Young fly fisherman receives SA colours

Tom McHugh in action on the river.

Tom McHugh, a Grade 10 pupil at Reddam House in Somerset West, was recently awarded his South African colours for fly fishing.

Tom started fly fishing several years ago while living on a farm in Tulbagh.

His dad said that he started fishing as he needed a distraction from tennis, which he was playing six days a week.

Tom is also the current Boland No 1 ranked tennis player, and has represented South Africa on tennis tours abroad.

When Tom’s family sold their farm and moved to Somerset West, Tom was invited by a friend to take part in the Western Province (WP) fly fishing trials, which he duly did, and was subsequently selected for the WP A team.

He was unable to participate in the Nationals Tournament that year due to his tennis commitments.

The following year he was again selected for the WP A team, and then took part in the Nationals Tournament, which was held on the Orange River close to the town of Douglas.

Tom came 9th overall out of approximately 160 children, and was then selected to take part in further trials, where he was chosen for the South African team to take part in an international tournament in the Czech Republic, which he attended in August this year.

This year Tom was again selected for the WP A team to take part in the Nationals Tournament, which was held in the Western Cape on rivers and dams in the Du Toits Kloof Pass, Ceres and Franschhoek.

His team competed against 12 other provincial teams, and they won the tournament.

Tom was awarded his South African blazer at the prize-giving ceremony, attended by the MEC for Sport in the Western Cape, Anroux Marais.

The awards ceremony was held at the Du Toit’s Kloof Lodge, which was also the base for the Nationals Tournament, which was hosted by the Boland Fly Fishing Federation.

For selection to these teams, individuals are assessed on their technical knowledge and skills, not only in fly fishing, but also in the intricate art of fly-tying, their sportsmanship and code of conduct, as well as their knowledge of entomology, which is essential in determining the feeding habits of their target species – all of which are released if caught.