I remember the first time I caught a fish. I was 4 years old and in the company of children around my age from my neighborhood. We lived in SouthLands, Langata. We had gone on an expedition to the Nairobi Dam. Armed with plastic containers and pieces of bread we walked towards the water. Those days there was no hyacinth. We caught guppies, loads of them. Colorful little buggers. We carried them home with us. Our mother’s insisted they were tadpoles. But we resisted their attempts to set them free in the storm drain. However, they never lived longer than a couple of days. We fed them zealously with bread.
I remember the first time I caught a tilapia. I was 10 years old and in the company of my nephews at my ancestral home in Mbeere District. We had set out early in the morning to fish the mighty Thura. Now, to those who have been to Mbeere, it’s quite a dry place. Most rivers are seasonal and hold no fish. The Thura was permanent and held promise of gigantic fish. So the local boys said. We spent half the day trekking there and only fished for 2 hours before we had to get back. We used earthworm and hooks bought by me from Nairobi Sports House. When we got back, my late grandmother refused us to use her utensils to cook our catch. She gave us the oldest, rustiest Sufuria to use.
I remember the first time I went fly fishing. I was 12 years old and in the company of my family. We had gone to stay at the Aberdare Country Lodge. Being the fishing enthusiast, I rented out one of the rods and made my way to the Chania River. I had never used a fly rod before. Neither did I know how to cast. Let’s just say I spent the better part of the day pulling my fly from bushes.
I remember the first time I caught catfish. I was about 14 years old and once again in the company of my family. We were staying at the Lake Baringo Island Camp. As usual, I was out of bed before the birds, armed with my new spinning rod. Which I bought two years earlier with proceeds from my circumcision ceremony. The hotel had given me a dough mixture, they said was dynamite for catfish. I perched myself near the old jetty and cast into the coffee brown waters. Within minutes I was in. As I reeled in my catch, a crocodile lurged out of the water about 10 feet from me. Fish were leaping all around me as the crocodile snapped at them. It was one of my most memorable fishing experiences.
I remember the first time I caught largemouth black bass. I was 20 years and in University in Juja. I had discovered Twiga Dam in Ruiru that held a huge head of bass. I had spent a considerable part of my allowance on a brand new Shimano BaitCaster and assorted plugs. I was fishing a Rapalla Rattle Trap on the north wall of the dam when I felt a massive jolt. I fought the beast for 10 minutes before I landed my first 5 pounder Black Bass. That evening my roommate and I feasted like kings.
I remember the first time I fished the Mathioya. It was 3 years ago and in the company of Andy Hill. I had been introduced to him by our venerable chairman Chris Harrison. Andy had invited me to join him and some of his friends to fish the Northern. I was still learning how to cast, let alone how to catch a trout. We also fished the Gichuki where I lost my first of numerous trout. But I was hooked.
I subsequently joined the Kenya Fly Fishers Club, where I have had the pleasure of fishing with and meeting some extraordinary anglers. To name but a few – Dominic Gramaticus, Joss Taylor, Stephen Humpreys, Mike Lord, Richard Harney, Ross Samuels, Musa Ibrahim, Robert Blake, Peter Francombe and Vannesa Strong. I have enjoyed their fellowship and learnt a great deal about fishing, beer and life.
I feel honoured to be part of an institution that has just a long history and great tradition and heritage. I pledge to do my best for the club, for fly fishing and for Kenya.
I look forward to fishing the club’s waters till my last breath.
I call upon our fellow members of the KFFC to stand and join me in a toast to our Guests.