Sunday, 26 July 2015 06:06


Says Hans:

Here a few pictures  of a very rare catch. It’s a softmouth trout that I caught in the Neretva river in Bosnia last week. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmo obtusirostris

Very much unknown about this fish. I think it only exist in four rivers in the world. This what I know about it myself:

Softmouth trout is an endemic species of fish. There are four types that live in the river Krka, Jadro, Zeta and Neretva,  Salmo obtusirostris salonitana (river Jadro, Croatia),  Salmothymus obtusirostris oxyrhynchus (Neretva river, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Salmothymuszetensis (River Zeta, Montenegro) and Salmothymus obtusirostris krkensis (river Krka, Croatia).

click in images to enlarge

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Hans with a softmouth trout

All of these subtypes have different shapes and appearances. Two populations of softmouth trout (Salmo obtusirostris) from the rivers Neretva (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Jadro (Croatia), along with two neighbouring populations of brown trout (Salmo trutta) were analysed with a suite of genetic markers (two mtDNA genes, two nuclear genes, and nine microsatellites) as well as morphological characters. The Jadro softmouth trout were fixed for a brown trout mtDNA haplotype of the Adriatic lineage, which is 1.7% divergent from a previously described haplotype characteristic for the Neretva softmouth trout. All other genetic markers, as well as morphological analysis, supported the clear distinction of softmouth trout from the rivers Neretva and Jadro from brown trout in neighbouring populations, and thus a mtDNA capture event is assumed. Population specific microsatellite allele profiles, as well as a high number of private alleles for both populations of softmouth trout, support the hybridization between brown trout and the Jadro softmouth trout most likely being of ancient origin, thus leading to a reticulate evolutionary pattern of mtDNA in this taxon. © 2007 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2007, 90, 139–152

I am now going to Canada for workshops with kids and a private summer holiday with my wife. You can follow me at Facebook.


Out on the beautiful River Thames on my boat Esox II the other day with guide Mark Anderson. Early on, a pike ate a mouse pattern but became detached. Brightest of sunny skies in this heat wave so we also tried for other species and I'm pleased to say we had a few real monsters! But then, fly fishing isn't only about size! Dace and Perch pretty as a picture on a whisper light outfit can also be fun...... 

Clem with a pretty perch on fly

Last week a day on the Avon was pretty special. The going was tough being a bright day and very little was coming off in terms of hatches. Fish were visible everywhere as is so magnificently normal on our gin-clear chalk streams. They really are gifts from God and we need to take care of them.........

I spied a good fish rising regularly on the nearside back and paused to plan the attack. Problem was that it was tight under an overhanging bush; the branches and leaves were right down into the water and the chances of a successful cast were slim. 

Into my mind popped a recollection of a fish on the Test nearly 20 years to the day before. It was also feeding on the nearside bank in an impossible lie...somehow the minute Adams evaded the leaves and a 4 and a half pounder was the reward.

Back to the Avon. I was, as usual, fishing a bamboo Barder rod; for close up work there is nothing to touch them. One chance, a beautiful trout the prize and 20 years since the almost identical scenario. In for a penny, in for a pound...the little Gray Wulff threaded its way past the leaves and the fish emulated its predecessor and ate it!  No more than 10 foot from the rod tip...


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Clem with an Avon brownie

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It was an unforgettable moment and this wonderful river. My good friend Don was there to record the moment........was some day! 

Later on we both covered and rose a fish that would have gone 28 inches! I kid you not........this was a monster. But it will have to be a target for another day I'm afraid as our best fell just a little bit short yesterday.

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Trout form the Loddon on the Garrison 206

Then I popped down to the Loddon, a chalkstream tributary of the Test, again yesterday, just for two hours, and had two fish both north of three pounds on the sedge. Really great fishing! Little rod the Garrison 206, little river the Loddon, but some really decent fish!!! 


Andre Kruger writes:

I am a game ranger working in the Kruger National Park. My rods are in Johannesburg and that is where the sale will take place on my behalf.

I attach photos of the Loomis Glx. The 15wt and 12wt rods are brand new and have never pulled a fish. The 10 wt Sage xi3 was fished a few times but is really good and the Sage is good too.

6 Loomis rods for sale 06

6 Sage rod for saleeQHrh2kt

Unfortunately my casting days are over due to a right shoulder injury and want to get rid of the rods as they will not be used ,certainly by me.

The lowest I am prepared to take is 15 000 for the lot.

Contact Andre at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Those who live in the little Eastern Cape hamlet of Rhodes call it “the centre of the universe” and Walkerbouts Inn could well be called the centre of the fly fishing universe in South Africa because it is the headquarters of the Wild Trout Association and the epicentre of fly fishing in the area. Proprietor Dave Walker sent me a note  recently to say that some snow has fallen and water levels in the rivers and streams are looking good. He added that the WTA had recently received a very welcome donation!

Says Dave:

Ed Herbst, who has been a fly fishing visitor to Rhodes since 1992, has donated a JVice to the Association and visitors who have not had the pleasure of using what many fly tyers regard as the world’s best vise can find out for themselves what generates that sort of sentiment.

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Dave Walker with the JVice donated by Ed Herbst (Picture by Gavin Urquhart.)

During the Epson Fly Fishing Festival in March most of the participants own and use the JVice but having one permanently available throughout the year is a bonus.

(As an aside, Jay Smit has just brought out a very useful tool rack seen here.

