Struisbaai Night Trip

I was lying flat on my back with my head resting on a sand pillow. I couldn’t sleep, I was jittery as I kept an eye on the tip of my rod. My line in the water should have been taken out hours ago, but being mister optimistic, I was hoping for one more pull. The incredible view above was the night sky with millions and millions of stars. Every now and then the night would lit up as a shooting star decided to bless us with it’s presence. Personally I don’t wish upon a star, I pray upon a star. Every time I see a shooting star I say thank you, just thank you, thank you for my wife, my baby girl, work, fishing, friends, everything! And then I sort of mumble that a fish now would be great…

The only formations I could make out was the milky way, southern cross and the three sisters. That’s anyway all I can remember from my days as a Voortrekker (we were called the baboons). I knew there should be a Scorpion and Capricorn amongst them but I reckon the only way you can see them is by smoking something a bit “stronger” than a Camel.

My glowstick slowly bobbled up and down as the waves gently pulled on my line. Every now and then there was a more intense hop on the glowing police man at the tip of my rod. I knew by then it was just another barbel trying to swallow the big chokka & mullet combo that I prepared for them.

Earlier, before it became completely dark, the fishing was truly amazing! We arrived at our spot at about 16:00 and started preparing our rods and baits. The frozen blood worm wasn’t fully defrosted yet, so my Poseidon Light and Fathom 15 was loaded with a wonder worm and prawn combo. This is a deadly bait, in fact any worm and prawn combo usually gets a pull.

It was quiet for the first hour and a half with the odd small Sand Cracker or Banjo coming out. But then an hour before sunset the party started. I don’t know if it had something to do with the sunset (19:15) and low tide (19:30) coinciding but it was ON. No hanna hanna either, as soon as your bait hit the water you had inquiries. On a couple of occasions I would wade a little, cast and as I was walking back my rod would dip.  I landed 5 Steenies and 3 Kobbies with the biggest fish weighing 8kg, in the space of 2 hours. It was absolutely fantastic chaos!

As soon as the sun went down, the barbel started biting. I tried everything from floating my bait to other baits but with every gooi I hooked into another barbel. They were even more aggressive than the “real” fish earlier, there seemed to be thousands of them. The only thing that really worked was a big chokka bait on a dingle dangle with a 6’o circle hook. This seemed to work since they couldn’t swallow the bait, and I was hoping a bigger fish would chase them away and give me a pull. I don’t know if my tactic really worked since I still foul hooked a couple, but at least it frustrated them just as much as they frustrated me!

If only we had livies! The only real counter to crazy critters is live bait. Earlier we decided to leave the cast net in the bakkie because we wouldn’t need it… Ja right. It wasn’t the greatest decision and was made worse by all the mullet in the sea. There was literately hundreds of them. On one occasion when I walked in to cast I even saw a big Eagle ray chasing after them!

One of the troops actually carried a bucket and the one livie he caught earlier all the way to the fishing spot. Within 30 minutes of casting his rod he went flat. After a brief fight a medium sized Spotty was landed. It’s sort of bitter sweet when you target Kob and a Sweet William gives you a pull. They fight amazing but they aren’t exactly what you are looking for.

As I was lying on my backside I couldn’t help but think how privileged I am, how privileged we all are. In between all the crazy things that goes on in our world, we can still take a slight drive and escape everything for a few hours. Here I was lying with the only thing bothering me being silly little sand lice chowing on my big toe and the roaring snoring of my fellow troops. What a life!

I started falling asleep with the mesmerizing rhythm of the ocean, and my eyes only seemed shut briefly when my Fathom 30 started moaning. I was up and widely awake in no time, the rest of the crew was still half asleep, but my mad shouting and screaming sorted that out ASAP. I knew I was in trouble when I picked up the rod, it was heavy and line was disappearing off my reel at a steady pace. The fish briefly stopped, huffed and puffed, and then proceeded by blowing all hope of landing it down. He dropped a gear and decided there is no more “Mr Nice Guy”! Is there any sound better than line peeling from your reel?

I don’t know, a fight always feel longer to me than it actually is, but I reckon about 15 minutes into the fight my rod suddenly jerked back. The .55 hook snood shaved through on something. I know, I know, should have used a thicker hook line, but I didn’t expect hooking into a submarine. The fight reminded me of the Diamond rays that I have caught in the Breëde and I’m thinking it must have been some sort of big flat fish. Although I was disappointed I could’t really complain after all the action I had only a few hours earlier.

The next morning the fish seemed to be off the bite, not even the barbel was interested. One of the troops got stuck into something that gave him a nice workout and we were all really happy to see a bigger, 5kg Steenie flapping on the sand. The rest of the morning didn’t produce anything and at 8:00 we decided to call it a day and take the long walk home. (Note to self, don’t ever try and carry any fish more than 5kg for a couple of km on soft sand)

Have a good one!

BV

IMG_1618
Lekker 8kg fish

3 thoughts on “Struisbaai Night Trip

  1. Thanx buddy for another great read….man you definitely have a way with words and putting them together to create a atmosphere of anticipation, excitement and eventually either joy or disappointment, almost like watching a thriller for the first time and you don’t whether the lead actor or actress is going to make it in the end….. bottom line is you can’t stop watching, in this case reading….awesome stuff !! All i can say is THANX no matter the outcome, enjoyed it anyway !! Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice Profile Picture – having a Windhoek, and a cold one at that ‘sommer’ revs my jealous meter!

    Nice fish!!!!!

    You certainly seem to have a lot of patience to hang around for ‘a few hours’ to catch such a stunning fish! I recon it’s definitely worth it. Whowwww-wha-weee a struggle for 15 mins, sounds like a serious adrenalin rush. I wish I knew more abou tfishing, important stuff like the right kind of bait, but I guess it comes with experience and a keen interest in the sport.

    I would not know what chokka looks like, even if the smell stuck to my hands or I slipped in it.

    My father was a keen fisherman, or should I say angler? Whats the difference? Reading your story, I recall happy days in Mosselbay, and Durban. He has long since passed, though as a child I never quite understood his calling for that same rhythm of the waves.

    Now, years later, I ‘get’ it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thanks! My dad introduced me to fishing and I have been in love ever since, my brother on the other hand couldn’t care less… Chokka is the same as Squid, when cooked, fried mostly, its called Calamari. Fantastic food… and bait!

      Have a good one!

      BV

      Liked by 1 person

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