Waters & words

um…I dont have a category for this

Coffee & Quotes…

 

coffee pot-1

My brother gave me that coffee pot. Solid silver and as heavy as a boat anchor. The lid is bent too.  There is little point in making the coffee, then pouring it into the ornate pot, and then pouring it into a cup. But I do. On cold days, with a good book. 

Speaking of which, Jerry Kustich has written some fine stuff. I don’t yet have his latest one (  “Holy Water”) , but I am re-reading one of his early ones (2001)  “At The Rivers’ edge”, from which I take this quote:

 

“The older I get the more it seems that every river I fish is a mere fragmentation of one great flowing ribbon of consciousness where the limitations of space and time have no meaning”.


Coffee and quotes

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I often grind some cardamom (elaichi) with my beans. It is something I read about, and which is not uncommon in the levant.  My local coffee shop once offered a “copperccino” , which claimed to be cardamom coffee, but I was disappointed to discover that they scattered a few pinches of powder on top of the milk foam. I say go big. Throw a few pods in the grinder…say 3 in a double shot, and taste the stuff. It gives it a warmth and smoothness which is difficult to describe.

Warmth and smoothness is a fair description of the feeling I get when I sit down with my cup of coffee,  open the pages of a book by Ted Leeson, and relish in the richness of his writing.

From “Inventing Montana” on the subject of fishing being a form of play:

“Modern angling is uncomfortable with the idea and prefers to regard itself more along the lines of modern medicine, as an acutely specialized body of knowledge dispensed by a priesthood of of experts. It tends to operate in the oxygen-depleted atmosphere of high gravitas or, more recently, in the overstimulated public displays of cultivated fanaticism. Those deficient in the requisite intensity – who fail to mount a sufficiently strategic angling campaign, do not whoop in ecstatic wargasm as the battle rages or pump the air with a victory fist at the climactic moment of conquest – are left to marinate in the unpleasant secretions of their own inadequacy”

 


The ban on Broccoli

The South African department of environmental affairs is about to see to it that broccoli ceases to find its way onto dinner plates in South Africa, by listing it as invasive and requiring a permit to do anything with it.

Dammit!  I like my broccoli!  What is it with them!

Broccoli is tasty. It is only grown in small areas. It doesn’t harm anyone, and millions of us like it.

Hell, some people are passionate about it.

They say not to worry and that we will be able to get permits. I don’t trust them.  Broccoli, it seems, are guilty until proven innocent.

It seems like we are getting a law that will require thousands of Broccoli permits, at great cost and admin, to protect against a problem in some obscure distant corner of the country, that I don’t even know of.  Wouldn’t there be wisdom in spending 10% of the effort and money on protecting that zone, wherever it is…and leave us to grow and enjoy our Broccoli elsewhere.  Surely it would be quicker and easier to identify the rare zones where Broccoli MIGHT be a threat than to throw a blanket over the entire country.

broccoli

 

If Broccoli only succeeded in remote beautiful areas where its range co-incided with another species that was going to be ousted, or it somehow caused the demise of another species, I could understand it. But it doesn’t. (there may have been some shaky pseudo-science trying to prove that it wiped out some obscure tiny creature a hundred years ago, but there is nothing obvious or that can be proved without contention)

A lot of people make a living out of Broccoli……what about them?  They are going to lose their jobs. If a fracking rig was closed down by the state and people lost their jobs, at least there is a sound environmental reason…but stopping broccoli…Really! 

The law says that if a species poses a threat of “ establishment and spread outside of its natural distribution range (a) threaten ecosystems, habitats or other species or have demonstrable potential to threaten ecosystems, habitats or other species”  Then it must be declared an invasive species.

The authorities keep quoting foreign risk assessments. I have read them. They are pathetic!  and they apply to countries where broccoli can and do thrive and spread.  It is a fact that that does not happen here in SA, so to my mind those assessments are useless and irrelevant. The authorities seem to think they add credibility to their cause.

Here in my home province of KZN, Broccoli are limited in their area …the area is shrinking due to more dire environmental degradation, and no one has conclusive evidence that it ever wiped out any other species…..there are some obscure claims but on dodgy evidence that is most definitely not mainstream.

Broccoli can co-exist with numerous other species, and does. I a not aware of any other species every having been ousted by Broccoli…at least not here in KZN. Broccoli uses the same nutrition as some indigenous species, but its not like it devours indigenous species.

No one has ever died of Broccoli poisoning.

