Dig Dig Dig - Push harder - push harder, GO GO GO!!! Right, walk along and I'll meet
you at the next point we get stuck!
Fishing on a Piece of coast that is so wild and beautiful has its ups and downs and
getting the boat to the launching point was the only down, even took us 3 hours one
morning but that didn't matter cause I wasn't stuck in the traffic on my way to work,
I was stuck in golden sand that I knew we would get out off and going to pull in
fish after fish and pound after pound of the 20 LB beauties that awaited us each
day. A day in heaven - no... 11 of em.
The drive to the camp was 12 hours from Johannesburg into Mozambique through one
of the most interesting border crossings I have experienced in my life. I don't often
go on trips that I pack 2 wallets - One containing money we are happy to loose to
bribes and one we are happy not to, hidden away. But this is all good as by exchanging
30 quid we were all millionaires in the local currency. Getting stopped by the local
cops 3 times there and 4 times on our way back is all part of the experience and
having your papers in order and your ducks in a row is a good way to actually enjoy
the experience, We crossed the 4X4 only sign and covered the last 10KM in the beautiful
red setting of an African sunset and arrived at our camp in the dark. Unpacked, fueled
up and got the boat ready for the morning. A couple beers and hot Braai'd chops was
the best bed time story I ever heard.....
Ready, Ready, Ready - Inline Now - GO GO GO ! Hold on ! Go Right, Right ! Full Taps,
Give it power!! Hold on! hold on ! EEERRMMMMMMMMM, Bang! Right, go left, we passed
the rocks - 45', Run, Run ! Give it Power ! Power! We out and High 5's all round.
I'm completely aware that that all sounds crazy but let me tell you that is very
fitting. Launching a boat through a sea that's still a little cheesed off from the
last storm when there's only one 30 meter gap in the reef is crazy too, but I love
it. Something about the childish adrenaline flowing through every inch of you.
We took our life jackets off and got the boat and ourselves comfortable for the 20
minute drive out to the reef 16km off the shore. The water depth comes up from 50meters
to 32 and the engines are cut. We have arrived.
Time to cast out, with my very under gunned 10 weight, as far as possible and strip
off the 40 meters of 500 grain super sinker attached to a giant lead clouser topped
with 1x short 50lb wire tippet the wind pushes the boat over the cast as it sinks
and you watch the loose coils of line tightening as they sink to the depths of blue
water that holds who knows what. The line goes straight meaning time to bring it
all back. Now i hear you gotta strip these things back like lightning is trying to
bite the olly off it and I would love to tell you exactly how I was stripping but
I have no idea how I was stripping as the next 20 minutes of my life would turn me
into a dithering mess and force me to completely forget that little detail. BANG
! DAD.... something just grabbed this and I don't think its happy about it. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
was all I heard for a while and backing leaving me for another place was all I saw.
I thought I had foul hooked a whale. My dad thought he would comment "Is that rod
supposed to bend like that?". It gave me a break and I got some line back on it but
still no fly line in sight, it then took the precious line I had just got on the
reel back again and a bit extra for luck. It was now that I was seeing my backing
knot come apart 100 times over but it was not to be. My backing knot held and I finally
saw my prize. Fishing like this with this sort of tackle was a first for me. I've
been deep sea fishing since I was 8 years old and have had many arm wrenching fights
but my first saltwater fish on a fly, just showed its head as the most beautiful
20lb Bonito I have ever seen and gave me the best battle I had ever had.
A few more casts and conditions changed forcing us to turn to trawling rapala's and
halco's, which was fine with me as take after take would signal the start of what
was to be the holiday dreams are made of. Well, for a fishing addicted nut like me
pulling in fish after fish that the norm weigh over 10kgs is a dream and a damn good
I'm standing staring at the 12 foot waves crashing over the reef from the deck of
our little log cabin on the beach. Coffee's and teas all round and a few rusks. My
belly still full from the wicked fresh king mackerel glazed in apricot and melted
butter on the braai(BBQ- in South African speak). It's 5:50am and the Lets go call
is given. Cups are left in there places and beds not made but we hooking on the boat
and heading for the beach. Wondering if our luck yesterday was a fluke. 4 cuta and
a Bonito already to the boat in a short session the day before and more released.
What would today bring? To start with stuck in the sand a bit longer... no rain,
neap tide and temperatures approaching 35' were not helping the sand get any harder.
Another great launch and we heading for the reef. We got within 800meters and decided
to put out some Halco's and Rapalas.
The bow of the boat met the reef and Bang! FISH ON ! FISH ON! By the time we managed
to wrench the rod out the rod holder the line went slack - Dam! Oh well it's not
called catching. We put them out again and the next pass and again Bang! this time
A beauty, a Cuta of 30lb and some hefty daggers for teeth. It has to be said that
these guys deserve respect and caution when handling. Too much enthusiasm and trying
to rush getting the hook out and the first aid kit is spread all over the boat and
we are trying to put my finger back together.
