Two Kinds of Rock

One minute I am sitting tying flies, pondering the new fishing season and the vagaries of the weather that had required some subtle changes to the tactics on our local streams, the fish tucked up amongst the boulders out of the man currents,  and the next I am thrust into the world of  music concerts, all noise, video, security and crowds. Two worlds as divergent as you might be able to conceive, two kinds of rock if you will.

It all started with a phone call, not in itself a particularly unusual circumstance, an enquiry about fly fishing guiding from a party in an exclusive local hotel. It was coming into summer, the trout streams were recently opened from the winter closed season and the tourist trade was picking up in conjunction with the warmer weather. All to be expected, or at least hoped for.

The trouble was that I was due to be going to the Kings of Leon concert at the Cape Town Stadium and wasn’t going to miss that, a guiding trip could have made a late night out a bit tricky, fishing guiding generally requires considerable preparation, and an early start in the morning, things not easily accomplished if one is out on the town at a rock concert.

But the perfect solution was to find that the clients were going to be at the concert as well so there wouldn’t be a clash of schedules, the kicker was that they weren’t going to be watching they were going to be on stage playing. It turns out that Matt Followill is a very keen fly fisherman (actually a pretty good one at that I was to discover) and he was about as excited at the prospect of some fishing as I was at the prospect of the concert. Now in short order plans were laid and instead of simply watching the concert I was summoned to meet up with the band before they went on stage and a simple fishing guide from the backwoods ended up where only the most privileged and fortunate rock fan might dare hope to venture.

Under the stadium tucked away in an anonymous concrete corridor with the muffled sound of the crowds and the music of the supporting acts filtering down into the bowels of the massive structure I was surrounded by “Men in Black” lookalikes. All radios and ear phones, VIP badges and pre-concert tension, discussing the fishing potential of the following day with a bone fide rock star. Funny how a phone call can change your life.

In short “the weather was a bit dodgy, the prospects for some dry fly action were reasonable, there were a good number of micro caddis and a few midges about.” “I knew a lot more about fishing than I did about rock bands and we would give it our best shot in the morning.” I think that the mention of the baboons, the snakes and the recent sighting of a leopard on one of the rivers caused a little consternation for the men with the earphones but Matt seemed oblivious to anything but the prospect of casting a line on a Cape Stream. I liked the guy already; you need to be pretty focused to discuss dry fly fishing ten minutes before you get on stage to entertain a crowd of thousands.

On stage and in the public eye, a bone fide rock star.

The following morning we were on a gorgeous stream, the weather wasn’t great and there was a cold front approaching, making the fishing less than brilliant. A cold wind whipped down into our faces and the fish weren’t being particularly cooperative. You might imagine that my client, who has enjoyed some of the best fishing the world has to offer and who showed me images of massive striped bass and king salmon caught on previous sorties would have been discontented. Not at all, he had to good grace to suggest that this was one of the prettiest places he had ever fished and even though the fishing was slow he didn’t become disheartened, even after breaking off a couple of nice trout. It is tricky to get in the zone of fishing 7X tippet when your last trip to a river was to chase massive salmon on much heavier gear.  With the prospect of slightly improved conditions the following day we planned to head out again for the morning, time was limited, the band was off to Johannesburg the next day for a further concert.

Switching from guitar to fly rod and demonstrating the same skill with both, battling a nasty breeze on the stream.

We had more success this time, a few more trout rising and Matt enamoured with the idea of watching the fish rise up to the fly in the clear water. Both he and JT got their first African Trout, and seemed as pleased as punch that they had. The highlight: casting for a rising fish whilst baboons watched from the cliff faces above the river, not something particularly common in Nashville one supposes.

I imagine that to many Matt Followill is a guitarist, a music legend or heartthrob, but having spent time with him on a trout stream to me he is an angler, a remarkably passionate and talented angler, a man who like many of us carries the fishing gene deep in his DNA.

J.T. Williams, Tim Rolston, Matt Followill Elandspad River Cape Town

I listen to “Closer”, “Crawl” and “Cold Desert” in the car more often than I used to, but I don’t see a stage and a light show in my mind. I see a man doing what he loves, throwing a line over a trout, a smile on his face whilst the baboons appraise his casting from a vantage point on the rocks. It was great to be on the water with him and I am thankful of the opportunity to have done so.

Brought to you by Inkwazi Flyfishing Cape Town's best fly fishing guiding service.

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9 Responses to “Two Kinds of Rock”

  1. Bobby Myers Says:

    I have to say that this is one well written story! Most of what I read is on the internet and it seems most of the time I am reading the same paragraph 3 or 4 times trying to figure out what the writer is trying to say! I did not have that problem here! The writer of this story should be fishing on his off time and writing for one of the big news outlets as a career! I would even buy a book if this guy was the author! thank you for a greatly written article about my favorite band! My wife and I are huge KOL fans and I am also a big news buff so I read a lot of stories! There are writers for huge news columns that cannot even come close to writing this great so it is nice to read a story from someone who can actually write!
    you can find me at

    • paracaddis Says:

      Bobby how very kind of you to take the trouble to leave such a positive comment on my blog. I would love to write more and fish less. Actually no I won’t fish less but would love to write more and am actually only looking for the break to be able to do so. You have any contacts out there let me know and thanks again for the comment. Regards Tim

  2. Maria (@Amitolanes) Says:

    Thank You for this! Your article have made me love him more! Caleb & Nathan have their golf, Jared has…err.. I actually do not know what’s his hobby ?..and Matt & Chris have fishing! Am so glad that you had made it possible for him to enjoy your beautiful country! 😀

    • paracaddis Says:

      Thank you Maria, Matt was a pleasure to guide and he really enjoyed his time on the river. I am sure it is a huge relaxation after the hectic days of touring. Thanks for posting a comment. Tim

  3. Daniela Says:

    Thanks for this awesome and detailed blog! Loved to read what the guys are up to in their free time … how awesome that you got to go backstage too. Was Chris Coleman also with you? Thanks again! Petri Heil (stands for Good Luck while fishing in Austria). Regards, Daniela.

    • paracaddis Says:

      Chris fished with another guide in our crew, so I didn’t get to spend time with him, other than to share a beer at the end of the day. But yes he did fish 🙂

  4. Maria (@Amitolanes) Says:

    Oh WoW! You posted pics too! Thank you! And I think you’re right – fly fishing is deep in his genes. And also for mentioning the lovely ‘smile on his face’ – he has a good spirit in him. 😀

  5. Farah Says:

    What an absolute pleasure to read something like this!

  6. D.J. Ammons Says:

    Great article. Matthews mom is a friend of ours and I know she enjoyed the article a lot also as she posted a link to it on facebook!

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