I have been following the activities of the Women in Waders group on various social media sites for awhile now. Having noticed that they are focused largely of fishing stillwaters, nothing wrong with that of course, I felt the need to offer to share with them the infectious charms of fishing rivers and streams. I suggested to Roxanne Stegen, a leading light in the group that we spend a day on a Drakensberg stream early in the new season with any of the ladies that may have an interest in exploring the basics of river fly fishing. Rox liked the idea but felt that it would be too long to wait, and so the idea of a Fireside Chat was born.
The well organised event came together on the evening of Friday 29 June, hosted by another of the founder members Alison Smith, in the Lapa at her beautiful Hilton Safari Lodge .
With a roaring fire going we settled into the intimate, cosy ambiance of the lapa, a few glasses of wine under the belt and a spread of delicious food, it turned into a very enjoyable, memorable evening of friendship, discussion around the theory of fly fishing rivers and streams, questions, stories, banter and laughter – the foundation for a day or two on a stream in October for some practical instruction was set.
If truth be told, it was daunting (pleasantly distracting 😉) initially talking to an entirely female group, but I was soon put at ease with their willingness to participate, show of interest and pertinent questions – and, the outlook had a beauty about it that is absent with the mostly scruffy, unshaven men I’m used to.
I knew before hand that their group was made up of individuals keen to learn, some with experience, others starting out. Their enthusiasm, energy and keenness to grow the diversity of a currently testosterone, male dominated sport by encouraging more of the fairer sex to participate, is nothing less than inspiring – I have no doubts that they will succeed.
I look forward ladies to when we meet again on the banks of a stream, to walk, talk wade and fish.
I leave you with a few thoughts ……. the fundamentals of fly fishing take time and effort to learn, but once you get the hang of them you’ll have days when you fish beautifully …. and, never be despondent, there will be days when you don’t, it’s the enigma of trout. I have had to work hard at it, but I do have my moments. I have been fly fishing for what seems a lifetime, I guess it is. I’m not the best wader, caster, fish spotter, or fly tyer, but I have learned to fish well within my limitations as I once heard it said, “like a three-legged dog that can still go for a nice long walk”. You naturally bring everything you know to every day of fishing. Through repetition neural pathways will gradually be worn and the process will become instinctive – the fly rod that once seemed strange and awkward will become thoughtlessly familiar and the push and pull of the currents and the slippery, uneven bottom will no longer be surprising – it’s achieving a simple competence. After all the years I have been at it, I feel that I may just be reaching that point, but who knows.
I was honoured to be part of this event. Special thanks to Sindi-Leigh Mcbain for the use of her photographs above other than the last couple, to Rox and Brigitte for putting it all together, to all the ladies that attend for your valued participation and to Alison Smth for her kindness and generosity in providing Colleen and I with 5 star accommodation for the night in the Honeymoon suite of her Lodge – if only I’d known in advance 😉