’s treating the symptoms not the cause. What about recycling? Well, yes, that’s awesome in concept, but the problem is recycling doesn’t really work. Global plastic recycling rates differ wildly. Some place the figure as low as 6.5% in the USA and as high as 77% in Japan; no one really knows how much waste is produced, recycled or dumped in South Africa. Low recycling rates are due in part to poor solid waste management at the end of the life cycle of plastic (i.e., post-consumer), but even where plastics do make it to recycling facilities, most are sent to landfill because plastics, in particular, do not recycle well. One of the reasons is the heterogeneity of the many plastics and plasticisers used in consumer goods. Recycling is an incredibly complicated and inefficient process and the codes are virtually meaningless for most consumer waste because of contamination and mixed-use.

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Furthermore, recycling is an energy- and water-intensive process that gives plastic one or two extra lives at best; poor solid waste management combined with skyrocketing production and consumption rates mean that only a small proportion of plastic makes it to recycling; and the stuff simply does not recycle well. Furthermore, the market for recycled plastic is small and subject to volatile commodity prices. As the oil price fluctuates, so does the demand for recyclable material. The lower the price of oil, the cheaper virgin plastic. Very few governments have made recycled content a mandatory requirement, and some have instead left it up to industry to regulate itself by taking the free market approach. And we should be sure to call recycling what it actually is: down-cycling. For example, new packaging such as PET bottles cannot contain more than 15 to 25% of recycled material. Moreover, bottles with recycled content cannot be recycled a second time to produce a third bottle. So, after being recycled once, plastic is unusable as a raw material and goes to landfill.

Plastic when it was invented was this ultimate achievement of modernism because we could finally throw stone and wood away and use something really sterile and pure and manmade. There was this chemistry to it that gave everyone a hard-on because it wasn’t of nature. We’re feeling the impacts now, 60 years later. Like the guy who overdoses on Viagra, we still have that hard-on except our priapism is painful, plastic and eternal. We’re feeling it in all spheres of environmental crisis whether it’s fossil fuel extraction or overfishing or habitat destruction – all of those things came from our relentless push to control and command the resources of the planet. As a result we’re empty inside. We’re stressed, anxious, on anti-depressants, addicted to TV and any other easy escape. We tune in, drop out, rinse and repeat.

So, what do we as fly anglers (or general sentient beings who care about the future) do about all this? Blare “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” on the loudspeakers of every hospital delivery room? Commit mass hari kiri (actually not a bad idea)?

That’s why we need to fish, to recycle (even if it’s ultimately only a wellness exercise), to do yoga or anything else that connects us back with the planet and makes us think about it and our place in this world. Because we’ve forgotten how to live with it; we’ve been living against it, in conflict with it, mastering it, dominating it. Our bins full of waste is just a symptom of this systemic disconnect. If you want to start healing that disconnect, keep fishing, put your vegetables back into the earth if you don’t eat them, make your trash as small as possible at the end of the week and back the people who truly understand how sick the planet is to find better systems, economies and ways of life.

There’s something gnawing away inside, that we did this. That’s because when we take a single-use plastic bag at the supermarket or open something with needless packaging we feel culpable as individuals for the whole giant mess.

Last, but not least, despite the odds against us, we’ve got to retain some semblance of positivity. To quote Seth Godin, “Doom is inevitable. Gloom is optional. Gloom has no positive effects on ameliorating doom. Doom happens. Gloom is a choice.”

We can go on, but if you’ve read this far the chances are you are already depressed enough.

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“Boga Grip? Never heard of her.” Head of Scientifi c Services for SanParks, Danie Pienaar, lips a tigerfi sh in the Kruger. As you do.

EDITOR Tudor Caradoc-Davies ART DIRECTOR Brendan Body CONTACT THE MISSION The Mission Fly Fishing Mag (PTY) Ltd 20 Malleson Rd, Mowbray, 7700, Cape Town, South Africa Info@themissionflymag.com www.themissionflymag.com

EDITOR AT LARGE Conrad Botes COPY EDITORS Gillian Caradoc-Davies ADVERTISING SALES tudor@themissionflymag.com brendan@themissionflymag.com

THE MISSION IS PUBLISHED 6 TIMES A YEAR. THE MISSION WILL WELCOME CONTENT AND PHOTOS. WE WILL REVIEW THE CONTRIBUTION AND ASSESS WHETHER OR NOT IT CAN BE USED AS PRINT OR ONLINE CONTENT. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS MAGAZINE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF THE MAGAZINE OR ITS OWNERS. THE MISSION IS THE COPYRIGHT OF THE MISSION FLY MAG (PTY) LTD. ANY DUPLICATION OF THIS MAGAZINE, FOR MEDIA OR SALE ACTIVITY, WILL RESULT IN LEGAL ACTION AND WILL HAVE TO TEABAG A TIGERFISH WHILE ON LSD.

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CONTRIBUTORS #12 Chris Williams, Leonard Flemming, Hank Patterson, Stu Harley, Jason Comins, Cyril Kamir, Nicola Vitali, Tom Sutcliffe, Stu Webb, Danie Pienaar, Meredith McCord, Jeff Forsee PHOTOGRAPHERS #12 Oliver Kruger (Cover), Deon TerBlanche, Ben Pellegrino, Leonard Flemming, Tourette Fishing, Micky Wiswedel, James Topham, Craig Foster, Greg Houska, Stephan Dombaj, Richard Morton, Jono Shales, Stu Webb, Gerhard Laubscher, Danie Pienaar, Ray Montoya

@THEMISSIONFLYMAG


Instinct by design. Days on the flats can be a wild ride of slow hunting punctuated by adrenaline pumping action unfolding at warp speed. When the opportunity comes to intercept prehistoric poons, or to psychoanalyze neurotic permit, your instinct kicks in. And that’s the moment you take your place on the bow and make the improbable possible. We designed Meridian fly rods with a similar mindset. At the core of it all is the kind of fine tuned performance that comes with 45 years of innovation and experience. The result? Something akin to effortlessness, something intuitive. Take a Meridian along on your next saltwater journey, and fire on instinct. Colorado, USA | 970-249-3180 | scottflyrod.com


WISH LIST FISH

HUMPBACK BREAM MEET THE HUMPBACK BREAM, THE BIG-MOUTHED, BAITFISH-SMASHING QUASIMODO LURKER OF THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN FLOODPLAINS. LEONARD FLEMMING WEIGHS IN ON HOW TO CATCH HIM.

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“My real name is Quasimodo, but you can call Mo.” Photo Leonard Flemming

hat: Growing to a max of around 56cm and 3,5kg, the humpback largemouth (Serranochromis altus) is a special fish because A) there aren’t many largemouth bream species around and B) until recently this one was thought to be the same species as the thinface largemouth bream. Its distribution is widespread, but populations are all sparse and scattered across the floodplains of Southern Africa. Where:  The Zambezi, Kafue and Kavango River systems. This fish is not abundant in large numbers, mainly

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due to gill-netting, so largemouths arbitrarily caught while fishing for tigerfish are considered lucky and very special catches. Not many people have caught these beauties so it should be on the wish list fish of every serious lure and fly fisherman that’s visited the Zambezi area. How:  These fish seem to favour deep holes in the riverbed where they’ll ambush any baitfish pattern swimming past their noses. Most fish that have been caught on fly ate a Clouser minnow meant for a tigerfish. On the tackle front, 8-9-weight rods,

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sinking lines and 15 lb fluoro tippet with 20-25 lb piano wire trace is the way to go, as you never know when that 16 lb Zambezi tiger is going to eat the fly. Who: You, yourself and Irene, shamwari. We recommend DIYing this one in the Caprivi Strip. For those not familiar with it, the Caprivi Strip is not a seedy revue bar in Katima Mulilo, but the name of the entire area, a unique salient (aka geographical bingo wing) jutting off Namibia’s eastern saddle bags and bordered by Angola, Zambia and Botswana.


Distributed by Xplorer Fly fishing - www.xplorerflyfishing.co.za Email: jandi@netactive.co.za or call 031-564-7368 for your closest dealer.

THE RIGHT LINE

for every cruising, tailing bonefish. DIRECTCORE BONEFISH RIO’s DirectCore Bonefish line has a long head and rear taper to smooth out the loop, and to make long efficient casts, while the mid length front taper produces great turnover and easy presentation of typical bonefish flies. Each line is built on RIO’s low-memory DirectCore that is extremely easy to stretch and lies perfectly straight on the water, yet retains the stiffness needed to cast in hot conditions. A high floating coating ensures the running line will not sink when wading.


FODDER

BEERS AND BEATS THE BEERS OF THE YEAR

A good craft beer can be a beautiful thing, but when it’s 10am deep in the Okavango Delta and already hot and sweaty as balls, you’re not looking for The Shrew’s Nipples oaked-aged stout. For your tropical breakfast beer, you want the finest mass-produced grog a country can produce. Here’s our round-up of thirst-quenchers and frothy victory libations from wherever The Mission and its contributors have been.

Gabon – Tarpon – Régab Lager Mongolia – Taimen – Боргио (Borgio) Pale Lager Tanzania – Tigerfish – Kilimanjaro Lager Seychelles – Giant Trevally – Seybrew Lager Botswana – Tigerfish – St Louis Lager Costa Rica – Tarpon - Imperial Lager Cameroon – Nile Perch – 33 Export Lager Nicaragua – Tarpon – Toña Norway – Atlantic Salmon - Norwegian Hansa Pilsener Namibia/Orange River – Largemouth Yellowfish – Tafel Lager South Africa/Vaal River – Smallmouth Yellowfish – Carling Black Label Zambia – Tigerfish - Mosi Lager Zimbabwe – Tigerfish – Zambezi Lager Lesotho – Brown Trout, Smallmouth Yellowfish - Maluti Lager Exmouth, Australia - Permit – Coopers Pale Ale

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THE MISSION P L AY L I ST VO L 9

LE MOUCHING LOVES THE MISSION J’AI MIS MA PLUS BELLE CHEMISE POUR VOULOIR TE PLAIRE J’AI MIS MA PLUS BELLE CHEMISE POUR POUVOIR T’AVOIR I WEAR MY NICEST SHIRT TO PLEASE YOU I WEAR MY NICEST SHIRT  TO GET YOU “CHEMISE” BY MOU

T H E E N D O F S U M M E R M I X TA P E FROM LE MOUCHING’S CYRIL KAMIR TRACK LISTING Richard Rome : Lunarsy, Rodrigo Amarante : Iren, Blick Bassy : Léman, Miel de Montagne : Slow Pour Mon Chien, Connan Mockasin : Con Conn Was Impatient, Donnie & Joe Emerson : Baby, Mou : Chemise, Jiony : Light & Shadow, Big Sean & Metro Boomin : Even the Odds (feat. Young Thug), Soft Hair : Lying Has To Stop, Phife Dawg : The Club Hoppa, De La Soul : Pain (feat. Snoop Dogg), Kendrick Lamar : Untitled 03 I 05.28.2013, Beat Assaillant : The Ante, Hanhae : Clip Clop (feat. Dope’Doug), DUCKWRTH : Throwyoassout, Haute : Shut Me Down, Cheaper Shepherd : Another Show (feat. Flo The Kid), Unsung Heroes : The Next Degree (feat. Siah & Karime Kendra), Silk Rhodes : Pains, Blundetto : Chamber Dub Photo, care of Christiaan Pretorius

VISIT WWW.THEMISSIONFLYMAG.COM TO LISTEN. 19


MUNCHIES

NORWEGIAN DEER BURGERS With Chef Jason Comins Photos James Topham

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idnight face-smashers with Chef Jason Comins of Overgaauw restaurant in the Western Cape and Osen Gard in Norway (osengard.no)

Jason Comins knows a thing or two about food and fishing. The celebrated chef of Overgaauw restaurant in the Cape Winelands spends his off-season working at Osen Gard in Norway. Dubbed Groundskeeper Willie for his resemblance to the grumpy Scotsman from The Simpsons, Comins is a valuable cog in the team’s machinery, rustling up quality grub for guests and guides while sneaking in the odd bit of salmon fishing himself. He says, “We have full sunshine until around 11 pm in summer and only get dusk for an hour or two before sunrise. Kastaholen is the main pool on the river so we meet there at midnight for drinks and a chow for those who are still awake. That’s when I make these deer burgers. They are perfect for smashing in your face at midnight during the Norwegian summer.” INGREDIENTS • 750g red deer mince (you can substitute the deer mince with beef or other game) • 250g Fatty lamb mince

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• 1 Onion chopped • 15ml Olive oil • 15g Mustard seeds • 5ml Salt • Pinch of black pepper • Burger Buns • Cos Lettuce • sliced tomatoes • Dijon mustard • Tomato sauce • Red currant jelly INSTRUCTIONS Heat a frying pan and add the olive oil, then add the chopped onion until slightly golden, Mix the deer and lamb mince with dry spices, add the onions and form into 4 250g burgers. Heat another frying pan and fry the burgers until golden on both sides. Transfer the burgers to a roasting pan and roast at 180 °C for 20 minutes. Assemble the burgers, using the buns, lettuce, tomato, and wet condiments (tomato sauce/ketchup, mustard). Leaving the jelly to go on last.

