Gearing up for Winter Fishing.

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The Eastern Cape winters can be some of the harshest along the coast of Southern Africa with cold front cells moving up further North during this period they brush our coast line more often than in the Summer months and bring Gail force South Westerly winds, swells upto 6 meters and a severe drop in ocean temperatures with estuaries often having an average of 12C to 14C during the peak winter period.

Although years ago the average estuary angler would merely just service and pack ones tackle away during these cooler months most anglers now fish harder during winter  as often the colder water brings better fishing and by far some of the largest local estuary species are present.

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The estuaries like Gamtoos and Sundays have good showings of dusky cob of which can be caught spinning and trolling. Tidal phases play a massive roll in the feeding habits of the dusky and when the right conditions present itself it can be game on with a short window period producing great fishing.

When targeting these fish in deeper water  I often take 2 to 3 outfits with me to cover all the lure sizes making sure the lures can get to the optimum depths at the right speed.

Fishing 1/4oz to 1/2oz jigs I would use a 6.6ft to 7ft fast action rod. My 2 piece 6.6ft crucial does this job perfectly matched with a 2500 sustain and 15lbs Sufix 832 performance braid.

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My medium outfit would cover the 1/2oz to 3/4oz jigs and plastics range from the 5inch to 7inch sizes. For this I use the 2 piece bassterra 7ft rod. Matched with a Sahara 4000 or similar make reel its an outfit that can land any sized estuary fish with the capability to fish lighter lures as well. The reel I spool with 20lbs Sufix Pro 8 braid and with fishing mixed coral to red bait structure if one does get snagged you often will be able to remove the lure with the heavier braid.

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My heavier outfit consists of my Terez Wax Wing which is fitted with Fuji K series guides allowing braid to flow through the guide easily in tough windy conditions. Seated to it is my Shimano Socorro 5000SW spooled with Sufix 832 braid which any angler knows who has fished it is remarkably strong braid.This outfit is used when the wind and tide is rather strong and fished with 7 to 8 inch plastics on 3/4 oz to 1oz jigs.

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Its crucial that when big fish are around to be able to present a lure to them in the right area where they would be holding and for the lure to drop into the zone through the current correctly and this outfit does that and once a hook up happens the fast action allows a good hook set and plenty of back bone allows the hook to set through any hard facial bone.
Even a 20kg plus fish with the right drag tension will be landed with in 10 to 15 minutes and larger fish who would demand more attention one can turn and lift fish towards the boat to he netted.

Best of luck with the winter fishing and be prepared for a good fish every cast.

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 Written by Chris Schoultz

Gearing Up for Summer – Gamefish & Marlin

I am a total fanatic with preparing my tackle for summer, everything must be perfect. I pay attention to every little detail and this takes time and so I already start my summer preparations in winter.

I run 3 sets of rigs 30lb, 50lb and 80lb line class each consisting of 7 rods and reels and so I start with servicing these.

GUFS Reel Ready

I always start with 1 line class and complete it, reels first, then rods and finally the line.

GUFS Winch connection

 

  • Reels are removed from the rods.
  • Each reel is opened and completely re-greased all bearings are inspected and if there are any bearings that are even in the slightest way suspect I replace them.
  • I must add that even when I buy a brand new reel, I open it, remove the seals from the bearings and grease them up properly. Removing the seals prevents water stagnating inside the bearing as it can run out.
  • I also completely strip the crank handles, clean and re-grease them thoroughly, I find that often I need to do this again mid season as I am on the water so many hours in the summer and the crank handles tend to silt up quickly.
  • Ratchets are of utmost important as for some reason these really like to silt up and so they need to be greased properly and kept clean.
  • The feet of the that go into the winch on the rod must also be cleaned and greased before they go back onto the rod as this is an area where corrosion takes place unseen.
  • Rod winches are also cleaned up properly including the threads which I clean out using a nail brush and once clean I apply a thin layer of grease.
  • My 30lb rigs have eyes and these are all thoroughly checked and replaced if needed.
  • My 50lb and 80lb rigs all have roller guides and I open each on up clean, re-grease and replace any bearings, which is often needed.
  • Again on my roller guides when I buy the rod new, I remove the seals from the bearings and grease up properly before I even use the rod.
  • Roller guides take hard punishment with salt spray when out trolling and so need to be checked after every trip.
  • I don’t like to use any of those salt removing chemicals as I find they do more damage than good, particularly that they tend to dry up grease which in turn causes bearing failure.
  • After each trip my rods and reels are washed with sunlight dish washing liquid in warm water and then sprayed with WD40 which is silicon free. DO NOT USE any spray oil that has silicon in it as the silicon leaves a thin coating which dries up and will affect all moving parts and bearings. When washing the reels I always use a nail brush to clean any silt from the crank handles and ratchets.
  • It is important to keep you reels in tip top condition as you do not want failure on that day you hook the big one.
  • Never pack rods and reels directly into their bags, let them drip dry first or they will get internal condensation which will cause corrosion.
  • When washing your reels always keep the drag up tight until they have drip dried properly and then pack them away with the drag just slightly engaged. Keeping the drag tight will prevent water getting into the and just engaging the drag when packing them away will prevent the dag washers getting distorted and prevent any dust from settling in there.
  • I remove the top shot from all my reels and replace this. Suffix IGFA Big Game is perfect for the job and will last the whole season unless you hook into a really big fish.
  • GUFS Top Shot to Braid
  • I always replace my top shot and reset my drags after a really big fish.
  • Finally once reels are assembled back onto the rods, I set the preset drags on each reel according to the line class 5kg for 15kg (30lb) line, 8kg for 24kg (50lb) line and 12kg for 37kg (80lb) line.
  • One should be checking the drag presets before each trip with a digital scale.
  • GUFS Drag Preset