As far as I know, a species has to meet the above “spread outside its natural distribution” and/or cause harm to Human health or wellbeing before the state can regulate it. Broccoli never hurt anyone.

I have NEVER heard of broccoli spreading rampantly across the landscape . In fact I have never heard of it spreading EVER…anywhere, since it was first brought to this country well over a century ago.

They say they will issue a permit to allow you to grow Broccoli, but there are no guidelines on when they might approve or not approve those permits, and the draft regulations have no mention of an appeal process. Permits, it seems will be issued by “the state”.  Who in “ The state”…the janitor?

There are lots of species, like bugweed, wattle  and bramble, that do harm, but not broccoli. So why on earth is it listed?

I am dumbfounded.

Read more here:   BAN ON BROCCOLI

We only have a few days to object, and then the demise of Broccoli could  be on  a one way path.

Errata…….due to a typing error, the word “Broccoli” appears numerous times in the piece above. Apologies…the word should be “Trout”.  All other aspects of this article remain valid, as does my disbelief and indignation.

Stippled Beauties (1 of 1)broccoli


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

 


Serendipitous connections

Back in August of 2016 I wrote this piece about a certain Capt HA Cartwright, his old fishing tackle which I happened to be keeping, and what I had discovered about the man on the internet.

My fascination with the story didn’t end there, and in the winter of 2017, I read the story of Fritz Kolbe…”Betraying Hitler”. I read with intense interest the snippets in there in which the meeting between Kocherthaler and Cartwright in Berne was mentioned.  I had no sooner turned the last page of that fascinating story when I received an e-mail, out of the blue, from none other than Carthwright’s family!

Since then some delightful and heartwarming correspondence with various family members has ensued, in which I discovered that one of them went to school with my brother. It is hoped that the Cartwright box (containing the fishing tackle of the late HA Cartwright) will soon be winging its way back to England to be re-united with the family.

In the meantime I was sent this picture of HA Cartwright, with the very same fishing tackle box!

HA Cartwright

The date and location of the photo are unknown, but what I have learned along the way is that Cartwright came to South Africa to retire at George in the Cape, and that is how the tackle box, and his family, made their way to here.  The box was handed in to our local fishing club from the deceased estate of one of Cartwright’s children, and when I became chairman of that club, it fell upon me to look after its various collectables, which included this box.

It has been a pleasure to be part of this feel-good and serendipitous story in which the conclusion sees a family re-united with a keepsake of a fly fishing grandfather whose story was so rich and intriguing.

To Stephen and David: It has been my pleasure!


Spring reborn in summer’s cloak

Crisp white snow linen met verdant spring veld. A rarity and a delight. Cold mixed with summer’s replenishment. Crisp mornings, sent to sweep away stifling humidity. A short reprieve. A re-setting of the seasonal clock. A checking of the rolling march of Summer’s oppressive heat. An elixir for our Trout, bracing themselves as they were for warmer water, regardless of flow.  Now we have ice melted into summer aquifers. Flows are up, and they are cold to boot. A gift of full rivers. Levels and clarity nearing perfection just as the balance is about to tip on its fulcrum towards unrelenting summer warmth. How much has it bought us? Us autumnal fellows whose compasses are set on high ground. A week perhaps. A blissful week of spring reborn in summer’s cloak.

West Hastings-4


Coffee & Quotes

“There is a fatality about fishing which makes most people, myself certainly, do what we know to be inept. Fishing faults are incurable. So though I shall proceed to lay down the law in pontifical fashion, pray do not think that I am one of those impeccable individuals whom we read about, for no one sins so often against the light.”

A Summer on the Test , John Waller Hills . 1924.

 

….and these are the beans I am currently grinding:

punk and Terb-4


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

Wisdom of the guides-2

“The whole thing about fly fishing is that it’s supposed to be fun. If you have more fun not catching fish on a dry fly than catching fish on a nymph, then fish a dry fly”

Gary LaFontaine, from Paul Arnold’s book “Wisdom of the Guides”

(and that is Al Troth on the cover by the way)

 

Wisdom of the guides-1

There is a story to this hut!  LINK.

I eventually got someone to do one for me !


Coffee and quotes

The coffee is a cappuccino, made with “Nonmara” beans, from the Coffee Merchant.

