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JOIN THE 2020 CHALLENGE
Established in 2001, the TOPS at SPAR Corporate Challenge continues to attract entrants from all over Southern Africa.
Hosted on exclusive WildFly waters, in the foothills of the Drakensberg, it provides a setting and atmosphere second to none. Held over four long weekends in the midst of the Midlands winter, 240 anglers descend upon the quiet hamlet of Nottingham Road to challenge trout and fellow fly fishers alike.
Each team experiences a long weekend of fishing festivities that only the legendary Notties Hotel can provide. The welcoming gift packs set a winning tone for the days and nights ahead.
Since the inception of this gathering, over Twelve Thousand trout have been caught and released in these exclusive still waters. On the water, four colleagues challenge fellow competitors over two days. Your team of four fish four sessions over two days. The format rewards average size and consistency of each catch with each team earning a combined score that gives them ranking which is carried through each session The top five teams from each leg make it through to the illustrious final…
Experience the Wildfly Waters…
The catching is never taken too seriously, as the contestant’s shenanigans off the field draw all the attention come prize giving, earning them and their team mates accolades and considerable prizes… Let’s just say that piscatorial pursuits take on a whole new meaning. The rewards get bigger and better every year but as always, the experience outweighs the Million Rands worth of prizes as any team’s journey to the coveted Final promises to be a memorable one.
“The challenge was a fantastic experience both on and off the water. It was unbelievably well organised and it is a credit to you, your teams and sponsors hard work and commitment. Well Done!” – Richard Amm of Team Grinaker
THE SAFEST WAY TO SOCIAL DISTANCE
Here are just a few of the past TOPS at SPAR corporate challenge Winners
The only problem with this fly fishing festival lies in the benchmark that it seems to continually raise every year.
It’s the ultimate corporate event, designed for an executive get-together or as an opportunity to entertain special clients.
Every entrant receives:
- Three nights’ accommodation at Notties Hotel and a selection of nearby lodges.
- All Meals as well as an afternoon cooler brimming with refreshments and snacks.
- A warm winter fleece and beanie with your corporate branding or team logo
- A corporate gift bag with a host of goodies to help you land the big one!
- Four sessions of incredible fly fishing on our exclusive selection of private still waters
- The most festive weekend to remember
- A share in the Million Rands’ worth of assorted prizes!
For those entrants who are fishing with us for the first time, and for those who have forgotten, there are several things that you need to consider before you arrive. First off, here is an itinerary of the entire event:
- 5pm Onwards:Registration is done online so just arrive at Notties Hotel, Goody Bags and Breakfast Baskets will be in your rooms.
- 7pm Onwards:Welcome Dinner and orientation covering dam draw, competition format, rules and regulations, team intros, Prizes to be won.
- Please Note: Each Team will be seated separately at a socially responsible distance.
- Sunrise: Wake up – we suggest implementing several wake ups on your phone alarm in order to facilitate moving your body from the bed. Fill flasks with hot water (found in breakfast hamper), the flask not the hot water, (that’s in the kettle), and travel to allocated dam, with your fishing partner for your first session of fishing.
- 11.30am: First session closes. Drive back to hotel for lunch, submit your catch records via Whatsapp for the first session.
- 1.30pm: Pick up your cooler box full of afternoon refreshments and snacks and head off to dam for your second session of fishing.
- Sun-down: Submit your catch records via Whatsapp, freshen up, warm up in pub. Dinner at 7pm followed by a relaxed evening.
- 10pm: Off to bed.
- Sunrise: Wake up, fill flasks, take your breakfast hampers and partner and drive to dam for third session of fly fishing
- 11.30am: Third session closes. Drive back to hotel for lunch, submit your catch records via Whatsapp for the third session.
- 1.30pm: Pick up cooler box for afternoon refreshment and snacks. Head off to dam for your fourth and final session.
- Sun-down: Head back to hotel, submit your catch records via Whatsapp, freshen up, and meet at hotel for dinner.
- 7.30pm: Dinner and prize giving.
- 10pm: Off to bed.
- 8-10am: Breakfast at the hotel. Draw straws for the slow, steady drive home.
And then… the really important stuff
- ACCOMMODATION: Upon arrival at the hotel, depending on where you are staying, you will be handed keys and a map to your accommodation. Please remember to hand the keys back to either to your accommodation host or to reception at the Notties Hotel on Sunday morning.
- DIRECTIONS: You will be supplied with a map, directing you to all of the dams. The kilometers are measured from The Notties Hotel. On the map are contact numbers. Should you get lost; stop, drive back to the last district road that you passed and phone. Should you be out of signal range, you’ll have to drive back till you are. If you find yourself at a toll-gate, we suggest you return to the hotel and pour yourself a stiff drink! Be prepared for a fine at prize giving! We have made sure that all accommodation is centrally located around the Notties Hotel.
- EXTRA GUESTS: No extra guests permitted due to COVID 19 restrictions.
- MEALS: All your meals are catered for, but there is a great Spar in Nottingham Road, should you eat more than a small country. Please remember to inform us prior to the leg you are attending if you have any specific dietary requirements. Please remember that the picnic baskets are packed for two. Two picnic baskets will be allocated to each team.We have had some very grumpy fishermen, sans breakfast baskets in the past, so please try and pick up your baskets before you start drinking in the pub! Put them in the car, it’s like a big cooler box at night. Try not to drive over the picnic baskets and cooler boxes, they could do some damage to your car, never mind the drinking fine incurred for such a transgression.Please remember to return them, nothing tastes good in a plastic bag.
