100lb kob tagged and released by Gerrard Powell in Port Edward
100lb kob tagged and released by Gerrard Powell in Port Edward this very morning (6 November 2021): Imagine this. You wake up nice and early. Get your two little daughters in the car with you. Down to the rocks in the idyllic Port Edward, KZN, South Africa – to meet Mr. Ant Nel, fellow angler. And who was your teacher at the very school you went to, just a minute walk down the beach.
You set out to get a few casts in between watching out for the girls, and next thing, after a HUGE episode, you are in the water, disbelievingly setting free your kob of a lifetime.
All 100lbs of it!
With a tag in it! Stuck in by no other than Mr. Ant Nel.
Now that’s teachin’!
Chances of Survival
As we all know very well, these fish are our breeding stock. And this guy or gal had a great chance of surviving. He or she was well-rested. Well handled mostly (hand in gills can be debatable but in this case looks ok – horizontal dragging, no real gravity pulling, slippery rocks).
And one thing is for sure, it sure has far more chance of survival in the water, than out.
I don’t think any self-respecting sport angler would be seen dead in a photo – with a fish like this – dead.
The chances for survival for this fish are real. I am sure hoping that it’s swimming around with its mates right again. Telling them not to go near anything that looks like a paddletail!
The tag might tell…
And that’s the point. If you (un)luck into one of these breeding fish, you just need to treat it so well and get it back in the water asap, as these guys did. Luckily Ant Nel was there and he keeps his tagging kit in his back pocket. Which really saved the day. Letting a fish go without a tag in it, doesn’t make too much sense to most. The tag really validates the release.
Kudos Mr. Nel! Still teachin’!
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As the Moka Pot finally starts to bleed rich black coffee this early morning, to the sound of the cold front – the driving rain, the wind through the trees – I reflect on my last fishing experience. Spending time down in our beloved Port St. Johns is always too short. Driving into town and driving out seems the same trip. Lost somewhere in the middle are the layers of imagery, sounds and scents that come out of PSJ each time. Lucky for cameras!
Beelining for the point, rods already ready with leaders and even lures tied days before, is how it always starts. Heart in mouth as the ocean comes into view alongside another favourite carpark. But no crowds this time. No traffic jam. Nobody. Looking up towards Cape Hermes and into the corner, a few fishermen are dotted along the usual spots. Looking quite active. But not in a frenzy for sure.
The frenzy is hard to describe. Kob frenzy. This what happened to me once upon a time…two years ago this time…
I grabbed a coffee with Brucifire, after breakfast, at the Jungle Monkey. I was going fishing anyway, but was super excited this crisp and clear Wild Coast morning. As I collected my fishing thoughts and things, owner Mike came up the ramp.
“I am just gonna go and catch a fish quick ok”.
Mike chuckled. Bruce cheered him on with a laugh too. I had been there a week with no results!
Bruce elected to stay. He was entertaining, and being entertained, by two genuine Ethiopian Rasta priests, that happened to be passing through.
The adrenalin, came like this. I have seen plenty sharks, casually lolling on the surface. But never a kob. Never mind a huge one. And so when I jumped from the car at favourite carpark, shouldered in pass the spectators to get a better look – there they were. But my brain could only process that these fins and fish were zambezis.
“Hey howz those sharks man!”
The guy next to me goes…
“Nooit bru, dey kob.”
From that second and onwards, is all a blur. I do remember every thought leaving my head, as the adrenalin surged. Time stopped. The world stopped. I managed to get back to my car to my favourite rod at that time, a 20lb braid packed Okuma Ceymar with a red and black Sensation Adventure 9 footer. I flew off the cliff down to the players area and found a spot. I let that Mydo SS Spoon fly right over the estuary – and then didn’t know what to do. Crank it? No ways. Slow on the sand? Ok. The fish had shown themselves to me, and I was gonna get one. But not with that spoon. It just made no sense in this scene. So after my second nerve wracking slow retrieve, I clambered back up the cliff to my trusty old VW mobile tackle box, and grabbed the biggest plastic and jig head I could find fastest. The plastic was a good 9 inches, split tail, and in light pink. Huge. The jig head was an easy choice – my very own Mydo Luck Shot, but this time in 2 ounce configuration, with a solid 9/0 hook – that stuck out from the plastic a good 20mm. The plastic sits way further back on the hook with a Mydo jig head, a huge advantage over regular jig heads. The hook was super sharp. And for extra effect, I placed a Mydo Bill plate, in shiny stainless steel, over the jig head. This adds more flash and action, and in as much as this all sounds like a Mydo ad, this is how I did it ok!
