Lockdown 2020 Fishing Report and other stories
Lockdown 2020 Fishing Report: some people are allowed to fish!
As it turned out – some lucky fish are allowed to fish!
This from the powers-that-be…
“My response below remains the same. The only persons allowed to fish in KZN are registered commercial fishers with long terms rights and recognized and registered small-scale fishing cooperatives who have been allocated small-scale fishing rights. No one is allowed to fish on a recreational permit during lockdown
I cannot make this any clearer“
Reply from Acting Deputy Director Sea Fisheries Sue Middleton . Just for info! This was as a result of an enquiry forwarded to DAFF of issues as clarified in her response!
And so…with that cleared up…
Other lucky anglers who are able to fish are those who are fortunate enough to be living at a place where fishing out front of their house or apartment is possible. Richards Bay and a few places in the Cape come to mind.
Up in Mozambique licensed boats are also allowed out there, and you can see a magnificent day’s light tackle fishing with Captain Duarte Rato and his boys right here…
And so then there are the commercial and semi-commercial deep-deep sea fishing boats here in South Africa, this one in Shelley Beach to be exact…
The fish that really brought this report about, is the featured fish – a 40 kg couta, taken out of Shelley Beach yesterday! Darren, of the Poole family, who have been fishing commercially down on the KZN South Coast since the 1980’s features as top weight this time! Glen, the old man now, is renowned for his penchant for wafty mono-hulls. Centre consoles. That ride really well and we can always spot Glen and crew for miles bow up as they ride back up against the current for another drift across Protea drifting for yellowfin. Or couta!
More details of this fish will follow but in the meantime it’s the biggest of the year so far. In what has turned out to be some kind of yearly hunt for the out-sized king mackerel that visit this time of the year. In KZN waters.
These are really big fish – we are talking 30kg’s and up. And they are here to breed. Which is another reason this virus can definitely be seen as mother nature at work. At least these breeding fish, that normally get hammered each year, will also be getting a break and next years fish should, or could be a lot more plentiful. And the big ones who escaped the traces this year will be one year older and bigger too next year!
This breeding pattern of these fish is observable, but also really difficult to explain. Since the prevailing currents winds it non-stop down to the cold south. Theoretically taking the spawn and then larvae with it. To the chilly Cape waters. Well also, nutrient-rich Cape waters.
So, perhaps, the tiny fishies, make it to the surf zone and estuaries as fry (as the scientists attest), where there is a reverse current, heading northwards. Perhaps this is how they make their way up into the Mozambique waters, where is there is a lot of bait, and one year later, they are just about catchable (1-2kgs). And would have made their way all the way up to Somalia and beyond. Where small couta are plentiful. 90% if the couta caught there are tiny.
What a mystery!? In an attempt to unravel it…some science…
King Mackerel growth and life cycle
Female king mackerel get bigger than males, as is the case with most fish. But not so much bigger, it looks to be about 10%. So the following graph can be applied to both sexes. Plus many couta are either skinny or fat – it’s wild how much a fish of the same length can actually vary at the scale. It is a graph that I made up from various sources on the internet, which I will list at the end of the show.
As you can see, a couta like Darren’s, is about 20 years old. Meaning that, at 50kg plus, Roger Davidsons (52kg gutted) fish from a few years back, might have been 25, or more! And the odd 70kg specimen, yip – recorded by commercials, well, how old could that fish be? But these really big fish escape the census that scientists in the East conduct. In that area, as I said earlier, the fish are predominantly 1 to 2 years old. About 1-3kgs – I have seen these fish – so much fun on light tackle. The only other place I have seen them, is behind Paradise Island in the Bazaruto Archipelago. Where these tiny little couta shoal and hunt together. They take a well-presented spoon and can represent hours and hours of fun on ultra-light tackle. Why they come here and not anywhere else in the Archipelago is anyone’s guess. Ask Duarte maybe.
But way down south here where we are, we seldom get a fish under 4 or 5kg’s. 5 Years old or so. And as of late, the average size of the couta taken down south where we are – is waaaaay above that size. I would estimate that the average-sized couta taken down here these days is about 20 something kilograms?!
We ought to leave them alone. But, when these big fish have just spawned, they literally go crazy and smash anything you put in the water…you try and lines up and head home. A tagging kit comes to mind.
Some pics…from seasons gone by…
And now, the kicker…who ever heard of a Chinese Seer Fish? Or Giant King Mackerel? A close relative of the king mackerel that we know and love…
This one went 72.5kgs and was taken on light tackle…just recently during the Phuket Angling Tournament. Click the image for the link to the original story.
The world record, is drum roll…131kgs!
And guess what else, these monster mackerel cruise right up river to hunt. In fact one was caught 300kms up the Mhekong Delta!!!
More information from Big Fishes of the World…
“The Chinese Seerfish or giant king mackerel (Scomberomorus sinensis) it is the biggest of the king mackerel family. Seems to grow up to 150 – 170 pounds but fishes well over 180 pounds have been taken. This monster mackerel lives in Pacific Ocean from Sea of Japan throughout the Yellow Sea and south Vietnam. Like other mackerel this fish is a voracious predator and can be found in small schools. Very little is know about this big pelagic predator.”
Full story about the Chinese Seer Fish to follow on The Sardine News…!!!
A few of the many sources I have drawn information from for this report:
Until the next Fishing Report…thank you for checking in!
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