Last Saturday I spent a most entertaining morning on the Hotel beat of the Smalblaar. I joined an old British chap, Keith Nicklin and acted as his walking stick!
I’ve fished with Keith before, and I hope I’ll fish with him again. Age has not treated his ankles and knees all that well – 79 is a great innings -, hence me having to play the role of a walking talking wading pole. However, where age has plagued his legs, it has honed his casting arm.
I can only wish my camera wasn’t in for a service. He draws an artist’s stroke with fly rod and the line becomes a dancing living artwork. No matter the pumping upstream wind; he used the #3 like a wand and dropped flies wherever he chose. Dispite the high water and my recommendation to fish a nymph, he said he’d caught enough fish on the nymph and would stick to a dry. He raised four fish and dropped three.
No worries, it really wasn’t about the catching.
What I really love is the amount of times he stopped and simply looked up. He drank in the surrounding vistas – and those of you who fish the Cape Streams will know how maginificent that valley is. He’s said it before and said it again: that this is one of the prettiest places he has ever fished – and this coming from a man who has chased trout and salmon around the globe.
I spent a lot of my morning listening – not because he spoke too much but because of the quality that he spoke. He has a story for so many thoughts and ideas. He also asks measured and pertinent questions – nothing wasted – that forced me to think about how and why I answered. He listened intently to the answers.
And I was reminded of two things.
Firstly, that fly fishing is such a magnificent leveller.
And that you’re never too old (I most certainly have no excuses if he can get on the streams at 79)!