Captain Duarte Rato fires up the Inhaca Island blue marlin hunt 2020
Captain Duarte Rato of FishBazaruto.com, spends every March plying the deep purple waters out the back of Inhaca Island, off Maputo, in Mozambique. Hunting the infamous blue marlin that frequent the fabulous underwater topography off the island, this time each year. This is just after Duarte has spent the previous September through November, chasing the huge grander black marlin, in his home waters off Bazaruto Island.
Marlin at the boat off Inhaca Island with Captain Duarte Rato
Marlin fishing off Inhaca Island
Duarte actually grew up in Maputo, and as a teenager, ran marlin fishing charters for his Dad, during the war! That was in the mid-eighties and just no-one has built up the thousands of hours it has taken for Duarte to be considered the very best there is.
Duarte and his clients, are out for big fish. Really big fish. Duarte has tagged more granders (1000lb marlin) than anyone, and annually wins the top tagging honours.
However, sometimes these fish get tail-wrapped and they just don’t make it. You can watch the following video for such an occasion, when a grander blue succumbed after two and a half hours. It’s very sad, and nobody was thrilled – but the fish fed the village, and DNA samples were taken and submitted to Duarte’s research partners in Australia. Who compare DNA’s of the different populations to determine their interactions or lack of them.
It’s actually one helluva video, produced by talented angler/videographer – Rian Chalmers.
Although Duarte and his team are fully booked right now, for the Santa Maria and Inhaca blue marlin season, we are taking bookings for next year. The slots are filling up fast, so click on over to this link and get in touch. We do have access to more boats and accommodations if we get even busier. We also have different options, at different levels, on how to get out the back of Inhaca, to her deep blue treasures.
Just click on the following link, which will take you to a page filled with pics, video and information. And a super easy form to get in touch with.
Okuma Metaloid on promotion right now. Click HERE. To check it out the imagery and to learn more.
Stay in touch with us at our website at http://fishingproshop.co.za/. Join as a subscriber and benefit from all sorts of special offers and VIP treatment.
Deep-Sea fishing: the most important rod on the boat
Deep-sea fishing: The most important rod on the boat, is not what you might think…
Having been through a lot of tackle through my fishing life, I learnt one BIG lesson through all of it…don’t get too attached to your fishing tackle.
Things happen! Rods and reels overboard. Stolen. Borrowed. Or simply, destroyed by my charters. And so…I started buying middle-of-the-line equipment, as opposed to the expensive kit. It seems that products in the middle of the range pricing wise, benefit the most from technology, quality and price.
And the rod I use the most on the boat. By far. Is da spinning stick aka flick stick. Since it is primarily meant to catch the super high-quality game-changing live bait needed to break records, win the event, or just make your day out!
Like a little bonnie when chasing ‘couta. Or a big shad. Or a baby yellowfin? Or a wolf-herring? Or a rainbow runner? Or the very best…a shiny brand new stripey skipjack tuna?
And these rods really get to work. All day long. In an ideal scenario, we have two rigs upfront casting out each side as we drag lures or baits. And it’s the splashing and flashing of these lures coming in towards the boat that attracts the eye of outlying gamefish that would not have seen a thing otherwise. They then come into the wake and see the spread. Bang!
Sometimes, when sight-chasing baitfish on the surface like we do, you may as well not even put lures out the back, as the finicky tuna or bonito or skipjack will only be fooled by the reactionary bite – as the flash of metal mimics the flash of a baitfish, on some days. In the chaos and turmoil of a baitball, this is how you will get your livebait, every time. As opposed to lures out the back.
So, these spinning sticks need to be lightweight and easy for anyone on the boat to pick up and have a throw. They are really just over-sized bass rigs. Or estuary rigs. And when spooled with 20lb or 30lb 8x casting braid, you can put a lure over the horizon. Anyone can. They need to have a bit of drag, but not too much since we are just catching bait and are using small hooks. Metal alloy gears. A bunch of ball bearings. Forward sloping eyes on the rod. Rods about 8 or 9ft fit on most boats just fine.
And this is where the Okuma Metaloid rod range comes in. The blanks used in their construction have been really good to us. The right amount of grunt, but lively and responsive in the tip. Making for enough power to turn a stubborn GT or screaming yellowfin, and yet enough sensitivity to make your lure behave exactly as you want it to. And they cast beautifully, without any effort. Just a flick and you are in the game.
They look real cool too. The ones we have been using on our charters are decked out in shiny red and black. Which looks amazing with our little Okuma Ceymar coffee grinders – which we also favour big time.
