When reading Duncan Browns book recently, (Are Trout South African), I became aware of the depth of my prejudices. Duncan does a fine job of pointing out the nuances and peculiarities that we apply in deciding if something is indigenous or not, and it is a thought provoking read.
I go for Trout , with a capital T, (Alien) and definitely not bass (with a lower case B), ( also alien). I strongly dislike wattles and brambles (Alien), but love the sight of a stand of poplars (also alien). I don’t care much for scalies [AKA “yellowfish”] (indigenous), and I still think that the best snake is a dead one (alien or indigenous).
I am an ardent conservationist at heart, and possess some skins and furs of endangered beasts in my fly-tying kit.
I read the book. I thought deeply and thoroughly. I re-evaluated and re-considered.
On 29th September, Mick and I headed out to what was then Natal Fly-Fishers Club water: Silverdale on the Mooi River.
We parked at the bridge, where we tackled up, and headed upstream on the South bank, crossing the river here and there. We started in a few hundred yards up the valley. Mick was just below me, on a large flat pool. I crossed the river and moved ahead to a set of rapids above.
It was a warm spring day. The veld was still brown from winter, but with the green shoots of spring coming through everywhere. The Italian ryegrass pastures were a verdant green, and the irrigation sprinklers were misting in a strong North wind that was roaring above us, catching the tops of the gum trees near where we parked, and making them hiss and rustle in a way that signals difficult casting. But down there in the river valley we were somehow sheltered, and although the water was brushed by gusts that rippled the surface and drove flotsam across the water, casting was not in fact difficult.
Within minutes of us starting out , Mick hollered. He was into a good fish.
In the next half hour, every time I turned around, I saw Mick, either with a bent rod, or on his haunches down at the waters edge landing another fish from the very same spot.