COULD HAVES DON’T COUNT

COULD HAVES DON’T COUNT

Following the loss of a friend, Jazz Kuschke ponders the last cast.

I never got to fish with G. There was a potential Richtersveld drift somewhere in 2019 but I couldn’t make the dates work. In 2020 I got to fish for homegrown tigers in Pongola (one of his favourite fisheries) but his guiding and work-admin schedule had him elsewhere occupied. When he started opening up his Clarens operation he flooded me with pics and videos and the door and a spot on the raft were always open. I hadn’t been back to the Eastern Free State since 2011 and was positively frothing to fish the Ash River with him from a drift boat and get to see some of the still waters he’d syndicated.


Again, life and responsibilities kept getting in the way and things were postponed. Always brushed off with a, “We’ll make it happen next time.” You know how it goes. In early and mid-2022 there were three times (or was it more?) when the open weekends again just didn’t line up. Finally, we penned one into the calendar for October. The dates were set and I was going to head down there with The Mission editor Tudor to fish the Ash and hang with G. Alas, by mid-September it was pretty clear that there was no way it was going to happen as his condition had taken a drastic turn for the worse. 

I never got to fish with G. In late December he lost his brief, brave battle with aggressive cancer. I can’t begin to imagine the pain and loss his wife and young daughter have had to endure and my heart goes out to them. In the days that followed his passing, amid a flood of heartfelt social media tributes to a man hugely respected in the industry and loved as an all-around good oke, came a sting of personal, almost selfish regret.  

I never got to fish with G. We’d become pretty good mates over some four years of working together and the often talked about “reality hit” struck me pretty hard, complete with the heavily clichéd “perspective” people often talk about after a traumatic event.

I could’ve gone fishing with G. I could’ve gone to Sedge with LeRoy the other day. I could’ve joined Johann when the bonnies were at their thickest right next to the bricks. Could have. Should have…

 

Could haves don’t count. 

Finish the story in issue 38. As always, it’s free!

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