“Despite the threnodies of a few recidivist Halfordians, the fly-fishing tradition is a progressive, generous and inclusive one, and it pays to be mindful that not everyone will be interested in the stipulations of your personal code”  From “Trout Hunting” by Bob Wyatt
There are many of us fly-fishermen who are quirky, moody, and solitary. We have built up some illogical notions over the years, and we only stick with other fly-fishermen who happen, against all odds,  to “get us”. So we go for years, wearing older and older clothes, fishing with the same blokes, and probably the same tackle.  We take on routines and peculiar rituals, and have used the same knot to tie our flies since Pa fell off the bus. And we talk about the old days, and regard new entrants to the sport with a mild dose of suspicion.
We forget that once we were the ‘newbies’, with shoddy tackle, and no clue. We were once the pimply students, hanging on every word of some doyen, who graced us with his time and attention. Here in Maritzburg those days for me were back in the mid 1980’s. We had fly-fishing personalities spilling out onto the pavement on a Saturday morning, and we were swept up the the enthusiasm.
old NFDS meeting
Barry Kent demonstrating the tying of a fly in the 1980’s.

Then in the 1990’s and beyond, once we had learnt a thing or two, we went off fishing, and left the heyday club meetings behind us. We fished, and rushed home to tend to demanding kids and careers. When next we turned around the fly tying club had dwindled in numbers, one of the fishing clubs had closed down, the other one seldom had meetings.
Some of the guys around town decided it was time to do these evenings again, and I am very glad they did.  New fishing club members kept enquiring about social events, and some of us were captured by a sense of obligation to put something back into our sport. Graeme took this thing by the bit, and got us all going.  The result was a very pleasant and well attended ‘get-together’ this week in Maritzburg.

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Graeme at Monday night’s meeting   (Picture courtesy of Jan Korrubel)

I have never left one of these things without learning something, and this week was no exception. Besides that, we enjoyed a smorgasbord of slides, all of which were of that variety that cause us fly-fishermen to go weak at the knees and start cleaning our fishing tackle. High mountain streams, deep blue sky, and Trout and Yellows with water droplets dripping off them in slow motion.
The company was excellent too. Old friends. New acquaintances. Lively conversation.
There was also a clear and unequivocal sense around the room that we must do this again, and we will. If you are from around these parts, I hope to bump into you at one of these functions soon. Perhaps you can teach me some new knots!


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2 Responses

  1. Well done guys, indeed I am always accutely aware that no man is an island, that much of what we have is due to the efforts of those who came before and it is indeed our obligation to continue that trend, the passing on of knowledge attained, of working towards the common good. The fish are here because someone else brought them, the rivers are clean because someone else protected them and much of what we know is because someone else chose to share with us. The knot I use came from Peter Hayes, the leader from Pascal Cognard, the fly tying techniques at least in part from Edwards, Morris, La Fontein and members of the Italian National team. We got Czech nymphing from those who fished world championship events, brought the knowledge home, adapted it to yellowfish and opened a whole new fishery. We are all indebted, whether we think that we are or not. I hope that your meetings will go from strength to strength.

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