The SAFFA (South African Fly Fishing Association) A-Nationals was held recently at Verlorenkloof, Mpumalanga. There were a total of ten teams that participated. The newly formed East Cape Fly Fishing Association also entered a team. The team comprised of Dean Stolz and Terry Phillips both from East London, Dean Naude from Maclear, Johan Janeke from Brandfort and me. We all got together in Brandfort on 13 March 2014 and had a team meeting and braai. One of the main obstacles was all the rules. Only certain knots were allowed, only certain flies, you leader had to be a certain length, flies wasn’t allowed to be closer that 50cm from each other and allot more. We left the next morning at 05:00 and took on the almost 700km to Verlorenkloof. The last part of the road there were terrible and it added at least an hour to our journey. We arrived there at around12:00 and booked in. Our accommodation for the next 4 days was a beautiful croft right at the foot of some spectacular mountains. After settling in we went to inspect the river that we were supposed to fish the next day and it looked dreadful. It was very dirty and very fast, it was basically in flood. We were quite disappointed on the condition of the river and we all hope that they would rather let us fish dams instead of the river. The night we had our induction dinner and we were divided into groups of 10. The group that you were given was the group that you would fish for the remainder of the competition. The groups consisted of one member of each province. We were also informed that we would in fact be fishing the river. The next morning we all met at 06:30 and each group was given their venue for the morning. We would be fishing 5 venues over the 3 days consisting of two river sections and three Stillwater’s (dams). The results after day one for Team E.C. was as follows: Dean S 50th, Terry 46’s, Dean N 45th , Johan 42nd and I was 38th place. The following day we were met by a beautiful day. We were again fishing 2 venues as we did the previous day. The first session started at 08:30 and ended at 11:30 then the next session started at 14:30 and ended at 17:30. The results after day 2 was as follows: Johan 48th, Dean ’n 47th, myself 43rd, Terry 42nd and Dean S 35th. The night we had a couple of well deserved beers and some down downs for the guys that blanked. Next morning very sore and stiff we geared up for the finale session of the tournament. We again started at 08:30 and ended at 11:30. The fishing continued to be tough as it has been throughout the tournament. After the finale morning session we all met at the croft and had a relaxing afternoon before the evenings price giving. The finale placing was as follows: Johan 48th, myself 46, Terry 44th, Dean ’n 43rd, Dean S 40th. We left early the next morning back to Brandfort for a “debriefing dinner” that carried on until early the next morning.
All and all we had a great time and a tremendous learning curve. I would like to thank everybody that help make this trip possible, especially Johan and Ans Janeke for giving us accommodation, food and so much more.