We’re excited to announce the addition of a phenomenal new angler to the Thomas & Thomas ambassador team, Christiaan Pretorius. Christiaan is joining us from South Africa although, he recently became a Bahamas transplant managing Abaco Lodge on Abaco Island, Bahamas. Thomas & Thomas ambassadors aren’t your typical angler. Fly fishing is in their blood and flows through their veins. This sport isn't just a hobby it's a permanent fixture in their life story. Christiaan is no exception to this standard. Calling him a diehard fly angler would be an understatement.
We asked Christiaan to share his story with you, so you can get a taste of the adventures he has lived over the years. We're going to issue a disclaimer right now. When you hear all the places Christiaan has been it might make you want to quit your job, clean out your savings and make fly fishing your full-time gig. Hey, you can't say we didn't warn you!
"Memories of my early childhood are vague, but one thing that I really remember as if It had happened yesterday, is the day I caught my first trout on a fly at the age of six. Since that day fly fishing has been everything to me. I knew for certain that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was introduced to this amazing sport by my father who is also a very keen fly fisherman and photographer. We still share the love of the sport till this day. Growing up in South Africa, most of my weekends were spent either fishing for yellow fish on the Vaal River or casting some longer lines at trout in the lakes of Dullstroom and surrounding areas. I started representing my country on the competitive circuit at the age of fourteen in 2005.
I have since represented my country at seven World Fly Fishing Championship events all over the world. Competitive fly fishing has led me to some of the most amazing places in the world, including Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Norway, Italy, America, and Russia. Through the years I have also been privileged to fish all over the continent of Africa including the Indian Ocean, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland, and Lesotho. Fishing all these different locations, I had to learn how to analyze - and adapt to - any given stretch of water in a short period of time to successfully catch the target species. In guiding this is very valuable as conditions differ every day and sometimes it is necessary to think outside the box in order to get your client a memorable specimen. After completing my studies (landscape architecture), I started full time guiding straight away on the mighty Zambezi River for tigerfish, also doing the annual season for largemouth and smallmouth yellow fish.
Seven years later I have seen and guided some of the most remote fisheries on the planet, including 3 seasons on St. Brandon in the Indian Ocean whilst working for Fly Castaway, and three full seasons as a head guide on the Zhupanova on the Kamchatka peninsula. My last two seasons in the Indian Ocean I spent both on Alphonse Atoll as well as Astove Atoll which is probably some of the best GT fisheries on the planet. I also acted as photographer/guide at Rynda in the Kola peninsula for the past two seasons. Apart from all these guided trips I have also been fortunate to host some trips to various destinations including Nicaragua, Guatemala, Austria etc. Currently, me and my girlfriend, Lindi, are the managers of Abaco Lodge in the Bahamas.
Like anything in the world I wanted to grow in this sport and the only way to achieve this is to try and learn every facet of this sport. Managing a lodge is a very big part of it and the learning curve is a big one. Over the years I have also developed a passion for photography and videography- which to me is essential as this sport takes us to the most breathtaking sceneries on the globe and the only way to capture the moment, is with a good quality photograph that the client can keep forever. I also write the occasional article for various magazines including South African Fly Fisherman, This is Fly, Vagabond, The Mission etc.
I can honestly say that for me personally, fly fishing provides the most amazing opportunity to make a living from something that I truly enjoy and am extremely passionate about. The past four years I guided in Kamchatka and recently joined the team at The Fly Shop as a travel ambassador. I feel that I am at a point in my life where this is the next step. Through a lot of time spent traveling I have learned first hand the importance of preparation leading into a once in a lifetime fishing trip. I want to assist in making sure that you do as much as you can as far as preparation to avoid not being ready. Over the years I have come to love preparation as much as the trip itself.
A couple of years ago I heard that a South African took over Thomas & Thomas and it was absolutely amazing to see the company stepping it up big time. They have really brought a great brand back into the spotlight where it is supposed to be. I definitely don’t fish for only one species and therefore I need a quality rod in all different weight classes and I truly feel that Thomas & Thomas can do that for me."
As you can see Christiaan has been everywhere and seen it all. He's someone we can count on when we need a well-versed representative in the Bahamas and knows his fisheries as well as our rods. We're excited and honored to have him on our ambassador team and look forward to collaborating on future adventures! For more information about Christiaan check out his full ambassador profile here!