Tag Archives: Recreation and Sports

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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99 blogposts – not out!


For my 99th blog entry I feel honoured to share this video.

It is not my work.

It definitely echoes my sentiments – great work by its creators.

Enjoy it and thanks again for visiting my site

I look forward to your return!

all aboard for Abaco!


This little pocket of flies is destined for the Bahamas… What stories will they conjure up in time?

Rolling Harbour, Abaco... All will be revealed in time!

Rolling Harbour, Abaco… All will be revealed in time!


Thanks in advance to RH – I will keep everyone posted in due course!

Looking forward to some beautiful pictures of Bonefish…

Thank you for reading, please visit again soon.

tying techniques – 7 steps to a perfect weave!


The joy of learning is that it never ends and there are so many ways to take in new information. With the internet, specialist knowledge is now available via all manner of teaching methods. People’s willingness to document and pass on techniques that were previously communicated by word of mouth or through one on one tuition provides an endless source of new ideas.

bright ideas are never far away for improving your tying techniques...

bright ideas are never far away for improving your tying techniques…


When I looked to learn how to weave flies I chanced upon many different approaches. All of them work… Having written a couple of blog entries about the fantastic characteristics of woven bodies, I will now attempt to distill my preferred method into a few simple written instructions:

1) Start off the fly by creating a thread base or a bead and wire core, adding a tail as appropriate, depending on the desired pattern. Variety is limited only by your imagination – so far I have made flies with or without tails, weighted cores, bead heads and even Klinkhamer style dry flies.

2) Tie in two lengths of embroidery thread on opposite sides of the hookshank so that the long ends hang off the back of the hook. I prefer to double back the short ends and wrap them down to add an extra layer of strength and to add some bulk to the width of the body. Colours are optional however I prefer to create two tone flies using a dark shade and a light shade, normally with the lighter shade on the bottom of the fly to mimic natural camouflage. Start with matching lengths of about 25 cm and as you gain experience, you will learn to gauge required lengths for different scenarios.

3) Wrap your tying thread to the front of the fly, whip finish and cut off. The tying thread will be reintroduced later to tie off the completed weave.

4) Twist your vice through 90 degrees so that the eye of the hook points towards you. Take one long end of the embroidery thread in each hand and BELOW the hook cross them over in an overhand knot. To create a two tone pattern, ensure the dark strand passes behind the light strand every time this overhand knot is created. Partially tighten the loop formed by the overhand knot by pulling the threads in opposite directions. Use the hook to separate the intertwined strands so that the dark strand goes over the top of the hook and the light strand passes underneath. Tighten each strand, pulling evenly and firmly on opposite directions on the same horizontal plane as the hook.

5) Repeat the above process, ensuring that the dark strand passes behind the light strand to form the overhand knot and then passes over the top of the hook shank. Each time the knot is tightened, a new segment is formed. Take care to tighten every knot firmly and evenly – inconsistent tension results in a lumpy weave!

6) When the full length of the body has been formed, finish off the weave with a final overhand knot pulled tight UNDERNEATH the hook and then cross over the long ends of the threads ABOVE the hook, allowing them to hang down either side of the hookshank. Secure both strands by clamping them together with hackle pliers, the weight of the pliers provides tension to prevent unravelling. Twist your vice back through 90 degrees to its original position.

7) Reattach your tying thread close to the eye of the hook and wrap twice behind the long ends of the embroidery thread and twice in front of it to secure the embroidery threads. For the last time, pull them tight, then cut off the embroidery threads and complete the final stages of your fly – adding wings, a dubbing collar or a hackle etc.

The symmetrical, clearly segmented pattern of these flies is achieved using the weaving techniques described above.  Have fun creating your own!

The symmetrical, clearly segmented pattern of these flies is achieved using the weaving techniques described above. Have fun creating your own!

As well as looking good, embroidery thread is durable - flies keep their form and remain irresistible fish after fish

As well as looking good, embroidery thread is durable – flies keep their form and remain irresistible fish after fish


Over time I will tweak the above instructions to make them more readable and easier to follow. I welcome all feedback and would love to hear from you if you find this helpful. Likewise please do not hesitate to contact me if you have a better way to explain it in words!

Thank you for reading, please visit again soon.

preparing for grayling


I am almost bursting with excitement at the prospect of visiting some of fly fishing’s most hallowed waters. Regardless of the weather, on Saturday I will be up well before dawn and en route to fish for grayling on the famous River Test.

