Another great Umzimkulu fishing story by Kiran Ramjiawan
Friday, 21st October, was the day we took the short journey with plenty of food, beer and a variety of bait. We booked in with our fantastic hosts Brian and Geraldine Lange, and met our friend Elvis, the always smiling river’and qualified barge skipper.
We quickly tackled up and headed down to the river, only to find that we had to wade through the water to get to the dock. The recent rainfall and the closed river mouth had risen the water to what seemed like two meters higher! We rigged up our light rods and threw Mydo Luck Shot Minis in all directions, creating chaos like only we can. We also had some fresh baits out adjacent to the reeds – sadly no takers.
By the afternoon, Ravie, a new recruit to our Umzimkulu Team, had arrived. With the river mouth closed we grabbed Elvis and his boat and headed down, docking near the third bay of the bridge. With a short wade through knee height water we were on the beach. Seaweed everywhere! I must have teared a little, but rigged up with 6/0 hooks anyway, and we sent Chokka/Red Eye Sardine belly combos flying into the ocean. After a while I reeled out the untouched bait, along with plenty seaweed, renewed and attempted to send it back in, but this time I casted an overwind on the Torium. I was furious with myself, but that’s the fishing life.
Before long Ravie was on with a decent fish. He made short work of it and out came a beautiful 5kg Kob. It swallowed the hooks so we kept him for a good meal. With a renewed bait back in the water and a few minutes of waiting, line started peeling off the Diawa Saltist BG50 at the rate of knots. This was war with a shark, but homeland won this time with the main line sheering under the extreme pressure against seaweed. We were lucky to have even hooked a shark without a cable trace anyway.
It was dark and deserted so we decided to get back to ‘headquarters’ but Elvis probably wanted us to get some exercise – the boat was stuck in sand and he instructed us to jump in the water and push it free. It took the wind out of us!
The next morning, we borrowed Sean’s cast net and threw for mullets right on the flooded river banks – we got four Salmon-bait-size ones. We kept them alive by a make-shift live bait well which we tied to the banks, keeping them for the perfect afternoon tide. After breakfast we were aboard the boat, armed with live Cracker Prawns from the Durban Harbour. It was slow and we got nothing except a tiny Kob (maybe the excessive rain water had something to do with it?). Lush released his baby Kob full of life, and Brian took us on a cruise. I could not miss the opportunity to trawl lures, so Lush and I rigged up and we took off.
I had the first strong bump on the Assassin Amia near Spillers. The Kob smashed my Luck Shot Mini but released himself a few seconds later. It was not to be my greatest fishing weekend! We caught a glimpse of gushing water flowing out of the now dredged river mouth, rapidly decreasing the water levels back to normal. On the return trip Lush’s SS spoon got smashed by a shoal sized Kob, and it was almost on the boat when it shook the hook free. What was going on this weekend???
We returned to the Marina, only to find just one of our captured live baits still alive. The water levels decreased so fast that we didn’t get back in time and the live bait well was out of the water! I ask again, what was going on with us this weekend??? At least the next best thing to live bait is a super-fresh dead mullet.
A quick dash to Lucky’s tackle in town for some shopping and back on the boat again, it was just a few of us on a boat trip. Spady, one of the resident fishing dogs, was with us standing at front waiting for mullet to jump into the boat, when all-of-a-sardine, a mullet jumped right in front of his nose and he leaped forward to catch it, falling into the water and under the boat. By the time we realised what had happened and switched the engines off, he was already about 30 meters behind us. He just took a cool swim back to the boat as if nothing major happened. The heart attacks we all had though! Fishing remained slow all afternoon through.
Sunday was our last shot at it. Ravie and I were the only ones awake so the two of us drove to Umtetweni beach for some light tackle rock fishing. We had immense fun with catch-and-release feisty blacktails in the rainy weather. We started to head back for breakfast when one the locals had a good take on the surf. He battled the Garrick left and right, and we saw this pretty nice specimen come out of the water wow! Oh wait, that was actually a bus Shad!!! I have never seen a shad that big in my life.
After breakfast the rest of the boys joined us on a trip to Oslo beach, where the water was brilliant. We were sure of fish here. Don rigged up his light tackle with Cracker Prawns and out came a baby Lesser Shark. Second throw and on with a Toby! Ravie slid a 35cm frozen mullet on cable for a shark and I sent out a fresh chokka for a Kob. We reeled out our baits intact after a while.
As luck would have it, while packing up to go back home we see chases and splashes all over in the river – the game fish had returned. We left them to get strong enough to fight us on our next trip to the beautiful and serene Umzimkulu River Marina.