We thought it was a quite amusing name for our venture. FC of course stands for Fishing Club, which in itself is quite amusing, as we weren’t really fishermen. Most of us were amateur birdwatchers.
It was an idle suggestion which bubbled up during a few beers at the club after work. Henties Bay came up and how renowned it was for fishing and now there was no longer a war in Namibia, it was safely accessible. It wasn’t long before somebody said “let’s go there”.
Initially, we were a Production Manager on a gold mine, two Personnel (HR) superintendents and an accountant, all over 40 and not exactly athletic. We invited some young fellows who were actually fishermen and full of energy who could do the driving and heavy lifting.
After weeks of serious planning meetings over beers at the club, we departed.
It was a long trip, almost 1800 kms and most of us had never been to Namibia.
We travelled in two four wheel drive bakkies (utes in Australia) and those sitting in the back on our luggage, played long games of liar dice and slept a lot.
We had booked into a motel – no roughing it or camping had been one of our first rules. On arrival we prepared our tackle and planned what to do with our catches.
The next day, after breakfast, we drove to the area where the best fishing was to be had. No-one caught a fish all day. We retired early to drink beer and plan. The next day we went to Swakopmund to eat the legendary German Eisbein. The restaurant only had four left, so we had to draw straws. I lost and have never had eisbein since in protest.
The next day we drove out and saw an animated group of fishermen who were feverishly casting into a shoal of steenbras. We managed to catch two and a small shark. That was the sum total of our catch on the trip. It is a bleak country and the coast is covered in a fog belt, making everything grey.
Not a very succesful first trip, but we had quite a good time, drank some beer and there were no fights.
We decided that the next trip would combine fishing with birding. We travelled 1700 kilometers to Shakawe on the Okavango Delta in Botswana and had a marvelous time. We caught no tiger fish but bagged a few bream which we ate. The birdlife was wonderful.
The next trip was to Pafuri, 800 km away on the northern border of the Kruger National Park and the border with Mocambique. There was no fishing but the bird life was wonderful.
The following year, we went to Kosi Bay, only 780km away in kwaZulu. We saw quite a few birds, but caught no fish even though it was a legendary spot for grunter and kingfish.
It was hot, so we drank lots of beer.
At Morgans Bay on the next trip (about 900kms), two cold fronts passed over, so it rained the whole time. We only caught one small fish and we barbecued the squid and sardines we had bought for bait – it was wet, so we drank lots of beer
There was another trip to Pafuri as well.
All in all, we made six trips, travelling almost 14, 000 kilometres and caught at least ten fish.
It was, I believe, a very succesful association.
Fish after all are slimy and smelly….