 

This has worked for me for 1000s of hours on the water over many years and I can honestly say that I have never lost a fish due to tackle failure. For me this usually takes 2 months over the winter in my spare time as I have 21 rigs to prepare and I like everything to be ready and in place by 1st September each year.

Once my rigs are ready I go about checking hooks, rings, leaders etc. on all my Konas and Rapalas and replace where necessary and sharpen everything.

On sharpening of hooks, I give every lure a check and sharpen before deploying them in the water, and always after a fish. Sharp hooks set better.

Written by Mike Laubscher

 

VMC Hooks : Times of Change

When looking back at some of the fishing tackle displayed in our entertainment  area it make me relies how privileged to live in a modem world with the ability to walk into a tackle shops stocked with everything that you could wish for, the only restraint is the size of your wallet.

Whilst cleaning out and going through the remants of my late father’s garage we came across some of the tackle that both he and his father used in their days. As a boy I was told about their angling experiences of which they both enjoyed and were proud of.  One that brings back a smile was the day some 65 years ago that my uncle (Clifford Kretzmann) and late father Eddie Schmidt decided that angling was not productive enough and they wanted to dynamite the deepest hole in the river.  Both of these characters were well versed in the manufacturing of explosives as the used these skills on the farms whilst building roads and removing unwanted rocks. Once they had produced enough explosives Eddie decided to test a small quantity before loading a piece of steel pipe, this turned out to be disastrous as when igniting  the sample it in tern ignited the entire load. They promptly started all over, this time no more testing was done. Now armed with a steel pipe loaded with explosives they headed down to the Buffalo River to a pool below the Ass Voel Kranse which presently forms part of the Bridal drift dam.  It is unknown as to who lit the fuse but the explosion shook the kraanse and half the water disappeared.  Both these explosive anglers did not wait to pick carp and eel off the thorn bushes but headed for the shelter of home rather than wait for local Fort Jackson police to respond.

Kyle Schmidt’s (VMC Kid as his know to many) late grandfather Eddie Schmidt lived on a farm named High Lands with one of its boundaries been on the Buffalo River. He was a keen angler and frequented the banks of the river with his cord, bob and bamboo pole. As the story goes Kyle’s grandfather must have been very frustrated by an elusive eel that he either missed or lost a couple of times that prompted him to improvise. This is the original specimen displayed below. Note the home -made “skelm hook” made out of fencing wire.

 

1The normal hook was in this case baited with worms when a fish bit on the hook, the whole mechanism unfolded

Hook set

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Strike

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Hooked!

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From the picture above you can see a skelm hook working at its best. I can’t tell you whether he ever successfully caught his elusive specimen but his hook certainly brought a smile to many.

With many years under the belt and technology playing its part, VMC have perfected the art of manufacturing some of the greatest hooks to suite any angler and with the use of  chemically sharpened hooks we don’t have to resort to drastic measures as our for father.

Fishing to the completive angler has become a science and with all the modem equipment available to an angler’s one can now specialise in catching a specific species with a range of VMC hooks that cater for all species and events.

