Fly-fishing in only undies, a beanie and shoes

2013-08-03 00:00

WE all fall into the comfort trap sometimes, so why not use this cold snap as an excuse to give your four-stroke motor a rest and rather make use of the trusty two-strokes that you were born with.

Fly-fishing has long been considered an elitist sport best reserved for accountants, lawyers and bankers. The truth of the matter is that the only difference between fly-fishers and worm dunkers is the quality of their excuses.

Fly-fishing is not limited to the expensive trout farms littered across the KZN Midlands. We live in prime fly-fishing territory. The upper Umgeni offers some of the country’s most pristine untamed fishing waters and accessing them requires little more effort than venturing into our own backyard.

The river systems between the Dargle Falls and Inanda may not be able to offer the guaranteed success that many trout dams in the area can. However, there is a lot to be said for stumbling through overgrown fields of blackjacks trying to decipher which non-existent track to follow, as you search for the best access to an ambling riverbed.

While they do not always have the largest fish on offer, the limited casting room provides anglers with the perfect opportunity to whip out their light tackle. I can guarantee that you will be in for the fight of your life should the feisty yellowfish and wild trout offer up a bite.

You wouldn’t think it, but fly-fishers like to get more than their hands dirty, as Dave Prentice proved when he ventured to Rhodes village recently. He initially thought that he would tag along to support his friend doing the Rhodes Marathon but, given that Prentice is a keen trout fisherman rather than a marathon runner, his plans altered somewhat.

Prentice decided to give winter fishing on the Bell River a bash. He then took it a little bit further and in a moment more likely to have been attributed to a student during Rag week, or the Jagermeister he enjoyed after the trip, Prentice decided to start the Natal Fly-fishers Polar Bear Club. The Polar Bear Club requires that anglers fish in nothing more than their undies, a beanie and shoes until they hook and land a fish.

To give this madness some purpose, Prentice thought that he would try and raise some money for the charity Children in Distress Network (Cindi), whose board he serves on as a member and Treasurer. Cindi is a Pietermaritzburg-based charity that assists NGOs in the KZN area which are involved with children affected by Aids.

On Saturday, July 6, 2013, Prentice fished the Commonage section of the Bell from just below the bridge, where he waded in seven to eight degree Celsius water. The single digit water temperatures did little to dissuade him from getting his feet wet and fishing for 15 minutes. Unfortunately, the crowd that gathered to watch his antics ensured that the skittish trout could not be lured into taking a nibble of his fly, and they showed little interest in any other titbits he had on offer. Prentice had to go home with little more than a cold for company.

Prentice is now the proud founding member of the NFFC Polar Bear Fishing Club. Though Prentice took the maiden voyage at Rhodes, he does not want it to be limited to Rhodes. If a river is open in mid-winter anywhere in South Africa, and the person complies with the rules and regulations of the club, then they are able to join.

Should you wish to get involved and donate to this worthy cause, contact Dave Prentice on

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