Last Saturday I spent a most entertaining morning on the Hotel beat of the Smalblaar. I joined an old British chap, Keith Nicklin and acted as his walking stick!

I’ve fished with Keith before, and I hope I’ll fish with him again. Age has not treated his ankles and knees all that well – 79 is a great innings -, hence me having to play the role of a walking talking wading pole. However, where age has plagued his legs, it has honed his casting arm.

I can only wish my camera wasn’t in for a service. He draws an artist’s stroke with fly rod and the line becomes a dancing living artwork. No matter the pumping upstream wind; he used the #3 like a wand and dropped flies wherever he chose. Dispite the high water and my recommendation to fish a nymph, he said he’d caught enough fish on the nymph and would stick to a dry. He raised four fish and dropped three.

No worries, it really wasn’t about the catching.

What I really love is the amount of times he stopped and simply looked up. He drank in the surrounding vistas – and those of you who fish the Cape Streams will know how maginificent that valley is. He’s said it before and said it again: that this is one of the prettiest places he has ever fished – and this coming from a man who has chased trout and salmon around the globe.

I spent a lot of my morning listening – not because he spoke too much but because of the quality that he spoke. He has a story for so many thoughts and ideas. He also asks measured and pertinent questions – nothing wasted – that forced me to think about how and why I answered. He listened intently to the answers.

And I was reminded of two things.

Firstly, that fly fishing is such a magnificent leveller.

And that you’re never too old (I most certainly have no excuses if he can get on the streams at 79)!


Creating magic -
Creating magic –
The Magnificent du Toit's Kloof with Smalblaar sliding through it.
The Magnificent du Toit’s Kloof with Smalblaar sliding through it.

IMG_3451 IMG_3457


Fred Davis

Fred Davis

Related Posts

Taking the Scenic Route

A Summer’s Escapades Into The Mountain Kingdom Part 4 of 4 Words and photos courtesy of Rex Fey Taking the Scenic Route This year in mid-May I

1984 Trout from the Kloofs

Recently Douglas Kretzman shared this post on his blog, No Longer At Ease. Hard to imagine it was 30 years ago! 1984 Trout From the

Back to The Mountains

I absolutely love slinging on a backpack in order to go fishing. There’s something about the knowledge that you’re miles away from the beaten paths

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *