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Champagne Breakfast at St. Helen’s Rock, KZN, Port Shepstone

St Helen's Rock 2021 Expedition

Champagne Breakfast at St. Helen’s Rock, KZN, Port Shepstone

Champagne Breakfast at St. Helen’s Rock, KZN, Port Shepstone: Sian and her friends visiting the south coast down from Jhb had pre-booked a ride with us quite some time before. But we had a surprise in store. For Sian and her enthusiastic crew.

St. Helen’s Rock expedition video

They were going on an ancient tradition this time round – a river ride from Port Shepstone harbour – up to St. Helen’s Rock. 14 Kilometres of winding river and deep nature. Starting early and not without the usual confusion and chaos of a big crew, we were soon racing with the tide and current. In order to get under the low-level bridge but up the first rapid, or Berm ONE as it is affectionately known, we had to time it just right. Berm TWO was easier but took a while as we skirted sandbank and reef to get in and around the corner. But then it’s plain sailing and we cruise past the pump station and onto the bend that hosts St. Helen’s majestic piece of Africa.

The champagne was soon flowing and the breakfast was spluttering on the skottel. There is a helluva lot of exploring to do up at St. Helen’s Rock. Just about where the Umzimkulwana and the Umzimkulu come snaking out of the Oribi Gorge. We are actually able to go even further up into the Oribi Gorge. But that is going to be for the next boundary-pushing adventure. We did bring a kayak and next time we will bring even more, to enable even more exploring of this historic site.


There was certainly trade and business going on here back when this was the commercial junction from Durban to all of southern Natal and beyond. This exact spot! There are ruins everywhere. And rumours of a complete village settlement on the north bank still need to be verified. There is the wreck of a beautiful European looking boat half-buried into the mountain bank. There are railway tracks and even sidings strewn about by the floods, at the confluence of the two mighty rivers – the Umzimkulu (comes from the Berg) and the Umzimkulwana (comes from Lake Eland).

This wreck we encountered whilst surveying the upper reaches of the Umzimkulu Estuary
This wreck we encountered whilst surveying the upper reaches of the Umzimkulu Estuary

And just wait ’til you hear what St. Helen did to get that beautiful big old rock named after her.

Forthcoming attraction!

Let’s gooooooo!

So please get in touch anytime on or call me up on +27793269671 although WhatsApp really works best. If you like this type of adventure. Rates are roughly R100 per person per hour. And we can cater and bring loaded coolers.

BTW we run on solar power and electric engines. SILENT! And you are welcome to bring a fly-rod.

There is a lot more to see and do on The Sardine News website at and the MasterWatermen at

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The last Brindle Bass…

The last Brindle Bass – will go something like this…

If only life were that simple. Do this. Don’t do that…

For most of us, living within the law comes easily enough. But what happens when our livelihood – and an honest one at that –  handed down over generations – a noble and admirable occupation – gets made illegal? Due to the depletion of the very resource your living depends upon? And you never depleted it or exploited it at all, in the first place?

There is a really skinny old little guy who breezes through the Tofo Mercado every so often. I first met him on the dunes on the Tofo Point – just next to the rocks on the north facing dune. He was shivering to his little old bones trying to warm up in the scant winter sun, from his hours long, and fishless dive. As puny as this guy is, he swims on his own for these solitary hours, and hours. As I got to know him better over some years, I started recognising him out at sea. Miles out at sea. Always a smile – and hardly ever a fish. Despite the sheer physical and emotional effort. Most spearos know what I am talking about, when I say – emotional.

Since the tourism scene exploded like a bomb on certain East African havens, there has been a huge increase in the demand for protein, in those areas. Meat. This is what happens all over the world, all of the time. As the tourist dollar gets spent, the dinner bell rings far and wide – attracting many, many migrant labourers, and gold chasers. All hungry.

Our guy used to shoot as many fish as he and his family could eat. Every day. But not anymore. Now the fish are few and far in between. They have been eaten.


As a tourism mushroom blows up over a newly found East African treasure – first the close by reefs are plundered. Completely stripped of their fishy dignity. Then the destruction extends. By fin or by boat – but steadily, and like the wave from an atom bomb – it spreads and kills. Reef after reef. Shoal after shoal. Mile after mile. Ony the far reaches are not attained – 30 kms or so away.

So our hapless full time spearfisherman, who for years has been plying these Tofo waters for subsistence and survival, is faced with an interesting quandry, with which to fill his head as he swims the blue currents, all alone.
Does he shoot as much as he can, when he can, braving the odd shark or current, and returning with enough to eat, and sell the rest? Making some profit. Pay his kids school fees?
Or does he maintain the subsistence way and just keep on keeping on. Well I am sure our guy would choose the latter, if but one thing. Where are all the fish? They have just simply been eradicated. So he survives on pelagics mainly, and their seasonal visits. And nowadays, he shoots what he can…

Lottery vs Starving

So this is what our guy is thinking, as he forces himself on, diving to 20 metres and more, up and down, feeling dizzy, cold and very alone. Where have all the fish gone?

Then all of a sudden, a huge brindle bass swims along the side of the ledge he is plying. It’s big enough to swallow our guy whole – but it doesn’t see him above and away. It’s one of the last. A pure marine monster of the depths. A survivor. Fifty years old. A national treasure. He most likely came in from deeper waters, or a neighbouring reef up or down the coast. A hundred years old – probably had a name – like “Clive” or something. Either way, he was here now, and our guy had not seen a fish like this for a very long time. He was doing the maths in his head. How much did it weigh? At 150 Mets a kilo for prime grouper like this, even more to the Chinese buyers…that is a lot of money swimming just under the ledge.

And so our guy takes a few deep breaths. He swims away at a tangent and down, skinny legs pumping, hands checking and rechecking his gun. It’s a 1.4 m Rob Allen that I gave him a while back and is in good nick. And so is he. He is built for this shit. As small as he is. He is honestly barely 5 feet tall. He bails over the reef adjacent and around from where he saw the huge fish. And starts to edge around towards where his finely honed gut feel tells him to be. He knows this reef, and this fish doesn’t. It’s just moved in here a while to look around. Our guy edges closer, slow metres, slow seconds. He has been down a half minute now but feels nothing from his depth hardened lungs. Closer. Yes, closer.