Non- “not” and Mara – “bitter” = not bitter! A multi continent blend that is roasted medium/dark. An intense espresso experience, great body and is vibrant and snappy, without any bitter after-taste

The quote is from “A Fisherman’s diary”, published in 1969Oliver Kite-1

“True anglers fish for sport, not for a medal, or mess of pottage, but they ought not to be ignorant of the peaks and summits of their attainments, whether directly solicited or not.”   Oliver Kite

Read more about Oliver Kite here


What do you say

This blog, as well as various magazine articles, are filled with images of one of my greatest friends.  He is also the subject of several blog posts here.

One of those blog posts was a plain black slide. It was posted on the day that my friend was diagnosed with cancer, and I put it there without explanation, because….. well because what do you say?

Last Wednesday we took my friend Roy fishing. But not before he stopped in for coffee and found about 40 fishing buddies there to give him a hug and a warm handshake.

Just 4 days later, Roy slipped away.  His last words were “Thank you” .

One of our mutual friends sent me a text that night. It said “Grown men don’t cry……Yeah right”.  I wasn’t the only one with tears rolling down my cheeks.

So what do you say?  Anything I could say somehow seems trite, and fails to represent what I am feeling……what a great many of us are feeling.

I don’t have much to say right now. Roy is gone.


You really have to watch yourself

I read somewhere recently that the character trait in which one favours nostalgia, is in direct contrast to to the trait in which one seeks new adventure. Put another way:  If you spend your time in fond reminiscence, you are less likely to be trying new fly patterns, and new tippet rigs and heading out to new fishing destinations.

It had me thinking. I have to watch myself!

I am a nostalgic. By that very definition, I am at risk of being an old fart.

So to comfort myself I stay abreast with things and keep my mind open to new tricks and new fandangled tackle and methods. Its how you hold back on the old fart label. And it is about as effective as holding back the sea with a fork.

Just last week I had the good fortune of spending time with Marc Petitjean. As we chatted I was in a state of mind in which I was open to learning and new things. Marc is the epitome of new things in fly fishing.

As we chatted, the subject turned to a visit to South Africa some 20 years ago by Darrel Martin, Lee and Joan Wulff, Taff Price, and Gary Borger.  I told how Darrel had given me a packet of CDC all those years ago, and how, at the time, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with that packet of fluff. I gave Darrel a packet of Klipspringer in exchange, thinking to myself “Well, at least he can do something with that!”.  As I relayed that story, Marc excitedly showed me the small multi-tool on a lanyard around his neck. Darrel  Martin had given it to him 25 years earlier! Darrel was also a great support to Marc in the years in which he  first espoused the use of CDC. He included it in his books, and apparently he gave packets of CDC to people across the globe.

I mentioned that I had recently been on Skype with Darrel, and immediately Marc said “We have to take a photo of you and I and this multi tool….I want Darrel to see that I am still using it after all these years”. 

Marc Petitjean-1-2

After the photo I took out the penknife that my father gave me 25 years ago, and I started to regale Marc with stories of all the times I lost it and found it again, and how I still have it after all these years.

The next morning I coudn’t find my precious talisman anywhere, and I searched high and low…..I have since found it, and upon doing so, I turned it over lovingly in my hand and reminisced all over again.

I really have to watch myself!


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Photo of the moment (81)

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A buddy lost

After the drama of family and grandchildren, stepping forward one after the other to drop a white lily onto the coffin below, the old guy in the tweed fedora stepped forward to the grave’s edge.  He had stepped slowly forward  when attentions were diverted. When the mourners had pulled their eyes away, and were looking through the bare branches of the graveyard trees at the happy sky beyond. As they were all  swallowing hard and waiting for the lumps in throats to mercifully subside.  That was when he stepped to the edge of the raw earth.

His movements were slow and deliberate, as those of an old man might be. Slow as a poignant moment required. His shoulders were rounded in tweed, but his stance was firm and erect. He was a mix of pride and defiance, and of humility and solemnity.  Two steps forward. Eyes cast down.  He embodied grief, but an outwardly  unemotional grief.  He was accepting of the inevitable. His friend had gone first. His turn would come, like all of us. The time between would be lonelier for Paul’s passing. That is how it will have to be.

He raised his hand to the brim of his hat, and then brought it forward.

It was at once a wave,

a salute

and a doffing of this hat.

A “goodbye old friend”.

It was a split second farewell gesture, but it was one that captured everything .