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Nestled on secluded Impalila Island in Namibia, Ichingo Chobe River Lodge is a tented lodge surrounded by breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife, birdlife and ideal fishing conditions. Part of the Zambezi Queen Collection, Ichingo Chobe River Lodge is set beneath a riverine canopy on the banks of the Chobe River and is perfect for families with children of all ages. Because of its unique geographic location, the game viewing and birdwatching in and around Ichingo Chobe River Lodge is second to none, while the lodge’s location is particularly well known for its high quality fishing. Perfect for experts and novices alike, you can hook a tiger fish, one of the many bream species, African pike, tilapia, catfish or upper Zambezi yellowfish as you explore mile upon mile of the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers. Our all-inclusive package includes secluded, comfortable accommodation, all meals and beverages, and expert guides, boats and equipment. All bookings for Ichingo Chobe River Lodge made between November and end December 2018 will qualify for a 10% discount on our published SADC daily rates for stays during these dates. 13th November 2018 till the3rd of January 2019. Booking code: Ichingo. Go catch now.

www.zqcollection.com


UNDERCURRENTS

FISHING ALONE I N T H I S E XC L U S I V E E XC E R P T F R O M H I S S O O N T O B E R E L E A S E D B O O K Y E T M O R E S W E E T D AY S , T O M S U T C L I F F E R U M I N AT E S O N T H E PLEASURE OF FISHING SOLO. Artwork Tom Sutcliffe

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ick did not like to fish with other men on the river. Unless they were of your party, they spoiled it. Ernest Hemingway – Big Two-Hearted River

The Sterkspruit below Lindisfarne Bridge There are two gated paddocks on both sides of the road just before the Lindisfarne Bridge crosses the Sterkspruit River. The paddocks make convenient places to park if you plan to fish the stretches above and below the bridge, both interesting, but dissimilar, sections of river, and both private. The stream here has some gradient, with a mixed tapestry of quick riffles and runs and invitingly deep pockets along the banks, and there’s a decent pool at the bridge, and even better ones just upstream of it around a corner of headland. It was a Monday at around three in the afternoon; a Monday that carried none of the barb you usually associate with the first day of the week, though on Birkhall, every day of the week feels barbless. The only barbed day is the one circled in my diary to remind me when I’m due to head home. I parked the truck in one of the paddocks and dropped the tailgate. Swallows swung swift patterns over the pool below the bridge. Maybe I would be lucky and bump into a decent mayfly or caddis hatch, though a cold wind rippled my shirt and the sky was leaden, so hatches seemed unlikely. I strolled down to the bridge pool. I saw no insects and no rises, yet the swallows were hawking something off the surface with precision. Time and again their bills glanced the water in swooping flight. Whatever was hatching was that tiny I couldn’t see it, but as my friend Hugh Huntley used to say, ‘You can’t fool a swallow. Just tie on something small, like size 26 small.’ He used to add that fishing hatches like this if you could see your fly on a short cast it was probably too big. I set up a bamboo rod, a sweet-casting Dugmore 3-weight, and in deference to the hint the swooping swallows offered, I tied on a size 18 One Feather CDC Midge. I didn’t have any 26s. By the time I was done, pale sunlight was filtering through gaps in the clouds, coating the stream in a silvery sheen. I crossed the river at the shallow outlet below the pool,

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then headed downstream, walking along a rocky bank, just far enough away from the water to keep my shadow off it. At the first bend, around 100 metres below the bridge, I crossed the river again through cold, knee-deep water, hauled myself up a steep, earth bank, and continued walking downstream on a sheep path. From the path I kept half an eye on the river, stopping occasionally at the good spots to search the runs from up on the bank, using the willows to hide me. The river was flowing perfectly and the water was clear enough to imagine I would spot trout easily if they were around. I eventually found two fish holding near a bank. They would occasionally move out to take something in the current. I slid quietly into the stream below them. I waded into range and dropped the midge near the bank. It drifted quickly in the threads of current, its small orange post glowing in the half-light filtering through the branches. After a few decent but fruitless drifts, I changed to a small nymph and immediately hooked one of the fish I’d seen. I had no indicator on, but the leader moved so far and so quick your maiden aunt wouldn’t have missed the take. I sometimes don’t bother with an indicator when I know where feeding fish are holding, when there’s more than a hint of certainty to the outcome. I feel confident enough that I will read leader movement, or see the flash of a turning fish, or glimpse the white of its mouth. I hooked the second trout, but it got off in one magnificent leap that left my leader partially stuck in clawing bramble branches growing along the riverbank. I moved slowly upstream, wading on a sandbar that ran up the centre of a long stretch with deep pockets on both banks, pitching an unweighted nymph into likely spots, letting it drift, occasionally working the fly, and by the time I’d reached the bend where I’d crossed the river earlier, I had taken three more trout and missed a few. The first hour’s fishing had been cold, windy, but pleasant. Settled on a convenient rock, I ate a sandwich and did some thinking. I could have done with company, but at least I wasn’t talking to myself just yet. When you’re alone on a river, talking to yourself isn’t a sign you’re going crazy. It’s when you don’t agree with what you say that you need to get worried.

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Fishing alone, and this is a personal view, hasn’t got much more going for it other than that you are at least out fishing, which importantly means you aren’t bored and you aren’t working. I do know some people who actually prefer to fish alone, though my own list isn’t long, and they aren’t real misanthropes either. I just notice they fish a lot in their own company. Of interest, it seems the famous author and fly fisher, Thomas McGuane, enjoys fishing alone and, from what I’ve read, so did Theodore Gordon, who was variously a hermit and the father of the American school of dry fly fishing. I guess you could argue that the true solitary fishing experience favours your chances of slipping into a deep contemplation about the true meaning of life, though for me it doesn’t. I tend to immerse myself in what I’m doing and don’t easily lapse into any serious internal dialogue, say, about the parlous state of the world, the increasingly obvious indicators of my own mortality, or the times I’ve really screwed up in life – which, come to think of it, may all be important reasons we go fishing in the first place. Angling has a nice way of wrapping you in a seemingly timeless, unthreatening present, like a temporary release from reality, but you don’t need to be alone for that to happen. It even happens when you are fishing in company. I suppose the most you could say for fishing alone is it lets you move at your own pace, being slow to semi-comatose, or maybe brisk and racy, it’s your choice, and there’s no one to tell you when to leave, or that you can’t take a nap, and fetching your own flies out of trees is better than fetching a pal’s. These are mildly liberating virtues in their own way, but on balance, most of us – outside of the committed loners and the true misanthropes – would probably opt for company on a trout stream, if only because it’s more pleasant to share an experience than to live it alone; and because who otherwise is going to believe you caught

that hog from an impossible hole on a size 20 dry fly on a perfectly executed first cast? Well, on this particular day I never did catch a hog from an impossible hole on a perfectly executed cast. But by the time I got back to the truck I had taken a few trout, one a really tidy fish of sixteen inches that I’d spotted sipping in a deep, couch-sized pocket of flat water on the side of a nice run. I took off the weighted nymph I was using thinking the plop might spook the fish, and tied on a dry fly. On the first drift the trout missed the fly, a small Para-RAB, but swallowed it boldly on the second. I took my gear down, stowed my rod in its bag, after carefully drying each section with a soft rag, and was just pouring coffee when the rain came down. It arrived suddenly, falling at a convenient angle so that I could sit in the truck sipping coffee with the driver’s side window wide open and not get wet. While I drank the coffee I enjoyed the pleasantly pungent, mulch-like smell that lifts off wet earth. It’s a mildly organic smell that is all its own, and always pleasant. The perfume of rainfall. Then to the west there was a sudden break in the clouds, and sunlight flooded in that slowly turned into a soft, rouge-coloured sunset that lit the distant hills and turned the bridge pool pink, but not a single trout rose. I swirled out my mug and was back in Birkhall in time for an early dinner; cold lamb and the remains of the sort of salad I’ll never tire of; garden-grown lettuce, watercress picked from the furrow running through Birkhall and thick slices of onion, tomato and pineapple. Yet More Sweet Days will be released in early 2019. To pre-order your copy, get in touch with Tom via his website, www.tomsutcliffe.com

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A CONSERVATION MESSAGE FROM HANK PATTERSON THIS MESSAGE WAS ORIGINALLY BROADCAST DURING THE FLY FISHING FILM TOUR 2018. WE LIKED IT SO MUCH, WE GOT HANK’S GO-AHEAD TO PUBLISH IT.

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know what you’re thinking, ‘No conservation messages, please! No God, no!’

And I get it. Hey, I wish that everything was awesome and that we didn’t need to hear more conservation messages, but the reality is… we do. Unfortunately, we need to have loud and constant reminders that the world, the rivers, the air and the ocean, the dirt and the fish need to be protected from pollution, corruption, ruin and extinction. We need to be reminded that we can all do our part to conserve the natural resources for our future and the future of generations and the generations of the future’s future and future’s future’s generations – all the futures!

Numbers 3 through 12. - Don’t pollute - Don’t litter - Don’t be apathetic - Don’t believe that conservation or climate change are political issues because that’s a trap. The planet doesn’t care if you vote for an elephant or a donkey and neither do I. - Be willing to listen to each other. - Be willing to be wrong. I’m wrong all the time. I mean, not about this but it does happen. - Be kind when you disagree with other people. - And, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t believe the lie that there’s just nothing that you can do! Think of it this way – the planet is a giant camp ground. And life is a long, strange camping trip that we’re all on and we need to pack out what we packed in. Did you ever show up at a campsite and the guy before you left beer cans and toilet paper and diapers and a half melted water bottle in the fire and you think to yourself, ‘What a douche!? Just don’t be that douche.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. I’m just one person, what can I do? I’m just an accountant or a mechanic, or maybe you’re a heart doctor and you’re thinking, ‘I can’t save the world’, and you’re right, you can’t. But you can participate in the process. You can do your small part. So what can you do? Well, No. 1, you can give a fuck. Actually, you should give two fucks. And if you’ve got a third fuck, you should probably give it because the planet could use a third fuck.

Leaving the planet in the exact same condition that we found it in, is the least we can do. I mean, the most that we can do is leave it in better condition, but the very least that we can do is leave it as nice as when we, you know, came in to it.

No. 2, you should support conservation organizations. Give them time, give them money, send cookies, support their efforts. You know, just help them to help us.

Anyway, hell yeah, you need a conservation message. And then, after you get back down off your soapbox, you’d better get back to the fish porn.

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T R O U B L E D WAT E R S

THE VAAL Photos and artwork by Deon TerBlanche www.deonterblanche.co.za

still awaiting emergency, short, middle and long term strategy from the Minister of Water and Sanitation Gugile Nkwinti. Industry also get away with murder on the pollution front. There are many anglers who are in denial of the problems and are happy to regurgitate subjective info as to how clean the water is, but I doubt very many have actually seen the raw sewage in Sebokeng and other townships which streams direct into the Vaal and the Riet. The conditions these communities live in is abhorrent and in violation of the SA Constitution and UN Human Rights Declaration. The local clinics and doctors are overflowing with locals with giardiasis, dysentery and worse. Only when we have the facts from testing can we all know exactly what we are up against. At present from a scientific viewpoint the probability of what danger is in the water is horrifying!”

The Water The Vaal is the third largest river in South Africa and a vital source of water to Gauteng and other areas. Both the Vaal and its tributaries like the Riet are also a vital source of entertainment and excellent fishing for hundreds of fly anglers chasing smallmouth yellowfish, largemouth yellowfish, mudfish and carp. The Wankers In short – humanity and the people who purport to lead us. The Vaal is in deep shit, literally and figuratively. It has been polluted for decades, but from flows of raw sewerage to industrial effluent, the current crisis is unprecedented. Chris Williams of FOSAF says, “The problem lies with municipalities, provincial and national government broken promises, lies and corruption. Since July, we are

The Way Forward Williams says, “The mid Vaal section of the river is still very polluted and currently anglers fishing there are playing Russian Roulette with their health. The only way we can objectively inform and educate is as follows. As FOSAF Northern Region we have aligned with Wits Medical School, Wits University and North West University to put out a scientifically-based public health education programme and also to test and independently analyse river water at hot spots via registered laboratories. Apart from E. coli and green algae we will also be monitoring for V. cholera (present at highly dangerous levels in the Barrage area from random scientific testing conducted recently), P. aeruginosa, other blue-green algae, neurotoxic cyanobacteria and legal/illegal pesticides.” Williams and his team of stalwarts need the help of regular anglers. If you are willing to test at your spot in the river on a regular basis as a ‘Citizen Scientist’ they welcome your support. To get involved, contact Chris Williams at chris@williamsandwilliams.co.za.

