Where else would you find guys willing to go through this on their bachelor party???
Last year, in August a group of three of us decided to arrange a slightly more extreme bachelor party for our dear friend as he was soon to depart the realm of unencumbered fly fishermen.
We would be heading off to our neighbour country, Lesotho. A Kingdom shared with goats, old school cowboy look-a-likes, sheer faced cliffs and miles of endless grasslands bordering our most precious of Lesotho’s possessions…kilometres of pristine, hardly touched sparkling streams and rivers.
We left at 2am that historical morning, caffeine impregnated bodies full of high hopes for a trip of a lifetime. The long road seemed even longer due to the excitement and anticipation of the upcoming hunt. Months of preparation, tying flies and leaders, and green cards from the wives had left us aching for the streams of the Lesotho Highlands!
We arrived at our lodge at 10am, unpacked and had a beer (or two) to celebrate our arrival. Spirits were soaring and the call of the water too strong to fight...
The first day:
We split up into 2 teams, one would fish from the lodge up and the other would work their way down to the waterfall and fish back to the lodge. There is just so much water available, how on earth will we fish it all in 4 days?!
Well, I must say that after a somewhat slow start after all the excitement and anticipation, Ronnie and I started getting into some fish. Nothing too big, but still exciting enough and large enough to put a decent bend in the rod. The breath-taking colours of these buttery browns was all that I had been asking for, and more than I could have hoped for. Their willingness to eat a well-placed fly and their tenacity during the struggle had us on cloud 9 with not a care in the world.
All of a sudden the silent tranquillity of the stream was broken as Ronnie was yanked off cloud 9 and into world war 3! He had been twitching small black jig buggers through the deeper pools in the structure and had been hit by a bus! His 4wt mercilessly bent double as he battled to keep the fight on his terms. There was one scary moment as the fish rounded a boulder just submerged below the water, and that all too familiar grating feeling as the tippet brushed over it. Thankfully he managed to control the situation and soon after netted a monster 23” Brown landed on Stroft 5x on his Streamflex 4wt 10’0 rod. After much excitement, high-fives and a few quick snaps, we released her to fight another day. What a moment.
We continued fishing up, now mainly stripping small buggers through the pools and nymphing them in tandem with a nymph through the deeper runs. The fishing was fantastic and we both caught in excess of 20 fish that afternoon, with a few great fish coming out. All-in-all a great start to an epic trip.
The other group came back with stories as great as ours. Lots of big fish around, but unfortunately none netted. Many stories of the one that got away and the re-telling of how “Nessie” snapped their tippet like it was cotton. There are more big pools downstream of the lodge, and they mentioned seeing a few fish that they were confident were around 10 pounds just cruising through the pools, waiting for some unfortunate meal to make its mistake.
That evening, as we rested out tired bodies and regaled each other with fanatical stories of how amazing the fishing had been, we were treated to a fantastic meal and some great Lesotho beer at the lodge. We finished off early as the next day would be a rough one…a 3 hour hike down treacherous sandstone cliffs into the gorge where monsters await!