The fish has made it’s way around the reef and, big enough to eat the man waiting for it, warily patrols toward him. Around a boulder. They practically swim into each other! The huge fish reacts. With a sound like a sonic boom, he pounds the viscosity around him and goes into a massive 180…as our lone spearo pulls the trigger. The spear enters exactly right for him and not for the fish. Under the pectoral, but angling upwards – right through the old warrior’s heart. It almost dies instantly. But groupers don’t.
After a struggle, our guy subdues and ropes the dying vagabond. And with a feeling of euphoria, at the huge financial feat he has achieved, starts to drag his huge prize, home. It’s a long swim, but he makes it eventually.

He hits the beach and 8 guys help him drag the fish to the market. Like a funeral procession. It’s a protected species but those rules are never enforced here. The new lifeguards here in Tofo, in full battle garb – shoes, longs, collars and berets are right there, admiring the fish as it finally dies.

So who do we blame the demise of the brindle bass on? NOT on my underprivileged spearo friend! No ways.

You can blame it on the development of unchecked tourism in this area.


Read: another example of government incompetence and greed

This is not our guy from the story, but it is the Brindle Bass featured in this story…shot yesterday (2014) – way off Tofo Beach (c) All rights reserved

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So this is where our sards go!

Hands off our Sardines! Trawler watch. Keep these destructive forces from our waters

So this is where our sards go!

I was researching a keyword clash with some of my SEO pages and I came across this post we did in June 2017. It wasn’t a particularly good year for the wards that year. And the pundits were being merrily goaded on by me as I also felt bereaved of the shoals of sards we so impatiently wait for each year. But the post is extremely pertinent as it backs up the visual evidence and AIS tracking showing Chinese and all-sorts of vessels stealing our sardines.

And selling them right back to us!!!

by Sean Lange, June 2017….

Well I don’t know how I got onto this dude’s mailing list, but every week or so, I receive a circular, offering me bulk sardines for sale? Perhaps the morons phished my details from The Sardine News – perhaps they think I deal in sardines ha ha!

I am not sure of the details of the catches either, details are sketchy to say the least, each time. But the list below sure reads two grades of sards for sale. One for bait, and one for canning. And a bunch of other forms of seafood.

Where these sardines are coming from, is anyone’s guess…but we can’t help but feel, that if fishing is going on all over the world, at the scale that reads below, no wonder we are running clean out of fish. And these just could be, our own sards?! Taken from our waters, way out deep, as they head their way towards our coastline. Way out of sight.

Never detected.

Then the fact is, that even if we spot a suspicious vessel, there is nowhere to report it?! (Read all about that here) And so speculation that foul play is underway, is rife. Many suspect our government is selling out on our quota system. Allowing foreign vessels to operate in our waters.  Zuma style corruption runs deep, into every department and level of government.

And if they all thought they could hide the Gupta nuclear bullshit from us, what else did they hide already?

Enjoy the read…

Dear Sir,

Good morning.

We now have several containers’ ready products as below, please kindly advise, thanks.

#13 Agentina Squid 100-150g / pc Processing Material

Product Name: Frozen W/R Agentina Squid for Processing Material purpose

Specification: 100-150g / pc, BQF, Light Purse Seine, Sea Frozen

#12 Black Squid 80-150g / pc Processing Material

Product Name: Frozen W/R Black Squid for Processing Material purpose

Specification: 80-150g / pc, BQF, Light Purse Seine, Sea Frozen

#14 Frozen Crab Meat

Product Name: Frozen Crab Meat  (Winter Crab)

Jumbo Lump, 1lb./bag; Lump, 4lb./bag

#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.

And there it right there, once again, showing quite clearly, that if it were not for the Chinese boats being apprehended and sent home, there would have definitely NOT been so many sards as there are this year.

And it has only just started!!!

A big thank you to OJ Communications and her efforts to bring us the amazing imagery of the local photographers best sardine work of 2020. Justin Klusener features prominently, their pics are all credited at original publication on The Sardine News.

We are on Facebook right here, we run an action-packed YouTube video channel right here.

By The Sardine News

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Yowser Award for Mzansipoli by Nando’s


Yowser Award for Mzansipoli by Nando’s.

Yowser Award for Mzansipoli by Nando’s: The crew that churn out blockbuster and after blockbuster ad, for Nando’s, get this week’s Yowser Award.

Statistics show that you most likely have seen it already. But if not, what a tactical marketing masterpiece you are in for!

The ad campaign is so successful, that it is spurning merchandise of its own. Literally an unheard-of marketing coup.

Ok watch the video…

When you’ve stopped laughing…

The stats are staggering. This is first-class work in an extremely tough environment. And proves, if anything, once and for all, that it’s all about content. Good content. Long-lasting. Full-up in every way.

See above!

Another take-off is that content items, each on their own, have the ability to pour good times on your brand, individually. And indefinitely. A good video or photo can do more good for your brand than your entire website or Facebook page – to one customer or group of customers. Each content item, therefore, needs to be top-notch stuff. And targeted.

Who knows? Next thing your viral video spurns its own merchandise line of products?!

Yowser! Is all we can say here at The Sardine News.

Check out our Marketing App store above or at this link…for more information on how The Sardine News can help you with software for your business.

It’s literally become imperative to have a YouTube channel or Playlist, in order to take advantage of the opportunities in video, right now. Please get in touch if you need help with this kind of work. We have been producing online video for streaming since the start of ETV, back in 1998! We know how to create easy serving streaming video and audio.

Contact Sean on or WhatsApp +27 79 326 9671 anytime.

Catch us on Facey at

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

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: 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 –, 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 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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Fishing Tip: Drinking heaps of water WILL save your life

Drink lots of water! It could 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 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.


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Everyone is welcome to celebrate clean beaches and ocean conservation at Shark Weekend

Stop Shark Finning at Shark Weekend Scottburgh 8 to 10 June 2019

Everyone is welcome to celebrate clean beaches and ocean conservation at Shark Weekend

Scottburgh 8 to 10 June 2018

The annual Paddle Out for Sharks (POFS) and World Ocean’s Day (WOD) events will culminate in the 2018 Shark Weekend – a full programme of talks, clean ups, surfing competitions and beach activities geared towards marine conservation running at Scottburgh from 8 to 10 June.

Shark Weekend has a number of interactive activities planned suited to the whole family. The full programme starts at Scottburgh Beach at 3pm on Friday, 8 June with a ‘Healthy Ocean’s Talk’ and beach clean-up. The conservation celebration continues on Saturday, 9 June from8am with a Paddle Out for Sharks ceremony at Scottburgh Beach and Backline. There will be a number of beachside activities including a treasure hunt, sand shark art, snorkelling lessons, as well as adaptive surfing demonstrations and surfing competitions.

