The Photo shows the five main prize winners. Left to Right Justin Roux, Mark Schonkin, Gerhard Cloete, Antoinette Naude, Roy Stewart.
Queenstown Fly Fishing Club held their Annual Gathering for fly fishers from various parts of the country on 3- 4th July at Aloe Grove. Ryan Smith, one of the club members who is part of the Eastern Cape Provincial Fly-fishing Team, gave a very informative talk on Friday evening before dinner. Then the entrants were allocated to the dams with a committee member as guide. Dinner followed giving opportunity for renewing friendships and developing new ones.
Early on Saturday, at 6.00am, in the dark, groups departed for the various dams. The excellent lunch packs sustained everyone and the bottle of Old Brown was welcomed and consumed by many. However, the juniors were given a non-alcoholic substitute! Their time will come.
There were 27 people (+ 6 guides) fishing the dams at Pine Grove, Bird’s River and Snowden in beautiful surroundings though with fairly windy conditions. The fishing was consequently fairly challenging; four experienced entrants and one guide caught nothing all day! The total length of fish caught and released was 33.4 metres. The trophy fish of 67 cm, was caught by Mark Schonkin, a regular local QFFC member at the Gatherings, in Batterson's dam.
The returns showed that the stocking programme was doing well. 84 stockies from 25 cm – 39cm were caught and released; 43 in the Trophy dam at Snowden and 31 in the small dam at Snowden. The larger fish recorded were as follows: Snowden Trophy 53, 58. Small dam Snowden 46, 57. Bird’s River Top 42, 47, 49 x 2, 57, 58. Middle dam 55. Battersons 42, 58, 67. Quarry 58. Pine Grove 2 Stockies, 51, 58 x 3, 59, 60 x 2, 61, 64. All fish were in superb condition and gave a good account of themselves. As always there were the stories of the ones which got away, maybe fuelled by quantities of OBS consumed during the hours fishing!
Two guides caught their personal best in the Pine Grove dam which was very encouraging.
As always the Saturday Evening rounded off the Gathering with the prize giving followed by an excellent Dinner. Due to excellent local business support, everyone received a prize.
The QCCF Trophy and a year’s subscription went to Mark Schonkin for his fish of 67 cm. The second prize sponsored by Ford Kelston Motors, for the longest bag, went to Roy Stewart for his catch of 1metre 81 cm. Roy has attended the Gathering since it started in 1999. The third prize sponsored by Greens Sawmill went to Justin Roux, for the second largest fish at 60 cm. The fourth prize for the next longest fish went to Antoinette Naude at 58 cm. Then the prize for the Junior with the largest fish went to the youngest entrant Gerhard Cloete.
A new prize category for Guides, sponsored by Queenstown Veterinary Clinic, went to Gary Godley for the best fish and his personal best. He, generously, put his prize, a large bag of dog food, up for auction.
During Dinner a bottle of Bells Whiskey was auctioned and was sold to Ronnie Dunn, for R 1550.00; a bottle of Old Brown Sherry went to Ans Janeke, for R 250.00, and the large bag of Dog Food went to Elise Naude for R 450.00. The proceeds go to the stocking funds.
The Chairman congratulated all the prize winners and thanked everyone involved for ensuring an excellent Gathering. He thanked those who had travelled from afar and who were regular participants. The landowners were also thanked for their continued support of the club and for releasing their waters for the Gathering.
Rowan Roux was congratulated in advance for his 80th , coming up in September. Rowan has been part of the Gatherings for many years and always shares his enthusiasm widely.
There was loud and widespread support for making the Gathering a two day fishing event especially for those who had come down from the Vaal Triangle and from PE. It was also noted that the timing of the event needs to avoid full moon if possible. The committee will look at all aspects of the Gathering at their next meeting.
Ryan Smith, a QFFC Member, giving his very informative talk on Friday evening on competitive fly fishing as a member of the Eastern Cape Provincial Fly Fishing Team.
Gerhard Cloete, our youngest fly fisher who won the prize for the Junior with the largest fish. He is a regular entrant who is always looking for the next large fish. Hopefully next year we will have a larger group of youngsters taking part. Well done Gerhard