Most of what is written about life in Rhodesia is about war and little about the wonderful nature of the country itself during its age of innocence.  After that came all the horror of the war and the end of a way of life, that although priveleged now remains in my mind one of simple joys and peace.

Being a loner in my last couple of years as a schoolboy I would take any opportunity to get into the bush on my motorcycle.  Fishing was my favourite pastime. Going out on the Mtoko road from Highlands in Salisbury to Chabwino dam was probably about 20 miles from the city.

After I had followed the rutted track along the top of the dam wall I would wobble my motorbike ankle deep across a drift at the far end and settle in for an afternoon of fishing.  Moving along the edge of the dam or wading knee deep to cast the lazy Ike - my favourite lure for Bass. I would fish the perimeter.

This dam was a shared venture supplying various local farms and I had a vague permission - or at least a good story, to justify my presence there. In several years of fishing there I was never challenged.

As the sun started setting a group of women and children, probably families of farm labourers, often arrived near the drift with stick rods and hooks baited with sadza or worms to catch small bream.
This in turn would attract larger bass and often I would catch a decent sized fish to take home.

Those peaceful days of silence were like a meditation for me and hours would pass with hardly a thought - just the shimmer of sunlight across the ripples out on the water.

Some days I would ride out further to a river (the name eludes me) which was a tributary to the Mazoe. Here in the rainy season it was possible to catch smallish tiger fish that had made their way up from the Zambezi river.

On one occasion I was flagged down by a scrawny man dressed in Khaki who carried a Jerry can. He asked for a ride as pillion passenger back to Salisbury. He told me he was a prospector living out in the bush and needed to get to the "concrete jungle" to arrange finance for his claim.
What a character he seemed - I wish I had taken more time to get to know him.

I had three good friends then, all fishing buddies and we would fish at lake Mac with Samaki league in weekend competitions, meeting afterwards at the weigh in to share beer from a keg (nobody cared that we were schoolboys).

We also fly fished in Inyanga - a long trip on a small motorbike. Fishing in all the main streams, we also fished Chingamwe estate often wading chest deep under overgrown bushes that closed over us forming tunnels where we would let fly lines drift down with the current.

I loved the bush the birds and wildlife and consider myself just as much a child of Africa as anyone. I would rather not know what has happened to our favourite places.

That was in a previous life and lives only in my dreams.

May thank to John Burman <> for sharing these memories.





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