Everything to anyone who knew. Anyone who knew the friendship between these two. Two old men who I saw side by side in the veld confirming the botanical name of the wildflowers. Two old men whom I saw stoop on their walking sticks as they climbed the hill behind all the youngsters to nod at the cave paintings. Two old men who passed field glasses between them and discussed the identity of a bird of prey. Two old men who sat hunched in a boat with fly rods in hand, happy to just be there, and not demanding of a Trout’s sacrifice. Two old men who delighted in the stories re-told by the other so many times, but one more time again for the benefit of the others around the table. Two old men who delighted in prose and play on words. Men who treasured the sipping of a whisky in the firelight. One a farmer, the other from town, both of them equally academic. Both of them flyfishermen.  Both of them basking in the nostalgia of later years.

One of them gone now.

A buddy lost.

My turn to look up at the sky now, and swallow hard.

So long Paul. Sterkte Stiggs.

Paul Inman-1


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Photo of the moment (78)

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Sir!

It was during a Rhodes trip a few years ago, that I learnt of the death of Tim Wright.

Tim was an outdoorsman, an educator, and a gentleman. He was also a flyfisherman. I had the good fortune of benefitting from the fact that he taught and mentored both of my sons at junior school.

Tim was one of those guys, like my old friend Win Whitear, who punished schoolboys with what modern rules might decree as “cruel and unusual punishment”….(things like making them carry a rock, for rocking on their chair, or famously once throwing all a boy’s books out the window in the rain for some or other misdemeanor)…..and got away with it because the boys respected him so much.

He fed boys yellow Smarties ,from a tub labeled by his friend the pharmacist, as “homesick pills” , while on bush camps. Bush camps that he arranged and lead without profit, during his well earned school holidays. It was after a return from such a camp that he acknowledged me with a fleeting nod and a single sentence indicating that my boy was an accomplished outdoorsman. That eye contact, and brief appreciative nod, live with me as clearly as the lump in my throat that I felt all day on the upper Riflespruit on the day following his death.

On that day, and I remember it well, I was fishing with my friend Rhett. Rhett who I have no doubt would acknowledge the influence of his teacher, Pike.  Pike hadn’t joined us that day. His legs were mountain weary, and I do believe he was in the pub while we did the Riflespruit. In Pike’s defence, he had brought Rhett along on the trip when he was a schoolboy, and I reckon he needed to be in the pub. On that trip we also had along some guys touching an undeclared age somewhere over 60. They were a little worried about the social dynamics of a schoolboy on our fishing trip.

Rhett

Pike defended the judgment call, citing an assurance that Rhett would bring them beers and coffee. Rhett didn’t disappoint. Pike’s mentorship and judgment was as solid then as it is now.

Rhett now has children of his own, and he is coming along on our trip next month. Rhett had to eak out the money for the trip because he has school fees to pay. School fees which would have won over the fishing trip if it had come to that, because Rhett knows the value of a good school teacher.

In flyfishing circles in these parts, I reckon the value of a good school teacher is known. Countless fishermen have related to me how Win was such a great influence to them in their school years. The same Win who one year sat in my boat with a fly rod and a creased brow beneath his beanie and listened intently to one or other parenting problem. It is a good listener who says nothing until you have got it all out, and then delivers a few well considered sentences at the end of it all. Sentences that proved correct and apt and comforting to a parent sitting  on an ice cold lake with a fly rod in his hand.

Win

The other day I got a call from Murray. He wanted to clarify the identity of a man named “Pike”, who had taught his friend years back, and had introduced him to flyfishing. The friend wanted to look Pike up, acknowledge him, and thank him for getting him started with a ‘the fly’. The fact that he wanted to do that speaks volumes about his character, and also, might I suggest, the mentorship he received somewhere in his youth too.

It was indeed the same “Pike” . The same one who, when we are about to head out fishing,  holds us back, chatting at the roadside to a farmer about his children, their schools and their progress.  He does so with an intense interest, care, and attentiveness.  It is no surprise that the farmers remember him. I am just the one with the strung up fly rod pacing a few yards away.

pike

Pike once arrived on just such a trip as the aforementioned Rhodes trip, having taken a group of schoolboys fishing in East Griqualand. He related this story:

On a particularly slow day, he had elected to take an afternoon snooze in the vehicle while the boys fished a little way off. One youngster…a little guy called Leo who couldn’t open gates, and forgot a lot of stuff at home, and needed a lot of looking after …declared that he would stay back with Sir in the vehicle, out of the wind. He fidgeted. Pike tried to sleep. Leo then found a cable tie and asked Pike if he could place it on his wrist as a bangle.

“Not such a good idea” said Pike.

“Just loosely Sir” said Leo.

………..

“don’t pull it tight now Leo! ” said Pike.

Pike dozed for a while…….

