An Enthusiasm……..A Festivity………An Anecdote…..pick any one, because each would be appropriate to describe the atmosphere at the 3rd Leg of the TOPS Corporate Challenge.
Watching captains of industry and businessmen from all walks
of life refresh old friendships and make new ones is reminiscent of the start
of a new year at college.
And for some, the lessons of last year just had to be
repeated on the water. The conditions were sublime, taking that well-worn weather excuse out of the equation and for most of the fly fishers, the Trout obliged, with 123 fish being recorded in the first frosty morning.
And Mark Keating from the ‘Fingerlings’ came charging out the blocks, catching 12 great specimens at an average of 50cm in his very first session, catapulting his team into 1st place.
Celebrations ensued, which might have played a minor role in
a reversal of fortune… just when you think you’ve got this sport waxed, the
fish have an annoying habit of treating your subsequent casts with absolute
Louise Steenekamp set the early benchmark of a beautiful
60cm Rainbow, which was matched by Clive Murphy on day one.
The big fish had clearly been stirred into action.
The wind was a contributing factor for the slow afternoon,
but that didn’t stop the party from getting started. With everyone staying at
the legendary Notties, it was a license to let your hair down and revel in the
time that you get to spend with great mates.
A glass or two of not so serious was embraced!
The 3rd session is where the anglers get down to business, but to do so, you have to arrive at work, which for a few, was a bridge too far.
But those that braved the sub zero conditions had their just
Pieter Strobus from team Craghoppers enjoyed 5 fish all
around the half a meter mark in the tell tale third quarter.
And, as always it was down to the last session to determine
who would be qualifying for the Grand Final. A total of 328 fish was the tally,
showcasing how productive the WildFly waters were, with tales of snapped lines,
straightened hooks and dropped fish echoing around the prize giving.
The TOPS ‘glass of not so serious’ awards dominated
proceedings with some phenomenal prizes for performances off the field in their
tongue and cheek style.
The five teams that qualified for the illustrious final
were, Craghoppers; The Shanebeaters; St Fergusson; NFC and the Growler WildGuys
who took top the honors.
But for each entrant, the resounding sentiment was ‘there
are moments in every fisherman’s life that you will never forget, just as long
as you’re able to raise a glass and rekindle the memory with good cheer!’.