My father grew up in the Transkei. My grandfather was part of the initial stocking of many of the rivers in the Mount Fletcher region, including the Tina, Tsitsa and Luzi. The rivers of the upper regions of the Transkei were all stocked with trout.
Now I realise that trout are not immediately associated with the Transkei – rather beautiful green shores on white beaches and waterfalls – but as soon as one leaves the Centre of the Universe at Rhodes and heads over Naude’s Nek Pass or north out of the Maclear area, you get into the old Transkei. The stamping grounds of my grandfather and father.
When it comes to the trout fishing in the Eastern Cape, few people look beyond the well known Trout Triangle between Elliot, Maclear and Barkley East/Rhodes. Have a look at the topo map below. An entire section of the Maluti Range is old Transkei and full of trout. From when you cross the Tsitsa on your way to Mount Fletcher you’re in Old Transkei Trout Country all the way until you hit Matat.
After independence was granted to the area in 1976 which was followed by the general unrest of the seventies and eighties, many of these streams and their secrets were forgotten.
Not all though, the Transkei Piscatorial Society, who host an annual Trout Open in October, weathered the political storm have access to many of the rivers and dams of the area. And trout isn’t all there is on offer – yellowfish are found in several rivers including the Great Kei and many of its tributaries. There’s also great bass and carp fishing in many of the dams.
But it is the tucked away streams of the hinterland that catch my fancy.
While Dad speaks with fondness about his youth and the trout fishing that was – I love it how his stories of where and what just flow when the topic comes up -, Rex has been doing some rediscovery of his own. Living in Kokstad, he has the Kei on his doorstep and has been making exploratory trips into various areas searching for trout. He hasn’t been disappointed.
What I found special was the fact that waters Rex has been ‘finding’ and describing are some of the rivers and streams my Dad used to fish. The trout are still there…