Throughout the weekend, Scottburgh’s Premier Resort Cutty Sark will play host to a number of Shark Weekend activities including Aliwal Shoal’s Shark Photo Exhibition, the Mares Dive Gear Exhibition as well as Conservation Talks and Videos. In addition to the generous venue donation, Premier Resort Cutty Sark is running a weekend special room rate of R350 per person, per night.“The 7th Paddle Out for Sharks, in conjunction with Word Ocean’s Day on 8 June, gives us a chance to highlight the impact of human actions and how we can positively turn the tide for shark conservation and good health of our oceans,” said Shark Weekend organiser, marine biologist, shark researcher and member of Shark Angels, Jess Escobar.

“For me, the annual Paddle Out for Sharks celebration has become an opportunity for all different ocean-users to stand together and show their support for shark and ocean conservation. It is reaching more and more people every year, converting the misguided fear around sharks into a respect and willingness to protect them. I am so happy and excited to see such a great support for our sharks and ocean conservation in our area.”

Paddle Out for Sharks started in 2012 after several sharks were killed in nets along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline. The diving and marine conservation communities converged to protest against the nets in support of shark conservation. This tradition has continued every year with more voices calling for protection of sharks, an animal which forms a crucial part of the oceanic ecosystem.

Forming an integral part of the Shark Weekend programme will be an address by renowned ocean activist and founder of the NPC, Breathe, Sarah Ferguson, on Saturday, 9 June at 3pm.The former national swimmer took to ocean swimming six years ago and decided to do something more meaningful with her swimming.

“I decided to start a foundation centred on ocean conservation, so I established Breathe,” recalled Ferguson. “I then started training to become the first African woman to swim the Kaiwi channel in Hawaii which I successfully completed in July 2017.”

Her 30-minute talk, entitled ‘Swimming to Fight Plastic Pollution – Live Deeply & Tread Lightly’ outlines her passion of swimming and the global epidemic of plastic pollution.

“We cannot ignore this issue,” said Ferguson. “They recently found a plastic bag at the bottom of the Mariana Trench – the deepest part of the ocean. Education is critical to change behaviour and create awareness about this relevant and growing epidemic. Change starts with the individual and needs to come from the public as well as at government level. Together, we can all change the statistic that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.”

Special thanks are extended to all Shark Weekend sponsors, including Premier Resort Cutty Sark, Scuba Xcursion, Mares, Pollywog, Blue Wilderness and Made for More.

Post by Olivia Jones Communications

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“Eating an oyster is like french kissing a mermaid” – Tom Robbins

Oysters on the menu at ZanziBeach in Tofo

“Eating an oyster is like french kissing a mermaid” – Tom Robbins

Or. “Oysters on the menu at ZanziBeach Restaurant in Tofo”.

Mermaids in Praia do Tofo are really ocean breeze beautiful. And then I found out that there were oysters right on the menu at ZanziBeach!

Taking the latter approach, with my lovely mermaid close at hand, a grand serving of oyster was requested. Fresh from the sea. Just the way I love my mermaid too. At this great new little seafood spot right on Tofo Beach.

The dish of regal looking oysters soon glided onto our table. Along with twin pinacoladas. A couple of lemons. Hot chilli and pepper sauce.

The floodgates of flavour opened right up. Like an involuntary spasm, the oysters rained their magic on over and into us. Each one its own fantastical adventure. None two remotely the same. Lime and chilli lubricating and spicing the dreamy and intoxicating sensation.

When they were all lovingly spent, the empty table provided that pure moment of bliss that comes flooding in.

After you have french kissed a mermaid…


Catch up with ZanziBeach on Facebook right here…

Stay posted with The Sardine News on Facey here…

For more information on ZanziBeach Seafood Restaurant in Tofo (video included)…click here to get their official web page – on The Sardine News site.

To get on up to Tofo and to enjoy the life here a while…

And other holiday packaged experiences…




Or get in touch on or or WhatsApp +27 79 326 9671.

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The Bonefish of Mozambique

Jimmy Bonefish regularly catches these world record potential bonefish in summertime

The Bonefish of Mozambique

The bonefish of Mozambique – well Inhambane in this case. Often this time of year (Summer), whilst working the shallow waters between Tofo and Tofinho, big silver fish can be seen lolling about the surface. Their silver backs are exposed as they dart this way and that, seemingly on the feed. But cast after cast and all you might get out of them is a look. Dropshots don’t work, nor do spoons or plugs. I am sure they will take a well-presented fillet bait, but they won’t touch a rapala or even a daisy chain.
Right behind the Tofo headland is where the shoals of huge bonefish swim...
Right behind the Tofo headland, is where these shoals of huge bonefish swim…
Some local subsistence fishermen know where and how to catch the smaller ones. Right in the surf zone, in the white waters below the cliffs, with bait won off the rocks at low tide.
But Jimmy, our fishing champion, based on the point at Tofinho…knows how to catch the big ones.
He has taken 5 in an evening…on squid bait!? And the size? Average 6 or 7 kilos!
Even Jimmy’s clients (he is a great rock ‘n surf fishing guide), have taken 2 or 3 in a session, using this method.
Highly acclaimed as a prizefighter, bonefish are extensively hunted on the flats of the Florida Keys in the USA. It’s one of the biggest sport fishing industries there is. And all on fly.
Saltwater fly fishing grew enormously as a result of these fiesty and fussy game fish.
Permit (pompano to us) and tarpon frequent the same waters as bonefish and many fishing guides and charters take their clients fishing for these acclaimed fish, all over the South.
But. In the USA,  they hardly get half the size of the behemoths hanging out on the backline off Tofo and surrounds.
IGFA, the International Game Fishing Association, is the custodian organization for world and regional fishing records. And the all tackle world record bonefish is recorded as being caught in Zululand, South Africa, by Brian Bachelor in 1962. 8.6kgs.
When the bonefish come through here, they are really active. They seem to feed on tiny surface fish and organisms on the backline and the edge of the surf zone, with their otherwise suggesting down facing tiny mouths. In the USA they are fished on the flats on an incoming tide, where they feed on the sand bottom and in and about seagrass fields.
If you are super keen to get onto whipping a few flys about the back line, between Tofo and Tofinho points, and if you can handle a 9 weight, give us a buzz on
It might be an even better plan…to bring a 12 weight rig too, as kingfish, sailfish, tuna, king mackerel and queen fish also patrol the shallows behind the long, shallow ledge just off the Tofo headland.
And 8.6kgs is an easy target.
Jimmy says he has caught many 9kg bonefish! And bigger!


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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.

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Social: When and how often should I post?

Social networking has changed the way we reach out to people - The Sardine News

Social: When and how often should I post?

