THE TIPPET

FOSAF'S OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER - NUMBER 38 - November 2012

EDITORIAL

We have come to the end of a year with variable rains and consequently good and bad fishing.

The 2013 annual subscriptions are due but the Executive have agreed that they should remain unchanged from the 2012 subscriptions.

The member benefits have been enhanced by a reduction in the cost of FOSAF merchandise as follows:

  • The FOSAF Guide R75
  • The Favoured Flies and Selected Techniques of the Experts Series Volumes 1-5 R75 each
  • Full set of The Favoured Flies and Selected Techniques of the Experts Series Volumes 1-5 R280
  • The FOSAF Guide and The Favoured Flies Series Volumes 1-5 R360
  • The Favoured Flies Card Collection R95.00 
  • A new Updated loose set of Favoured Flies Cards on “The Mayfly” discounted to members at R45

SHOULD YOU WISH TO ORDER ANY OF THE ABOVE PLEASE ADD THE AMOUNT TO YOUR 2013 INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTION OF R235

The 25th Anniversary dinner of FOSAF takes place on the 3rd November at the Eagles Ridge Hotel in Stutterheim which was the venue for the inaugural meeting which took place on the 1st March 1986. This is being arranged by Alan Hobson Chairman of the Eastern Cape Chapter.

Many subscription invoices have been sent to members by email where they have been receiving The Tippet by email. Should you be one of these members but have not received your statement within a day of receiving The Tippet please advise us at fosaf@icon.co.za.

DAYS OF SPRING by Wolf Avni ©

"I don’t know if I'm smart,
But I think I can see
When someone is pulling the wool over me."

~Dylan.

When they say that life depends upon the liver I don’t think it’s in reference to some culinary delight all smothered in French-glaze onion rings and creamy red wine jui’ served on a bed of frothed mash with a nice healthy side portion of blanched garden greens. Nor, I suspect, is it a comment of any type on the dyspeptic internal bloat of your friendly local career whiskey guzzler.

Indeed not. It is nothing but a light platitude reminding us that healthy living depends upon healthy attitude. Without the latter the former cannot endure. And so, poised just beyond the rim of another spring equinox with just a hint of budding jasmine and the crisp fragrance of greening hills upon the breeze, the time has come to slough these pelts I hid beneath to get through winter’s trough. It’s been a tough one. Not so much because of any particular climatic harshness (despite the moderating influence of global warming, I must admit with every passing year to feel its bite more), but because of the particular circumstance its visit wrought.

That August snow hit hard. Its howling winds scoured our valley mercilessly, bringing an ancient oak crashing down upon the top boathouse and then, trying to escape the cold some guests in Lakeside Lodge built a fire immoderately high in the grate, half way up the

chimney, which set fire to the thatch. That was one scary night. With the help of good neighbours we saved the lodge against all odds, but the price has been heavy. Aside from trashing the crest of the roof and a huge slab of thatch, the carpets and decor were soaked in a broth of sooty water and there was much refurbishing to be done. It took a month or two to restore the lodge to habitability, but in the meantime Spring is sprung and its stirrings are upon us. All around the signs and the smell of it infuse an elastic twang back into steps that have shuffled their way through the winter.

And if you are a flyfisherman at all you must have noticed how briskly run the lyric Umzimkulu, the Ngagwana, the Pholela and the Mzimudi? I cannot think of a single Spring these past thirty years when the rivers have looked this good from the first day of the fishing season. We can use the brisk start it promises. We have already seen a number of high profile flyfishing events on our doorstep. First, we hosted the Wildfly TV series crew as they compiled a program of spring fishing for rainbow trout. I believe the program is scheduled for almost immediate flighting and that bodes well for the district. Over the past half decade the exceptional flyfishing resources of the Southern Drakensberg appear to have fallen off the stage and been somewhat out of the spotlight of mainstream attention. The glamour of flyfishing for exotic species in romantic tropical island locations has hogged the limelight for the better part of that time frame . But the fad is passing and hard core flyfishermen it seems are remembering the romanticism of trout, the allure of crystal streams and the tranquillity of stalking trout in the mysterious still waters of misted valleys. This is something I can celebrate.

MEMBERS DRAW

The winner of the December/January 2012 Member’s Draw are Ernest Brand of Elardus Park and Hayden Thomson of Lonehill whose prizes are a copy of one of Wolf Avni’s books “Bitch – Creek Nymphing and The Millennium Bug” and a “A Mean- Mouthed, Hook-Jawed, Bad-news Sonof- a- Fish”

 

And no sooner had the Wildfly crew departed than we were swamped by the KZN provincial fly-fishing trials. It was quite something; The juniors, the seniors and the women all fished alongside each other, not something you see every day. They fished in our area between September 14~16th and I do enjoy engaging with the youngsters. It’s always good for some refreshment and re-affirmation of the high ideals. The juniors bring an aura of excitement and innocence along with great dollops of environmental idealism and a type of honesty that all too often and all too soon gets swallowed up in cynicism and social posturing as we ‘mature’.

