Timing is everything

All ball sports require hand-eye co-ordination, be it cricket, rugby, tennis or padel. Synchronizing a well-timed run to collect a high ball also requires timing. Judging the pace correctly and being able to intersect the ball at the perfect moment is beautiful. Why should fishing be any different? Gareth George plots the scenarios.

It’s a well worn question: when's the best time to go fishing? It’s not unlike “When is the appropriate time to crack a cold one?”, despite the latter being entirely rhetorical to most …

Finding that time to indulge our infatuation with the aquatic finned critters is often the challenge, as we don’t always have the luxury of choosing the perfect window of opportunity. Fortunately in South Africa when it comes to fishing, we’re spoilt for choice – just as we are with the plentiful array of thirst quenchers for any and every occasion.

The seasons dictate the movement of fish and Spring for most anglers is when the action begins. But should you have a better half, family commitments or a gruelling work schedule, you generally need a compelling reason to join your buddies on any angling adventure. So, best you get that calendar out early and start making some solid plans and sound excuses.

An event invite is always a good bet and one that you can advance as “I can’t refuse” if there’s a hint of corporate attached. There’s more than a modicum of truth in this, as a lot of great business starts at such gatherings. And there’s certainly no better way to get to know a future business associate than listening to their fishing tales embellished upon, the hallmark of every fishing event. The key here is to cement this in your schedule early, and keep your spouse or boss apprised of this pending function.

Every family holiday should be in the great outdoors, surrounded by nature and water. Who doesn’t want to go to the beach, go boating on a scenic dam or paddle around in one of our country’s many beautiful rivers. This rationale should trump any thought of being dragged to a theme park or suggestion of visiting your broader clan for the holidays. Getting your little ones to lead this charge is testament to a savvy angler, which requires instilling or, dare I suggest, indoctrinating your offspring from the moment they toddle. Get this right and you’ll be raising a glass to countless sunsets with a rod in hand.

Another valid justification for high tailing it to your nearest fishing or watering hole is the prospect of breaking a record and by this I mean your personal best. This requires a lot of subtle groundwork. Magazines left open on a spread depicting a monster fish is a start, followed by auto-tuning to any and every fishing programme for your loving family to see. Sharing great memories with your inner circle, that social media has seen fit to collate for you, with your own fish catches intertwined, is the clincher. Then finally, over dinner and a great bottle of wine, the casual revelation that everyone is catching gargantuan fish right now. This should, if executed properly, lead to your loved ones suggesting you take an immediate sabbatical from work. Good luck, as this subterfuge requires a polished performance worthy of an Oscar nomination.

Special occasions always guarantees one or two fishing excursions but getting the dates right can be tricky. You can’t use mutual friends’ birthdays, because this is far too rigid and often clashes with the social party calendar and obviously any special day that involves all and sundry is out of the question. If you want some quality time on the water, with no-one but great fishing mates to celebrate with, then you have to go against your instinct to justify the time or find a worthy excuse and simply tell them like it is. Great fishing friendships are to be cherished and they need to be nurtured, because no angler wants to really enjoy his catch by himself.

So, forget trying to forecast the weather or waiting on a new moon. Don’t hang around expecting anyone other than you to find that valuable time, because the obvious answer to the question of the when is the best time, is whenever you can make it.

A picture tells a thousand words, or so it’s said – and all these pictures demonstrate the fun of a weekend fishing. Some went home with silverware, others with product prizes, but everyone had a fine time casting flies with friends.