Waters & words

Photography & Imagery

No cameras please

Ever had some amazing experience and said “damn….where was my camera when I needed it!”.   We all have. But then there are times when you didn’t have the camera, and somehow in re-thinking the day, or the event, it was fitting that it never made it into the vault of evidence.

As a schoolboy, I remember the master wishing I didn’t have a camera with me on the fishing trip when I took this photo:

the hung towel (1 of 1)

(Note the towel strategically covering the name of the school in question)

There was the time I went on a flyfishing festival many, many years ago, with a group of guys which included the “grand  old gentleman of fly-fishing”.  Let’s just say that the old gentleman, bless his soul, lost the plot a little at the closing dinner. I do believe it was a good single malt that did him in.  I took a picture of him taking a pee in the middle of the main street of the town.  I may have had a little of that single malt myself. Thank goodness it never came out when the film was developed!

Then there was a time when my buddy and I hiked into a very remote, very steep valley, on an illicit fly-fishing adventure. In the excitement, I forgot the GPS and the camera. It shall remain off the record books forever.

There was another trip up to Game Pass when it was still a mess of wattle trees, when I DID take my camera. I hiked up there on my own.  I was single at the time.  At some point I set the camera  on a rock and took a “selfie” with the wattles in the background.  You know…for the record.   My buddies asked suspiciously “who took the photo?”. They still look at me in disbelief when I try to explain that it was on the self timer, and that I WAS alone.   I could have saved a great deal of postulation on their part and a great number of proclamations of innocence on mine, if I had left the bloody camera at home!

Then there was this one, where Anton sent me into a cold pool half naked,  to retrieve what he swore was his fly with a brown still attached amongst the logs. Turned out the fish had long gone. He knew that, just wanted his fly back, and was taking pictures.  Bastard!

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And then there was the more recent one, where my buddy punched a Trout to death. With his fist. Yes. Punched. To death.  No…he didn’t use a rock…I don’t know why.

Yes. Punched.

Damn, I wish I had had my camera for that one!


Photo of the moment (100)

Furth Umgeni-15

No 100 has some significance.  It shows a cleared section of the Umgeni, which is very close to my heart. It shows Inhlozane mountain, which I grew up within sight of, and it was taken on a day when we caught browns in numbers markedly higher than before the place was cleared. That’s Rogan in the the river…all-round great guy and son of my late river clearing and flyfishing  pal Roy.   Call me sentimental!


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Photo of the moment (99)

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Photo of the moment (96)

Willow Stream-17


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Photo of the moment (94)

Mt LS -6


Coffee & quotes

coffee maker-1

Thanks to my friends Anton and Allison for this oh so posh coffee drip filter thing which they gave me for my fiftieth. Very suave! I become philosophical when I drink coffee made in it.

 

And the quote:

“Fly Fishing, or any other sport fishing, is an end in itself and not a game or competition among fishermen; The great figures in the historic tradition of angling are not those men who caught the greatest numbers of fish or the biggest fish but those who, like Ronalds and Francis and Halford and Skues and Gordon and Wulff and Schwiebert, made lasting contributions of thought and knowledge, of fly patterns and philosophy, of good writing and good sportsmanship”

And that comes from what is arguably my favourite fishing book of all time , written by this man, famous member of the Midtown Turf, Yachting and Polo Association:

MTYPA-1

 


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Photo of the moment (93)

Umgeni Poort -1


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Photo of the moment (92)

Fire lillies


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Photo of the moment (91)

G & H Sedge


Coffee & Quotes

This is good stuff.  Pricey, but out of the top drawer!

For day to day stuff I am currently grinding “Zephyr” beans bought loose at Steampunk. That is a seriously good deal at R200/Kg.

Ground Coffee House

For day to day stuff I am currently grinding “Zephyr” beans bought loose at Steampunk. That is a seriously good deal at R200/Kg.

Negley Farson

A quote, that while I am only on the fringe of the conversation, I think will interest our flyfishing friends in the States who are deeply concerned over the public lands debate, and associated conservation issues:

“I write this here, in this section about the states, because  Roosevelt’s wise administration is bringing back the ducks to the states…….

……., trout and salmon are also being rigorously protected and propagated. Reforestation will return their waters to them. And in the great national and local effort, the democratic ideal of free fishing and shooting for all who love it is fast gaining headway. If this succeeds, with our new sense of values, the United States may once again become the sportsman’s paradise. It is just possible”

From pg 28,  “Going fishing” by Negley Farson, 1942


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Photo of the moment (90)

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Photo of the moment (89)

West Hastings-13


Coffee & Quotes

We fished these streams with a weighty sense of proprietorship, and grave recognition that we might just be the only people on earth who cared that the Trout were there at all”   pg 38, Jerusalem Creek, Ted Leeson.

These words struck a chord with me when I first read them, to the extent that I immediately wrote them down in my journal. That “weighty sense of proprietorship” is exactly the feeling I get when I walk and fish my local river; a stream long forgotten by most, which I have probably written about and referred to, too much. Too much in the sense that perhaps I extoll its virtues in excess of what they really are. But after fishing there again on Sunday, and notwithstanding that the browns had a bad case of lockjaw, I am again raving about both the beauty and proximity of the place.

Umgeni River-13 

On the way out, my friend Ray and I stooped in at Steampunk for a brew of their good stuff, which happens to be the bean I am grinding at home at present too:

 

punk and Terb-2


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Photo of the moment (88)

Darrel Martin


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Coffee and quotes

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My hiking buddy said I would burn my eyebrows off with this thing.

I bought it anyway. 

Turns out he wasn’t far off the mark. There was this little incident last year, you see. But enough about that.

It’s a fantastic little thing, and it requires finess and skill to make it really hum. Not like one of those little gas cannister things that you just switch on and light.  You would have to read Pirsig to understand.

This photo was taken in that little sheltered spot under the Nchi shi bushes at Highmoor. It is the perfect spot to shelter from the wind, and brew up a good filter coffee, especially after several hours out there in the elements. On the day I took this picture, I didn’t land a fish in 9 hours of fishing. It was wonderful.

The quote, in the vein of things Zen-like, is tucked away in Ed Engle’s 2010 [largely technical]  book “Trout Lessons”, in a delightful and informative chapter on Meadow Streams:

“I keep everything simple on purpose because what I enjoy the most is covering the water and reaching that wonderful meditative state that comes with walking, casting, and occasionally catching.

Ed Engle


Coffee and quotes

Itchen Memories-1

“Two blank days:  Not a very interesting subject?  Perhaps not.  But if you feel like that about it, pass on”

From GEM Skues, Itchen Memories, which was published in 1951, after his death.

Groundcoffeehouse-1

The coffee is “1000 hills”, a bean from Rwanda. When I stopped in at Ground Coffee House the barista persuaded me to have a flat white, and not my normal cappuccino. “Cappuccino is just all milk….you really want a double so that you can taste this bean, because its brilliant”. he said

I agreed, and while I was there I bought a bag of beans. A good move!  The coffee is well rounded and rich without being overpowering.  Did I taste strawberries or plums or vanilla?  Hell, I don’t know…I think I just tasted good coffee. But if I had to guess it was less fruity and more toffee and caramels. The barista will probably scoff…..I really don’t have sophisticated taste buds, but I know good coffee when I taste it!


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Photo of the moment (85)

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The indigenous, shade loving “snake lilly” , AKA “Blood Lilly” often found on steep slopes and in pockets of bush beside out Trout streams in spring.


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Photo of the moment (84)

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