Fishing Mozambique: The easiest way to distinguish between the two is that the Blue Marlin can fold it's pectoral fins right up against the marlins body, much like a yellowfin tuna, while the Black's pectorals always stick out...(c) Duarte Rato

Fishing Mozambique: Durban to Maputo to Inhaca Island waters in no time flat

Fishing Mozambique: Durban to Maputo to Inhaca Island waters in no time flat

Fishing Mozambique: The new bridge over Maputo Bay is spectacular. And features all sorts of claims like being the biggest suspension bridge in the entire southern hemisphere?! But the biggest thing for us, is that from Durban, you are straight into Mozambique and into Maputo, avoiding the old Swaziland route completely.

The border at Kosi Bay is small and reasonably not busy. The tar road connects from the South African tar to the new Maputo side road now too. 2WD all the way (not to Ponto yet though). It’s another spectacular feat as the road takes you through a game park and animals are all over – just like travelling in Botswana.

The elephant reserve is well stocked with elephant. Some are known to be in a bad mood from wartime still and many encounters have been reported. So, keep your distance if you bump into one or two.

You can either turn right at this point, which will take you meandering through ancient Africa in your strictly 4WD vehicle, to the mythical Santa Maria. Another contender for best of Mozambique, Santa Maria offers it all, even surfing if you have a boat to get to the breaks with.

BUT. It’s the fishing at this time of the year that is most exciting. Blue marlin just love the deep water out behind Inhaca Island. And it’s not far at all, if you launch from Inhaca or Santa Maria. Striped marlin and black marlin also frequent the attractive underwater features out there, sailfish too, but it’s the big Blue’s that we are after in February and March each year.

Captain Duarte Rato is down there right now, preparing for the action.

The following video is kind of what started it all. This one being of a 1000lb Blue, Mozambique’s possible first, and definitely Inhaca’s first grander blue. It was caught by Duarte and crew (angler Carl Jankowitz), way back in 2015, after Duarte insisted they would find a big blue in those waters. Which he certainly did! Unfortunately the fish tail wrapped itself and the crew were unable to revive her enough for a good release.

You can get in touch with Duarte via his highly entertaining and informative website – http://fishbazaruto.com, where Duarte keeps a log of each and every trip he does.

If Duarte is busy, drop us a line…we have some very nice boats lined up and ready to go. We also can arrange accommodation on Inhaca Island or at Santa Maria.

There is a helluva lot to do between Inhaca Island and Santa Maria. Spinning from the beach is excellent. You can chuck a bait right from the beach bars. Snorkelling is world class. Fun for everyone everyday!

Pop me an email on umzimkulu@gmail.com or WhatsApp +27 79 326 9671, anytime, and we can work something out. With self-drive Durban to Maputo, now being an option, in 2wd, and a few hours lopped off the journey, one of the main barriers to fishing Mozambique has been well and truly conquered, for Durbanites!

You can see more options by The Sardine at out Trips and Travel section.

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Drink lots of water! It could save your life!

Fishing Tip: Drinking heaps of water WILL save your life

Fishing Tip: Drinking heaps of water WILL save your life

We all know how good it feels to be drinking loads of water each day. It purifies the mind. Lubricates your body. Gives life.

And then here’s a story…

Drink water!

Avid angler from Maputo Jolito, and his girlfriend were working down on the Komati River in Maputo a few years back. Jolito had a sand mining business and was operating machines and trucks down on the banks. It’s a lovely river. Flanked by vast natural plantations of the ever-important mangrove forests. All three colours. Producing the most oxygen of all trees. And containing and bolstering against flood waters, when they come.

Jolito was working away, sitting on the verandah of his little office. It was a raised platform that Jolito could use to watch over his operations. He drank a lot of water out there in the heat. Bottled water. The 1.25 litre size we all drink. And he never threw one empty bottle away, ever. He had quite a pile in his office always.

The weather had been otherwise down at the coast that day, but upriver, inland, in the catchment area, there had been a tropical downpour. A deluge. And all this water was now reaching the bottleneck of the lower Komati estuary system. The bottleneck was reinforced by the staunch roots of the mangroves. Built to withstand any water, fight the floods, and to preserve the banks.