- FISHING: All of the dams that you will be fishing are rested before the legs. The scoring system is based on the number of fish you catch, extra points are awarded for size. Gareth will elaborate and explain the scoring system in detail on Thursday night and for the entire weekend. Your team of four will be split up into two teams, two members of each team will fish on a dam with two members from another team, this way you will be able to have a verification of your catch from a trustworthy source. Every dam that you fish will have a sign, designating it as a TOPS Trophy Challenge dam. Do not fish any dam that does not have a sign. If in doubt, phone. You will either have an irate farmer on your hands or you will catch a fist that won’t count – (this has happened before). There will be a tackle shop available at the hotel, and we will endeavor to have everything you could possibly need to catch a ten pound trout. Please contact Stuart on 033 266 6981 with regards to specials that will be available for you as TCC entrants.
- TRANSPORT: You will need to have two cars per team, unless you can arrange a lift with the opposing team that you will be fishing with. It is not necessary, but it is recommended that you bring a high clearance vehicle. In most cases a 4×4 is not required, but a luxury sedan may take some strain and develop more rattles than a crèche.
- WEATHER: You can expect exceptionally cold mornings, with temperatures starting at around -2°C, and colder – much colder. It is generally sunny and warms up during the day. Expect very cold nights.Bring warm clothing and wear it in layers so that you can remove them as the day warms up. It is quite rare for rain during June and July, but if it does, be prepared for snow.
Rules and Regulations
Competitors must remain in compliance with all regulations that govern the Desaster Management Act of 2020, and ensures that the following COVID-19 preventative measures are in place:
- Competition of the screening form by the entire team
- Daily self temperature monitoring
- Wearing of facemasks at all times in public places
- Be in possession of and utilize personal hand sanitizer
- No contact greeting of any nature between any persons
- Before and after the handling of any equipment, said equipment is sanitized
- A minimum social distancing regulation of 2 meters between all persons
Competitors are allowed only ONE rod and line, with a maximum of three flies in the water at all times.
The use of any stimulant i.e. Pheromones or other attracting scent is strictly prohibited. Egg Patterns are allowed. There is to be no stripping of egg bound hens or the release of eggs into the water.
Only recognized/bona fide fly fishing equipment may be used. No lures, bait, spinning or any other fishing equipment is permissible. No electronic surveillance equipment or fish finders allowed.
Kick boats and float tubes are allowed, however no motors or any artificial means of propulsion other than flippers are permissible.
Fishing Times must be strictly adhered to. The sessions start at sunrise for the morning session and end at 11.30am. The afternoon session starts at 1.30pm and ends at 6pm.
This is a strictly Catch and Release competition, all fish caught must be measured in length and carefully released back into the water. Length is measured from the tip of the nose to the V in the tail. The weight of the fish can also be recorded in the net if you have a net with a scale in it.
All catches must be witnessed by a signatory of another team or have a photograph. Points are allocated based on a submitted, witnessed catch record. Due to COVID, the catch record does not have to have a signatory from any other team member, and on completion of the catch record, it will be submitted electronically via Whatsapp. The judges’ decision in respect to catch records and points allocation is final and no objections will be considered or correspondence entered into. Any fish that measures over 65cm may be weighed in for the ten pound competition. Remember to keep your fish moist, as dehydration affects weight. The weight of any fish will be determined by the electronic scale at the central venue – Notties Hotel. Should a fish be eligible, call one of the chief Marshalls on 082 573 0268 or 082 553 0101 and we will be waiting at said point for an immediate weigh-in. No other weights will count other than those weighed on the electronic scale by a chief Marshall.
ONLY THE FOLLOWING FISH WILL COUNT FOR TEAM POINTS IN EACH SESSION:
• SESSION 1 – FOUR FISH PER ANGLER
• SESSION 2 – THREE FISH PER ANGLER
• SESSION 3 – TWO FISH PER ANGLER
• SESSION 4 – ONE FISH PER ANGLER
In terms of the tagged fish and the prizes that are rewarded for catching the tagged fish. Each tagged fish has a specific numbered tag attached to its fin. This fish has been tagged independently by a competition official. Only this specific tagged fish will be eligible to submit for prize consideration. The tag will have to be audited to ensure that the correct number correlates with that of the fish released. So note that only one tagged fish will be eligible for said prize and this fish, along with tag must be brought as proof to the main venue – Notties Hotel. The prizes referred to will only be issued once verified by the insurance company, which may take up to six weeks.
No pets allowed and strictly no lighting of fires on or around the waters. Please do not discard cigarette butts or any other litter anywhere other than demarcated bins. Remember that we are in a fire hazard area so please be exceptionally careful. Please observe all farm signs, ensure gates are properly closed and only use demarcated access roads to the water. A maximum speed limit of 40km/h must be observed on all private property and farm vehicles and animals have right of way.
The Tops Corporate Challenge committee, sponsors and organisers do not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage to any property or any injury or illness of any entrant/guest while using the waters and/or the facilities or on the property on which the competition is being held. All entrants acknowledge by entering the competition that they indemnify The Tops Corporate Challenge, it’s employees, the sponsors and organisers against any loss, damage, injury or illness.