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.
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.
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 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 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.