Fish behaviour studies include monitoring how these fast predator fish including sharks, attack.
A cobia comes in real close but does NOT like what he sees, and peels away nonchalantly.
Blackfin Sharks don’t mind deep water and they are as fast as marlin!
Fish behaviour studies at the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies: The accompanying video features four species of fish and their different reactions to some of our trolled baits up here in Vilankulos waters.
Some days the water got real blue lately, but many other days have been plagued by a bit of green in the water. However, we have worked out distances from camera to fish nicely – the last clip in the sequence shows a huge blackfin shark come screaming on our marlin bait, chomping the wax thread that help the tuna to the circle hook, as they do.
The first clip, is that of a real nice sized bull dorado having a go at a paddle tail. Spectacular as the fish uses it’s prolific sail in the attack sequence. One of our best shots ever (thanks to Dr. Mario Lebrato for going to all the effort to get these clips).
Then a real interesting one comes on, revealing a noisy, ugly white hard plastic noisy lure, that just outright fails to convince the spritely little Cobia that came up from out of the depths to have a look. A very close look. Centimetres behind the clanging lure. And then, unbelievably, he gives it a nudge. When it doesn’t react like a real fish, the Cobia tries again until he convinces himself that it’s not worth it. And peels away unimpressed.
Then we were going slow for some reason, and a whole shoal of cute little yellowfin tuna come into the scene. The camera was upside down at this slow speed so the video can look a little confusing.
Enjoy the fish behaviour action…
The BCSS, on Benguerra Island, has been real busy hosting a group of whale behaviour scientists right now. More about that to follow…
BUT, Captain Duarte Rato officially started his season this week, and he will certainly be doing his homework and tagging and posting for us. His latest report can be seen here -> http://fishbazaruto.com/2018/09/18/early-september-18-fishing-update/, and is a real good one again featuring shoals of yellowfin, some wahoo, and two sailfish. All in days work for Duarte and crew once again on the good boat Vamizi. Who I saw moored at Vilankulos the other day – looking beyond spectacular in preparation for the season.
Sharks in the Shorebreak! Sardine Report July 2018
Sharks in the Shorebreak! Sardine Report July 2018: It’s been an incredible sardine run this 2018 with images of the good old days seen all over. Sharks right in the shorebreak gorging themselves. Nets filled daily. Spin casters everywhere. Kids with packets. Grannies with washing baskets. Traffic jams for miles!
The sards have featured at literally every beach up and down from Port Edward and even past Durban. They were at Ballito recently! However, some beaches are very popular with the sards – The Sandspit, Pumula, Scottburgh and a few others have seen non-stop action.
Enjoy the shark video submitted by Dez way down on the lower south coast somewhere. Thanks Dez!
As usual, the fishing has been a tad slower than what would be expected. The fish are actually everywhere. Yellowfin tuna, couta, snoek and all vie with dolphins and all sorts for the bounty. A good bit of advice from the old timers – don’t fish with sardines in the sardine run!
Shark anglers are having the most fun. The guys down at Port Edward have refined their attack to include drones that drop their baits off way out the back. With amazing results. The controversy over drone use has however also been on the rise.
And from Jason Heyne, underwater correspondent and veteran spearfisherman…with his report from just before the weekend.
The diving conditions have been average this week with 3 or 4 days being diveable. The sardines down south coast are attracting some decent fish inshore with wahoo, sailfish and daga salmon coming out. Saturday a moderate south west blows all day with the swell running at just a tad over 2m. Sunday the south west continues to blow and it starts dropping off around mid day with a 2m swell running all day. So Saturday early and Sunday afternoon might be diveable. Andrew gets his first saily and fish of the week and Dean gets club merit fish of the week with a decent winter garrick.
We are having our 8th annual crayfish comp on the 4th of August which is always a cracker event. Family welcome at the weigh in at The lapa pool area at Wings Virginia airport. Wors rolls and cash bar. Entry forms available at Freedivers and email email@example.com .