Social marketing by The Sardine News

How often and where should I be posting on my social networks? A vital consideration that can make or break your campaigning efforts. Thie questions have been answered by many independent survey people and companies all over the web. This is what I have gleaned from the average of what they all have to say, about when and how often to post to your social networks.

  • Facey: Thursday, Friday and Saturdays are the cooking days for Facey. Earlier in the week, people are more work focused. Posting times are best after or before work hours during the week. Anytime on the weekends.
  • Twitting: Twitter is more rapid fire, but keep same times as Facebook, for best results.
  • Email marketing: It turns out that emails are best sent on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and at lunch time and up to 5pm. People generally check email all day, but the bustling mornings produce less opens than the lazy afternoons.
    Note* Tuesdays are the most productive day of the week, after Mondays, for performance in the work place. This performance generally peaks on Tuesday, and dwindles into Friday. Saturdays are quite good, for the unfortunate who have to work on a weekend.


Something none of us do enough of, is re-post. Approximately 4%, yes – 4%, of your followers even see your post once. So you have every right, and even a duty, to re-post your hard work, a few times. For us to enjoy!

Facebook is quite sensitive and I recommend re-posting every morning and evening, for a few days. Then again the next week one or two more days, the next again, and then taper off as a month rolls by. So you could end up posting the same post in the same place up to 10 or 12 times, in it’s first month of deployment.And then, a year later, Facey will probably remind you, that you can post again a few times.It is quite possible that some of your posts will be relevant and contemporary even if written a long while ago. In this time you Groups or Pages, would have collected more Likers and Followers, that never had a chance at seeing your completely cool and relevant post.

Twitter is less sensitive and therefore gave rise to Hootsuite and it’s many auto-posting contemporaries. You could really post and re-post on twitter many times, as the timelines are so fast and so many. Best automate re-posting here.

Google+ and LinkedIn have far slower timelines, and so you need not re-post much at all. Perhaps once a month would almost be too much. You would hate to post one on top of the other – that really looks spammy.

So what does this mean for all of us using the social network platforms to market our business’?

Get posting!

Connect with us on Facebook here…

or click this for all my social profiles… (Very interesting way of going about it, take a squiz)





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Inhaca Blue Marlin bite off the scale

Inhaca Blue Marlin bite off the scale

Inhaca Blue Marlin bite off the scale

Captain Duarte Rato of has his finger on the pulse up and down the East Coast of Africa, and has an amazing Inhaca Blue Marlin bite to report, this March 2017.

The recent sport fishing competition held from out of Inhaca, just out from Mozambiques capital, Maputo –  reported phenomenal numbers and more numbers of marlin action. The release only tourney was a huge success for the 13 boats, who each accounted for a minimum of three fish!

The winning teams raised so many marlin, that they lost count!

An excerpt from Captain Duarte’s report…

“Yolanda won the event with the release of 7 fish, four Blues and three stripes. However, they reported sixteen bites and over thirty raised fish – they said they lost count.

Then there were two boats with 5 releases; Hakuna Matata released 3 blues and 2 striped and Aquamarine 2 Blues and 3 stripes.

Gabri got 4 fish on the day. They released a blue and two Blacks and had another Blue die on them, which got tail wrapped and could not be revived.

The guys aboard Fourplay released 3 Blues, out of 12 they either missed or pulled – and they had 19 fish up for the day.

Other fish reported where a Black by Cheetah out of three bites, and they only fished until 9am. Nakisai also released 2 Blues amongst a number of strikes. Nana released two Blues and had another one sharked by an Oceanic Whitetip, the first ever time I have heard of a fish being sharked out wide in this fishery´s. They also lost another right by the leader, and reported about 15 bites! Another boat that reported a similar number of fish on the day was Mon Ami, although they failed to convert those except on one striped they released out of the whole lot. Bite Me II released two Blues, as well as DanDan.

That´s an average of more than 3 Marlin per boat per day and not a single one of the ten boats that where specifically targeting Marlin skunked! Again, this is weekend anglers, mostly fishing out of small outboard powered trailer boats!

The mind wonders… ?” – Captain Duarte Rato

Read the whole in depth report by Duarte here.

In the meantime, to get a marlin or other gamefishing trip together in Mozambique waters, get in touch with Duarte at

Enjoy the sweet gallery of Inhaca Blue Marlin action…

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The tides of March are marching

The tides of March are marching

The tides of March are marching

The tides of March are marching again, and it’s quite tough to understand why.

The main thing out of synch is that the tidal coefficients are not that high. Monday’s coefficient was a mere 95 in the morning. Given that the coefficient range reaches over 120, it means that it was only about 85% of what it could have been. The height of the tide on Monday was 2.1m in Durban. Durban’s highest tides come in at a raging 2.3m! That’s 20cm more than Monday’s water.

But it’s the storm surges from the massive swell that really is higher grade learning. Why now? Why The Ides of March?

Very strange stuff indeed.

But if you check this amazing animation of the globe’s wind and weather (and even ocean currents and waves if you select the right overlay), you will be able to monitor the whole lot in real time.

The way I interpret this last push, is that the cyclonic system that grew as it moved south East of Madagascar over the weekend, but did not develop to full cyclone (didn’t even get a name), just stubbornly stayed out there, day after day, whipping swell straight at everyone from the Cape to Mozambique. It’s the positioning of the cyclone that makes for the swells. If it goes crazy and heads for land, it’s not ideal, not by a long way. But when they sit out there, just far enough off not to make too much chaos on land (torrential rain), just behind and below Mad, the distance that  a swell can be built up, is a good 2000 to 3500kms. Winds pushing consistently at 60kmh to 120kmh and sometimes more, can do wonders for us, with this huge fetch of water. Hence the huge swell and storm surges that swamped Durban beachfront and surrounds the last few days. Epic stuff – like a mini tsunami really. And with our best cyclone season for years going on right now, things are gonna stay very interesting.

Aside: If you study the animation at the link above closely and over time, you will also see how come Mozambique is offshore so often, this time of the year. As the winds square the coast, where I write this now – Port Shepstone KZN, it’s raining, it’s onshore, the water is brown and the waves are huge. Meanwhile, get on up to sunny skies and chevrolet, and huge crystal clean barrels – at any low tide in Mozambique, right now!

“I have been trying to get photos or pics from the crew up there, but at this stage, an ominous silence prevails. The wind does look a bit iffy today, but it’s the perfect tides  – things, when they smooth out up there, will be melted plastic.

Calvin Moore is in Pomene! Robin Beatty is in Tofinho! Send news!

