The start of 2017 had been a really frustrating one for me on the fishing front. I had fished in 2 league events and a couple social sessions and yet to get a bite. I was feeling rather despondent as there were some awesome fish being landed by others. Although during the week and me being busy at work, I was still green with envy.
Eventually a weekend was about where the weather played along and I called up a mate and said we are going fishing to one of the spots on the upper south coast that had been producing some fish of late. We checked the tides and decided on the perfect time to get there. We would only be able to fish for a couple of hours before we ran out of water on the beach.
Upon arriving at the area I just had that feeling in my bones that today I would get the monkey off my back. The water was perfect. We had some color and a good formation. Didn’t take us long to put the rods together and get a bait in the water. We were expecting fireworks as every angler does when conditions are perfect. Unfortunately things were rather slow and we had to work hard for the fish we eventually landed.
Mike was the first one to get a bite, sticking to his roots and using his trusted Shimano Trinidad 20DC with 0.47 double X he went on with what seemed to be a smaller fish, with a rather tricky shorebreak to negotiate he waited for the perfect moment and we grabbed the juvenile sharpnose brown skate and pulled it up for a quick picture and then released the little guy to fight another day.
Thinking this could be the change in our luck we quickly put out some fresh baits and it wasn’t long when I got an enquiry. The fish ate very funn
y and eventually pulled me flat and the line started to peel off my Shimano Stella. I was now confident that my VMC 9/0 tournament circle had him properly and I started to apply the brakes. I didn’t pull it too hard, for once I was going to enjoy fighting this fish. After all, it was now middle of February and I’ve just had my first bite of the year. A few minutes later we had the fish in the front and again waited for the right moment and pulled a beautiful female guitarfish out the water. Quick picture and a ORI tag, the fish was released safely.
We called it quits after that as a rather large storm was rolling in and we had decided a early start the following morning before a South Westerly front hit us would be a good idea. Alarm bells rang at 3:45 and I packed the bait box and headed off to a new spot this time on the middle north coast of KZN. Seems I was late to the party, when I arrived Mike was already on. This wasn’t for long tho as the fish managed to find a rock in the deep and cut him off.
With a big bait in the water and with the sun now starting to peek up on the horizon, I picked up my spinning rod in the hopes of catching a queen mackerel or a Bonnie I could use for bait. Another friend had joined in on this and he had the first bite on the spoon. He unfortunately got bitten off, now we know the queen mackerels AKA snoek are in the area. A couple winds into my next cast I felt the big thump, I was on! Line peeling off my Shimano Stella 5000 and my 10ft shimano speedmaster bending. This was a decent fish. I took my time and waited for the right moment to pull the fish over the ledge. As it came over Craig was there and grabbed it by the tail. First snoek of the season landed! Or maybe not…It managed to wiggle itself loose and fell into a rock pool. Luckily for me the 8117ss VMC hook was firmly in the corner. Second time round we did not let go! Lovely specimen of 83cm which was a treat on the braai that evening!
While this was happening, the guys fishing with baits were getting smoked. Two proper fish on and both cut off. Seems like the big sea we had the week before scoured out the reef a bit. Landing fish just became a lot harder. While I was getting my big stick ready again, Craig managed to hook a Bonnie on the spoon. I didn’t hesitate one second cutting its head off and letting it go on the Shimano Stella with 40lb power pro. Within minutes I had an enquiry, an extremely slow bite. I knew from word go it was one of 2 species and I locked up on the Stella and started to pull as hard as I could from word go. The fish didn’t take much line, it did however look for every stone it could find and had me running in all directions to avoid getting cut off. I had pulled the fish to the front and it came to the surface on the back of the ledge. Our suspicions of the species had now been confirmed. It was a beast of a ribbon tail. How this fish hasn’t cut me off up to this point was rather surprising and I’m just hoping that it doesn’t do it. With a lot of pulling and me squealing in pain I managed to get the fish over the front ledge with a bit help from a few waves.
The fish however still needed a bit of convincing to get into the shallows and it took a fair amount of swimming to help it miss the rocks on the way in. Eventually we had this beautiful fish in an area safe enough for us to handle her with the care she deserves. A couple pictures and an ORI tag she swam off strong to go torment another unsuspecting angler one day.
Written by Stef Germann