On the way into work earlier this week I passed two of those newspaper billboards on consecutive lamp posts. One read “Rain has not broken the drought”, and the next one read “Floods in KZN”.
I think it was the same day that the weather forecast predicted severe hail storms in the Free State, and the following day there was a tornado in Jo-burg, and this all followed 2 days of snow in the berg.
Today is a lovely sunny day. Expect severe frost tonight.
So all in all it is pretty average weather.
The hell not!
But at least on the rainfall front, it’s bloody fantastic! We can consider ourselves “over served”…(a delightful excuse for one’s intoxication, that PD passed on to me after a jaunt to fish the Shenandoa National Park for Brook Trout) At 70mm or thereabouts in most of the upland areas of the midlands, and with the Trout streams barreling along, it is just a little intoxicating isn’t it!
Maybe…just maybe….this is what we need to turn the fishing around in the coming summer.
If the fishing results of recent winter tournaments in the Kamberg and Boston, as well as club results, are anything to go by, the fly fishing really has been down on normal years. My own forays have been less successful (in fish number terms) than the average.
Now we just need to hope for a spring that starts in September, and not in January as happened last season. I have complete faith that we will have an incredible season in 2016/7, and I don’t know about you, but I plan on being prepared for it all. I have read the two articles in Wayne Stegen’s series on Vagabond Fly Mag, and I am already tying up a few leaders for the spring fishing. Us fishermen, like farmers, are eternal optimists while at the same time, possessing the skill to invent excuses beyond the reach of the common man, when in the end it doesn’t all work out.
Maybe that is why I liked the “over-served” excuse so much. It can only have been coined by a fisherman.
James and I entered a coffee shop in the high street of Matatiele. We ordered cappuccinos. The willing young local made one, and the aroma was great. Just for fun, I said that it looked great, but could he do a palm tree, or a heart or such artwork in the foam. He knew how to do a hut, he said. I was impressed. I hadn’t seen it yet, but if this man could do a foamy African hut on the top of my cappuccino, it would make the road trip all the more memorable.
We watched with anticipation as he poured the next one. He poured it straight in the centre. I leaned forward, waiting for the moment he started to move the jug. I needed to learn how to do this. He poured straight. All the way. Didn’t move the jug or the cup…just poured dead straight. Then, when he was done, and bog standard cappuccino stood on the counter between us, he looked at it in an air of mild disappointment and resignation and said “ah…the hut…she did not come this time” .
Next time you come over I will show you how I do an Adams in the crème!
(I can pour straight)
AND….added many months later:
Questions I ask myself:
What if a trip to catch Golden Dorado or Milkfish is not reachable. What if GT’s and Jurassic Lake are beyond the reach of your pay-cheque?
Will you dream instead of fishing?
Or will you stick to the best “front-page waters” your pay-cheque and leave balance can get you to, in the hopes of getting closer to the success boasted by the exotic destinations. You have two Saturdays to fish this month. Will you risk them on the club water than no one has fished this year. Will you go beating your way through bush to find the water, or will you go to the water that you know fished well last week, and has nice clear banks?
Are you guilty of envying the guy who explored and uncovered a water that was long forgotten and is now producing whoppers, but despite that envy, you follow him to the water already uncovered?
Have you thought about the difference between a fly-fishing adventurer, and a fair-water fisherman? Will you divide your time between exploring and following the best results, or will it just be a pursuit of the tug on the line?
And whether you follow the best fishing stats, or are an adventurer, what will you do to support the lore, the wonder, the appreciation, and the excitement about your home waters. What will you do to put up a flag for our own waters? Will you make the “local is lekker” voice strong enough to be heard over the clamor for Alphonse and Patagonia?
When you explore and uncover and succeed, will you splash it all over facebook, for others to follow the GPS co-ordinates? Or will you post with integrity, to follow the fine line between ruining fishing spots and building up appreciation for what we have on our doorstep. Will you stick to mentioning the valley, but not naming the water? Will you delay and mix the posts to stop people beating a path to a single water?
And when you sit at your desk, will you click on the big fish pictures, skip comment longer than a sentence or two and move on? Or will you seek out the meaningful, the thoughtful, the detailed and the authentic content? Will you follow a few writers and actually read what they say, and learn from it?
That’s a lot of questions, but I think you get the idea: There’s a lot of noise out there. A lot of competition, flash, and bling.
How does that saying go?…”Be still, ……… study, and go fly-fishing” ….something like that.
I like that mantra.