Posted on Leave a comment

Fly. Don’t drive…

Fishing takes time and money (and patience of course). And getting to the fish takes time and money (and patience of course). This is a true story…
Day 1
Myself and two crew waiting in Port Shepstone pack to go…our transport – our ageing but trusty land cruiser is having it’s brakes sorted out. Quote is R2000. We are on our way to Tofo, Mozambique…
Day 2
The brakes are not done, so we jump into Robbie’s Hilux, and head to Durban. We get there to a R6000 bill! All new, and had to be done together. But still not ready. So we head to Gauteng in the Hilux, where we would wait until the land cruiser was delivered.
Day 3
The land cruiser is finally on the road. But at 10pm, the driver realizes the alternator is not charging, and when the lights go out, he calls for help. Quote R1900 for new alternator.
Day 4
We awake in Gauteng to an extended bill of R4000. Finally the car is with us. Load up and fetch our new boat (part of the plan). And we are off. Except in Middelburg…the back left wheel divorces us and we career off the road stopping on the suspension. The wheel nuts were tightened too tight in Durban and failed. The N4 has it’s own awesome service for breakdowns. You just call a well advertised toll number and a bantam bakkie pulls up with tools and all all the basics. Johan was his name. He took me into Middelburg where a Midas was open…and 6 new studs and bolts were eagerly purchased. Unfortunately, the backing plate behind the drum impeded it’s fit, and the ever helpful Johan stripped two of the studs overtightening again! So we limp 6kms to an Ultra City and start again.
The repairs took us 10 hours, and we coasted up to the border at a dark 1am.
Day 5
Through the border, contraband Jack Russells – Ozzie and Chelsea too. First roadblock. My drivers licence is expired (and with the government making it almost impossible to renew). R100. And therafter, the cops tried their best, but we were resilient, and after broken arguments in a mixture of Portuguese, English and Zulu, we finally make Tofo – late that night.
Day 6
We are so exhausted that it takes us this day and part of the next to recover.
Total bill: R17 000!
So…please fly up here rather. We will fetch you at the Inhambane Airport, and have you on the water in an hour.
We do the hard yards so you don’t have to!
Tofo Eco Lodge

Red carpet....
Flying in just works so much better...for Inhambane!
Posted on Leave a comment

Duarte Rato checks in…

Fishing with Peter Bristow out of Madeira…Duarte checks in with another huge marlin caught on memory stick…


“Attached photos of a nice fish we had today for 50 mins….fat as a barrel, we all agreed about 900 but could have surprised us on the scale 😉

Nice to see one anyway…cheers”

Duarte A. Moreira Rato

900 pounds of free-swimming power!
900 or more pounds of free-swimming power! (c) Duarte Rato


Posted on Leave a comment



By Jackie  Pratt

Registration for the 11th annual Shelly  Beach Ski-Boat Festival kicked off on Tuesday afternoon; in spite of the heavy  winds and huge swells which the weather experts predicted would not lie down until  Thursday, 59 boats signed up to brave the big seas and try capture the big one  and the main prize of a Mallards Cobra Cat 525 complete with 2 x 75hp Mercury  Outboards.
Unfortunately on Wednesday the Shelly Beach base was  closed due to the sea and wind conditions and although one or two boats did  manage to launch at other launch sites, no fish were weighed. Thursday was a  little better but although the base was not closed very few boats launched and  again no weighable fish were brought to the scale. (A fish must weigh 6kg or  more to count in this competition).

On Friday the anglers were up early, the weather was  much better and the majority of the fleet were able to launch. At the weigh-in  on Friday afternoon we started to see the results of the recent Sardine run in  terms of the type and size of fish coming to the scale. The previous two years  the fishing was dominated by Cuda (King Mackerel) a fish which prefers slighter  warmer water, but on Friday not one Cuda was brought to the scale. The majority  of fish were Yellowfin Tuna between 10-19kg as well as some Yellowtail all  around 13/14kg and an Amberjack. The biggest fish of the day was caught by Inx  Jordaan on the boat Numzaan, a Yellowfin weighing 19,8kg. Only tomorrow would  tell if this would be big enough to take the boat.

Saturday dawned with perfect fishing conditions and  all boats headed out in the hope of capturing the big prize. The anglers  started to trickle into the weigh-in around 2pm and quite soon the fish caught  by Inx was beaten. At 2.55pm PJ Botha and the Botha boys from WATT 4 arrived  with their catch, the best being Tyler Botha’s Amberjack which clocked in at  28.2 kg, an excellent fish for anyone let along a young man of 17yrs. They had  a tense hour to wait until close of weigh-in, during which time some really  good fish were weighed, interestingly still not one Cuda in the whole  competition.

At last when the gate closed at the end of the weigh-in  at 4pm on Saturday, a big cheer went up from the WATT 4 corner, the 28,2 kg  Amberjack was put back on the gantry, the angler and crew gathered around, the  cameras flashed and the champagne sprayed over the fish and the crew.

WATT 4 had done it again and would now be able to  drive away with a brand new boat, perhaps to upgrade the Mallards Cobra Cat  they won 7yrs ago in the 2004 Festival, the very first time a boat was offered  as a “must win” 1st prize, or perhaps a 2nd boat to  accommodate all the fishermen the Botha family seem to produce.

This is the very first time in 11 years an Amberjack  has won this competition so its is interesting to note that the 2nd biggest fish in the competition was also an Amberjack caught by Rory van  Deventer on Stay Ahead and he won a fantastic Lowrance GPS/Fishfinder. The 3rd fish qualified as the biggest fish of another specie, a Yellowfin of 22kg  caught by Elmar Basson in his own boat Aquaholic, he won the Island Adventures  trip to Bassas da India. The next 6 fish, all Yellowfin over 20kg won top of  the range Okuma Makaira Rods and Gold Makaira 50W Reels, as well as other  fantastic prizes; prizes were awarded right down to 17th place as  well as Junior and specie prizes.

After the Prize giving and handing over of the boat  the crowd were entertained by Elvis Blue, followed by disco music to keep the  crowd on their feet during their celebrations which continued until late.

Shelly Beach Ski-Boat Club would like to thank the  Lions of Shelly Beach, who took over the management of the entertainment and  catering this year, for an excellent week. Our sponsors and many of the anglers  enjoyed a great evening on Friday with Barry Hilton and the boys had a chance  to see the Miss Hibiscus semi-finalists strut their stuff and listen to some  local bands on Wednesday.

Most of all of course our grateful thanks to our  sponsors Mallards and Mercury for again supplying a fantastic prize and to ALL  our sponsors big and small who have continued to make this event such a  success.

Perhaps the biggest thank you however should be to the  anglers who participated in this event, and particularly for their support of  the voluntary conservations measures which Shelly Beach Ski-Boat Club  introduced at the end of 2010. The results prove that we can still have an  excellent competition whilst still protecting the valuable resource of Protea  Banks.

At the end of the day without the anglers and the  sponsors this event would not be possible and we hope to see you all back next  year.

Posted on Leave a comment

Shad, shad and more shad…

News from the Natal South Coast is mainly about the shad. The sardines seem to have been propelled away by the huge seas, leaving hungry birds scouring the ocean…and of course…hungry shad.
Places like The Block in Port Shepstone are shoulder to shoulder with anglers…and they seem to all be getting their 5.
The ocean and SW winds are forecasted to back off over the next few days…maybe there will be a few shoals of sardines then?