In so many cultures it is an official coming of age, demanding that you raise many glasses and toast such a momentous occasion.

21 years is reason enough to celebrate, but if you add the relaxation of social restrictions, coupled with the prospect of chasing some feisty Midlands Trout over a long weekend, well you can imagine how the party ensued.

The TOPS Corporate Challenge is renowned as a festive occasion, where you can catch up with old acquaintances and make new friends, with an excuse to your better half about the sport of fishing, but this 1st leg of the TCC also delivered some very memorable moments on the water.

Posting the valuable scores

104 fish in the first morning had anglers buzzing about the prospect of eclipsing their personal best, which James Hills nearly achieved with a stunning Rainbow of 62cm(8 pounds). This emulated his performance of last year, where he landed a 64cm Brown.

“Cat’s Whiskers, White Death, Boobies”…. fuelled by a satisfying Heineken, the lunchtime talk at the legendary Notties, would have been greek to any non fly fisher, with the weird and wonderful names of the productive fly patterns echoing amongst the laughter of the on field shenanigans.


Predictably the fish records reduced with rod pressure, 77 specimens being notched up in the afternoon session of day one, but the weather was near to perfect and the water temperature definitely motivated some early spawning behaviour amongst the Trout. Notably for Anton De Bruin who landed a 60 and 59cm in this 2nd session on WildFly waters.The crisp morning had every angler donning their Jonsson jersey’s the following day and this cold snap saw a very energetic 93 Trout make it to the net.

Needless to say, entrants were celebrating these catches until common sense called them to bed. The stand-out statistic was that 63 Trout were recorded at over half a meter in the very first day, showcasing the quality of this festival in terms of the fishery.

The diving catch – what a wingman

The 4th session witnessed a weather change with the wind forcing some frantic fishing as anglers endeavoured to make the final where every single team wins a fishing holiday.

For a few teams it was a little like the rugby semi-final between the Stormers and Ulster that afternoon, with some of them only landing their single fish to count in injury time right before the close of the session.

Fortunately, they could calm their nerves with a wee dram of Dalmore single malt at the evening’s impromptu whisky tasting. As usual, at the entertaining gala evening, in the spirit of The TOPS Corporate Challenge, the rewards for antics off the field almost shadowed what the winners walked away with.

Bucket loads of prizes from Outdoor Warehouse, Greys, Airflo, Umqua and Xplorer had everyone smiling.

The Top Fly Fisher was awarded to Steve Benbow with his bag of 18 Trout, earning him an incredible Hardy rod and the biggest fish was retained by James Hills who floated away in the new WildFly V-Boat. The top five teams who qualified for the final were, ‘ST Fergusson’, ‘Novus Print Cape’, ‘Cathedral Peak’,  ‘ZZ Tops’, with ‘Novus Print KZN’ taking the 1st leg title of the 21st TOPS Corporate Challenge.

Kobus Potgieter with yet another wild Rainbow

Just a reward for an afternoon kip

TCC 2022 – Leg 1 Winners

The TOPS Corporate Challenge once again showcased why it is Africa’s leading angling event,  evident from the resounding cheers, with anglers celebrating the moment yet again.

It’s the 2nd leg in two weeks’ time, so standby for our next WildFly water report.