Meet De Villiers Uys, a 34-year-old guide who lives in the quaint town of Lambertsbay on South Africa’s West Coast and he grew up in a family who were passionate about recreational fishing. Prior to delving into the world of guiding, De Villiers had a far different lifestyle, as golf was his passion, he became a professional golf instructor, but soon he lost his fire and passion to work in this industry.
With fishing in his veins, he met up with a friend of his that was a qualified skipper and guide in Angola, who began to show and teach him the ropes of this grueling industry, and so the amazing lifestyle of guiding began. De Villiers started honing in on guiding for about 5 years, where in that period of time he was able to meet amazing guests, guides and scientists who were fascinated by his professionalism and subsequently helped him to build a career within this field.
De Villiers has now started a business on the Orange River where he operates and guides clients to catch trophy large and small mouthed yellow fish on fly and artificial lures, the best time of the year to target these species are from middle January until middle of April.
At the Orange River, accommodation is provided in the form of glamping where they have a massive lapa with tents pitched inside with stretchers and sleeping bags rigged for two people with a maximum of 6 people per fishing expedition, these trips are designed only for hardcore anglers who are prepared to challenge the Orange River and are willing to be educated in learning how to catch these trophy fish.
When asked about what his bucket-list fish is, his reply was prompt and impromptu and without any hesitation – the Golden Dorado (Salminus brasiliensis) which is a large predatory characiform freshwater fish that is found in the South Americas. Asking him the question on where in the world would he like to fish and his response was the Christmas Island of Kiritimati which is a Pacific Island coral atoll in the Northern Islands which is a part of the Republic of Kribati, and the reason being was due to the massive sized trophy giant trevallies.
As he guided in various countries and areas the target species in Angola were, tarpon, marlin, sailfish, dorado, which they targeted off-shore and when it came to change of in-shore and land-based species, tarpon, African threadfin, cubera snapper and corvinas.
Currently one of the countries that he is guiding at is in Rampin Malaysia, where he is guiding for a company called Bill Seekers where they target sailfish, prior to the outbreak of Covid over a two-month period they landed and released 254 sailfish on the boat that he was guiding on, however it is not uncommon for the company Bill Seekers to land over 700 fish in the season in Malaysia. The Malaysian season for targeting these species starts August, September and October and by the end of the season which will be end October he is back at the Orange River guiding until Christmas. There are two seasons for De Villiers, normally summer at the Orange River and Winter fishing on the West Coast for the Cape delicacy – the West Coast Crocodile- the snoek – the Latin name Thyrsites Atun, found mainly in the waters off Namibia, Angola stretching up to Plettenberg Bay, which is further north, once the snoek season ends, its then back on the plain to Malaysia.
Some of the highlights in his guiding career have been where he was able to assist some of his client’s land trophy tarpon of over the 100-kilo mark. This year was a landmark as one of his clients landed a trophy yellow weighing in at 14 kilo which was caught on the Orange River and subsequently the picture was showcased as a front cover on South African fishing magazine. The key to being a guide as per De Villiers is obviously to be knowledgeable on the various facets of fishing and especially the areas that you are working in and to be a good guide you need to be a people’s person and have loads of patience as you will likely have all the same questions asked over and over again. Also, a key factor is to keep an eye on your client’s safety and to be aware of your surroundings that you are guiding in and to make sure that they have a good time and to build relationships with them so that you’re a recognized within this industry.