The Hibberdene Fishing Getaway by Kiran Ramjiawan
The Hibberdene Fishing Getaway was written for us by Kiran as he and his devout crew of shore anglers do their best over the last weekend, down on the south coast of KZN, South Africa.
Thank you Kiran!
It’s been almost seven months since our last weekend getaway and the boys and I were feeling the pressures and stresses of our jobs. We needed some rest and recharging ASAP! This time around we wanted accommodation directly on the beach to capitalise on the Shad and Garrick frenzy that has been hitting the South Coast over the past few weeks. With heavy hearts, we felt like we were betraying our Umzimkulu First Love while searching the internet for beach units down south. After countless of disappointing “sorry, we’re fully booked” speeches we almost gave up when we came across a wonderful little six sleeper in Hibberdene. Smack bang in the middle of the July school holidays, we finally beat the Joburgers to a holiday home!
After running through the tackle shop for bait and last minute supplies, Mo and I took the cool drive from Durban to Hibberdene at 10am on Friday, 8th July, with the rest of the gang trailing us by two hours. After what seemed like a ten-hour drive, we finally reached the lovely, comfortable Sea LaVie holiday home, where we kicked off our shoes on the porch and took the 10 steps down to the beach sand eagerly scanning left and right for coves and gullies on the rocky shore-break of the low tide ocean. The crystal clean waters and sand banks didn’t deter us from cracking open our tackle bags (and beverages) to kit up while the four slow-pokes were making their way to us.
When the rest of the guys finally arrived we commissioned Vish and G to the braai while Lush, Mo and I threw the first baits in the water in search of live bait to no avail – fishing was going to be slow this weekend. We decided to head back over and chill on the porch with beer and braai till the sun lowers into the evening.
After the late lunch we were properly warmed up with braai meat, beer and whiskey, but we togged up with double pants and double jackets for extra precaution, and headed to the water’s edge with the fishing rods. Mo was the first to get hit by a nice 35cm blacktail which swallowed a 4/0 kendal round hook! That one was headed straight for the pan. Half an hour later Mo gets another big blacktail and now we had plenty for tomorrow’s fish braai. After a while of peckers nibbling on our baits it all but stopped and things were dead in the darkened night until my Shimano reel started screaming in the rod holder. With the whiskey taking effect, I was slow to react but I managed to get up in the nick of time and pulled hard to set the hook and fought what seemed like a decent sized Kob in the little cove I casted the Sugar Mackerel fillet into. Mo and Lush quickly reeled their lines out to give me the best chance to land the fish – thanks guys! A few minutes later, I was battling with the fish on the steep bank of the shore when Mo screamed BLUE RAY, BLUE RAY! He pulls at the line to get the ray out of the water, and after pulling the hook and a quick measurement we safety released the 8kg beauty to fight another day. We took special care not to hold it by its nostrils or turn him over. I was happy he swam strongly away.
Amped now with the ray, we baited up again, with me trying a Sugar Mac and Chokka combo on the Mustad 6/0, we casted into the cove and waited, keeping occupied and warm with the whiskey. The biting cold weather got to Lush after a while and headed off back to the home to cheer us on from the porch, leaving the super excited Mo and I with the whiskey. Forever goes by then suddenly Mo’s rod gets a solid knock, and the Blacktail-King reels out another blacktail! While he’s unhooking his catch, my reel starts screaming again! I’m quick to action this time to set the hook on a powerhouse. The heavy head shakes felt crazy and I saw my line heading towards the rocks! It was now time to lock the drag and test my knots and biceps! After fifteen minutes of serious punishment I almost had him, with a final few turns of the reel he would be on the sand, but he had other things on his mind with a last ditch effort to escape me, he swam like hell to the rock set right on the shorebreak and that was it! The 0.90mm Maxima leader sheers on the rock and loses the fight to the mighty 16-18 kilo Kingfish! With jelly for arms I called it quits and sat a little while to keep Blacktail King company while he tried for another bite in the now empty waters of Hibberdene. The 2am hot shower and comfortable bed had me a great sleep.
At 6am the next morning my sleep breaks to Lush’s snoring and I get out of bed to catch the sunrise. I thought of trying for some Shad live bait but my now painful arms made it impossible – respect to the mighty Kingfish! After few photos of the sunrise I headed back to bed, after taking Grandpa pain killers, for an hours of rest.
After the rest and less painful arms, Mo and I headed out far-right to a rock point we spotted for some gully fishing. We managed a Karanteen and Stone Brim which we slid out for Garrick, but there were no takers. The almost gale-force winds that started forced us to retreat to the house for breakfast. The South-Wester troubled us the entire day so we chilled out a while, hoping the wind brings some colour to the water, but that wasn’t the case.
That evening turned out beautiful and still though, and we all relaxed under the stars on the sea sand, with Whiskey’s in one hand and roasted marshmellows in the other. There was a side-wash but that didn’t stop Lush trying his luck, and eventually got rewarded with a decent sized blacktail. After the evening fish braai and Sam’s awesome mushroom sauce, we headed to sleep.
On Sunday morning, I woke up early again to catch the sunrise. Mo and I went leftwards with our spinning kits rigged with Mydo lures and spoons, casing into every cove we could find. Slow, medium, fast, jerky – no technique worked. There were just no predatory fish to take the lures. We passed a section of beach with many fishermen called Shad Gully, but there too, only one or two palm-sized blacktails were caught. We decided to call it quits and went back for G’s breakfast while watching a hump back whale in the water. I really wanted to try out the Mydo lures again, remembering the awesome fight the turtle gave after smashing the realistic looking Mydo luck shot and plastic, but there’s always a next time.
Soon after, we had to pack up and leave the lovely little holiday home on the beach to head back to reality, energised and refreshed. Hibberdene fishing is beautiful and gets a thumbs up from me.