My first cast.
I first threw the rig into the deep channel to start with. I just wanted to get my swimming action right. On my second twitch off the sand, my rod went double. I love this outfit as it put on enough brakes to set the hook with the huge 9/0, but maintained enough tension through the famous kob head shake – by being so nice and soft in the front part. The little Okuma was filled with braid, and the fluorocarbon leader very carefully tied back in Port Shepstone already. Figure of eight system as described here.
It was a huge battle. And the kob showed itself quite soon into the fight. A magnificent performance right on the surface, in front of a riveted crowd up top. A guy was fighting a garrick alongside me and we had to switch places many times. My fish loved to drag me all the way up the slippery and loose rocks. To the top, and then all the way back down to the mouth. A pushing tide. Anglers everywhere. So much fun!
But it was a really difficult time for the fish too. Being on 20lb meant my rod had to do all the work. The leader was tied short too. I don’t like my knots in my rod eyes for exact situations like this – where a longer leader would have had knots being damaged each time the fish got close. But I was determined as this would do wonders for the Mydo PRO campaign. I ducked and dived and pulled and pushed my way up and down that strip for 45 minutes before I had him close.
A few of the local pros had gathered around me, and were being wonderful hosts, hauling me across the treacherous terrain when I needed it. The guy next to me eventually lost his garrick – a monster of over 25, I saw it a number of times. The split ring on his lure failed. Man was this guy broken. The kob had by now disappeared and nobody was throwing anymore. It was just me and this kob left.
And so It came to the gaff, which I never even saw. I had given up on a healthy release, especially with the shark factor here, but when that fish came close, a gaff flew past me at lightning speed and bang into the fish. And as the guy dragged the fish up the rocks, the hook fell out! It had been a solid hour of battle.
And so it came to be, that I hauled this kob up the cliff, and never set it free. The light tackle was the problem. But I fish light – so many more strikes. So much more fun. The penalty is this. Big fish get worked too much, and if you release them, they die. I should have had 50lb braid for sure.
I should have had 50lb braid for sure. I have been fishing heavy (40lb), in PSJ since this fish.
Which brings me to today’s story, and what has been on my mind.
Kob are subject to whims to feed which come from above, or the stars, or the moon. They just go dilly. Sometimes they congregate to spawn, and enter a feeding frenzy just thereafter to replace energy used. I was lucky enough to have had invested enough time casting from those very same rocks, to get the timing right for one of these magical moments.
And when I loaded the fish, which once again goes down at 25, because that was the limit of the scale we could find, one of the locals said to me…
“Hey stash that fish or you can’t take another one…”
I was taken aback. I told him that no way would I take another one?! What for? But as reality set back in, I had to think that this guy, who has been here and caught these kob his whole life, feeds his kids this way. Me and the locals have had long conversations about this, shoulder to shoulder, casting lures until we convinced ourselves to save it for the next session. They all get a few. And they are worth a packet. R1000 a fish easy. He reckons he gets 5 to 10 a year. Some of his mates get more than that. All on lures. Subsistence? Could be? Borderline.
And now we have these two guys, being photographed with far too many kob, all at once. You are only allowed one big one and smaller one really. These guys had the whole family. The smallest looks about 10. And the biggest look 25 or more. Story so far is that these guys had a military-style operation going, with trailers with tanks of livebait. Motorcades of 4×4’s. All the best kit. Not subsistence.
The pics were shot about a week ago. And has already been doing the rounds on the internet as most if you will have seen. These are the breeding stock of our kob population smack bang in the most vulnerable time in their lifecycle. Breeding time.
DAFF have the pics and have asked for assistance in this matter. They need to know how many anglers were involved. Where and when this was. They have a marine inspector on it right now. He is in PSJ, where the community is assisting him. In the meantime, mail any information to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can pass it on.
Our deep undercover sardine spy Robbie van Wijk reports of an alleged trawler spotted trawling at Mdumbi just yesterday! Could this be one of the three “legal” ships (Japanese with permits from the totally ineffectual DAFF), that have been spotted up and down all over? Robbie just has this photo for proof.
The trawler had nets out and was heading NE, at trawling speed!
Targeting sardines no doubt! But imagine the destruction they are causing to the reefs and eco-system! Trawls carry the most destructive fishing equipment known to man. And are illegal in most places. They are most likely purse seine fishing, but still – WHOSE FISH ARE THEY?! The Japanese’? And who is policing their methods?
And there is more, when I contact DAFF (Department of Forestry and Fisheries or whatever), they could NOT TELL ME WHERE TO REPORT this type of suspicious activity!