As always dive safe and straight spears
And the very interesting and informative gallery that always comes with Jason’s reporting…
This report was sponsored by Splash Saverite in Port Edward. Right close to the infamous Splash Rock fishing spot, pop in for latest catches and good advice on fishing the KZN South Coast and into the nearby Transkei Wild Coast.
It’s totally wild down there as GoFish blows it up!
Gofish Cameras. Totally wild.
When we first reviewed a bunch of underwater recordings shot with GoFish trolling cameras – of fish attack behaviour, that we made out off of the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies recently – some crazy sounds came booming from out of the studio.
More and more gasps and exclamations, hoots and howls from the reviewer – until he crescendoed with an almighty bellow, “COME AND SEE THIS!”
Myself and Callum Roberts (visiting shark scientist and the reason for us targeting Zambezi Sharks as he completes some serious scientific research work at the BCSS) bounded into his office, only to be exposed to the most eye-widening imagery ever seen by either of us. Mainly Zambezis – the particular troublesome species we have been targeting for spatial monitoring and movement tagging.
But also King Mackerel – reckless and lethal as they were hunting in packs – they operate together. Amazing to see. Even the big ones. And when your livebait starts to panic like it would after a few minutes in these waters, make no mistake your bait is being stalked and charged from all angles. What was amazing is that they turn away so often. It’s about one in ten charges – that the ‘couta actually hits the bait. The pack seems to goad one of them into eventually taking on strike duty. And they all hang around and share the spoils after the striker gets the bait off the trace! Which happened surprisingly often.
The Zambezi’s were the same, as in there was never only one of them. Up to six at a time were recorded happily sitting barely two metres below the propellers, easily keeping pace with us as we dragged a dredge and a bunch of lures around behind us, at quite some speed. Obviously, as we had a strike, it was barely a few seconds and a shark would climb on.
The Cobia acted the same. And often swam with the sharks. In amongst them. Huge fish.
As did the Talang Queenfish we were lucky enough to film off of Paradise Island. We scored an unlucky flying fish that flew onto the boat. About 5 inches long. The trace we had was too heavy for starters, but a bunch of queenfish came in and inspected, mock charged, turning away every time. A custom trace with light nylon would have gotten that strike. But we did get one on spoon, which may show a relationship between strike rate and live baits in the water.
Yellowfin Tuna, at these initial stages of fish behaviour analyses, have been the most wary and sensible. The bonito and skipjack footage that we recorded in our wake following us – unbelievable. Like an over-stocked aquarium, there were fish everywhere, and going in all directions!
This particular application of video technology to our favorite past time of fishing has potential to completely shift the way we see and treat the ocean and it’s fish. It was far more of a thrill seeing what had happened as recorded and reviewed through the day than actually catching and fighting the fish.
The following video was compiled to study the king mackerel as they come in hot and fast onto the target. You will see that they definitely come in from the flank or rear, and that they go for the tail first. In this clip, one couta actually removes the tail completely with a lightning-fast strike. And then another of the three featuring king mackerel comes in and takes the bait right off the trace. But he hooks himself. And then, in a flash, he just shakes the trace free. All we could see from the boat, was a few dips on the rod tip. The fish never even took drag, since they were coming in for the strike in the general direction of the boat ie towards us! And for sure the camera was always deployed on a real stiff big gun. Tackle just too much for them. We lost quite a few cameras in the end. Sharks and other beeeeg fish we will never know about.
But basically, without the GoFish camera, we would have experienced none of the thrilling wildlife action going on barely a few metres behind the boat. It really has made an effect on us as we now are using this information to make new sfyle traces. But more about that in another article.
All the imagery we attained on our last three weeks of shooting underwater with GoFish cams, has been processed into data and video and is studies. Some of which you can see online at the following links:
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.
