Wendy's letters
Back to Home

It's better to be standing in the middle of a
river fishing and thinking about God than
sitting in a church thinking about fishing.


January 25, 2004

I just got back from a fun weekend — Saturday morning I went to a nearby town to pick up some meds from a volunteer who had been to Pretoria (more reliable than the mail system if the timing works ok). Another volunteer asked if I wanted to go FLY FISHING WITH A FRIEND OF HIS... I had not planned to be gone overnight but had put my bathing suit in my daypack as thought I might swim at an exercise facility in town where my friend works out (which I did do). Didn't have to think too hard about accepting the offer!

The friend picked us up, had tent and blankets and great steaks we cooked on campfire. Camped on bank of Vaal River at Christiana with a very nice couple and their 2 young boys. All were Afrikaans but couple both teach in Taung at the best High School around so had good discussions on cultural issues and appreciated their perspectives. My "niece" just graduated from there and had spoken highly of her math teacher...who was this woman!

  Her husband had brought fly rods and equipment for Bill and me and he really knew his stuff on this river. He caught (and released several Yellow Fish and another fellow caught a couple of cat fish.

I caught a bunch of "rock fish" (left them all there also!). Different technique and rigging than I know.

Tied 2 flies on line about a foot apart then a "strike indicator" about 8 feet higher on the line. The fish sit on the bottom of the stream so you have to have a fly really sink — hence the extra one to act as a weight (though sometimes will catch one on it) and the flies were very small & featherless to appear like nymphs or bugs. Had to wade out in river to get to the fast water riffles. The river was quite warm & rocky with big slippery rocks that were not visible (Vaal means cloudy or grey)...so had to use a strong walking stick & negotiate carefully. Well — I had a good time and enjoyed standing in the river watching the sunset color the drifting clouds beautifully, even if I didn't succeed in mastering the sinker wet fly technique!

Had beer & good talk by the fire until about 11 when our providers decided to cook the steaks, so went to bed on full stomachs at about 12:30. I had some cheese & crackers in my pack intended for home and when Bill & I reached starvation status at about 9 I broke them out & saved our lives. Saw a couple of fireflies in the trees — nice.

Next morning we were treated to a sighting of something swimming across the river toward us...thought it was beaver/otter until close enough to see it was a big monitor lizard! Cruised the bank below our camp for a while (probably looking for eggs of the beautiful bright yellow weaver birds that build their nests in the bushes there) then it came up the bank to give us a good view of it on land. It was about 4 feet long — not my choice for a pet — but felt lucky to have seen it. Fished again for a bit in mid morning then went to a resort bar for a couple of cold beers before heading home.

Yellow Weaver Bird
Monitor Lizard

Note: The pictures are not from Wendy but I found them on the web and they are from the Vaal River.

Back to Home