We checked the AIS system (a global map of every legitimate ship on the planet – please check it out at http://marinetraffic.com – such important information to cross reference with), only to find that the “legal” Japanese KOEI MARU No. 1 was in fact off Durban. And the only other boats in the area where Robbie spotted the trawler, are a patrol boat (weirdly enough – full of gunmen as reported by AIS – could be the Sarah Baardman – hopefully), and another unpurposed one, as far as AIS is fed this information. The MSC Rania (not guilty of anything I assure), was the only other vessel reporting itself, for hundreds of miles up and down.
So, a ship without it’s AIS system on. That surely is a guilty ship.
It was a very ironic post that Robbie made from Mdumbi last year this time. It says it all in one photograph. How far did these “South African” sardines travel, before going on sale, back where they came from? I know Lucky Star is a local brand, but are they catching these fish? Is this their boat? Then why the Japanese and Chinese boats? With permits? From our very own DAFF?! (DOFF).
I have been receiving offers for fresh frozen sardines in my inbox (someone spammed me with a subscription to this seafood industry bunch, so I play along, to keep getting the info), way before the sardine season even though of starting. In fact back in January and February were my first emails received – selling by the tonne!
Enjoy the read…
We now have several containers’ products coming soon, please kindly advise, thanks.
Product Name: Frozen W/R Sardine for Market / Bait purpose
Specification: 6-10 pcs/kg, BQF, Light Purse Seine, Land Frozen
#2 Sardine 6-10 pcs/kg Canning
Product Name: Frozen W/R Sardine for Canning purpose
Specification: 6-10 pcs/kg, BQF, Trawl, Land Frozen
#3 Scad (Horse Mackerel) 8-10 pcs/kg Market
Product Name: Frozen W/R Scad (Horse Mackerel) for Market purpose
Specification: 8-10 pcs/kg, BQF, Light Purse Seine, Land Frozen
Kindly let us know the name of your destination port. More products information including pictures and price will be sent according to your respond.
Thanks and warmly regards.
I accept that most of this seafood is likely not from our waters. But who is to tell?
And a few more pics of Mdumbi, by Robbie van Wijk, showing the beauty of the place’s waters that we need to protect from exploitation by few, against the will of the public whole. One shot featuring the Sarah Baardman on patrol, about a month back. That is one mean boat and they would know about every ship for a thousand miles around, just with their own equipment, let alone AIS. So hopefully they have their orders to chase and apprehend, as they did last year, with three captures out of nine reported incursions, by foreign vessels. Or are they just on parade?
Trawler Watch 2017: Fishing Trawler spotted trawling at Mdumbi!
Mdumbi looking beautiful as usual
The Coast Guard on patrol for foreign poachers off Mdumbi in the deep Transkei
Ok, but there is something we can do. Since we are the culprits in the first place.
Yes, it’s us.
The buyers of canned fish. We pay for those ships. We pay those politicians their bribes. We pay for the destruction. We even pay for the Sarah Baardman, through taxes! We are paying for both sides?!
And only we can stop the mayhem. By not buying tinned fish. Ever again. No sardines. No tuna. No mackerel. No Anchovies. Etc…
Take the power back!
You would be doing so much good, on so many levels.
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
Cut off low conditions over Port Shepstone
Yip, thats foam coming right over the carpark area at The Block
For a Sardine Run Report 1 July 2016, we have a few tidbits of encouraging information, from our undercover Sardine Agents, way down in the Transkei.
Robbie van Wijk is the deepest undercover, way down in Mdumbi. Where he has reported sporadic sardine activity, coming right into the bay at times. And then at Luandile around the bluff, and at Presley’s, sardines really put on a show for two days in a row, coming right in close, but not beaching. Shad and garrick were hammering the shoals and fishermen were hooked up all along the beach simultaneously. The staple breakfast of fresh shad has not stopped in the Mdumbi area for a while now. Robbie has also noted some great garrick and kob catches being made by locals and visitors alike.
Then moving up the coast, we have Debbie Smith and Rob Nettleton of Offshore Africa, in Port St. Johns. They are out to sea and in the water every day possible, and are having a great Sardine Run once again. It pays to be so far down the coast – getting in on the action so much earlier. Debbie reports that there are many, many shoals of sardines, but that they are scattered far and wide – all over the ocean. The predators seem not to be too interested, so maybe it’s that moon again. It’s not ideal for fish activity right now, but as the moon disappears this weekend – the stars may line up. She also reports 22 degrees water, with visibility varying between 6 and 10 metres, on their dives with sharks.