“THE MID VAAL SECTION OF THE RIVER IS STILL VERY POLLUTED AND CURRENTLY ANGLERS FISHING THERE ARE PLAYING RUSSIAN ROULETTE WITH THEIR HEALTH.” 26

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Stu Harley with a monster Nile Perch from Tourette Fishing's Cameroon destination


GUIDES

HIGH 5S TOURETTE FISHING’S BAREFOOT MOWGLI, FROM LESOTHO T O TA N Z A N I A , S U D A N A N D C A M E R O O N , S T U H A R L E Y I S T H E F E R A L G U I D E Y O U WA N T O N Y O U R S I D E . Photos: Micky Wiswedel, Tourette Fishing

5 best things about where you guide? 1. The people I work with, I’m very lucky to work with an incredible group of gentlemen. It really allows us to get stuck in and enjoy these incredible places. 2. The variety of places I get exposed to from gin clear sight fishing in Lesotho; to poling a boat in Tanzania for 20+lb tigers; to screaming at an incoming GT in Sudan. The list goes on. 3. That everyday, no matter how many times you’ve guided there or drifted or fished a certain beat, you can always learn something new or be surprised by something. And that you will often be wrong. 4. On any given day you can work with anyone from a carpenter to a teacher to a corporate CEO and share a common goal together. 5. Sometimes we get to fish these destinations ourselves, which is an absolute privilege. 5 fishing items you don’t leave home without before making a mission? 1. Sunglasses. I recently become a huge fan of Tonic sunglasses. 2. Leatherman wave. 3. Head torch. 4. The last chance knife (for when the big lizard or kitty cat gets me). 5. Communications i.e. cell phone, radio, sat phone etc. 5 bands to listen to while on a road trip? 1. Kygo. 2. Noep. 3. RÜfÜs. 4. Lane8. 5. Leon Bridges. 5 things you are loving right now? 1. “How I Built This,” with Guy Raz on NPR.

2. Danish Arctic adventurer Peter Freuchen’s book, Vagrant Viking. 3. Upskilling my cooking and experimenting with different spices and ingredients. 4. Slack lining. 5. I recently found a magnetic cookie dunker for your coffee cup. It prevents your cookie from breaking off and falling into the bottom of your cup. What a time to be alive! 5 indispensable flies for saltwater? 1. A good old olive and red semper. 2. Chartreuse and white clouser. 3. The double-barrelled popper. 4. Tan bedhead crab. 5. Tan Turneffe crab. 5 indispensable flies for freshwater? 1. Harley Shake ;) – tigerfish. 2. Black Baetis nymph – yellowfish. 3. Balbyter ant - yellowfish (thanks Ed Truter). 4. A large Rocket penis. I mean Shuttlecock. 5. Old faithful black woolly bugger for everything else! 5 favourite fly fishing destinations globally? 1. Cameroon! It’s still a very new thing, but I cannot wait to get up there again and continue to learn about this mind blowing fishery. 2. Sudan, endless miles of untouched flats. 3. Tanzania no matter how many times I head up there it will always be number one for me. 4. Haven’t fished there - but I am very eager to get to Mongolia to fish for taimen! 5. I haven’t been too or fished the Seychelles but I would love to take what I have learnt in Sudan over the past couple years and see how I fare over there.

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5 of the most difficult guiding experiences so far? 1. Malaria - the pole gets very heavy! 2. As most guides will say, managing expectations is a particularly tricky part of being a guide 3. Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day or days in a week. 4. Most people only see the smiling faces in the many “grip and grin” photos splashed across social media, but there are countless behind the scenes nightmares that come with operating in dangerous and remote areas. The positives do still massively outweigh the hard times. 5. I’m sure most guides will agree with me that many of their most infuriating moments will have something to do with hunching over a lifeless stinky two-stroke motor, with a strange mix of adrenaline and anger overwhelming you. 5 flies to pack (in the smuggler kit under your driver’s seat) to cover most species? 1. A tin of earth worms. 2. Tiny tan and white clouser. 3. Girdle bug. 4. A big robust hopper of sorts. You can trim it down for something delicate or you can even strip it or pop it like a maniac. 5. A size 18 nymph, so if things don’t work out you can always catch the baitfish. 5 people you would like to guide or fish with? 1. Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. 2. I was very lucky to have a good friend of mine Paul Dankwerts as a client on location. I would give anything to have more opportunities like this with my other friends. 3. Hank Patterson.

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Unbeknownst to Stu Harley and his pet GT, a rare Nubian Flats marine yeti had crept up behind him and was preparing to strike.


4. My dad first taught me to fly fish when I was about 3 years old. I would love the opportunity to be able to fish with him at one of our locations in Africa. 5. Another week in Tanzania with one of our clients Paul Lavins (86), what an inspiration!
 5 fish on your species hit list? 1. I’d like to catch just one, massive tarpon. 2. Another monster Nile perch. 3. I’ve never had a shot at a permit. 4. Dorado, to settle the age old argument of “tigerfish vs dorado?”. 5. Finally, there’s something that has turned into a four-year personal guiding battle that has taken me through all the five stages of grieving. The scoreboard stands at 11 hooked and none landed on the truly massive bumphead parrot fish in Sudan. These fish are averaging around 50 to 60kgs up there and I maintain that one day the stars will align. Standby for the photo. 5 shower thoughts that have occurred to you while fly fishing? 1. I wonder how many kilometres of anchor rope I’ve pulled in my life? 2. How the hell did that GT get from all the way over there, to all the way over here and now how is it all the way over there? 3. Why are trigger fish such assholes? There is no part of their anatomy they should make them as strong as they are! Fuck them! 4. Did they purposely make dyslexia hard to spell? 5. Who would win in mortal combat between a really big vundu (catfish) or a medium sized croc. This was a big debate amongst the camp staff in Tanzania last year. 5 of the most underrated species in your book? 1. Batfish (shovel or spade fish) 2. Bluefin trevally 3. Triggerfish 4. Yellow lipped emperor (usually a love hate relationship because it has snaked the fly out from in front of whatever fish you were about to hook) 5. Longfin jack!


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5 destinations on your bucket list? 1. Morocco. 2. Patagonia. 3. Iceland. 4. Bolivia. 5. Siberia. 5 things you would take up if you weren’t always fly fishing? 1. More surfing. 2. A very well trained dog. 3. Take more photos, out of my work environment i.e. portraiture. 4. Dabble in a bit of permaculture. 5. Mathematics, but I think that ship has sailed! 5 essential ingredients for an incredible mission? 1. Mosquito net! I think even if I was going to the poles I would still take it out of fear. 2. Sometimes the absence of a plan or a time line makes for the greatest mission. However, there are two sides to this coin. 3. Beers 4. Good mates 5. A common goal 5 common mistakes that most clients make? 1. Understandably, everyone has a day job and so guests often don’t make the time to practice for their trip. It really is important to get on the lawn and practice throwing that 12-weight into the wind. Often your week is a journey leading towards one critical shot. But quite often It will come in the first two minutes and you want to be ready for it! 2. I think unfortunately everyone can get caught up in the trophy game. 3. Often these destinations have far more to offer than just the fishing. It’s really important to take time to appreciate the other aspects of these incredible places. I.e. birds; wildlife; forests; mountains; sunsets etc. 4. Not buying destination specific fly packs. Often the food for the same species varies dramatically from destination to destination. 5. Not drinking enough water! Your last five casts were to…. Tiger fish on the Mnyera River, Tanzania.

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Forward, forward, grab! Stu Harley, guides a client into a Lesotho yellowfish. W W W. T H E M I S S I O N F LY M A G . C O M

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PORN FROM THE HORN D O D G Y O R D E L I G H T F U L ? PA R A D I S E O R P U R G AT O R Y ? IT DEPENDS ON WHETHER YOU’RE LOOKING FOR FISH O R P O L I T I C A L S TA B I L I T Y. W E S P O K E T O H O R N O F A F R I C A E X P E R T N I C O L A V I TA L I A B O U T W H AT M A K E S THIS AREA SO SPECIAL By Nicola Vitali Photos Richard Morton and Nicola Vitali

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Not all pollution is bad as Nicola Vitali proves by using a washed up W W W. T H E M I S S I O N F LY M A G . C O M fridge for shelter from the sun in Sudan.

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errorists in Somalia! Pirates in the Gulf of Aden! War in Yemen! The countries of the Horn of Africa and their counterparts across the Gulf of Aden are, for the most part, easy to dismiss in a blanket of fear and vague geographical ignorance. To do so, you’d not be entirely wrong. There are countries in the region that do have major geo-political problems (hello Somalia and Yemen), but then again many countries worldwide have war (e.g. Iraq), terrorism (e.g. Nigeria) and piracy (e.g. Indonesia), and yet we visit them or their neighbours (Iran, Cameroon etc) to fish for exciting species in otherworldy landscapes. The truth is, the world is not that scary if you know where to go and who to go with. Nobody knows this better than Nicola Vitali of Wild Sea Expedition. A Horn of Africa expert, he has at least four phone numbers we know of; Italian, Sudanese and Djibouti mobile numbers and a Sudan Sat Phone. Depending on which way the winds of peace, war and politics blow, you never know, he might have an Eritrean and a Socotran (Yemeni) number soon too. He talks to The Mission about how he landed up fishing in this area and just what the adventurous fly angler can expect.

The Mission (TM): What’s your background? Once a guide always a guide or did you have a previous life as a nice Italian boy from a good family? Nicola Vitali (NV): I come from a very simple family. My father died when I was four, and my mom was an employee. Nobody in my family was travelling or fishing. I got a degree in civil engineering, but all along I worked, saving money and travelled once or twice a year on budget trips. TM: Where is home base for you? NV: I live in a town near to Milano called Piacenza and in summer I stay in the hills close the town, on the river where I grew up. Unfortunately, that river is now empty with fish. I’m very connected to my roots, friends and in general what Italy has to offer, but when I need an overdose of nature I go work in the Red Sea TM: How the hell did you land up operating in places like Sudan, Yemen, Eritrea and Djibouti? NV: Since I was 20 years old I started talking with my friends about travelling to new places for fishing. We started going to the Maldives on self-organized trips and then slowly we started thinking about visiting lesser known countries. The first ‘real’ place I discovered was Socotra Archipelago in

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Yemen in 2010. Just because it looked good, we went there and found what is now considered the Holy Grail of popping for Giant Trevally. After that, I started to believe that I could survive in sportfishing somehow. Then, in 2011 the Arab Spring hit Yemen and I forgot about it for a while and faced a bit of a life crisis about what to do. One day I met a guy on Facebook from my city, and he had a friend who was a diving guide in Sudan who was interested in sportfishing. That guy brought the diving guide’s business card in to the pub where I was working, and that was the link to meeting the boat owner and the diving guide, who has become a big friend. I was invited on his boat as a guest twice in 2011 to check the potential of fishing in Sudan, and in 2012 we bought a catamaran together. The same year Yemen opened up again and I became both a guide and a company owner, all at once. Then, in 2015, the war exploded in Yemen and I moved to Eritrea and Djibouti, initially to do exploratory trips and then regular trips, although it is now tricky to do those in Eritrea. Basically, I have passion for unspoiled places, areas where I feel everything belongs to me and I am the first to discover and develop the place. That makes it worth all the effort. And, I keep pushing these areas, because, despite it being so wild, they are very close to Europe and Dubai, making it very easy for clients to get there. TM: What are the biggest misconceptions about where you guide? NV: Safety. People think there is war, kidnapping, piracy and every kind of risk, but it is just totally safe. Eritrea for example is the most quiet, clean and peaceful place I’ve seen, but for some reason people think it’s dangerous. It’s the same with Sudan. To me it’s a second home and I know everything about it. I feel much more in danger in Milano. TM: What does the Horn of Africa have that other fly fishing destinations do not? NV: Mystery, desolation and purity. There are so many flats, so many places still to explore, the environment is so harsh; a real no man’s land of mountains, rocks and corals. The contrast of colours between the sea and the land, there is nothing like that anywhere else. And the fishing is good too. TM: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen while guiding up there? NV: I would say that is more about the weirdest situation, than something I’ve seen. Once I was in Sana’a (the capital of Yemen) and while I was in the hotel we heard a bomb explosion. Everyone thought a bomb struck somewhere nearby, but eventually we found out it was just a huge firework to celebrate Yemen’s unity. The guide who was with me literally shitted in his pants.

