THE BEST OF THIS WEBSITE IN 2011
30 DECEMBER 2011
This wasn’t the greatest year for fly fishing, but then good years for fly fishing are a lot like good years for wine, meaning much of what makes a year good or not isn’t easily explainable, other than by incanting some vague weather patterns, like how soon the rains came or how soon they left. Certainly my two trips to Rhodes weren’t the highpoints they sometimes are, but both were delightful in their own ways and for other reasons and thinking back I can’t recall blanking on a stream during 2011. (I shouldn’t have said that because I fish Beat 2 of the Smalblaar tomorrow!)
BEST FLY OF THE YEAR – AGOSTINO RONCALLO’S MIRAGE DRY FLY
Seldom have I been so impressed with a fly. It rides well and looks so much like a bug it’s uncanny. I have already taken a heap of fish on this elegant little pattern , including some on a trip to the Holsloot last week when the fish were really difficult. The other blessing is the fly is the easiest CdC pattern I have ever tied.
THE TWO MOST IMPRESSIVE FISH OF THE YEAR
Dean Riphagen’s 120 pound Tarpon off the Cuban coast,
and Gerhard Laubscher’s salmon from Russia’s Kola peninsula
THE TWO BEST BOOKS REVIEWED FOR THE YEAR
Gentlemen Preferred Dry Flies - William C Black.
The sub-title of this book , ‘The dry fly and the Nymph, Evolution and Conflict’, will tell you more about what it’s about. The author, clearly a very experienced fly fisher and fly tier, has produced one of the best written and most definitive works on the history and evolution of the dry fly and nymph I have ever read. As you would expect from him (he is a professor of surgical pathology), he handles the subject with surgical precision and thoroughness, but also adds some deep insights and there’s a real elegance to his prose. It’s a fine book, well worth a read and a must for fly fishing historians.
Available from Craig Thom of NetBooks http://www.netbooks.co.za/Main.asp?D=%7B04B141B1-6706-405C-8790-08AFC8A8D7C8%7D&PageType=Product&SKU=978082634795
There’s no horse in the how-to-catch-fish genre. It’s Dave Hughes’ ‘Trout from Small Streams’
This has to rate as one of the best books on the subject of small stream fly fishing I have read to date. For once the author is authoritative and comprehensive without becoming boringly didactic. He covers it all and yet the book is written in a way that pleases the ear and is simple to follow. One of my best reads on the subject. Again try Craig Thom of NetBooks for a copy.
MOST NERVE WRACKING ASSIGNMENT OF THE YEAR
Fishing the dainty, heavily treed and bushed-in Kraalstroom for Andrew Ingram who was behind a movie camera. We were shooting for Ed Herbst’s first fly tying DVD and I did catch a fish or two – eventually – and plenty of those ubiquitous 'tree trout'.
MOST DEFINITIVE ARTICLE FOR THE YEAR
I give this to Ed Herbst for his piece on searching for the ultimate small stream fly rod.
BEST TACKLE TIP OF THE YEAR
Watershed – ‘The miracle treatment’.
I’ve used this stuff myself and it is brilliant.
MOST POPULAR THEMED GALLERY
Interesting, but of all the themed galleries the one on the chalk streams of Hampshire was the most popular easily won with 9704 hits!
I was introduced to a number of websites during the year but here are my three favourites for a regular visit, each for a different reason or purpose, as will become evident when you have a look at them yourself.
BEST READER’S IMAGE OF THE YEAR
No easy choice here at all. I will include some of those I enjoyed most and will then include my final choice below.
Mud fish spawning in the Kraai River by Tony Kietzman
Akita River Japan by David Kleyn
Tom Lewin Patagonia
The Bell River by Gerrit Redpath
River landscape by Gerhard Laubscher
Brown trout bt Shaun Futter
My choice as the best image of 2011!
Butterflies in Bolivia by Ruhan Neethling
MY PICTURES FOR 2011.
I took a number of pictures on various streams and rivers throughout the year and will include the one I was most happy with in each of these categories
Angler on a stream
Guides and guiding
Black and white
TRIUMPH OF THE YEAR
Again no horse in the race. It was Ed Herbst’s return to fly fishing and taking a trout for the first time in near on two years following to his brave battle with a neurological disease.
For those of you who didn’t know it, Ed has released Volume II of his fly tying DVD series. It is distributed by Craig Thom of Stream X Fly Shop in Milnerton: http://www.streamx.co.za/index.htm.
I WISH YOU ALL A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND CONTIBUTIONS.