- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"What are we going to come across there?"
"It should be pretty good," Jim said. "It's been getting better all the time, for three or four years now."
It was great to hear someone talking optimistically for once. Fishermen almost always tell you it's hopeless, just to be on the safe side.
"Yes, there should be a lot of good stuff there," Jim went on. "Egret, spoonbill, flamingo, Egyptian geese, goliath heron...."
South African fish have pretty unfamiliar names, like kabeljou, musselcracker, stumpnose and so on, but there was something terribly wrong here.
"What about the fish, though?" I asked.
"Well, you see these silver fish jumping sometimes. Millet, mullet, something like that," he said. "Do you fancy a bit of fishing? I don't know that we'll have an awful lot of spare time, especially if you want to cover the northern game reserves as well...."
It was a full minute before I began to see the funny side of it. I was talking to South Africa's foremost young ornithologist, no less, who had carefully planned a bird-watching safari for me. Far up in the higher echelons of the tourism department, someone had blundered. I watched Jim visibly pull himself together. He was going to meet this new challenge head on.
"Well, now," he said, "let's be practical. We can make a start. I've got a boat booked on St. Lucia tomorrow anyhow. I'll see what I can raise in the way of tackle." He shot off in the VW.
Two hours later he was back, triumphant. "I've fixed you up," he said. "Rod, reel, the lot." I didn't have the heart to tell him that you don't use a 6/0 big-game reel for estuary fishing, nor do you employ it in combination with a bait-casting rod. Fitting the two together was the main problem. The reel seat wasn't meant for a monster like that. But I managed to jury-rig it. It was going to be interesting fishing, especially since we had no sinkers and the hooks looked as if they were designed for sharks. "Fish for supper tomorrow night then?" said Jim, jovially but not jokingly. He didn't know it wasn't as easy as snooping on flamingos. He was going to find out the hard way.