The Art of Fly Fishing by Benjamin Steyn
Since I was a young boy of 6 years old, I wanted to try the art of fly fishing and fly tying after seeing various programs on television and in magazines. So one summer, while visiting my grandparents on the farm, I found a bare hook in one of my granddads boxes, picked up a few loose feathers in the chicken coop, acquired a thread reel from my grandmother, and constructed my very first fly. I was very impressed with myself.
After rigging my fly on a light tackle boat rod with an old night hawk reel with 35lb mono line, I trotted down to the dam to try this new style of fishing, with no success. But at that time I realized, I was hooked!
A few years later, my parents bought me my first vice and a few basic materials, and off I went trying to learn the finer details of the art of fly tying.
At the age of 13 my grandfather bought me my first fly fishing rod and reel, suddenly awakening this new monster in me, that went to sleep over the years, due to various reasons, wanting to fool a fish in eating a bunch of feathers on a hook, when just next to it there is a grasshopper or flying ant drifting on the water.
Over the years we took the odd trip to the local trout farm and on one occasion, the mighty Vaal, with quite good success.
Before December 2014, I haven’t visited the Vaal in 11 years, and one morning while spending time planning the December holiday, this idea popped into my head, to give the Vaal another go, planning a trip to Eendekuil one afternoon just to get back into this wonderful sport. Suddenly I found myself, purchasing large quantities of fly tying and fishing gear and off I went. After the first yellow that afternoon, the sleeping monster awoke again and suddenly I found myself making a trip to the Vaal every second weekend.
In February 2015 I got introduced to the Jacaranda Fly Fishing Club, and boy oh boy, what a good decision to join a club, where everyone is willing to share their knowledge and assist each other, expecting nothing in return.
After numerous visits to the Vaal, that elusive golden submarine (carp), still eluded me after hundreds of sight casts. One afternoon while casting a few flies at Silverstrome, my rod bent with something that took off like a steam train, making me inspecting my backing for the first time ever, within 20 seconds of hooking the fish. Half an hour later, after moving up and down the river, over rocks, bruised legs and tired arms, lying in the net, a wonderful carp, and the best part of this experience was, hooking the fish on one of my homemade flies.
Then the obsession took over. I wanted more!! Searching the internet for articles, books and forums, I started doing research on catching carp on fly, and obtaining as many information as possible.
I purchased books from the USA on catching carp, finding myself behind the vice every evening, trying to perfect the fly that will tempt each carp that I cast at.
During the winter months, more and more research was done on this topic, and all the necessary tackle was purchased to increase the chance of landing bigger fish. In September a few of the club members and myself made a trip to Silwerstrome, with my main focus being catching carp. Applying all the knowledge obtained throughout the winter months, half an hours fishing into the day, my Explorer Classic 2, 6/7 weigh rod bent, with the first carp for the day. From four fish hooked the day, three was landed, and I even had the opportunity to assist my one friend in hooking his first carp on fly. Unfortunately the tippet broke.
On Sunday, 25 October, we went to Vaal Hackle, trying to hook few of my friends up with their first fish on fly. Late the afternoon, I noticed a carp cruising in a shallow pool. Few casts later, on! Up and down the rapids, with hard tugging from both ends, eventually my biggest carp on fly was lying in the net. A whopper of a fish, weighing in at 8,5kg. Few photographs later, and successfully reviving the fish, off this beauty went, to fight another day.
It all shows you, when your passionate about something and put in the hours planning and doing research, and making yourself available for input from others, the results might be surprising!
Be willing to take your child and introduce him/her into this wonderful world of fly fishing and tying, experience the smile of success on the face of someone other than yourself, and you might realize the small pleasures in this wonderful sport that we call fly fishing!