There’s nothing quite like a gathering of fly fishermen; old friends, new friends, lots of talking (mostly about fish caught and lost – they always get bigger) and plenty of drinking.  And the StreamX CPS Stream Festival was the perfect place for a gathering of feather-throwers.

Friday afternoon and evening was very much an informal gathering of feather throwers all trying to remember exactly how big that fish they once caught was. The casting competition had all of us feeling a little nervous before setting up to the plate and trying to drop out fly into the small ring.

David Karpul giving a boat a paddle on Friday afternoon.

David Karpul giving a boat a paddle on Friday afternoon.

Later the Bokke beat Welsh much to our celebration and a very South Africa supper of braaied Boerewors (farmers’ sausage) and chicken with potato salad on side – there was left over green salad – was finished up by self proclaimed feather-mechanic Gordon van der Spuy’s charismatic wit as MC and a fantastic show of Ed Herbst raconteurmanship (is there such a word?) as he regaled colourful accounts of the history of the Cape Piscatorial Society and some of its members.

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The feather mechanic in a brief moment of subdued presentation!

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It turned out Tom had tied this ethereal RAB onto my rod; and I was OFF!

After the beat draw, the guests all met up with their guides and a few more ales where dispatched with. I drew Ines and Ian Barker, a pleasant, easy-to-get-on-with fishing couple of who have been fishing the Cape Streams for several years.

The fishing on Saturday started with fish moving everywhere. There was a hatch of dark mayflies on and the fish had zoned into these dark bodied, light winged #16 insects so selectively that they wouldn’t take a same sized Black Gnat. A guide’s curse! I managed to dig up the only #16 gray winged, black bodied mayfly spinner imitation in my unruly box of dries and, happily, it was game on…

Relief for me, smiles for Ines, who after missing several splashy takes, brought a beautifully marked wild rainbow to the net.

As the day the progressed, the fishing slowed. We managed to raise quite a few fish but unfortunately didn’t bring many to the net. We chatted and fished and spent a wonderfully pleasant day on the river.

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This beaut gave Ines the slip at the net, but in the same run she was rewarded with…

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…this riser!

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That posed quietly with a very happy angler.

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When the hatch is running hot, all it is takes is the right fly and the same run can produce several fish. Another which gave Ines slip before it could be netted.

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Ian, sitting in contemplation!

That evening was spent retelling the days tales, sharing beers. Plans were made for a Rhino Shoot – Gordon vd Spuy was going to fish in Rhino Onesie to raise awareness for the anti-poaching campaign that has been run by flyloops.net. And then it was on to the winners. Which was everyone!

Being a festival there is no biggest catch  or most caught prize. There was a custom rod up for grabs for the casting competition which was scooped up by Rudolf Sloan in a single cast and everybody got something out of the draw. Books, flyboxes, lines, bags, Tom Sutcliffe original prints, wines and culinary vouchers were up for grabs. But good friend of feathersandfluoro, Justin Fletcher, walked away with the brand new Orvis Access #3. Damn but the boy was smiling!

The rest of the evening was spent philosophising, creating business plans, talking rubbish, laughing and get the very best out of the wine, whisky and soeters.

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Gordon vdS, Chris Bladen and Stephen Dugmore philosophise over wine and whiskey at the end of an fantastic day!

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Gordon vdS testing out a rod from StreamX

An example of a stunning Tom Sutcliffe drawing.

A very big thanks to the sponsors, without who the festival would just not be same!

Craig Thom of StreamX  and Netbooks
Patrick Garrat
Tom Sutcliffe
Ed Herbst
African Fly Fishing Magazine
The Complete Fly Fisherman Magazine
Jandi Trading (Xplorer Flyfishing)
Mario Geldenhuys Custom Rods and Nets
Omnisports (Orvis)
Stealth Fly Fishing
Sharland Urquart
Merwida Country Lodge
Darryl Lampert
Opimax (TFO Fly Rods)
Tim Rolston of Inkwazi Fly Fishing
Jay Smit of J-Vice
Thelema Wines
Arno Laubscher of Scientific Flies
Ruben Esteves Torres of Flygear (Vision Fly Fishing)
Christopher Bladen
Philip Meyer of Winelands Flyfishing
Bradley Sinclair of Flat Mountain Roasters