Prices are very reasonable from 75$/person/day including all (excluding some leisure items), and
include first-class cooking and catering by local Chef Fernando. Three meals a day are served.
Warm and cold drinks too. Don’t think it twice, this is a life-time experience.
Accommodation is in the real deal safari tents, or in single and double sharing rooms. The facility is built right on a beautiful beach and bay, on the north side of Benguerra Island. Views are over the channel to Bazaruto Island. A thousand shades of blue.
Volunteer activities will take up half your day, the other half you can swim, snorkel, hike, game view, fish…anything you please. There is a surcharge for activities involving boats or vehicles.
If you wanted to get on over to the very edge of the world, this is one very cool way of doing it. The prices are a fraction of what it would cost to stay on the highly exclusive Benguerra Island. And you get to do something and learn some cool things about how we can all help conserve the environment that we live in.
Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies
Dr. Mario Lebrato and Callum Murie taking a small break from capturing and editing
Activities appeal to all ages really, but it’s the get-up and go type of volunteer we are looking for!
Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies Website
The BCSS website has recently been launched. Take a look at the following link:
Use the website to get in touch. Volunteer programmes and activities can be viewed on the website.
BCSS Underwater Obervatory Project: The first ‘croc couta comes in for a real close look but turns away right the last second. There are two of the +-20kg class fish circling the live bait with piqued interest. In a flash the hapless bonito has its tail sliced off. Blood streams out. Another fish circles and bang! The couta comes from in from below and chomps into the bait. Vas! But somehow he misses the hooks and another guy comes in and finishes off.
This action is all part of the Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies’ (BCSS) Dr. Mario Lebrato’s long-term ocean observatory project. One of only a handful worldwide, Dr. Lebrato is set to deploy a multifaceted underwater monitoring system. Cameras, sensors and a myriad of other sampling equipment will be installed all over the Bazaruto Archipelago. For long-term data recording and analysis.
Luckily, part of these underwater observations includes predator fish kill behavior. Trolling tow cams on marlin dredges and teasers, and right in front of live baits, is opening a huge new three dimensional perspective of a mostly viewed in 2D wake and prop wash. What goes on down there is gob-smacking. So many fish come in interested, but then shy away at the last minute, and move on. In fact, the plentiful and ever-present Zambezi shark is far more careful than the aggressive king mackerel. Tuna seem to be the most suspicious so far. Cobia are also wily characters. Talang queenfish get super excited about a live bait, but will not touch it! Then it grabs a lure! Amazing revelations about fish learning and behaviour.
Wait ’til you see the Zambies following the boat!!!
The hours and hours of material recorded will go back to Europe for careful analysis and processing into data.
The Botha family down the south coast of Natal, led by Dad PJ, have a phenomenal record of catching outsized Amberjack. Sons Tyler and Greg make up the formidable team on the good ship Watt4.
Check this out!
Tyler breaks the magical 100lb mark with this monster Amberjack taken last week.
And the very next day, his Dad PJ and brother Greg back it up with a brace of fish weighing in at 30kgs and 26kgs respectively.
Along with the huge yellowfin tuna taken the week before, way out off Shelley Beach, these fish mark some of the most noteworthy fish ever taken off Shelley Beach. And the fact that these fish mark the advent of two new sport fishing opportunities bodes really well for the fishing off Shelley Beach. Not only do you have the gamey yellowfin and other pelagics on Protea Reef (and sharks), and the super exciting backline fishing for couta and snoek, the vaste variety of bottom feeders…(and many more) but now you can also go super deep and take on these denizens.
To get out there, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and lets put a package together for you. In a week on the coast we can get you out deep chasing monsters, catching shad for live baiting garrick and kob from the side, and patrolling estuaries for rock salmon and kingfish.
Fishing Addicts in Clairewood, south Durban, have recently taken delivery of the entire range of Mydo Fishing Lures. Other stockists of Mydos in Durban are Township Hyper up the hill in the Chatsworth area, and Danwood Fishing Tackle, in the north, in Tongaat. And Fisherman’s Warehouse slap bang in the centre of Durbs.
