Subtlety – Guide Days 3

Skinny and tough!

A few weekends ago I spent the weekend showing a visiting Canadian both our streams and out saltwater fishing in the Western Cape.

Unfortunately the booking, made months earlier, coincided with the CPS River Festival. Not only did this mean I would miss this fantastic event – it’s an absolute treat of an event; well organised and great fun – and I  couldn’t book any of my favourite trout water for the day’s fishing.

So Saturday saw us heading up to one of my favourite small streams. The stream was low, crystal clear and a far cry from the big Canadian waters that Dave was used to fishing. It was lesson time in subtle. Thank heavens Dave was a good caster and seasoned catcher of trout.

However, like new waters anywhere, there are little things to learn. The Bow and Arrow was a revelation and I believe will be put to use back how on a few of his ‘smaller overgrown waters’.

Draw: Dave putting the Bow and Arrow to use to find the run under a low fynbos branch.
Draw: Dave putting the Bow and Arrow to use to find the run under a low fynbos branch.
Realise...
Release…
And hits the mark!
And hits the mark!

On a stream where  you can be forgiven for thinking a fish has developed the ability of levitation – the water is that clear and thin – one has to rethink their approach. It’s the first time I have guided on this particular section of the stream – although I know the stream better than any in the Cape – and what comes naturally to me suddenly had to be translated into words of instruction. Not always as easy as it sounds.

Getting well back and staying low - Dave picked up quickly on the need for stealth!
Getting well back and staying low – Dave picked up quickly on the need for stealth!

What would be minor considerations on faster, deeper water suddenly become paramount. If you overcast slightly, you will line a fish. If you slap or dump your cast, it’s a only a dash to the cover of the undercut bank or boulder that will get. Stand too high and create a silhouette – you might as well have thrown a rock at the fish.

Subtlety is a natural attribute of a Cape Stream fly fisher but surprisingly few from out of town understand exactly how subtle you need to be at times. Luckily Dave realised learned the lessons quickly and few in line with instructions.

The day was a success. I enjoyed the fact that he wasn’t that interested in getting photos with his fish. I suppose he’s used catching big fish. And I had to convince to hold one up for a ‘trophy shot’.

I also love how visiting are ALWAYS blown away by the landscape we’re privileged enough to enough so regularly. I often found him just looking up and around taking the the stunning valley. It really does make a day of guiding so much better when a client doesn’t only care about his next fish and genuinely enjoy the the entire outing!

Sunday found us on Langenbaan is tough conditions – it’s never a joy easy waking up, checking the weather and realising that it’s going to be a tough day. We had already drawn tough tides – the low was early and we would be fishing into the glare. Windguru had the SE blowing 12knots from 5am and then switching to blustery NorWestern from midday.

Eish!

A brief lull between the SE and NW gave a few shots at fish, but nothing came from them!
A brief lull between the SE and NW gave a few shots at fish, but nothing came from them!
At least we had some great flamingo sightings.
At least we had some great flamingo sightings.

We fished hard, saw quite a few rays and several Sandsharks but never managed an eat before we were blown off the water by a rising NW gale. Days like this I struggle with as a guide. I want the client to see a bent rod and have the satisfaction of a new species in a foreign land. Dave understood this too and, once the NW started pumping, let me off the hook by subtlety suggesting that we head back to Cape Town so that he could take his wife for a surprise early dinner at one of the cities fine dining establishment.

NorWestern time - it rained the next day.
NorWestern time – it rained the next day.

It was a great couple of days. Interesting and diverse conversation that covered politics to rod rods (and so much else).

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