Is Caesar going down tomorrow? – Xona”

Endless rains are great for farmers but the brown water instils a nervousness as it's full of sharks.
Endless rains are great for farmers but the brown water instils a nervousness down here in KZN as it’s full of sharks. The Umzimkulu River mouth is a favourite hangout for huge Zambezi’s, that can often be seen free-swimming around the mouth area. Eish!

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Another great Umzimkulu fishing story by Kiran Ramjiawan

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.

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Half price on everything in Tofo

Everything in Tofo

Half price on everything in Tofo

Mercado do Tofo - half price everything in Tofo right now
Mercado do Tofo – half price everything in Tofo right now

Yip, it’s a half price on everything in Tofo this year…

Let me elaborate.

This exact time last year – R1 could get you 2.8 Meticals.

This time this year – R1 gets you 5.4 Meticals.

Click this link to see it as a graph…

In fact it was 5.7 a few weeks before Praveen Ghordan was almost lynched by the mob.

And it ain’t gonna change anytime soon, except for the metical worsening as our two governments vie for the title of worst performing currencies on the entire modern world, against the ever climbing US dollar.

Firstly, Praveen is back in, so the Rand looks to stabilise.

Secondly, and most importantly, the subterfuge deals thrown together by the Russians and the French for Mozambique, er Frelimo, to squander (read steal) BILLIONS, will never really be undone. There will always be a dark shadow over the metical thrown by these giants who slay small vulnerable countries like Mozambique, for breakfast.

So a bleak outlook for a bunch of innocent people here in Mozambique. Whilst Gubueza, the architect of the mess he left conveniently in time for Nyuse to wallow in, heads up corporates now, without batting en eyelid in recognition of what he has done to the people of Mozambique.

Prices have started to rise – but how can the people afford them? Electricity was hiked 20% lately. But for now, prices are staying the same. A 2M still costs 60 Mets in the market, even 50 in some shops. That’s uh, R10!

The two countries, the two beautiful and once prosperous countries, have gone to the dogs. Well, the ruling parties, at least. Who have pissed on every lamp post.

But without wondering if it was our fault for giving it all away to the multitudes – led once by the leader of all time, our Mandela, but now by errant puppies – just go on holiday and milk the situation for while it lasts.

Or before the Metical is replaced by the Yen, and the Rand by the Dollar.

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Caught at sea in a cut off low storm

Caught at sea in a cut off low storm

Our current weather scenario prompted a rewrite of an old favourite yarn. It was first published in 1992.

“It had been a long day, way back in 1992, and we had not caught too much. Stubbornly we anchored off Boboyi, in the 26 metre area, to see if we could find a daga salmon or a geelbek. And we had to wait a bit longer for some water to come into the bay.
On board were the three of us Langes, Dad, Marc and myself. And guest that day, and many other days those days, was Brian Davey – the inventor of the MYDO.
Having been fishing hard all day, I was over it. But I also sensed something else going on around us. The atmosphere was electric. The sky around us was brown. The sea unruly. Looking to the south I could see no problem. Weather from the south is what normally catches us out.
I went up and over to the bow, ready to pull the anchor, when it was time. I was calling it, suggesting more than once we go. Marc is a bottomfishing loon like my Dad, and Brian Davey has also been known to raid the odd reef. Not I. So the three of them upped and downed until finally the tide gave reprieve and my Dad called “lines up”.
Weighing our anchor on the big old Niteshift wasn’t always smooth sailing, but this day we managed to drag it free with only one circle. I was pulling and Marc was packing the rope fast as we could go. I looked up.
And I saw it.
A plume of spray and water was being blasted right out of the Umzimkulu River mouth and a kilometre out to sea in front of us. Windsurfers, umbrellas and deck chairs cartwheeled through the sky. Towels and things were flying past. It was as if a giant fire hose was sticking out into the ocean.
Instantly the skies went black. A raging wind blew from every direction. Lightning struck the water all around us. The thunder and the wind combined in a crescendo above which we could not talk – only scream. Rain drops stung at every part of us.
My Dad put my diving goggles on. We flattened all out graphite composite rods on the deck. And Brian Davey. And everything else. Anything else was thrown into the cabin or it blew away. We could only move along at about 4 or 5 knots, and we could not see anything at all. It was like being caught in a dark forest, we never knew which way was land – even the compass was spinning wildly. We hammered on hoping for northwards, the sea was not big but it was violent. Hard to hold on. We radioed Pan Pan warnings over and over – to warn the other guys who operate south, from out of Shelley Beach.
And then it was gone. In an instant, this monster just upped and left. But headed straight to Shelley Beach where boats were still on Protea and many waiting on the backline to get in. It hit them full force with winds at Force 7. Mowed them down. And then kept going.
Building momentum and now officially a “cut off low”, the storm raged through the Transkei, seriously damaging and/or sinking 6 ships, some on anchor, on it’s way to into Cape Town, where it turned the corner and traveled north, terrorising as far up as Lamberts Bay, until it petred out.”

And yes, the storm lambasting Cape Town now and the rest of the coast since it’s inception on Sunday/Monday, is a type 1A Cut Off Low storm. Rare in that they are somehow tied to the el Nino phenomenon, and appear every 5 to 7 years. On the south coast I have endured three of these absolutely crazy storms.  Fortunately I missed a few. Including this one – I am in Tofinho, Mozambique today. Where the weather is a bit untoward, the wind swinging slowly from north east to southerly onshore. We shall keep you posted as to what the effects have been up this side, of our awesome July 2016 cut off low.

Gallery and video by Jay Steenkamp

And another great video by Jay…

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Final word on huge king mackerel run?

Final word on huge king mackerel run?

Now that the bite has slowed down here on the lower south coast of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa – could this be the final word on this years huge king mackerel run?

Well this fish could be. The fish of the season so far too…taken off Umkomaas on a ski! Weighed in between 45 and a possible 55kg’s.


This King Mackerel first weighed 50.2kg's, but on a subsequent weighing, only came in at 45 or so. Goes to show. With fish shedding as much as 10% of their weight lying in the boat, this fish could have been actually safely over 50kg's.
This King Mackerel first weighed 50.2kg’s, but on a subsequent weighing, only came in at 45 or so. Goes to show. With fish shedding as much as 10% of their weight lying in the boat, this fish could have been actually safely over 50kg’s.

It was also one of the very last fish recorded so far. At the Port Edward deep-sea competition, not even one couta was weighed in. The competition was won with a 30kg yellowfin tuna. Bonito and bait was everywhere – but unbelievably, not even one king mackerel.