This is just in time for big ‘couta as the season hots up with the start of April. April has been the pattern for the big crocodile sized couta visiting our waters here in Natal. Well southern Natal particularly, as the bigger fish seem to like going the furthest south. Hibberdene to Port Edward. And even further – way down into the Transkei.
Team Mydo, fishing on the Niteshift, off Southport, on Sunday, got one of the first. At 25kgs it’s a lovely fish, taken using a #1 Mydo Baitswimmer rigged with a little baby bonito. Or jube-jube, as they are more commonly known by seasoned couta anglers in Natal.
The #1 has always been a favourite for fishing the 20m contours, where this fish came from. It takes care of the middle echelons of the water column. When fishing with live baits, it’s important to keep the little critters well away from each other. So one down deep, on a #2, 3 or 4, depending on wind and current. Then the #1 in the middle. And a float rigged bait right on top. Sometimes two. But fishing with these deadly live baits and having more than one rod per angler in the water, can ruin everything when the strike comes.
These fish empty a TLD25 two or three times. Fast. Before they start their never ending circles under and around the boat. You really have to be a polished team and real quick to give chase or you will be spooled. Sometimes the fish goes in the right direction and you can give chase leaving one or two live baits out. The floated ones are better for this because you can see where they are.
Mydos are rigged with serious 5X trebles that really hold on. Heavier wire on the droppers, and a nice long leader. The baitswimmers are designed for dead baits. They impart an action to the bait as it’s trolled along. Speeds of up to 6 knots are fine, if you have a nice fresh and strong bait like a ballyhoo (aka halfbeak).
For livebaits, either use some elastic to keep the bait in control and on the pin. Or use a Mydo Livebaitswimmer. This head has a powerful little hook up front, which you can delicately put through the top lip of your bait. This will keep him happy and swimming just the way you want him to. There are two sizes of Livebaitswimmer – the #1 at 0.7 Oz, and the #2, at 1.5 Oz. And there are 7 sizes of the Baitswimmer range.
1000lb Blue Marlin off Inhaca Island: Mozambiques first reported Blue Marlin weighing over a thousand pounds was taken recently. Captain Duarte Rato of FishBazaruto has been offering marlin fishing experiences, down off Inhaca Island, for the month of March of each year. This is the time the big blues make an appearance in good numbers in these wild waters.
Carl Jankowitz, who got a grander black last year too, off Bazaruto, was in the hotseat. But his years of experience in the chair and fishing with Duarte paid off, and his second grander came to the boat. Unfortunately, after 2 hours, the fish was tail wrapped, couldn’t move, and died on the disappointed crew. Who tag and release all billfish normally.
Also featuring in the video, is the hectic launch at Santa Maria. Between Inhaca Island and Santa Maria, it gets wild. Known as Hell’s Gate, this place is really mean in any swell, and is to be feared by most! But the excellent boat handling by the Captain of the good ship FourPlay, hops the crew through safely and out into the ocean.
Duarte tags and releases hundreds of billfish. He works with international partners who collate the data and formulate billfish management strategies worldwide. His tagging and DNA sampling that he does, is invaluable to these decision and policy makers.
April sees Duarte and the FishBazaruto crew back on Bazaruto Island, where he has an appointment or two with the seasonal striped marlin and sailfish, that will be runninng through those crazy waters any time now. Black marlin are still encountered in April, but mainly they are quite small. In fact, very small. Saltwater fly fishers absolute dream, as these baby blacks take to the skies with far more energy and speed than their parents. They are aggressive and take anything you throw at them. Such performances!
So whatever is on your menu? Billfish of all species and sizes. Seasonal appearances mean you can literally target the bill you are after, be it a sail, a stripe, a black or a blue. And in between an endless ruccous of ratchets screaming as the myriad of gamefish try compete with the bills for attention.