Jolito heard the water first. A distant roar. He had been watching the river rising all day, but nothing could prepare him for what the roar turned out to be. It came around the corner like a broken wave. A huge rapid in reverse. He screamed warning at his TLB operator right out on the sandbank. He shouted to the truck drivers to get out of there, thinking that up on his perch, he and his girlfriend would be safe.

Adrenalin kicks in!

Then amazingly quickly – the maelstrom-like wave of floodwater hit. Jolito thought his platform would hold, but as the flood raged up towards him, the platform started to list. It was not a mangrove tree and had scanty foundations. When it got to 15 degrees, Jolito’s brain kicked and screamed with adrenalin. Something he had seen on a Behr Grihl survival show! He grabbed his girlfriend, and started forcing the empty but closed water bottles into her clothes. And then his. Down their jeans. Into their zipped up jackets until they looked like Michelin man impersonators.

Jolito turned to watch his TLB and operator get swept away by the torrent, neither to be seen again, ever. The trucks just escaped, floodwater swirling at their wheels.

As the platform and it’s dainty little super structure toppled, Jolito and his brave girl jumped. Into the raging river. Where no-one wants to be, ever. Raging flood water. African style!

But the bottles saved them both. Saved their lives. With all credit to Behr Grihls, the lucky couple made the bank five kilometres down towards the sea. And almost where they would have been swept out for good!

And so…

Drink more water.

Never throw plastic bottles away.

They could save your life.


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If you would like to visit the Maputo area, and fish, surf or dive with us, get in touch on umzimkulu@gmail.com. We have many cool options for you. And we would not advise that you try Maputo on your own, if you don’t have any experience in that mad town.


 

Underwater Africa Ocean Observatory

Underwater Observatory in Mozambique by Calum Murie

Underwater Observatory in Mozambique by Calum Murie

Calum Murie, when he’s not out catching and tagging huge sharks for science, can be found deploying underwater observatory style camera rigs, all over Mozambique.

Calum and his band of volunteers at Underwater Africa designed this simple but effective underwater observatory camera rig – with bait and all!

The Morey Eels love being on camera, and literally dominate the entire show, whenever Calum and crew deploy their rigs. Up in Bazaruto and Benguerra Island two huge Moreys spent literally hours trying to figure out how to get at the free bait.

Without revealing too much, you can look forward to literally hundreds of fish and other marine animals in this particularly well edited clip. Soundtrack too!

The underwater observatory work that Calum is doing up here, is the first of it’s type here in Mozambique.

You can look forward to more of Calum and crew’s phenomenal work as they perfect the art of deploying an underwater observatory in Inhambane waters. His work is constantly being refined and the cameras can now stay down longer and film more. Having developed a crew that understands the value of the results and how important it is to deploy perfectly every time, is what is producing these results.

You can learn more about Underwater Africa and their research work going on in Praia do Tofo, where they are based. Their shark tagging program has been a great success. The Sardine crew have been assisting and getting right involved. Sonar tagging Zambezi sharks, and Copper Sharks, the data is being used to formulate a plan to reduce shark and human encounters up and down this coast. The spate of shark attacks that occurred up the Inhambane Estuary towards Morrumbuene is what kicked off the project. Listening stations are deployed along the entire East Coast of Southern Africa, and record when a tagged sharks swims past.

Ultimately, proving that Zambezi (and the other usual suspects) sharks are not wanderers, that they stay on their pieces of reef and ocean, is what can lead to measures, to curb the attacks.

If you are interested in this kind of activity and you have some time on your hands, please get in touch. We need help tagging these sharks up here, it’s not easy work, and it can be dangerous too.

Accommodation is rustic luxury and we have many boats to choose from for when we go out tagging sharks.

The Sardine is also facilitating tag and release programs for gamefish. Billfish included. But mainly targeting high value data fish that are in jeopardy and nobody has any data on them. You can see more of The Sardine’s adventure options by clicking here.

