FOSAF'S OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER - NUMBER 73 - December 2021

"ON THE LINE" - EDITORIAL FROM THE FOSAF CHAIR - ILAN LAX

Don't you just hate it sometimes, when you think you're onto a good thing and life throws you a curved ball? It's like having stealthily leopard crawled yourself into a muck sweat to that perfect casting position overlooking what appears to be your next sweet fish lie, and you find yourself face to face with a lazy but hair-raising puff adder?

I don't know about what you might have done, but my adrenalin-laced body did an instant involuntary prance-like pirouette pronk. I found myself two metres away in an instant, with a "jump to the left" that would make your average rocky horror show aficionado extremely envious. As I regained my composure, I felt a lot better watching that puffie slither its way in the other direction with the comfort of a bit of distance. Distance always offers some perspective, doesn't it?

What is your approach to this kind of curved-ball? Are you a "glass half full" type of person or do you bemoan the situation, pack up and head back to the succour of the nearest cooler box? Recently life cast such a scenario my way which stopped me abruptly in my tracks, shook me out of the (only now, in hindsight, obvious) rut I was in and which made it important for me to take the time just to reflect. I have tried to do so between all the other pressures of course. Hopefully, I have learned something about myself and what I need to do. And hopefully I will find the wherewithal to change some aspects. I certainly have every intention to continue to do so.

I am very aware that I am not alone in this kind of scenario. So our thoughts and positivity go out to all our fellow flyfishers who have had to experience some adversity, poor health, misfortune or other calamity this past year. Anglers must be positive minded optimistic people. As John Lavicount Anderdon wrote in the "River Dove", first published privately in 1845: "... for you are to note every angler must needs be blest with a hopeful and patient disposition, since they may sometimes look to come home as they went forth, that is to say, with an empty pannier"

It's in the fishing that does it for most of us, not just the catching or the keeping. The reading of the water, the awareness of the environment, the pleasure of the open spaces, the preparation and the anticipation. So many facets come together from tying flies, to reading and acquiring knowledge, to practising the craft and the repetition of the doing, until it becomes enshrined muscle memory that happens without thought or conscious endeavour and just happens mostly as you hoped or intended it to. Believing in a future means that we cherish what we have and believe in and steward this so that we hopefully can leave it in a better state for those coming after us to enjoy and benefit from. Many of us feel the urge to share this pursuit with others who feel likewise and with the next generations. Long may it be so. I live in hope that our legacy will inspire others.

Our website has been undergoing a revamp. We hope you will enjoy the new look and feel and find the navigation more intuitive. Our heartfelt thanks must go to the team of Peter Arderne, Jade dos Santos, Jonty Smith and Chris Williams who have worked with our generous webmaster Andrew Vester of Artica Design to achieve this attractive and pleasing outcome. The revamped site should be finalised by early January.

As we come to end of another year, and what a strange year it has been with Covid, lockdowns, the economy in crisis, the July unrest, a Municipal election, conspiracy theories abounding, the list could go on and on, I want to wish everything of the very best to you all and your families and significant others. A blessed festive season and a peaceful, safe and healthy 2022. I also want to express my thanks to all those involved in flyfishing at whatever level, be it clubs, venue owners, tackle dealers, magazine writers and editors, administrators of one kind or another. Your commitment and contributions are deeply appreciated and we who love and practice this art called flyfishing would be poorer without you all.

Yours on the line,

Ilan Lax
National Chairman
FOSAF

YELLOWFISH WORKING GROUP

The December 2021 YWG newsletter is now available on the link: https://www.fosaf.org.za/read-YWG-165.php Please contact Peter Arderne at mwardern@mweb.co.za if you need any additional information about the YWG.

 

Saving the Sandfish Project.

 

In case you missed the October newsletter you can get up to speed by viewing the recent spring migration of the sandfish at https://youtu.be/SsvVEnKP6T0 and reading the September newsletter by clicking here https://www.fosaf.org.za/documents/Saving%20Sandfish%20-%20September%202021.pdf.