Then Jay Steenkamp works the area from Margate into the Transkei, connecting the dots for us. He has reported the usual shoals and shoals of baitfish. Mackerel, red eyes, and maasbanker, big and small, just everywhere. He has not reported in any sightings of sardines yet, but he feels the conditions are coming right day by day. He gets to fly in the NSB plane. Nothing gets past Jay. Not even the waves.
The Roosta in Umzumbe reported also that shad fishermen up and down were having a great time breaking the law and making a mess of the beaches. And the only sardines he saw were the ones strewn about the beach and rocks, still in plastic and boxes. Sies man.
Jason Heyne in the greater Durban area, also has his ear to the reef. Check out his informing and invaluably inspiring weekly spearfishing report, right here on thesardine.co.za, every week. Nothing to report. Yet.
And there we have it, as far as the sardines are concerned, we are on it with accurate and reliable reporting from all over a wide coverage area.
Check back soon…
And in the meantime – this is how we do The Sardine News, when it all goes down…flying with Captain John Marshall…Click HERE for fun!
Any of us who have had the sheer pleasure of eating and partying at The Jungle Monkey in Port St. Johns, will have been reeling at the news, that the place burnt down.
Yip, a fire in the kitchen brough the bar, the restaurant, and the office down in flames.
Fortunately, the main house and all accommodation survived. Nobody got injured. But the loss is devastating and all has to be rebuilt from scratch.
This is a chance to pitch in and help – a financial donation from each of us will go far in helping The Jungle Monkeys get their place of work back in order and producing the amazing food, live entertainment, cold beer, hot coffee and laughs and smiles we all get from being at The Jungle Monkey.
Please click on over to their website, to see the damages, and pitch in!
Diving With Sharks! Debbie Smith aka The Shark Lady, has recently launched her brand new website and online campaign at http://divingwithsharks.co.za.
Incredible imagery leads to Debbie’s underwater options – the current favourite being The Sardine Run as we move into the sardine migration season – when they swim up the East Coast of Africa.
Millions of sardines head north on a kamikaze mission as they are hammered to pieces by all kinds of underwater predators. Dolphins. Seals. Gannets. Whales. And sharks. Plenty!
The Sardine Run trips by Diving With Sharks, in association with Offshore Africa Port St. Johns, are run from out of the Uzmzimvubu River on the Transkei Wild Coast. Rob Nettleton and Debbie Smith have been operating in this area – the best place to get to the sardine shoals and baitballs, as they come up from the southern ocean, for a decade now.
Diving With Sharks also operate up north in KZN waters – Aliwal Shoal and Protea Reef being hot spots, and where Debbie learned her skills as shark tamer. That’s her in the picture below! Note how Debbie holds her hands and arms close to her body – less to bite onto for the odd curious shark, that come in so close.
Click on over to Diving With Sharks for more info or to book a Sardine Run experience – accommodation and all, with Debbie and Rob.
Assassination of aMadiba Crisis Committee Chairperson Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe
Coastwatch KwaZulu-Natal is a NPO committed to promoting best practice in coastal management. We wish to express our horror at the shooting of Mr. Rhadebe, another anti-mining activist to lose his life. We would like to convey our sadness and condolences to his family, community and colleagues. He will be sorely missed.
We have participated in the public participation processes that were required as part of the EIA application to mine the Xolobeni mineral sands.
We have consistently advocated that the paramount concern should be the sustainability of the project in the interests of the people of the area. The hollow arguments advanced by the proponents of the mining project and their local beneficiaries, about the supposed social benefits, have not impressed us. We have consistently supported the right of the local people to form their own opinion and to have that opinion not only heard but respected.
The lure of personal riches for a few has trumped the community’s expressed preference for sustainable development. The violence that has been intensifying in the area since 2013 is an inevitable outcome, evidenced by a rash of unprosecuted attacks on local communities such as the Mdatya, Mtolani and Sigidi villagers and their chosen spokespeople over the past few years. The assassination of aMadiba Crisis Committee Chairperson Sikhosiphi Rhadebe is just the latest incident in this escalating war on the people and their livelihoods.
Coastwatch firmly believes that it is now time for the South African Government to provide the leadership that has been lacking in the matter by denying environmental authorisation and vigorously pursuing and prosecuting Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe’s murderers.
It is not too late to make a decision that places the choices of South African citizens ahead of those of predatory foreign business whose short term profits are being prioritised ahead of the sustainability of the communities.
Sardine run 2016 preparations with Offshore Africa
Sardine run 2016 preparations with Offshore Africa have begun already as everybody looks forward to that bumper sardine run we all deserve.
