I don’t often catch a Galjoen worth mentioning, so if I do, I show and tell! (Nie dat dit veel vat van my om uit te haal en te wys nie… Vra maar vir vinnige Anna. Ek wys graag!)
The wife woke me up at 3:30 on Saturday morning with: “I might have killed the alarm… and your fishing buddy has phoned” This was not music to my ears! I hate being late and I hate it even more not showing up for an appointment. Even though I wanted to, I couldn’t be too annoyed with my bride since I might have had two sips too many red wine and didn’t even hear the alarm blaring.
There was nothing else to do, I jumped up, made a quick call to apologize for my indiscretion and was off. My fishing partner was rightfully already on his way to fresh morning air and tight lines. We don’t wait if your late, you either catch up on your own or spend the day sulking at home! After a quick stop for a BP pie and some Black Bean coffee I was on the road. Jip, that’s how you know that you are now more mature than you used to be… You by your 3am BP pie after you get up and not on your way to bed!
When I arrived in Bettys I almost drove over a porcupine. A couple of weeks ago we saw one on our way to the sea and got stuck into some nice fish, I was hoping that this was a good omen. Not that I believe in superstition, its just that as fishermen we are always looking at the bright side and searching for anything positive to suggest that today will be THE day.
It was a glorious morning! I’m talking no wind and not cold at all. If I didn’t know better I would have thought it was mid November. After a brief walk I found my partner who was luckily only laughing at me for over sleeping. He had had a few bites from lonesome Gallies but nothing to show for it yet. We made a couple of casts and had a few more inquiries but the fish wasn’t committing. We decided to move to a new spot.
Somebody must have flipped a switch because all of a sudden the fish was hungry. Committing as well, none of that tap-tap gone nonsense. More like a heavy weight boxers tap-tap BAM, like only Galjoen can! At one stage I made three casts and caught three fish in a row. It’s an incredible rush, you can’t get bait on your hook quickly enough because you know when it lands, its on! We both caught five of six fish each before they went off the bite. Unfortunately we both had other commitments and had to leave early, but we were satisfied. The day started with a bang!
I’m a simple guy, let me fish in the morning and braai in the evening and I’m happy. Combine that with nice weather, winning sport, family and friends and you have a perfect day. Of course I was WhatsApping the photos of roasting Gallies to half of SA just to show off my amazing life. A mate of mine replied that he wanted one as well, but I wasn’t keen at first. For one, the wind looked terrible at 40km/h! But an hour later and another couple of glasses of Rouge and I succumbed…
Sunday morning wasn’t pretty! To say the weather was challenging would be a huge under statement. I was to afraid to jump in the air in fear of the wind sweeping me up and dropping me in Hangklip! Casting with 11ft spinning rods and 3oz sinkers was another challenge on its own. You would throw and the wind would scoop your line and drop your sinker twenty or more meters to your right making a huge bow in the line.
You couldn’t feel a bite nor could you feel your hands or toes. It was cold and miserable! I don’t usually have a drink at sea, but when this mate of mine offered me some Old Brown Sherry I almost gave him an open mouth kiss. Don’t judge, you weren’t there… I don’t know what it is but as soon as that first sip hit my stomach it was as if my insides started warming up. He must have anticipated that I was about to say: “F@ck this, lets go home!” The OBS gave us a little more courage, a little more hope. Even though each sip came with a mouth full of sand.
After I made my cast I would hold my rod horizontally with the beach. This was the only way to avoid the rod being jerked back and forth in your hands and you at least had some feeling. I thought I felt a few bites but wasn’t sure so I reeled in and confirmed the inquiries after I saw that my bait was gone. This gave me some confidence that something can happen. I knew that although we couldn’t reach as far as we wanted that at least there was something nibbling where our baits settled.
My rod jerked forward without warning, I was in, unbelievable! It was a quick fight and a couple of minutes later we had a size fish flapping on the side. All of a sudden the cold disappeared, the wind dropped and it turned into a glorious morning. This feeling of exuberance didn’t last very long though. Nature was howling “go to your cave” but we were adamant. The worst were the gusts, I was literally blown forward a few steps every so often.
Eventually it got to a point where we couldn’t take it any more and we decided that it was time for that “last cast”. I rebaited walked up to the edge of the the water, waited for the worst of the gust to pass and made an ok’ish cast.
Tap Tap Bang, my rod jerked forward! I said to my companion that it must be a Spotted Gully Shark, cause this thing felt heavy. For the first couple of seconds she stood still and wouldn’t give an inch. There was some serious head shakes, then she came a little before giving another few nods. I didn’t want to get too exited, it felt like a fish but I knew all to well that the Spottys love wonder worm. Without putting too much pressure on her I gently let the rolling water do all the work, bringing the fish closer with each surge. One last wave came in and left her on dry land as the water subsided.
When I saw the fish I was ecstatic! I’m used to catching Gallies in the 30-40cm range. Most trips produce small fish with the odd one being size. This beauty was well over the allowed 35cm and as chubby as only the FAT LADY can be. She measured 49cm total length.
We made a few more casts (you can’t leave after a fish like that) before we decided to pack up. It was actually more a case of digging out than packing up because everything was covered in sand. The fish of earlier was almost lost since it was completely covered. With the wind in our backs it was a breeze walking to the bakkie. Quintie just sort of drifted with the wind. Not me though, I was floating…