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Another time, also in Yemen, while we were in the beautiful and peaceful islands of the Socotra Archipelago, when we got back to the main island where we could get phone signal, I discovered that Saudi Arabia had started to bomb Sana’a and there was no more airport. I arranged a local fishing boat and took my clients and the other tourists from Socotra to Oman – over 50 hours of navigation. It sounds dangerous, but it was pretty safe. Another time, my chef cook in Sudan had a heart attack and died during a trip with guests. The next morning, we had to find a new one in order to finish the trip. TM: Run us through some of the best fish you have caught on fly up there. NV: There are many fish I remember for different reasons. Like the first really good GT I got in Sudan the first year I started to fly fish seriously in saltwater. It was a fish close to 30 kg that I hooked in big waves, wind and dirty water while blindcasting. It was a crazy fight in the surf. Then I would say the first GT I caught on fly in Eritrea after four days of walking. It was nothing special in terms of size, something like 12 kg, but it was very special for me. Then there was my first Napoleon on fly that I caught in Djibouti. I saw three in a two-hour session and got two of them. There was also the first queenfish I got in Djibouti during a two-hour walk on my day off. I found

what I believe to be a crazy fishery for queens, since I’ve now seen so many. In both cases (the Napoleon and the queen) I went fishing with a 9-weight set up with a 30 lb leader and an olive semper. I don’t know why, but I just had a feeling that made me decide to use something too light for GT and too big for Permit, just in case I might see something else. It happened and the sense of discovery and the sensations of catching them made me very happy. Last but not least, the first big GT I got in Djibouti was special to me. It is a place that has required a lot of time and energy from me. The fish are there but they are difficult and while guiding it is always difficult to fish, so when I eventually set the hook on a 100 cm GT, I was over the moon. TM: Essential gear that never lets you down in the Horn of Africa? NV: I’m a very primitive angler and absolutely not a tackle maniac, but what I use now is: a Hardy Fortuna reel, Hardy Zephyrus rod, Costa sunglasses (only in mineral glass), Tiemco SP600 hooks, but unfortunately the 6/0 and 8/0 are out of production. While there are other good rods on the market I really think the Fortuna is the best reel on the market. It’s a true piece of art. Mine has survived three years of abuse with me - no maintenance, weeks at sea and it has caught some big fish.

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Nicola Vitali, a bluefin trevally, a blue jumpsuit and some blue balls 44

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“IF IT’S AN EXPLORATION IN SOME SHITHOLE, DON’T EXPECT A HIGH LEVEL OF COMFORT.” TM: Why is the trigger fishing so good in Sudan? NV: I don’t really know why Sudan is so good for triggers, because moving to the border of Egypt the number of triggers decreases, and going South close to Eritrea I found thousands of triggers, but only on some of the offshore islands, while in Eritrea despite the amount of fish, we found only one trigger in five days. In Djibouti there is a good population, but nowhere close to Sudan in terms of numbers. My feeling is that they need very good coral barrier and deep water out off the flat, these are the only two factors I can think of that make a difference. TM: What’s your go-to fly for triggers? NV: I believe that if presentation beats pattern with every fish, then you have to use something right for the fish you are searching for. With triggers this rule is at its most applicable. Basically trigger can take everything, as long as you cast well and retrieve the fly well. That said, of course sometimes one pattern is better than others, especially in shallow water or on very calm days when a small shrimp is what does the job, but overall I don’t really think there is a magic pattern. TM: What should people expect from a trip to these parts and what should they not hope for? NV: Right now, don’t expect a high level of comfort, but we are working on it. It depends on the kind of trip. If it’s an exploration in some shithole, it is good to expect the worst. If they come to Sudan, we’ve been running a proper destination there for years, but we are working to increase the comfort levels there as well. In terms of expectations, they have to know they will enjoy a great overall experience, in a great environment, with crazy guys and guides that will work their ass to provide them that experience, and that’s just something you can’t buy everywhere.

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PERMIT

TREASURE ISLAND K N O W T H Y S E L F S AY T H E W I S E E L D E R S . K N O W T H Y B A C K YA R D S AY T H E W I S E O L D A N G L E R S . STU WEBB IS NEITHER WISE NOR OLD, BUT HE KNOWS THE MILKY LAGOON OF ASTOVE AND ITS D I F F I C U LT D E N I Z E N S

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he only proven treasure island in the Seychelles! According to the publication Outer Islands of Seychelles, “a hoard consisting of 107 silver coins, some forks and spoons, two shoe buckles and a boatswain’s whistle was uncovered on Astove in 1911.” With the amount of inaccessible land mass surrounding the lagoon and bits of weathered ship wrecks, anchors and chains that litter the flats, shore line and the famous wall, it’s not hard to imagine buried treasure once you have seen the place. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure if there ever was a treasure it was plundered years ago by some salty sea dogs. They can keep those shoe buckles because as far as I’m concerned, the quote was taken out of context because the whole time the treasure has been hiding in plain sight. Astove has in the recent history had a bunch of exposure for its phenomenal flats fishing. Not to take anything away from flats fishing, but that is relatively common claim to fame among the Outer Atolls of the

Seychelles. One thing that is entirely unique to Astove (and it gives me a slight chub just thinking about), is the permit-riddled milky waters of the lagoon. Much like an estuary with mangroves, flats and an abundance of life, Astove’s lagoon has a mouth that behaves like a bottle neck. Over the course of the neap cycle the lagoon slowly drains, not entirely, but enough to flush out the larger fish, because the height and speed of the tide can’t sustain enough pressure to keep the water in. The spring tides however are a different story. You will know springs are coming when someone slips a little lagoon prospecting mission into his plan for the next day - that and the two and a half meter tides. The springs shunt huge amounts of water through the tiny mouth and this is obviously a favourite time to target the massive GTs that hold in the current like trout (yes I did compare GTs to trout but with an attitude problem and the balls to back it). At the same time, unseen mostly, permit slide in and head for the upper reaches of the lagoon to spots like

Story and Photos Stu Webb

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“I’M NOT LOOKING FOR A FISH SHAPE MOST OF THE TIME. A TAILING FISH IS GREAT, BUT MOST FISH ARE SPOTTED SUBSURFACE. HEAD DOWN IN THE MUD, THE DARK DORSAL AND SELF-TANNED BACK IN PLAIN SIGHT, THEY LOOK JUST LIKE A HALF SUNK STICK.” Gold Dust, Candy Shop and Bear Back Bill’s to feed hard on a plethora of crabs, snails and other unidentified aquatic life that lurks in the milky blue water. The springs have a huge tidal difference that fall and rise at such a pace that the lagoon continues to fill, not having enough time to drop before the next high tides force more water into the lagoon. It is usually two or three cycles into the springs, when the fish have had time to get way up into the lagoon and are settled, that a unique situation unfolds. Once these fish move into the milky waters of the upper lagoon it’s on! The TMC (Treasure Map Crab) sells out, fresh leaders are made up and dinner conversation usually revolves around trying to demystify the lagoon permit. There is an incredible amount of fine silt that carpets the lagoon bottom, particularly in the upper part that doesn’t get a huge concentrated flood over the springs. Instead there’s a gradual outflow which gets topped up by water forcing its way through the porous coral below. Even the slightest breeze clouds up the water, which at first sight looks baron and unfishable. Spotting these fish can be pretty tricky until you see your first one and are converted into a believer. I have had guests want to pull the plug 20 minutes into a session after seeing the colour of the water, saying, “we will never see anything in here.” Classic non-believers.

I’m not looking for a fish shape most of the time. A tailing fish is great, but most fish are spotted subsurface. Head down in the mud, the dark dorsal and self-tanned back in plain sight, they look just like a half sunk stick. It’s very easy to get excited when you see a piece of sea grass or turtle turd in the distance that catches the corner of your eye, but that’s why I get so obsessed with these fish. My eyes burn with the anticipation of spotting one. It doesn’t take long for everything to start looking fishy and when I do actually see one, I always do a double take because I was literally looking in that exact spot two seconds ago. Often, it’s a mock-permit. “Perrr…! Na na na it’s just a turd.” If you do manage to spot one, most of the time your window of opportunity to make a shot is pretty tight, because the fish has only got to move twenty centimetres deeper and you have lost him. The appeal of straining your eyes and spending time covering water that is extremely tough to spot in, is simply that these fish are up on these flats to feed and feed hard. Their own window of opportunity is constantly closing before they have to head back out to sea. Nine time out of ten, you see him before he sees you and usually your cast will be a maximum of 15 metres, but most are within five metres off the skiff. The sediment layer is usually above his eyes so unless you drop a beer bottle on the deck or bang the pole on the side of the skiff, that fish

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is chilled, just doing his thing looking for a snack. This is where making an accurate shot increases your strike rate. He can’t see very far in that murky water so you have to land the fly pretty close, less than half a rod length ahead and across his nose, give it time to sink and draw it across his path. The exciting thing about fishing for these guys in the silt is you don’t get many refusals, not like fishing in super clear water where you can see it all go down - the fish follows, snakes, turns away, then turns back on the fly, inspects it, makes as if to eat, then sees you and spooks. In the silt if the fly comes past his nose, he is going to lunge for it. In my mind, it’s just what he is programmed to do; the water is dirty, he knows there is food there, he hasn’t seen you and he has no time to inspect the fly before he loses it in the murky water. It goes both ways though. At the end of last season Kyle Reed and I had the luxury of no guests and a spring cycle with the place all to ourselves. We had spent the entire season puzzling over these fish; sharing and analysing their behaviour, the tides, wind direction, light conditions and anything else we could possibly count as relevant. We had become tormented by the whole scenario, constantly telling the same stories to each other or anyone that would listen. Over the course of the season we had both had some epic sessions and sightings, but now it was our turn. Typically, the South-East monsoon winds kicked in pretty hard, but screw that for a bag of chips, we weren’t going to let a little 25-knot breeze stop us! If a light breeze, say 5-knots clouds up the place on par with 50% water to 50% low fat milk; a 25-knot wind is like four heaped tea spoons of Horlicks dumped into full cream, stirred twice and scattered with the crumbs of a chocolate Romany Cream biscuit. Between that and poling a skiff directly into the wind, we had our work cut out

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for us. If we went with the wind we would blow past the fish without even knowing he was there, in knee deep silt. To top it off the sun proceeded to put us over his knee, lift our skirts (ed. New Astove guides uniform?) and spank us, spending most of the time tucked away behind blankets of fast-moving ominous clouds. In short – crap conditions, but we had nothing to lose so we gave it a shot. The first few hours of day one we were pumped, poling true and hitting up all the usual spots with not even a spooked fish to try and agonize over. Often the fish get spooked by sharks or turtles and come completely out of the water. It’s neither a controlled jump nor elegant, but it’s a confidence booster for anglers that they are close by. Ciggies were burnt twice as fast in the wind, fly line blew and wrapped around anything that wasn’t a flat surface and by the time we called it a day, we had not seen a fish. The following day we decided that an afternoon session might be better, let the water drop out so they were a little easier to find. They were! That day and the next two, we had the most incredible lights out permit action either of us has ever seen and in the most unfavourable conditions at a spot that is now known as Redemption Ridge. We must have had shots at around 30 tailing fish moving in schools, rising and vanishing in the Horlicks-stained water, shattering our little minds! Kyle had a shot at a fish literally half a meter from the bow of the boat. It was completely unaware we were there, but the wind was gusting so hard that even with his incredible salt water nymphing technique, he couldn’t get the fly to drop and sit where it needed to be before the fish made us. Ultimately, we did manage to get a fish to eat. A definite team fish, it wasn’t important which one of us caught it, it was just the fact that we managed to get it done.


