Fly fishing – the perfect way to spend more time outdoors
story stephen smith pictures tourette fishing and gordon gove
To the beginner fly fishing can look a little intimidating, a mystical art form where the artist stands in a river with a little bunch of feathers dancing around their head at the end of a line, before they somehow persuade a trout to eat that bunch of feathers instead of a real insect.
But since 1992 and Brad Pitt’s A River Runs Through It, fly fishing has left the realm of the niche and become a huge, mainstream sport. There are shops selling everything you need to get started without a huge price tag, and instructors and guides who will teach you everything from how to tie a fly on to your leader, to what a leader is, to how to cast and eventually how to hook and land a fish.
We spoke to the adventurous lads at Tourette Fishing, one of the leading adventure fishing companies in the world, based here in KwaZulu-Natal, and the first few things that you realise after chatting to Rob Scott, a director and founder of the company, is that fly fishing is adventure, you don’t have to » just catch trout, and age is no limit on where you can fish and what you can catch. Tourette offer bucket-list adventure trips that should be your final goal when you sign up for your first lesson: tarpon in Gabon, yellowfish in the Kalahari or Lesotho, huge trophy tigerfish in Tanzania, Nile perch in Cameroon, or the excitement of not knowing what species you’ll catch on the Nubian flats of Sudan.
Tourette take small groups of fishermen to all of these destinations, including men and women of retirement age who finally have the time to experience the zenith of fly fishing.
But if that seems a bit far and a bit much right now, as you first walk into a tackle shop, set your sights on something closer to home: your first cast that feels just right, the first time your fly is sucked off the surface of a dam, or the first time you manage to guide a glistening trout into your landing net.
Tourette Fishing: 033 342 2793, www.tourettefishing.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Complete Angler: 031 764 1488, 6 Village Road, Kloof, email@example.com
Wildfly Outfitters: 033 266 6981, Nottingham Road, firstname.lastname@example.org
Build Your Own Fly Rod
We spoke to Gordon Gove, a Pinetown-based craftsman who builds traditional split-cane fly rods for discerning fisherman, but who also holds courses in making fly rods.
Gordon has been fishing with split-cane rods since the 1960s, describing fishing with one as an art in itself. When he retired more recently he began making them. “When my retirement planning started, making cane fly rods was an obvious choice to pursue as a hobby. And now I also offer courses for fishermen who want to make their own rods. By the end of the course, the ‘students’ have a good quality rod, fully made by themselves to meet their unique fishing needs and create a truly custom fishing experience. The course has become very popular and a number of exceptional rods have been made by the ‘students’. Catching fish with a self-made rod is an experience that one cannot explain!
Split-cane rods offer a different fishing experience to rods made out of modern materials such as carbon. They have a different feel, are slower and more relaxed to fish, and each one is handmade to the customers’ specific wants and needs.”
Visitors, fishermen and fellow cane rod enthusiasts are welcome to contact Gordon Gove: 081 545 2297, email@example.com, @Gordons Cane Fly Rods