If this is your game, get in touch with Duarte via http://fishbazaruto.com, where you can see the many options available, as we tailor make your ultimate fishing experience.
Fresh in from Bazaruto Island: Captain Duarte Rato has been hard at all February, and rounds it all off with a fantastic trip he got together with his Dad and his son. Spanning three generations, the effort was serious enough, but with the help of Duarte Jnr’s mom Gretha, those yellowfin were really in deep trouble!
“As all who fish with us know my Dad, Jose Duarte, is a true salt, a real old man of the sea who spent his life in the Ocean, mostly on commercial vessels. He took me to sea from a very young age and, from a very early stage in my life, when my friends wanted to be Doctors, or fireman, or engineers, I knew I wanted to be a charter Captain. My oldest son, Duarte, who just turned 5, as definitely inherited the passion of the sea from us. Or should I say obsession! The boy dreams fishing, watches fishing videos as opposed to cartoons, spends huge amounts of time looking at my BlueWater, Ski-boat and Marlin Magazines and, at five, can easily identify between a Blue, a Black and a Striped!”
The yellowfin tuna have also made an appearance of Tofo recently. Acres of birds enjoying the feast of small sardine-like fishies all over the place right now. Judging by some of the smashes going on, visible over a few kilometres even, there were some big fish on the hunt. Voracious attacks on the surface!
In the backline at Tofinho were the bonefish again. They looked like they could have been spawning as every now and then one lolled over another and a flash of underbelly was occasionally seen. Very cool to see them all so tightly knit and floating along just shy of the waves. If they were not spawning, then I am not sure what they were getting up to?! And no, they were not lemonfish!
Along the beach at Fatimas the bonefish pros were baiting up with prawn and squid and getting a handful of foot longs each. These guys just seem to know exactly when and where these fish decide to show up. This was a few days ago, as a front came through.
The markets are overloaded with lovely gamefish like couta, kingfish and tuna. The weather has been crappy, but aytime the row boats get themselves out there, they bring back nice fish.
Catching Yellowfin Tuna in Mozambique
Well the biggest one caught up in these tropical waters here so far, has to be this 72kg monster, by Duarte and crew, taken on a marlin rig, a few years ago. This fish caused quite a stir, as on this same day, they were all over the place. These huge yellowfin tuna, out of nowhere! And on a mission to smash into everything they could. Luckily this fish held on right to the end. Quite a few got away!
At around the same time, bigger class yellowfin tuna were being encountered up and down the East Coast seaboard of Southern Africa. Even Durban got a fish over 50kg’s. A new club record for all the years of that clubs existence.
Traditionally, yellowfin tuna just don’t hang in these tropical and warmer waters at all. Once they reach sexual maturity, which is 35 to 40kgs, they shoot over the horizon and into the “tuna lanes”.
But, tuna, all of the species, are well known for their feeding patterns. They can stick to a regimen like clockwork, often traversing hundreds of kilometres in a day as they migrate between feeding spots. Feeding spots that these highly intelligent fish know are going to produce at those times. And they can change feeding habits and patterns, completely.
Bluefin tuna used to use False Bay as one of their spots. These fish were most likely Southern Bluefin, which we still get in quite prolific numbers, right off our coast. The Transkei Wild Coast regularly sees legal longliners from Japan, there are two of them, catching Southern Bluefin Tuna, within cellphone signal distance from shore. These ships are based out of Durban and can be monitored on any AIS app, anytime. They catch serious fish. Billfish and Southern Bluefin. but the Bluefin that vacated False Bay in the seventies – have never come back!
Weirdly enough, Bluefin started pitching up off Ireland a while back. After a very long absence. Local anglers were amazed to see these huge fish coming right up to them, as they plied their regular fishing techniques right offshore. Soon, these guys were posting online, questions on how to catch Bluefin Tuna. And sure enough, they caught quite a few!
