The New Year has arrived with its usual hectic demand on life. What a joy to be able to slip out and have a day alongside or in the water of one of our wonderful dams and to have the thrill of adrenalin pumping as a rainbow takes the offering with a mighty pull and strips the line to the backing. It matters not whether the fish comes to hand or just shakes the fly loose. The thrill of the connection lasts and rests in the memory to be recalled in understanding and discerning company.
1st Photo: Committee Members: Top Row, Stephan Cloete (vice Chairman), Andrew Junior, Twins, Zandri, Charles Richter, Reg Morgan, Andre Naude, Darren Boucher, Rudi von Pletzen. Senior taking photo. Absent Eric Boucher, & Gary Godley. 2nd Photo: lovely cock rainbow in full winter plumage. 3rd Photo: 2017 Gathering Winners. Champion fish Marse Naude, Junior Champion: Zandri van Wyk, Largest Bag Brian Gaddrige.
Your committee has had its first meeting where we welcomed our newest and youngest member Zandri van Wyk. All of 13 and the Junior Champion at the Gathering last year. She has lowered the average age of the committee by a decade or so!
An excellent meeting has seen the creation of three specific areas of activity and members have agreed to work on these in teams.
The Junior section with Darren Boucher, Zandri van Wyk and Andrew Junior van Wyk will be working with two local schools, Hangklip High and Queens College Junior.
Stocking will be in the hands of Rudi von Pletzen and Andrew Senior van Wyk.
The harvesting of eggs for the Rhodes Hatchery is headed by Charles Richter and Andre Naude. Gary Godley and Eric Boucher will fit in to one of the three areas.
PLEASE NOTE ALL OUR DAMS WILL BE CLOSED FOR FISHING BY MEMBERS AND DAY TICKET FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY. The loss of the larger fish in the heat and low levels in the dams is of great concern. This has been discussed every year and the situation this year warrants this decision. Apologies to anyone out of town who has planned to visit in February.
The AGM agreed to an increase in the annual Subscription to R 950.00 with a R 50.00 discount for those who pay by the end of January. It was also agreed to increase the Day Ticket levy to R 250.00 per person per day. This is in line with a long standing practise that 4 days fishing on day ticket is more expensive than a year’s membership.
We are a catch and release organisation and would like to extend this to asking members and guests to refrain from taking fish out of the water to photograph from December to February. The stress of lifting large trout out of the water when the water is low and warm makes revival a very chancy business. A visit to a dam the day following a day’s hard fishing often reveals a number of dead fish. By all means photo the fish you are taking home! On one sad day there were ten dead fish the next day.
The committee is actively exploring stocking with brown trout this year and we will keep you up to date with progress. It adds a lovely dimension to what we can offer as a club.
A local person has agreed to photograph all our dams with his drone. We have Google photos of all our dams which are very helpful. Drones from 80 metres give a whole new aspect to the vegetation and surrounds of our dams. Once this is done we will add them to our web site.
The Web site has been under continual updating and we will be doing quite a bit of work in the next week or so. We had an offer from a keen fly fisherman to take on the web site on a proactive basis. Sadly he has been extremely sick and can- not do that job. If anyone is keen to assist the club in this area please contact me as soon as possible.
The 2018 Gathering is set for 5th – 7th July as usual based at Aloe Grove.
We have decided to keep the costs the same as last year. R 1750.00 for the two days fishing with free fishing on any dam on the Sunday. Deposit R 500.00
We have secured a new major sponsor for this year. Daniel Kruger who fished the Gathering last year has taken on this role. Daniel is CEO of Xenturion in J’burg and his company will be represented well at the gathering. Jacksons Motors of Queenstown will continue to be a supporting sponsor. Do let me know if anyone else is willing to be added to our sponsor list.
The first person to book for the Gathering is already in and we would love to have more people booking early. Last year all monies were in well before the start of the Gathering which was a great help.
Dam Report: The heat and lack of rain is impacting most dams. However, the catch returns indicate that the fish are fighting well and are in excellent condition. Oakley is about 40% and the last stocking three years ago is producing fish of 55 cm and occasional 60 + cm. The road to the dam is a 4×4 trail and that has probably kept the fishing down. Over the Christmas period several determined members and day ticket holders had excellent fishing there. Welgevonde Uncle George’s dam is fishing well though the weed has grown back strongly. Pine Grove is about 45% and clearing up well. It was extremely muddy before the rain. Fish are fighting well there. Snowdon The trophy dam is much reduced in area and desperate for rain. 60+ cm fish and stockies are taking flies well. Plenty of weed. Small dam fishing well when fish are biting. Always an erratic dam where it is brilliant one day and a blank the next time. Birds River Ed Clarks top two dams are lowish with the pivot working but good returns from the top dam. Weed is a challenge but some beauties there 60+ cm and stockies 40+ cm. Johan Wege’s top dam is weeded badly and very challenging fishing. Some lovely fish there but enjoying the protection of the weed beds. Quarry with its newly cleared dam wall is fishing well.
The Molteno dam, Brandwag, is full and the staff report plenty of activity in early morning and evening. Remains a murky dam though the fish should match Uncle George’s and Table View in growth, Just need an extended visit to prove it! Table Hill like Uncle George’s dam ( they were stocked at the same time) is proving to be an exceptional dam on a good day. Good numbers and excellent condition indicates an abundant food chain and excellent water quality
People without permission have been fishing Quarry, and unfortunately the gate will be locked at the road. With the farming community under continual threat of farm attacks it is crazy for people to trespass on to a farmers land to fish without booking. This is not the only dam where unknown people have been found fishing.
Federation of South African Flyfishers – FOSAF has been in the forefront of ensuring trout continue to be available to fly fishermen in South Africa. This in the face of a concerted effort by some top level opposition from government agencies charged with protecting the environment. Ongoing engagement with the relevant departments has been a long term process and has been very costly. It continues and may well land in the Constitutional Court as much of what has happened on the Government side is not in line with the existing law,
At present there is no national agreement where all fly fishing members are affiliated to the national body, as for instance with bowling or golf. As a club we pay an agreed amount to the Eastern Cape Chapter of FOSAF per member. However, we are in discussion with national to try to effect some changes. In the meantime all members are encouraged to sign up with FOSAF as individual members. The current cost is R 300.00 for a year. There are some benefits to this membership which are clearly laid out on the FOSAF web site.
As a club we have signed up for the Gold membership of FOSAF. Please check the web site: www.fosaf.co.za for details of the challenges and the membership.
With the very best wishes for the year ahead.
Regards and tight lines,