Director of African Waters, Keith Clover, loves trail running almost as much as he loves fly fishing and frequently gets to combine the two. For our issue 37, ‘What’s In My Bag’ feature, he unpacks his go-to clobber for combo trail/fish sessions.
“Growing up in a running and fly-fishing family, the two activities have gone hand in hand since I was a kid. Spending time at the Makhangoa Community Camp on the Bokong River in Lesotho allows me the opportunity to combine both passions. With my time in camp normally allocated to operations, guides’ training, guiding sometimes and community work, fitting in a morning or afternoon session of running and fly fishing allows me to keep my sanity and tick two boxes at the same time. An added bonus is that it allows me to get to waters others don’t fish very often, or that need overnight treks to reach. I suggest you get your arse into gear and give it a go. Beer is much sweeter after a run.”
The Pack List:
Rod: I fish a 9-foot 4-weight ECHO Trout most of the time, but also a tiny 6’9” 3-weight ECHO River Glass. Rods are broken down when running to the beat where I fish, so length is not important. The 4-weight covers more bases so is more practical. The 3-weight is more fun.
Reel: Shilton CR2 – light and world class smooth drag to protect light tippets.
Line: Scientific Anglers Mastery Trout
Tippet: Scientific Anglers Absolute Clear Trout
Flies: The Balbyter #14 and #16 GUN for the Bokong
Trail shoes: Inov8 TrailTalon 290 for longer runs or Inov8 X Talon 210 for shorter wet/muddy runs. The sticky rubber on these shoes can’t be beat. Perfect shoe for in and out of the water. All my old trail running shoes become my fishing shoes for all wet wading.
Socks: not too fussy. If I can find a matching pair, I will use them. Normally Falke or Versus.
Shorts: Patagonia Strider 5-inch. The multiple elasticated pouches around the waist are a winner. I keep tippet and floatant in these when I fish.
Shirt: either Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Shirt (more running less fishing) or Patagonia Tropic Comfort Hoodie (more fishing less running).
Jacket: Patagonia Torrent Shell Jacket. Rolls up tight and takes up little space, but it is still properly waterproof.
Pack: Salomon S Lab 12. This is the same pack I use for ultras. It is overkill for shorter run/fishing missions but, when fly fishing, the 12l storage offers more than enough room for rain gear, snacks and tackle. These packs also offer lots of options for securing your rod when running. I don’t use a hydration bladder. I prefer to run with two 500ml soft flasks which I top up with river water.
Cap: I used to run in a Patagonia Duck bill (peak or visor), but now prefer a wide brimmed quick dry hat. The K-Way quick dry version has a stiff brim which keeps its shape when wet as well as in the wind, and I really like this. They come in different sizes, so I can get one that fits my little pip
Sun cream: Island Tribe Face Stick. It’s easy to reapply and doesn’t leak in the bag. Nice and small.
Nosh: Tailwind. This stuff is a game changer. Calories and electrolytes in one (so you don’t need to carry food), but I like to eat when I fish, so I will generally have some of the following stashed somewhere in my pack – nuts, dry wors and apples.
Miscellaneous: Vaseline for chafe and some loose bog roll (not many leafy trees in Lesotho). Apart from the obvious, it’s good for cleaning sun glasses and drying flies. Zip lock for phone. Space blanket and a whistle (these stay in my running packs).
Sunnies: Tonic – Green Mirror
Fridge: Not fussy on the make, as long as it is on, and beers are in it before you leave on your run.
Top Tip: It’s important to keep tackle to a minimum. Small fly box, 12-foot 4X tapered leaders. 5X and 6X tippet, floatant and strike indicator.
Enter The Bokong Flyathon
Do you like beer? Do you like to fly fish? Can you run (sort of)?
If you answered yes to two or more of the above, then you need to enter the inaugural African Waters Makhangoa Community Camp Flyathon. An elite, invite only, fund-raising event to be held at the African Waters’ Makhangoa Community Camp in Lesotho, entries are limited to 20 ‘athletes’ only.
The goal: To raise funds to build a new foot bridge for the Makhangoa Primary School.
When: Sat 18th – Tues 21 March 2023 (Sat to Tuesday. Tuesday is a public holiday).
How it works:
- You need to bring beer (start and finish of the triathlon).
- You need to run a set 20km trail run along the Bokong River (second part of triathlon).
- You need to catch fish en route (fly fishing only) (3rdpart of triathlon).
Start time: 08h00 on Sunday the 19th
Cut off time: 14h00 on the 19th
The event will be timed. For every centimetre of fish caught, 30 seconds will be deducted from your finish time. i.e. if you catch two fish of 30cm and 60cm between starting and finishing the run (90cm of fish), you will have 45minutes deducted from your time. So, technically, you could be a slow, fat bastard, but a wizard angler and still win the race, because the runner/angler with the best calculated time wins.
Minimum buy-in is R4500.00 for the 3-night stay (Includes catering and accommodation).
Entries will be awarded to top 20 bids over R4,500.00 – i.e. if you bid R100,000.00 you will probably get in.
Sat and Monday – free fishing, chilling, drinking beer with mates time.
Prizes from: Shilton, YETI, Patagonia, Echo, Scientific Anglers
Contact email@example.com to secure your spot.
Absolutely splendid thinking. Good luck for the event.