Finding Excalibur


Only later did I find out that I paid more or less the same what the rod was costing new at the time but that did not matter to me much, I had my rod and would keep secret what I paid for it from my friends, a little bit embarrassed at my purchase at such a price. When friends asked me how much I paid for the rod I told them about the pawn shop where I bought it but subtracted ten bucks from the price, and believe me, ten bucks in 87’ was quite a chunk of change for a school laaitie.


Back then there was not too much in terms of literature on fly fishing, especially if you lived in the sticks like I did, so you never really knew what the going rate was for fly rods and fly fishing equipment. The World Wide Web was still called the ARPANET and available to only a select few and you were convinced that everything you saw for sale second hand was a bargain! The only plus point during the mid-eighties to end nineties was that access to good water was easier than today and I learnt to flyfish before I learnt how to nymph.


During this time I bought a fair amount of second hand fly-fishing equipment from various pawn shops, some of which I still own and some of which I converted into wading sticks since I learnt how to nymph later on and needed extra support when I go on the Vaal and imitate the action of spinning a hula-hoop around my waste with a 10ft pole in my hand.


I’ve overpaid on a lot of second-hand fly-fishing equipment in my life but also sold a lot of my own equipment to eager fisherman waiting to declare themselves “fly fisherman”, a term that will score you more chicks, immediately transform you into a man of mystery and elevate your skills above all other fisherman as soon as you take ownership of your carbon Excalibur. The problem however today is that there is a new breed of used fly fishing equipment salesman that will not be out of place on Voortrekker Road in Pretoria between A1 Auto Sales and The Car Bar.




Fly fishing is a sport for gentleman, conservationists, troubled personalities in need of healing and a kinship amongst friends who share a passion for the pristine. We are ethical creatures, most of the time, only losing focus every now and then when lost souls cross over to a dark place wanting to compare their skills to that of their brothers only to find that they once again long for simpler times when we trolled second hand stores looking for Excalibur.


When you want to pass on Excalibur to the next King Arthur I urge you to be ethical towards those that you might share a beat on the river with one day. To be compassionate in one’s conduct is increasingly seen as an indication of emotional immaturity, and caring is regarded as an outdated concept that is not suitable for the modern business environment or the competitive fishing circuit but it sure as hell does when you step away from your desk and step into nature.




If one day someone walks up to you on the river and says: “I remember you, you sold me a 2nd hand rod for more than it cost new.” You have failed as King Arthur and should be banished from Camelot and sent to a lake where your fingers will have the eternal stench of almond dip and permanently stained with lime green fluoroscene.


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