NEW ZEALAND

IN THE HANDS OF THE GODS Story Jeff Forsee Photos Greg Houska

WHEN JEFF FORSEE FINDS HIMSELF BETWEEN A FISH AND A HARD PLACE ON A BACK COUNTRY NEW ZEALAND RIVER, A T I TA N I C B AT T L E E N S U E S


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reg said it was the biggest fish he’d seen since we had been up there. That psyched me out a little bit because he had been guessing seven pounders at five, and five pounders at three up to that point. He was fresh off the plane from Colorado so it was a forgivable offence, but the fact remained he was underestimating instead of overestimating. The water was clear, the river was small and he and our buddy Ben were tucked up in the bush just a few meters away from the trout so I listened to their detailed commentary intently. I think it’s safe to say that any experienced New Zealand fly angler worth their weight in pheasant tails would give even the most veteran sports broadcaster a run for their money on the play by play. We had spent a couple of days’ bush bashing to get to this point and were very much in the headwaters of the system by now. The terrain was tiring and our packs were heavy but no matter how exhausted we became we were still full of excitement and anticipation and that kept us pushing forward. During our march we would occasionally catch a glimpse of the sheer, lichen-covered granite that stretches in no direction but skyward. The valley floor is less than a kilometre or so wide and probably twice that vertically so those little sightings into the heavens above left us remarkably overwhelmed. The bush is like something

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from a real life Land Before Time. The valley floor is full of peculiar looking plants and trees that always seem to be dripping with water even when it hasn’t rained for days. The shimmering leaves, flowers and lush mosses are so vivid in colour that it feels like Zeus and co. maybe got a little carried away with their Instagram filters when they were designing this place. The icy blue river contrasts so deeply with the striking green surroundings that it leaves my heart racing almost every time I lay eyes on it. Every stone, no matter its size or depth in the river is visible. It’s almost impossible to articulate the degree of purity of the water in a place like this, there is something truly virgin about it. To say that it is as clear as the water that flows from the tap in my house or the bottles of gin in my cupboard would be a severe understatement. To say that it is as pure as the water that flows through the Garden of Eden or the holy water at St. Peter’s Basilica would be disappointingly inadequate. This place is heaven on earth. It’s easy to let your mind drift away from the fishing when you are in those kinds of surrounds so the farther we’d moved up the river the more I had to remind myself of what we were doing up there in the first place. Or at least what we told ourselves we were doing up there. So I began to mentally prepare for the trout. I knew that opportunities would be limited and that there would be encounters with some serious fish. Fish that had not only size but scrap on

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their side. In the past I’d seen them tail walk around corners so fast they’d left my head spinning. At some point or another Ben, Greg and I had all guided at the same camp in Alaska’s far west. If you’re going to survive a season in the Alaskan bush with a bunch of other fish-brained degenerates, then you probably have a formidable ability to give and receive shit. I most certainly honed my skills there. So needless to say that on this little reunion in the Holy land there was no shortage of banter. Plus, the boys were already on the board and I’m pretty sure I farmed my first shot that morning so this was no small chance at redemption. I did a total rerig. I re-tied all the knots, lengthened the leader and tied on a solid hook. “Control the controllables Jeff, just like you tell your clients.” I muttered to myself on the river’s edge. I scanned the pool for line hazards and conclusively realized it would be an ideal place to play out a big fish. As my first cast laid down softly, the boys called from their hide that the trout had just swung in the other direction to eat a natural. This was my indication to start breathing again and make another cast. A minute later my next presentation found the same seam and as soon as it did my fate fell into the hands of the Gods. A slow unsuspecting rise followed by a cliché God-save-the-Queen mantra resulted in a textbook hook set. Once hooked the trout was hot off the block and totally erratic. I chased her left, she went right, I thought up, she went down. It was like watching an out of control bottle rocket whizz across a dark and drunken back yard. I’d cross the river and she’d go back to the other side. It was a true ass-kicking and the boys were loving every minute of it from their new, not-so-concealed position on the bank.

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I KEPT MY LINE TIGHT AND GENTLY RAN MY FINGERS DOWN THE LENGTH OF MY LEADER. MY FACE PARTIALLY SUBMERGED IN THE RIVER, SMALL WAVES LAPPED AGAINST MY CHEEKS AND I COULD TASTE THE COOL MOUNTAIN WATER ON MY LIPS. Finally, for a period of about three seconds I thought I might actually be in control. Three seconds. Off she went again to the other side of the river while I chased after her, stumbling over every rock along the way. Somewhere in the middle of the pool was a big boulder she had clearly spent time hiding underneath in the past. As I fumbled in pursuit I kept my rod high to keep my line clear, but with little control she wiggled into her lair and instantly the battle came to a screeching halt. Muted head shakes affirmed our connection but soon even that had ceased. I changed my rod angle again and tried to pull her out from below but got nothing in return. Ben joined in and carefully prodded around with his net, we even took turns stomping on the boulder. In real time a couple of minutes had passed and we assumed the inevitable had finally happened. I don’t know if it was my innate optimism as an angler or desperation but still hanging on to a thread of hope I kept my line tight and gently ran my fingers down the length of my leader. My face partially submerged in the river, small waves lapped against my cheeks and I could taste the cool mountain water on my lips. As my fingers rounded the smooth edge of the granite boulder, tracing past the distal tippet knot I worked to locate the Goddard Caddis that the fish assuredly ate. Expecting to find the fly wedged in a corner of stone I felt a sudden and unmistakable resistance. “Here we go!” I tried to shout but instead mostly coughed up water. Evidently the trout was now well rested and ready for round two. She tore off downstream as I incredulously straddled the boulder in the middle of the river. Looking like a dumbass kid in front of a grocery store on a nickel pony ride, half of me wanted to cry and half of me wanted to laugh. I was deflated and my forearms fatigued, but I could still hear Greg’s shutter clicking as he continued to document every second of this junk show as he stood perched on a rock high above the river. With not much choice I hopped off of my little pony and got back to the task at hand. Ben was close in tow as we rushed downriver only to turn back upriver yet again. At the top of the pool she tried to climb to the next run but playing her in the stronger current allowed me to lift her head up for the first time. Ben and I both recognized the fleeting opportunity so I held strong; pushing the rod, the tippet and the hook to their breaking points as Ben slipped her into the net. Sweet victory. The three of us admired her in the net, she was immaculate. She was pounds less than Greg’s hype, but she proved that the Gods can be great as often as they can be cruel here in Valhalla.

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PROFILE

THE NATURAL SHROUDED IN APOCRYPHAL MYTH AND URBAN LEGEND, YOU’RE MORE L I K E LY T O H E A R A M A R K Y E L L A N D S T O R Y B E F O R E Y O U M E E T H I M . T U D O R C A R A D O C - D AV I E S T R I E S T O S E PA R AT E FA C T F R O M F I C T I O N . Photos Jono Shales & Mark Yelland archive

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ave you ever noticed that fly fishing is increasingly populated by people who look like they stepped out of an outdoor catalogue? Tall, rangey men with pilgrim’s beards and naturally beautiful women with dazzling white smiles. All impressively fit, healthy and unfairly blessed on the genetic front, they dress in designer fly fishing kit, travel the world as brand ambassadors, hashtag the crap out of Instagram (where they are often described as a “Public Figure”) and generally live the impossible dream. Sometimes it’s hard to identify with that. I don’t look like that, most of my fly fishing friends certainly do not. I don’t fish like that. It doesn’t seem real. They feel makebelieve, the Disney/Mattel unicorns, mermaids and the fairies of fly fishing. You want real? Try Mark Yelland. A preternaturally talented boytjie from the West Rand who lucked in to fly fishing straight out of college and stuck around for decades, Mark has ticked almost all the boxes of a life well fished. He’s rubbed shoulders with the gurus, run fly fishing stores, opened up new areas, represented his country at the highest level, taught hundreds of people to cast and fish and seen more salad days than a fat vegetarian. In the annals of Southern African fly fishing history and myth, the stories of Mark’s feats precede him and even if only half the stories connected to him are true, he’s not like you and me. He’s a legend. Before I met Mark at the Jolly Roger for an interview over pizza and beer, I did what anyone nowadays does when they know nothing. I stalked him on Facebook to try get a sense of who he is. I then spoke to his friends and lastly, I spoke to the man himself. Combined in no particular order, this is what I found. Read into it what you will.

RETAIL Over the last two years, whenever we’ve featured South Africans with both local and global standing in the fly fishing world, many people start their stories with, “I was standing in Mark Yelland’s shop when…” For Exmouth Fly Fishing’s Jono Shales, it was where the fly fishing bug first truly bit. For veteran guide, Arno Matthee, it was where he got the call to go to the Seychelles for the first time, a move that would shape his career. Things just appeared to happen in Mark’s orbit or at the very least, within range of his shop. Which one of the shops Mark worked for? It didn’t matter. Stories emanate from all of them. His first fly fishing store job was at The Fly Fisherman in Pietermaritzburg. He got the job there after meeting Tom Sutcliffe, the doyenne of South African trout fishing. Tom says, “Sometime back in the 80s I met up with a young man by the name of Mark Yelland at a special place, the well-known Old Dam above the Dargle Valley in KwaZulu-Natal. Mark had phoned to ask for a day’s fishing, preferably, as he put it, on the Old Dam, which even back then had already earned the mantle of a hallowed water. And it deserved the reputation. It was a sublime place to fish; islands of tall reeds flanking deep, clear water, weed beds with promising holes as wide and as deep as two car garages and plenty of hog-sized browns and rainbows. It still is a hot fishing spot from what I hear. Mark back then was an enthusiastic young fly fisher with a thatch of blond hair, a persistent smile and a total disregard for time, at least when it threatened to intrude on his fishing. He was as keen as fresh horseradish sauce, and he did well that day, wrestling a few decent fish out of the dam (we kept them in those days) and enjoying the fire and camp stew that night in the 125-year-old house that was perched in a glade of trees like a lookout above the Old Dam.

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Mark with a Mac Tuna as the ozzies call them, we know them as Eastern Tuna, Bonito or Kawa Kawa. 66

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“Hugh Huntley and I, along with Roger Baert, then owned and ran The Fly Fisherman, South Africa’s first fly fishingonly retail shop. We happened to need a young man behind the counter at the time and it was a no-brainer to offer Mark the job (especially after watching him cast), which he accepted, and so he began his long and very successful career in retail fly fishing. He was later joined in The Fly Fisherman by another talented young man, Mike Harker, and the two of them made a great, if difficult to manage, team. In essence they were both so vis-befok that managing them was like herding kittens; on the flip side, they brought so much value to the business that, to be honest, we just had to overlook their growingly frequent relapses into bouts of fulminant fish fever.” HIGHS & LOWS In a retail career that spanned three decades and took him from Pietermaritzburg back to Johannesburg, exploring the Vaal, making a name for himself at Sterkfontein and taking him all over the world, Mark saw both the zenith of fly fishing in the 80s and early 90s and the nadir of the late 90s and noughties. Business partners, including Tom and Hugh, came and went. The Fly Fisherman grew, even more, adding another store in Johannesburg, one in Dullstroom, Cape Town and Richards Bay. Eventually, through the mismanagement of one of Mark’s former partners. Mark sold his shares and opened up a new fly shop called…The Fly Shop, with Andy Coetzee (co-author of Fishing Yourself Single) and Arno Laubscher of Scientific Fly. Eventually, when the global economy took a turn for the worst, after 22 years spent in fly fishing retail Mark sold The Fly Shop and quit retail for good. Fortunately for the hundreds of people he has guided and taught, Mark wasn’t done with fly fishing. There was no way he was ever going to work in any other game. “When I was in the industry I always wanted to do some guiding. I’d met some high powered guys but for some reason, maybe because people felt I’d push products on them, guys were reluctant to let me guide them” Mark says. “When I got out of the shop, that’s what led to what I am doing now – guiding/teaching/fly bumming.” FEVER On the subject of fly bumming and shared addiction, Mark’s friend and former business partner Andy Coetzee tells of this one time at Bazaruto Island, they found themselves just out of casting distance of a school of bonito. Frothing, Mark jumped in a float tube and drifted off into the current to go get them, consequences be damned. It wasn’t the first time Andy almost lost Mark. When Alphonse Island was first opened up, Andy and Mark were on the staff.

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“We were told to go and check out St Francois Atoll,” says Andy. “It was September, with the howling south east monsoons pumping. We took a skiff, from Alphonse through Canal la Mort, which is Dead Man’s Channel, over to St Francois. The seas were mountainous but we went early and bumbled our way out. The wind wasn’t blowing too hard. We were fishing the flats, catching bonefish and just exploring as much as we could in one day. Mark just couldn’t get enough, clubbing bonefish after bonefish. He was in heaven, while I was starting to get nervous. We didn’t have radio, nobody knew where we were, it was past 3pm and I could not get him to go back. Like a heroin addict he wanted just one more fish and then just one more. Eventually I had to say, ‘I am going to either leave without you or break your rod,’ so he came with me, but under extreme duress. He was literally frothing at the mouth at the fishing. I can still see it in my head, looking at Mark with those huge seas in the background, this high big grin on his face literally surrounded by thousands and thousands of bonefish.”

