First Edition Memoirs

“It was a beautiful river…”

Impressions of family fishing trips, related to me by a client who grew up in South Africa. I love hearing and preserving happy memories like this! The photo is of the Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal Province, on the exact stretch of the river where the family always fished.

“My father rented seven miles of the river, and it was a beautiful river, wide, with lovely banks. There were a few trees, but nothing that you couldn’t cast from, that you couldn’t enjoy. The banks were very grassy, rocky. You got the smell of fresh grass. Sometimes someone nearby was making hay, and we would smell that on the breeze as well. You always heard the bubbling of the river, the rushing sound of little waterfalls or rapids, and the crunching of your feet on the sand.

“We knew where the fish would be just from observing. We would either fish at the beginning of a pool or at the end of a pool, and also into the running water, the rapids. You knew exactly which rock the fish would be under, just from experience, I suppose. We always caught fish there: six, seven, even ten a day. Whatever we couldn’t eat that night, we threw back.

“My mother didn’t fish with us. She would lie under a tree and read a book. She was English and had the most beautiful skin, and she generally wore hats and sunblock to keep it that way. But on these trips, with the big shade trees all round, she’d lie under one of them and take her blouse off to feel the breeze and the grass under her.

“At lunchtime, we’d come back to the truck, and Mum would have sandwiches for us, which we’d eat round the car. We’d lie in the grass and have a little nap maybe, listen to the trees blowing in the wind and to the bubbling water. Close our eyes and rest and listen.”

Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa