Over the years at both Feathers & Fluoro and The Mission, we have been witness to some incredible catches.

There was that time Conrad Botes and Arno van der Nest caught massive tarpon on fly off the beach in Gabon.

Arno van der Nest with a tarpon caught off the beach in Gabon

Arno van der Nest with a tarpon caught off the beach in Gabon

Or that Nile Perch caught by Fred Davis below Murchison Falls while dodging crocs and trying not to get sucked into powerful rapids.

Fred Davis with a Nile perch caught below Murchison Falls

Fred Davis with a Nile perch caught below Murchison Falls

Or that time Jimmy Eagleton caught a geelbek, at night, on fly up the West Coast.

Jimmy Eagleton with a geelbek caught on fly

Jimmy Eagleton with a geelbek caught on fly

Plus this amazing musselcracker that Mike Gradidge caught.

Mike Gradidge's musselcracker

Mike Gradidge’s musselcracker

There was this Clannie that Ewan Naude caught.

Ewan Naude's Clanwilliam yellowfish

Ewan Naude’s Clanwilliam yellowfish

And this behemoth that Herman Botes got.

Herman Botes's Clanwilliam Yellowfish

Herman Botes’s Clanwilliam Yellowfish

There was Arno van der Nest’s 125cm GT, plus all the other members of The 100 Club.

Arno van der Nest's 125cm GT

Arno van der Nest’s 125cm GT

The geet Fred Davis got form the rocks in Djibouti (negotiating access to beaches with quat chewing, ak47 welding militia…as you do).
Fred Davis with a GT caught in Djibouti

Fred Davis with a GT caught in Djibouti

 

YOU GET THE PICTURE, RIGHT? SO, WHAT’S OUR POINT?
Well, without further ado, we would like to announce The Feathers Award!
Building off an award Feathers & Fluoro had a few years back, The Feathers Award is an annual award given to the most remarkable catch in a calendar year. For this, the inaugural Feathers Award with both The Mission and Feathers & Fluoro, we will extend the time period to the last 24 months. So, if you or someone you know caught an amazing fish between the 1st of December 2018 and the 31st of December 2020 (when entries close), that catch is eligible.
Next year’s awards would cover a calendar year (the 12 months of 2021).
What are the criteria? What constitutes a remarkable catch?
– First off, on the geographical front, we are looking at fish caught on the African continent (that excludes Indian Ocean island nations). Of course, visitors to Africa can win if they came out here and caught amazing fish.
– It is important to note that it is not just about size (that’s what your mom said). Yes, if you catch an amazing big fish, that will definitely be looked at as a contender, but size alone does not mean a win. Other things we will be looking at include:
Rarity of species. Did you venture to Lake Malawi and catch the fabled Lake Salmon? Did you discover a new species if tigerfish and catch it on fly? Did you manage to cast DMAs to coelacanths? We want to know about it.
Difficulty. Did you catch involve abseiling into a cave and fishing micro bat-guano flies for blind cave fish? Did you chew quat with local milita to negotiate access to the coast (something Fred Davis did in Djibouti)? Extra points for you.
Location. Did you venture into Somalia and avoid pirates and terrorists to fish hidden mangrove swamps? You’re a mad man. Did you chart the length of the Okavango and catch a record size African pike? We respect your effort.
Judges – who decides?
That would be the extended Feathers brains trust, aka the idjits you find right here. If a member of Feathers enters the awards, then they recuse themselves  from judging that year.
One winner – one prize.
The floating trophy will be made by Conrad Botes (who when he is not catching massive fish is a big cheese artist). So the prize itself is not gear from a fly fishing brand, but instead the glory of being the holder of the trophy for that year and to have your name engraved on it for years to come. Think ice hockey’s Stanley Cup where they have added more and more bases and made the cup bigger as the years pass. We may throw in a case of beer and a cap as added extras, but that’s it. You can brag that you won The Feathers Award in 2020.
How do you enter?
– It’s simple. Send us photos of notable catches and add in the back story to the catch. If your mates are shy or humble, please note that you can enter someone other than yourself. Email entries to info@themissionflymag.com
Remember, entries close on the 31st of December. The winner will be announced in issue no. 25, the Jan/Feb 2021 issue of The Mission.
We look forward to your entries!