In September Jeremy Shelton of the Freshwater Research Centre and his team went to the dams where fry from last year's sandfish spawn had been placed and were able to net over 1000 sandfish which had grown out to about 18cm. These were placed back into the lower Biedouw River coinciding with the spawning migration of wild fish. In the last week fry from the September 2021 spawn have been placed into five farm dams cleared of alien fishes including two new dams.

Then in mid- November the team returned to the Doring River and its catchment to repeat the survey which had been undertaken 10 years ago. This survey revealed that the three larger native fishes, the Clanwilliam sandfish, yellowfish and sawfin were in serious trouble. It showed that the situation has in fact worsened and all three species are close to extinction in the Doring.

Whereas the Saving the Sandfish project is working to ensure the long-term survival of the Clanwilliam sandfish species, similar projects are now required for the other two fishes.

The November overview which can be read by clicking here, https://www.frcsa.org.za/news/15-november-2021-adoring-adventure/

FOSAF MEMBER'S DRAW

Craig Thom from Stream-X ( www.theflyfishingshop.co.za ) kindly donated a R300-00 voucher!

The lucky draw winner is: Mr Greg Williams from the Northern Region (AW0006)

 

A New Lowveld branch of the YWG.

 
Louis Wessels of Nelspruit has recently established a very enthusiastic Lowveld branch of the Yellowfish Working Group. Together with other fellow members the following projects have been planned:
 
Blyde River project Crocodile River project
Elands River project Assegai River project
Sabie River project  
 

They are working on developing a reporting system with Dr Gordon O'Brien (University of Mpumalanga & Rivers of Life) and Dr Matthew Burnett (University of KZN). The aim is to investigate the current yellowfish populations and identify the species in these catchment areas. The Blyde River project is already underway. The work includes identifying other fish species and invertebrates in this particular river system and reporting on what they find to these aquatic scientists.

They have also contacted local angling clubs in the area to involve them in this reporting system so as to gather as much information as possible. As the procedures still must be carefully explained to most of the new recruits, it is understandable that there will be some delays, but they expect to be up and running efficiently within the next two months.

They have also started getting the local communities involved by setting up meetings with different ward counsellors to promote the whole idea of conserving our native fishes and creating more tourism work opportunities.

Blyde River project launched

A start was made with the Blyde River project on the 20th of November 2021 and some very interesting information was gathered from a 2km stretch of river in this initial survey. They found that the actions from illegal mining activities upstream of the survey area is causing a very reddish discolouration of the water with virtually no significant presence of the Bushveld Smallscale Yellows in this discoloured water. As they worked their way downstream to where the river cleared, they saw much more activity from this unique species. In total they captured and surveyed 45 fish that averaged between 5cm to 15cm. This indicates that the fish are surviving and growing in this less discoloured stretch. They also found many more invertebrates downstream. It was concluded from this that the yellows move downstream because of better feed supply and reduced water discolouration. Further feedback will be given in the next issue of the YWG newsletter.

The support from the angling clubs is tremendous and feedback on this aspect will be provided later. They have also approached companies like Sappi and York Timbers regarding this project as these companies own considerable lengths of river frontage. They have received very positive feedback on their plans from the two companies. Louis wishes to encourage all interested persons and organisations who wish to be involved to contact him at 082 464 1971 or louis@tunica.co.za

 

FOSAF GOLD CLASS BUSINESS SUPPORTER

Discounts are available to FOSAF members from the following Selected Gold Class Supporters:

Castleburn, Driehoek Syndicate, Finsbury Estate, Flyz Inc, Frontier Flyfishing, Giants Cup Wilderness Reserve, Highland Lodge, Highland Run, Jandi Trading, Hobbies of Antiquity, Kloofzicht, Komati Gorge Lodge, Lake Naverone, Lunsklip Fisheries, Mavungana, Millstream, Nooitgedacht, Oxbow Country Estate, Queenstown FlyFishing Club, Sani Valley Flyfishing and Game Lodge, Stonecutters Lodge, The Fly Casting Coach, Transvaal Fly Fishers Club, Verlorenkloof, Whiskey Creek and Willow Realty (Pty) Ltd, Cape Piscatorial Society, Marabou Trout Syndicate.

 

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