The Feathers Award is an annual award given to the most remarkable catch in a calendar year. So, if you or someone you know caught an amazing fish between the 1st of January 2021 and the 31st of December 2021 (when entries close), that catch is eligible. Last year’s winners were Barnes and Ed Ghaui of Kenya for their amazing Niger barb haul in Nigeria (watch the video of that trip here).
Ed Ghaui with a Niger barb

Ed Ghaui with a Niger barb in Gashaka Gumti, Nigeria. Photo Barnaby Ghaui

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 militia 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.
Craig Pappin with a santer

Craig Pappin with a santer caught in a Southern Cape estuary. Photo Gareth Tate

Judges – who decides?
That would be the extended Feathers & Fluoro 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 made by Conrad Botes. 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.
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. 31, the Jan/Feb 2022 issue of The Mission.
We look forward to your entries!