Get in touch with Sean on umzimkulu@gmail.com or WhatsApp +27 79 326 9671, anytime.

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Here is a little baby marlin being released in the beginning of last year’s (2018) season…off Benguerra Island, with Jason Morkel on the rod, and Sean Lange on the trace.

Inhaca Island-1000lb-Blue-M

1000lb Blue Marlin off Inhaca Island

1000lb Blue Marlin off Inhaca Island

1000lb Blue Marlin off Inhaca Island: Mozambiques first reported Blue Marlin weighing over a thousand pounds was taken recently. Captain Duarte Rato of FishBazaruto has been offering marlin fishing experiences, down off Inhaca Island, for the month of March of each year. This is the time the big blues make an appearance in good numbers in these wild waters.

Carl Jankowitz, who got a grander black last year too, off Bazaruto, was in the hotseat. But his years of experience in the chair and fishing with Duarte paid off, and his second grander came to the boat. Unfortunately, after 2 hours, the fish was tail wrapped, couldn’t move, and died on the disappointed crew. Who tag and release all billfish normally.

Also featuring in the video, is the hectic launch at Santa Maria. Between Inhaca Island and Santa Maria, it gets wild. Known as Hell’s Gate, this place is really mean in any swell, and is to be feared by most! But the excellent boat handling by the Captain of the good ship FourPlay, hops the crew through safely and out into the ocean.

Duarte tags and releases hundreds of billfish. He works with international partners who collate the data and formulate billfish management strategies worldwide. His tagging and DNA sampling that he does, is invaluable to these decision and policy makers.

April sees Duarte and the FishBazaruto crew back on Bazaruto Island, where he has an appointment or two with the seasonal striped marlin and sailfish, that will be runninng through those crazy waters any time now. Black marlin are still encountered in April, but mainly they are quite small. In fact, very small. Saltwater fly fishers absolute dream, as these baby blacks take to the skies with far more energy and speed than their parents. They are aggressive and take anything you throw at them. Such performances!

So whatever is on your menu? Billfish of all species and sizes. Seasonal appearances mean you can literally target the bill you are after, be it a sail, a stripe, a black or a blue. And in between an endless ruccous of ratchets screaming as the myriad of gamefish try compete with the bills for attention.

If this is your game, get in touch with Duarte via http://fishbazaruto.com, where you can see the many options available, as we tailor make your ultimate fishing experience.

More on FishBazaruto.com here.

More fishing experiences and options here.

 

Maputo: old and new

Maputo: old and new

When I first drove into Maputo, in 1991, I was astounded.

It was bigger then than Pretoria was at the time!

The skyline grew into the clouds as we got closer, the buildings were so impressive from far. But when we got close we saw the destruction wrought. It was chaos. The holes in the road (don’t read potholes), could have fit our whole car in! And hardly anyone had clothes. I am not joking. Rags.

And then there were the AK47’s. Everyone had one. And no uniforms. So we never knew who we were giving our money to!

But come into Maputo today…

The new bridge to Catembe, a year or so away from completion, completely takes over the skyline. The buildings have all been brought back into operation of sorts (some have no lifts still, to ten floors or more – cheap rent). But it’s the new buildings that are just to gawdily over impressive.

This gallery is an attempt to balance the old and the new…in a town that is growing and growing, in so many aspects. Commerce. Tourism. Manufacturing. Farming. Crime. Corruption. Yes, watch out. As with every boom town, the criminals are there. Petty, blue and white collar, and sometimes violent. My dear friend was recently violently mugged of her cellphone on the way home from theatre at night. And it’s on the up, so please, take every precaution. Especially with the uniformed sort. They are well known to plant something on your for extortion purposes. And having watched enough western movies, are quite good at what they do.

But staying positive, Maputo is growing into a cultural centre where many races and creeds live together, and prosper. Hence the gallery, which stems from the nostalgic feeling I get, driving past the old LM Radio building, the grand theatres downtown, the stone warehouses on the foreshore, the colonial grandeur in the old administration buildings…and the quaintly adorned streets and roads.

Trees everywhere.

A beautiful African city.