In the confessional …… again!
But, before I get there which is the point of this story, let me tell you what initiated the lie – white lie – untruth. It happened some years ago when on two separate occasions at a small Natal Fly Fishers Club dam just as I was packing up for the day I noticed a commotion at the outlet. It turned out to be a trout carrying out sorties into the weeds in the shallows as it hunted the prolific population of platanas that seemed to favour this part of the dam to hang out. Fascinated, on the second occasion I sat on the dam wall as the sun sank behind the surrounding hills and watched until it was almost too dark to see. The same modus operandi would occur every 10 to 15 minutes with a bow wave of a very large fish appearing suddenly from the depths and into the weeds in the shallows. Then all hell would break loose with splashing, rolling, tail flapping and darting between the weeds until its departure back into the depths was signaled with the diminishing bow wave. This small dam has consistently produced solid fish, probably because of the availability and quantity of fresh protein provided by the resident frog population.
One of Kingsley’s siblings from the small dam (copy of old pic)
But, this trout wasn’t just solid, it was large – I became haunted by him. Back home I would sit and plot on how to catch him. Because he only showed himself in the late afternoons I’d need to make the hour and fifteen minute trip from Westville to be on the water and waiting by around 4.30pm, and I couldn’t wait just for weekends. Now this is where I could have been in trouble had my employer discovered my whereabouts. Fortunately, my town planning job required me to undertake title deed searches and land audits from time to time involving trips to the Deeds Office in Pietermaritzburg – just 30 to 40 minutes drive from the fabled waters. So it was that many afternoons were spent at the dam with fishing buddy, Mark Pardey on the pretense of dutifully working in the Deeds Office – the point of the confession! Good friend John Hone, no longer with us on this earthly world, knew about our excursions to the dam and had this cartoon done just to keep us as honest as possible.
To cut a long story short, I never did get Kingsley as he affectionately became known – probably with that larger than life, intrepid explorer, Kingsley Holgate in mind? I stalked him on many late afternoons until well after the sun had set. I threw every fly at him that had ever worked for me and even some new ones like the late Harry Stewart’s Frog and Millionaires Taddy, but to no avail.
On my last couple of visits Kingsley was conspicuous by his absence and I assumed that he had perhaps found greener hunting grounds, at least that is what I secretly hoped it was. Then a few months later a picture appeared in Flyfishing magazine of the smiling farm owner proudly holding a double figure trout caught in the small dam and bound for the smoker – was it Kingsley? I continued to think not, but I never saw him again. I still occasionally recall those unsuccessful yet memorable afternoons and sometimes break into a cold sweat thinking of what would have happened if my employer had uncovered my untruths – instead of working, sitting with Mark on the dam wall sipping cold beers and hatching tactics to fool Kingsley into accepting my fraudulent offerings!
I guess one never really grows up and events like this are life’s little treasures. A bit like stealing fruit from the neighbours orchard in the dead of night, which always tastes a lot better than store bought produce – poaching on trout waters is the same and I have done my fair share of that, but those are other stories for another day.
All images and copy in this post are copyright Peter Brigg Photography © 2014. All rights reserved.