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Photograph per Ed Herbst

For more information on Jay's vices, or to contact him see his website http://www.jvice.com. Tom Sutcliffe )


These images per kind favour of Sharland Urquhart show the low conditions in the Kraai River below and upstream of the bridge at Moshes's Ford where the Bell and the Sterkspruit rivers meet. In addition she has included pictures of the recent snowfalls at Loch Ness lake! Help is on its way!

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8 Upstream of Moshes Ford IMG 1468

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Mike van Breda writes

If anyone in the Johannesburg or Cape Town area has either 1) a ultra light fly reel and/or 2) a 5 weight reel that is collecting dust and they are willing to part with, please contact Michael at 0718619998. They will be well maintained, appreciated and spend much time on the water.

 Contact Mike on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



I was recently in the UK although and part of the journey was planned to allow me to undertake the IFFF (International Federation of Fly Fishers) http://www.fedflyfishers.org/ Casting instructor exam.

This was part of an initiative of SAFFA and we had a visit from William Van Der Vorst an IFFF Master Casting Instructor from Holland earlier in the year to prepare some of us. The intention is that others will take the exam around September, but I was able to set up to be tested whilst visiting the UK and
am pleased to be able to announce that I passed and now will be South Africa’s and possibly Africa’s first IFFF certified fly casting instructor. I am hoping then to go on to do the Master Casting Instructor’s exam possibly when the IFFF examiners visit SA later this year.

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Tim (left) receiving his Casting instructor exam certificate

The exam was set up for me near Wimbleball reservoir in Somerset and I was examined by Roger Miles and Bryan Martin, both Master Casting Instructors based in the UK.

The test includes a written section of multiple choice questions, a test of various casting tasks including such things as reach mends, casting tailing loops on command and such, as well as a section on teaching various casts and identifying and correcting various casting faults. 

A number of other anglers in various centres around South Africa are due to go through the same test later in the year and hopefully having been through the process I will be in a better position to both assist those aspiring instructors and others who simply wish to improve their casting in a structured manner.


Says Annelie:

Here are a few snippets from our newest adventure 'Magic wands and rainbows on the roof of South Africa'.  They are from a recent visit to Vrederus in the Eastern Cape Highlands.

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Vrederus's main lake

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Annelie with a Vrederus rainbow

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Andre Steenkamp fishing the Hawerspruit Stream near Vrederus


In his previous bibliography, Fishing the Margins (2005), Paul Curtis recorded and reviewed the 82 books that, up to then, had been written on fly fishing in South Africa. Now, Fishing Wider Margins, not only updates the previous information, but greatly expands on it (growing from 176 to well over 500 pages) to include all fishing books written about all types of fishing in all of Africa.


Fishing Wider Marginscontinues the saga of the many, often colourful, characters who have fished and written about fishing in Africa. It examines the history of the sport both in salt and freshwater, and tells the stories of the great fish landed and the men who caught them.

While Paul explores the history of African fishing, he doesn’t shy away from expressing strong opinions on the problems and challenges facing African anglers at present and in the future.

Fishing Wider Marginsis a meticulously researched, chronological record of African fishing books, with a section on other collectable African fishing literature and ephemera. It is in essence the ­­­­fishing history of this most bountiful continent.

There is a particularly rich and diverse library on the sport enjoyed by generations of sport fishermen in Africa. Perhaps this is because no other continent comes close to matching the incredible variety or quality of sport enjoyed – from giant sharks, to tuna off the rocks, to the great game fish bonanza of the ‘sardine run’ of South Africa. From the marlin and sailfish grounds of Kenya and the record tarpon of West Africa, to the introduction and naturalisation of wild mountain trout, to battling indigenous yellow fish, and the tigerfish – the greatest fresh water fighting fish of all.

Fishing Wider Margins records and explores (with colour pictures) the books written and the men who wrote them and relates many of the greatest African fishing stories ever told. 

In his foreword, Keith Elliott, editor of Classic Angling magazine writes:

The real pleasure of Fishing Wider Margins is that it is far more than a catalogue of books … it is the first history of fishing in Africa. It sets things in context, reveals little gems about the authors, relates anecdotes that lift these books from a list of names and dates to a highly readable addition to angling literature. And for those who are of a collecting bent, this will surely prove an invaluable companion.

Paul has been a fanatical fisherman since his childhood. His obsession for reading and then collecting angling books was a natural progression of this fishing bug.

His serious collecting originally focused on South African fly fishing, but gradually expanded into all fishing books, about all types of fishing, anywhere in Africa.

Paul has written, or collaborated on, several fishing books published by Platanna Press in South Africa. He has also edited and project managed several highly regarded fishing books since he moved to the UK in 2010.

He currently lives on a mountain in Snowdonia, Wales, with his wife, Ronni, and a labradoodle called Gus. He has just begun a new publishing venture with Classic Angling magazine.             

If anyone wants to see more about the book or read a chapter they can go to www.platannapress.co.za


I'm at an age when I don't welcome the arrival of my birthday, other than for the presents I get and the chance to see, or at least hear from, my children and special friends. This year met all expectations. But my daughter Alison trumped everyone in gifts, when unknown to me, she had one of my artworks printed in wrap-around format on a cover for my iPhone. She found someone who specialises in this and simply lifted a painting from my website.

19 trout cellphone cover

Most original, most welcome and I was delighted. If you have an interest in getting a similar cover for your smartphone, whatever the make or model, please contact me by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We select an artwork from my website, pen and ink sketch or water colour painting, and I will make the arrangements for you. At present I have no idea of the costing but I am sure it won't break the bank.

Tom Sutcliffe

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