WORDS: Riaan Riekert

Rietvlei Dam is situated on the eastern outskirts of Pretoria and is a well-known venue amongst specimen carp anglers. Over the years Rietvlei has  produced specimen-size carp taking the scale over the 20kg mark, and once produced an IGFA Line Class World Record for a carp of more than 18kg. It was therefore to be expected that Rietvlei would attract increasing numbers of specimen carp anglers searching for their PB. Unfortunately however with more anglers came more line pollution, with the break-offs of braid and other lines becoming such a problem that it got to a point where you landed only one out of 5 fish. Inevitably anglers started looking for other venues to fish. Concerned Rietvlei users however were adament to rescue the vlei and after lots of talks and negotiation were ready to rescue their beloved vlei.

Franci Girdlestone, Commodore of the Pretoria Sailing Club facilitated and also took part in the clean-up operaion.

“There is not enough time in the day for all I try to do!” she says. “Four years ago, I was contacted by some of the anglers from Rietvleidam Nature Reserve as I had been helping them to retrieve radio-controlled bait boats that had gone out of control. A positive relationship and friendship had also developed as anglers have no on-water access to the dam, while we from Pretoria Sailing Club with our brother club, Centurion Canoe Club, are fortunate to be the only ones with on-water access.

The old gazebo retrieved on one of the sessions.

Rescued a carp strangled in some of the lines.

 “It was at that time that I drove the PSC power boat with Dawie and Casper on board who were handling the grapple hooks, that we trolled behind the power boat to retrieve bunches of fishing line and much else too!

“The entire area was covered over four days, 29 and 30 November and 6 and 7 December. On 29 November, having not done any clearing due to Covid, we again did a far more comprehensive troll covering the entire angling shore and that of the whole gully from the north of the dam to the island near the eastern shore. Over the 4 days we were assisted by passionate anglers Dawie, Willem, Cas and Tony. 

“The first two days we were on the water from just after 06h00 for 6 hours each day. The last two days were also started at 06h00 but extended each day to 8 hours looking out for anything that could snag lines and cause the loss of expensive line and tackle. We found large bunches of line, many very long stray lines, large logs, branches, and even a metal-framed gazebo!  

“One good-size carp was released from a large clump of line and the hook removed. All re-useable tackle such as hooks, sinkers and so on was kept while all the various grades and types of line were burned under supervision.

 “I am proud to have assisted our angling friends in such a way, with the permission and backing of the Rietvlei Reserve and the Friends of Rietvlei. Together we work to make Rietvlei a place where all who make use of it can really enjoy it, all the time being mindful of Nature and caring for it. Greetings!”

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