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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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So you wanna catch a kingfish on fly?

JP Bartholomew with his noteworthy Giant Kingfish taken on the KZN North Coast on fly!

So you wanna catch a kingfish on fly?

A kingfish on fly.

Even a small one will knock your socks off. Their dogged fighting style transmits back through the fly line direct to your hand and fingers as you battle with the one to one ratio. Luckily the soft fly rod allows the kingfish to fight back a bit, and usually, they are not as tired when you finally get to release time. Gentle on the fish, fly fishing is true sport.

But you best tackle up for the GT. And for keeping pace with JP Bartholomew. Your most direct access to your dream fish.

JP works the KZN north coast for his ultimate nemesis – these GT’s. And along the way, he catches everything else. Including the ever elusive bonefish, the seasonal garrick, huge shad, all the species of available kingfish, pompano, queenfish, mackerel – all on artificials.

JP has recently joined The Sardine team of guides and operators, and his services – available from GT Adventures, can be read all about, right here.

GT has long been a contributing author to The Sardine News. You can read all about just some of his fishing antics at the following posts…

There are many more where those came from, and there will be many more to follow.

If you want to get out their and right into the thick of it, go fishing with JP for a few days.

To get in touch, click over to GT Adventures enquiry form, by clicking here. GT Adventures






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Fish Eagle 0 Fish 1: tight game down on the Umzimkulu

The Fish Eagles of the Umzimkulu wake lodge guests at the Umzimkulu Marina, each morning. Don't worry though, they start at a reasonable hour - fishing time!

Fish Eagle 0 Fish 1

Our two resident fish eagles, a pair that have been living and breeding here on the lower Umzimkulu River, for decades it feels, were circling over head. The colours of the afternoon showing no sign of the impending cold front. The sun was out. The river had swelled magnificently since the mouth started closing.

And there were fish about. As I edged along the bouncy noisy floating jetty at the Umzimkulu Marina, a bunch of mullet were startled by something 50 m down towards the mouth. The blue-tailed guys were jumping for joy (according to science), and there were kingfish-like smashes going on, sporadically, all over. The perfectly calm water making it so much easier to see fish and movement.

Then one of my favourite things – a turtle! It popped his head up down where those mullet were having a panic from before. I cast one near him, kingfish and all sorts tag turtles when they hunting, but remembering a turtle ate my lure twice before in this river, I quickly cranked away.

Enjoying the scene, cast after cast, things looking good for putting in some real fishing time. And I really am looking for a garrick, to round off my winter estuary season.

And there came the fish eagle. Locked on target. Heading for the grunter bank in the middle, a hundred metres in front of me. Picking up speed and lowering trajectory he came in like a missile. Swooping in, the flaps came on and the the highly adapted landing gear came out.

Bang! Splash! Chaos!

The fish eagle literally came to a dead halt. Whaaaaat. We have twice seen the fish eagles here kill huge otters. And eat them all day right in front of us on Dead Man’s Island. So this was unbelievable!

As much as the eagles wings were flapping like crazy – the huge bird went right under for a second. But it came back up and the battle waged on. It looked like the fish eagle was still in the game at one point. The birds wings took for a moment, and I saw the huge back of whatever it was on the bottom end, being dragged up and out of the water. Huge, like 10kgs or so. But then a violent twist and huge splashing brought the eagle tumbling back down into the water.

The eagle came back up thrashing. And then it just let go!

Fish Eagle 0 Fish 1

The fish eagle then flew off into the sun, and found a rad spot on a huge tree. And let out a huge fish eagle cry. But it sounded like laughter. And when it’s partner joined in with a chorus – it also sounded very high spirited – like – “Hey man how big was that fish dude!” Whaaahaaahaaahaaa…

True fish eagles! Having a blast down on the river in the afternoon.


