I used to send my children to their room when they misbehaved just as teachers intern naughty brats with detention and every military institution will confine you to your quarters for inappropriate behaviour, so it is no wonder that we all had an adverse reaction to lockdown.
Why are we being punished is the psychological undercurrent, despite the rationale.
As a nation who live, by and large, outdoors, not being able to enjoy the safe wide open space seemed ludicrous and within the first month, we all felt the walls closing in. The large contingent of anglers in South Africa were gobsmacked that you couldn’t stand alone on a river, dam or shoreline getting some fresh air and needed exercise. Then the final straw was taking away our fundamental right to choose to have a responsible drink!
I get that you cannot congregate and celebrate your catch of the day or toast another fisherman’s trophy, but to prevent grown-ups from enjoying a drink in the sanctity of their own house, what’s next, an ankle monitor?
Fisherfolk are by nature positive people. When you think of the odds stacked against any angler every time they throw a line into the big blue, you have to be. And experience has taught us, be prepared to come home empty-handed, so we’re no strangers to disappointment. But, this is enough to drive a man to drink, ironic no?
Thankfully we are now allowed to enjoy some recreational angling, albeit only within your province, which is hopefully a precursor for allowing all responsible South Africans to travel within your family group and experience the beauty of our beloved country. So as long as it’s legal, here are a few suggestions of iconic fishing destinations to visit within our borders.
- The great Orange River – it’s a spectacular contrast of serene arid landscape and the largest river system in South Africa, from below Augrabies Falls, this desert wilderness can be explored by canoe and riverside camp. The fishing is simply off the scale and it’s an adventure that the whole family will enjoy.
- The majestic Drakensberg – this mountain range covers a multitude of breathtaking locations and many rivers, all teaming with Trout, from the foothills in the village of Nottingham road to the escarpment of the Southern Berg and through to the Eastern Cape, it’s an incredible road trip that every fly fisher should take.
- Cape Vidal – within the world renowned iSimangaliso Wetland Park, this protected marine reserve not only offers some of the best salt water angling in the country, but it’s unique habitat of alluvial plains and coastal forest is home to four of the big five and incredible wildlife, it’s the perfect combination of a beach and bush holiday.
- The Wild Coast – the unspoiled coastline of the Eastern Cape is what draws rock and surf anglers to the many seaside villages renowned for foot-print free beaches and lazy lagoons. It has some incredible hiking trails, with many famous landmarks and in the right season you are almost guaranteed to witness the migratory whales.
- Your local watering hole – alas this certainly doesn’t refer to the pub down the road, but the multitude of dams and fishing holes that are within an hour or two’s drive, all of which haven’t seen a rod in the last four months! The local tourism industry is what you should support, making sure that these establishments dedicated to local anglers are there for many years to come.
Remember when travelling, double-check the latest legislation for any further restrictions that Mrs. Zuma decides, in her infinite wisdom to shackle us with. Social distancing like hygiene is common sense, so there’s no tongue in cheek when I urge everyone to be wise and take all the necessary precautions to put the brakes on this terrible pandemic.
As a fisherman, it’s natural to want to find someone to blame, after all we have a bible of excuses of why we didn’t catch fish as it’s never our fault, but this Corona catastrophe is past pointing fingers. I would only appeal to our incumbent leaders to take a leaf out of our great Springboks playbook who have given the rock legend’s Queen’s anthem ‘We are the Champions’ real meaning to all South Africans.
You can not force a person’s support, give us the respect and right to choose. A relaxing beverage consumed responsibly at home is what you can do to prevent us from feeling like another of Freddy’s famous songs.