By Babington Maravanyika, Babs Fishing Tours
The lack of cellular network coverage at some remote fishing locations like Klipvor dam in the Borakalalo Nature Reserve is interpreted differently by different people, with some getting truly annoyed by the situation, while for others the lack of network coverage is a blessing in disguise.
This is because not all people who leave their homes saying they are going fishing, honestly mean what they are saying, as some visit these distant locations to have a nice time with their love birds. To such people, the lack of network coverage is a welcome development as no one can reach them while they flirt with their dates.
For most real fishermen who would like to occasionally reach their families while out fishing, the lack of cellular coverage at places such as Borakalalo Nature Reserve is a cause for concern because at times they have to drive for a few kilometres to where they can get network coverage.
“Besides wanting to find out how your family has spent the day, sometimes one has an important message to convey to the spouse, workmates or employees, and the lack of network coverage can be really frustrating,” said David Ngwenya a fishermen who frequents Klipvor dam.
One also needs to check if there are no emergency situations that may require them to leave for home immediately.
At Klipvor dam there is virtually no cellular network coverage around the dam such that most fishermen leave their phones in their cars as it is no use carrying them around.
This is also a good safety measure as many fishermen end up drowning their phones when they carry them in their pockets.
“Sometimes you catch a big fish which will require you to get into the water may be up to waist level as you fight it, and before you remember that you will be carrying your phone in your pocket, it would have drowned,” said Jefta Muteveri a regular fisherman at Klipvor dam who has witnessed fishermen drowning their phones as their minds will be totally consumed in fighting their catch.
I personally have drowned two cellphones at Klipvor dam while fighting giant babel which would have unwound almost all my line from the reel, forcing me to follow the fish into the water to avoid it breaking the line until it tires enough that I can start reeling it in.
Visiting fishing venues for other reasons
One of my fishing partners once asked me why I carried my phone in my pocket when there was no network coverage anyway, and I sheepishly conceded that it was in fact silly to do so. From that day onwards, I always make it a point to leave my phone in the car before I start fishing.
Back to people who visit fishing venues for other reasons which have nothing to do with fishing – these are people who like the fact that they will be unreachable because they do not want to be disturbed while having a nice time with their love birds.
“The lack of network coverage is one thing I really appreciate about Borakalalo because no one disturbs me while I am having a nice time,” said a married man who declined to be named. He said he often left his home saying he was going fishing, and he would camp at Klipvor dam to have a nice time with his girlfriend over the weekend.
On Sunday he would buy some fish to carry home to justify that he had spent the weekend fishing.
A fisherman from Brits who declined to be named said people who pretended that they had gone fishing are good to do business with as they will often buy fish at a very good price because they need to return home with some fish to justify to their spouses that they had gone fishing. They also need to buy fish for their girlfriends.
The fisherman from Brits said people taking their girlfriends out preferred Borakalalo Nature Reserve for two other reasons, the first being that their urban girlfriends will be fascinated by seeing some wild animals like giraffe live for the first time in their lives, and the fact that the place has nice and well looked after bathrooms.
“Another reason why the lack of network coverage was ideal to both males and females dating each other was that some men date married women who leave their homes in places like Pretoria and Joburg, saying they would be visiting their rural homes where there is no network coverage,” said the fisherman from Brits.
For us real fishermen, when you reach a place with network coverage at the end of the fishing trip, messages which would have been hanging in the air start pouring in. Personally if I camp for two nights, by Sunday I will be having more than 100 messages to attend to – most of them on WhatsApp.
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