Cypriot/Zimbo/South African film producer and fly fishing guide, Platon Trakoshis, not only fishes like a machine, he also has the reputation as one of the nicest people you will ever spend time with on the water. He was our issue 25 High 5s guide target.
5 best things about where you guide?
- The Cape streams run through spectacular surroundings and are full of free rising trout which can be relatively easy to catch on dry fly, but I’ve learned not to say that until the end of the day.
- The Cape streams also have a fixed season (when the rivers are at their best) and enough options to have alternatives when it starts getting hot in summer.
- The Berg River, a premium carp river, is a stone’s throw away from my house, so finding and knowing where the fish are is easy for me as I am down there walking my dog every day.
- Some of the Cape streams are also only 20 minutes away from home, which is convenient for checking flow rate or if I have to drive back to pick up my forgotten fly boxes.
- The Breede River estuary is a magical place to fish. It’s big, the tidal flows means it is ever changing, you have the call of blue cranes overhead and there are some bigger species around like Garrick and Kob. For the latter, it’s a prime destination where you have a chance of catching a fish over a meter. It’s a once in a life time catch, but they are there. To fill the gaps, there are plenty of tail-waving grunter around to keep you busy.
5 fishing-connected items you don’t leave home without before making a mission?
- My Canon R mirrorless camera. It is light and easily carried and captures memories that people can hold onto. It also makes it all the more fun for me taking photos of people who know how to wear a hat. (ed. check out Platon’s short flick Stream of Dreams on the Jan du Toits river).
- My Mission cap because it seems to be lucky and keeps my nose in the shade.
- My boots! I once took my wife’s boots by mistake. It was a crap day (ed; even if he does look great in a pair of Jimmy Choos).
- Food and water. I hate fishing hungry and I don’t drink stream water because I imagine there’s a dead baboon rotting in the river upstream.
- Medical kit. Apart from safety, fishing with a headache is not fun so having painkillers can save a day and keep grumpiness away.
5 of the most underrated species in your book?
- Carp – I know it has become very popular of late, but locally, people still look down on them as a fly fishing target. They don’t know what they are missing.
- Tilapia – Often fishing for tilapia or bream (as they are commonly called here), is neglected due to the pursuit of tigerfish or other bigger game fish.
- Nembwe – Serranochromis robustus – and other serranochromis – as per Tilapia above.
- Smallmouth bass – This is not true in the USA, but in SA their status is low and I understand they are really bad for the survival of our indigenous fish. But catching good sized smallies is fantastic.
- Witvis – Barbus andrewi – I say this because these fish have been decimated by introduced sport fish and eradicated from my local river. Once abundant, I don’t understand why they weren’t cherished as a target fish species.
5 bands to listen to while on a road trip?
- Jerri Garcia and The Grateful Dead. You can just roll to that.
- Prince – Purple Rain album being the favourite.
- Oliver Mtukudzi – Tuku is number 1.
- The Honeymoon Suites – The best to sing along to, but my kids hate it.
- Some of Andre Van Wyk’s playlists, because we travel a lot together and he’s always looking for new stuff. Uncle Lucius, Lucus Ebert and Sean Koch are current favourites.
5 things you are loving right now?
- The baby smallmouth bass in my outdoor fish tank; its mini surface action when you switch the light on at night.
- My wonderful wife and humorous boys. They keep me young and are a good laugh especially in these times of lockdown.
- Our dog Perrito. He’s the most loveable pain in the arse and a good carp searching companion.
- A braai (barbecue) is one of the best things in summer, especially when you’re near water and have a beer in hand.
- Film editing. I’m no editor but I have picked up some skills as a producer over the years and love the creative process, especially fishing videos.
5 indispensable flies for saltwater?
- Turd – The game changer of grunter fishing in the Western Cape.
- JAM fly – just so I can keep wasting my time in a pretty place with good friends.
- Bulkhead for kob (Argyrosomus japonicus) – The big profile, water pushing, easy casting for their size and the movement is unbeatable.
- Clouser minnow because it catches everything.
- Popper, Flipper or Crease flies of sorts. When there’s surface action or leerfish about they’re a must.
5 indispensable flies for freshwater?
- Lalu Bug – It’s catching everything.
- Game changer – I just love their movement and versatility.
- RAB and Para RAB for trout – just because I’m old fashioned sometimes and they are perfect for our streams.
- Bully Beef for Tigerfish because I love a change from the usual favourites.
- A popper, usually a frog pattern. If there’s a weed bed about, a popper on its edge just feels natural for an old bass fisherman like me.
5 favourite fly fishing destinations across South Africa/ Africa?
- Zambezi River – It’s wild and set in true African bush. The fish are brutes with some variety thrown in like nembwe and bream species.
- The Orange River – In the right places it feels like it hasn’t been touched by humans, the fishing is insane and the fish pull hard. (check out Platon’s short film Take me to the River about an orange river mission).
- Groot & Doring River systems. I love smallmouth bass fishing and with Clanwilliam yellowfish a possibility, this just makes it extra special.
- Breede River estuary where there is always the possibility of a dream kob and the grunter are the prettiest backdrop.
- Nubian Flats in Sudan – The triggers keep you happy and GT and Snapper are thrilling.
Grab the rest of Platon’s High 5s in issue 25 below. As always, it’s free.