What’s Hiding in the South African Salt?

Kob Fish South Africa

The FlyLords team linked up with two very passionate and talented young fly anglers based in South Africa Tim Leppan and Gabriel Botha. Check out the interview below to learn more about the fascinating waters of South Africa.

Flylords: Who is @lifeonfly and @whiskeyinmywaders? How did you guys get into fly fishing?  

Tim: I am a student, constantly doing whatever I can possible to be on the water with a fly rod in hand, @lifeonfly is my way of expressing my passion in more ways than just words. Thanks to a passionate godfather, I was handed a fly rod at the age of nine. Throwing dry flies at our indigenous Yellowfish was where it all started for me! A species you guys really need to check out!

Gabriel: My Instagram, @whiskeyinmywaders, is how I’ve managed to share my passion for fly fishing to like-minded individuals all over the world. My page is still relatively new but an aspect I’ve been thoroughly enjoying. there many reasons as to why I started fly fishing. I’d have to say the major influential factor is my father, who sees fly fishing more as a lifestyle than merely a hobby. I’ll forever be grateful for the passion that he has, ever since, passed on to me.

Flylords: What part of South Africa are you from?

Tim: We are both originally from Johannesburg, however, we’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to study further South in Cape Town. There’s certainly no shortage of fishable water down south in the Cape… Flylords5.jpg

Flylords: What is the fly fishing scene like in South Africa?

Tim: It’s tough to put your finger on the fishing industry within South Africa, relatively speaking it’s a small community yet super intense! You’ll find most of the fly fishing youth will head off guiding after their tertiary education, to the likes of Seychelles and even St Brandon’s through Flycastaway.

There’s certainly a growing community and one that is growing fast, with the proudly South African and highly successful launch of The Mission Fly Magazine, we’re positive that the size of our fly fishing community will increase that much further!  

Flylords: What is your favorite fish to chase on the fly?

Tim: I think we can both agree that Kob are without doubt the fan favorite for us, everything about them, they’re incredibly elusive and grow to ridiculous sizes… these fish are mainly nocturnal feeders, hunting aggressively in low light conditions, often pushing mullet to the surface where they proceed to indulge in a big way… however, with our coastline and general saltwater environment, it’s relatively inaccessible to target this behaviour.


Of course, there are exceptions, if or when you find yourself in front of these fish in that frame of mind, it’s almost impossible to beat! Recently we’ve been able to pick them up consistently during daylight hours which has proven to be incredible. Fishing 9-10 weight setups with large sculpin patterns in deep water with mainly intermediate lines. You can only imagine what its like when you get a take from one of these beasts…

Flylords: What species do you primarily target in the salt? 

Tim: Once more Kob, there’s a whole host of species to target on the South African coastline such as Garrick and Spotted Grunter, which in their own right are pretty badass. I’d have to admit though, I’m certainly a die-hard Kob fan and will forever be in search of that 100cm+ fish, whether it be a hundred hours or a thousand you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be there, in the thick of it, grinding it out for those Kobs.

Gabriel: I far prefer the salt as opposed to freshwater. Purely because of the variety of species with which to target, not only that but also the environments with which one can fish. I like to keep my options open with regard to which species I target. If I were to name a couple, Kob and Garrick would be at the top of my list.

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Tim and Gabriel are two passionate anglers from South Africa. Be sure to check them out on Instagram, @lifeonfly, and @whiskeyinmywaders, for more epic African fly fishing adventures!

Additional photos courtesy of @jonty_andrews and @flybru

Check out these other stories on African fly fishing:

F3T Behind the Lens: Atlanticus

5 Reasons Milkfish are the Hardest Fish to Catch on the Fly

New Video: Dogs of War



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