Skimming through fishing magazines, websites and books, I can’t help but notice the prevalence of articles espousing the wildness of the fishing. The secret location is so remote that a helicopter was the only way in. The bigger fish are in the headwaters above the waterfall, and it takes several hours to hike in. For the best fishing, you have to walk further. And so it goes.
And we want to be the one who DID walk further. The one who went higher into the mountains, beyond where your unfit mates would ever go.
We hope that the fishing there will be better too, because then we would have been rewarded for our efforts. We will also have a story to tell, and our mates are more likely to repeat the story on our behalf when we are not around. In short, we will be heroes. I remember taking two mates on an epic hike in cold damp weather, in which there was less fishing than hiking, and all we saw was one monster Trout racing for cover.
I enjoy the fact that we went up there, further than anyone else goes. When I see pictures of other’s expeditions that made it halfway to where we went, I have to bite my tongue. I don’t want to be the tosser who blurts out that we went higher. But I do enjoy knowing that.
I don’t believe that I have a competitive bone in my body. Maybe I do, but I don’t believe it. I don’t think I am trying to be a hero. If I am, please aim a kick at my shin!
What I do know, is that in a world of ringing phones, busy airports and desks overflowing in paper, I want to set myself apart from it all. Being the one who hiked over the big mountain to the dangerous side, and came back with a picture of a 22 inch Brown, is one way of pulling ones flagging spirit from the mire of modern life.
Some might argue that achieving this with a modicum of humility is the trick. They might be right, but I think that for a plunker like me, hooking that big Brown and then actually landing it, is where the real trick lies.
Five years ago, I was given a wonderful gift. It was a Garmin e-trex vista HCX GPS. A nifty little handheld, waterproof “hiking type” unit, that slips into your jacket pocket.
At the time, I was pleased to receive it, and was sure it would come in use out there in the veld somehow. But I had no idea how much I was to end up enjoying it.
I suppose this has something to do with the fact that us humans are great measurers of things.
And many of us outdoor types all the more so. Perhaps I speak for myself here, but it seems we do a great deal of recording of measures. Water temperatures, fish lengths, weights and condition factors, wind directions, fly size, barometric pressure, moon phase, number of fish caught, number of takes, number of rises. I could go on.
And maps…we love maps.
As river fishermen, we inevitably do a fair amount of clambering up and down steep hills.
Sometimes it is the walk in on a goat track.
Paul De Wet and Rhett Quinn heading up the Riflespruit valley
At other times it is just part of making your way up and down a river valley.
Roy Ward looking for good footing in a river valley in KZN
Either way a certain quota of sure footedness is an asset, as is a reasonable degree of fitness.