Come and join us down at the Umzimkulu River…get in touch on or check out our river fishing packages at the following link:

Umzimkulu Estuary Fishing



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Four Fish Trading in Nelspruit stock The Mydo

Four Fish Trading in Nelspruit for all your fishing tackle requirements

Four Fish Trading in Nelspruit stock The Mydo

Years of experience and connections in the fishing business, have led to the opening of Four Fish Trading in Nelspruit. Open for a few months now, the store is jam-packed with stock, including The Mydo range of fishing lures. Read all about them right here (, and pop in to Mohamed to get your own.

Rock and Surf, Deep Sea, Estuary, Freshwater…it’s all covered at Four Fish Trading. With a comprehensive range in each genre.

Four Fish Trading in Nelspruit
Four Fish Trading in Nelspruit

Being right on the route to Mozambique makes Four Fish a convenient stop for tackle on the way to your favourite fishing spot.

Check out their Facebook page here…

And like them to follow news and catches and all sorts fishing…

A happy Four Fish Trading customer
A happy Four Fish Trading customer
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Baby Black Marlin shoal off Bazaruto

Baby Black Marlin shoal off Bazaruto

An Instagram feed journal of the activities of The Sardine News activities…Baby Black Marlin shoal off Bazaruto

A few days ago, Capt. Duarte Rato reported on all the baby Black marlin been caught off the Bazaruto Archipelago, into this new year. These are amazingly beautiful fish – which put on a great show and fight on appropriate gear, be it conventional, spinning or on the fly.
Here´s a very short clip of one of these rat´s being released aboard VAMIZI, it just shows you on beautiful these little creatures are. Amazingly these small fish come right into the inshore reef´s and are caught in depths as shallow as 15 meters of green water.
As you can see in the rad little clip…‘s Captain Duarte Rato educates one of a proliferation of baby black marlin off Bazaruto this year – how to jump real good for the camera, just prior to release. More on thesardine #thesardine #fishbazaruto

The Vamizi
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Fly fishing Umdloti with JP Bartholomew

Fly fishing Umdloti with JP Bartholomew

And here we have JP Bartholomew entertaining us again with tales of fly fishing Umdloti, just north of where JP lives…

A final break in the weather and I wanted to get some flyfishing in and especially to see how my right arm was doing after battling with Tennis Elbow which I had been battling with for the last couple of month’s.I hit the Umdloti stretch with my 8/9wt Explorer fitted with a Explorer Orion 9wt Reel with intermediate line using a 22lb fluorocarbon leader.The water was flat with a slight South westerly wind blowing and as always fishing on a pushing in tide.The water was a nice green/blue in colour which was perfect not clean and not dirty the stretch was mine with the odd Holidaymaker Anglers trying there luck. A lot of scattered reef along the shorebreak and open gullies made it that more interesting to fly fish. Don’t you just ever get that feeling that today is just going to be an exciting morning for you not expecting anything big but just hopping for a epic morning’s session and you just wanna get going?  Well this time I had a awesome morning’s fly fishing.

