Something I like to do from time to time, is to go and find a “new” piece of water, to give it a look over, and to “plan the attack”, so to speak. These expeditions steal precious fishing time, so they are best undertaken on those hot blustery days when, if you were out there with a fly rod, you would be sleeping under a tree anyway.
Stillwaters seldom need this kind of work….they are by their very nature, easy things to look over. You can arrive at a stillwater with your tackle and a packed lunch, and get right to it. Small streams on the other hand, are an entirely different matter. Maybe there is something to be read into that: Streams meander along hidden valleys, sometimes inaccessible by road, or choked in thick bush. You can get a pretty good idea of a stillwater on google earth, but a stream is not so easily summed up. You have have no choice but to walk in and go and see for yourself.
Of course no stream is “new”, so many of these “recces” are in fact re-discoveries. One reads of a stream in an old book, whose pages are now yellow. You know it is no longer spoken of as a Trout stream, and somehow those two pieces of information make it like a puzzle, begging to be solved.
So, one picks a hot day, or perhaps you go in mid winter, when the going is easier, and there is no temptation to try to fish as well. Maybe the day in question would have been a good fishing day, but your curiosity is at a high, and off you go.
Warning: these waters are usually forgotten about for a reason. You may be disappointed. You may encounter thick alien vegetation, water stained with runoff or wattle tannin.
But you might also find a gem Something that has been forgotten about for no good reason at all. This will leave you puzzled, excited, and planning the re-visit with a fly rod in hand in the summer.
I think most often the unexplored or forgotten waters got that way because of the laziness of us fishermen. It seems to be a South African thing, although I have heard that it is true of the UK too: Fly-fishermen somehow lock onto stillwater fly-fishing, and forget about the streams!
True, you do need to walk further, work harder, and maybe get your hands dirtier on a stream, especially those out-of-the-way streams that we are talking about here. But to my mind that is the charm of the endeavour.
“Where are these streams?” you ask me. Well, that is one of the other charms of the recce. It is your own stream. The one you discovered. You will take your own fishing buddies there, and the other guys will have to go and find their own.