It is on record that in 1801 an expedition was sent to what is now the North West Province to get cattle for the colony.
Unfortunately the trade goods they provided were rejected, as the locals were used to better quality from Delagoa Bay (Maputo).
They were in fact derisive about the inferior quality single edged blades offered, as they themselves made beautiful double edged blades with ivory handles.
But I digress. On the 14th of October, North west of what is now Sutherland, Sommerville and company outspanned at a drift and the forenoon was "pleasantly spent in fishing in the Riet River. The artificial fly was tried in vain". They did succeed in catching yellowfish, which one of the party sketched before they were eaten.
(The image is of smallmouth yellowfish and orange river mudfish)
A very happy fly angler
So there we have it, the first recorded fly fishing event in Southern Africa, 216 years ago.
To cut a long story short, through much research, maps new and old, the use of google earth, and many phone calls to farmers, we had the farm pinpointed.
When we got there, the friendly farmer showed us the old drift, the outspan area, and even offered us fishing rods.
The fishing rods were declined, but my daughter Sarah and I hauled out a fly rod and it wasnt long before we had both caught yellowfish. I cannot describe the wonderful feeling after all the work it took to find the place.
"I love it when a plan comes together".
But there it is, we managed to finish what was started in 1801, and in so doing, sort of made history.
Smallmouth Great Karoo yellowfish, caught on a Papa Roach variation using a Hanak saltwater hook