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Protea Reef delivers the goods again and again

Eric with his MYDO Spoon caught baby yellowfin tuna on Protea Reef recently

Protea Reef delivers the goods again and again

Protea Reef delivers the goods again and again: guest stars Eric (Queensland, Oz) and Neville (‘Toti, KZN) joined us for a very friendly high tide launch two mornings in-a-row. What luck!

Watch the video right here and read all about it below…

Day 1

Brown water extended to the horizon with a stiff but pleasant offshore breeze blowing against a small sea. Luckily, Protea Reef would be comfortable in these cool wintery conditions.

20 Minutes later and we already had live bait. I was counting down in my head. Most times it only takes 10 or 20 seconds to have your live bonito or tuna munched. Hopefully by a scorching fast gamefish, must most times once again, it’s a johnny. A big one. There are just so many huge sharks hanging out on Protea Reef. And they don’t seem to go anywhere. They love it here. Plus there are so many free meals presented by charitable sport fisherman using light tackle! In one day they can each get two or three free meals by hanging on either of the two pinnacles.

But…

Our live baits never had a touch. They were panicking properly but Neville was having far more action with his perfectly tuned plug ‘n play outfit sporting 80lb braid and leaders to match. He was getting smashed and chased and smashed and chased until we lost count.

Then it was Eric’s turn as he held on to the flick stick meant for bonito – which turned out to have another spirited yellowfin on the other end. These little fish on light tackle! What fun! Eric also had a run of yellowfin action, all perfect bait sized.

But the live baits still survived, which is remarkable for Protea Reef. But all of a sudden. A HUGE tiger shark came up from the depths and devoured first the big bait. And then another followed up and grabbed the small bait?! All in a few seconds?! After those baits lasted for hours!

Neville Coetzer tied to a monster tiger shark on Protea Reef recently
Neville Coetzer tied to a monster tiger shark on Protea Reef recently

Day 2

The brown water lined itself up properly overnight as the Agulhas current hemmed it up against the coastline. Making a really decent seam which we committed to. Bait was easy to get and we did a nice strike that really could have been a dart couta but we will never know as it shook the hooks professionally just before we could see his colour. Got to lose some fish or it will get boring!

The brown water line off Port Shepstone for dorado
The brown water line off Port Shepstone is really hot for dorado and billfish at this time of the year.

The good weather is coming and the Umzimkulu is real friendly and nicely navigable at the moment. Get in touch if you would to either join us at sea like this trip or fish the estuary. Or the Sandspit.

Check out the accommodation and setting of the Umzimkulu Marina at http://umzimkulu.co.za.

Follow the Sardine News on FAcebook at http://facebook.com/thesardine.co.za/

Check out more videos at http://youtube.com/user/umzimkulu1/

Email Sean on umzimkulu@gmail.com or WhatsApp +27793269671 anytime.

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20kg Sangora Yellowtail by Carl Werner

Carl Werner with his 20kg Sangora Yellowtail

20kg Sangora Yellowtail by Carl Werner

Another informative spearfishing report by our hard working Jason Heyne…story goes he writes these reports underwater!

The diving conditions this week have been pretty average. Garrick have started filing up the north coast and some bigger couta and snoek are around.  Saturday a light offshore blows in the morning switching to a light onshore wind in the afternoon with the swell running at 1.5m. Sunday morning a light south West blows in the morning dying off later in the day with the swell running at 1.7m. So Saturday is the day for a dive if you can find viz. National spearfishing camps will Finnish up on Saturday with the team event. Also on Saturday SAUFF is holding a free entry comp weigh in at DUC 15h00 prizes for biggest snoek garrick and couta. Well done Carl Werner on getting fish of the week a 20 kg Sangora tail. As always dive safe and straight spears. 

This report is sponsored by The Umzimkulu Marina. Very well positioned family and fishing lodge, with slipway into The Umzimkulu River. Or launch at Shelley Beach – just down the road! Too easy…straight into the tail of the Mozambique current.  Protea Reef being the main attraction.

 

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The Protea Reef tuna revisited

Protea Reef Tuna are suckers for the MYDO Luck Shot Mini

The Protea Reef tuna revisited

As we cruised up to the north pinnacle of the famous Protea Reef tuna concentration, the surface boiled and I threw with the wind. It was my first cast so I checked the drag and started cranking, hauling my Mydo Luck Shot to the surface where I could see the commotion it was causing. Bubbles were trailing behind it, the Lure was changing direction as it’s designed to and it was throwing up a plug like splash to round the performance off.

I hardly had time to appreciate it all happening right in front of me so when I saw the Skipjack boil and swallow my lures, I just about flipped out.

Short work of the Skipjack, which was a few kilos overweight to be live bait. Then all the rods went away, and my dad and I, the only crew today, had our hands full of crossed lines, angry little skipjack, and a few yellowfin tuna about football size.

So we had some fresh fish to smoke – our mission this early Friday morning…but we chanced it one more time, all the while hearing on the radio that the sharks were wild down south. A rod started pulling a bit – the big reels had their drags tightened up – so I grabbed the big stick and started pulling. No chance. A shark came in right under the propellors and grabbed our poor baby yellowfin tuna. It screamed a hundred metres of line off in excitement so we gave chase, hoping for as much line back, and maybe a chance at getting our lure back.

After winding all the line back in against the shark, suddenly it felt like it had just let go. But I still had some pressure, which turned out to be a badly chopped but intact yellowfin.

That was the end for us. Once those sharks find out your strategy for the day, they latch on and just milk the situation for every tuna, skipjack, bonito or lure they can.

I grew up on this reef, and an absence of a season or two gave me some perspective on the situation at Protea.

There are still the sharks. They still own the place.

There are some huge charter boats burning up and down. There seems more and more each year. Feeding the sharks. One guy had lost five lures.

A few locals and even one commercial chap was dragging artificials for tuna, using bottom sticks with Scarborough reels.

The bonito were about. Baby tuna. And Skipjack. On the pinnacles as usual.

But mainly I saw plastic. All shapes and sizes and colours. Big bags. Small bags. Pieces. Tiny pieces. Yoghurt containers. Plastic foil. The works. We had to dodge a few plastic obstacles a few times to avoid hooking the stuff.

And then, as we throttled up to head for home – two really big loggerhead turtles popped up to say goodbye. We chatted and told them not to eat the plastic. They kind of said yeah, yeah, and swam back below the waves.

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To catch a tuna – with Brian Moulang

To catch a tuna – with Brian Moulang

Brian Moulang, up from Port Elizabeth, booked a charter with us on the Niteshift, for some Yellow fin Tuna action. It was a long hard day, but eventually a tuna showed itself after the entire day and many, many miles. Starting on the backline catching livebait, we saw Lawrence Wursnip and John Collinson show off two over 30kg tuna, taken just as we got there…and so the struggle ensued. It even took a trip out to Protea Reef, where we found the usual, big sharks, and big current!

So back to the backline. Luckily the bottomfish reefs kept us entertained while we waited for that elusive tuna strike…when that live maasbanker went away it sounded like U2 cranking up!

Enjoy the video…

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Head bangers tuna fishing…

image

Joey Chetty, Michael Govender and his nice catch of a 12kg yellow fin tuna, Angie Naidoo, Brian Lange and Christopher Naidoo after a rough outing to Protea Reef, this morning.
This time of year the condition of the sea can be disagreeable but the winter game fish season is underway and the roving fish seem to like the big swells, winds and currents. In fact this tuna jumped on the lure a few seconds after it was let out…