THE TIPPET

FOSAF'S OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER - NUMBER 34 - November 2011

Editorial - The Favoured Flies Card Collection FOSAF has created a waterproof pocket-sized card collection for use at the waterside by flyfishers based on the “Favoured Flies and Selected Techniques of the Experts” series of flyfishing books which contain a total of over 500 flies. This collection is a representative selection of some of those flies chosen by Murray Pedder and Malcolm Meintjes who were intimately involved in the original Favoured Flies project. The principal prey species have been identified in this collection of cards and the objective is to help flyfishers to  enhance the enjoyment of their sport by being assisted to match the hatch and improve their success rate. Obviously to list all the flies in the Volumes 1-5 of the series would be impractical and therefore users are encouraged to make reference to the particular volume where the fly is illustrated. The cards will also provide tying instructions and techniques for fishing the fly - references are included on the index card in this pack and  Volumes 1-5  are available from the FOSAF office. Not all of the fly selections are commercially available but if tying is not your game the tackle stores will be able to recommend a substitute or arrange for flies to be tied up for you. Experiment and enjoy! Should this first set of cards be well received by the flyfishing public then it will be followed by more specialized sets depicting individual prey species ­ Mayflies, Midges, Caddis flies and others.  Order your copy from the FOSAF Office 
Members 2012 Annual statements are enclosed with this newsletter.  Kindly advise if there are any changes to your contact detailsThe Favoured Flies Card Collection is available to 2012 paid up members at the discounted price of R95.00The FOSAF Guide to Fly-Fishing Destinations in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean is available at R160 and the Favoured Flies Series of FOSAF books, Favoured Flies and Select Techniques of the Experts Vol 1-5 is available at R490.The individual Volumes 1-5 are available from the FOSAF office.

 FINDING FISH by David Weaver

So you’ve booked the perfect water, you’ve got enough flies to cause a national steel shortage and you’ve booked your grumpy spouse into the health hydro.  Before you’ve even got to the waters your investment in potential fish catching paraphernalia has caused you credit card into “post-traumatic-stress” therapy and your bank manager into retirement.  You haven’t hired a guide because, quite frankly, they’re too damn expensive and you are now ready.  Your buddy is joining you, ‘because you need someone to get the picture of your monster fish...that-you-are-going-to-catch-cause-you-spent-so-much, and of you go...There is an easier more cost effective way of finding fish, hiring a guide is the most obvious move, the reasons for which I will not expound upon in this article.  The alternative is knowledge.  In Flyfishing, more than any other types of angling, knowledge is power.   The best thing about our wonderful pursuit is that you are going to spend your whole lifetime on the beautiful waters of our country acquiring that knowledge.  The time that you are not on the water, gaining valuable experience, you can be reading the plethora of literature out there or just gleaning from those in the industry.  I was privileged to grow up in a family of fly-fishers, so along with learning how to tie my shoelaces, we were taught nail-knots, blood-knots and how to bind an eye on to a blank.  My father was a patient man, 4 sons, all skilled in the art of line-casting, all damn fine fly fisherman.  The first lesson that we learnt was, “to catch a fish you need to think like a fish”.  The next lesson was,” you catch, you clean”, we’ll leave that story for another day.  Thinking like a fish is easier than you think,  if you are male.  Men can relate to a lot of the cognitive activity that surges through a fish’s tiny brain.  Generally they are only thinking about 2 things, food and sex, the important things in life.  Women tend to spend their lives trying to, not think about these two topics.  It goes, therefore, without saying that it is necessary to learn and understand the life cycles of, the behaviour patterns of, and everything there is to know about “fish food”.  The sex thing, don’t bother, it’s not worth the frustration because breeding fish are hard to catch.  Walk into a bar filled with naked women, guaranteed you are not going to be looking at the single beer on the counter... well unless it’s been a really tough day on the water. Fish Food   The fly tiers take care of imitating the food itself, we need to concern ourselves with the other dynamics of the fish food.  We need to know the habitat, behaviour, distribution and locomotion of the fish food.  More importantly we need to remind ourselves to be constantly thinking about these dynamics and to be practicing techniques that will, make our flies swim better and more importantly to have them swimming in the right places.  Let’s examine these dynamics separately, so as to gain a better understanding of ‘things to go out there and learn’.HabitatIt is vital to know where the fish food that you are tying on lives.  You are wasting your time fishing with philoplume dragon in the surf zone, because they don’t live there.  Know a little bit about the habitat and know how to recognize habitats.  Spend time hooking weed; take note of the colour and any insects that might be in there.  Match your fly to the colour of the weed, rocks, sand or mud bottom, where the insect lives, because they do.BehaviourMost aquatic insects spend their larval stage living in the water and then emerge as adults to mate.  They will then return to the water to lay eggs.  It is thus important to know each stage of their life-cycle and know when these transition stages take place.  This is when they are most vulnerable.  The transition stages are when the insects are leaving the safety of the weed beds and are swimming to the surface of the water, or, when they are returning to the water to lay eggs.  Know when these occur and how the insect behaves during these times.DistributionThis is a vital aspect of the knowledge that we need about the ‘fish food’ we are using.  More so, if you are a globe-trotting fisherman.  The insects that inhabit our waters are not found in all waters across the world.  There are even differences in the distribution of insects in South African waters. Blue Emperor Dragonflies are only found in the more tropical climes so there is no sense tying on a #4 Dragonfly nymph at Sterkies.  Go and look at www.danica.com, a brilliant site that showcases fly tiers from around the world.  Just by looking at different flies from around the world you can see what insects occur in those places.  Of course the best way to gain this knowledge is to be observant while on the water, guides have so much knowledge because they spend so much time next to the water...just watching.LocomotionProbably the most important dynamic of the fish food that we are imitating is getting the fly to move as the original does.  Retrieving a fly is habitat forming, I see too often people lapsing into old retrieval habits, this is normally accompanied by that glazed 1000m stare that comes with inactivity on the water.  Stay focused and visualise how the fly is moving through the water and your success rate will increase.  Learn how the natural of each pattern in your box moves and then learn the retrieve that suits that fly.  It sounds all so obvious but you will be amazed at how many people don’t know these things.  The point of this article is that there is no point writing an article about where to find the fish unless you know about the flies in your box and what they represent.  If you are going to spend reams of cash on the right equipment, spend a little time improving your entomological knowledge.  Dave Whitlock’s book “Trout Food” is a brilliant place to start.So... even though my Dad was the wisest Fly-fisherman I will ever know, when I pass his knowledge on to my children I plan to tweak a thing or two, like...”if you want to catch fish you need to think like a gNAT”.  Oh the freedom of living in a post-apartheid South Africa.

