The Bend – Take 2 But Still Raining

The Bend – Take 2 But Still Raining

Having had a (mostly) rain filled previous trip to the Bend, Sharon and I were glad to accept a second invitation to our friends home away from home.

Much like last time, the plan was to head up after work arriving in time for a late braai. Thankfully on this occasion I made it out of the office timelessly and we were soon on route to the Midlands. But as luck would have it, it was once again raining. And by raining I don’t mean drizzle, or that pansy Cape rain, but proper “drive at 40km/hr” on the freeway rain.

We arrived just after 7pm and were followed shortly by a very wet Rex and Megan, along with their two children. After sharing a few horror stories of the drive up, we lit the fire, and got down to a little meat and beer filled rest and relaxation.

View from the balcony
View from the balcony

The night got a little out of hand and we finally made it to bed shortly after 1am, knowing that the new day started in 4 short hours thanks to a household full of children.

The next morning got off to a good start with Dave’s traditional breakfast of crumpets with bacon and syrup. The lack of sleep was soon forgotten and the plan to head to the dam for the morning started kicking in to gear.

Sadly it was at this point that Sharon realised she’d neglected to pack any shoes. I also realised I’d packed far too few beers (after the night before’s events). As such Sharon and I headed into Nottingham Road to do a little shopping, while the others headed off to the dam.

Amazingly we found a small shop with some great shoes for Sharon. And with our shopping done, and the rain still coming down, we decided to browse a few of the local shops and then have a few cappuccinos. Despite not having a great main road, their really are some fantastic shops and centers on the outskirts of Nottingham Road.

On route back to The Bend we decided to stop in at a family friend’s cottage on the Mooi River, where my mom was spending the weekend. Although I’d visited it several years before, I’d forgotten just how beautiful it was. Everyone was besotted with Emma for the 30 minutes we spent exploring their stretch of the Mooi, including a small island on their property, complete with a braai area.

Despite the rain we amazingly beat the dam goers back to the Haine’s household. We enjoyed a fantastic lunch and then people began to vanish one by one for their afternoon naps.

Hidden Dam
Hidden Dam

Not one for napping I got Dave to sketch me up a rough map of the dams on the property, grabbed my fly rods, and headed out for an afternoon session. I would have preferred to fish the Mooi River, but with all the rain it was far too muddy to be viable.

My first stop was at Otter Dam which was also too muddy to dedicate any time too. So I quickly popped over to Three Springs Dam which, although dirty, was fishable. I kitted up my rods and began prospecting the wall with minimal confidence. There was little sign of action so after 15 minutes I called it and decided to look for cleaner water.

This meant heading over a hill to a lesser fished dam know as Hidden Dam. It took me 30 minutes to reach it on slippery farm roads but was well worth it. When I walked up to the water’s edge it was crystal clear. My confidence immediately grew and I began fishing the wall with purpose.

Sadly that lasted all of 5 minutes before the heavens opened and it began to pour with rain. Thankfully I had my Columbia fishing jacket on me and thus continued on, bone dry. Another 5 minutes past before I tangled my line around some reeds. Rather than bending over and untangling it I gave it a sharp tug. Snap! The fly line came free in two distinct pieces.

At this point I decided it was not my day, collected my now 2 fly lines, and headed back to the car. I carefully drove back over the hill in the pouring rain, before moping into the house. It had been over 2 hours, I’d fished for a maximum of 20 minutes, had caught nothing, and had snapped a fly line (something I’ve never done before).

Sharon took one look at me and kindly commented that she’d never seen me looking so broken after a trip. Dave meanwhile took the opportunity to tell me I had “The Bend Curse”. Two trips, both in the rain, no fish caught, and a snapped line.

Emma picking flowers at the Bend
Emma picking flowers at the Bend

Thankfully the fire had been lit and a lamb potjie was hanging over it. I was handed an ice cold beer and soon the pain passed. We were joined by another couple and spent the afternoon and evening making new friends over good food. Who can complain when a day ends like that?

The next morning Sharon and I were in charge of breakfast. We put together a good spread of fruit salad, yoghurt and muffins, followed by croissants with scrambled egg, bacon and chicken sausage.

After breakfast an epic water balloon fight took place, starting with Emma drawing first blood on Sharon’s legs. All the activity tired out Emma enough that she headed off for an early nap.

By lunch time everyone was packed up and on the road. Another fantastic trip to The Bend! Here’s hoping that I manage to actually catch a fish on the next trip, and that the curse turns out to be just bad luck!