Offshore Africa in Port St. Johns take divers right into the sardine bait ball action where every kind of marine perdator can be seen hard at work. Gorging the shoals of hapless sardines, they compete and work together – their common goal – the obliteration of bait balls, one by one.
Rob Nettleton and Debbie Smith, who for a decade now have operated boats and dive expeditions in The Transkei, arrange accommodation and meals for punters, and then take them to sea on one of their custom designed and rigged inflatables. The surf launch through the Umzimvubu River mouth warms the adrenalin valve up nice, and by the time you reach the action, you will be well into a state of flow. And that is the way you will stay as you get to jump in with sharks and whales and fish and dolphins and gannets…sensory overload is part of the menu.
Port St. Johns is far enough south and Offshore are normally the first to encounter the huge shoals. Other attractions include great fishing in the river and off the shore, incredible hikes through forests and over mountains – some that drop straight into the ocean, wide open beaches, a quaint settlers town to explore…the list is long.
At this time of the year, bookings with Offshore Africa for the 2016 sardine run, start to fill up fast. But, because of last years fantastic run, Rob and Debbie have extended their Sardine Run 2016 experience availability, adding a week or two on either side of their last years schedule.
Click on over to Offshore Africa Port St. Johns for more information and to make a booking.
Offshore Africa in Port St. Johns in the Transkei took to the skies to bring us this radical view of Waterfall Bluff, a few clicks north of their base in Port St. Johns.
Offshoreportstjohns.com have been operating on the Transkei Wild Coast for many seasons now. They offer many different adventures from river cruises on the Umzimvubu to ocean safaris and scuba diving.
But their biggest and most sought after adventure is undoubtedly The Sardine Run!
Each season Rob Nettleton and partner Debbie Smith take to the water and get right involved with the chaos that accompanies the sardines wherever they go. Dolphins, whales, seabirds, fish and of course… sharks.
Every shark with a smartphone knows about the annual breakaway of approximately a tenth of the southern oceans sardine population. This crazy shoal of adventuring sardines just leave the pack and head north into South African waters and get hammered on the way, literally to depletion.
Humans are also in on the action as limited netting is allowed.
But the real action is underwater as baitball after baitball form in a desperate attempt to escape being eastern by something. The birds start from the top, and the predator fish from the bottom until there is literally not one sardine from that baitball family left.
Rob invariably has his camera rolling and captured the spectacle exceptionally well. Working with Rob and Debbie to get the video of your lifetime is a pleasure. Together they have ample experience and are committed to service excellence, attention to detail, and safety.
Cottage for hire in the Transkei: Fishing and exploring the Transkei Wild Coast is to me, second only to what heaven might be. The place is filled with the most interesting aspects of flaura and fauna, history, geological marvels, ancient cultures and of course, marine and coastal life. Finding a cottage for hire in the Transkei can be a challenge, but here we present a beautifully appointed and situated cottage in Cebe, southern Transkei, available for rent.
“Come to Cebe on the beautiful Transkei Wild Coast. Good fishing, natural undeveloped coastline where life continues like it did in the past. NEW rondavel sleeps 6…for bigger groups there is an 8 man tent Children’s paradise with beautiful beaches and safe bathing. Seafood aplenty….biggest mussels and oysters! Natural bait available….Rockbait, wonderworm, sand/mudprawn, sand mussel, siffie, octopus, mullet, caranteen etc
Cottage for hire in the Transkei – Rates
Our season rates R900p.n. for Cottage
In Season rate R1300p.n
High Season 15 Dec – 15 Jan R2300p.n.
Cottage is self-catering and is 20m off the beach and sleeps 6.
The gallery below does a good job in depicting what goes on in and around this beautiful cottage for hire in the Transkei.
Cottage for hire in the Transkei
That where the fish are…
Cottage for hire in the Transkei
Cottage for hire in the Transkei
Fresh vegetables on tap
The Wild Coast
More fish this way
Cottage for hire in the Transkei
Th Whaling Whale!
Are those oysters for me???
Imagine the fish in this river!
Fill in a booking request form right here…
Don’t forget your MYDO Lures for when fishing the Transkei! Take a look at the MYDO Estuary Pack which covers you for every estuary eventuality! For flicking from the side or into corners from the boat, trolling and jigging the channels and drop-offs, and live-baiting – it’s all in there, including detailed instructions.
Check out our YouTube Channel and Playlists right here. There are playlists covering many aspects of fishing the Transkei and surrounding waters. Estuary. Rock ‘n Surf. Fly-fishing. There is something on the channel just for you!
Flashback: Brucifire and The Roosta surfing the Kei
Flashback: Brucifire and The Roosta surfing the Kei. This clip from the movie Shaloha.
