Monthly Archives: July 2014

Table Mountain – a breath of fresh air


Ever seen this before?

Ever seen this before?

Much older than humans and more beautiful than most things, this majestic mix of quartzitic sandstone, granite and shale patiently serves as both the centrepiece and the backdrop of Cape Town… It’s unique mystery is not limited to its stunning appearance, the estimated 2,200 endemic species of mountain fynbos (flora) are not found anywhere else in the Universe. In 1503 when Antonio de Saldanha scaled Platteklip Gorge for the first recorded climb to the top, he did not have a map or a path, just a determined will to get to the top.

Recently I had occasion to do the same, in exquisite company. We set out before dawn, grateful for the moonlight and savouring the eastern glow as it advanced with every uphill step.

Moonstruck - I always enjoy seeing my shadow at night...

Moonstruck – I always enjoy seeing my shadow at night…

That magic part of every day...

That magic start of every day…

We made the most of our fresh legs and the even fresher air to climb the jeep track from Constantia Nek before the sun popped up. Several times I was blown away by the grand scale of the view that unfolded below and above us.

Looking South, South East

Looking South, South East

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The views and the sweetness of the mountain air kept getting better…

Early morning walkabout

Early morning walkabout

The Table Top viewed from the Southern approach

The Table Top viewed from the Southern approach

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Views from the top - when will you see them for yourself?

Views from the top – when will you see them for yourself?

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drakensberg delights


Recently I received a request for advice on fly selection for the Drakensberg. The question evokes memories of brown trout from pristine waters, day after day walking through stunning surroundings, breathing perhaps the cleanest air that has ever filled my lungs. Rather than attempting further description, I encourage readers to click on Peter Brigg’s masterful blog http://callofthestream.wordpress.com to see his amazing pictures of Drakensberg paradise.

Back then I found success with tiny Coch-y-Bonddu style wet hackle flies: no tail or a short tail of hen hackle fibres, a double strand of peacock herl wrapped to make the body and a soft hen hackle in olive or black. I was not sophisticated in my technique at first however my enthusiasm knew no bounds and I caught a lot of fish. I learned quickly that the trout were wild and hungry: if I could present my fly without being seen myself, they would devour it.

Big brother, little brother... Metiefly damsel nymphs destined for the magical mountains of South Africa.

Big brother, little brother… Metiefly damsel nymphs destined for the magical mountains of South Africa.

Last night at the vice, I created two versions of a fly I just know would have worked perfectly in my endeavours almost 20 years ago. The larger versions are weighted for deeper pools and fast runs, the little ones are designed specifically for crystal waters and smaller tributaries… Tiny feeder streams became my personal favourites – several times I pitched my fly where no other human had been in the lifetime of the fish I was after… My ultimate reward on the final evening, in the last vestiges of sunlight I landed two 1 kg brown trout on consecutive casts. Time stood still in that moment as I thanked the Universe for such a rare and Sacred Gift!

Close up - well defined segments and strong materials ensure guaranteed performance for many fish (photo - metiefly)

Close up – well defined segments and strong materials ensure guaranteed performance for many fish (photo – metiefly)

Tying these gems is easy and the result is pleasing to my eyes – most importantly I know this pattern works wonders and will withstand multiple attacks from feisty predators. I’ll add in a couple of small Walker’s Killers and two Emerald Spiders in case of muddy water…

Only time will tell whether this mix of flies will work in the beautiful waters of Drakensberg streams - I'll let you know the outcome in due course. Tight lines to their recipient!

Only time will tell whether this mix of flies will work in the beautiful waters of Drakensberg streams – I’ll let you know the outcome in due course. Tight lines to their recipient!

Thank you for reading – please return soon!