Although there is no telling what may bite my flies on the day, our main quarry will be grayling and I need to create some flies for the occasion. Gathering advice from some of my veteran flyfishing friends, I received one reply only two words long: SMALL FLIES

Chuckling to myself, I set about researching tried and tested patterns on the Internet. Various nymph patterns, freshwater shrimps and small Klinkhammers – that is what I shall be tying tonight.

Size 16 barbless hooks
Olive hackle
White Antron post
Two shades of olive embroidery thread
Peacock herl

No pictures yet as I haven’t made them yet – fingers crossed they come out well!

Thank you for reading, I look forward to your next visit.

topwater technicalities


A combination of deer hair and tightly turned hen hackle over an Antron yarn body gives maximum buoyancy and a lifelike silhouette… At least I hope so!

surface to air... This pattern is light and offers substantial wind resistance... Casting with the breeze will still extend the tippet and if the water is calm it should sit on top for long enough to attract attention!

surface to air… This pattern is light and offers substantial wind resistance… Casting with the breeze will help extend the tippet and if the water is calm the fly should sit on top for long enough to attract attention!

I am exploring new methods tonight and although these ones appear a little ragged and too wooly, there is enough of a result to push ahead and give them a field test. I shall enlist the help of a trout or two to give me honest feedback.

Materials make a big difference to the performance and durability of a fly. Whilst I strive for the best looking, hardest wearing patterns, I am sure this dry fly will not withstand being chewed! Time will tell, as it always does!

adapted from an elk hair caddis pattern, I chose an olive colour with roe deer hair to match the local favourite colours...

adapted from an elk hair caddis pattern, I chose an olive colour with roe deer hair to match the local favourite colours…

I look forward to reporting back once I have put these to the test in due course.

Thank you for reading – see you back soon!

Two Tales in the city…


I have enjoyed dipping into Talesbytheriverbank (http://talesbytheriverbank.wordpress.com) for some time now, having originally connected online exchanging comments about Sea Trout and other Salmonids in the River Thames. Yesterday we finally got to meet and despite what felt like an arctic breeze, we shared an afternoon of easy going conversation and fishing…

Mr Tales and Young Tales - what a pleasure meeting like minded gentlemen who braved the elements and rose to the challenge of the day's fishing admirably. Young Tales has a knack for predicting the future and Judging by how adept he is with a fly rod, I foresee a lifetime of exploration and mastery of everything that fly fishing has to offer

Mr Tales and Young Tales – what a pleasure meeting like minded gentlemen who braved the elements and rose to the challenge of the day’s fishing admirably!

Our mission was to connect Young Tales with one of Syon’s finest and although it took a lot longer than expected after the wind came up, we eventually sought refuge from the breeze and Mr Tales tied on the winning formula. Hardly any movement on the surface meant many probing casts and much patience endured by Young Tales – it is wonderful to see how they have learnt to operate as a team:

Young Tales has a knack for predicting the future and Judging by how adept he is with a fly rod, I foresee a lifetime of exploration and mastery of everything that fly fishing has to offer...

Young Tales has a knack for predicting the future and Judging by how adept he is with a fly rod, I foresee a lifetime of exploration and mastery of everything that fly fishing has to offer…

We sent a scout up ahead to scan for movement:

Returning to report back that he has a feeling we are about to catch something - predicting the future (no pressure Dad!)

Returning to report back that he has a feeling we are about to catch something – (no pressure Dad!)

Mr Tales had mentally marked a few spots where a fish had moved and skillfully returned his fly several times before a beautiful rainbow finally connected… Seeing Young Tales spring into action and his remarkable calm despite his obvious excitement was a real joy:

Playing a 2.5lb trout is an adrenalin rush - this young man was having the time of his life!

Playing a 2.5lb trout is an adrenalin rush – this young man was having the time of his life!

Father and son did a great job landing their catch and ensuring Young Tales’s dinner (apparently to be ably assisted by the cats!)

Told you so! Young Tales had predicted this moment and then worked towards it all afternoon - well done!

Told you so! Young Tales predicted this moment and then worked hard towards it all afternoon – well done!

All in all, a day well spent in the great outdoors, passing on knowledge and adventure to the next generation. We look forward to future outings if and when our crazy schedules allow it.

This Gentleman's love of fishing is easily apparent, and his encyclopaedic knowledge of antique tackle, piscatorial current affairs makes for fantastic conversations... Http://talesbytheriverbank.wordpress.com

This Gentleman’s love of fishing is easily apparent, and his encyclopaedic knowledge of antique tackle, different species and piscatorial current affairs makes for fantastic conversations… http://talesbytheriverbank.wordpress.com

Thank you for reading, please return again soon!