A good 10 years back, Roosta had just gotten quite a nice deal going with a corporate bunch making baggies and shorts and things, when we decided to kidnap Brucifire and take him north, to make a manovie, in good old Mozambique.
We had a long way to go, so decided that a few days in the good old Transkei might be needed, to fuel us with waves, before hitting that two-day drive to Pomene. We tried some acting on the way – Bruce got some great lines in…
But it’s all about the surfing and this session depicts Brucifires gung ho attitude as hollow waves unloaded harshly on a shallow bar, at a secret spot near St. Nowhere. Roosta does a great job of mimicking Bruces outlandish but flowing style of surfing, on one or two of the steep drops.
And stick it out for some ‘big as it can get’, Saint Mikes…with a bunch of kamikaze’s on it, including our very own Heather Clarke and Louis Wolmarans! And lots of commentary from the peanut gallery. Bruce on camera – thanks Bruce!
The Sardine Run 2016 with Offshore Africa in Port St. Johns: bookings open
The Sardine Run 2016 with Offshore Africa in Port St. Johns is looking to be the best yet. With the effects of the biggest El Nino ever recorded going on around us this year, we are hoping for the cooler water to prevail, to entice the shoals north, earlier and for longer.
Even in the quieter years, there is always some show of the little buggers, but from time to time, the stars line up, and a bumer season can be expected. This ain’t no guarantee, but for sure, the effects of the El Nino, and the correlation of past years El Ninos, means we can, according to maths, expect some sardine this in huge numbers, this year or next (howz that for insurance!).
In the meantime, I raided Captain Rob Nettleton’s video archives and pulled out a series of 15 second clips, for us to enjoy, in the lead up to the season….
Here is the first, enjoy!
Offshore Africa, run by Rob Nettleton and Debbie Smith, is based right on the Umzimvubu River in Port St. Johns, deep into the Wild Transkei. Their combined experience ensures you get out to the shoals safely, and back again.
Catching kob in Port St. Johns with #1 Mydo Luck Shot
The original #1 Mydo is turning out to be the choice lure in Port St. Johns as it’s perfect weight – 1.7Oz, and swimming action, works the waters at the mouth and in the surf zone, just right. Read on to find out more about catching kob in Port St. Johns.
The rig is adjustable and allows you to engineer the ideal swimming pattern for you, in the given conditions. The line is tied right through the middle of the baitswimmer head and through the eye of the hook. Using a uni-knot allows for the tiny adjustment needed, to play with the action. There is also a through the bait option – great for sticking a hook far back in the bait. Some plastic baits, like the ones with paddletails, need no adjustment really, they swim just so nice, straight and reliable.
But if you loosen the connection between hook and baitswimmer, and stick a split tail plastic on, you can get that thing to swim like a snake! It really is amazing to see you plastic dead bait darting through the water just like a wounded and fleeing fish would be.
The # 1’s are the budget line of the Mydo, and you get to buy them unrigged so you can choose and rig the ideal hook and leader combination for you. The #1’s come with a pin or without, the following are the adaptations of the MYDO baitswimming technologies, to various fishing applications.
baitswimmer dropshot head with pin: rig your nice soft strong leader through either of the available holes and right through the baitswimmer. Tie on your absolutely favourite hook, even a short shank will work great. Grab ahold of your plastic (anything from 3 inch to 8 inch – the hook just needs to be right for the plastic and prey), and get that hook in there. Bury the hook so far in that the eye of the hook goes right inside of the plastic. Now stick the plastic onto the pin, upright. With longer hooks, get the pin right through the eye of the hook, bend the pin over, trim it off with heavy duty pliers and off you go to the nearest river mouth. Now! The pin keeps the plastic in the right place – on the hook!
For short shank hooks, or when you want to rig a hook right in tail, keep burying the hook to where you want it. Put the nose of the plastic onto the pin, and stick a toothpick through the plastic through the eye of the hook, break off protruding ends. Now you have two anchors for the plastic, a completely flexible bait with the leader running right inside it, and a hook right back in the bite zone – far more hookups, no more tail-bite-offs.
baitswimmer dropshot head without pin: This is the other options (some shops sell #1’s without pins especially for this rig). Leader through bottom hole, up through eye of hook, back through top hole, and tie a uni-knot. Everyone should know this knot by now. Quick and painless, and very reliable. Use you own initiative for keeping the plastic on, when it eventually starts to fall off. I use cable ties. Toothpicks. Superglue. A slow bouncy retrieval for the kob, gives a totally different swimming pattern than a faster surface crank for the garrick. The Port St. Johns crew get their fish at a more medium pace, and when they change pace and bounce completely – that’s when they get the bang most times.
