What a strange year this has been. It all started so well. Then the virus arrived and life has not been the same.
In March we collected some lovely fish from Martin Davies’ new set up in Grahamstown. These were stocked out to George Smith’s dam, Pine Grove and Claud Cloete’s dams. Claud’s dam is between Pine Grove and Weltevoden and looks a beautiful dam.
Sadly George Smith died earlier this year. He was an amazing man with a deep passion for fishing and his dam. It was his special spot on the farm and he would always come to watch stocking even if his wife was convinced he was too sick. The beautiful cottage he built had each stone chosen from the veldt around the farm and he was justifiably proud of it. So when we get to the party we will drink a toast to Uncle George.
The Dept of Agric, Forestry and Fisheries caused a major eruption in september by producing a list of Alien and Invasive plants and livestock where trout were included. The Minister has since extended the time to the end of March for full consultations with all the role players. Hopefully sense will prevail and the trout value chain which is worth Billions of Rands to the economy will be able to function fully. It is a nightmare of permits and very expensive environmental impact studies if the process lands trout back on the same list.
Fighting in our corner are Illan Lax and Ian Cox two dedicated flyfishermen, who have been involved for many years and know all the role players. Fosaf has been covering the essential costs of the legal battle. So we need to encourage every one to join FOSAF.
The lock down in the country forced us to replan the Gathering. This was moved from early July to the end of September. With most travelling also curtailed the numbers joining the Gathering grew to over 40. With a few last minute adjustments we settled on 39 entrants. People travelled from all parts of the country to fish. As often happens there was a howling wind on the first day followed by much calmer conditions the next day. This is the nature of fly fishing in this area, and most if not all those taking part commented they had faced worse conditions on occasion.
The sponsorship for the Gathering was excellent and special thanks to Barkley East Fly Fishing Club for donating two weekends at Guest farms with guiding and fishing part of the deal. As a club we supported the Barkley club with a donation, when they were hosting SA Trials this year and this was their generous response. It always make me proud to be part of a town where local business is so amazingly generous with prizes for the competition; Especially in a year when the economy has taken such a beating.
The creation of a Whatsapp group for the Gathering was a new innovation which proved to be very helpful.
Also Shaun Venter came on board with his computer skills to stream line the gathering in of catch returns which will in future be so useful. Alex Juno crafted new measuring devices for each entrant and for the guides.
As always a great deal of behind the scenes work ensured that the Gathering was a great success. Aloe Grove provided an excellent venue as always and the team of Monique, Elaine and Michelle went the extra distance to make sure everything worked to plan.
Stocking and Hatcheries.
We decided to follow the encouragement of the EC Chapter of Fosaf and pay a deposit to both Ventnor and Hare Street Hatcheries for fish we hope to stock in early December. Martin used some of the money to buy in some brown trout ova. He has about 20,000 which are now about 5 cm. His rainbows are about 6 cm. The Ventnor fish are slightly smaller. Our stocking practise has consistently enabled our dams to produce fish in the 60 cm range. Though I am always amused by the trophy hunters who complain of the number of stockies they have caught. Where do they think future trophies are going to come from?
A year or so ago someone who looks at the condition of the fish caught, fished most of the dams and stated that our fish were world class in condition. It is always good to have an objective view of what we take for granted.
Catch Returns and bookings
Andrew Junior and Senior do a magnificent job in keeping the dams booked and the catch returns coming in. The committee decided last year to rest each dam for one week a month to relieve pressure of too much fishing. This is in addition to the six weeks closed session from mid-Jan to the end of Feb. So Junior works a complicated spread sheet incorporating all this.
The committee members all have allocated areas of responsibility and do their work so well.
Organising the transport and stocking is done by Senior with assistance from Charles and Andre.
Supply of Oxygen is arranged by Rudi who works at Afrox. We are extremely grateful for the support given by Gary Stiles.
Finances are looked after by Stephan and myself.
Bookings by Junior who also doubles often as our local guide.
Membership is covered by Eric Boucher with computer support from Carol.
Juniors and trials are covered by Darren.
Gathering is an all hands on deck effort.
Web site is in the hands of Sean Venter.
Junior is admin for the face book pages.
Whatsapp groups, QFFC, QFFC Committee, QFFC Landowners, and QFFC Gathering.
My very grateful thanks to all the committee and members for a club which is now becoming a venue of choice for fly fishing from all parts of the land.
Reg Morgan, Chair.
Nov 18th 2020