The range of these medium priced rods is wide too. From ultra-light tinies sporting 12lb and less, to heavy 9 footers and up – built for 50lb braid and more, and HUGE casts. Heavy lures. Heaving fish. They are still manageable and easy to wield, however. Anyone can pick one up and have a go. Even these heavy models.
The finish is really slick… and design is top-notch. Forward angled guides reduce air knots and improve casts. The winch and grips flow together beautifully.
And so, all you need is a decent coffee grinder, also in that selection of the overall price range. Some braid (8x wound is really worth the extra few bucks for an extra few metres and less chance of the dreaded wind knot). A spool of leader line and off you go. This type of thinking puts you on the water and in with a chance, for R1500 upwards. At R3000 you have that yellowfin in your sights!
To harp the importance of these spinning rigs, even more! They can also be used to catch fish from the shore or rocks. In estuaries. And even inland to tackle outsized barbel and other freshwater monsters. And anyone can use ’em!
The Fishing Pro Shop has a bunch of Okuma Metaloid rods available on their website and in-store.
Click the following link for the rod of our choice right now. It is on promotion!
Okuma Metaloid on promotion right now. Click HERE. To check it out the imagery and to learn more.
Stay in touch with us at our website at http://fishingproshop.co.za/. Join as a subscriber and benefit from all sorts of special offers and VIP treatment.
This is what happens when your freshly gaffed dorado misses the hatch!
Dorado! Magnificent in character. So keen to smash your live bait to into pieces and devour it. All lit up. High speed. Agility. Strength. The strike is explosive always resulting in an ‘aerobatic’ dance that only a dorado can perform. Cartwheels. Tailwalks. 180s and 360s. Lightning changes of direction.
A real challenge no matter who you are!
And so this beautiful Thursday morning dawned still and colourful. Clouds were pink and orange. A super keen Shaun had driven down from Johannesburg yesterday, and was at the gate dead on 4h30 bells.
Shaun was here for his first dorado. And things were on his side. Yesterday we caught two fish. On live red-eye sardines. That video is taking a little bit of time, but will follow shortly. Dorado are really funny feeders, and demonstrate some weird quirks, as they did yesterday.
The day before
We had gotten ourselves a live mackerel each. It took ages to find the little guys dodging around our usual reefs. We also had a mozzie or two, and a pinkie. I had caught two razorbellies in the estuary a few days ago and they had been waiting patiently in the freezer, just for this chance. So the spread was well populated when my Dad nabbed a good sized and frisky red-eye sardine, as we were slow trolling along the well-formed water line.
As the live sardine hit the water, we got our first dorado of the morning. There were only the two of us so the video really comes out dodge. Then twenty minutes later, Pop got another one. Which I rigged in seconds and seconds later I was vas again. Again the video is really abstract, with only the two of us out there. Camera person required!
After another fun-filled launch, we (Sean, Shaun and Brian), headed back to the bait spots. Where we found bait. A lot of bait this time. We loaded about 20 mozzies, one shad, a few pinkies and not one mackerel?!
But it sure was enough to go on, and soon the Niteshift was heading north to the start of our patrol. The water was 26 degrees again, but it had that Cape Town green tint to it, and was filled with sediment and things. Not really couta water, like it had been the day before.
Anyway, we got a strike straight away, and typically enough, the fish bit through the nylon leader meant for dorado. Does happen a lot when you use nylon to target dorado specifically, and then a toothy comes along and bites you clean off. And so we rigged again and headed back along south with the current. Towards Port Shepstone, where the fish were the day before.
Luckily the fish were hanging around and soon Shaun was fighting his first dorado. Which typically tail walked and jumped all over the other lines! Which were quickly sorted out and Shaun and the dorado squared off lekker at the front of the boat. For a good fight.
The gaff went in and the fish seemed calm and subdued when all hell broke loose. The wily fish had flipped over and gotten itself clean off the gaff and was now dorado wild on the deck! I got tail smacked once properly before I was able to literally sit on the fish, grab it, and get it into the opening in the hatch! That fish almost jumped clean out of the boat!
The tides at the moment meant we couldn’t really stay out too much longer or risk touching sand on the way back in through the surf zone. And so we packed up and returned to base. Where Shaun was to start up a whole new chapter of fishing. This time we were focusing on the estuary, and the monsters that lurk therein.
Shaun had quite a few species on his target list for saltwater. He has literally caught all the freshwater challenges on offer. Even fishing abroad for catfish and other exotic looking fighters. And so the notorious rock salmon and the inimitable Zambezi shark made it onto our priority fish list for the next few days.
Stand by for that chapter!