This is why I love being out at sea, the experiences and events that happen from
nowhere are incredible, while sorting the lines out I noticed out of the corner of
my eye a dark shadow growing rapidly just a few meters from the boat and a Manta
ray with a wing span of around 8 meters tipped the surface and glided around the
boat scooping the plankton into its gaping mouth and disappeared back to the depths
of which it came. There are monsters out there all hidden beneath the vale of crystal
blue. What else would visit us on our trip and mostly I wondered what was swimming
underneath us during the day. I was not about to go for a quick dip. 5 Cuta and some
missed takes was the tally for the day and only one was under 10kg's this is some
of the best game fishing I've ever had.
One thing that has really shocked me is how much energy the fly line carries. When
these guys hit the flies and run ; the fly line around your feet shoots in the air
then flies through the rings. I fully understand why its so important to stay focused
on where your line, fingers and toes are and to keep your legs wide apart before
you start stripping. Its nerve racking when you fly is sinking down and you have
a birds nest tangle you're trying to get undone in a panic, knowing full well that
at any moment a 30lb GT could grab the fly. This did happen to me although I have
no idea if it was Tuna a cuta a trevally or any of the giants that were around but
it was close to a broken rod and fingers, I am very glad the hook wasn't set well
and pulled out otherwise fishing might have been over for the trip.
The time was against us and we headed for home. Some good old hectic labor to get
the boat on in what can only be described as very close to sinking sand laid way
to some of the best tasting cold lager that has ever passed my lips. More fresh fish,
good old Boereworse and chops with the unbeatable taste of African Braai, a few too
many Rum's and we climbed into our mosquito nets and fell asleep to thoughts of screaming
reels and monsters of the deep.
Staring at the sun's rays stabbing right through the bright blue surface of the sea,
glancing back over my shoulder and thinking about every bite and fish out there.
The wake of the boat leaves what looks like a perfect trail for miles behind us.
I'm never happier than at times like these, on a boat at sea in perfect conditions.
I couldn't ask for a better passion or hobby although I must say I take it a lot
more seriously than a hobby.
Last night we found out a boat had hit up on a sailfish of over 30kg's on a Rapala!!
The water temp was 28C (yes, that is warmer than summer over here) We knew what we
were going to do and the sight of flying fish leaping into the air and gliding along
the curve of the swell was a very good sign. We dropped the lures over the side and
pulled them slowly as we set up the teasers. We were going for sailfish, this is
the wrong time of year for them but with water this warm and the conditions right
we weren't going to go home saying we should have done. Just before we killed the
motor to set out the rigs the ratchet started to go and my favourite rod (a very
light 10lb rod) was bent almost to the water edge. I could see the sheer force of
the fish jamming the rod into the holder.
Anyone who has fished for big game fish before knows there's a big difference when
a ratchet goes like this, the water flying off the reel, the line being taken like
a rocket, and that sound, that awesome sound. Some quick acceleration to set the
hook and now to get that rod out the holder - Yeah right! Never saw that fish and
got no tackle back. Why the line broke who knows, could have been a giant Mako Shark
- maybe a sailfish, maybe (but I doubt it) a big, big Tuna, maybe hell maybe a giant
Wahoo but I can assure you that even if it had jumped clean out the water, the amount
of line that thing had taken in those few seconds, it would have been too far away
The guys put some baits down and picked up the fly. Cast, wait, wait and strip back,
Bang Bang Bang - God I love this.
Shouts of “I'm in” all over the place, this is great fishing.
I was staring into the water and noticed a fish swim under the boat and after the
fly I had just lifted out, at first I thought it was a small Reef Shark but then
I got a better look. It was a fish I had only seen before diving with some sharks
off the SA coast. It was a Remora and was usually stuck to the body of the sharks.
Never seen one this big before and this became a huge learning curve to me - I was
sight casting to them but couldn't get a hook up. He would shoot after it, open his
mouth, but turn away at the last moment or bump the fly with it’s nose. I started
to change flies, trying to find the right movement to force that take. A crap pattern
gave the most interesting response, it actually seemed to drive the fish mad with
confusion. It was swinging round it like it was possessed, but wouldn't put the fly
in it’s mouth. Eventually it was a Clouser like pattern we call a Dogs Breakfast
that did the damage. Hit and Yes I lifted into the solid feeling that says fish definitely
on. Very weird fight, the fish would not come up but wouldn't swim away from the
boat, I'm assuming the fish thought the boat was it's new host but negative ghost
rider, it finally worked out the boat wasn't it's friend and shot off to the depths.
Got some great photos and quickly released the fish. The skin felt like velvet and
the fish was fascinating. I hope you enjoy the photo's....