So the influx of bigger tuna to these shallower and more tropical waters, could be seen as an adjustment to their feeding patterns. An adjustment to the adjustments made as so many variables have to line up for natural events like sardine runs to occur.
So tackle up this next season. Keep that heavy duty popper at the ready!
Duarte and his team have been operating the Bazaruto waters since forever. Duarte actually grew up fishing Mozambique. He has been doing marlin and sport fishing charter trips, ever since he was in school in Maputo! Right in the most hectic times around here!
Duarte mainly targets really big marlin (I’ve heard him say – “I hate light tackle!”, a number of times). And he has caught them! Over a thousand pounds is the mark, and Duarte has had many fish over that size off the famed Bazaruto Island. Including one released this season. You can read all about that fish right here…
The next time you plan a trip up to the Bazaruto Archipelago or Vilankulos, get in touch with FishBazaruto first to assist you in making the best arrangements and plans for your time here. Weather and tide are factors so the more in advance we can plan, the better.
Welcome to Vilankulos & the Bazaruto Archipelago, one of World’s best Giant Black Marlin fishing destinations. With 16 years experience in the area our experienced crew invites you to step aboard one of our fully rigged sportfishers, for a fishing experience of a lifetime. We have continuously been the archipelago´s top billfish charter boat for well over a decade and have caught more grander (1000 pound plus) Grander Black Marlin than any other in Africa. Blue and Striped marlin can also be caught out wide and the by-catch of other species such as sailfish, wahoo, Yellowfin tuna, dorado, cuda, Kingfish and other’s makes this an extremely versatile and exciting destination. We cater for experienced and novice anglers alike and for those interested in making the most of the Archipelago’s diversity we happy to combine & package for other forms of fishing such as plugging for GT´s, vertical jigging, drop shot, fly fishing, light tackle spinning & conventional light tackle trolling.”
At 4 am this early morning, whilst I was tossing and turning (dreaming of marlin perhaps) with another bout of the Big M. (Malaria) – I sensed some activity outside.
My brother Marc was back from Angola. And he had his son Brandon and his mate Tristan Roodt.
They were prepping the good boat Niteshift, and soon headed out through the Umzimkulu River mouth, into a rough and ready ocean. All confused from the day before as the south and north wind argued like they have been. From my angle, the wind just blew and blew, but with high tide all day, I knew they could return anytime they liked really.
But they didn’t.
The first Instagram video came through – wasting time with a shark.
But then silence. For ages.
The wind got right up again. 20 Knots or more. Ideal dorado weather. And marlin!
And so it was, the early birds, after spending a good few hours getting into the swing of the day, found the worm.
The dorado came screaming in and a total of five eventually made it into the hatch for a free boat ride. Many got away and lost out.
At one point, Marc took a look at his plugging outfit looking all lonely. So in sympathy, he picked it up and gave it a lob. As it hit the water, without any sign or warning, a tasty little yellowfin tuna smashed it! Luck? I dunno?
Then all of a sudden, there it was. An angry 100kg plus marlin picked on the blue number 2 Mydo Livebaitswimmer, armed with those reliable 5x little black trebles from Mustad.
Not wanting to cause the fish too much distress before he let it go, Marc pushed the drag right up and gave the jumping, dancing fish the gears. In 25 minutes he had the fish beat and behaving in front of the boat?! Marc pulled the tiny trebles out easily enough, and sent it on its way a lot more wily and suspicious of those Mydos and how good they are rigged!
The Mydo LiveBaitSwimmer is just like a Baitswimmer, but it has a strong little single hook to pin the lively live bait with. There are two weights, 1 Oz and 2Oz, so you can keep your livies away from eachother, on the drift, or on the troll.
“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…
ZanziBeach Seafood Restaurant
The vista out front of ZanziBeach
Limao and chilli round it all off.