As the season nears the end – about late July-ish, the chances of more of these amazing class of fish being caught bigger than the one featured, are very slim. They have disappeared from down here.

But, as we have been taught as of late, that anything can happen?! Who would have guessed in a million years that these huge fish would come and hang out here off Port Shepstone and Port Edward, season after season like this. I mean, yes, we have caught 30kg+ fish before, but only after 30 years of trying!

It took me 30 years of fishing to finally catch a fish like this…off Hibberdene quite a few years back.
Many theories are being offered up.

One is by the resourceful and acclaimed scientist Pat Garrat, whom I saw in the early 1990’s, release his paper on “The end of a species”. He was citing research and contemporary situations at that time, pertaining to the slinger and the red steenbras. The two species had been studied by Pat and his associates, and observation with major impact were being made.

Polla Fourie, a commercial fisher at the same symposium, had been lobbying to have the restriction on red steenbras lifted or eased, as he was catching such good fish. Pat Garrat was opposing this claim and request, with research done with isolated slinger populations, on the north coast. As a population was depleted, the mean size increased.

Pat was citing lions and elephants and all manners of animals under threat. The last lion is the biggest and most wily. The last elephant. The last shark. As the less experienced and perhaps slower shoal sized fish are removed, the bigger ones get bigger. Survival of the fittest. And the biggest.

The other theory I have heard lately, is that perhaps these big fish have decided to just live in this area, what with all the bait and up coming sardine run to keep them interested. Some of these fish were taken in August, way down into the Transkei.

Craig Pretorious down in Port Edward, was chatting to some ORI staff who speculate that maybe these big fish come here to be put out to pasture? Like a couta old age home?

The photo does not do the fish of this size any justice at all. Although it does look like Roger could stick his entire head into that fish's mouth!
The photo does not do the fish of this size any justice at all. Although it does look like angler Roger Davidson could stick his entire head into that fish’s mouth! This fish went 47kg’s gutted! Last year, on a jet ski, off Hibberdene.


These fish were survivors through all the nets, lines and traps set for them over the last twenty to thirty years, as they traverse the Indian Ocean, growing at about 2kgs per year. They must have all hatched together, perhaps on the south coast (couta spawn way up in the tropics and their fry is brought on down to us. Then it heads it’s way back into the tropics. Couta are very seldom found in water below 23 degrees. Although they are recorded as in the past being prevalent in False Bay, Cape Town, where they were known as Katonkel. Mossell Bay officially recorded couta catches back in the days – it makes sense that as the overall population shrinks, the outer perimeters of it’s roaming waters are shrivelling).

But King Mackerel, in order to spawn, aggregate in specific areas to facilitate this. And so perhaps, the south coast over the last few years, has been a great place for spawning for these mature fish. The water hasn’t been that polluted or brown around here for quite some time through the drought of the last few years, almost a decade now. Loads of baitfish including sardines.

Fish behavior after spawning is dictated to by the energy spent during the spawn. Couta have to chow down and fast. And this is is when and where those chance encounters between recreational anglers and spawning sessions happen.

Fish are known to choose their spawning time over seasons to coincide with lunar movement and activity. So much so, that in Belize, when the snapper proffer their clouds of caviar, the whale sharks know exactly when to be there to take their(lions) share of the hopeful offspring.

So it’s that moon after all!

Getting technical…

Starting with some etymology, we have some latin humour. Scomberomorus comes roundabouts from the Latin word, scomber = mackerel + Greek, moros = silly, stupid (Ref. 45335).
So, the silly mackeral then?!

In South Africa: king mackerel, couta, cuda, but throughout their distribution…

  • Malaysia: tenggiri
  • Mozambique: Sierra
  • Australia: narrow-bar, narrow-barred mackerel, snook, Spaniard, Spanish mackerel
  • USA: barred mackerel, narrow-barred mackerel, striped seer
  • Arabia: kanaad, kanad or kana’d mackerel
  • India: konem in Telugu, vanjaram in Tamil, anjal in Tulu
  • Iran: shir mahi
  • Israel: Palamida
  • Philippines: tanigue
  • Indonesia: ikan tenggiri
  • Sri Lanka: Thora
  • Somalia: Yuumbi
  • Fiji: walu
  • Thailand: pl? xinthr?
So it is well established that king mackerel grow at about 2kgs per year. Maturing sexually in 3 years or so. Although a 14-year-old fish can weigh up to 35kg’s – there seem to be many variables affecting these statistics, including different populations of the same species. Interestingly, during tagging to establish this integer, researchers got hold of a live 178cm fish (Northern Oz)!
Research in Queensland Oz, reveals that their fish seldom travel more than 100 kilometres, but fish on the other side of the sub-continent, travel 1000’s of kilometres. We know our fish disappear entirely from August through November. It was always a great achievement down on the coast, to get the first couta of the season. I remember getting one off Umtentweni on the 16th November one year in the early nineties. But since then it has become gradually more and more rare to even get a couta in December.
So we know our fish head back up into the tropics – but where? My last ten years up in Mozambique never saw a fish over 20kg’s. The only crocodile couta I know of being caught anywhere, is on the KZN Coast and into the Transkei. So how far up do they travel? These fish are 15 to 20 years old or more. How have they avoided all the traps set for them?
Maybe they head up to Mozambique and across the channel to Madagascar? Or to the attolls and deep underwater mountains? These fish have to eat a lot to keep going. They need steady supplies of ribbonfish, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, bonito etc…maybe they just go up towards Sodwana and Kosi area and hang out there. That area is also known to have produced some really big couta before. (And lately)
As we move northwards, along the African coastline, the couta are mercilessly targeted for their great eating and protein producing flesh. Known as Sierra in Mozambique, endless flotillas of two man row boats and one man kayaks, target sierra all day every day. Right up and down the coastline. These subsistence fishermen have become great anglers, often bringing back marlin and sailfish with them, but very rarely, big couta.
Turning left into the Red Sea, a favourite haunt for juvenile couta, where again they are targeted commercially, some managed to find their way through the Suez Canal, and into the Meditaranean.
They colonized the eastern Med where they found endless supplied of cutlass fish (our walla walla), and very few if any predators.
Check this video of the size fish they catch in the ideal nursery conditions of Hurghada in the Red Sea off Eastern Egypt.


Lucky Egyptians also catch couta on the northen Egyptian coastline, as do the Israeli sportfishing contingent. Unfortunately, many, many fish catching and processing and exporting business’ operate in this area. Taking boatloads of fish out every year. But the couta seem to have adapted well and have been breeding and growing very successfully.

