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Double-up Garrick for Team Karl and Candace at The Sandspit

Double-up Garrick for Team Karl and Candace at The Sandspit

Double-up Garrick for Team Karl and Candace at The Sandspit: some trips go better than others.

A LOT better!

Team Karl and Candace

Husband and wife charters are always so much fun. The husband is totally fish-mad. And the wife happily plays along. Gets her all over the globe. Only thing is…she almost always catches the fish!

This time was slightly different…they BOTH got the fish!

After a long morning of catching nothing on over-sized live mullet, we drifted back to the Umzimkulu Marina for coffee and things. And entered phase 2 of the trip. Which on this day was to be the favoured incoming high tide down at the mouth. This is our tactic generally, at the end of a low tide, we head up to the bridges, about 2kms, and set up a drift back downriver. This takes us down through Kingfish Corner, and over the big holes. There are three deep spots, sometimes down to 12m. At the bottom are huge boulders and rocks. And…clean water!

The halocline (fresh vs salt water line), even when the top water is brown, sits like a big wedge under the water. The point of the wedge being right up the river at high tide. When the tide recedes, this dense and beautifully clean and aerated water gets trapped in these deep spots. The tide and the river flow move happily overhead on the surface. But down here in the depths, there be monsters lurking and hunting.

Anyway, none this particular drift.

We gonna have to count on Phase 2. Which today included a braai on the beach at The SandSpit. Karl had a decent 30lb spinning outfit and so I easily convinced him to walk over the spit and throw a few luck shots into the channel behind the shorebreak.

The beach was lined with live baiters. But the Garrick had been chowing sprats in the river earlier during the week. I gave Carel the exact right lure to use. Evidently…because on his fourth cast…


“Sean! Sean!”, I hear that distinctly urgent but cheerful call. Without believing me and Chelsea hop off the boat and run up the dune. What a scene that unfolded before us. Karl was VAS! His little fishing rod bending in a circle from the strain as he followed instructions. From BigZ, local garrick legend, who happily came to Karl’s assistance. Freeing me up to do the filming.

Pulling a big garrick out of a big shorebreak on a big day is immensely difficult and dangerous. BigZ lost his hat as waves knocked him right over a few times. But eventually, after 45 minutes of truly heart-stopping moments, BigZ grabbed the monster by the tail.

The tagging kit was all the way up the beach and the fish had put on quite a show. So we decided to hurry it back into the water. Karl’s very first garrick (he had asked me earlier to get him one), and he releases it healthily into the very same wild shorebreak. Garrick are very strong and this guys was in perfect shape as he swam away.

Mombakkies Af

So now I have one helluva happy charter. He is beaming. Levitating. And so am I at this stage…the pressure for me get the “mombakkies af” is completely gone. I can really now enjoy this lovely arvo down on the spit.

And so Chelsea and I meander down the dune back to the boat. To start the braai! Next thing…

“Sean! Sean!”. Again!?

So we turn around and gallop back up the dune. This time it’s Candace! She is VAS!

In a disbelieving daze, the whole process gets repeated. BigZ comes to the fore and gets the fish by the tail. But only after another gruelling 45 minutes. He is exhausted by now – after risking the huge Sandspit shorebreak for two in a row! Luckily BigZ also releases every fish he catches and this time the tagging kit was brought to hand. Tag in…Candace into the shorebreak with her first Garrick. Also released!

I am not sure that it can get better than that! Enjoy the saga in video…


As of today, the recent rains have certainly muddied the waters. If that halocline is still around I’d be somewhat surprised. But at those 10 metre depths at Royston Bend area, there just may be clear water still. Someone will have to swim down there and check for us!

If it stays dry for a little while longer, the brown water will eventually run off and the tides will come back in the river. Hopefully one more time before it really starts to rain.

To get in on the upcoming summer gamefish action, get in touch and lets put together a cool weekend of fishing and relaxing for you. You can stay at the Umzimkulu Marina. Umzimkulu Adrenalin can take you fishing, surfing, or diving. You can learn all about fishing at the official MYDO web page.

Shad season opening on 1 December! Check out some of our Shad fishing kit right here (perfect gift for fish hungry girls).

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