Waters & words

Archive for April, 2016

A snake in the fridge

For a while now, I have been telling my fishing buddies my clever trick. “When you get back from fishing, hang your waders on a coat hangar, behind the fridge”. The slow release of dry heat, gently dries them, and it is so much better than putting them in the sun. By morning they are generally dry, and you can roll them up and put them away. Or just leave them until you are ready …like next Friday when you get around to it.  In fact I have a chest freezer in front of a window, and it is perfect. The waders hang from the curtain rail, and the domestic worker routinely gets a fright because while she is ironing, out of the corner of her eye, she sees a man standing there eerily.

So for dry waders and that little “pie in your face” humour streak that some of us are afflicted with, it all works rather well.

Then my old fishing buddy, who was in the tackle industry, murmured something under his breath about “as long as you don’t do that with your neoprenes”.

What? Why?

I googled it. The answer didn’t pop up all that quickly…I had to scroll several pages into the search, and the most useful article I came upon was published in 1952.

image

It elaborated on the resistance of neoprene Vulcanites  to ozone. Elsewhere I read that any electrical motor with slightly worn brushes forms tiny sparks that in turn result in Ozone gas. Or something like that. And Fridges, for reasons I couldn’t understand, are the worst. Apparently Neoprene is 3 to 5 times more resistance than natural rubber, but still vulnerable. And I read elsewhere that “Wood rosin” is the best product to prevent ozone deterioration. Wood Rosin or Esther gum, AKA E445, is a common food additive, and seems to come from wood sap. It sounds awfully sticky, and I have decided that rather than basting my neoprenes in this E445, I am going to find somewhere else to dry my waders.

That will be after I have bought a new pair. The last ones only lasted a season or two and are shot to hell.

I am hoping that the tackle dealer will include a free rubber snake with the waders. That of course will be for frightening the maid. And no, I won’t store it near the fridge.

Although maybe putting it inside the fridge, just behind the milk (If I put aside the longevity of the product) , may have a pleasing result!

 

 

 

Very Scientific research references

The one and only Wikipedia

An old forum

That old article

Rubber gloves article…one of the more clear explanations

I googled rubber snake pranks too, but decided not to stoop that low.


Mynahs, Trout and Mielies

As a youngster, I was conditioned to hate Indian Mynah birds. They were an alien species, made a horrible noise and were often seen chasing other birds away from food.  I once witnessed the neighbouring farmer’s wife shooting an Indian Mynah through the sash window , from well within the master bedroom, with a 12 gauge shotgun!  KABOOM!

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I was not yet a teenager.

That’s got to leave an impression!

But then I noticed the bird appeared in the Roberts Bird book. That was puzzling, because it is not indigenous. And then Mynah bird’s range appeared to retract a bit, and we stopped seeing them on the farm. We only saw them in town. It wasn’t our shooting that did it, they just got clobbered by Newcastle disease, and when they recovered, they fell into a controlled niche on their own and it has been like that ever since.

I am not sure if you are allowed to shoot Mynahs, but either way, you certainly aren’t allowed to shoot them in built up areas , even though they are alien. You can’t ignore one law in order to support another, especially not if it will harm people.

Which brings me to the Trout debate.

Rainbow (1 of 1)-2

As I understand it, the authorities want to make trout an alien invasive ogre, that may be “shot in built up areas”, and which by concession will be allowed to be protected in certain areas, if it takes the fancy of who ever is in charge at the time. But by the stroke of a pen at any time in the future they can be decimated by not allowing their breeding or transport etc.

FOSAF and Trout SA want the same current scenario (only have Trout within their current range), but without the risk of them being wiped out by the stroke of a pen by a zealot in future.  They argue that Trout stopped spreading  (or more correctly being spread by man) over a hundred years ago in most cases, and that to put Trout at risk in their current range, for fear of them spreading to ranges in which they wont survive anyway, is like taking a loaded RPG launcher to a paintball game. An RPG that could destroy the table Trout, and commercial fly-fishing industry and leave a lot of hungry human mouths.

The state, and its opponents on this one, have poured vast resources into this fight, over decades. Decades in which TRULY invasive species like wattle trees and bass have spread at will. We really have lost our way haven’t we!

I am with Trout SA and FOSAF on this one.  I have learnt to tolerate Mynahs. And Mynahs don’t even benefit anyone. I have also learnt to tolerate mielies, peaches, London Planes, kikuyu lawns, and even people.

Well, maybe only some people.

If you are a South African Trout angler, you really cannot afford NOT to be a member of FOSAF. 

This is an appeal.

For the cost of a couple of burgers and cokes, click here and join.  Just do it!


