In April me and an old friend, Quintin decided to go down to Brandfontein and see if we can get a Steenbras. The weather was monitored from the Monday and the closer it got to the weekend the better the conditions seem to get for that Sunday. On the Saturday I had a braai with another mutual friend of us. He isn’t much of a fisherman, in fact he’s a golfer, and the closest he gets to anything with fins is when goes diving for a Callaway 3 in the local golf course pond. He’s a bloody good golfer, a Protea and even he captained WP, but when it comes to fishing, well, he’s… enthusiastic at best. Anyway, a couple of cold ones and a few phone calls later it was decided that Robbie should join us the next morning. After about the theventhhh double Rob said…”Fishing is easy, I’ve caught carp before, all you do is put on some “mielies”, throw in, put your rod in a “mikstok” and wait…”
The rather brittle looking troops was gathered at 4:30 and we set out to Brandfontein. As we started climbing Sir Louwries pass, Robbie asked: “Why do we drive all the way toe Brandfontein to go fish, if we can catch fish right here in the Strand?” After I almost popped a vein, we all had a chuckle and Quintie said that today, we will show him why!”
We had to pick up another troop in Struisbaai. Upon arrival he already had a steaming pot of “boeretroos”(coffee) ready. Into the third sip Desmond mentioned that there has been some action on the plaat towards the De Mond side. The decision was then promptly taken to go to De Mond instead. This got me very exited and I burned my mouth trying to down my coffee, so that we could hit the road!
De Mond is an amazing place, a piece of heaven on the South African coast. Its situated between Struisbaai and Arniston on the banks of the Heuningnes river mouth. Its in the middle of the De Mond nature reserve where you can hike, fish or just relax and have a picnic. If you want to feel a bit closer to our maker… Go and see the sun rise at De Mond!
We arrived at the gate just before seven, showed our licences, paid our entrance fees and set off briskly on the +-2km walk. As we walked over the little wooden bridge a large Kob cruised past us, without a care in the world, as if it was his river. This really got the blood pumping and I got a extra skip in my step. We followed the wooden path all along the river, up over a sand dune and then walked in an old motor path until we had to cross over one last little dune. The ocean greeted us with a couple of wave sets gently rolling towards us as if to say… welcome! We got to our spot, dropped our bags and baited our hooks.
We made our first casts an hour before low. My weapon of choice was a Shimano Exage 110H and a Penn Fathom 15, spooled with Suffix Performance braid. Bait was bloodworm, wrapped with two sand prawns on a 3’o hook with a 50cm, 0.6mm hook snoot. There was a terrible side current with loads of grass in it and the guys wanted to move. I thought I’ll quickly make a cast about 100m left of our original spot. Then, checked the bait, added two more prawns, made the cast, and about 10 minutes later… tap tap, flat, hit, “vas pappa”!!!
The fish stood still with me for a couple of seconds, vibrating pure power into my bones! Then it came a little, all the time shaking its head. I couldn’t believe what was happening, I thought can this really be a fish? This was only my second cast and the day had only started. After some nervous pulling I got him over the drop off and thought I had him won. But, it was on the bank when the real fun started. Left, right, left… right, using the side current to his advantage. I got a little panic attack when I saw it for the first time. A big silver, almost white fish was hanging in the current eyeballing me, “hardegat lat ek jou vertel”! Then, another set of waves came in and for a milli second I thought he was gone as my line slacked, but then he was on again, and I could afford a little grin. After a “lekker” fight of a couple of minutes, where I certainly didn’t have it all my way, a nice set came rolling in and I walked the fish onto the side, a beautiful 51cm (FL), blaar galjoen and new personal best was lying right in front of me, wow! This made my day and it was only the beginning…
We decided right there that this was the spot for the day! It was quiet for the rest of the morning, apart from the hundreds of sand sharks. Call them what you want, sandies, “sand kraker” or banjo, believe me after your fifth you get “gatvol”! Its all part of the game though, fishing your way through them to get to something bigger, something better. Two hours before high tide, our golfing friend and beginner carp fisherman decided that he should change bait and asked that we bait him up with some crayfish. We did, made one of those, we don’t really care anymore casts, and gave him back the rod that went straight into the pension pipe, his “mikstok” for the day….
I didn’t see the take, but according to Quintie it was FLAT out! Robbie took the rod out of the pipe and the fight was on. Now let me add, by this time, we were all on about ten sand sharks, and although you hope for a fish, you’ve been disappointed ten times earlier, so he didn’t bother to play the fish. It was more a reel, pull, reel type of affair. That was, until this bugger decided to show himself… then it was chaos!!! I’m not going to lie, “Oooooo F*% dis ‘n m*&rse galjoen!”, was my very loud reaction. I decided to position myself between the fish and the shore just for in case… That was the best idea I ever had, because next moment the wave pulled back, and with Robbie pulling on the other side, it just created too much pressure and something had to give. The hook snoot parted… I tossed my rod, swallow dived ala Danie Craven and scooped the fish out of the water. Of course, it fell back in again, but on second attempt I had a better grip on the situation and run out onto the bank with it. WOW, my fish was big, but his was a giant of 55cm (FL) and in a much better condition! If mine was a blaar (leaf), this was the whole tree! The 3 fishermen in the party was all in ecstasy while the golfer stood back and casually said… “So, is dit nou ‘n grote?” Answering his own question with: “Ekt al ‘n baie groter karpe gevang…” How do you explain to someone how big the fish was? I tried with: “dis soos om ‘n hole in one en ‘n albatros te slaan in 1 rondte oppad na ‘n 59 toe”. It doesn’t happen often, if at all.
After all this excitement the fish seem to come on the bite and it was my turn again. I decided to change to mussel. First cast, 40cm Gallie. Second cast 45cm Gallie. Third cast, I got pulled flat… Sandie. Fourth cast, baby Steenie. I was actually quite happy with the Steenie since it was the target species. Quintie and Desmond was watching a bit of tv while playing banjo…
All of a sudden it was 5’o clock and we had to leave because the gate closed at 6. What a day, what a privilege. As we drove away with the sun going down, Quinton turned to Robbie and said: “That’s why!”