Here is another little gem to add to your library of South African angling literature, Meandering Streams – by Roger Baert.
When I first moved to Natal from the Eastern Cape and my income allowed me to put the old glass fibre rods and Hardy Gem into mothballs and to expand into some of the top brands of fishing gear, a friend introduced me to The Fly Fisherman store then located in Deane Street, Pietermaritzburg where I, with the sound guidance and advice of Roger Baert, became the proud owner of a Orvis Far and Fine 5wt and a Orvis Trico 3wt each with a Battenkill reel – these rods are still amongst my collection today and although they don’t get any action, I find it hard to get rid of them simply because I’m a hoarder and because they have shared so many memories with me on the rivers and lakes of KwaZulu Natal. And, it was Roger who sold me my first fly tying kit. But, the significant thing is that Roger as proprietor was synonymous with The Fly Fisherman and I don’t recall a visit to the store when he wasn’t there to welcome costumers in his warm friendly way, but to also offer advice on all aspects of flyfishing to countless fly fishers over the years – owners came and went, but Roger was always there. When the Flyfisherman closed its doors for the last time some 8, I think, years ago, Roger and his wife Bridget, also a notable flyfisher, moved to France where they now live and are enjoying retirement.
Roger’s book which adds to the growing body of South African angling literature is a delightful read and in the words of Tom Sutcliffe in the foreword, “….. Roger Baert covers the most eclectic collection of angling subjects you will ever come across, many of the chapters warmly anecdotal, others tactically useful, or solidly based in his wide experience of fly tackle. (Roger is incidentally, the undisputed father of float tubing in South Africa.) The text will take you from China, to Sweden, to Belgium, to Iran, to Australia and to other countries besides hunting trout, bass, grayling, bluegill, eels – you name it. Not least of course, he covers 37 years he spent fishing in South Africa.” He goes on to say, “And given the pivotal role in the lives of so many SA flyfishers, either as a friend or a source of angling wisdom, or an ever ready giver of advice on tackle or tactics, in its own way this book also becomes an important record of an important slice of flyfishing history in this country.”
Copies are available at selected tackle stores or at email@example.comAnyone wanting signed copies can contact Roger (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he will provide a page that can be pasted into your copy.
He did this for me and typical of Roger’s sense of humor he provided me with two, one serious and the other with a twinkle in his eye! – it’s how I remember Roger at The Fly Fisherman.