It’s unbelievable how fast these little ‘space invaders’ grow up – from barely sitting to crawling, walking and now running around within such a short space of time. And intellectually, they are something else! Don’t think you can quickly write a newsletter or create an invoice without being harassed. They won’t give up, and the more you try and get some work done, the more they see it as a game. The trick is to quietly lock yourself into a room (and hope they didn’t notice).
I’m not complaining, though – it is really an amazing experience watching the twins develop. And the best thing is, they really like fish!
Focusing hard on getting that jigging action just right
A well-earned snack break
Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament
It has been an honour to be asked to do the first prize sculptures for this prestigious event in Florida, USA, for the 4th year in a row. Some great names in the sporting industry, such as Andy Mill, have won this event in the past. This year I opted to do the bronze sculptures with a nickel plating finish.
From her email, I think organiser Betsy Bullard liked them: I have the sculptures! THEY ARE MAGNIFICENT! LOVE LOVE LOVE them! I’m so looking forward to showing these off at the kick-off Sunday night! The anglers and guides will need drool buckets!
Best of luck to this year’s participants!
Leaping Tarpon II
Size: 31 x 15 x 50 cm
Wow, I couldn’t believe my luck when I got the go-ahead from ‘The Boss’ to go fish this special island off Mauritius a couple of weeks ago. My pal Andrew Veglio dangled the carrot in front of me when a last-minute slot opened up. St Brandon’s is arguably one of the best bonefishing destinations on the planet when it comes to the average size of these special fish. This little atoll is well known for BIG GTs, and the ‘holy grail’ of saltwater fly-fishing – permit.
I think what annoyed Rena the most was the preparation for the trip. For a month before departure, I spent hours behind the fly-tying desk churning out fly patterns – existing plus new innovations. I explained that it would be pointless going all that way and spending the money without being prepared.
After landing in Mauritius, our group of eight anglers from across the globe boarded two sport-fisher boats, and for the next 26 hours (it felt like 36) we endured the high seas on the 240 nautical mile crossing to St Brandon’s.
It was a great relief to eventually see land. We happily moved into newly built lodging and got our tackle ready. For the next seven days, I was in heaven! Fly-fishing on St B’s is hosted by FlyCastaway, which has some of the best guides around – they have pin-sharp vision and know the atoll backwards.
The fishing wasn’t always that easy – otherwise, what would be the point? Some days were definitely easier, and some days we really had to work hard to get results – and if you were looking for a species like the elusive permit, it was even tougher! Also, those bloody GTs drove us mad. The couple of chances we had were met with angler failures and last-minute refusals after you were convinced this charging beast would engulf your offering any moment. They certainly got my heart rate up to 200+ a couple of times.
Around day 4 I decided to relax on the permit and GTs and just enjoy myself. If any of them came my way it would be a bonus, but the bonefishing was so damn good I’d be foolish not to take full advantage. So I did!
I did hook a small permit on a flexo crab near the lodge, but he made short work of the battle by breaking me off on some razor-sharp coral. Three of the guys in our group had better luck with permit, and FlyCastaway owner Gerhard Laubscher managed to get the largest of the three. Many other species of fish were also caught and released during the week.
St B’s is a paradise hardly touched by humans, and apart from the incredible fishing, the privilege of being able to visit such a place and be so close to nature was by far the highlight of the trip to me! As was making new friends, like American trout bums and guides Jeff Currier, Scott Smith and Ben Smith. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to fish in their part of the world one day – the greater Yellowstone catchment area!
Here are some photographs from our trip:
A rustic little shrine for the handful of local residents
A beautiful bluefin trevally
Jeff Currier with a fine greenspot trevally
The terns on the island have seen so few humans that they’re virtually fearless
Scott with the ‘holy grail’ of fly fishing – his first permit!
Preparing for a recce on a flat called Julies Guava.
A double-up of bonefish for Scott and Ben
Andrew with a lovely golden trevally
Looking for GTs – not many to be found
One of many bonefish
Fly Fishing & Fly Tying Expo
24 & 25 June
Toadbury Hall Country Hotel, Lanseria, Gauteng
I will be exhibiting some of my bronzes at the South African Fly Fishing & Fly Tying Expo next month. It promises to be an awesome event for the whole family with an interest in fly-fishing and the outdoors. Hope to see you there! Below are a few pieces that will be exhibited, unless sold beforehand.