A couple of years ago myself and mates, J&D, decided to go visit Brandfontein to target some Galjoen and Steenbras. I kept on confusing the name with Brandvlei, the small little Karoo town where kids learn to swim on a face cloth… Water is scarce in the big Karoo! So it was suggested that I refer to our fishing destination as Brandfonfokkentein… Brandfonfokkenvlei just doesn’t roll off the tongue smooth enough. Would you believe it, I’ve never mixed up the names since. Accept for when we drove past Brandvlei the other day and I called it Branfontein…
We arrived at about 4:30 on the particular Saturday morning. The night sky was majestic with the brightest stars we’ve seen in a while. After a brief and brisk walk down the beach we got to a nice spot where you could just about make out the white foam of some working water in the dark night. J suggested that myself and D make a few casts at the spot and then he would fish a couple of hundred meters to our left to target Steenbras.
D was quickly in the water targeting Galjoen with wonder worm. I was hunting Steenbras and started baiting up with a nice tjokka and bloodworm bait. The combo would give me the option of Steenbras or maybe a winter Kobbie. While I was building my ASFN styled Steenie bait I heard someone shout “VAS”! Minute or so later and D appeared with his first fish, a nice 37cm Gallie. I left my Steenie bait just like that and immediately began rigging up with a 1’0 Mustad Hoodlum and some “Weskus” wonder worm.
Then J came running and shouted that he had just lost a huge Steenbras on blood worm. His braid line parted on a weak spot that was probably caused by shaving on some kelp or something. The news of the lost fish set my brain into an erratic spin, it was all happening and I wasn’t in the water yet! I wanted to go back to the Steenbras bait but decided to stick to my second option and target Gallies.
I made a cast into the night. You never really know how far your bait goes in the dark, you just hope that where it lands is enough water to hold some fish. I was super exited, the fish was biting and the anticipation was nerve wrecking. It was quiet for the first few seconds and I started a nervous babble about the awesome morning I was having and how bright the stars was and… Without warning my rod dipped, BAM! The next half an hour turned into fantastic chaos!
First cast: Pulled flat – 38cm Gallie
Second cast: Pulled flat – 37cm Gallie
Thirt cast: Tap Tap Pull, Strike… on for a while but came off – 60cm Gallie for sure (the ones you loose are always the biggest)
Fourth cast: Pulled flat – 43cm Gallie
Fifth cast: Pulled flat – 48cm Gallie
The fish wasn’t monsters but they ware super aggressive and feisty fighters. They would just grab your bait and swim away, incredible! While all of this was going on with me, J&D couldn’t buy a bite, strange how it goes sometimes. The sun started rising and we couldn’t believe our eyes. We were casting onto a sandbank into water that couldn’t have been more than knee deep. With the daylight the fish went off the bite and we started looking for other options.
The tide was going out which allowed us to walk onto the same bank where we were fishing earlier to try and reach the drop off. This tactic didn’t produce any fish at first until I had a strange pull that felt as if a piece of kelp had drifted onto my line. I reeled in and as my terminal tackle got close I saw that I had actually tangled into someone else’s line. When I picked it up, I felt something alive on the other side and started pulling it towards me. I couldn’t believe it, it was J’s “Steenbras” he lost about 3 hours earlier, a nice 40 odd cm Gallie! We joked about this all day long. J was so sure he had lost a BIG Steenbras… That’s the perfect fisherman I suppose, we never lose small fish, it’s impossible!
When the tide was at its lowest we started moving around to find some water deep enough to hold some fish. J found a nice hole and was into the fish in no time. I joined him and was into the fish as well. The tide started pushing and I decided to leave my post after I almost got washed to see. J continued on his higher spot and in the end caught a total of 12 Gallies in the same hole. For myself and D the rest of the day didn’t produce any more action. We can’t complain though, it was a fantastic day with perfect weather and perfect fishing. In the end a total of more than 20 Galjoen were landed, the biggest being 48cm. We kept a few for the braai, but all others were safely released.
What a day… Insane in Brandfonfokkentein!