When I was young the hi-light of the week was when we went fishing. The locations were generally decided by heresy in the fishing community: One would say Rand Rifles and the next would vote for Paaltjies and the third would proclaim mile 14, say, because his friend caught dozens the past week end.
These outings normally turned out to be a family affair. With mothers, sons and daughters partaking. The fathers usually joined up with the other fathers and nattered for hours about the wind, the sun, the weather and the rough sea. During those years of the 1950’s /60’s a very different ethos was the order of the day.
The adults seemed to respect other adults, not quite what it is today. There was a mood of civility and respect. The men would start up the braai while the women folk carried on with the rest of the lunch /supper. The activities were closer to a unit and acting as one.
Booze was always available yet never abused and temperaments reasonable.
On this camp there were eight families, Some in tents, some under awnings and the better-off in bunks in an enclosed truck. The arguments amid the banter always amicable without jabs as the plans for tomorrow were made. Usually there was full agreement.
Early the next morning the groups made their way to the beach where each group selected a particular fishing area. This bit of wisdom was called upon to prevent snagging of lines and crossing lines. Despite the precaution lines were still snagged and tempers heated up yet all was sorted out with a dram from a bottle.
What was surprising was the abilities and dexterity of the long time men folk. These guys could place a sinker on a rock or on a sand-bank with absolute accuracy. Always the gung-ho mentality: If your mate has a fish on the line then you reel in to prevent lines snagging and aid your mate in reeling his catch in.
The children, too, had their games on the rocks: Looking for klipvis and sinkers in the crevasses. As for myself I had all the tackle but fishing can really be boring when standing alone and imagining the big -one taking your bait.
There were always the outsiders trying to barge their way into the group and be part of the group but it usually failed due to the already bonded friendships.
And of course there was always the clown: casting his line in so far it becomes difficult to see. Then shouting in glee: “Straight to Nixon’s doorstep.” (klipvis is a small fish, their habitat being in-between the nooks and crannies of the rocks.)
And by the way this article was never about fishing but Social intercourse Something badly needed in south Africa
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