Post by The Sardine News. Stay up-to-date with the fishing conditions and seasons on http://thesardine.co.za. Check out http://umzimkulu.co.za for more information and pics and vids of the Umzimkulu Marina down in Port Shepstone. Port Shepstone is only a half a days drive from Pretoria so we get many anglers coming in on Friday, and leaving back for work on Monday morning real early, getting into JHB before lunchtime.
A fantastic weekend away that the family will really enjoy too. Blue flag beaches. Shopping malls. Banks. Restaurants. Even a golf course…is a few minutes drive across the river bridge.
And fishing are options are all over and exciting. Shad and karanteen at Grannies Pool in Umtentweni. Gamefish out deep-sea. Kob and garrick off the Sandspit. Grunter, perch and rock salmon in the estuary. Catfish and tarpon up near the new bridge. Or just enjoy fishing right out the front of your chalet.
Pomene 2019: There are definitely still fish left in the sea
Sitting at the sea edge in Pomene, early December 2019, we are right now surrounded by my favourite birds. Terns. Thousands. Or hundreds of thousands. They have moved on over to the point here, from the estuary and sandspit side of Pomene life.
Well. Firstly. It’s the whitebait!
This time of the year, these silvery attractive and tasty little guys pop. By the billion. They love the estuaries and benthos areas. And they love the surf zone. Where they feed on what is being brought down by the recent summer rains.
And then come the kingfish!
And then every other gamefish in the sea, that also, like us, love to eat whitebait.
Nyakuse is what they are called here, and luckily, there are literally millions of them, each year. These inshore areas host a few species of fish that can escape the Chinese trawl nets and lines out the back. They are simply too small or too sparse to make any commercial sense.
That said, in no way is this an invitation to the poacher style renegade fishing gangs, to come up here and plunder. Like what happens in Port St. Johns. This is subsistence fishing here, done by grassroots and poor communities, who live this way. Rant over.
The story then…
Chad from Lalaland, in Tofo, and I, had camped out at Pomene a while. We are very busy with The Sardine News‘ Plastic Fantastic Tour of southern Africa. But this day, we were very distracted by the arrival of my favourite sea birds – the terns – out front. It was soon apparent why, as pockets of terns flew off in formation, and found their own baitball of hapless whitebait to terrorise, just behind the backline.
But these delicious little silver shiny beautiful miniature sardines are not only favourites to man and bird. No ways, these guys were also at the very same party!
Kingfish. All types.
When I proclaimed to Chad that surfing was over for me and I am now going fishing, the terns were going berserk right on the point. I grabbed the minimum. Bag of tackle and extra lines and leader. One rod – a 30lb 9 footer. Water, sunnies, and my phone.
Half-way to the point, I had to break formation and run. It was too much. I could now see the damn fish. Smashing into the baitball – I got my sprint on.
Up the rocks and over to the top! An amazing sight to behold as acres upon acres of birds and fish were at it.
I finally got a nice little big eye kingfish, but as I hoisted him up the cliff of the point, the fish bounced on a rock and the hook flew out. I release literally all the fish I catch, so this was just fine, as the crowd around me on the point here, do not release fish ever. And get really angry actually, if you release fish in front of them. Yip. Subsistence fishers. This is their only source of protein really. Other than a few domestic animals in the village, there is nothing else. Absolutely nothing. Trust me, when camping here, no amount of money will find you some bacon or beef.
The next morning was far more beautiful, without the beasterly easterly blowing, or screaming into my face, I was looking forward to casting a lot further with the light offshore to assist. But I never even had to. On my very first cast this delightful solitary morning, I had our breakfast. A cool little bludger that could have been the one I lost the night before.
We ate that gorgeous little guy fried in garlic flavoured batter.
The sun is generally too hot for surfing, fishing or drinking beer here, in the daytime. From 6am the sun turns up the heat and is relentless until about 4pm. And this day was no different, except for the southerly wind which had come up to about 15 knots, and is directly offshore here. Making for some huge casts.
But, there was some cloud cover coming through slowly, and from our campsite a kilometre away, the birds were calling me again. I could not resist the sound of my favourite sirens. I really love these birds and the sounds they make. There is nothing more delightful in the world to me, than that chirp-chirp sound all around me.
My gear was ready to go. I had water, and no excuses. Leaving Chad to tender camp, I set out for dinner.
It was hot. Like over the top hot. The sand had gone quicksand and my feet were disappearing down a foot with every step. Torturous. But as I got closer, I could see the gamefish again. They were much bigger this time!
I got to the staging area finally. Ace out. And the most wonderful scene unfolded for my nearly snow blind eyes. For as far as I could see south, there were fish and birds. And they were coming my way!
