IF ALL this has whetted your appetite to give fly- fishing a go, you don’t have to venture as far as Rhodes to try your hand.
Closer to home there are numerous opportunities at streams in and around Somerset East, under the expert guidance of Alan Hobson, an accredited fly-fishing guide who also owns and runs the Angler & Antelope Guesthouse.
Somerset East is an oasis close to the eastern boundary of the Karoo. The Karoo is always imagined as semi-desert, but it is far more diverse than that. Somerset East has four biomes within 20km of the town – . savannah, grassveldt, Karoo and indigenous forest.
The Boschberg that hugs the town also creates a microclimate, which, under normal circumstances, provides good rainy seasons when 15 waterfalls can be seen on the mountain.
The Angler & Antelope has secured exclusive access to several dams and stretches of river in the Somerset East district for fly-fishing.
Although the indigenous small-mouth yellowfish have been in the Little Fish River for some time, the locals have only recently cottoned on that they are great sport to catch on fly. The yellowfish are obliging enough and can be caught in summer as well as winter.
The Bankberg Troutfishers Club manages six still waters and a section of the Little Fish River. These fly-fishing only waters consist of Bestershoek Dam, Mountain Dam, the three Glen Avon farm dams, the 90m Glen Avon Falls and the Naudes River, Buffelshoek Dam and the pools on the Little Fish River.
Bestershoek dam is situated next to the Somerset East golf course in an amphitheatre created by the Boschberg. It is a spectacular setting, and very accessible as it is only five minutes from Somerset East by car.
The Glen Avon dams are also accessible by car. Mountain Dam is on top of the Boschberg and is the premier water of the Bankberg Troutfishers Club. Mountain Dam is not accessible by normal car, as a higher clearance is required. This dam is considered one of the best for fly-fishing for trout in South Africa, where prolific mayfly and caddis hatches occur.
To fly-fish the small stream sections of the Naudes River and below the 90m Glen Avon falls, visitors must be accompanied by a Bankberg Troutfishers Club member or an accredited guide.
Somerset East is one of the few venues in South Africa boasting eight freshwater species that can be caught on fly, within 20 minutes of each other. The Hobson’s Choice Festival, usually in October each year, challenges the avid fly fisherman to target a rainbow trout, black bass and yellowfish, all bigger than 30cm in length, on the same day.
The Angler & Antelope is a comfortable venue, with an excellent single malt whisky collection in an old church and a fly-fishing shop in the old confessional.
For more details, phone Alan on 082-44 22-884 or visit the websites www.anglerandantelope.co.za or www. wildflyfishinginthekaroo.co.za