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BIRDS Something else that puts a grin on his mug are birds. Mark is big into birding. Having recently returned from fishing with Jono Shales in Exmouth, mixed in with photos of queenfish and sailfish was an excited post about a pair of pink parrots that landed on the lawn. He might have even been more stoked about the parrots than the fish. FISH PHOTOGRAPHY Mark has a specific style in fish photos. He doesn’t look at the camera, but instead at the fish’s head. I’m not sure if there’s some kind of deep level of warrior respect going on there or mind control. TECH He claims to be a bit of a “techno-dinosaur” yet he does most of his business (guiding and casting clinics) on social media and has the shorthand down to a fine art – “gr8!” MEMORIES Loads of people tag him in throwback fishing posts, asking, “Do you remember this day Mark?” There are

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so many of them, I get the feeling that although Mark leaves positive comments about the memory, he’s seen so many days like this on the Vaal or in the salt, that surely he cannot remember them all. Perhaps that’s the sign of a good guide. Someone for whom good fishing is par for the course. SPORTSBALL Mark is a huge sports fan who wears his heart on his sleeve on Facebook. Some of my favourites include: “Lions you biscuits!” “Moto 2/3 & GP make f1 look like the joke it is! “Did you know that Brad Pitt has four brothers living in South Africa!? One is a farmer his name is Mielie Pitt, the other a mechanic Tapitt, pilot Cock Pitt and the fourth a Stormers supporter Stu Pitt!” FLY TYING For such a good fly fisherman, Mark rather surprisingly, hardly ties flies at all. That hasn’t stopped him from catching fish. Mark says, “Most guys will tell you that I tie a Clouser minnow and a red-eyed damsel and that’s my bundle. I was never the one with full fly boxes. I’m fortunate to fish with some great fly-tyers and I either buy or cadge from them. A lot of people say you can’t fish a world champs unless you’re a fly-tier. I’ll never forget fishing the Commonwealth in Scotland. It was my last year of competing. I was one of the senior citizens in the team and I went across to where the youngsters on our team were staying to watch them tie flies. I’m fascinated by flies. All fly-tyers have a signature. I’m not that impressed with clinical flies but a fly that jumps out and says, “fish me”. The youngsters finished tying and picked up all their flies and there was a little wet fly lying on the table with pheasant tail, palmered hackle and an orange butt. I asked about it and was told it was a reject and that I could have it. I won the next session on that fly.” COMPETITION When it comes to competition fishing, Mark took part in in it for the better of a decade and won silver at the World Champs. “Competitive angling is not everyone’s cup of coffee. A lot of people are critical about it because fly fishing is not supposed to be competitive, but the irony is that they are always happy to use the ideas from competition fishing. I fished competitively for 10 years and enjoyed it. It was predominantly Czech nymphing. That’s why now I fish mainly dry fly on the Vaal and from my boat.” PATTERN VS PRESENTATION When it comes to flies, Mark does not obsess over the latest patterns and materials. His take is that if you get the fly in the right place, you’re in the money.

“I believe guys go over the top studying the insects. The irony is that the yellows will eat most well-presented flies. Two of the top performing flies on the Vaal is the Elk Hair Caddis and the Adams, old patterns that outperform most others. Presentation outdoes the pattern for me easily. On the Vaal – you’ve literally got to throw it on to a soup plate.” GEAR For someone who worked in fly fishing retail for 22 years you’d imagine Mark would be a bit of a gearhead, but despite his history and his role as a Hardy ambassador, Mark is not too easily awed by the latest and greatest gear. “When the Vaal opened up in the late 80s early 90s, we were importing rods that were made in China, shipped to the USA then shipped to South Africa, which made the price totally unreasonable. So, with companies like Jandi and Stealth, we started importing rods direct from China. Quality, 4-piece graphite rods for under R1000. Too many people judge the quality of a fly rod by the price tag. You can have all the tackle you like, but if you don’t know how to use it, it’s no use to you.” Be that as it may, good gear definitely makes a difference. Dean Riphagen, one of the owners of Johannesburg store Frontier Fly Fishing saw Mark almost come a cropper on a trip to South America. “We went on a three week trip to Argentina and started off fishing a spring creek called the Orrojo Pescada. We had two days on the creek and were then headed for the Rio Rivadavia. Mark arrived with a pair of wading boots which had seen better days. The felt sole on the one boot was hanging half off the boot and the felt on the other boot was peeling away. On the first day on the Orrojo Pescada the felt sole on the worse boot fell off completely. That wasn’t great but the going was easy and although Mark was wading with one boot which had plastic against the ground, it was okay. Then on the first day on the Rio Rivadavia (a freestone stream) the other sole fell off the second boot. So for the rest of the trip Mark was doing a Torvill and Dean (no pun intended) on all the freestone streams we subsequently fished – skating all over the rocks due to a lack of traction.” FISHINESS Mark consistently catches fish when others don’t. He’s one of those guys. Pinpoint casting helps, but there’s something else to it, a sort of instinctive understanding of what it will take to get an eat. One of his oldest friends Dennis de Klerk says, “In the late ‘80’s I visited The Fly Fisherman in Pietermaritzburg to buy a kick boat. The young tall blond, (with lots of

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Mark with a solid Exmouth Queenfish, using a trusty chartreuse Clouser. 70

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hair) very friendly and helpful guy who helped me was none other than Mark Yelland. I had just started the Maluti Fly Fishing Club. To promote the club and widen our knowledge I invited him up to Sterkies, which we had been fishing for a few years. Needless to say our nine members managed three fish together and Mark caught 13. It was an eye opener to say the least. His ability to see fish and his accurate casting on Sterkies makes him the absolute fundi here, often taking multiple largies.” This ability applies in the salt too. Andy Coetzee says, “At The Fly Shop we were taking trips out to St Joseph. When Mark came back from one of the trips, we asked him if he got any permit. It turns out he had caught plenty…on a chartreuse Clouser. While everyone was obsessing over and persisting with merkins and other crab patterns, Mark got so frustrated he changed to the clouser and clubbed the permit. They wouldn’t leave that thing alone. That’s what Mark’s ability is. He’s got an intuitive sense of fish behaviour. He knows what fish are going to be interested in. There’s something in his makeup, his DNA, that allows him to read the water and almost always get a pull.” NATURAL ABILITY Everyone thinks they look good when casting, but only a few people truly do. Mark may look more like a rugby player than he does an artist, but to hear anyone talk about him cast and you realise there’s something special about it. Tom Sutcliffe saw this early on. He says, “I have fished with Mark on and off, on stillwaters, rivers and streams, for years now; well anyway long enough to gauge his abilities with a fly rod and his sense about fish. He is good to watch, which some fly fishers, no matter how good they are, are not, though it’s not something I can easily find words for. I guess with Mark his most important attributes as a fly fisher are his ability to read both the water and the fish and his casting skills, especially in closely confined spaces, like tightly bushed streams. The really noticeable thing about his casting is it is so unlaboured, so smooth, and so accurate, that it reminds me a lot of a well-oiled sniper’s rifle. But what pisses me off about it all is how easily fly fishing unfolds for him, as if he were just born to it, as if it was all as natural as breathing in and out. When you see that in an angler, take notice!” Gifted angler, sublime caster, lover of birds, fish and the Lions rugby team. If a man is the sum of his memories plus his actions, Mark’s been blessed. If you happen to see him out there on the Vaal or at Sterkies, perhaps in a float tube off Mozambique or dancing across slippery South American river rocks, executing effortless pin-point casts, be sure to greet him with, “Mark, you biscuit!” Then open up your fly box and watch him catch all the fish.

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L AT ES T R E L E A S ES

SALAD BAR SIMMS – G3 WADERS 17 years ago, as the youngest guide on the Ponoi, when a shipment of waders arrived from Simms, Keith RoseInnes of Alphonse Island Fishing Company got last pick. He says, “that meant I got a pair of waders two sizes too big so I look like the Michelin Man in them.” He has had that pair of Simms G3 waders for 17 years now and save for some minor running repairs from time to time they have served him extremely well from fishing for salmon in Russia to Taimen in Mongolia and everywhere else in between. The G3s have been tweaked and upgraded over the years and now come in camo, sport a removable flip‐ out Tippet Tender™ pocket with dual‐entry zippers and retractor docking station and feature the vital 4-layer GORE-TEX Pro Shell in the seat and legs and 3-layer GORE-TEX Pro Shell in the upper. Despite Simms trying multiple times to replace his original pair over the years, Rose-Innes is still loyal to his original G3s. The lesson? Buy quality because it lasts. www.simmsfishing.com, www.frontierflyfishing.co.za

SIMMS – INTRUDER SALTWATER BOOTS “Intruder alert! Saltwater flats god approaching. Triggers let down your guard.” Whether you’re surf or flats-focused, Simms new Intruder Boots will protect you from the worst nature (sharp coral) or man (broken glass) can throw at you. Designed to be worn barefoot or with wading/ guard socks, they feature a built-in neoprene sock, a grippy Vibram outsole and a folddown gravel guard to keep pesky sand and small stones out. www.simmsfishing.com, upstreamflyfishing.co.za

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REDINGTON – BUTTER STICK Smooth, mellow and guaranteed to give you mild heart palpitations when you hook a fish, Redington’s brilliant new Butter Stick is back. Built from T-Glass construction on their Heritage Taper in spiffy retro stripes (the colours of the 1980s German Disco Team), this cruisey slow action rod begs you to slow down Big Lebowski-style and delicately present flies wherever you want them. That’s just like our opinion, man. www.redington.com, www.xplorerflyfishing.co.za

PATAGONIA – STORMFRONT HIP PACK If the four horsemen of the Apocalypse were into fanny packs and fly fishing, we wager theirs would look like this (but theirs would smell of death). A fully welded, waterproof hip pod designed to stand up to foul weather with a burly 100% nylon core fabric, treated on the exterior with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish and on the interior with a TPU single-side coating, the Stormfront® Hip Pack is your bum chum for any conditions. The 100% waterproof TIZIP® zipper resists corrosion and provides quick access to the main compartment which holds fly boxes, a small camera or extra clothing. Add in the exterior zippered stash pocket and lash straps for a rod tube or jacket and you’re all set to Armagedditon! www.patagonia.com, www.flyfishing.co.za

HARDY – ULTRALITE MTX REEL When you brand your product using funky low-cal beer language like “lite” you know a company is backing this feature and at 122gm for the 3/4/5, 142gm for the 5/6/7 and 167gm for the 7/8/9, Hardy’s Ultralite MTX most definitely lives up to the description. How do they do it? A revolutionary hybrid carbon/alloy fibre frame design. Throw in a carbon fibre disc drag system, colour coded drag regulator, captive spool release and high line capacity and you have a strong, light, sexy-ass reel, one we think would be perfectly suited in the 7/8/9 to light salt species like grunter and bonefish. www.hardyfishing.com

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RIO – DIRECT CORE JUNGLE SERIES They may sport a dorado on the box cover, but when Simon Gawesworth of Rio gave us a few of these lines at ICAST earlier this year we knew we’d be testing them on the dorado’s distant Gondwanaland cousin, the tigerfish. Designed to withstand the heat of tropical and jungle destinations each line is built on RIO’s low-memory DirectCore. That means they are extremely easy to stretch and they lie perfectly straight on the water, yet retain the stiffness needed to cast in hot conditions. With a short, quick-loading head that will easily cast and turnover large flies (hello Tiger Clouser), and a range of density options, you’re covered for all equatorial sweat-zone species, conditions and waters. www.rioproducts.com, www.xplorerflyfishing.co.za

SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS – AMPLITUDE TROPICAL TITAN Sporting Scientific Angler’s new AST PLUS slickness additive, this is one of those lines that will shoot far, last long and behave itself under challenging tropical saltwater conditions. With a high-contrast sighter to identify the back of the line when fighting fish, a floating texture on the tip section for better floatation and a shooting texture on the running line for longer casts, it’s designed for throwing big flies at big fish in sweltering conditions. Think tarpon, permit, snapper and redfish. The tropical titan also features a camo tip, giving you power, stealth, and durability and ultimately allowing you to be the best sweaty, heavy-breathing fish-stalker the tropics has ever seen. www.scientificanglers.com

FISHPOND - CUTBANK GEAR BAG Boats are designed to sit on top of the water yet wonder of wonders a shitload of water gets into a boat. That often means that stuff that’s meant to stay dry, gets wet. Fishpond’s Cutbank Gear Bag is designed to take care of that for you and help you organise all your tackle in one easily-accessed bag that’s just the right size for the hatch on most boats. Made from Fishpond’s coated, recycled TPU nylon, the Cutback Gear Bag has YKK water-resistant zippers, a welded construction with a moulded top and bottom and plenty of clever pockets and compartments. fishpondusa.com, www.frontierflyfishing.co.za

PATAGONIA – FRICTION BELT Attacked by a snake and need a tourniquet? Lost your roof rack straps? Eaten too much all winter? Into auto-erotic asphyxiation? The Patagonia Friction belt is your one-stop fastening shop. It not only keeps your pants in place, but it’s also designed to double up for any sort of strapping task you might have. www.patagonia.com, www.flyfishing.co.za

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TRUMP THIS!

RAYMOND & ROSIE, MAVUNGANA FLYFISHING’S TOP FLY TYERS. ONE A DULLSTROOM GURU, THE OTHER A JOBURG GENIUS. HOW DO THEY MATCH UP?

MR SHAMWARI Fly tier: Raymond Mutemeri Aka: Mr Shamwari Advanced skill: Walking, talking fly tying encyclopaedia. Favourite fly tying tool: Renzetti Presentation 4000 vice. Could have been: President of Zimbabwe. with When not tying can be found:  Discussing Zimbabwean politics

his Zim-bros. Hardest pattern to tie: Size 24 Humpy (the eyes are not what they used to be…..) Easiest pattern to tie: Buck-tailed Clouser Favourite large fly order: Flies that catch fishermen….. Worst large fly order: The one the client wanted yesterday. Fly tying fuelled by: Strong Tanganda tea from the Eastern Highlands

of Zim. Most likely to be played by: Denzel Washington Dream fly fishing destination: Royal Coachman Alaska. Latest and greatest fly trying material: Sculpin heads sport. What do you most like about fly fishing? The complexity of the

HIGHEST WINS

NGUNI Fly tier: Rose Mnguni  Aka: Nguni! Advanced skill: singing and fly tying at the same time Favourite fly tying tool: Xplorer Crown Vice   Could have been: a soldier,   When not tying can be found: in the bathroom thinking about life!  Hardest pattern to tie: Saltwater Shrimp Easiest pattern to tie: Red eyed damsel  Favourite large fly order: Papa Roach Worst large fly order: Brush flies  Fly tying fuelled by: Five Roses.  Most likely to be played by: The late Mandoza (Nkalakatha) Dream fly fishing destination: Seychelles Latest and greatest fly trying material: Craft Fur   What do you most like about fly fishing? It takes you to places and you get to meet different people. 

