In an interview with Herchelle Gibbs after he scored that unbelievable 175 from 111 in the 438 game he said he knew he was going to score a hundred that day. He even said he got the same feeling before he scored that hundred in die 99 semi final (lets not go there). I suppose its easy in hindsight to say what you thought you would do, especially if you did it…
Call it a hunch, a silly thought or wishful thinking but I just had a feeling. I was pumping sand prawns in the Wilderness lagoon and struggling my ass off to get them. Every ten or so holes I tried produced one prawn. While I was pumping away a thought came over me that I was going to catch a Mussel Cracker that day. I didn’t have the right gear, I didn’t have the right bait, I didn’t have the know how, but somehow something said, “today will be your day”.
I was a little irritated because my dad and uncle were both interested in fishing with prawns but they just stood around chatting and expected me to do all the work collecting bait. I was a little bleak but thought that since I did all the work the fishing gods might reward me, after all I had a cracking feeling. After a good two hours of hard work “we” had a few prawns that would be able to keep “us” busy in the afternoons session.
We drove over the N2 to the parking spot at Leentjiesklip. From the parking its only a stones throw away from wetting your line. It’s an amazing fishing spot. When we lived in George years ago we fished it all the time and it produced anything from Kob to Grunter, Galjoen, Shad, Wildeperd, Belman and Steenbras. It used to be a fishing paradise regarding species and one of the best baits you can use is sand prawn. With the Tows river mouth (Wilderness lagoon) on the one side and Kaaimans on the other side and with the rock of Leentjie almost exactly in the middle, it’s no wonder it’s such a rich system.
I looked in my bag but there was no hook that would handle a Mussel Cracker. Those things flatted even 5 and 6’O hooks with their incredible strong mouths. But I thought to myself, its in any case a silly little thought this feeling I have and I decided to rig up with a silver 1’O Mustad baitholder hook and a single prawn for something smaller like a Blacktail.
On the left of the big elongated rock there’s another couple of rocks and it looked as if there was a bit of a hole in front of the rock to the far left. I made a cast with my 20/40s in the direction of the hole and walked back. Nothing happened and I wanted to see if my bait was still OK, but I ended up getting stuck. I pulled and pulled but my rig was properly lodged somewhere. I decided not to break off immediately and wait a few minutes. Just maybe a wave or some movement will loosen my rig and I could recover it.
Next moment the rod almost got pulled from my hands! Luckily I held on and the huge bumps on my rod tip vibrated adrenaline into my bones. WTF was this, could it be, nah, not a chance, ran through my thoughts. The fish was loose and decided to dart left. I just held on and the only play I gave him was with the rod tip. I put as much pressure on the fish as I could because I didn’t want him to swim into the rocks again. All of a sudden he was out of the hole and onto the sandbank in shallower water right in front of me.
Now he was angry! Left and right, back and forth! I held on. From the side my dad and uncle were shouting instructions but they might as well have been screaming at the big rock to my right… I heard nothing, all my concentration was with the fish on my line. He just wouldn’t let go, even with the last wave that washed him onto shore he again tried and run me off. On dry land he continued to flap and splash in the last bit a water that subsided.
I ran to pick him up and couldn’t believe the silver fish in my hands was actually a White Mussel Cracker! It was a surreal feeling, almost as if I was dreaming. It wasn’t a monster at 6kgs but boy did it box. He swallowed the 1’O hook and it hooked himself in the back of the throat where the big moulders in his mouth had no chance of closing the hook.
My name was on this one from the start, but I certainly tried my best “avoid” my destiny… I learned a fishing and life lesson that day, one should always learn from life experiences. Trust your instinct, trust your gut, listen to your hunches and ACT…
(it remains the only Mussel Cracker that I have caught)