One of South African fly fishing’s most unassuming characters, Jannie Visser is a grunter-on-the-sand ninja par excellence, the “J” in JAM fly and, like most of us, a working man with deadlines, school runs, and a life vs work balance to contend with. He’s also Issue 41’s Lifer.

Jannie’s JAM fly, with a grunter on the other end.

The first fish I remember catching was a goby in Gordon’s Bay when I  was around four years old. We used to go there every March/April holiday. My dad would take me along when he went rock and surf fishing. I always kept busy in the rock pools fishing for them.

My home waters are the Strand reefs. It is a few minutes from home. When conditions are right I can get in a good session, in a few hours. I have even caught a couple of kob during my lunch break. Of course if the weather is nice, there are great evening sessions. It is really a special place and can be on fire if conditions are right. It amazes me that the fishing can still be good with all the pressure it gets in the middle of suburbia.

Float tubing at Strand reefs.

“I left my previous go-to rig – a TFO with a Shilton reel – on the sidewalk at Strand”

At the moment my go-to setup for the reefs it is an old Stealth X-treme 10-weight with a Stealth large arbor reel and an intermediate line. I left my previous go-to rig – a TFO with a Shilton reel – on the sidewalk at Strand only to realise that I did not pack it when I got home. Needless to say it was gone by the time I got back to look for it. I then started using my old Stealth setup again, which works perfectly fine. A friend bought back my setup from a local a few weeks later. But by then I had decided the old setup works just as well and it will not be a big issue if it gets damaged or dunked under water.

The best advice I have ever been given is, never leave fish to find fish.

I have caught many satisfying fish. One I can mention is the bellman I caught after pursuing the same fish for more than an hour. Seeing it eat the fly after presenting that same fly hundreds of times on its nose was great.

Jannie’s kob on fly.

The biggest adventure I’ve ever been on was two years ago. I took the family on a two-month road trip up through Transkei, Drakensberg, Augrabies, West Coast, and back. It was daunting to just go with no planning, worrying about the kids’ safety and where we will sleep each night. Luckily I have a wonderful wife who also enjoys the outdoors and is more spontaneous than me. She just organised where we were going to stay and the direction we were going on the road. We have a spectacular country with so much more to explore.

Jannie raising the next generation of fly fishing Vissers.

If I could change one thing in fly fishing, it would be the perception that expensive gear and destinations are what you should aim for to get the most enjoyment out of the sport. We have some of the best fishing right on our doorstep. It just takes a little time and effort to figure it out. And it can be enjoyed with any cheap setup.

Read Jannie’s full lifer in The Mission Issue 41 below. It’s free!

The Mission is free to read! All we ask is for your email address so we can send you a rad newsletter once a month (including announcements of new editions). You can unsubscribe at any time and we promise we won't use your details for anything nefarious.

1 thought on “JANNIE VISSER – LIFER”

  1. Good Day.
    Reading your article on Jannie Visser yesterday and his comments regarding fly fishing equipment I wholeheartedly agree with him in that you do not need to buy expensive outfits to enjoy and be successful in targeting all species of fish both big and small. I too have a Stealth reel that my wife bought for me 25 years ago and the drag still works perfectly, I must also say that I like airflow lines which I find cast well and last for years despite many hours fishing in the ocean. I fish an Explorer T50 rod which is a midrange rod and find it really good.
    Thanks for a great magazine and many wonderful articles.
    Roger Gurr


Leave a comment



Subscribe to our newsletter and get all the latest to your inbox!