baitswimmer: the #1 was one of Brian Davey’s first patents, and all the other baitswimmers were based on this lure. Even at it’s size, it can give swimming lessons to the biggest shad, and even tames a bonito of a kilo or so. Amazing, considering how hard it was to swim those baits ,before Brian came along with his invention and rocked the fishing world. Walla walla, half beak and jap mack all started swimming upright and true – no more spinning baits. The Vaalies finally started winning some comps!
live baitswimmer: #1 baitswimmers are ideal for putting som order into your spread when dragging a bunch of errant little live baits behind you. The bit of weight just puts them away from the surface guys, and you can then play deeper with the #4 and #4 Mydo Baitswimmers safely under them. Running 6 or 8 livies takes some serious planning and execution, and the baitswimmers help you do just that
But here in Port St. Johns, shoulder to shoulder with the pro’s, I am stoked to report that everyone here is using #1’s with great results. Many kob so far, and many garrick. Getting photos out of the team is nigh impossible – they don’t want anyone to know where and what they are catching!
Click here for more about the MYDO Luck Shot #1’s and here to take advantage of our price promotion on MYDO Baitswimmer # 1’s.
Dealer enquiries to email@example.com, there is a reward of a huge MYDO hamper offered out to for people who can hook us up with dealers, in their areas.
ASAP – Anti Shark Attack Projects featuring a shark exclusion barrier
ASAP – Anti Shark Attack Projects specialize in the deployment of shark exclusion zones and shark detection systems. ASAP activities and projects are completely environmentally friendly and are designed to not interfere with the marine environment in any way.
The image featured is a rendering of the shark exclusion system that could be easily applied in Port St. Johns, at the infamous but breathtakingly beautiful 2nd Beach.
Stakeholders within the tourism arena here in Port St. Johns are excited at the prospect of a shark safe place to swim for visitors. The deployment of this system will also greatly reduce the drownings at this beach – there have been 4 in 4 weeks which just go unreported, like the shark attacks.
Shark exclusion barrier (c) ASAP
The cost to run such a system easily falls within budget constraints of coastal municipalities, who can look forward to greatly increased tourism revenues, once people grasp the idea that it’s safe to back in the water!
Please contact Mr. Clint Marx on firstname.lastname@example.org, for further information.
The Bobalong Barge in Port St. Johns has been smoothly operating on the waters of the Umzimvubu for some months now, and after passing her sea trials with flying fish, is now hard at work.
Brucifire and I gatecrashed a birthday party cruisade and lemonade bash, as stowaways. Niknaks and candy had everyone fired up on sugar and msg in no time as we journeyed right up past the main bridge into the wild.
The Bobalong is well equipped and thoughtfully put together – there is even a head, or WC, at sea. Toilet to most. Tables run the length down the middle, and there is some serious sound aboard – even one of those really tequila funny hooters for when the sugar kicks in. LED lights and beaitiful wood finish wraps up a neat riverine party package. Completely safe, and can handle groups of up to 30! Pickup and dropoff can be from any of the lodges or slipways in the area, when the tides agree.
The river itself is one of the main attractions to Port St. Johns. It is a really big piece of water (full of fish btw), and easily navigable until up past the bridge where sand miners operate with ropes and cables across the river. In days of old, boats could go 18kms! Nature envelopes as the cliffs tower above, cliff faces dotted with caves that lead to dangerous speculation – did people live there?
Fish eagles and herons and terns and all sorts patrol the skies and finches and ducks and hornbills supply nice backing music for toasts and cheers. Food can be arranged from any of the many water fronted restaurants.
The banks are lined with river lodges that feature well honed facilities, and always seem to be busy. Fishing is obviously a major tourism attraction, but it’s diving and sardines that Bobalong’s owners get really excited about.
Their business, Offshore Africa Port St. Johns offer extreme experiental diving experiences in The Sardine Run. Sardines and the animals that follow them. Including, sharks! It’s a highly specialised business but the sharks do seem so preoccupied with the shoals of sardines, that you really do just get ignored. And the sharks hardly feature when the dolphins arrive. They are just so slick and intelligent and just seem to be having an endless sardine party. Then the Brydes Whale might swim past and eat the whole baitball! And keep an eye (and an ear) out for them humpbacks. They just come out of nowhere!