Then there was a high pitched “Sir!”  from Leo.

You guessed it!

Pike has taken countless schoolboys fishing over the years. He says he is going to write a book called “looking after Leo, and other stories”

I sure hope he does.


Books and thievery

It was a very disappointed thief who broke down my patio door in the middle of the night with an axe, in search of a flat screen TV.

All he got was an angry Great Dane and a sea of books. I only wish we had managed to give him some fast flying lead too….the bastard!

But let me put the angry thoughts of retribution aside for a moment and focus on his disappointment, and my delight: Books.

I hadn’t realised it, but books, and more specifically flyfishing books, have been in my blood for a long time.  I remembered this favourite from my school days:

Joe Humphreys

And I remembered my delight at being mentioned  in one of Tom Sutcliffe’s newspaper articles, when I was just a schoolboy, that later became part of his first book: “My way with a Trout”.

I remember taking fly-fishing books out of the school library …the same titles, repeatedly:  “Where the bright waters meet”, by Harry Plunkett-Green, and titles by Skues and Sawyer.

Then the other day Tom  sent me this snippet of his “borrowed books” notebook:Toms old book register

And looking at my own collection  now, I realise that it has swelled somewhat over the years.

fly fishing books-1

And I think how I relish the titles by Middleton and Duncan, and Grzelewski and Rosenbauer and Engle, and Gierach, and French, and Traver, and Leeson, and where do I stop……. I have read them all, many several times.

“Where do you get the time!” proclaimed a friend the other day. He wasn’t expecting an answer, but I gave him one anyway: “I don’t own a TV” I said. And I realise now that while the man in the dark of night who threatened to shoot our dog spoke impeccable English, it can’t have been Graeme, because he knows I don’t own a flatscreen.  (One step closer to catching the thief, you might say.)

My wife and I were out to breakfast one day, and I had parked the car out front of the restaurant. I was about to lock the car when Petro pointed out that I had left something of value in full view. I re-opened the door and hid whatever it was under the floor mat. Then she opened her door and together we hid a few more items….you know, used handkerchiefs, toothpicks, that sort of thing. The sort of thing that people break car windows for. Then our eyes moved simultaneously to the back seat where I had a stack of secondhand fly-fishing books that I had just collected from the post office. We looked at them and then at one another and fell into laughter.

Later over coffee we discussed which country we might emigrate to, if ever we did that, and we decided that we would choose a country where one’s fly-fishing books were at risk of being stolen.


Fly-fishing unplugged

Please forgive me for being just a little cynical when some “fly-fishing personality” posts a picture of the hamburger he just had for lunch at the airport, and some sport comments “Amazing!” 

“A monkey in silk is a monkey no less”  Rodriguez.

I find myself walking a fine line between a few angling mates who entirely shun the internet, including Facebook, and others who report what they had for breakfast, and post another picture of the Adams they just tied, as though none of us have ever seen the thing.

“Meaningless, meaningless”      the book of Ecclesiastes

In recent months I have grown weary of trolling the pages, wasting good reading time, and expecting, against all hope, for something meaningful and rewarding to leap from the screen and cause me to have a life altering moment. I would settle for an “aha” moment in which I discover some revelation in fly design or leader rigging. Make no mistake, I have definitely found a few of those. But overwhelmingly, I witness a multitude of fly-fishers posting pictures and words that serve to cement their place in a world of conformity. I ask myself if I am unwittingly part of it all.

We were holed up in a fishing cottage waiting out a north wind recently, and the wine was flowing freely. One of the guys related a story. They had been at a rock concert on the Isle of Man, and there were upwards of twenty thousand weary, hung-over party goers waiting for the ferry in specially set up pens designed to batch the number of revelers who could safely board the ferry, when one joker emitted a “baaaaa”.  

Rare are the discoveries of well thought out, and novel concepts in fly design, leader dynamics or stealthy approach on Facebook. What I find disappointing in some way, is that when there is a really worthwhile idea that does NOT conform, the number of “likes, follows, and shares” is puzzlingly low. It is as though the crowd rewards and applauds all that is familiar and in alignment with the contents of the glossy magazine. 

This all has me inexplicably drawn to the unfashionable in fly-fishing. I revel in the little known, off the page, authentic and previously common, especially if there is a quirk of application or interpretation.

“………young and old, quietly fishing on unfashionable waters and doing it very well with a handful of flies and perfectly good, but cheap tackle from Cabela’s……You don’t notice them because they don’t show up on the covers of magazines and they don’t write books about it”   John Gierach , “At the grave of the Unknown Fisherman”

One thing is for sure, and that is that the internet is gear-centric when it comes to fly-fishing.

