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Flyfishingtherapy

A blog focussing on Trout Fishing as a fabulous, healthy pastime and personal anecdotes on my experience of fly fishing as a healing means of managing stress

The Pro’s & Cons of Kids & Flies

I have the pleasure of having fathered 2 boys. Oh dear, rewind, let me start again….I have the pleasure of being a father to 2 wonderful young boys, Sam (10) & Tom (7). Sam was born in Johannesburg and was the ultimate proverbial “last straw” that galvanized our decision to move to Hilton in 2006. I must mention that it goes without saying that they are the kind of little guys who would rather spend their days outside, weather notwithstanding in Hilton, than playing inside. They suffer from the common local malady know to us as “Hilton Feet”; symptoms are easy to detect – dark black feet 99% of the time. This is good. TV is for sport and watching the Cars & Cars 2 movies 100 plus times over on those days that they just CAN’T go outside. Needless to say, they have both been along on many fishing “expeditions” ranging from a few hours on the local forest dam to a long weekend away.

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Sam & Tom at a small dam in the Dargle District, KZN Midlands

When I cast (sic) my mind back to the first outings with Sam and then later on, Tom, I remember a large amount of frustration for a number of reasons. The most obvious one is the regular pestering of them, asking, “When’s mah turn Daaaaad?” So I would eventually capitulate and cast a spare line out for them and firmly instruct them to retrieve dead slow, which in 4 year old speak equated to a double overhand retrieve with the rod bouncing around frantically on the bank for 10 seconds. This would usually be followed by a proud pronouncement of “I’m finished Daaaad”! It all resulted in not much time for me to focus on my line of course. It took a few trips for me to work out that eventually they’d get bored which lead them to stripping down to their underpants and jumping in the water! In the blink of an eye, my fly-fishing turned into casting practice while they swam and made mud pies and balls which were more often than not launched as far in to the water as their little arms would allow! Who’d want play station when you have this kind of playground?

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Getting ready for swimming and mud pies

I recall another particularly costly day trip a few years back where both the boys and my wife, Anna, were with me. As I was preparing my line, I lost a fly (black beetle with a green Mohican) in the grass with about 5 inches of tippet attached to it. After a considerable time searching for this fly without success, I gave up looking and went on to the water to fish. A couple of hours later, I hit the motherlode of evening rises on the water and was in my element catching rainbows on a dry. As I was reaching fever pitch, I heard this call from Sam which I thought was along the lines of “Daaaad, it’s time to go home”. I replied, quite understandably, that there was no way that I was leaving until I had thrashed the water clean. My initial thought was incorrect….the actual call from Sam was a crisis call…He was shouting to me that he had a fly caught in his calf muscle. Daaaad’s retort was along the lines of “What the hell are you doing buggering around with my flies anyway?” Then I looked at the fly embedded in his little leg and, guess what, it sported a green Mohican! I quickly apologised and thanked Sam for finding my fly! So, with the little guy being in a fair bit of pain, I extracted 2 items. The 1st being my trusty Leatherman and the 2nd my hipflask containing some type of appropriate anaesthetic. I quickly poured the amber fluid on the affected area (Yells from Sam) then proceeded to try and extract the fly with my surgical grade pliers. Well, if there was a roof, Sam would have hit it. The fly was barbed…damn, I am normally so careful to crimp the barbs on my fly. There was no way that I was going to get the fly out without knocking Sam out with a rock (No, it didn’t cross my mind at the time). So, the Subaru turned into an ambulance, it was white, and we high-tailed to Howick Hospital only to be told there was a 2 hour wait in casualty. Plan B – Dropped Anna and Tom off at home and headed to Mediclinic with Sam. The offending object was extracted from his leg, thank goodness. I would normally finish here but I need to tell you more. I went to settle the bill and I almost required admission for shock. The amount came to the equivalent of the cost of a nice middle of the range fly rod.

