Lenasia residents, whether they are aware of it or not, have an exceptional nature retreat in the form of Oupa Fats. So why then are we not using this facility to its capacity?
These questions probably go through the minds of those anglers who risk the dangers of the Fats, in order to pursue their quarry, i.e. large mouth bass. The fact is there is little they can do about the situation, unless the authorities start to manage the area better. I have in previous articles alluded to the fact that this particular area is an excellent example of a wetland. It provides a rich diversity of plant and animal life, which if we are to turn a blind eye towards, would soon diminish into a foul smelling, oil clogged, litter filled swamp. Are we going to do something only then, because we will not be able to bear the atrocious fumes that would lick at our houses from that direction?
I remember a time, when I was much younger, when there was a car park at Oupa Fats, a bridge to cross over the little stream, and on the other side a vast grassy area which was regularly maintained. There were thatch lapas in various spots around the picnic area, and the water front was clean and pristine. On a Sunday afternoon you would find Lenasians picnicking there, with the aroma of home cooked akni in the air, and the laughter of families enjoying the goodness that was on offer at Oupa Fats. Unfortunately, this ideal was short-lived and with the neglect of the area in general, visitor numbers began to deteriorate, giving way to drug abusers, mugger’s, rapists and all sorts of unsavory characters. The thatch lapas became firewood for the endless wayfarers and vagabonds who frequented the area, and eventually even the little bridge disappeared.
A few weeks ago my brother and I decided to go to the one place we knew would produce fish in a short space of time, and was practically on the doorstep, Oupa Fats. The road to get to the dam was treacherous to say the least with dirt and building rubble strewn across the path. In some places we had to get out of the car and move the bricks off the road. Nevertheless we reached the spot, but it was totally abandoned with the exception of some local fishermen from Soweto who were there to catch something for the table. There was a light drizzle so we decided that we would just pitch a few lines and then head home.
I picked up one of my brothers rods which was already made up for bass fishing, and I threw out the line as far as I could. As I was retrieving the lure, I felt a nudge on the line. I stopped reeling and waited for the nudge again, and as soon as I felt the line tighten, I jerked the rod up high and thus set the hook in the mouth. The fish was feisty and began fighting, it tried to get into the weeds just in front of the bank, but I put pressure on the line until the fish surfaced. I landed him within the first ten minutes of arriving at the fishing spot. This just goes to prove how excellent an area Oupa Fats is, I just wish the people responsible for it would see it!