Some time ago , I was invited by friends to join in on a float / flyfishing trip down the Orange river , below Augrabies falls. I decided to make it a father-and-son affair and booked my son , Luka (aka Stickman) on the trip as well. With little time to practice his nymphing skills , we hit the Orange with great enthusiasm at the beginning of September. On the first afternoon , he hooked his first good fish in a serious rapid and quickly learned you can bent a rod to the point that it looks like it’s gonna break. Unfortunately in my over exited state the fish of about 2.5 kg’s swam through my legs and popped the tippet as I tried to net it. The second fish was hooked in a serious gush of water, sped downstream through the rapids and stitched poor Luka through the rocks. I could see his disappointment in not being able to manage the brutes. We looked up some calmer water and Stickman managed to catch a couple of smaller specimens and settled into the fishing.

Stickman settling into the fishing
Stickman settling into the fishing
Luka loved releasing the fish almost more than catching them. In the moment before their release they were his momentary pets.
Luka loved releasing the fish almost more than catching them. In the moments before their release they were his momentary pets.

Day 2 , saw the two of us fishing some slower water on the edge of deep runs. The fish were strangely absent from the shallower fast water for the duration of the trip. I watched as Luka set on a decent fish after the thingymabobber quivered. It was a solid fish that got buzzed twice by a hungry catfish during the balls-to-the-wall  fight that ensued. My hollering sure did let the rest of the party know , when Stickman landed the 2.7 kg fish. “This is a bus , dad”. My boy was a happy camper. He spent the rest of the afternoon landing a few more decent fish and then went swimming in the river like it was no big deal.

"OK , dad, you can stop hollering"
“OK , dad, you can stop hollering”
I love this shot. Stickman's bus taking off.
I love this shot. Stickman’s bus taking off.

Day 3 was cold , and Luka being a stickman ,  had no intention of freezing his gonads in the river. On the drift we pulled up on bed rock to check out some spawning carp and maybe get stuck into some rubberlips. The carp was pretty uninterested but luckily there were also a few yellows around. One which quickly slurped up the squirmy wormy  and gave Luka the run around. By now he had learned to put the hurt on ’em. Since this was now a sight fishing game , we rigged with 2 naturals under an indicator and waited for a fish to make another appearance. Luka mentioned something about having just seen a decent yellow disappearing behind  a rocky formation next to the main current and lobbed a bad cast in the direction. I was staring at a lazy catfish cruising around. The next moment the reel screamed in protest followed by “dad, I’m seeing the backing”. When I looked around I was met with a sight that every fisherman loves. Stickman planted solidly on the rock , knees bend  & and leaning back on a hell bent rod. The flyline dissapearing across the mighty Orange and the fish showing no sign of slowing down until it reaches Namibia. Stickman was into his backing !! I together with Luka , ran for the Ark , hopped in and followed the fish in a chaotic paddle while shouting instructions. When we finally caught up with the fish on the Namibian side it was peh. It was no monster , probably just shy of 3 kg , but it was a highlight of our trip. My Stickman caught a fish that pulled him from one country to another.

worm eater
worm eater
Sticking it to 'em
Sticking it to ’em
The fish that immgrated across the river
The fish that emigrated across the river
Day 3 camp site
Day 3 camp site

Now I’m teaching him how to tell fishy tales…. like the one about the fish that dragged you across  TWO  countries….

post spawn female
post spawn female
juvenile Largie
juvenile Largie


Herman Botes

Herman Botes

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3 Responses

  1. Mooi! My folk’s nickname for me as lightie was also stickman. And we spent a lot of time on the river together. He remember these times fondly one day!

  2. Superb story Herman…. nothing better than a father son mission! Congrats to young Stickman on kicking some yellowish ass across two countries!!

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