HIGHEST WINS

WANT TO FILL THOSE FLY BOXES? GET YOUR ORDERS IN NOW!

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Mavungana Flyfishing Dullstroom 013 254 0270


OMNISPOOL – SWITCHBOX Some destinations offer up hugely contrasting fishing. Big fish in big water vs small fish in the skinny stuff. Topwater action followed by subsurface chases and deep dredging. It’s at times like these that line management off the water can be a major pain in the ass. Knowing exactly which line is for which application, where you have them stored and getting them from spare spools on to reels can be a nightmare. With the Omnispool Switchbox Quickspool system you can quickly load and unload reels, change lines on the water, travel with as many lines as you might need, label them accordingly and find them when you need them. Sort, stack and store like an adult. Now in stock (with new arbor spacers) at Upstream Fly Fishing. omnispool.com, upstreamflyfishing.co.za FISHPOND – THUNDERHEAD SUBMERSIBLE DUFFEL Whether you’re on a flats boat in transit between atolls or perhaps riding the rapids of the mighty Zambezi river on your way to fish the lower reaches of the Batoka Gorge – the Thunderhead Submersible Duffel is definitely worth a gander if you’re looking for a waterproof, indestructible bag f or all your gear. Made from 1680D recycled nylon, it sports a submersible zipper, TPU welded fabric, an Aquaguard weather-resistant quick access exterior pocket, heavy-duty braided rope handles and daisy chain webbing for rod tubes. Wonder of wonders, it’s also carry-on size compatible so you can keep your precious with you, wherever you go. fishpondusa.com, www.frontierflyfishing.co.za RIO – FLY CLIPS Available in three sizes; Size 1 (12-16), Size 2 (812) and Size 3 (4-8), Rio’s Fly Clips are ultra-fast, easy connection clips that allow you to change flies with quickly and easily. The point of them? They prevent your leaders and tippets from getting too short. www.rioproducts.com, www.xplorerflyfishing.co.za

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FISHIENT – LIVELY LEGS CRUSTACEAN BRUSH Take the ball-ache out of tying crab and shrimp patterns with Fishient’s Lively Legs Crustacean Brush which gives you brush fibres and wiggly legs in one or two wraps. Not only does it result in a quick scampi buffet the envy of Jimmy’s Killer Prawns and Red Lobster, but it also makes tying flies like Meat Whistles for smallmouth bass a helluva lot easier too. Available in a range of colour combinations. www.fishient.com, upstreamflyfishing.co.za


JOIN THE MISSION AT

KAROOLSKRAAL!

THE MISSION TEAM IS HEADING TO KAROOLSKRAAL, THE BREEDE RIVER’S PREMIER FLY FISHING CAMP AND WE HAVE SIX SPACES OPEN TO READERS OF THE MAGAZINE. When: From Wednesday the 30th of January to Sunday the 3rd of February. What you get: Tented accommodation, eco-ablutions, all meals, drinking water, The Mission merchandise, the best company this side of the equator and fantastic fly fishing for kob, grunter, leervis and white Steenbras on pristine waters. What you bring: Linen and towels, drinks and fishing tackle. Cost: Price per day = R1200. Minimum stay – 3 days. Maximum stay – 5 days. Your Hosts: Attie Gunter and Henkie Altena – Karoolskraal Head Honchos, Garden Route kob and grunter gurus and the guys behind the AGHA (Attie Gunter and Henkie Altena) floating prawn. Conrad Botes – The Mission Spirit Animal, Karoolskraal guest angler and inventor of the SpongeBob. He will catch all the fish. MC Coetzer – Ex Proteas Fly Fishing Captain, co-inventor of the JAM fly, Karoolskraal guest angler. He will also catch all the fish. Brendan Body – The Mission Art Director. He will steal your flies. Tudor Caradoc-Davies – The Mission Editor. He will write a story for the mag.

Contact henkie@flydotfish.com to reserve your place!


M U S T H AV ES

PAYDAY SEA CHANGE – CRAIG FOSTER AND ROSS FRYLINCK Love the ocean? Then you’ll love this amazing book put together by Craig Foster (the documentary film maker who put together the incredible San Bushmen film The Great Dance) and Wavescape founder Ross Frylinck. A coffee table book with a story supported by phenomenal images (some of their footage also appears in the BBC’s Blue Planet II), Sea Change – Primal Tracking and the Art of Underwater Tracking charts Foster and Frylinck’s adventures free diving without wetsuits in the kelp forests of the Western Cape of South Africa. From swimming with sharks to bonding with cuttlefish, discovering several new species, adapting to the cold water, experiencing its restorative powers and unveiling how important the kelp forests and its species were in the evolution of early man, Foster and Frylinck reveal a whole new world right under our noses. Sea Change is a jaw-dropping piece of work, the kind of book your children and children’s children will remember in generations to come. http://seachangeproject.com

BREITLING EMERGENCY Forget a watch that alerts you to incoming emails or lets you track your calories, Breitling’s Emergency launched in 1988 was the first wristwatch with a built-in personal locator beacon (PLB). It’s been through several iterations since then and now comes equipped with a dual frequency transmitter compliant with the specifications of the Cospas-Sarsat international satellite alert system. That means that when the shit hits the fan, it can both sound the alarm and guide search and rescue missions to your location. So, if you’re marooned on an atoll in the Andamans the Amazon or pegged in to the Antarctic ice shelf and Bear Grylls keeps harassing you with offers of a steaming mug of piss – it might be time to “druk die fokken knoppie” (push the button). Sure, at around $18 000 it might cost an arm, a leg and a kidney, but then again we can dream right? www.breitling.com/us-en/emergency

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®


SHORTCASTS

C A P TA I N J A C K / T E X A S R A N G E R , @ F LY P R I C K S I S K I L L I N G I T, K A R O O B O O Z E , E C O - F R I E N D LY S E Y C H E L L E S A N D A W E A P O N OF MASS DESTRUCTION. TIE… The Weapon of Mass Destruction, a creation from Alec Gerbec of Umpqua Feather Merchants. This deadly triggerfish and parrotfish pattern has it all, from legs to a wiggly tail, weight, dubbing and more. Gerbec should know what works for these fussy fish, having been the head guide at Alphonse until very recently. Check out the stepby-step online. www.themissionflymag.com

SIGN UP ♫Cause the Eyes of a Ranger Captain Jack are upon you;

Any wrong you do, he’s gonna see. (“I said cast 20m, you poephol!”) When you’re in Texas, look behind you (on the skiff) Cause that’s where the Ranger Captain Jack’s gonna be ♫

Apologies to Chuck Norris and Walker, Texas Ranger, but there’s a new Sheriff in town. Our favourite Seffrican guide/ filmmaker, Jako Lucas is based in Austin these days and is guiding for redfish along with his experienced chommies JT Van Zandt and Alvin Dedeaux. Look them up next time you’re in Texas. captjackproductions.com TRY… Winemaker Adi Badenhorst’s 100% Karoo Agave spirit, The 4th Rabbit. Fun fact – South Africa produces the second most agave (the stuff tequila and mescal is made from) in the world after Mexico and while we don’t have the experience the Mexicans have at making the stuff (nor permission to call any spirits made in South Africa tequila or mescal), that hasn’t stopped award-winning winemaker and Swartland rainmaker Badenhorst from serving up a subtly smoky, kick-ass spirit dripping with floral honey notes. www.the4thrabbit.com

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CHECK OUT A refreshing breath of honesty and humour, @flypricks on Instagram is a mad, acerbic genius who lampoons the egotistical, vainglorious side of fly fishing. Guides, ambassadors and brands all get the meme takedown treatment. It’s funny, because it’s true.

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WANDS (ECHO BAG)

SHINING BRIGHT FEW PEOPLE GET TO FISH FOR TIGERFISH INSIDE THE KRUGER N AT I O N A L PA R K . H E A D O F S C I E N T I F I C S E R V I C E S D R D A N I E P I E N A A R IS ONE OF THEM AND HIS WEAPON OF CHOICE IS ECHO’S BAD ASS G L A S S ( B A G ) I N A N 8 - W E I G H T. Photos Danie Pienaar and Gerhard Laubscher

I

did not have an 8 weight fly rod and I was curious about the new fibreglass rods that seemed to be gaining a cult-like following. For a while I have realized that I preferred slower action rods. I have selection of graphite fly rods from 3 to 12-weight that are more than suitable for my medium to modest fishing needs. At a Cape Piscatorial Society event some years ago I fell in love with a Stephen Boshoff built 4-weight bamboo rod that we were allowed to fondle and play with – it roll cast like a dream. However, with two kids at varsity, a handmade bamboo rod also has to stay a dream, just like going on a wilderness fishing trip with Charlize Theron. The final nudge that tipped me over the edge towards glass was when The Mission started doing write-ups on the Swift Epic fibreglass fly rods – the 10-weight Green Mamba in issue 4, the 4-weight ‘Da Riddim Stick’ in issue 5 and the 5-weight Motivational Carrot in issue 6. The vivid colours of these rods was so completely different from the “normal” rods I own, that I just had to have one. As I said I did not have an 8 weight and thought a fibreglass 8-weight fly rod would just be the ticket for tigerfish in our smallish rivers in the Lowveld. This certainly seemed like a valid reason to purchase another rod! An Internet search lead me to the Echo BAG (Bad Ass Glass) fibreglass rods. Looking like an electric blue Luke Skywalker light-sabre the many positive write-ups had me placing an order with Rob Scott of Tourette Fishing (the Echo agents in SA) for an 8 foot 8-weight Echo BAG Quick Shooter rod for me and a 9 foot 8-weight BAG for my buddy Petrus Gous. It is always easier when one has a partner to join you in a new “crime”! In short order the rod arrived in a blue fibre glass tube that smells like a ski boat’s hatch when you open it. For the detailed specifications on this rod look at the Echo website, but in short the Echo BAG rod looks great and feels even better in the hand. Fibre glass rods are certainly heavier than graphite rods, but this rod balanced very well in the hand and being an 8-footer, it felt quite crisp with a quick recovery. If, like me, you fish challenging terrain where rods will get some knocks, it is also reassuring that fibre glass is much more robust than graphite rods.

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Ok, so how did it preform? With my casting style the Echo BAG 8-weight rod seems to work best with 8-weight lines with a more aggressive taper. It casts beautifully with an 8-weight Rio Saltwater floating line and also did very well with an old 8 weight Scientific Anglers Striper intermediate line and an 8 weight Airflo 40+ type 3 sink line. I also tried an 8-weight SA Bonefish line, but it did not load the rod as nicely as the other mentioned lines. There is no need to over-line this rod, although it handles 9-weight lines with ease. What I really liked about this rod is that it allows you to minimize false casting. The Quick Shooter is certainly an apt name for it. With 10 metres of line out the tip, I could shoot to 25 metres with a single back cast and reach 30 metres with only 2 back casts! This is ample distance for the rivers I fish and this ability lets you spend more time with the fly in the water than in the air. When you slow your casting stroke down, let the rod do the work and try not to aerialize too much line, this rod is an absolute joy to cast. It gets even better when you hook into a fish. I have used this rod mostly for tiger fish and have caught fish up to 8 pounds on it with ease. The ‘pleasure factor’ of fighting a fish on a fibreglass rod is unquestionably more than on graphite – even smaller fish put a bend in the rod. One also seems to feel every heartbeat of the fish transmitted through the rod during the fight, which translates to a more visceral experience! You just have to experience it to understand the allure. Pull hard on the rod and it just bends deeper into the butt with no worries that it will break. This ability allows one to put a lot of pressure on larger fish because the fish has less leverage on you – much the same as one experiences with a short jigging rod. I also felt that tiger fish stay hooked better on the fibreglass rod – perhaps because it bends more and that keeps better tension on the line when they jump, as this is when they usually shake the fly out. You might ask how one sets the hook on a hard-mouthed fish like a tiger fish with a softer rod like the BAG? My way is to not use the rod at all but to rather strip strike. When the tiger takes the fly you just keep stripping with short strips until the fish is on and wants to start taking line. This technique works much better for me than giving one huge

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“THE ‘PLEASURE FACTOR’ OF FIGHTING A FISH ON A FIBREGLASS ROD IS UNQUESTIONABLY MORE THAN ON GRAPHITE – EVEN SMALLER FISH PUT A BEND IN THE ROD.”

jerk with the stripping hand and simultaneously pulling the rod to the side like one sees on TV when some fortunate fellow hooks into a GT. Short strips like this work the same as when you hit a nail into a piece of hardwood – a number of short taps drive the nail in better than one huge swing with a hammer. Tigerfish often also bites at the fly just to maim it and short strips keep the fly in front of their noses. I also have a feeling that people learning to cast a fly rod would be better served with one of the new fibreglass rods rather that a fast-action graphite rod. With fibre glass you have to concentrate on your casting stroke and form and allow the rod to do the work. It does not allow you to muscle the line out as one can do with a very stiff-action rod which can lead beginners to acquire bad casting habits. So in conclusion this blue Echo BAG 8 weight rod has now become a firm favourite and it should work equally well for large-mouth yellowfish or grunter. My buddy Petrus also recently used his 9 foot 8-weight BAG rod very successfully on a number of salmon species, kundza and large rainbow trout in Kamchatka. Fishing floating lines and swinging mice flies on the surface it handled fish of up to 15 pounds with ease. The fibreglass bug has bitten hard and I can see more such rods finding their way to my clutches in future. A 10-weight BAG would be just the medicine for those mean Tanzanian tiger fish, a 6-weight for yellowfish and trout and hopefully a 12-weight for GTs, Nile perch or Goliath tiger fish. Check out the Echo website (echoflyfishing.com) for the complete range of Bad Ass Glass rods as well as the new Echo River Glass rods in lighter weights. These glass rods also gives contemporary anglers superfluous options to enhance their dress code!

