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Memories from my early childhood are vague, but one thing that I really remember as if it had happened yesterday, is the day I caught my first trout on fly at the age of six. Since that day fly fishing has been everything to me. I knew for certain that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Wanting to always better my skills I decided to start competing in Fly fishing.I started representing my Country on the competative circuit at the age of fourteen in 2005. I have since represented my country at 7 world fly fishing championship events all over the world including Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Norway, Italy, America and Russia.
Through the years I have also been privileged to fish all over the continent of Africa including the Indian Ocean, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland and Lesotho. Fishing all these different locations, I had to learn how to analyse – and adapt to – any given stretch of water in a short period of time to successfully catch the target species. In guiding this is very valuable as conditions differ every day and sometimes it is necessary to think outside the box to get your client a memorable specimen.
I started full time guiding on the mighty Zambezi River for Tigerfish in 2010, also doing the annual season for largemouth and smallmouth yellow fish. Seven years later I have seen and guided some of the most remote fisheries on the planet including 3 seasons on St Brandons in the Indian Ocean whilst working for Fly Castaway, 3 full seasons as head guide on the Zhupanova on the Kamchatka peninsula. My last two seasons in the Indian Ocean I spent both on Alphonse atoll as well as Astove atoll which are probably some of the best GT fisheries on the planet. I also acted as Photoghraper/Host at Rynda in the Kola peninsula for the past two seasons. Apart from all these guided trips I have also been fortunate to host some trips to various destinations including Nicaragua, Guatamala, Austria, Brazil, Argentina etc. Currently me and my fiance, Lindi, are the managers of Abaco Lodge in the Bahamas. We have called the Bahamas Home for the past two years. Like anything in the world I wanted to grow in this sport and the only way to achieve this is to try and learn every facit of this sport. Managing a lodge is a very big part of it and the learning curve is a big one.
I can honestly say that for me personally, fly fishing provides the most amazing opportunity to make a living from something that I truly enjoy and are extremely passionate about.
For me the one thing that truly drives me in my fishing ventures is the remoteness of some of the destinations I get to travel to. The past couple of years we have also pushed the boundaries of what is doable with a fly rod. It is for these reasons that I am truly honored to be a brand ambassador for Mako fly reels. From the first day I started guiding there was no reel that ever compared to the drag system of a Mako fly reel. I want a reel that can stop big fish and that won’t let me down in the middge of the jungle or the Pacific Ocean.
I was very fortunate to pick up a fly rod at the age of six, It’s been 21 years since that day.
Who introduced you to fly fishing?
I was introduced to this amazing sport by my father who is also a very keen fly fisherman and photographer. We still share the love of the sport till this day.
Can you tell us a little about your home waters and the fish you pursue there?
Growing up in South Africa, most of my weekends were spent either fishing for yellow fish on the Vaal River or casting some longer lines at trout in the lakes of Dullstroom and surrounding areas. At the age of 15 I moved to Cape Town where I fell in love with the small mountain streams which shaped me into the angler I am today.
What’s the height of the season for you? What time of year is your personal favorite?
I wish there were more March and Octobers in the year…
What are your favorite travel destinations? What’s on the bucket list?
I like it all, from 8” rainbow trout to 300lb Marlin to 4lb bonefish, that is the beauty about this sport, it shows you some of the most beautiful places on the planet.
What you like most about Thomas and Thomas rods? Which rods do you fish?
The past couple of years I have fallen into the grove of enjoying a stiffer rod more, it reacts quickly to what I want to do and also allows me to cast and pick up longer lengths of fly line. But also in saying that I have casted some of the slower action rods that T&T are busy with, lets just say I am very excited to play with them all. At the moment I am playing around with the Exocett 8-12 Weights.
What’s your current go-to fly?
Enrico Puglisi Spawning Shrimp
Other than fly tackle, what piece of gear do you find indispensable?
Sony A7s mk2 Camera
My favorite thing about guiding is:
Seeing the most beautiful places on the planet, doing what you love in an environment where you are as pure as it gets. No Judgment.
What’s your ideal lunch when on the water? What do you actually pack?
I have to say a chicken wrap or spicy beef wrap is my go to. I actually make the effort to ensure a nice lunch. A cold beer to accompany the lunch break is key.
What fly fishing blogs/magazines do you read regularly?
I read them all. I have to admit I especially like to read our South African magazine “The Mission” just to keep up to date with what is happening back home, seeing that I am away for 9 months a year.