The Dullstroom Fly Fishers BONANZA has recently closed it’s books on this the 8th year as one of SA’s leading fly fishing events and in the process broken all previous records for fund raising for the local needy – all thanks to the amazing generosity of participants, sponsors and water owners.


John Hunter hands over cheque for R115 000 to Rosemary Smith of Helping Hands



John Hunter (the BONANZA event coordinator) Was this year faced with some very special challenges – Firstly how to somehow improve the fishing quality and the Bonanza experience for our competitors. To this end it was decided by the organizing committee to change the session prizes to be awarded to the longest fish caught each session and to keep the overall competition prizes for teams and individuals based on the internationally accepted points system accumulated over the entire four sessions.  Last but not least, how to top last year’s record fund-raising achievement of R 85,000.  True to form, Dullstroom and all our wonderful sponsors that supported the BONANZA rose, like hungry trout, to the challenge!

Starting with the fund -raising task, the DFFA smashed all previous records and handed over a cheque for R 115 000 to Helping Hands (Dullstroom’s own registered charitable organization).  Once we had our 96 competitors all signed up we were confident that we would once again hit our fund-raising objectives after operating costs for the event ….. Not even the organizing committee dreamed that we would be able to achieve such a wonderful amount and of course this was only made possible by the generosity of participants and donors when requested to “dig deep” every time they hear the words auction, raffles and fines.  A special thank you goes out to all our competitors who boosted the funds raised by more than R 35,000 during the event.  We are very proud of our association with Helping Hands and delighted to be able to make this sizeable contribution to their good work.”   In her acceptance of the donation, Rosemary Smith (Helping Hands Representative) thanked the DFFA and all BONANZA supporters for their achievement and indicated her delight “ …. that the DFFA trusts Helping Hands to distribute their funds fairly and equitably.”  She also indicated the local causes that benefited from donations such as this – top of the list once again being Dullstroom Epilepsy Centre, but also including the Dullstroom Learning Centre, crèches, nurseries and the aged “ …… all will benefit from a donation of this magnitude.”

Our exceptionally generous co-sponsor Zero Appliances, over and above all the prizes they donated, also donated two gas geezers that were handed over directly to Simphiwe Skhosana of the Dullstroom Learning Centre and Julia Mthimunye from the Sakhelwe Community Creche. 



Simphiwe Skhosana of Dullstroom Learning Centre with John                                                                                                               


Julia Mthimunye from the Sakhelwe Community Creche


Back to the fishing , which can be summarized very simply …..

There were 524 fish caught over the four sessions with some really nice big fish coming out.  This year for the first time, a beautiful handcrafted knife donated by Dave Hepworth, for the 1st full card of ten fish was won in the first session by Johan Ferreira fishing at Walkerson’s Long Final.  A number of full cards were returned during the competition this year indicating the quality of the waters kindly donated to the Bonanza by our water sponsors.  We welcomed three new private waters on board this year…. Lunsklip Syndicate, Connemara farm and Critchley syndicate all of which produced some stunning fish over the two day event.

The four session winning fish were as follows:

Session 1 – 63 cm  from Lunsklip Syndicate waters  - Keith Nethercote

Session 2 – 73cm from Jansons Dam – Bongani Puthi

Session 3 – 59cm from Brookwood – Revel dos Santos

Session 4 - 59cm from Critchley Common Syndicate – Monty Schewgman

Fishing conditions became more challenging as the sessions went by, with a few dams that did not delivering to their potential. The dams that fared best in the event were the two Walkersons’ dams (Production / Long Final) who once again triumphed and scooped the Jan de Jager floating trophy for best water. They were closely followed by Brookwood Trout Farm and Lunsklip Private Syndicate waters, all three within one point of each other as voted for by our competitors. Tobie van Niekerk of Walkerson’s summed it up well “We didn’t enjoy handing the trophy back – and we were determined that we should get it back on the shelf as quickly as possible, so we were intent on delivering more and better fish in a fly fishing environment that both delighted and challenged the 48 anglers that were lucky enough to draw Walkersons Production or Walkerson’s Long Final ….. It seems like we succeeded!”


The principal results are summarized below:

  • Winning Team – Trout Hunters - (136 points)
  • Runner-Up Team – Goose on Fly - (99 points)
  • Third place Team – Wild Guys – (90.5 oints)
  • Winning Angler – Daniel Factor – 19 fish - (55.5 points)
  • Runner-Up Angler – Geoff Muir – 19 fish - (54 points)
  • Biggest Fish – Bongani Phuti  -  (73 cms)
  • Second Biggest Fish – Keith Nethercote – (63cm)


Some of the prize winners

The BONANZA has quickly earned a reputation for an impressive list of prizes totaling once again more than R 250,000, principally from the main sponsor Xplorer Fly Fishing and their co-sponsors Zero Appliances. Our four session sponsors (The Village Angler, Frontier Fly Fishing, Mavungana and Walkerson’s ) once again did us proud with some wonderful prizes, as well as a host of other sponsors that contributed prizes, including feature prizes for first fish on a Mrs Simpsons fly, last fish, smallest fish, and the “True Grit” award sponsored by Drew Kennedy as a tribute to brother Mike who passed on as DFFA Chairman a number of years back.  There have been some fitting winners of this award over the years, including tw0 development anglers, but none so fitting as this year’s winner – Jan de Jager who consistently goes out of his way to assist less experienced anglers.  Well done Jan – it’s what this event is all about and we look forward to seeing you again in 2019!

Principal sponsor was once again Xplorer Fly Fishing with Co -sponsor Zro Appliances

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