The sun blazed through, making the water iridescent and alive. I could see right into it with my polaroids. And see into it I sure did. The absolutely perfect visibility revealed an underwater world of excitement and chaos inside every wave. All the gamefish were here now. King mackerel using set waves to ambush from. Bonefish too. The tuna out the back were getting bigger and bigger. Some monster attacks were happening just out of my reach. Luckily. I only had 30lb tackle with me.
So, on my own, I happily absorbed this all in, grabbing some video and stills which will be on YouTube pretty soon. And then proceeded to cast, with the wind, and way over the one metre high waves peeling across in front of me.
The fish were very distracted, and my retrieve was too fast and excited as I watched 4 and 5 kingfish at a time chasing my spoon together, turning away at the last millisecond. I love the fast retrieve with my Mydo SS Spoon as it flails about jetting water up into the air and projecting bubbles down below the sea surface. It’s like a much more lively gt ice cream plug. And the fast retrieve always gets the first strike, but the minute I threw a slow retrieve, using the carefully engineered bend in the spoon, making for a very side to side up and down motion under the surface, I went vas! But this time was different.
This was a dog I could feel it from the strike. But I felt my 30lb had a chance. Except for my 9 ft rod (too short), which gave me trouble keeping the fragile braid up and away from the ledge in front of me. Fortunately, the strong fish swam south and out to sea, and way away from the razor-sharp rocks. For ten solid minutes, we argued. I don’t like to hurt fish so I had my drag up to maximum pressure as a set came in. I got him caught in the second set just in time as I felt my braid touching the ledge. A horrid feeling.
Now he was on the ledge in about a metre of surging sea water. A GT! Maybe ten kilos. Maybe more. I had to now clamber down the razor sharp cliff to get to him. Just as I started the treacherous descent, some slack water gave the fish a chance to shake his head and the hook fell free! A forced release, my favourite since I never even had to touch the little guy. Shaking like a leaf with adrenalin and with a sore arm (the fight lasted about 20 minutes), I casted again.
Unbelievably, I felt a knock, and then another. I struck but there was nothing. But then another bite? So confused until I saw, that I had entangled one of my favourite birds. And I really don’t like to hurt seabirds or any animals like this.
I gently reeled the tern in, fighting against the stiffer south wind. I got him to calm down, but on my own, and with my bag 10 metres away, I was really alone all of a sudden. My only choice, to not hurt the bird, was to grab him. He bit me straight away so I pinched his beak closed and off we clambered to my blades. The braid was all around the little guy, and I was real stressed. My favourite bird. How could I do this? The truth is there were millions flying about in front of my every cast and it was a luck that I never tangled more of them.
It took me a few minutes to both hold down the feisty and surprisngly strong aviator, untangle, and remove the braid. As I got the last piece free, I had a split second to admire the sheer beauty of this, my favourite bird. I let him go into the south wind.
He rejoined the melee in an instant, happy as could be, with one helluva story for his mates.
Tying my leaders up again, got me casting just in time to see Chad walking the walk, in the sun, surfboard under arm. The waves were cooking. My isolation had further been replaced by the usual crew of kids who fish the sea here for food and a living. They all use Mydos now!
As Chad paddled out into the action, a huge whale shark came by. Sending the kids scurrying up the rocks to perceived safety. As it turms out, these local crew, don’t know the difference between a tiger shark, a great whilte, a zambezi, or a whale shark. They literally burst up the cliff?! And when Chad nonchalantly paddled out right next to it, they shook their heads in wonder.
My slow retrieve worked again, and my second little bludger kingfish was on it’s way to becoming fish paella. Chad caught a bunch of waves. More locals came by to get their due of a fish or two for dinner.
It’s refreshing to see the sea in such splendour like this. But, the species that were there, were inshore species that c an hide from the plundering Chinese boats fishing these waters extensively now. They are right up and down, fishing legally with licenses from the corrupt, and basically against the local communities, who rely on the fish here for their living.
True subsistence fishing communities like these need all the protein, and protection, they can get!
Just like us! Ha ha no, we only needed one or two of these little big eye/bludger kingfish, to survive just fine. Fried fillets, fish soup and fish paella on the menu.
It’s Black Friday with The Fishing Pro Shop and this is what is going on!
Firstly, we will match any advertised price on Black Friday and the following, Saturday if we have the stock in hand. And if we believe it to be a genuine advertisement.
Then, we have a bunch of really top-spec Shimano rods that we will be doing a less 20% off marked price. Everything with a yellow dot is less 20% and we have over R300 000 of this stock on the shop floor!
All this is clearly only while stocks last!
Rapala X-rap box with the real deal colors.
A whole shelve of top popping and jigging rods on special!
