21 July Sardine Report 2019

21 July Sardine Report 2019

It’s been another cracking sardine season for the sardine run operators down in the Transkei and Natal. These guys have encountered bait balls daily and have been getting some spectacular video material, which we will get to see soon enough.

To make sure we are on top of things, we headed south on sardine patrol, and have the following to report.

July Sardine Report 2019

Port St Johns

Arriving in Port St Johns, we could already feel the buzz. The Umzimvubu was looking delightfully clean and there were boats everywhere. Anglers anchored in the channels, we saw one guy boat a 12kg class Garrick and a little Kob. Sardine safari boats moored at the line of jetties, all prepared for the mornings adventures.

We visited Offshore Africa down on the river, who run sardine run trips for two months through the season. Rob Nettleton and Debbie Smith (The Shark Lady), the operators, live in Port St. Johns and are consummate professionals in what they do. They chuck you right in with the sardines and sharks!

Chatting to Richie O’Connell who leads one of the boats, “You don’t even need a baitball to find and swim with sharks. They’re everywhere!”.

Rob showed me some of this year’s footage, the cameras are dressed up with much better and wider lenses making it possible to really capture all that is going on down there. Stay posted for this material when it comes out, it is truly work of underwater art.

Through the three days we spent scouring the views around Port St. Johns, we saw lots birds running south still. Some just sitting on the water too full to fly. And the odd dive bomber as sporadic shoals moved through under the surface. But the sardine spotters travelled north and south and every day out they have jumped in with sardines. Rob was on day 33!


Great views and nice swells greeted us here. But again, we never saw any real hot action from the shore. Lots of birds. Oil slicks from previous sorties. Crystal clear water. Very fishy looking.

21 July Sardine Report 2019
21 July Sardine Report 2019

Coffee Bay

We stayed at the pretty Coffee Shack where they installed us in the King’s House. A delightful cottage overlooking the entire bay flanked by the Sugarloaf and the Mbomvu point. Four delicious shad for breakfast.

The action was absolutely wild!

Shoals of sardines were being driven to the surface. Mainly it was dolphins but we also saw sharks breaching and some outsized yellowfin tuna. The gannets were raining down like bombs. And this was just the first shoal. They just kept coming through sporadically throughout the entire day. The huge waves, well ok 2 to 3m, were kind of keeping the action on the backline and only one occasion did they come right into the white water where they were obliterated.


When we came over the hill, the vista was unexpected. Waves were reeling down the point, the sand was connecting across the entire bay! There were a bunch of guys on it but the waves were plentiful and everyone was mellow.

There were birds diving and some dolphins were hunting but the water never smelled fishy and the surf continued even better the next day. When a fabulous Berg wind kicked mid-morning and painted the prettiest surfing picture I have seen for a while. Then the huge west that is currently blowing a gale at about 40 knots hit hard and so we moved on to the other side of the river to Freedom O’ Clock to catch up a bit.

And we got to throw a little video together quick…

Grow our channel with us!


Get in touch via umzimkulu@gmail.com if you would like to join us for The Sardine Run next year.

Catch us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/thesardine.co.za/

Post by http://thesardine.co.za

shark and sardine chaos

Shark and Sardine Chaos with Offshore Africa sardine run 2018

Shark and Sardine Chaos with Offshore Africa

Shark and Sardine Chaos with Offshore Africa: Rob Nettleton and Debbie Smith (aka The Shark Lady), are the team that head up Offshore Africa Port St. Johns…and this is their specialty…the chaos of the Sardine Run.

The sharks kind of dominate but you can’t really be sure as hundreds of marine animals vie for top dog spot. The gannets are just like fighter jets as they swoop down on their enemy and blast them to pieces. They don’t just shoot one either, they can dog fight with the best…turning and veering and swerving…destroying the enemy.

The dolphins are so fast that Rob had to slow the video down in some places. And the seals! Well they seem to be the most aggressive!

Enjoy the video, it plays in up to 480p quality…

Bookings for The Sardine Run 2018, with all it’s shark and sardine action…are open now.

Head on over to Offshore Africa’s website, for more crazy imagery and action…and to get in touch.