Notes to self:

  1. Find that damned lost fly in the grass even if it takes all day!
  2. Crimp those barbs.
  3. Replace that amber liquid in my hip flask with Dormicum or Morphine!
  4. Don’t take someone to hospital casualty on Easter Sunday at 9pm!
  5. No matter the cost – it was still a great day out with the family…Priceless!

I could go on relating numerous other “challenging” experiences with my boys on the water but we’ve moved on from there and so should this piece!

Sam has now reached the stage where he has begun casting really nicely and Tom is getting there but “thrashing the water” would be a polite way to put it! We’ve all reached the stage where it’s a pleasure to be out on a water together. Sam has joined the Natal Fly Fishers Club (NFFC) and it won’t be long until Tom does too. The next hurdle is to get Sam (and Tom) a Trout. Bass have been caught and hung, drawn & quartered on a number of occasions but no Trout yet. It’s just a matter of time though.

What I am ultimately grateful for is the fact that these guys love the outdoors so much, especially fishing (when they’re not fighting on the backyard cricket pitch, that is). All I can do as a “Daaad” is feed this passion of theirs and place opportunities and experiences in their path. Yes, it does require a little sacrifice from a time and personal fishing quality perspective. But that doesn’t matter to me, I love spending time with them on the water. My initial investment now will pay huge dividends later on in their lives in many different ways. My secret hope is that they’ll take me fishing when I’m in my wheel chair one day, you see!

I’d like you to think about young kids you could possibly expose this wonderful pastime of ours to. They are the future of  Fly fishing, in a way it’s kind of our duty to introduce youngsters to the game. And remember the Facebook quote – “The World Needs more Tackle Boxes and less X-Boxes”. Enough said. Tight lines.

Trout Weight Estimator

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One thing that can stress an angler out is not knowing how much your catch weighs. Well here’s a natty spreadsheet model developed by my good mate, DTN. Enjoy, hope it helps. Let me have some feedback about your experience with this tool.

weight estimator v1.2

Chinglish Weather Stats

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I have had this Chinese Weather Machine for a while now and started out keeping the stats quite religiously. Prior to this technological masterpiece, I did the old rain gauge which served me very well between hail storms! So here I go, I am going to try and work out how to upload the Excel Spreadsheet for those out there who like to analyse numbers … Good luck and remember, any correlation with the real weather situation is simply coincidence!!

Hah! Got it right…Click on the link below! Tah-Daaaa!!!

Winterskloof Weather – 8 Nov – 7 Dec 2015

Sage Advice from Old Wisdom

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The above advice from Native American Wisdom resonates strongly with me. Water, especially running water, can be very therapeutic. There is nothing like a cool, crystal stream to clear those cobwebs spun as a result of materialism and being hung up on matters of this world. Running water…quenching the thirsty mind…..

Missed the Mist

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Final view of our resting place in Rhodes on the Sterkspruit. Taken a few years back. If Heaven’s like this…..Man oh Man!

A Day below The Kam

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Hadn’t been fishing for a while. Much needed day out in the Kamberg. Strong Berg Winds, Otters, Cranes, Buzzards, Vultures… No Trout. Icy waters, beautiful still evening, time for thought and reflection… Soul Food.