Catastrophic failure

I still own a rod called “snappy”.  Until very recently it was the only rod I had ever broken. In fact, if truth be told, I didn’t break it. The kids did. It was a long time ago, and it got named based on its distinction of having been the rod that snapped. There is nothing original about that nomenclature. I stole it from Neil Patterson. He had written a superb article for Trout Fisherman magazine in the UK. It may be partly because he incorporated that story in his excellent book ”Chalkstream Chronicle”, but I prefer to think I remember the story from way back in ‘85 before he produced the book. The article was called “Bring me a rod and make it snappy”, and chronicled all the awful things he has done to fly rods in his time.

Neil Patterson (1 of 1)

 

He also had a bright orange rod, which he called “the carrot”, and which kinda rusted at the ferrule on account of him never taking it apart, such that he never could again.  That reminds me of my friend Bruce. Bruce once returned a rod to the tackle dealer who had sold it to him, saying that it really wasn’t working for him. On this occasion the South African failed in his bid to evoke the lifetime guarantee thing. I mention it thus because Roger tells me that the South Africans developed a reputation for being more inclined than anyone on the globe to need the lifetime guarantee on an Orvis.  In fact Orvis grew suspicious of the motives of the South Africans, and started insisting that a piece be cut from the rod just above the grip and returned as proof that we were not accumulating good sticks.  Bruce never got a chance to accumulate another good stick,because the reason his was not quite to his liking, is that not unlike “the carrot”, he had used it in the salt, and it had a reel permanently fixed to the reel seat.

Mtshezana (14 of 30)

With the advent of us having to prove that we really had broken the things, came a generous supply of awesome Orvis grips and reel seats. I never was a craftsman, and these donations were the perfect shortcut. I could epoxy a blank into the beautifully built Orvis piece, slap on some guides (which sometimes even lined up!) and voila!  I had a fly rod.  One particular rod was such that the blank rattled around in the grip. No problem, a particular removal company had recently seen fit to drive a 30 ton truck over a rod of mine (catastrophic failure!) , and I was able to cut a sleeve from that, slide the blank into it, and that in turn into the latest Orvis assembly donation. And there you had it: “Elliot” was borne!

catastrophic failure

 

I still have Elliot. Its an OK rod. It was the better of two rods that I found lying on the side of the main road. Yes, just lying there in the ditch. The sun glinted on one of the reels and I slammed on anchors and picked them up. I advertised, looking for their owners, but thankfully no one replied, and I reasoned that they were something marginally more honourable than an ill-gotten gain. The second one was appalling. Floppy, with no backbone at all. I acceded to a request to borrow a rod, and lent that one to the bloke in question. He wasn’t a fly-fisherman, so he wouldn’t have noticed the slight quality problem. In any event, he never returned the things he borrowed. He never returned that rod either.

Having built Elliot I was filled with rod builders confidence. So I repaired snappy with a segment donated to me by Roger. I built my son a rod. He still has it. I also built “the pony pole” for an old friend whose interest lies more in riding small tough Lesotho ponies across rugged countryside. I can identify with that particular affliction, since it takes place in Trout country, which is why I built him the rod.

Francois (1 of 1)

 

I saw him not so long ago, and I think he said a pony had stood on the rod, before he got to use it. Come to think of it, I built him that rod in exchange for a car radio, the fate of which is long forgotten.

Delirium tremens !

 

Anyway, snappy fishes just fine, as does the first rod I ever broke , which was earlier this season.

Yes: the first. Remember, one was driven over by a removal truck. The other was slammed behind the car seat by my kids, and I wasn’t even there when the Lesotho pony stood on “the pony pole”. And that first rod I ever broke:  In all fairness I didn’t break that one either. The dog did. His name is Ben. He is still alive. Graeme and I walked down a perfectly straight farm road on our way to fish the river. No trees. Fences twenty yards away. Just a straight road, and we both walked with our rods out behind us, as one should do. When we started the rod was fine. At the end of the road when we turned down to the river it was broken. And all we did was chat as we walked. But the dog. Ben. He was excitable, and young, and he bound ahead and then doubled back behind us, stopping to nuzzle us, and bite our hands playfully.  So you see….it is simple. The dog bit the rod.  It wasn’t me.

Wolff fixed it beautifully for me, and Peter, while I am embarrassed about what I did to John’s rod, it still fishes beautifully, and you can hardly see the repair.

I really do treasure it, I promise.

Umgeni (1 of 1)

And it wasn’t me.

It was the dog.


Video

Mountains & Trout

Mountains & Trout

 

Vimeo:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/162736307

Mountains and trout from Andrew Fowler on Vimeo.

 

Vir die van julle wat die Afrikaanse woorde van hierdie liedjie ken, sal julle seker met my saam stem as ek se dat dit heelwat toepaslik is.