   

 MEMBERS DRAWThe winner of the October/November Member’s Draw is Barry Cowden of Howick whose prize is a mid-week break at Lake St Bernard in the Drakensberg.  The winner of the December/January 2012 draw is Theo van Schaik of Tokai whose prize is flyfishing equipment from Stream-X in Milnerton.                          .

The pleasure of winning a member’s draw...........................

Thank you  all at FOSAF for this wonderful prize and especially our sponsor Lake St Bernard. I will contact Pauline at Lake St Bernard to finalise the booking.

I’m not sure how much fishing I will do after my recent operation, but what a place to relax and enjoy my recovery.

Our pending visit to Lake St Bernard could not have come at a better time especially as it is literally just up the road from Howick. I’m sure we will visit the resort many times in the future.

Kind regards

Barry & Dot Cowden


   

 
 DISCOUNTS FROM FOSAF AFFILIATES AND MEMBER CLUBSDiscounts are available to FOSAF members from the following Affiliate Resorts: Southern Drakensburg/KZN: Giants Cup Wilderness Reserve, Lake Naverone, Riverlea, Wild Dog Estate, Sani Valley Flyfishing and Game Lodge and Wildfly.Gauteng and Mpumulanga: Kloofzicht, Elgro Lodge, Stonecutters Lodge, Vaal Streams, Witkop Feather and Hound Estate and Treeferns Trout Lodge.Discounts are available to FOSAF members from the following Affiliates: Angling Africa, and Frontier Flyfishing, and from the following Member Clubs: Underberg/Himeville, Belfast, Clarens, Dullstroom and Waterval Boven.Contact details and information are available from Liz 011 467 5992 and on the FOSAF website.AFFILIATE SPONSORSFinsbury Estate, Anford Country House, Highland Run, Katrinasrust, Komati Gorge Lodge, Lunsklip Fisheries, Millstream, Oxbow Country Estate, Stealth Rod and Reel, Transvaal Fly Fishers Club, Tudor Estates, Verlorenkloof, Whiskey Creek,  Mavungana and Nooitegedacht Trout Reserve.Details are on the FOSAF website – www.fosaf.co.za 

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