To further bury an already very dead cliche, ‘I’ve had the privilege of’ interviewing some greats over the years. GOATS the likes of Kelly Slater, Greg Minnaar and Kilian Jornet. Seven-time world champion Conrad ‘The Caveman’ Stoltz, Christoph Sauser and my skinny-ass bro from Hout Bay, Ryan Sandes, who just happens to be one of the best trail runners in the world. Once, I even got to phone Usain Bolt. (He digs chicken nuggets)
Recently I got to chat at length to Mark Krige. It was refreshing and all kinds of authentic and in these weird times we find ourselves in. I’m inspired by his way of thinking. Also living on the Garden Route, I feel his legacy in every species and on every water… Mark was here.
Like so many of the fly targets around here – around the country – both fresh- and saltwater, there is something of Mark Krige myth, rumour or legend attached to it. These stories though, not everyone has heard. Almost as though he’s kind of hiding in the shadows. By choice and design.
The irony is not lost – I’m writing this to ultimately be pushed through social media. Krige, he’s not a fan of social media. At all… Anyway, a few snippets from the interview below.
These are his words:
<15:21 – minutes into the interview> ON SOCIAL MEDIA
I read a post on a forum quite a while back where someone actually said: ‘If you don’t have a picture it didn’t happen,’ and I was like, ‘what?’
You’re throwing away generations of history with that one stupid comment.
I feel like that (social media) really is the one thing that has changed a lot in fly fishing. I think it has run away it… For me it is about the fish and it is about the moment. It’s not about the posturing. Perhaps it is because I’m a really shit photographer.
<33:01> ON CLANNIES
I wish Clanwilliam yellowfish were more widespread, it’s a wonderful fish. I think the challenge with catching Clannies is just access. Once again I was fortunate to grow up in an area where they were within easy reach. But, I mean: That is the fish, if it occurred over a greater area and with more access it would’ve been a prime sporting fish. Can’t say the same for witvis, cos they can be real assholes. Like grunter.
<40:00> ON SPOTTED GRUNTER
The last time I went for them, I blanked. That is what that fish will do to you – put you back on your bum. It’s very good at that. As many trips as a I do is as many times I change my mind about grunter. My first 10 years with grunter I said they were assholes, then all of sudden they were my best friends and now they are assholes again. I bloody well hope there is a good trip coming. *(READ ABOUT HIS WINTER GRUNTER SECRET, HERE)
<57:21> ON SHARING INFO
I spend most of my time fishing alone, my fish are my business. I don’t mind sharing info, don’t get me wrong… In fact, I think it is for the good of the sport. Obviously there are waters that cannot take any pressure and you keep your mouth shut, but ‘info’ can also go some way to protect our fishing. The best way to protect it is to utilise it in a responsible way.
It is often said that South Africa’s game population would be up shit creek if it wasn’t for the hunting industry and in a way I feel the same way about fishing. We can be too secretive and then we keep people out who could potentially help with the development of the sport.
<1:02:01> ON CONSERVATION
This thing about indigenous fish and their conservation is a very difficult subject and there is this ‘either-or’ mentality and the truth is we’re not going to turn back time. Exotic fish are here to stay, it is our responsibility to look after the indigenous fish, but I don’t like the fact that the exotics are given the blame when clearly it is about habitat conservation. The problem with that is, it’s a far more difficult problem to solve than to kill a few trout.