It seems a long time ago now that I was in Rhodes for the 2020 Dirt Road Wild Trout Festival in late April. Since then the world has been in lockdown in an attempt to ease the spread of the deadly Corona Virus – in South Africa we are now 50 days in and counting.
Unlike being able to occasionaly crack the enigma code of trout, the pandemic has most of the world’s top scientific brains scrambling to deal with an unseen enemy. It strikes me that it’s all a little like a game of chess except the board is made of water and the pieces of smoke – a moment when nature says, “Oh! by the way, compared to me you are nothing”.
We are living in uncertain times.
The culprits skulk away after being reprimanded for crossing the farmers field.
Had it not been for the few days spent in Eastern Cape Highlands, my season was as Andrew Savides wrote in the latest edition of the Flyfishing magazine, “The Season that Never Was”. And, as the years pass, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t ever think about the realty that is the number of seasons I have left. In recent times I have friends, not many years senior to me, that have for one or other reason, mostly related to medical issues, stopped fishing rivers. Thankfully for now, I am still able to carry a backpack into the mountains and boulder hop along the streams, albeit a little more cautiously and not alone. I look forward now to the next season and life as we knew it before the pandemic sent us inside and into a confusing spiral.
Walkerbouts – at the centre of it all.
This year’s festival was a cracker – blue skies, clear, sparkling streams, fin perfect, bright and lissome trout. Delicious breakfasts, and sumptuous dinners, and of course, the familiar booming nightly rally cry by the Chairman that reverberated throughout the halls and passages of Walkerbouts, “don’t forget your lunch packs” . The pub at the very Centre of the Universe, ever rowdy, where tall stories are stripped bare, but cordiality always prevails. The selection of whiskeys at the ‘Road Block under the Willow’ were exceptional. And, it’s not up for debate, the ‘gees’ and fellowship at these festivals is legendary.
Here, a handful of pictures from the 2020 festival to wet the appetite, and hopefully to attract a few new faces next year, and especially those of the fairer sex.
Grant Visser, practicing social distancing as he ties on his secret weapon ….. in secret.
Some of us just catch fish, and then there are those like ‘Doc’ Mather that turn it into creative gracefulness as if conducting the Philharmonic Orchestra.
The legendary Road Block under the Willow
The ‘A Team’, Rus, Wally and Woz with their guide aka the poorly paid gate opener.
The 2021 Dirt Road Wild Trout Association Festival, is scheduled for 17 to 21 March 2021. This will be the 30th anniversary of the festival with plans already afoot for a few surprises. It’s time to pencil these dates into the diary. Anyone wanting more information email Dave Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All images and copy in this post are copyright Peter Brigg Photography © 2020. All rights reserved