Kaibutsu R2599 less 20 That will be a lot of rod for R2080 Got 8 different ones!
Top spec shimano Oceas popping rods – Oceas range from 3995 to 5750 less 20 percent That is a hell of a deal! 15 different shimano oceas models to choose from. Got some shimano terez rods at 2290 less 20. And some awesome Shimano talus too.
Shimano grappler jigging rods at R2995 less 20 Even found two wild romances in the store at 2795 less 20 On the lighter side we have some ‘green’ Trevalas at 1595 less 20 That is r1280 for an awesome rod. Even being naughty with some Curado rod models at 1995 less 20
Shimano fireblood… they go for 6k… we are doing them at R3995 less 20. That is R3200 a rod!!!! We have a bunch of Techniums at r1250 less 20. That is a 1000 bucks for a top-spec Shimano rod!
And you know, we don’t play… we don’t advertise a special and then only have two or three rods at that price. We have stock… R300 000 worth for black Friday and we will run it for a bit… but when it is gone it is gone…
And so the sale is ON! Today and tomorrow Saturday!
Have you ever seen a Red Terez? At R1895 less 20….
You know the sketch… we are possibly the only shop in Gauteng that has reel servicing people and rod builders on site… And one of the widest selection of Shimano reels
For the deep sea fanatics…
Pakula, black Bart, ilander, bahama, pulsator, marlin magic…
And lets not forget the carp guys!!!!
Lets not forget the baitcasters…
And widest range of duckets you will find on this continent…
And still the widest selection of fly tackle…
Did we mention costa?
Buy a set of costa sunglasses and get a costa cap for free…
We shall see you at The Fishing Pro Shop all day today and tomorrow until 1pm!
Understanding presentation in bass fishing: In last months issue we covered location, how to locate bass in different seasonal stages. Now we will cover presentation. Presentation has two aspects; what are you presenting? and where are you presenting it to? The “what” refers to bait selection and the “where” refers to structure or cover. Choosing the correct presentation to cover a specific structure type will improve success. The right presentation will eventually lead to a good pattern, a good pattern allows you to catch lots of fish; it’s a beneficial skill to recognize the subtle hints from fish. The smallest adjustment can make a big difference. Let’s start by looking at structure and cover.
Bottom structure or contour lines are often the “go to” in the absence of cover. The Presentation will depend on what depth the fish are holding at. Multiple presentations could be effective on any given day. Lots of baits have limitations so always choose the most efficient tool for the job. In the absence of cover, it’s safe to assume that they are deep. Text book deep water presentations include, but are not limited to: dropshot, deep diving cranks, football jigs, Carolina rig, big swimbaits and jigging spoons. All of these presentations have solid reputations. It’s recommend to start with what you have most confidence in, for me, if for arguments sake I’m catching the same quality fish on a Carolina rig, that I am on a crank, I’m choosing the least labour intensive option. Single hooks have better conversion rates, are less inclined to foul, thus the Carolina rig becomes the smarter option. Unless the area is very rocky, getting your weight snagged every second cast, and having to re-tie constantly is an inconvenience, then the crank would be the smarter choice. It’s all about choosing the most correct option, as there are no wrong answers in bass fishing. Remember, fish will respond to multiple presentations on the same piece of structure or cover.
Whenever possible, always fish down hill – it reduces hang up’s. The only thing a fish has to relate to is the bottom, so ensure that’s where your bait spends most of its time. Onto cover, this is a more diverse topic! Trees, brush, laydowns, jetties, surface grass, submerged grass, grass lines, reeds etc. Once again, numerous presentations will elicit a response from the same piece of cover. In other words, the same bass that ate your frog probably would have eaten a number of presentations due to its aggressiveness, but would you have been able to present another bait as effectively as you would a frog in thick matted grass for instance? Again it boils down to selecting a presentation that would be best suited to get the job done.
The lesson here is to select a bait at falls within the criteria of what the fish are responding to, and along with its unique benefits, maximize results. One has to be mindful of the fact that different class fish could respond to different presentations in the same area. For example in a grassy area, you could be catching a bunch on a weightless presentation, but the moment you start throwing a spinnerbait the quality of the fish improve, but the rate goes down. It’s a trade off for quality vs quantity, it depends on your objective. The same system can be used when selecting cover; if you get the same quality fish inside the grass, and on the rocks – choose the option that suits your style or preference, but not at the expense of results. If you are a tournament angler, you have to separate what you want to do, from what is needed in order to do well. What I throw when I’m out with my wife differs vastly from what I’ll throw when I’m tournament fishing with my regular partner.