David Kosta and his mates have been successfully bringing home trophy sized king mackerel…in the Med.

Scomberomerous Commersoni - 'couta, king mackeral, tanguiguie, spanish, narrow barred...but this one was caught in the Med!
Scomberomerous Commersoni – ‘couta, king mackeral, tanguiguie, spanish, narrow barred…but this one was caught in the Med!

Click here for the full story of David Kosta and his successes using deep swimming MYDO Baitswimmers for huge Amberjack and Couta.

So this population seems to be alive and well and sort of cut off to the rest by the Suez Canal. Interesting situation. Hope these colonists can hold onto power! But at what expense to the residents of the Med. Having a huge aggressive predatory fish come along into a peaceful neighbourhood can have disastrous results. Check out what the Nile Perch did to clean old Lake Victoria. They ate all the chiclids and other nice fishies, leaving plankton like creatures to bloom and discolour the waters as they have.

Ok, but moving on and passing by India, the couta is again an important source of protein and therefore valuable enough to be chase to the horizons by dozens of commercial operations. South East Asia is about the mid point of the couta’s distribution around the Indian Ocean coastlines. They are hammered here too. It’s only when the fish get past Indonesia and trickle on down both east and western coasltlines of Australia, do they find any real respite or protection.

They are also found swimming as far north as China and Japan. Highly sought after table fish.

The waters couta patrol are from near the edge of continental shelf to shallower waters. 5 To 25 metres. Drop-offs, shallow or gently sloping reef and lagoon waters are the right places to hunt for them. Solitary hunters they swim in shallow water along coastal reefs, bays, and around headlands. They undertake lengthy migrations up and down certain coastlines, but permanent resident populations also exist. Up until they are about 5 to 8kgs, they swim and migrate in shoals.

Couta feed primarily on small fishes like sardines, anchovies, mackerel, bonito and squids.

Eggs and larvae are pelagic. Couta spawn around reefs, in ideal warm water conditions. Eggs have an oil droplet that keeps them at the surface. The oxygen and abundant plankton nourish them. The larvae develop and move towards estuarine and calmer waters. You can see baby couta circling Paradise Island in the Bazaruto Archipelego and are caught in the nets deployed off Inhassoro and Vilancoulos, daily and throughout the year.

Female Couta become sexually mature at about two and a half years of age or around 80 cm.

“Depending on temperature regime, the spawning season may be more or less extended. In Australian waters, each female spawns several times over the season, about 2 to 6 days apart (Ref. 30196), depending on the locality. Spanish mackerel spawn off the reef slopes and edges, and they form spawning aggregations in specific areas.” – From
Scomberomerous Coomersoni growth rate…

Couta Growth Rates
Now imagine the weight of a 178cm fish!

Ok, so what isit that brings this run of huge king mackerel about?
It could have been a spawning aggregation of fish that survived all these years together. 15 to 20 Years! And given that they spawn over 6 days or so, and then go on a feeding frenzy to replenish stores of energy, they come on the bite like crazy, every week or so, when they are about.
It’s that moon to blame again then, or is it?
According to, the time when Marc Lange and Koos Viviers caught these fish – nine in one day – high activity was forecast – albeit an hour or two after Marc and Koos got into the fish. It was the 19th May 2016.

The Almanac type predictions were similar all week that week, they all predicted higher than average fish activity, early to mid morning. The day before however, Marc and Brian Lange, had spent the afternoon and into the evening, til midnight, fishing the exact same spot for couta, with livebait, and caught nothing. Not a strike. Then Marc relaunched in the morning – keen bugger he is, and got into these 9 fish. At the end of the day, just as the tide was dictating for them to get back into the Umzimkulu mouth, a huge couta came screaming in at Marc’s last live shad. His instinct, after loading nine fish, was to pull the shad out of harms way. They packed up and went home. It took 3 hours to hook and load all the fish. They never lost one – nine strikes, nine fish.

A few days later…Mark Snyman, William Robertson and Lance Dunn came in with this catch…on the 28 May 2016. One week later. 10 Nautical miles due south of Marc and Koos’s catch.

The Tides4Fishing Almaniacal prediction was for very high fishing activity but very early that morning. So far so good, two out of two predictions were bang on.

If those fish spawned just before the good fishing that was experienced, – then we can learn when to fish for these crocodile couta. When the moon is directly overhead, or underfoot – those are meant to be the right times.

Where do they simply disappear to? Where do they come from?


These outsized King Mackerel were caught on the 4 May 2014. Way down south and even beyond Port Edward.
These outsized King Mackerel were caught on the 4 May 2014. Way down south and even beyond Port Edward.

Louis Posthumous, his son Shawn and Neil Allchin caught these fish when the Almanac said fishing would be good early that morning.

And in a final twist, and a possible clue – Ettienne Thiebauts paddling off Cape Vidal, hauled in a confirmed 46 kg king mackerel, on Friday 17 June 2016.

46kg couta at Cape Vidal by Etienne Thiebauts
46kg king mackerel at Cape Vidal by Etienne Thiebauts

The fishing was forecast good for around 10 am in the morning, kak through the day, and one more hit of chance at 3pm in the afternoon.

One thing is for sure, we will be eagerly awaiting this run again next year.

Now, let’s see who will be the first to tag and release one of these majestic fish?!

References and acknowledgements:

McPherson, G.R., 1992. Age and growth of the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson Lacepède, 1800) in north-eastern Queensland waters. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 43(5):1269-1282.



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Sardines in Hillbrow?

Sardines in Hillbrow?

