Wild Trout


The Wild Trout Association (WTA) is an organisation of riparian owners with trouting waters at their disposal, and affiliate members, who provide services and facilities such as guiding and accommodation.

Day with Dave

Day with Dave

Fulfilling a WTA auction commitment: Day with Dave

In 2019 at the WTA auction, we bought a “Day with Dave” where he promised to show us around the area, have a  braai together AND he’d be NICE the whole day.....

Between COVID-19 and lack of attention to arranging a date by us, Dave finally insisted that he needs to settle his “obligations” and we agreed that Saturday 26 Nov would be a good day to go out to Birnam, do a little fishing, braaiing and general chatting.  After many offers to do things, it was made clear Dave had everything under control and all we had to do was be ready for a leisurely pick up with our fishing gear.  Duly executed, we were off early under bright clear skies in what promised to be lovely warm day.  The drive provided all sorts of useful snippets about properties we drive past but never pay much attention, including interesting tidbits about owners past & present.  The obligatory stop over the Bokspruit bridge raised out spirits even more as the river was fairly clear but high due to the recent regular rains.

Even more exciting, there were an abundance of smaller trout and a few good - sized yellows, all looking in prime condition.  Slow and steady progress over some very wet areas of the road, saw us arriving at Birnam with Ronnie Small, riparian owner of fabulous Bok and Riflespruit water and WTA member, waiting for us.  As we drove in and started unpacking, Ronnie was grumbling that the grass was far too long and he was getting it sorted out.  As the house is unoccupied, there is limited attention paid to gardening.  A few minutes later, Ronnie’s son Ronald arrived in his Cruiser, towing a John Deere ride - on lawn mower.  There is no doubt that the farmers in this region know how to make a plan!!

This gave us time to crack open the first beers of the day and watch the quite efficiency.  Quickly off the trailer, Ronald and his son Ross were soon driving around the garden cutting the grass.  Before that was finished, out popped a giant blower, complete with jacket harness and the cuttings were blasted out of the way.  Now we could really settle into the plans for the day. HOWEVER, true to the unpredictability of weather in these mountains, dark angry clouds were appearing and racing up the Bokspruit, to be met for similarly angry clouds from over the Riflespruit and escarpment.  When the clouds start congregating from all directions, you know you’re in for a wet time.

Undeterred, we set up rods, geared up and marched off to the river.  On the approach to the bridge crossing over to Killmore and before we even got near to the water, we saw how we’d spooked as superb fish of at least 18 inches.  We watched move into the eddies downstream of the bridge and consoled ourselves that we leave it for Ronald’s two boys, Ross & Liam to catch.  We got into the water upstream of the bridge and started fishing towards the “dam” recently created by a landslide into the river.  Knowing that Dave would soon have snacks going, we aimed to get up to that section quite quickly but needed to catch a few fish for a Sashimi starter.

Turns out the fishing was hard, the wind blowing in all directions and the fish hardly rising – we blamed that on the weather. Rudi snagged a small fish and I missed a big take.  Still optimistic as there were undoubtedly plenty of fish around, we soldiered on even as the rain started coming down.  That however was soon put to a stop as a strike of lightning sent us scurrying back to the picnic site.

A quick walk back and we arrived to a smoldering fire and the two comrades, Ronnie and Dave communing over beers in the car.  As we got back to the house, the rain stopped and some clear sky appeared.  Great, we thought, there is blue sky down the valley and we can get back to the business at hand.  Once again, the vagaries of the area reminded us that we have no control over our activities.  10 minutes later we were sent back to Dave’s vehicle to wait out heavy rain and good scattering of hail.

By this time, Dave had the pork rashers on the fire but they too had to be abandoned.  The only positive was that Dave had brought along plenty of beers, so we were able to chat about the area and keep ourselves well hydrated.  As quickly as the weather blew up, it moved off and we were able to get back to task of lunch.  Dave managed to get the coals going, the pork rashers were cleaned up of shredded leaves, the hail allowed to melt and the cooking process recommenced.

With the fire going well, Dave started a run of meat samples to place any carnivore in heaven.  After the pork rashers, boerewors, lamb chops, chicken and lamb sosaties and more lamb chops rolled off the fire.  They were accompanied by the most delicious braai samies prepared by Susan and perfectly executed as instructed (brushings of oil and regular turning) by Dave.  After a few beers, we turned to red wine also supplied by Dave.
The afternoon started to draw out into a long relaxing day, learning all about the days of the naughty farmers with many tales that leave one wandering how they are still alive today – Think red BMW racing around the dirt roads of the district with farmers well hydrated (Brandy & beer of course) driving off the road into flooded rivers or forgetting about a child they left in a car parked in a shed.  As the afternoon started to take its toll, watching the variable weather patterns and all rather chilly as a result of the quick cooling of the air from the hail, we started plans to pack up.  We said farewell to Ronnie, cracked open a bottle of port to warm everyone up and started the slow drive back to Rhodes.

All in all, a fantastic day, hosted by two legends of the area.  We could not have been better looked after or entertained.  Thank you to Dave and Small family for going out of their way to look after us.  Next time we will do a better job of providing a few trout for the starter.

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