This is a open letter to the Natal Fly Fishers Club (NFFC) and Andrew Fowler in particilar. A once great trout river that was almost destroyed by alien vegetation, is now on it’s way back to its former glory. Andrew and a dedicated bunch of trout fishing enthusiasts have done an incredible job in clearing wattle and restoring sections of river that were previously unfishable.
I have fond memories of fishing that section of river back in school days. Brigadoon farm was our favorite spot. I caught my first river brown in the confluence pool of the Furth and Umgeni in ’97. It was a typically gloomy drizzly day when the Browns were on the “prod” in a big way. I remember swinging my fly (a Feys killer) around against the steep southern bank. It was a fantastic fish of 2.5lbs!! It took me many years to better that brown in a river.
Andrew, what you and the NFFC have done has contributed more to trout fishing in South Africa than jus a few km of restored trout water. You’ve contributed hugely in the battle against the rabid greenies and their desire to criminalize trout fishing. Your dedication to conservation and love of the river has resulted in a great success story that I hope the “trout haters” taken note of.
I’m sure the pleasure you get wading up a run that was previously choked with wattle, and hooking a plump brownie must be such that it gives you goose bumps.
It would be a privilege to one day spend a day fishing the Umgeni with you. Maybe this next spring I will give you a shout.
All the best Andrew and thanks from all of us fly fishers who haven’t been involved. We do appreciate it.