Drought is a reality in every part of our land. The Western Cape has lower levels in their dams than this time last year and the out flow now exceeds inflow. In the Eastern Cape the forecast people have a way of pushing back the predicted rains. The promised return to summer rains is now not due until December. The result of this natural cycle of plenty and drought was noted in the story of Joseph and the disaster facing his adopted country of Egypt and of the dire circumstances of his family back home. Add to that the desperation of farmers to keep their lands watered to keep their farms productive and four of our traditional key dams are now pumping to pivots and consequently are very low and one completely dry. This prompted your committee to seek new waters not subject to pivot irrigation. Thanks to the Andrew’s Senior and Junior, Stephan, and Jane Cloete we have been able to secure three new excellent waters. These are George Smith’s dam close to Pine Grove ( This was a trophy dam of national fame in its heyday), Kevin Miles’ Snowden 1 on Table view Farm close to Snowden and Willem & Lizle van Zyl’s Modderbult 76 just south of Molteno. The Mudderbult dam will become our largest at 70 + hectares when full. These were stocked in July with yearling trout from Martin Davies at Rhodes University. There will be another top up stocking early December from the Winterberg Hatchery with this year’s fry sourced from Thrift and Winterberg fish.
Our regular dams are still fishing well with notable trophy sized fish of 4-5 Kg fish with the occasional 6 kg being caught. When the rains do arrive we will be stocking these dams, though the low level pivot dams will be stocked conservatively. The dams affected by pivot are Pine Grove, Birds River top two and Oakley. The Snowden narrow dam fed from Table View will no longer be stocked, even if it fills again.
The present paid up membership is 63. This year we have welcomed 10 new members and a couple are keen to join in the New Year. It is healthy to have the steady influx of new members as the older section of the club sees departure due to infirmity and death,
A new and very welcome feature has been the establishment of a junior section based at Queens College Junior. Darren Boucher has gathered a group of about ten enthusiastic youngsters who have had several outings to the Birds River dams over the last few months. It is very encouraging to see the keenness of young people taking up our beloved craft of fly fishing. Our arrangement is that the school takes out a club membership and in this case Darren then arranges the trips under the assistance of the club. The landowners have been fully supportive.
35 members are from out of town and a place to stay in reach of the dams is important. There are regular calls for information regarding available places to stay. We have begun the process of creating a new accommodation section of the web site. The three new dams should have accommodation available on the farm near the waters by the middle of next year. There is a beautiful cottage at the water’s edge on George Smith’s dam ready for use. Linky Mortlock has opened Willow Farm on the way to Birds River to members which is very convenient.
The club web site: This continues to be the main hub for communication for membership details and for information about our dams. The site needs to be developed to show case the town and surrounds somewhat more. The sponsors of the Gathering for instance should be noted and acknowledged on the site. We are looking at a section of places at which to eat.
Emails: Otherwise emails are the most direct way of linking members. The number of apologies for this AGM illustrates this, as noted on the Attendance sheet.
Newsletter: These are produced as occasional round ups of our activities.
First we need to express our gratitude as a club for the continued support of all our landowners and managers. It is a great partnership which has benefits on both sides. All our landowners and managers are a wonderful group of supportive people. They often go out of their way to assist members and visitors to give directions and permission to access their land to fish.
Second, it is great to welcome three new landowners to the fold. George Smith, Kevin and Carl Miles and Willem and Lizle van Zyl. We look forward to many years of partnership ahead. Third, in a world where ethics and morality seem to be eroded at every turn we have decided that GPS details will not be published on the web site. These are available from the land owners when booking waters. If there is a problem then contact the Returns Officer.
This was held as a two day event which as it transpired weather wise was a good decision. The first day the winds created an extremely challenging days fishing. Then second day was calm and some great fishing was enjoyed by all participants. In the group were a three who regularly fish Dulstroom and were amazed at the size of the fish they caught. Apparently a 2 kg fish will win most days there. Here each gathering sees the trophy fish at least 4 kg and often larger.
The first day was rounded off with a most enjoyable braai hosted by Antoinette and Gary Godley, who also handled the admin for the Gathering. The second day as is traditional concluded at Aloe Grove for an excellent meal and prize giving. Our sponsors in the very tough economic climate came up stars and the prize table was a wonderful sight. Every entrant went home with a collection of prizes. A very grateful vote of thanks to all the committee who shouldered all the work involved.
Then to our sponsors another vote of thanks for continued support and generosity.
Gathering 2017 29 th June – 1 st July.
This will be a two day affair again. The amount of work involved in a one day and a two day event is very similar and with the distances people have to travel two days and even a third on the Sunday makes the event attractive.
Martin Davies: Has served trout fishing in the country and especially here in the Eastern Cape with distinction. He retires from his job heading the fishery section of Rhodes University at the end of this year. I would like to propose we make him an Honorary Member of the club in recognition of his amazing contribution to our club and the Eastern Cape as well..
To the club committee my thanks for a well-run year with new horizons established. Special thanks to Andrew Nel for always being prepared to assist in all sorts of ways. We look forward to the day he has time to be involved again.