From the mountains of Lesotho and the Bokong river to the Nubian Flats of Sudan, African Waters’ guide Tim Leppan’s career is in the ascendancy.
5 best things about where you guide?
- The people you get to meet. I never thought I’d have the privilege of meeting the guys and girls that I have whilst guiding on location. Truly it’s been amazing.
- Seeing angry GTs and happy triggerfish over the course of the last three months has been out of this world. Being able to walk out onto a gin clear flat every day has been a dream come true.
- A fellow guide and very close friend, Brent Poultney, sat me down prior to guiding and ran me through what I could experience on location. What stood out the most for me was when he mentioned the friendships forged between guides and how tight a guiding team can become. It couldn’t be more true, I’ve felt a part of a family whilst on location and am incredibly grateful for it.
- Lesotho and Sudan have been an absolute eye opener for me, not only from a fishing perspective but also from a cultural perspective. Being able to experience polar opposite cultures and countries has been one of the biggest highlights for me, hands down.
- Lastly, the photographic potential on location has been second to none. I doubt I’ll ever get the chance to pull out my camera this much. Especially from a fly fishing perspective.
“Lesotho and Sudan have been an absolute eye opener for me, not only from a fishing perspective but also from a cultural perspective. Being able to experience polar opposite cultures and countries has been one of the biggest highlights for me, hands down.”
5 fishing-connected items you don’t leave home without before making a mission?
- My trusty Nikon Z7. Leaving my camera behind on a fishing trip is criminal. A good photo means as much as a good fish to me and so having the opportunity to do both is a win-win situation.
- It sounds clichéd, but sunscreen. Tanned skin is not something I’m familiar with and so leaving sunscreen at home usually ends up being catastrophic.
- Tying materials. Often I’ve had days where fish have zoned into a specific colour, profile or weight, whatever it may be. There’s nothing more frustrating than running out of a successful pattern whilst away on a fishing trip.
- Sweets are a must. I’ll leave lunch and water behind before I leave the sweets. Orange-flavored Super Cs to be precise.
- Blister plasters. The quickest way to ruin a great trip is a blister or three.
5 bands to listen to while on a road trip?
- Fleetwood Mac
- Van Morrison
- The Beegees
- Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Can’t go wrong.
- Dire Straits, once more a must.
5 things you are loving right now
- Hardy rods and reels. I’ve always been against Hardy in a strange way. They are typically over-priced compared to competitors and I often thought it was purely a brand name you were paying for, like most things. But damn my mind has been changed. The Zephrus range of rods and the Fortuner reels are next level tough.
- Sigma Art lenses. The price point and quality is mind blowing. Cheers to my photographer friend Ryan Janssens for this bit of advice from a long time back. I’ve never looked back!
- I’ve never been a fan of watches, I’ve just found them uncomfortable and a liability more than anything, until I got my hands on a Garmin. Having a watch and subsequently being punctual whilst guiding is non-negotiable and so a watch was compulsory. I must admit, I don’t think I’d be able to operate without it going forward.
- Harvest, the only decent fast food outlet in Port Sudan. The grilled chicken on change over day is revolutionary.
- Snacks that guests leave behind. Nothing like a bit of Woolworths on the Red Sea.
5 indispensable flies for saltwater?
- Flash Clousers.
- Flexo crabs, they’re just that good.
- Tan brush flies.
- Silicone mullets.
- Ice white DMAs.
5 indispensable flies for freshwater?
- Foam Hoppers.
- Articulated dungeons of all sorts.
- The undisputed black muishond.
- Belly scratchers.
- CDC Klinks.
5 favourite fly fishing destinations across South Africa/ Africa?
- The Cederberg for Clanwilliam Yellowfish.
- The Orange river.
- The Breede River, Witsand side.
- Struisbaai, where it all began.
- Kariega River in Kenton, that place is off the charts.
5 favourite fly fishing destinations globally?
- Miyum, a tiny white sand island in the middle of the Red Sea, south of Port Sudan.
- Poivre Island in the Seychelles. Having only experienced the fishery for a day, I constantly think back on the numbers of permit we saw that afternoon. One day when I’ve grown up I’ll be back.
- The many lagunas around Jurassic Lake in search of brown and brook Trout.
- Joe’s near Poivre.
- Lastly, the flats of Desroches Island. To this day I haven’t seen GTs of that size and magnitude as I saw on those flats.
5 of the worst things you have picked up from guiding?
- A sock tan that makes cyclists look normal.
- A coffee and sea sickness medication dependency that will never be rectified.
- Permanent inner thigh chafe.
- Worn down teeth from all the 16lb tippet knots.
- A craving for better internet connectivity.
5 flies to pack (in the smuggler kit under your driver’s seat) to cover most species?
- White foam dungeon.
- Flash clousers of all sizes.
- Foam bass poppers for when times get desperate.
- Black woolly buggers.
- Black CDC nymphs.
5 people you would like to guide or fish with?
- I would do anything to turn back time and have the opportunity to guide the late Mark Moses chasing Atlantic Salmon in the Ponoi River. The father-figure who instilled my passion for fly fishing will never, ever be forgotten. RIP to a true legend and lifelong inspiration.
- Having an opportunity to guide my father, Chris Leppan, on a white sandy flat for GTs would honestly be a dream come true.
- Exploring and fishing Socotra, South of Yemen, with Nicola Vitali would be completely out of this world… the GTs that come out of that region are truly cosmic.
- One day I’d love to fish with both Tony Kietzmann and Marius Rosseau in the Cederberg in pursuit of large Clanwilliam Yellowfish. That would be special.
- Walking a flat or river with my mother, Fiona Leppan, would be absolutely incredible. She needs to understand why I’m so addicted to this strange sport.
Get stuck into the rest of Tim’s High 5s and more in issue 28 of The Mission. As always, it’s free.