Supping is safe at Port St. Johns 2nd Beach – in the estuary
Supping is safe at Port St. Johns 2nd Beach – in the estuary! After weeks of bumping into people and hearing their stories in and around PSJ, it definitely does not seem safe to even consider going into that piece of ocean. http://africasup.com/ gave us two SUPs to give it a go, which we did, and have come to the verdict that this place is just too full of sharks for any kind of water boarding at all.
But we gave it a go…
Don’t even think about trying it. It was so spooky, the shallow bar gives way to a deep and ominous undertow that sucks you out to sea in no time. At last we got a wave or two, but Brucifire took a hit on the nose and on the finger and was bleeding all over the place. We quit while ahead, and moved into the estuary for some balancing practise and a swim with the lifeguards.
Supping is safe in Port St. Johns 2nd beach estuary. You will be surrounded by lifeguards who use the estuary to train in.
Whaaa! I saw something in front of me!
At least somebody caught a wave
Taking his life into his hands, local lad Pizo was delighted to at least catch an ankle snapper or two, on SUPAfrica’s huge SUPs. His first waves in a few years.
There are just too many sharks, it’s that simple.
This is shark central. There are no nets here, and no subsistence shark reapers. The sharks abound. And they love the Umzimvubu, which is full of them, big mammas down to small pups. We catch them all the time. And see them.
There is a lot to attract them to the area, Pristine eco systems and reefs. Dirty water. Kob…
So until a shark exclusion barrier ( not a shark net system like the killer gill nets in KZN) is installed at 2nd Beach, there will be no takers. The reason we undertook this publicity stunt was to garner support for the exclusion barrier. Exposure through controversy, and it seems to be working. The lifeguards are involved and stakeholders in the town are excited.
Drownings are also a huge problem down in Port St. Johns. This device will almost certainly put a stop to accidental drownings completely. The lifeguards patrol within the exclusion zone, right amongst the bathers, as they maintain the barrier through the tides. The barrier is removed completely at night, or in bad weather and ocean conditions.
Note: We are not writing Supping off at 2nd Beach completely. I mean a huge 10 ft board gives you 1000 times more chances of shark encounter survival. In a flat sea it’s even safer. If a shark comes past, just hit the deck and hide!
Never thought it would get to this but there are shark attacks going down all over the globe, that are being kept secret!
Makes you wonder what it is that turns the media, from sensationalists, to economists, in a blink?
Two in Moz, two in the Kei, and one in the Cape. Those are just about all the details I can give, since they are still deemed secret shark attacks. All this month and last! And that is just Southern Africa.
Protecting and nurturing an embattled, and injured tourism sector is the obvious reason. But surely there is a way to turn this all around.
Yup, SUP’s are big bad surfboards about 10ft long and 5ft wide, which you drive with a skippers ticket and a paddle. And you can surf them in shark infested waters without a fear in the world. Paint it Orca colours and any great white within a mile will head for Seal Island!
It is with this idea in mind, that Brucifire and thesardine.co.za team will be heading to Port St Johns this week, two SUP’s and two dogs on board, to surf the classic sandbars in complete safety. And pave the way for the SUPping future!
Arriving in Port St. Johns in the early evening, after a big drive in from Port Edward, we stopped above the estuary overlooking the river, to take it all in. As we gaped, a flock of terns treated us to a fly by at eye level in the twilight, and with that, the awesome reality of being in The Transkei, set in.
After a magical meal at Steve’s Restaurant, we settled into our home for the next few days – the evergreen and steadfast Outspann Inn. Right on the Umzimvubu River!
The Outspann Inn has a history as long as that of Port St. Johns.
The accommodation is built around a lush indigenous garden and a swimming pool, with beach access to the river bank.
This amazing location has obviously played a part in Outspann Inn’s longevity…imagine back in the days, when trekkers outspanned right here as they tried to get across the temperamental river waters.
Fishing is undoubtedly the biggest draw card for the tourists in Port St. Johns. They come from far and wide, and the guys staying at the Outspan Inn nect to us, caught two walloping kob of about 20kgs each and a night time caught garrick! The garrick have been wild in the river this year – reportedly the best season in decades.
Port St. Johns is filled with things-to-do and places-to-go. The restaurants are top notch – starting with Steve’s right at the entrance to The Outspan Inn. The beaches are empty and stretch for miles, although bathing isn’t really recommended, other than in the swimming pool. There are nature walks, a mini golf course, well stocked shops and no trip to Port St. Johns is complete without a cruise up to the airstrip and it’s majestic views.
An afternoon shot of the Outspan Inn
Our neat little apartment a stones throw from the Umzimvubu River and it’s consistent fishing
The Outspan Inn is in the centre of Port St. Johns
It is a great spot that caters for the whole family.