Let’s look at how presentation in bass fishing and patterning come together. We recently fished a venue that we had last fished during the summer when the water temp was still in the high 20’s. We found the good ones along a very specific depth corridor; the margin for error being a foot either way in terms of depth. It’s a gradual sloping bank so the band was about 4 to 5 meters wide. As long as we hugged that line we got 2 kg plus fish. Little off to the side would result in undersize fish on both the deeper and shallow end. The bait didn’t seem to matter, the fall rate of a ½ oz tungsten on a Texas rig was the key. They would eat it on the drop before it even hit bottom. If there happened to be n bit of grass, you were pretty much guaranteed a good bite. it’s mid winter now and the water temperature was 14° in the morning. We found the fish again in the same area at the same depth, only this time they wanted a different presentation. The ½ oz was a bit aggressive on the fall, they would only eat it once the bait had sat still for a few seconds. So the pattern was the same, the better fish were still in 10ft relating to isolated grass patches but preferred a different presentation. Same area, same rig, different time of year – slight adjustment did the trick. The moral here is, if you are running a solid pattern; bait and color selection become less critical because all that is needed is to get a bait in the right area.
Bait and color selection is a contentious issue. Folks get emotional about it. It took some time for my thick head to come to terms with the fact that one actually fishes pattern by means of presentation, and not a bait persé. This has allowed me to streamline my tackle, which in turn makes bait and color selection easy. In terms of plastics, I have a maximum of 4 variants when it comes to color: black, brown, green and purple… with the odd white models mixed in here and there. These colors cover the entire spectrum. If you feel the need to have an entire box of Green pumpkin baits with so and so glitter then I suggest you reconsider your approach. The same goes for bait styles, no-one needs 7 different types of creature baits. I’ve recently committed to a specific brand and model in 2 different sizes and 4 color variants each. This is my “go to” bait for flipping and pitching, it’s literally the only creature/craw I own. It took me awhile to decide on it, but it came down to simple logic; the 3″ version sits perfectly on my preferred straight shank flipping hook. The shape of the bait allows it to penetrate the grass with ease. The size of the bait allows me to play around with rate of fall without changing the profile too much. The same goes for the 4″ version. My choice had nothing to do with available colors or the fact that it was designed by n prominent U.S. pro. It’s all about the fact that it does what I require it to do within a certain set of circumstances. Horses for courses if you will. Long story short, if you have determined where they are, and found a presentation they respond to, you effectively have a pattern. Within that pattern, you can then fine tune bait type, size and color selection to maximize your results. I hope that the reader will see the bigger message in this article. No amount of tackle can improve your success unless you understand the basic principles. I’ll leave you with a quote from Gerald Swindle “ if you got 40 rods stacked up on the deck you ain’t versatile, you’re confused!”
This couta might have gone way over 30, or even 40kg’s. It was sharked whilst fishing out of Linene, just south of the Bazaruto Archipelago and park.
It ate a halfbeak in a skirt on the troll for sailfish. And was caught by Wickus Strydom, and ardent Fishing Pro Shop regular.
The waters outside of Linene are renowned for monsters, and this is the second unfortunate taxing that I have seen there recently. There are some distinguished pinnacles running along a north-south line, and jumping in, it really is refreshing, to see it teeming with fish. Gamefish and reef fish swim together top to bottom in this place. Which obviously means one thing…
Mainly highly spirited Zambezi models, being hustled from all angles by Bronze Whalers and other food chain competitors. They are aggressive and keen to pick a fight with anyone. They have been busting up tackle here for 50 years, and have really come to know the dinner bell. Whci goes off as soon as we slow down to fight fish. They come in from all angles in this place!
But ok, it’s a sign that this place is really healthy for now. But I am not sure how much longer it will be though?! Check out how foreign trawlers are raping this place, as we speak. Legally?! Government selling fishing rights.
And another couta sharked, at the same place…
And so the chances of getting these big couta out are quite dismal on lighter tackle, and even heavier tackle, as Dean Taylor pictured below, found out, fishing the same as area as Wickus was, for his fish. He was still on GT drag when his outsized monter was spotted by a guest flying in from the bow just uner the surface. Imagine seeing that! Dean’s dropshot was 3 metres under the boat at the motors when the huge fish slammed into his lure. Literally taking Dean with it, at GT drag! Luckily we held on to Dean and Dean held onto the fish, but it wasn’t 3 minutes and the line went slack, and Dean winched the head of the couta in.
It’s rather sad when this happens, but what can you do against that marauding pack of sharks, who, incidentally, follow us around when we troll lures for bait in this place, knowing that they are in for a free meal as soon as we hookup! We know this since we started trolling with cameras set in the wake to see what was going on.