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IMAGINE... NO GIANT RAINBOWS

Trout fishing is under threat in South Africa – without FOSAF Do your bit at R300 for a year’s FOSAF membership.


Ewan Naude

to fight our battles.

JOIN at www.fosaf.org.za


THE LIFER

THE LUCKY ONE T H I N K Y O U ’ V E G O T I T M A D E ? H AV I N G D E S I G N E D H E R L I F E T O A L L O W HER TO FISH ALL OVER THE WORLD (RACKING UP THE RECORDS AS SHE GOES), MEREDITH MCCORD MIGHT MAKE YOU THINK TWICE. Photos Stu Webb and Fergus Kelley

The first fish I caught was most likely a perch, crappie, walleye or bass in my grandparent’s boathouse on Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada. I would sit for hours with just a round dowel, line and a bucktail Mepps catching fish, one after another. It was always a fight to get me to come in for the night. Luckily, summer hours in Canada run long. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas (the 4th Largest City in the USA) aka “The Concrete City,” aka the fattest city in the USA, which has something to do with the restaurant to gym ratios. I went to boarding school in Princeton, New Jersey for high school, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and then after graduation I lived in Jackson Hole for six months before heading to Atlanta, Georgia for a “real job” in the “real world”, as my dad would call it. I lasted a year in corporate America before starting my own business back in Houston. Hot and humid, Houston is the most international city in the US, even more culturally diverse than NYC. Because of its low cost of living, it’s home to many entrepreneurs and startup businesses, like mine. The best thing about this city other than my family all living within 10 blocks of me, is our food and restaurants. You could dine at an incredible eatery every day of the year and never have to double dip. I’ve had several home waters. I grew up spending every summer at the cabin where all we would do was fish and water ski or play games on cold stormy days. Then during the school

year, after school let out on Friday, Dad would get us out of the concrete jungle and we would head straight for our farm in the hill country to bass fish in our “tanks” (a Texas term for pond or lake). These days, when not at the farm or in Canada, I love taking my Maverick HPX S skiff down to my “home” salt waters of Galveston, TX, just a 55 min drive from garage to put in. It is a great fishery as the redfish are there and eating year round. I am a morning person. At home, my daily routine always begins with a workout, so I usually roll out of bed and head straight to the gym or pool. If you think about it too long or start to answer emails, it never happens. If I don’t get the endorphins cranking you are bound to encounter one grumpy girl. After clearing my head and sweat glands, I spend most days in Houston working on both my professional businesses; The Mad Potter, a chain of paint-your-ownpottery studios that I started 20 years ago, or working on my “hobby” job, hosting and planning fly fishing trips and doing lodge reviews/consulting. But no matter what, since my time is so limited at home, I do my best to surround myself every evening with my family and friends. From the time I could sell, I was selling lemonade and pecans, mistletoe tied with red ribbons from the farm, all from a little stand in front of the house. Growing up, I had a variety of jobs, from serving soft serve and cheese steak hoagies in New Jersey during high school, to working in an art store and as a commercial real estate broker in college (I got my broker’s license at 18). I served

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as a hostess at The Steak Pub in Jackson Hole before being “let go” for calling in sick and then being seen by my boss on TV at a beer festival in town. I then smarted up and realized I needed money to fish, so begin working at a real estate development company heading up their marketing and acquisitions group, until I realized I couldn’t wear panty hose another day. I knew then I needed to be my own boss. I had seen the concept of painting pottery while in Atlanta, so decided to bring it back to Houston. I’ve been the founder, owner and janitor for over 20 years now. The best advice I was ever given was from my Dad who said, “there’s three levels of NO.” The first and second are never hard NOs. They are negotiable and it is really not until the third NO, that it is really a NO. Out of those that are persistent with a second request, only a very small amount of determined individuals will go in for the third. I attribute a lot of my success in life to not taking NO for an answer. The thing I’m proudest of is probably my business. I am dyslexic and couldn’t read as a child, I actually couldn’t even speak properly until late. I was mainstreamed, but received special education during part of the school day. Apparently at the time I thought special education meant that I was “special,” as in gifted, so I thought it was a privilege to be pulled out of class daily. Needless to say, most would have not thought I had much of a future, but my parents did and always encouraged and believed in me. I found art at an early age was my way of communicating.

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“Oh redfish, shall I compare thee to a summers day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.�


In terms of what I get out of fly fishing these days, when I began it was like kindergarten, mindless coloring and soaking up knowledge. Now, I feel as though I am working on my Master’s Degree and applying the knowledge I have learned over the years. It is like an onion, the more you peel back the layers, the more potent and complex it becomes.

My faith and family gave the hope and optimism I needed to achieve and succeed. So here we are many years later and I have 25 great employees, multiple locations and a company that runs itself, so I can go fishing. Something I’ve had to work at in life is being satisfied when it comes to fishing. There is always one more cast and one more fish to catch. It is hard for me to ever call it a day. Something that’s come naturally to me is being social. Now, that is one thing I am good at. I love people. I’m also good at being transparent and direct. What you see is what you get. I like “real” people with real struggles and honest intentions. The most satisfying fish are the ones that I set my sights on and then obtain. Usually I just fish for the sake of fishing, but sometimes I set specific goals; my first world record after several trips over to Louisiana, or my first permit after days and days of being skunked or my first Grand Slam caught in Belize. My go to drink is vodka, rum, Mexican beer, tequila,. Really it is the environment that sets the tone. “While in Rome”, as they say. Russia?

Vodka. Cuba? Rum. Mexico? Tequila, oh and always an ice cold Mexican beer on a hot day. One place I’ll always return to is the Seychelles. It’s my absolute favorite. Best diversity of sight fishing species in the world. I’ve been 11 times and it is still 11 times too few. Omitting details is ok. Lying is not. When hosting trips, I might omit the number of fish I caught, when my guests’ days have been slow. It is the kind thing to do. The handiest survival skill I have is charm. Batting the ole’ baby blues. Whether in the jungles of Bolivia or the concrete jungle of my home town, charm can get you places you never would have dreamed. I’d like to master the Tango. So sexy The best way to face your fears is with optimism and with laughter. Nervous giggles have helped me overcome a wealth of fears. Something on my to-do list is to find my Romeo. It’s not easy to find a guy who wants a wife who can out fish him. In all seriousness though, I’d love find to someone to share my love, life, adventures and boat with…

If I could change one thing in fly fishing, it would be for fly fishing clothing brands to take a look and learn from companies like Lululemon and Athleta in making attractive, feminine women’s fishing/athletic wear vs drab plaids and grays that suit middle-aged bird watchers on safari. Most of us are looking for a great fit, fun colors, clothing that breaths well and best of all performs and holds it shape (our shape) for hours on end while being COMFORTABLE and looking good. Any girl who tells you she loves wearing beige/gray and prefers baggy waders is probably not being truthful. Looking back on my life, there are many things I’d do differently, but there’s no point pondering the past, except to apply what you learned and do it differently the next time. As George Bernard Shaw said, “Success does not consist in never making mistakes, but in never making the same one a second time.” I’ve changed my mind about lots of things. Maturity and age have brought more humbleness into my life as well as perspective. You fail enough, you are humbled. You see and experience of the world around you, you gain perspective. The world needs more compassion, than judgement. The last fish I caught was a Golden Dorado in the jungles of Bolivia. Definitely one of my top five species to chase on fly. Tough, toothy and they jump like mad when hooked. I love any fish that eats aggressively and fights me to the end.

“THERE IS ALWAYS ONE MORE CAST AND ONE MORE FISH TO CATCH. IT IS HARD FOR ME TO EVER CALL IT A DAY.” 92

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CAN YOU CHANGE AS FAST AS THE W E AT H ER ? Our fishing-specific insulation is part of a versatile layering system that lets you easily adapt to shifting conditions. Through long days of fishing, the only constant is change—but with the right layers in your kit, you can keep your thermostat steady. Designed for the cool and windy conditions of shoulder season, our new Snap-Dry Hoody is built from a durable fabric with 4-way stretch for dynamic freedom of movement through the shoulders and arms. Lightweight, fast-wicking grid insulation in the body and hood offers supplemental warmth, while a zippered fly box pocket and two oversized drop-in pockets keep the essentials close at hand.

In Patagonia, the wind doesn’t blow, it sucks. On the leading edge of a three-day gale, Jack Porter goes left shoulder to prevent an ear piercing. Rio Pico, Argentina. JEREMY KORESKI © 2018 Patagonia, Inc.

Men’s Snap-Dry Hoody


MISSED AN ISSUE? READ THEM ALL HERE, IT’S FREE ISSUE 02 | “RECEDITE, PLEBES! GERO REM IMPERIALEM!”

issue 01 | “noli nothis permittere te terere’

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smallmouth Bass lose big win small

hatch junKIe

trainspotting on the vaal

hIgh 5s

with mark murray

KeIth Rose-Innes managing chaos

jan | feb 2017

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MARCH | APRIL | 2017

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Issue 01

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BLOOD, SWEAT & BEERS

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CAPE ROCK & SURF, THE FISHING SCIENTIST, EXMOUTH, TOAST COETZER, PAT COHEN, BEERS, BEATS AND MORE...

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DALE STEYN, GABON, MONGOLIA, EDUARDO GARCIA, FOREST TROUT, OZZIE DEATH, BEERS, BEATS AND MORE...

“BE READY TO TRAVEL UP AND DOWN, TO DRINK BEER, SHAKE YOUR BOOTY TO THE MUSIC, EAT CATFISH, BURN IN THE SUN, SLEEP IN THE COLD AND JERK OFF TO THE BRAND NEW GEAR YOU CAN DREAM OF! LOCK THE DOOR, GET NAKED, IT’S TIME TO READ THE MISSION, THE ULTIMATE FLY FISHING MAGAZINE!” - CYRIL KAMIR, LE MOUCHING


“WOW! WHAT A BREATH OF (FLY-FISHING) FRESH AIR! I’D SAY THE INDUSTRY IS LONG OVERDUE FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS - A FLY-FISHING SEX DUNGEON IN A WORLD OF “MISSIONARY POSITION” DREK.” - TOM LEWIN, FRONTIER FLY FISHING

DEAD ZONE

PLATON TRAKOSHIS

DESPERADO

PROVIDENCE WITH DRE

MARCO PIERRE WHITE

PIKE, TROUT AND NOSTALGIA

ISSUE 05 SEPT | OCT 2017

ISSUE 10 JULY | AUGUST 2018

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ISSUE 11 SEPT | OCT 2018

LEFTY

KREH FREE

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ROLF NYLINDER, THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN, WITH JUNGLE FEVER, FATTIES, BEERS, BEATS & MORE

ISSUE 12 NOV | DEC 2018

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A PLASTIC PLANET, NEW ZEALAND, TREASURE ISLAND, MARK YELLAND, TOM SUTCLIFFE, BEERS, BEATS & MORE

W W W. T H E M I S S I O N F LY M A G . C O M


HIGH IN FIBRE A new benchmark in reel design, the Hardy Ultralite MTX is Hardy’s first fly reel to feature a hybrid carbon fibre and alloy main frame construction. Strong, light and with a stunning industrial design, the MTX features a carbon fibre drag system with 340 degree colour coded regulator, captive spool release and high line capacity.

www.hardyfishing.com

The Mission Fly Fishing Magazine Issue #12  
The Mission Fly Fishing Magazine Issue #12