Gulp down an oyster or two at ZanziBeach on the beach of Tofo
Surfing Mozambique this time of the is always very interesting. Two cyclones so far, have thumped swell at us this past month. The first, AVA, had us surfing places like Tofinho every day. And the huge dollop of sand there has seen surfing right through the tides. This syclone hit the east side of Madagascar where a huge escaroment of mountains sent it packing. It floated off down south and east, just shy of the exact place we need it to be.
The second was a bit more serious but stayed farther off the coast. On Saturday the ten foot sets arrived closing out the entire Tofnho Bay. On Sunday, Barra went off the scale again. There was no footage shot, nbut this clip of it doing it’s thing last year exactly this time, tells the story.
This clip only features the last third of the first superbank. It starts kilometres further up. The second superbank was also absolutely firing this day. A lot easier but still tubular bells. Top to bottom.
At one point, after my umpteenth wave, I was staggering back only to find my two surfing mates, Aladinho and Dave Charley, lying in a puddle of water, completely spent. I kicked them back both up and out there. Only to hear both of them howl their proverbial lament, over and over – “I just had the BEST wave of my LIFE!”. Over and over again.
I wouldn’t hesitate to say that Barra has one over the other superbanks in the area. It’s easy to get to. Has great pubs and restaurants lining the bay. There are many options, through the tides. It’s all very beautiful too. And very uncrowded. Even if it was, the point is so extensive, you would be surfing alone most of the time.
It changes continually. Right now, the second superbank down at the mouth has been replaced by a huge natural swimming pool. As the ocean assaults the bars and establishments along the way.
The first one still exists, but also has a huge swimming pool where the 100metre beach was.
The good news. Is that further up the bay, the original superbank, the one that caused all the fuss way back then, is returning to shape and form. The swell really concentrates on this particular piece of Barra. It breaks real hard and underwater.
And gets 8ft!
The morning after. An incredible place is Pomene. (c) Boa Gente
Chris Leppan and Hate Speech surfing Mozambique
Chad Leavitt takes the drop at the point in Pomene
Surfing Tofinho is best started real young. This kids got it down. Yomo!
Surfing Mozambiques surprise left
Surfing the KZN South Coast in summer
And a video playlist of all things surfing Mozambique…
To get on up to Tofo and to enjoy the life here a while…check out our accommodation options at the following link…
Surf launching is dangerous, especially on the huge spring tides. Coupled with an easterly swell, all sorts can and does go wrong in this crazy clip sent in by an anonymous contributor. He swears that’s not him laughing in the background.
Surf launching: analysis
Having been through many shoreys like this one, my only advice would have been to rather not pick on such a close together doubling up and crunching set of three gnarly waves, at all. I would have waited at least this set out. But being lifeguards, and some idiot might be drowning out back, sometimes you just have to go.
Luckily those boats are designed to go over and inflict as little damage on the lifeguards as possible. There is no console. They are mostly soft. Nothing to catch on. The engine is the only thing to avoid when the boat goes over. Althpough that in itself is enough!
But in this case, the boat rolls over and away from the crew, who were dumped quite luckily actually.
As the boat gets through the annihilator wave that broke literally on them, the skipper mistakenly but unavoidably hits the throttle, as all that water crashed over him and he tried to hold on. This was the tipping point well overreached. The boat comes flying up and out of the white water under power, and at the wrong angle completely. No coming back from that.
No injuries and plenty people to help made the event just something cool to learn from.
Surfing Sathanes with an energetic Dustin Volker aka Krusty, and a polished Chris Leppan, this film with camera lady Riz Laine and edit by Xonalanga, tells the real story of surfing the fabled Mozambican point breaks.
A fickle coastline at best, Mozambique surf spots much prefer east swells, which start hammering though as the cyclone season kicks into gear. The swells in this clip were south swells, and as you can see, the wave seems to warble a tad.
It’s great surfing as usual. Krusty kills it on his backhand whilst natural footer Chris is just loving his time up here in the tropics. Right hander after right hander after right hander.
