TCFF Editor PJ Jacobs reports back on 2016’s Sterkfontein Yellowfish Experience and why
this event remains one of the most popular on the annual fly fishing calendar.
This time of year is not particularly good for stillwater yellowfish fly fishing, especially if you like sight-fishing, but at least we get to relive some of the past season’s experiences through this annual Sterkfontein Experience event report-back. It is also that time when we start the logistics for our upcoming November event and, as you will note in this month’s magazine, bookings are open. If you want to join us this year, it is time to secure your spot.
TCFF’s Sterkfontein Experience remains one of the top events on the local fly fishing calendar and, in its 18-year existence, has always been fully booked. There are several reasons for this: firstly, the Sterkfontein Experience provides plenty of camaraderie and fun and anglers have made lifelong friends, so we have many repeat participants. Secondly, we believe proper logistics, excellent guides, seaworthy boats and great social evenings do their bit. However, the sponsors who annually support this event are a significant part of our success. Last year we gave away a whopping R365,000 worth of prizes, the majority allocated on a lucky-draw basis, meaning every participant walked away with a prize, some worth many times the admission fee. In the interests of conservation, we do not support competition at an event this size and the special prizes allocated for Angler and Guide of the Event are allocated on criteria other than only the anglers’ ability to catch fish. This approach also applies to the other special prize categories.
Our sponsors were generous. Present a Fly sponsored a R14,000 Sage X rod for the Angler of the Event and the lucky winner, Kevin Fowler, christened it the next day with a fat yellowfish! Our runner-up Johan Marais took away a R3700 Orvis Hydros reel, compliments of Omni Sport, and could not wipe the smile off his face. There was huge anticipation for the Guide of the Event slot that sported an ARK Fishalot inflatable worth R16,350, compliments of ARK Inflatables, and the worthy recipient Andre Burger is doubtedly putting it to good use. Runner-up Guide of the Event Gerrit Redpath also had enough reason to smile, walking away with a R4170 Shilton CR3 reel. Shilton Reels has always come to the party when we request sponsorships, for which we at TCFF are very grateful. There were also many loyal return participants – and none more than Geoff Muir who has attended every event in the past 17 years! Consequently, he walked away with the prize for being our Best Supporter, earning him a four-night trip to Campbell’s Bay Resort for six people, including a day’s deep sea fishing, worth R14,000!
These prizes are awarded last at the Saturday evening’s prize-giving activities and in no way overshadow the other sponsored prizes. Suffice it to say we are eternally thankful. Again, they were sufficiently generous that we awarded prizes worth a minimum of R900 and into the thousands when the venue sponsors are added to the bounty. There were lodges who sponsored accommodation prizes worth over R10,000 – Vrederus Wild Trout (R14,400), Highland Lodge (R13,600) and Manda Bay Lodge (R11,880). Prizes between R4500 and R10,000 from top down were Holingsberg, Goxhill Trout Lodge, Huntessential, Rondeberg Resort, Komati Gorge, Selous Fly Fishing Safaris, Mvuu Wilderness Lodge, Troutways Private Retreat, Bay-view Lodge, Valley Lakes, Jozini Tiger Lodge, Skurweberg Trout Hideaway, Mount Komati River Lodge, St Lucia Eco Lodge, Welgemoed Trout Lodge and Lake Naverone. No less important, the other venue sponsors are listed on the next page. Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to everyone, because this is one of the main reasons our event is so special.
We also pause to thank our loyal marine sponsor Yamaha Distributors SA who has been part of this event from day one. General Manager Marine Products Greg Bennett (a keen fly fisherman himself) and his team have done us, and continue doing, a great service. Special thanks are also due to the guides who did a sterling job as always. You can expect to see them again this year. To our skippers, who braved the elements to ensure everybody travelled safely to and from their fishing destinations, your contribution is immense as safety is a major concern at our event – and as they say, Sterkies is not for sissies!
Thanks to everyone who participated at the 2016 TCFF Sterkfontein Experience.
Without you, the event would not be possible.
Over and above those sponsors already mentioned, we would like to thank: Awesome Tools; Quad Rocky; Frank van Gass Fishing Products; Wolf Avni; All Terrain Gear; FOSAF; Netbooks; Mavungana Flyfishing; Flyz Inc; Cobb; Cadac; Classic Blue; Bradley Smokers; Hooked on Bass; Stealth Fly Fishing; Smitties Braais; Selke Leathercraft; Renosterberg Liquor; Quiver Outdoor Gear; Evaport Outdoor; Geewiz; Ganis; Fluid Kayaks; Acorn Products; ScientificFly; Dirty Boots Publishing; Mr Browns; Racefood; Treeferns; Ingwe Lodge; Kheis Riverside Lodge; Rocky Ridge; Cannon Valley Estate; Sundowner Flyfishing; Highlander Trout Lodge; The Outspan Inn; Glen Avon Farm; The Angler and Antelope; Elandskloof; Inyamazane; Fairbairn Guest Farm; Leliekloof; Balele Mountain Farms; Lekoa Lodge; Otters’ Haunt; Bergsig Trout Farm; Eirene Cottages; Dundee Fishing Resort; Waterfront Guest House; Pride Rock Lodge; Champagne Cottages and Kloofzicht Lodge. A big thank you also to Brentoni Distributors who kitted out all our guides with the latest from Ballistic polarised sunglasses, as well as Jandi Trading for making sure our participants’ goodie bags were stuffed to the brim!
Here’s to hoping we’ll see most of you back this year, while also looking forward to making new friends with those yet to experience TCFF’s Sterkfontein event! See you there.
Our 2017 event is scheduled for the weekend of 10 – 12 November and will be taking place at Qwantani Resort. Contact Lizelle Jacobs on firstname.lastname@example.org or (012) 371-3914 to reserve your spot today.