It was my pleasure to welcome the young turks and my honour to host them as they honed their skills in an upland Spring.

A new season is indeed upon us and as always, it brings new opportunities and new challenges. Firstly there is the weather. It has always been unpredictable and South Africa is monotonously drought prone (though not as dire as Australia)... and despite the heavy snowfalls that quenched the aquifer in August and then the copious September rains which combined to put the freshwater aquatics into a much healthier position than might have been anticipated so early in the season, I see the long term predictions are for an entrenched El Nino system from about mid December. That implies a failing in one or other degree to our summer pattern of daily thundershowers. For the moment things are better than great and the flyfishing throughout the southern Drakensberg is at its muscular best. But a season that began with so much promise might end in austerity. Best get your line unfurled sooner rather than later.

Then there is the NEMBA issue. It’s a challenge with more heads than the Hydra. It is absolutely outrageous. The powers that be are so stuffed with their own sense of significance that they continue to ride roughshod over the lives and livelihood of ordinary citizenry with not a qualm about the destruction of viable economy or economic capacity. . Let’s recap the events of the past decade. When the first drafts of the Biodiversity Act were released into the tender stewardship of the appointed consultants, FOSAF and other concerned stakeholders engaged vigorously and in good faith, investing vast resources of time and capacity into the process. One of the first and loudest statements we made was that the proposed legislation made no provision for a nuanced interpretation of how one might deal with exceptions or modifications of treatment for individual species on the list of invasive species. We were pretty much told we were too stupid to understand the legality and that it was just a question of defining boundaries and drawing a few maps. So stakeholders engaged in the process in good faith, along the way providing most of the content from their own expertise, including drawing the maps that defined the trout areas.

Now, lo and behold, after three sets of ‘consultants’ (all very well paid from the public coffer), and three iterations of a regulatory framework, we are advised that the department intends promulgating and publishing the act in an untested form that takes no account of stakeholders or their concerns, which will at the stroke of a pen render virtually all fish farming, all exotic pet trade and almost all nursery trade or business, illegal. If indeed the rumours have substance,

and this occurs, stakeholders will have no choice but to seek recourse through the constitutional court. Now more than ever, from the perspective of the rational man, the FOSAF environmental sub-committee is the clearest and most influential voice in the entire landscape. It is indeed about trout, but it is about a great deal more; It’s about any and every part of ordinary people’s lives that does not fit neatly into a very narrow (and ignorant, in this opinion) definition of indigenousness.

STEENKAMPSBERG INITIATIVE – FOSAF PROJECT

A study of the tourism industry is underway in Dullstroom and the surrounding region. The research is being undertaken by the University of Johannesburg and has been made possible by a grant from FOSAF. The main objective of the study is to support the claim that tourism is the main driver of the local economy and to investigate ways of growing this industry. Mining continues to be a major threat to the local tourist industry and the sensitive ecosystem of the Dullstroom plateau and FOSAF believes that a comprehensive study of this kind is essential in the battle to keep mining from encroaching any further.

DISCOUNTS FROM FOSAF AFFILIATES AND MEMBER CLUBS

Discounts are available to FOSAF members from the following Affiliate Resorts:
Southern Drakensburg/KZN: Giants Cup Wilderness Reserve, Lake Naverone, Riverlea, Sani Valley Flyfishing and Game Lodge and Wildfly.
Gauteng and Mpumulanga: Kloofzicht, Stonecutters Lodge, Vaal Streams, Witkop Feather and Hound Estate and Treeferns Trout Lodge.
Discounts are available to FOSAF members from the following Affiliates: Frontier Flyfishing and Urban Fly Fishing, and from the following Member Clubs: Underberg/Himeville, Belfast, and Dullstroom.

Contact details and information are available from Liz 011 467 5992 and on the FOSAF website.

AFFILIATE SPONSORS

Finsbury Estate, Anford Country House, Highland Run, Komati Gorge Lodge, Lunsklip Fisheries, Millstream, Oxbow Country Estate, Stealth Rod and Reel, Transvaal Fly Fishers Club, Verlorenkloof, Whiskey Creek, Mavungana and Nooitegedacht Trout Reserve.

Details are on the FOSAF website – www.fosaf.co.za

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