It’s pretty scary!
And a final treat, some underwater footage of a pack of couta hammering away at a live bonito, in the same area, just a bit north.
Full underwater observation story can be read here, pics and all.
Considering colour in fishing: I’d like to revisit an article I wrote some time ago, it’s a great topic and evocative for many. Sentiment plays a major role in many cases, going with a particular colour based on previous experience even though the circumstances and conditions are different, or reverting to what you caught your PB on 7 years ago. Most of us are guilty of this in one way or another. The purpose of this article is to help simplify colour selection, especially for beginners or folks who need reassurance. My tackle box is unexciting, you’ll find Black, Brown, Green & maybe something June bug, Perhaps even a bit of white. I like to keep it simple. I have variations of these base colours but I don’t care much for glitter. The more you fuss over which colour glitter is best the less you focus on what could actually make a difference to your catch rate. Let me explain my reasoning behind colour selection: colour perception is relative to light penetration. When subjected to the depths, certain colours loose their integrity due to diminished light penetration. Scientists tell us that red is the first colour to be affected followed by orange and yellow. Green is next, followed by blue, purple and black. The latter three maintain their integrity at great depths, and still appear as their natural hue even as deep as 100ft depending on water clarity. At this depth, all other colours appear grey or a variation thereof. So in essence, if you were under the impression that you were fishing a Watermelon bait in 30ft guess again, It would likely be perceived as pale grey. An excellent example of this would be certain ‘red’ saltwater reef species, at depth they appear grey in colour, this is a camouflage mechanism. I’m sure everyone has seen some sort of underwater footage of reef fish. The three most common scenarios that you’ll face are, clear water, stained water and muddy water. My basic colour selection would be as follows, in clear water up shallow, I would start with Watermelon ( gold, red, purple, blue fleck – whatever) until I can no longer see the bottom, then I would switch over to Green Pumpkin, Black or June bug. For stained water, up shallow, I will start off with Green Pumpkin, and use Black and June bug as I move deeper. During low light conditions, I might consider a colour with good contrast against the dark water. Muddy water can be challenging so best ensure that your bait remains as visible as possible. It is recommended to use White (or counter shade) and black. It’s also one of the few scenarios where I prefer that my bait has some glitter. Scientists agree that the visibility of your bait is the overriding factor which determines whether a bass will actually commit to eating your presentation, not the shape or hydrodynamic signature of your bait. You can refine your approach in clear water by matching your bait colour to the immediate surroundings and cover. For example, if the area has lots of weeds then stick to Watermelon. If the area has rocks or timber , try Green Pumpkin perhaps. Keep in mind that any variation of the base colours will also do. With regards to hardbaits, if you consider what they are imitating, it’s simple. Any form of counter shade will do. If you are limited to only a few baits, I would recommend ones with a White belly and darker back. For stained and muddy water I might consider something with a bit of Yellow, Orange or chartreuse on it. Spinnerbaits are most popular in White in variations thereof. My clear water favourite is golden shiner and for stained water plain old white. For jigs, it’s just as simple – clean water calls for shades of Green pumpkin, crabs also happen to be brown in colour… for stained and muddy water, black/blue is hard to beat. If I’m swimming a jig, white is a great option. In fact, white is the most fool proof colour for any reaction bait whether it’s a hardbait, softbait or skirted presentation. Try not to overthink it, stick to the basic colours and be confidant in your choice. See you on the water!
Mike long: a fallen icon –by FPS Pro Angler Divan Coetzee
Mike Long – a name synonymous with Big Bass catches, America’s “best” trophy hunter, exposed as a fraud! Wow! I’m still trying to wrap my head around the audacity of this guy. The allegations against him are insane! From snagging trophy fish and claiming false lake records to secret live wells and intimidation.
Kellen Ellis, owner and administrator of SD.FISH.com, come forward with some compelling video evidence and a 40 page article labeled “The dark secret of America’s big bass guru” covering the entire career of this once revered angler. It’s an interesting read, the full article can be viewed on Ellis’ page. I’ve taken out snippets from the original article to give you some perspective on how this guy (Long) operated.
Ellis states: “Back then Long was the undisputed heavyweight champion of big bass fishing. He caught the ninth heaviest bass of all time in 2001, a 20.75-pounder. He owned five local lake records for bass and made claim to having caught several hundred more bass over 10 pounds. “Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest for the World-Record Largemouth Bass” by Monte Burke had hit bookstores a year prior and Long was prominently featured in the book as the leader of the pack when it came to the chase for the world record. He was the guy that the other players in that quest chased. And he was annihilating San Diego’s other top bass anglers in local team (2-person) tournaments, many times doing it without a partner in the boat.