“The sporting press no longer represents sport; it has turned billboard for the gadgeteer.”  Aldo Leopold, “A sand county Almanac”

That is an element I am certainly guilty of falling for in recent years. I went into a phase of acquiring fly tackle. There was  a new reel with spools, the strength and smoothness of which would be best pitched at a marlin, not a fifteen inch trout.  And then I found myself no longer being able to refer to “my fly rod”, because I have a 2,3,4 and 5 weight! Excessive! 

“It seems important to remember that for most of the sport”"’s long history, anyone who spent hundreds of dollars on a fly rod and released all the fish they caught would have been run out of town”  John Gierach

Or was I just replacing some old tackle, converting to large arbor reels, and buying stuff of a quality I could not previously afford?

“Given a choice between a trout reel machined to micro-tolerances, or one banged back into working order after a fall using the butt end of a Buck knife while a pal steadied the project on a gleaming piece of east Sierra granite, which all led to catching those goldens brilliant as the sun setting on a Faberge egg….”  Seth Norman, “The fly fishers Guide to Crimes of Passion”

I have good friends, who are, despite their protestations, pure “tackle sluts”!  Wonderful, generous people they are, they just happen to have an affliction.  On the way out to some piece of water, they will wax lyrical about the specifications of this or that rod or line, and how much better it is than the one they bought last season. Given that I know the bloke fished twice last season, I am flabbergasted that he has that twice-used-line stored in a cupboard somewhere. I think I am more flabbergasted that he has formed a technical opinion of the new one over the old one!

At least he is enthusiastic about our shared passion, I tell myself.

“ If you see a fly fisherman on TV now , he is more likely to be in his early thirties and appear to be a weekend sports anchor……..he has an endorsement deal with Patagonia. He is presentable , noncontroversial, and REALLY ENTHUSIASTIC : “MAN! Those chironomids are amazing!”  Jack Ohman , “Angler Management”

Who am I to say.

My obsession with the lie of the land, the seasons, and the associations of place and people in the history of fly-fishing on my home waters, is no more noble than my buddies’ catalogue like knowledge of tackle, or another’s jovial chatter on Facebook.

Its just that unplugged fly-fishing has my attention right now, and I like it.

Author’s note:  No pictures were used during the production of the above essay……..(just saying)


Out with the old, in with the new

In the last little while, I have experienced a sort of “turn-over” not unlike those that sometimes discolour a decent Trout water for many weeks.

First my trusty vehicle went up in a puff of steam. I had planned for it to do 400,000 kms, something a friend of mine said was impossible. I pointed out that I got as near as dammit to 390,000 (and 13 years) in the last one. He said I was just lucky. So when Pendula coughed, I considered myself unlucky, and threw myself into something new shiny and bloody fantastic.  The  disappointment of having only made 235,000 kms and 7 years quickly dissipated when I started to get the hang of all the electronics in the new one.

During the weeks in which I was still buying 4 X 4 magazines to see what new fandangled things I could bolt to this new chariot, I got a mail from a magazine. I had done a piece for them. They liked it, and could they have high resolution copies of the following pictures please.  It was as I was reading those lines that a cold sweat broke out.

A week earlier, in the excitement of having decent music in my cab again, I had overwritten every single one of my high resolution RAW format fly-fishing pictures with tunes. 10 years of magazine acceptable pictures gone. Just like that. It had happened as quickly as the needle of the temperature gauge in the old Ford had hit the stop peg in the red zone.

My son has a clever recovery program, and maybe I can ditch the music and recover some of the images, but its unlikely I will get them all back. Whatever I get back will be at the expense of some great blues music. So I could spend hours in front of a PC trying to turn the clock back, and I could kick my left shin blue,

OR

I could put the new bakkie to good use, and go fishing instead, and in the process take some new pictures.  As a naturally recidivist nostaligic, it’s time to shake out the old and embrace the new. Maybe I will learn how to tie the Penny knot , and make it my own and ditch 30 years of improved clinch tying. Maybe I will try 3 fly rigs, and try my hand at tying wally wings. Maybe I will mothball my old doughnut float tube and get a new U tube, and start drinking beer that doesn’t come in green bottles, and start flyfishing for bass.

Or maybe not.

Damn I am cross with myself for burning that motor and overwriting those pictures!


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Photo of the moment (70)

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