Rare perfection……

It was a beautiful Late Summer/Early Autumn day, a Saturday, if my memory serves me well. Andrew had suggested that we get up early – about 4am (although this is midday for some of our fishing chums!) so that we could be on the water, throwing our first cast by 6am. The plan was to fish to 10am so that we’d be back home by 11am to attending to the more mundane, domestic matters! So the day came, we were on track and at the water by 5.30am. It was a perfect day…the type that can only be produced at that time of year in the Midlands. We had a short “hike” from the bakkie to the river. We decided that I’d fish lower down and Andrew would walk to a spot higher up. I decided to wade up the river due to the unfortunate amount of wattle, bramble and bonga-bonga on the banks. I’m pleased to say that due to the efforts of club members, a lot of that has now been cleared. Anyway, as I slid into the cool uMgeni, a fish rose quite a way up from me near the left hand bank. I could see that it was a reasonable sized fish and a Brown at that! I immediately had to check myself from rushing and throwing an adrenaline-filled cast which in all likelihood would have been a total mess and put the fish down. So, contrary to my instinct, I drew a deep breath, had a look at my leader and tippet setup. I changed my tippet to something a little lighter and longer and then tied on a foam hopper pattern which I had acquired on out last trip to Rhodes. All the time I was doing this, I experienced the feeling of what a perfect day it was but also that feeling that one gets sometimes that the fish is simply going to take the bait (as it were). I carefully waded up-stream, taking care to not slip on any rocks and other obstacles on the river bed, all the time releasing line from my reel. As soon as I got to a position to cast from I just stood there, waiting for the right time, whenever that is. Suddenly the fish rose again and this triggered me into action. I raised my rod, loaded it and 2 or 3 false casts later I presented the fly with a perfection that someone of my fly-fishing ability simply shouldn’t be able to! 1 or 2 seconds later there was a swirl, my fly disappeared, I tightened my rod and the fish was on! At this time, I started whooping and screaming like a Banshee…Andrew came hurtling back. I managed to bring the fish to hand and after the quick photo moment, released the brownie safely back into the water. I can’t remember how long the fish was or how much it weighed. It certainly wasn’t my longest nor heaviest. The important thing for me in this experience is that from the time I first saw the fish rise to the time that I hooked the fish (maybe ½ an hour), I had this rare experience of totally zoning out of the peripheral stuff and focusing on the job at hand – to hunt and catch this fish. As I say, for a second rate fly fisherman like me, achieving such Rare Perfection was both awesome and humbling.

NATAL FLY FISHERS’ CLUB RHODES POLAR BEAR CLUB – RAISING FUNDS FOR CHARITY

My family and I will be going to Rhodes Village, Eastern Cape over the weekend from 5-7 July 2013 to support a friend doing the Rhodes Marathon. Given that I’m a keen Trout Fisherman rather than a marathon runner, I thought I’d give winter fishing on the Bell River a bash now that the rivers are no longer closed in winter. I then took it a wee bit further in that I decided that I’d start the NFFC’s Rhodes Polar Bear Club. To give this madness some purpose, I thought I would try and raise some money for a charity I serve as a Board Member as Treasurer, called Children in Distress (CINDI) Network, based in Pietermaritzburg and assists NGO’s in KZN area which are involved with children affected by AIDS. CINDI has been in existence since July 1996 and has had a major impact. More information about CINDI can be found at http://www.cindi.org.za.

Polar Bear Club Picture

In order for me to qualify as the inaugural member of this soon to be esteemed Club, I need to do the following:

1. The attempt can only be carried out in what would ordinarily be considered mid-winter in Rhodes.
2. Only wear underpants (not long johns) and a Natal Fly Fishers’ Club Beanie. No other clothing whatsoever!
3. I would be required to wade in the river between knee and waist depth…just up to the whatsits!
4. I would be required to complete a proper cast and fish on an upstream nymphing basis.
5. Proof of this attempt will be in the form of photographic and video evidence which will be publicized after the event and made available to all donors via a suitable electronic medium.

Should you wish to donate to this worthy cause, funds may be deposited into the following banking account:

Account Name SA Prentice
Bank Nedbank
Account No 901 638 2775
Branch Code 720026
Branch Name Nedbank Corporate Saver

The donations to CINDI would qualify for a tax deduction for the donor. Any donor wishing to take advantage of this should request a Section 18A Certificate from me via dave@prenticeassoc.co.za. All proceeds deposited into the above account will be fully reconciled and paid over to CINDI. Should anyone require verification that these funds do in fact get transferred to CINDI, you are more than welcome to contact the Director at CINDI in order to obtain any information.

Time for reflection

I find that when I’m on my own, be it a beautiful still water or stream, it gives me an opportunity to focus on what I’m doing but also time to take a step back and reflect on my life and where I am at in the moment. I believe that we all need to get out of a state of doing and rather be. Nothing is better than being a Fly Fisherman right here right now….with my feet wet and the beauty of God’s Creation surrounding me.

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