It’s been a good summer so far. And with the first Cyclone, “AVA”, having already caused mayhem on the east side of Madagascar, it looks to be a good season into 2018. This cyclone made landfall half way down Mad, and the steep mountain escarpment that side broke it’s speed from 150kph right down. Where it careened off south-east and out to sea.
But not without sending us some of it’s juices in the form of a punchy east swell, that lit up the Tofo Bay at high tide, with some perfect shore-breaking waves, for quite a few days. It wasn’t big enough for the Barra sand to come alive. But that’s coming soon!
There is a tropical depression way up top, in the cyclone factory right now. Will it form up into a real spinner? The ones we want are not the ones that come into the Mozambique Channel at all. Those randomly cause havoc and chaos, and are literally completey unpredictable. No, the ones we want spin-off and hang around the very tip of Mad. Those are the conditions to watch for.
Get your paddling arms on! These swells are short period and very strong.
Check out our offerings in the Trips and Travel menu at top. Or click here.
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 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 email@example.com.
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!
December is upon us, it’s fishing time – and the Fishing Republic tackle store, is newly opened in The Strand!
Operator Kegan Matheys has been literally overwhelmed with support and at the same time run off his feet. But he is holding on tight and dealing with the crowds just fine.
Kegan has dressed his shop up in False Bay style fishing tackle glam. He has loads of shark and other inedible tackle options, but his forte are the kob that swim the beaches and the bay. Literally pioneering these waters with drop shot and plastic bait fishing, you can visit Kegan for advice and direction. And even hook up a fishing trip or outing with other learner or more experienced anglers.
False Bay is a beautiful place to fish. And going with a few anglers together, makes it all the more safer and fun.
Pop in to the Fishing Republic this season…click here for more information. And a map.
See you there!
A great idea is to click along over to the new stores Facebook page at…
Right on the beach at Fatimas each year! The Tofo Ocean Festival 2017 looks to be the biggest yet. Check out the post party clip for last years event and festivities…
And details for the 2017 event…
Praia do Tofo is the grand stage for the New Years celebrations here in Mozambique 2017. There is something going on in every corner of the party-infused town. But none as big as the main event – the Tofo Ocean Festival 2017. Held at Fatimas Nest – right on Tofo Beach. Over New Years. 27 December 2017 to 1 January 2018!
It’s an ocean festival, aimed at increasing ocean awareness – but it’s all about the music through the summer nights. In full New Year swing, the sun comes up all too soon every day. DJs and musos line up to contribute to the show. They come from all over the place.
The people also come from far and wide for the Ocean Festival and Praia do Tofo. The Tofo “gridlock” turns into an endless street party all leading to Fatimas.
Best leave your car where it is and walk and dance the night away. The town has already started filling up. It’s gonna be a really big year at this
Captain Duarte Rato submits and end of marlin season report from Bazaruto Island, filled with fantastic imagery and fishing stories. Tales of huge fish! Marlin over 1000lbs. Many just shy of the mark. Almost all marlin and sailfish are released by the highly trained and efficient team running the good boat Vamizi.
A few shots from this weeks gallery…(c) FishBazaruto
Marlin season 2017 has been an absolute blast this year
Big fish Bazaruto (c) FishBazsruto.com
FishBazaruto have been taking bookings now already for next years marlin season, which can start as early as September. Depending on the prevailing winds. If the South Easter howls through winter and into spring, and then gives way to the very mild low-pressure systems that can come through as we move into summer, the season can extend for months each side of November.
Duarte spends the whole December with his family. Greta and two boys who are growing up fast. And then starts again in January and fished his home waters of Bazaruto a while longer, until he heads on off chasing marlin all about the globe.
Get in touch with Duarte via http://fishbazaruto.com and while you are there check through the archives of all his posts since 2011!
There is a video section, and so much interesting and relevant information about Bazaruto and its waters. Including a table referencing the best times for each fish regards season.