In June last year I spent an evening with the Women in Waders – a Fireside Chat. The purpose was to expand their interest in river and stream flyfishing. The follow-up was to be a day on a stream for practical instruction – the fundamentals of river craft and to walk, wade and fish. It took almost a year to co-ordinate schedules, but it eventually happened on the 4th May this year.
To put it mildly it was a new experience for me – enjoyable and refreshing – the envy of all my fishing buddies. It was a far cry from what I’m used to with the bunch of testosterone charged males that I fish with. Apart from the fact that they were much better looking, everything for the day was perfectly planned, the lunch packs they provided were delicious (even an opportunistic baboon who in a blink of an eye, stole one out the truck, agreed) – I didn’t even miss my usual boiled eggs and egg and chutney sandwiches! I discovered that they talk a lot, often all at the same time, there was plenty of banter, laughter and drinks were never more than an arms length away. There was an air of positivity, the energy was palpable, they are serious about the sport, but also don’t take things too seriously – they don’t like flyfishing, they love it and were keen to learn more. There was a moment of panic when Bridgitte chipped a finger nail. To her relief nothing that the file on my leatherman couldn’t fix – calamity averted.
Reflecting on the day on the Bushmans, or the ‘Bushies’ as they call it, I felt that perhaps I didn’t spend enough time explaining the basics. But then I also saw the collective glint in the six pairs of eyes staring back at me that suggested, “let’s go and fish” – so we did.
I was struck with their casting abilities, no doubt gained from the time spent fishing stillwaters. There are however different techniques that they will need to perfect for the best results on rivers and streams. Although there was a lack of river experience amongst the group, it was clear that Linda and Sindi had fished rivers before. It is understandable that to begin with flyfishing can be about as patchy as those squares for the knee rugs that your grandmother used to crochet – proficiency will improve over time and each will find their own way of understanding and achieving all of this. There was great excitement when Rox and Bridg caught their first ever wild river born brownies. The peacefulness of the valley was shattered with screams and whoops as if the Pakistan cricket team had just won the World Cup.
Flyfishing running water is not rocket science, there are many helpful ‘how to’ books, but practice is the key. To think that books alone will do it for you is a bit like taking a correspondence course in brain surgery. Experience and skills are gained through observation, learning from others, time on the water and practice, practice and then more practice.
And, then when the going gets tough Alison sets the pace and takes 5 with a chilled cup of chardonnay.
If my time spent with the Women in Waders is any measure, the future of ladies in our flyfishing community is in good hands . Feeling inspired – thank you Rox, Bridg, Sindi, Alison, Linda and Lyndall for a rewarding experience. I hope there will be a next time in the coming season.
It was a good day on the Bushman’s with the Women in Waders. Photo Lyndall Blakie