I had set up my fly set up and looked for a fly best suited to try the water’s I was going to be fishing that would attract any rock or sand dwellers in the near vicinity of where I would target the are I would cast towards.I decided to go with a Black Clouser which would stand out and throw more of a dark silhouette and attract some nice Specimen to it.I started peeling off line to begin my assault, I managed to get close to some structure and felt some nice bums on my retrieve but no hook ups so I a slower retrieve and not long a went on tight  getting a few little head shakes I was just not quite sure what it was definitely not a small kingie of sorts, finally got it to surface and I had a little beauty of a Kob I quickly got a pic for my photo gallery and removed the fly and slowly released it back into the water stokked I was on the scoreboard I continued to cast around the same structure as well as bouncing my fly off a small sand bank to my left and slowly allowing it to sink and then slowly bouncing it off the bottom to get a reaction I tried the same retrieve a few times before I went on again.
My rod went tight and this fella was giving me stick which felt so good hoping to see what I had picked up a few more runs I slowly started retrieving the line back and slowly got it to the surface it was a nice size Stone Bream. I quickly got  my buddy to take a pic for the gallery and removed the fly and slowly released it back to fight another day epic seeing how much activity happens when you fish a pushing in tide and the conditions are right and the fish species  are roaming around looking for anything which gets knocked off the rocks or when the waves churned up the sand throwing up all sorts of crustaceans and small sprats allowing anything in tvicinityity to feed freely on them.
After a few more casts I finally moved on  to a different spot as the water was pushing a little more with more white water breaking over the rocks hoping to try target for a kingfish or two hopefully.I had a couple of casts into the white water  before going tight a a nice quick peel on my line zig zaggingfrom left to right very unasual fight after a few minutes I managed to get close to it so I could identify the fish I had hooked into – Eisssh my first a Concertina fish nice size too happy with my catch I just had to get the pic in quickly and release it back as soon as possible which I did.I  carried on for a while hoping for a bigger pick up as the gulley filled up nicely and the waves were still brakeing over the rocks it was still fish able for a few more casts.I slowly started moving out slightly more backwards so I could have a few more casts in front of me towards the bay that had build up in front while I was busy fishing but to no avail.
Fly fishing Umdloti with JP Bartholomew
Fly fishing Umdloti with JP Bartholomew and his Concertina Fish
I moved out and walked more down towards the bigger bays and try for some small Geeeeeet’s hopefully I kept to the Black Clouser why change your fly when you’ve been having such good results with it. I slowly started peeling off line to begin my casting I spotted a nice little gully which came off from a sand bank and dropped off into a nice deepish pool of running white water which is always a exciting spot to target kingfish ambushing sprats or smaller Mullet in the turbulenced water.It wasn’t long before I got smoked by something that just felt like another Concertina fish and yip it was another I safely removed the fly and released it back, carring on and casting into the channel I got a chase and it it my fly but missed the hook up I could only have been a small kingie so I kept at casting in the direction of the chase I got hoping it would give Me another go.No luck after a few more casts nothing was happening so I moved further down where to more of a sandy bay with a scattered reef to see what species I could hook my fly into and attract what ever is lurking along the sandy channels.
Well this would be my final session before my turn around and start to make my way back to my car. Looking to see where would be the best option to start I saw a sandy spot just starting to get water washing over the bank that could only be to My advantage with the water stirring up the sand and exposing small Crustaceans,  Sealice , Sand Shrimp….etc and all I had to do is cast my fly towards the turmoil and white water rolling around.
I gave myself 20min to cast and hopefully catch my last fish before before heading home for some family time….!! Well I started casting onto the bank and dropping my fly down and using a slow retrieve hoping something would see it amongst the sand and white water trying to get away and smash my fly. I just kept at it eventually I felt a bump then another bump and a miss then got a proper pick up and quickly held my line and lifted up my rod to strike I was on Dad finally I got my Species that was playing catch me if you can but with perseverance I hooked the cheeky bugger not knowing what it was it was a feisty fella gave Me a nice little rev retrieving  some line back I could see what looked to me like a little Grunter which landed up being My first Grunter on fly completely stokked at my little Spotted Grunter I took the Pic and released it back and got back to casting hoping for a bigger Boykie if there was one there must be more surely.
I changed my fly to a Brown Brush Fly to try impersonat a Brown Shrimp I casted for may be 15min then totally got Smashed I really thought I had the Daddy  Grunter but landed up being a nice size Stone Bream unfortunately I had to take the Pic of My Boykie Stone lying on the sand quickly removed the fly and released it back safely I got straight back into the channel and kept at it hoping just hoping for that Big Cock Grunter.Boom I was on again and what ever hit me it was peeling line and going for it , it was stripping Me nicely best fight I had all morning.I finally started getting my line back I thought I had a little kingie on but I had hooked a nice size Wave Garrick epic I placed the fella on the sand took the Pic and released it back into the water and watched it swim of into the blue.
Well I called it a morning a gr8 one at that and started heading back to my car and just enjoyed the playback’s in My head on the morning I just had , well maybe I’ll get My kingie the next time round…Homeward bound.
Tight line’s
Happy New Year My Friends have a epic weekend all the BEST FOR 2017…..GOD BLESS….!!!
Cheers JP.
Once again JP, many thanks for sharing your fishing experiences with us. It’s really motivating, educational and appreciated! – Sean