Visit Offshore Africa on Facebook at…


Post prepped by The Sardine News

Visit us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/thesardine.co.za/

Some imagery from previous sardine runs with Offshore Africa…

Get in touch with Rob and Debbie to plan your Sardine Run 2018 adventure…




The enchanted entrance to The Jungle Monkey in Port St. Johns

Things are swinging again at Jungle Monkey in PSJ!

Things are swinging again at Jungle Monkey in PSJ!

After a devastating fire that literally ate the Monkey whole last year, the new Jungle Monkey is born. Many buckets of effort and lots of thought have produced an airy new vibe with views near to 360. Glass and local material have been blended atrium style. With different levels and chilling zones spread out all over  – it’s also gonna be the ultimate party venue all over again.


Take a hike out the back off Port St. Johns to find a bit of real African magic.

Take a hike out the back off Port St. Johns to find a bit of real African magic.

Port St. Johns (PSJ as it’s affectionately called by locals), is a very interesting place. Steeped in old timer stories, this was and still is, the wild west of Africa. Planted at the base of a magnificent chasm of rock on a huge African river mouth, tales of shipwrecks, tribal factions and war, political unrest and social turmoil are behind every rock. It’s wild! Wild enough to be graced as the epi-centre of the Transkei “Wild Coast”.


And it’s out here on the edge, that real rewards are to be found. Indelible sunrises. Trippy cloud formations. Views that put you in an aeroplane. Hikes that will make you lost in a real good way. Much of the surrounds of PSJ are still completely untouched. Almost impossible to access. This is where Jungle Monkey can hook you up with the very best local tour operators.

Going into the wild accompanied by a local guide – just ask at reception. It’s real affordable and so much fun when you have a connection to the community through the guide. Do not ever go alone! Local knowledge is crucial anywhere in Africa.

Out to sea in the annual sardine run to swim with sharks and all sorts? Click on over to Offshore Port St. Johns (http://offshoreportstjohns.com). These guys have been in PSJ for ages, and have a wealth of experience in these waters, and vested in the activities they do. Completely safe, well, errr – “Keep your arms tucked in!” is one of my favourites! But it is the biggest shoal on earth and David Attenborough loved the spectacle. Bryde’s Whale is another favourite sighting – but I’m sure that’s the one got Jonah by mistake! Dolphins are the most plentiful, and all the animals in the water with you, are far too focused on the sardines to be a real threat. The sharks are just gorging themselves and the whole lot of them actually work together. Even the birds! Gannets become underwater fighter planes as they zap down from the sky using all their momentum to get as deep as they can, and then start swimming around between the sharks and dophins nailing plenty sardines in one sortie.


SeaCandyMedia by Anthony Kobrowisky

SeaCandyMedia by Anthony Kobrowisky

Then when that store of adrenalin runs out after the season in August, Offshore can be seen bobbing up and down the wild Umzimvubu on Bobalong – on their huge party boat. It’s so big it even has a bathroom at the back. Music. Chairs and tables?! Ask at Jungle Monkey reception to hook you up with a sunset booze cruise or a champagne breakfast. It’s also the time when some of the Offshore team head out to other waters to swim with sharks. If you are this crazy then Diving with Sharks can get you in with tigers, zambezis, hammers – even a white if you ask nicely! http://divingwithsharks.co.za is where you get your toes properly wet.


And now we can finally mention the fishing. Jungle Monkey is 200 metres from the favourite kob and garrick spinning spot – under the cliff as the river pours in from the sea at the incoming high tide, and fills the deep basin a cast away. It would be called catching if we caught every time. And would become down right boring. But if you really want to raise your chances of encountering your trophy fish, come to PSJ. We practise catch and release. But if you get a nice shad on your spoon, bring it home! Licenses and restrictions apply, if you’re new to the game!


You only need to catch one of these magnificent fish - in your whole life!

You only need to catch one of these magnificent fish – in your whole life! This fish caught just out front of Jungle Monkey – the Rasta Priests from Ethiopia staying here at the time, were eveer so slightly impressed!

