Writer, fly fisherman, surfer, musician and traveller, Riverhorse Nakadate in our The Mission issue 17 interview. “I think it was the surfer Miki Dora who


“When the creative drive disappeared, it was clear I needed a break.” 34-year-old LeRoy Botha is a product of reinvention. After a decade as one of the Garden Route’s most well-known gigging musicians, the oke was tired. Creatively and artistically.

No longer… And it is a beautiful thing.

“Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have (many) regrets and I had some fantastic times, but after 10 years on the scene, refusing to bend to industry demands, I got disillusioned with it all and gigs became a repetitive nightmare.”

(Somewhere along the line he also practiced falconry and lived off the grid. But that is a tale reserved for a camp fire and plenty of whisky, so we won’t digress).

What the temporary dozing of his musical flame lead to, was a massive re-ignition in another passion: Fly tying.

Caribou Spider
LeRoy’s modernised version of MacKereth’s Caribou Spider, which substitutes his full hackle construction for a small hackle with an antron yarn post and soft hackle legs

“Over the past season or three I started sharing my flies (and fly-fishing experiences online),” he ventures. “Quite unexpectedly – and rather fortunately – I began receiving requests for flies and advice. Long story short, some old cogs started turning again.”

A fly-life long preoccupation

Those old cogs go way back to early primary school days back in the Boland. “Fly tying was simply part of a natural progression for me,” he says. “When I started, my mentors let me know (in no uncertain terms) that tying flies was part-and-parcel of fly fishing. You couldn’t have one without the other.”

With direction from the likes of MC Coetzer and Mike Dohlhoff he began finding his own way round the vice. And, by the time he reached high school, he could ‘tie a few serviceable patterns.’

Fast forward 20-odd years and who knows how many creations off the vice and LeRoy is firmly established and respected as one of the Southern Cape’s most intrepid fly-fishing explorers. And, quite possibly, one of the best fly tiers of his generation.

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