Santa Fly Fishing Club

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					Santa Fly Fishing Club
Santa Story Newsletter No. 66 May - August 2004

Message from the Mackenzie Family The untimely death of John Mackenzie and Nicholas Paumgarten on the 18th of July is a tragedy from which we as a family will never recover. John took over the management of the farm when he returned from a spell working in London in the early Eighties. Much of what is at Santa today is due to his efforts. There have been many changes since those days when Santa was a forestry and fishing farm, to today, when it is a fishing and cattle farm. When John took over, Santa waters were five kilometers long, we now have eight kilometers 17 dams and 21 weirs. Santa had twelve members and two syndicate cottages in the early eighties, there are 28 members three syndicate and two rental cottages. He worked hard at ensuring that standards of fishing were maintained despite droughts. The cottages he believed should remain rustic, but comfortable. The pedigree Nguni herd that he was establishing was an overriding interest to him in the last couple of years. Nick, was an avid and accomplished fisherman, who loved Santa and was keen to take on a greater role in the management of the property before he was taken from us at the tender age of 22.

2. Iain, John’s brother, has assumed ultimate responsibility for Santa. He has been based in Cape Town for the last couple of years, but will be spending alternate weeks in Johannesburg. His contact details are as at the end of this newsletter. Raymond and Kate will continue their day-to-day management of the farm as before, whilst Maryna Swart will keep the books in Johannesburg. In essence, the management of the farm and the Club will continue in the same way as before. Fishing Club Matters The period from March to June, when bookings were open, turned out to be disastrous for us, since very few bookings were made! With relatively high fixed costs we need to keep the cottages as full as possible. The Club is currently 53.3% full for the weekends and 18.67% for midweeks in terms of possible days available for bookings. In contrast, we are able to fill Watersmeet and the Croft every weekend. Ideally, we would prefer to have the whole of Santa syndicated and bring Watersmeet back into the pool. Santa is arguably unique in the Dullstroom area in terms of the diversity and variety of the fishing. The various cost and booking options available to members has been expanded substantially over the last few years. We obviously need to do more to market the property and its facilities to attract more members. Vaughan Heberden has kindly offered to help in the marketing of Santa. His one suggestion is to give presentations to prospective members. We are in the process of putting together the slide show, but once finished we will be contacting you for any leads that you may have. Remember the incentive scheme - one new member introduced equals one free weekend, can’t be bad! Welcome to Werner Egerer and Peter Bourne as new members and we have another 3 potential members in the process of joining. Slow Fishing The fishing has been slow to say the least with very few fish being caught and to top that only little stokkies. This is partly due to last year’s drought which meant that fish stocks were depleted. We have only recently been able to get our hands on anything but small fish. The good news is that the larger fish are on order and come spring we should be able to stock with bigger fish. Could we please just remind members that fishing is prohibited from Iron Bridge down to Dryland as this has been designated to Watersmeet

3. Winter It has been a very strange season with very varied weather. One week snow was threatening, the next glorious sunshine and then in early August we received 38mm of rain! The farm is looking very dry but the river has maintained its flow and the dams are still looking full. The forest that burnt down a few years back decided overnight to reforest itself so you will see all the new pine coming up across from Cascade. The idea is to leave it for the moment and burn it again next year to try and get it back to grassland. The big forest on the right hand side on the way to Lunsklip has practically been removed so that we can exchange forestry rights for water rights and maybe put in a few more dams. Cottages Cascade is finally completed and looks lovely. The sofas have been re-covered and new furniture added. The kitchen had an overhaul with granite counters installed and modern lighting. The shower has been redone and new curtain rails installed throughout. We are about to start work on the cottage at the Glen. It will probably not be as comfortable as the other cottages once completed, but will certainly be the quietest. We still have to make a decision as to whether it is brought into the syndicate or whether we market the house for ad hoc rentals. Thank you to those members who have sent pictures and letters, please send more! Trophy fish, fauna or flora or just great views or action shots would be welcome. Just email them to Kate on

Iain, Raymond and Kate Iain’s contact details are: e-mail: cell: 082 456 6770

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