The most fun is to have a medium spinning stick with casting braid, and a Mydo Luck Shot or SS Spoon. Weighing in from 0.7 Ounces up to 3, choose your weapon that works best with your rod. Then work out your retrieve to mimic whatever baitfish are around (usually mullet or sardine), and cast to the horizon. Nothing will prepare you for when that garrick, or two or three of them charge in at your lure, turning away at the very last moment. Metres from where you are standing. This can go on over and over – you got to change your retrieve, change the tempo – until bang! Eish these garrick are much bigger in this area too. Real dogfighters as they jam you left and right and up and down the rocks.


And that’s just the garrick! Wait til you spot a shoal of huge daga salmon, or kob as they are known further south. Spawning in the estuary. 30kgs plus. So many of them. But they will not bite whilst so preoccupied with the job at hand. In full view they loll and flop around eachother in a cloud of white. A miracle to see. Then straight after, they belt it back out to sea, and this is when they are so vulnerable. To replace spent energy they must feed, and feed fast. Stories of absolute slaughter are recorded each year. You can do your bit by returning your fish. And reporting anyone who takes more than their allowed two. DAFF details can be clicked here.

Unfortunately swimming and surfing is a big no-no anywhere around PSJ. This is where you come to encounter sharks,  prepared for them and under the protection of your team – and on some of your terms at least. Not flailing about or paddling and splashing right where every Zambezi in the local ecology has to swim past to get into the river. They go up far to drop pups. Little zambezis that become huge zambezis. And they all live in the area. The real locals. The great news for swimmers is that there are whispers that the long overdue tidal pool at 2nd beach (between Shark Point and Shark Point), is gonna be built soonish. Africa time. Surfers just go somewhere else rather or come with a Shark Shield at least. Jet ski or boat another requirement. Coffee Bay a little further on has a mild reputation for safe surfing and periodic good waves.

Jungle Monkey puts you right in the middle of all this action. It’s well serviced and has cheerful staff always ready with a huge smile. There are many accommodation options. Singles, doubles, dorms, chalets…the place is actually huge. And a fantastic kitchen producing a delicious menu. African fusion? Veg meals too.

There you have it. Sitting atop a little hill. Overlooking the ocean out front, and up the mountains out back. Enjoying a meal from the excellent new kitchen (fire-proof). A golden coldie. And…

Adrenalin on tap.

You can read a bunch of fishy and other types of tales from the Port St. Johns waters, by clicking here…http://thesardine.co.za/?s=port+st+johns

And a cool gallery…

And to get to Jungle Monkey…

Or get in touch at their website http://junglemonkey.co.za


Trawler Watch 2017: Fishing Trawler spotted trawling at Mdumbi!

Trawler Watch 2017 reporting procedure

Trawler Watch 2017 reporting procedure

We are now in touch with the right people – Senior Marine Conservation Inspectors with DAFF, to whom any sightings of suspected trawlers, can be reported.

But there is some procedure to follow, that filters out any legitimate vessels.

SO, when you see a suspected trawler…

  1. Log onto http://marinetraffic.com on the internet, or onto your AIS cellphone App. Click here to choose one if you need one still.
  2. Locate the area where your suspect ship is, and see if there a corresponding ship icon, for your suspect
  3. If there is no AIS icon visible, please report to…
  •  The DAFF vessel operating in that area – The Ruth First, is in the area off the Transkei, where most of the suspect activity has been noted lately. Their number is 079 773 6514 and Inspector Teyise is on board right now.
  • Our contacts, Senior Marine Conservation Inspector Mr. Bongani Pitoyi is on 071 765 2533, and is extremely helpful.
  • Another number you can call is deputy director Mr Moshani on 076 780 5049.

SO, please keep your eyes on your horizon, and help us iron out what is actually going on out there.

On Trawler Watch 2017!

EXTRA: Check the following video documentary, to see how much mechanisation is used by commercial fishing trawlers…slow and shaky, but you get the picture fair enough. And it is in Iceland. But the same technology can be deployed against fish anywhere in the world. Including our waters. And why we need to be on the lookout. Next thing we buying our own mackerel and sardines in tins marked Made in China!

Latest sardine report has recently been published here…http://thesardine.co.za

Trawler Watch 2017: Fishing Trawler spotted trawling at Mdumbi!

Trawler spotted trawling at Mdumbi!

Trawler spotted trawling at Mdumbi!

Our deep undercover sardine spy Robbie van Wijk reports of an alleged trawler spotted trawling at Mdumbi just yesterday! Could this be one of the three “legal” ships (Japanese with permits from the totally ineffectual DAFF), that have been spotted up and down all over? Robbie just has this photo for proof.

