Dear Members, as we move into another year which promises to be as challenging and stressful as the last one, the opportunity to cast a fly over one of our beautiful still waters is probably one of the most creative responses one could make. The combination of clear air, still water, the adrenaline rush of a gentle or powerful take on the fly and great company is a wonderful tonic and relaxer. Add to this the reality that in each of our waters lurk trophy fish trailing flies we have offered and they have broken off! If the stockies learn anything it will be where to dive among the weeds to escape the irritating fly lodged in their jaw. The battles fought from the comfort of the bank or float tube with these rainbow trout will keep the tales around the bar and braai stocked for years.
The dams will be closed from 15th January until the end of February to protect the big fish. They battle to recover from even a short fight and when taken out for photos they often are belly up the next day. Arriving at a dam to see 6 or so large fish dead is not a wonderful start to anyone’s day fishing. So we would encourage all members and friends not to take fish out of the water for photos during December to February unless you are taking the fish home.
Please note the Mudderbult Dam in Molteno will remain open and is providing some excellent fishing. It is about the same distance as the Indwe dams from Queenstown. This is our latest project, 1.4 kms long by 500 metres wide at the wall. The fish are strong and fight hard. It is well worth a visit and peaceful as there are no coms!
Most of our waters have a good deal of weed and it offers challenging fishing. However, do stop in the weed and have a careful look at the wonderful array of insect life which lives there. You will then discover just why our dams produce such wonderful fighting fish. Of course that is also due to the work over many years of Martin Davies in breeding his Thrift strain. These can be found in all our dams and show up in the lively colours, superb tails and shoulders.
Guiding on the dams: recently members of the committee have been acting as guides for visitors. We would like to develop this aspect of the club. Please contact the Chairman or Bookings Officer if you want more details.
The stocking of the dams is an ongoing process and we were delighted to be able to stock Thrift fry the week of Christmas in most dams. This supplemented the stocking from Woolf Arvni around Easter from his Wilderness Cup hatchery. Our policy for stocking means there will always be a good supply of fighting stockies in all dams and the wiser ones will become the trophy fish of the future.
Annual Subscriptions of R 950.00 are now due and those paid before the end of February attract a R 50.00 discount. At the AGM in November it was agreed to join the Eastern Cape FOSAF initiative to boost the national membership of FOSAF. The proposal which was unanimously adopted is that as a club we will contribute R 150.00 from each Subscription to FOSAF nationally to give every member membership of FOSAF. The normal annual subscription for FOSAF is R 300.00. So if you are not a member of FOSAF you will through the club join for half price. If you are a member of FOSAF and send us a copy of your current membership you will get a further rebate of R 150.00.
FOSAF National: Most members will be aware that there is a concerted and sustained battle by some members of the Department of Environmental Affairs led by Deputy Director Dr Guy Preston to declare trout as both alien and invasive. Fosaf through the legal expertise of Ian Cox and Illan Lax has been engaged in presenting the other side supported by the national Executive Committee to ensure we have trout available for us to enjoy .One of the challenges is that FOSAF has not had a large membership and that in itself weakens the case for trout; hence the move to encourage all clubs to boost FOSAF membership. Please do all you can to support the fight to keep trout in our waters. The battle continues and it has serious consequences for our beloved sport. Please access the FOSAF web site for the up to date state of play.
Your committee, which was re-elected at the AGM, has developed a work sharing process which means everyone has a role to play. Stocking is headed by Andrew Senior van Wyk Rudi von Pletzen and Andre Naude; Harvesting eggs is led by Charles Richter; Bookings and Catch Returns by Andrew Junior van Wyk; Juniors are led by Darren Boucher and Zandri van Wyk (our youngest member at 13!), Membership and Admin Eric Boucher; Braai and fellowship Gary Godley; Crass Carp Stephan Cloete who is also vice Chair; Treasurer Reg Morgan and Chair; Gathering is run by whole committee who are also guides for the event.
Grass Carp: We are in the process of acquiring a number of Grass Carp which will be placed in dams which have large weed growth. These fish take a good period of time to begin to have a definite impact on weed growth. We are being cautious in the numbers to be placed in each dam. Initially George Smith’s Dam, Quarry, Snowdon and Pine Grove will each receive fish.
Harvesting eggs is led by Charles Richter with Prof Peter Britz from Rhodes.
Gathering 2019 will be held from Thursday 4th July until Sat 6th July. The cost is R 1750.00 and can be booked with a R 250.00 deposit. Five keen people are already booked and the Main sponsor has confirmed their participation in this exciting event. As usual entrants will be able to fish the club waters for free on Sunday. Float tubes are welcome on all dams but no boats or motors. Please book accommodation at Aloe Grove firstname.lastname@example.org . They have excellent rates for rooms over our Gathering.
These two magnificent mounted Trophy fish from Birds River Top Dam will be loaned by Andrew Senior and Andrew Junior for the Gathering. One will be the trophy for the largest fish and the other will be for the largest bag. The winning name will be placed on base. The trophies will remain the property of the van Wyks. We are delighted with this generous use of these mounted trophies.
Juniors: During 2018 we hosted a High School competition between Grey College and Queens College Senior. Grey cleaned up the day with excellent returns. Darren and Zandri with Andrew Junior’s support are working at developing interest in Hangklip and Queens Junior Schools. There have been several outings with the last seeing everyone catch a fish. Our thanks go to the enthusiasm of the team in working with the Flyfishers of the future.
Eastern Cape Chapter of FOSAF; The AGM was as usual held at Gubu Dam in November. Illan Lax, our National Chairman presented the picture of FOSAF nationally and updated the members with the latest on the legal side. He also confirmed the new proposals for membership to be boosted via clubs. Brian Clark who had taken over as Chairman of EC was elected as Chairman and a wide representation of members were elected to the committee, so now competitive fly-fishing and fly tying have a voice alongside members from the various clubs.
Here’s to wishing you a year of fishing both refreshing and challenging.