Makhangoa Community Camp Season 2022 – Week 4

“Davieeee, howzit boet, listen here, how is the river looking right now?”, screeches my phone with the war cry of an impending visit from the feather mechanic.

“Bru, it’s flippen insane right now. There are more fish here than rocks”, I send back.

And so began 5 days of some of the best fishing I have witnessed on the Bokong this season so far. The water was so clear that you could be forgiven for thinking you had accidentally taken a wrong turn at Bloemfontein and somehow ended up in Slovenia. The rapids looked like the sardine run and would change colour in front of you as the fish fled when you tried to cross the river, almost putting you off-balance as the ground appeared to be moving in front of you. And the fishing, well, you can just imagine. On day one more than 70 fish were landed by a single guest, almost exclusively on dry fly. There really isn’t much more to say on the fishing because it was just world class day after day with many of the fish landed having been sight fished with a dry fly in the shallows. The fishing was so good that guests almost had to be physically dragged off the water for their own good with the daily late-afternoon threat of being suddenly deep fried while waving around an expensive lightning conductor in an electric storm. Once guests had finally been persuaded that it would be difficult for them to fish the next morning if they were medium rare and if their rod had been turned into a pile of carbon fibre wool, the fly tying commenced.

Two things you can always expect on a trip with Gordon van der Spuy: fly tying and a show. As soon as everyone was off the water each day, the vices would almost immediately be clamped to the table on the stoep and the day’s observations would be woven into ideas and wrapped onto hooks to create the next killer Bokong fly. Meanwhile, Gordon would be wearing my red deer skin as a cloak and my Coc de Leon as a merkin while dancing around the fly tying table singing opera, much to the amusement of all present. I can’t help but wonder what the camp staff thought these crazy Magoa (white people/Umlungu) were doing.

The passionate fly tyers would then be dragged inside to come and eat supper and the entertainment would continue around Gordon at one end of the table, while at the other end the world’s problems were solved over whisky on ice as the last of the light faded. The room would then slowly empty as one by one everyone went to bed, and silence would slowly descend over the valley, leaving the river to sing itself to sleep far below.

With some of the guests having left this morning and more arriving this afternoon, the river is still looking serene, and I can’t help but smile at the thought of the incredible fishing we have had and will most likely have over the coming days.

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