Fishing Trawler spotted trawling at Mdumbi!

Fishing Trawler spotted trawling at Mdumbi!

The trawler had nets out and was heading NE, at trawling speed!

Targeting sardines no doubt! But imagine the destruction they are causing to the reefs and eco-system! Trawls carry the most destructive fishing equipment known to man. And are illegal in most places. They are most likely purse seine fishing, but still – WHOSE FISH ARE THEY?! The Japanese’? And who is policing their methods?

And there is more, when I contact DAFF (Department of Forestry and Fisheries or whatever), they could NOT TELL ME WHERE TO REPORT this type of suspicious activity!

We checked the AIS system (a global map of every legitimate ship on the planet – please check it out at http://marinetraffic.com – such important information to cross reference with), only to find that the “legal” Japanese KOEI MARU No. 1 was in fact off Durban. And the only other boats in the area where Robbie spotted the trawler, are a patrol boat (weirdly enough – full of gunmen as reported by AIS – could be the Sarah Baardman – hopefully), and another unpurposed one, as far as AIS is fed this information. The MSC Rania (not guilty of anything I assure), was the only other vessel reporting itself, for hundreds of miles up and down.

So, a ship without it’s AIS system on. That surely is a guilty ship.

It was a very ironic post that Robbie made from Mdumbi last year this time. It says it all in one photograph. How far did these “South African” sardines travel, before going on sale, back where they came from? I know Lucky Star is a local brand, but are they catching these fish? Is this their boat? Then why the Japanese and Chinese boats? With permits? From our very own DAFF?! (DOFF).

Lucky Star South African Sardines spotted off Umzumbe

Lucky Star South African Sardines spotted off Umdumbi

I have been receiving offers for fresh frozen sardines in my inbox (someone spammed me with a subscription to this seafood industry bunch, so I play along, to keep getting the info), way before the sardine season even though of starting. In fact back in January and February were my first emails received – selling by the tonne!

Enjoy the read…

Dear Sir,

Good morning.

We now have several containers’ products coming soon, please kindly advise, thanks.

#15 Frozen Seafood Mix

Ingredients: Squid Rings/ Tentacles/ Strips/Cut/Head, Octopus Cut/Strip, Baby Octopus, Mussels meat, Shrimps, etc.

Glazing: 0-20%, Package: 24 *1 lb.

#1 Sardine 6-10 pcs/kg Market / Bait

Product Name: Frozen W/R Sardine for Market / Bait purpose

Specification: 6-10 pcs/kg, BQF, Light Purse Seine, Land Frozen

#2 Sardine 6-10 pcs/kg Canning

Product Name: Frozen W/R Sardine for Canning purpose

Specification: 6-10 pcs/kg, BQF, Trawl, Land Frozen

#3 Scad (Horse Mackerel) 8-10 pcs/kg Market

Product Name: Frozen W/R Scad (Horse Mackerel) for Market purpose

Specification: 8-10 pcs/kg, BQF, Light Purse Seine, Land Frozen

Kindly let us know the name of your destination port. More products information including pictures and price will be sent according to your respond.

Thanks and warmly regards.

I accept that most of this seafood is likely not from our waters. But who is to tell?

And a few more pics of Mdumbi, by Robbie van Wijk, showing the beauty of the place’s waters that we need to protect from exploitation by few, against the will of the public whole. One shot featuring the Sarah Baardman on patrol, about a month back. That is one mean boat and they would know about every ship for a thousand miles around, just with their own equipment, let alone AIS. So hopefully they have their orders to chase and apprehend, as they did last year, with three captures out of nine reported incursions, by foreign vessels. Or are they just on parade?

Ok, but there is something we can do. Since we are the culprits in the first place.

Yes, it’s us.

The buyers of canned fish. We pay for those ships. We pay those politicians their bribes. We pay for the destruction. We even pay for the Sarah Baardman, through taxes! We are paying for both sides?!

And only we can stop the mayhem. By not buying tinned fish. Ever again. No sardines. No tuna. No mackerel. No Anchovies. Etc…

Take the power back!

You would be doing so much good, on so many levels.