The Sardine is coming to you this week, right from the epi-centre of Johannesburg. Hillbrow to be exact!
I am here with my mate Jonny, who thought I might like the experience. He and his talented team are building and installing gym sets, for the community here.
The gym sets are really cool. Robust. Neat. Mounted on a cool multi-colored carpet made from recycled tyres. Makes me want to exercise just looking at the outfit.
But here’s the thing. There are more satellite dishes in Hillbrow, than on the whole of the south coast?! Every flat around us, has a dish. And some roofs are completely covered with the white mushrooms producing silver screen action.
“Jonny. How you gonna get these peeps off the couch man?”
Right off the park where we are stationed for the morning, is a long queue of soup kitchen hopefuls. They have been waiting – the queue growing longer, for two hours now. Patiently enough. They were interested enough.
Across the street is the corner. That corner. Strange acting fellows dressed to the nines and full of mannerisms straight out of 2-Pac’s biography. Not too much business for them yet – it is 11am only. But it is a Friday – and somebody got to pay for them DSTV channels! But they too, were having a gander. Semi-interest. “Hmmm, I seen that on TV”.
Then there are some even stranger ones cruising the street – arguing with fairies – as Jonny puts it. He says to me, “Just wait ’til the sun comes over, that’s when things really hot up! Yesterday the cops were here twice.” Ok, they not gonna be takers.
The sun has now come out…
A 30 something white lady, someone you could easily meet at the supermarket, has come out into the sun, and is injecting a clear liquid from a plastic container. Broad daylight. Her friends are all of color, she is the only other beige person here besides me and Jonny – normal to me.
Three 2-Pac types are eagerly smoking a white pipe of sorts now. They have taken crazy lady’s spot right in front of me. I am in a car behind a modern fence luckily.
The cops have made a few drive-bys. More chatty and friendly with the neighbourhood, than police.
A security guard, guarding what, I can’t see, ambled over and asked for something?! A sweet? He accepted so I opened him up to see what is inside. R1800 salary. 12 hour shifts. I asked about his boss. He smiles and says, “Beeeg money”. I try to explain that he is the victim of corruption. He smiles and says “Nooooo.” Shaking his head. I closed the conversation.
There is a lot more traffic. I am trying to type with the laptop on the floor in the footwell ha ha. But gangy looking types are assembling from all over.
This don’t look the place for kids, and there were none. But the gyms are going to be rolled out in more and more places, all over the country.
So we did our work, I wrote this story, and we loaded up and rolled out. Onlookers all over.
We turned down towards the highway system, and as we took a corner the reality all set in. An obviously foreign kid, a refugee, was sitting in his makeshift bed just off the pavement, and was simply, crying.

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O’leary Connor takes the Ballito Pro

O’leary Connor takes the Ballito Pro

Australian goofy footer O’leary Connor beat Joan Duru from France, at Willards Beach, to win the Ballito Pro a few minutes ago.

Ozzie surfer Connor holds the trophy high
Ozzie surfer Connor holds the trophy high

The waves were really good, albeit with long waits – but the organisers chose the black moon tides very well. The South Africans Beyrick de Vries and Jordy Smith went up against eachother, with Beyrick going through, only to be ousted by the Frenchman Duru. Beyrick was awarded the best wave of the compo.

The Ballito Pro mens results
The Ballito Pro mens results

The womens champion was Skye Burgess
The womens champion was Skye Burgess

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I spent the morning chatting to a robot!?

I spent the morning chatting to a robot!?

I spent the morning chatting to a robot!? It’s a +31 number that rings.  Which is Netherlands, where my girlfriend lives, so I was eagerly expecting her sweet voice, but got something just a tad far to the right.

“Hi, are you Sean (heavy Taiwanese/American combination used with perfect prose) Lange (not so good this time but sounding like Bernhard so ok…)?”, goes the female voice on the other end of the line.

“Yeah”, slowly figuring it’s not my girl.

The voice goes on, “I am something-something from Horizon Investments based in Tokyo…”

Ok, so two strikes already; firstly I am not Shaaan Langer, and secondly the number rang out of The Netherlands. But I like to play these games, so long as they are not extracting any juice from me. ie. bank details, ID, credit card…which are the obvious, but then there are the hidden – income bracket group, occupation, family details, financial details…this is the juice they (the baddies on the far Right) use, to build profiles of us. This information they can then use to target us with their wares.

And then the punch line – “So what exactly do you do at MYDO Fishing?”. Out the park! How the hell they know that? My suspicions were well aroused now.

“Dogsbody.”, replied I suspiciously. She laughed nicely and said, “I don’t understand?”.  “Oh”,  I said, “ok, I am the owner and marketing manager right now.” As I haplessly divulged more company information.

They already knew my number, my name, and where I work. One of my jobs anyway. They knew a lot about me. Obviously an easy task since we are all, all over the interweb. And now they were profiling me with every word I was saying. I had admitted I was the owner. That we had a few staff. That we were manufacturers. That we an active business with a possible chance of investment outlook.

After a while it started getting ugly – “So, Shaan, would you be interested in an investment opportunity of $10 000?”

“Nah, I’m from a small town in Africa lady. I am not interested in investing $1. But how is the weather outside?”. And I repeated the exact question a few times. Over and over. “But how is the weather outside?”.

She started laughing and responding – “I don’t understand?”, but each time, exactly the same, this could have gone for years. It’s what we call a loop and is the vulnerability point of many AI applications.

Gathering of information, and manipulating programmatically on the spot and in an instant, is in our faces right now. The future of marketing banditry is here. There are new technologies on the block. They take potential customers very, very seriously. Programmatically marching into your life. With other programmes researching beforehand specifically, they are given a profile of you to work with. Populating databases with the right questions. Very right questions. Delivered in a theatric environment. Discussed and tuned. Trying to win your trust.

These flow charts must be incredibly complex although it is not much progression to take an existing telesales clerks flow chart and automate  with Articial Intelligence. These guys literally climb into your mind with vague mention of riches to be earned, sweet voices, and confusing accents. They control much of your attention during the call. They paint a world with theatrics and send it to you via an entertaining fresh and perfect voice to imagine where  they are and what they are doing. What they look like. These are all strategies, or tricks, to be exact. Using people with different accents as the target. Appealing to all kinds of emotions – being analysed by software produced by a team of shrinks making on the fly decisions. Millions per second kind of thing.

The resources for AI powered speech robots to be used in sales applications have existed a while now. It’s just been a matter of time before this happened. Imagine the cost of sale savings per target? Instead of a living breathing breeding sales person, you buy a programme of the shelf, and double click!

It’s not all bad, conditional marketing has been around for ages. But when it starts calling you up with a robot and engaging you in your valuable time and they don’t even know you, is. It really is. And when they start asking the exact right questions from a robot programmed with artificial intelligence start specifically focused on perfecting the manipulation of people via prose. Appealing to emotions. Painting them up. Extracting information. Age of desperately aggressive marketing tactics.

Anyway, I started to play the game and turned it around, asking this woman personal questions, and telling her she was a robot.

Same reply. An eerily innocent and genuine sounding laugh. Over and over again.

So I left her in cyberspace laughing. And wrote this story.


Then the phone rang again, and trues nuts, she tried two more times. Eventually I got mal and hung up twice.

The phone rang again. 15 minutes into the story. Also from Netherlands. A young cheerful Indian sounding chap, asking the exact same questions. Saying the exact same things.

At least I got a story out of it. Imagine how many people they hit in a day? Gethousands.

Don’t be one of them!

Unless they are selling Mydos! 🙂