About 2 years ago Jacques Ackhurst organised a fishing clinic for guys that wanted to improve their skills. It involved a couple of bait presentations and we would discuss different fishing spots in the False Bay area and surroundings. At first I was reluctant to go, but me and a friend thought what the hell and we joined. It turned out to be one of the best things I could have done!
As we sat around the table we discussed our frustrations and how much we blank and the women in our lives giving us stick for coming home empty handed all the time. Jacques just laughed and started demonstrating building baits and knots. It was a fun morning and we learned a great deal. Afterwards we exchanged numbers and email addresses and decided that we would involve each other in coming expeditions. J gave us a few words of encouragement and sent us on our way.
We started a WhatsApp group and ABC, or the Anti Blanking Club was born. Each one of us, doesn’t matter how inexperienced we were at the time has contributed greatly and I can officially state that today we are better fishermen than we were two years ago. Since the group started between us, a couple of fantastic catches has been made and personal bests are constantly being broken.
Our first trip away was to Witsand last year February. We decided to go and build some confidence since it’s impossible to blank on the Breede. It’s just one of those places where persistence will always pay. Work intervened a little with our plans (actually with Brett’s, but were a team…) and we only arrived at Witsand 12’o clock in the evening. We had a couple of cold ones, talked a little shite and went to bed. We were up at 5:30 on Saturday and were greeted by a windless Witsand and a breath taking sunrise. The plan was to go full and hard with lures for the morning session. I always say, I don’t mind when the fish aren’t biting, because at least then all my lures gets a chance to swim… Nothing happened apart from one or two chases.
Low tide was at about 12 and we decided to go pump some prawn and throw a few livies. We caught a few small mullet, about 7 cm in length and Brett decided to take a 1’o hook and throw one in while we were looking for the bigger mullet. The small size of our livies didn’t matter though because it seemed the big fish were eating sardientjies (hulle is ook mos vis). Bret was still standing and mumbling something about the wind when his rod (and rod holder) was pulled “glyk”(that’s more “gelyk” than “gelyk”) with the water. Luckily he wasn’t too far away and made it just before the gear disappeared into the brownish river water. After a few nervy minutes he landed an 89 cm Kob with his 9 ft rod and 4000 reel. Light tackle makes everything better!
I caught a nice blue ray on my Stradic 4000 and 8ft Shimano Vengeance rod, but the rest of the day was quiet. Brett and Quinton left me and Deon at 15:00 to go and “watch rugby” whilst snoozing. At about 18:00 the Grunter came on the bite and I caught a nice one of 57 cm and lost a couple as well. That evening we had a lekker braai and decided that the next day will be a livies day from the start.
On Sunday we only got up at nine, the previous day, and evening took its toll. After a quick coffee we were ready to go big! We were at the water at 10 and the first livies went in at quarter past, while the tide was still moving out. I pumped some prawn and made a few cast hoping for a big pull. The rats and mice were having a ball, I must have caught about ten Gorries and small Stumpnoses when one of them took off like crazy. I quickly realised this can’t be a Micky since he wasn’t swimming towards me and had this short burst of speed just like a Grunter… It was a nice 50 cm specimen.
Next moment Quintin goes vas with his Torium14 and 9ft Shimano Vengeance, another couple of minutes later and a nice 63cm Garrick was flapping on the side. We quickly took a few snaps, tagged the oke and he was back in the water. It seemed to be Quintin’s day because half an hour later he was in again, this time with a nice 67 cm Kob. The tide was coming in strong and we had to move to higher ground.
Again Q was in first and this time it seemed like a decent fish with some serious pulling power. It swam a good 100 meters to the right, luckily underneath all our lines and about 20 minutes later he landed a beautiful 130 cm Diamond ray. Deon’s a bit more experienced and when his 8ft exceler rod went flat he knew it was a flattie and that he was in some trouble with his 2500 reel and 10lb braid. It look some serious weaving to untangle all the lines this bugger picked up. The fish went left and right at will. Probably a good half hour later Deon landed his first Diamond, also in the 130cm range. They are just the most majestic fish.
Apart from a few smaller fish that isn’t worth mentioning, that was it for the weekend. Deon caught his first Diamond, Brett his biggest Kob (in SA, he’s caught bigger in Nam). Quintin caught 2 new species and 3 personal bests in one day!
I suppose that sums up Witsand the best… A place where bad fishing memories fade, and big dreams are made!!!