Yours in angling

Des Schmidt

On behalf of Kyle Schmidt PRO Angling

Storm Gomoku

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Fishing up a tiny Storm

Ever since I was a small boy, I can recall not only loving to fish, but to fish with artificials. I’ve used them all, bucktails, dropshots, plugs, spoons, jerkbaits, crankbaits, poppers, pencil baits, spinners and even fly. I’ve worked them all up to a point to where I would get a decent success rate, then I moved on to the next. I always tried to stay one ahead and be on top of my game. Like most fishermen, I developed an uncontrollable addiction for fishing, particularly spinning. There is, to me, no better feeling than getting a fish to be fooled into eating your lure. Your time and effort converted into outsmarting his natural way of life, jumping on to whatever you are presenting. We then top it off by getting some awesome photos of the specimen caught, before releasing it to fight another day.

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There is a lot of lure brands available all over the world. It is hard to say that any particular one will work better then another. Each individual has his or her favourite lure that works best in the given area. I myself have used many different makes over time and found that if worked properly, most of them will catch indeed. The difference is that some lures not only outperform others in certain areas, they do so worldwide!

One perfect example of such a lure company is the range available from Storm lures. I could go on-and-on about the many different models and will most probably do so over time, but for now I want to introduce one of my favourites, the Storm Gomoku range. Three of them in particular.

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“Storm Gomoku Pencil”

The Storm Gomoku Pencil is a 45mm top-water floating stick bait that weighs in at only 2.7grams. This lure requires a slow walk-the-dog action, twitching it with some slack in the line to allow its snake-like walking action. They work best in shallow waters where there is lots of structure, mangroves or even drop-offs. It is highly recommended to use this lure in calm waters on low or no wind days, allowing a near stealth-like disturbance on the surface. This action attracts aggressive, explosive strikes that will not be soon forgotten. Over time I found that in such conditions, water colour does not really matter, which will make this your go-to lure after heavy rains. I caught many species on this lure, but mostly the illusive Perch. So if that is the fish still needed on your species list, then you already know what’s going to happen on your next visit to your closest fishing tackle specialist.

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”Storm Gomoku Popper”

What I most enjoy about the Storm Gomoku popper is that it proved me ever so wrong. I use to believe that there was never going to be a better popper than the one I stuck to for nearly a decade, until I was out-fished by a complete first time novice! I don’t believe in beginner’s luck, so I made some effort to give them a shot at the title. Unbelievable! Storm perfected the action on something as simple as a popper, giving the mighty surface lure a slight roll, exposing the flashy sides on every twitch whilst it also allows a gentle, but cup like spray on the pop. This also allows to popper to be worked faster if needed, like times when the wind blows a bit more and water conditions is a bit rougher. This lure, like the others in the Gomoku range, is perfect for ultra-light fishing, with specs of 4cm and a weight of 3 grams. I found this lure to be eaten most by members of the powerful kingfish family. I also found fish like Oxeye Tarpon and springers making a meal of it. The best time to use this lure is from dusk until dawn. That’s right, this lure can be used long after dark, especially effective in estuaries at a drop-off on a low tide. The proof is in the pudding!

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“Storm Gomoku Minnow”

My latest overall favourite! The Storm Gomoku Minnow. This amazing ultra-light lure is a 3.5cm suspending jerkbait that weighs in at only 2 grams! I honestly believe that no matter where in the world one goes, fresh or saltwater, this lure will produce results. There is a couple of actions that could be used with the Gomoku minnow. It could be worked slowly, with an occasional twitch, allowing the jerkbait to suspend into the strike zone, mimicking the action of an injured baitfish. I’ve caught many odd species using this technique, including one of the most beautiful, also venomous fish, the Devil Fire Fish (from the lionfish family).

One could also retrieve this lure at a standard pace (like a swim bait) where it will swim with a slight rolling action witch works well on perch, salad fishes and shad. This is also the correct action to use, should the water be slightly off-colour.

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The best action to date is the proper jerkbait action. Use a little bit of a higher retrieve with a jerk and quick pause action. If the lure jumps out, then you are going slightly too fast. Using this action resulted in most of my recent success. It works better used in clear water conditions and preferable sunny days. I found that the more aggressive feeders, such as Kingfish, Queenfish and torpedo scads, preferred this action.

The real advantage of the Storm Gomoku minnow is that overall, it could be used at any location, any water conditions and any weather conditions. Making it my number one choice lure every time I wet my line. Using this range of lures, one could fish up a tiny storm…….

Written by Henry “Couta Koppie” Rowles