“Fly-fishing is a passion – once you have caught your first trout you are hooked for life.”

Ben van der Sandt from Hartbeespoort is a serious professional, travelling the African continent for business, but start a conversation with Ben about fishing – fly-fishing – his whole posture transforms. Relaxed with a enigmatic smile, hands always far apart, ready to talk about that big one that kept him busy for hours.

“The wonder of fly fishing is the beautiful environment surrounding the cold streams where the rainbows live. Fly-fishers are big conservationists living by the old boys scout motto – take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints.”

“Fly-fishing is about convincing the fish that the feathered hook on the end of your line is part of his diet. The biggest part of fly-fishing is to absorb the natural environment, to study the fauna and flora, the way the stream flows, the reflection on the water …..” Ben’s hands start moving wider apart again. One is not sure if his thoughts are wandering off to the last big one that he tricked, or if he is already dreaming of the next one.

“I started fly-fishing when my sons were still young and they grew up with a fly-rod in one hand. It didn’t take long for the bug to bite, my wife as well. My whole family has a passion for fly-fishing and nature.

Fly-fishing is perceived as an exclusive and expensive sport. Not so, according to Ben. “A novice can pick up a relatively good set of fly-fishing gear at a reasonable price. Many enthusiasts build their collection over many years. But when it gets to fly-fishing even a poor man can only afford the best.”

“Every keen fly-fisherman that I have met is always willing to share his expertise. They will patiently spend hours explaining what type of flies to use, the different techniques and sharing their secret fishing spots. This is the whole philosophy of the sport. By catching and releasing a fish you give someone else the opportunity to experience the same excitement that you had.”

When is the next fishing expedition? Ben sits back, his mind traveling to tranquillity. His hands move further apart again…