I head out onto a local water here in search of some Browns, and meet with some success. Join me.
We think our Great Dane rather dim, and more than a little quirky, when the only way he will cross the dining room, is in reverse with my daughter’s shirt in his mouth.
But that is nothing. Let me tell you some crazy stuff about us fly-fishermen!
I quite recently listened with care and respect, while a hatchery man told me that he doesn’t breed Brown Trout, because the Rainbow alevins, just gobble up all the Brown alevins within days of hatching.
I have also heard it said, (More than once) that a float tube has an advantage over a kick boat, because your profile is lower, and that the Trout are therefore less likely to see you. Think about that one………..
Another beaut is the guys who will tell you that in a tube or kick boat, you can turn around and fish through 360 degrees of undisturbed water. …Uh….hum. Back cast…?
You would think that most of these gems would be gleaned from pubs, which might I say, is where they belong. But no, they are just as often delivered on a fresh sunny, sober morning!
Then there was a mate of mine, since deceased, who insisted that his woolen jersey kept him warm despite the fact that it was raining hard. He would sit out there in his boat, soaked to the skin, and weighed down in sodden wool, while I watched him through the mist from the relative comfort of a rain jacket.
One mate who was fearful of over-inflating his float tube, fished in what looked like an under-filled shopping bag, with the waves occasionally breaking into his waders. I reckon he hung in the balance between floating and sinking to the bottom of the lake for good. We have since talked some sense into him!
The other twisted one which one often encounters is “all Browns only feed at night”. Which has me puzzled as to how I catch all my daytime browns.
Another beaut is the story of what happened “just the other day”. A member of the local fishing club was caught with an entire boot-load/coolbox-full of Trout(the story varies) on a water in the Kamberg. The story repeats itself every three years , and has done ever since the event actually did occur in the nineteen seventies!
Speaking of madness: I was recently at Highmoor with my friend Graeme. We were both on the upper lake where things were rather slow, I said to Graeme that I was nipping to the lower water, to feel a tug on the end of my line, since fishing has been more of a sure thing down there lately. Upon arriving I noticed a woman, hiking in a long skirt and boots. She walked up onto the hillside, where she then proceeded to walk back and forth, occasionally waving her arms in the air, and intermittently throwing herself on the ground. When the breeze abated, I heard her shouting at the top of her voice. While she was doing this, the point fly I was fishing, inexplicably came off. I reeled in to tie on a new one, and so as not to be outdone I cursed and swore into the wind as well. This either offended her, or she didn’t like the competition , or perhaps it was that her voodoo fly –removing magic was done, because by the time I looked up from tying on a new fly, she had disappeared into the hills.
She actually re-appeared later at the top dam, and upon noticing Graeme out on the water in his float tube, she shouted out a sort of nautical “Ahoy there” into the wind. She tried several times, each time waving her hands theatrically as though to a departing ship. Graeme did what I would have done, and ignored her, and after a while she threw it in and returned to wherever she had come from.
Another crazy one doing the rounds is a completely absurd story that involves my friends and I. Apparently, or so the story goes, years ago we requested a student’s discount on a group fishing week-end. Having been granted some relief from the burden of the accommodation bill, we allegedly arrived in a Mercedes and a four wheel drive, with a case of beer each, and to eat, just half a tomato between us.
How absurd! It just goes to show: you cant believe any of this stuff.
As we steered across the vlei and ascended the slight rise on the Western side of the valley floor, the strong yellow rays of the sun lit the hill, and at its base the coruscating blue water came into view in a narrow strip.
The light was brilliant in its clarity, but gentle in its insidious arrival, and soft in hue. The cold, on the other hand, was brutal and harsh. The puddles were iced on the way in and, but for the fact that there was no moisture in the air, there would have been a frost as severe as winter. It was neither winter nor spring. It was August: that in-between month of either hot or cold, but definitely dry.
Today was cold. The waders were icy, and I felt the need to pull on a beanie to cover my ears.
There was a chop on the water from the fresh Westerly breeze, and the float tube rocked ever so slightly atop the crystal bowl of water that we were fishing. I had on an FMD. PD started with one too, but switched to a woolly bugger. He landed two Rainbows.
They were strong fish, probably year-old’s from last years fry. I landed only one, which meant he was on tea duty.
Mind you, he is always on tea duty.
With the water temperature in the lake varying from 21.3 degrees at 5 metres depth to 23 degrees at the surface, this was always going to be a tough day’s fishing. The sun was out in the morning, and I sat out there on the tube, lathered up with suncream, thankful for the breeze, and not entirely confident.
I can’t be sure when I first stepped into a float tube.
What I do know, is that on the morning of 29th June 1985 Roger Baert arrived on the farm, to come and help us see if we could catch some of the Trout we had stocked in our new dam. He was a little late: He had stopped on the way in to watch a duiker for a long while. I fished from the little rowing boat that my father had bought us, aptly named “DryFly”, and Roger fished from a float tube. Not just any float tube mind you, but the first tube ever brought into South Africa.
When Roger left later that day, he left the first entry in the logbook, and he left the first float tube. The latter was on loan to me, on the “never-never”.