There was some controversy surrounding his success, particularly with his lake records and the tournament wins while fishing solo — but anyone questioning Long’s prowess at this point was met with resolute resistance from his supporters — myself included. I sincerely regret that.” Ellis broke ties with Long in 2010 after suspicious and circumstantial evidence presented itself. Ellis was left with the only conclusion; that Long was a fraud! Ellis lacked any concrete proof on the subject. Big Bass legend Bill Murphy, shared Ellis’ sentiment with regards to Long, and would let his true feelings on Long be known before he passed in 2004. Ellis goes on to say: “Murphy absolutely thought he was a cheater. I had breakfast with Bill Murphy a few months before he died, he thought not only was he dangerous, but he was a cheater, and that he was spawning a bad element in bass fishing in San Diego County,” Zieralski told me in a phone interview this May. “He did not respect Long. He feared him. He feared the element that Mike was bringing into the sport.”
Meanwhile, Long would dominate local tournaments and attain several lake records, the latter being a big deal in the U.S. The incentive to be on top was there, in the form of financial reward. Ellis states: “Mike Long would proceed to DOMINATE the Big Bass Record Club. In 1999, the club’s first year Long would take home $28,400 after taking first, third and 10th in the contest that year with bass weighing 17.95 pounds (Lake Murray), 15.19 (Lake Poway) and 12.44 (Lake Poway)”
In light of Long’s success, the format was charged the next year. There was effectively no way to properly dispute an anglers claim. In 2001, Long came out tops with a fish of 20.75 from lake Dixon. The specimen became known as “dotty”. In hindsight, I think it’s fair to question the legitimacy of the catch. All Long had to do was pass a polygraph test. He failed… he would later be allowed to retake the test.
With all the controversy surrounding the failed polygraph, Long laid low for awhile with regards to submitting catches. Instead, he teamed up with an old school buddy and highly proficient angler by the name of John Kerr. Kerr says the following about Long: “He was catfishing off a point and I was done bass fishing for the day so I went over and started catfishing near him. We got to talking and he told me he was getting into bass fishing,” This would be the start of Long’s tournament career, he and Kerr did fairly well and managed many respectable finishes including several AOY titles. Kerr being the backbone of the team and Long contributing nothing but his name. In fact, Long on several occasions listed Kerr as his partner for the day, but ended up fishing alone. Long would end up with a winning percentage of 75% when fishing alone, and 25% when fishing with a partner. Kerr became suspicious, Ellis states: “Kerr was sceptical of Long’s success. What he saw from him as a teammate didn’t match the results that Long was generating as a competitor. And he had witnessed Long pull some things with lake record claims that made him question the man’s moral compass. Long’s lake records were especially dubious, and Kerr was far from the only one who doubted their validity.”
Kerr and Long eventually parted ways after an incident in 2008. From there, Long would take even bigger risks in order to stay on top.
Ellis writes: “In Jan. of 2009, Mattson took a call from Long inviting him to go fish Lake Hodges on a day the lake was closed, and told him he had waterdogs that they could use for bait. Waterdogs have been illegal to use as bait in California since March of 2001, but Long, working for a rebar company, had been on a job in Yuma, AZ and was able to purchase them there. Mattson declined, saying he didn’t want anything to do with throwing waterdogs or fishing illegally. He again suggested to Long that he shouldn’t be doing anything illegal given all the scrutiny he was under.
But Long apparently didn’t heed his advice, and left Mattson a voicemail later stating that he had fished Hodges and caught a 13-pounder. “He was super stoked about it, I could tell in his voice that he legitimately caught it, you could tell when he did something legitimately, which was few and far between, but it wasn’t really legit because the lake was closed and the bait was illegal,” Mattson said. “I called Johnny [Kerr] and told him Mike got a 13 out of Hodges, and Kerr said there was an upcoming tournament at Otay, and he thought he would weigh it in during the tournament. I said, ‘you think so?’ He said, ‘he’s going to get a 13 in the tournament, and I bet he says he gets it on a swimbait.’”
“I go, you know what, if that happens, I’m 100% sure that he’s cheating,” Mattson recalled.
On Jan. 24, 2009 Mike Long weighed 25.93 pounds in the WON Bass Tournament at Lower Otay, fishing by himself (though he put John Kerr down on the entry form as his partner). His nearly 26-pound limit was anchored by a… you guessed it, 13.2-pounder. He collected $4,990 in prize money”.
This is truly a fascinating article, I urge you to read all 19 000 words of it. It took Ellis 10 odd years to compile all his data. The video footage that accompanies the article is just as shocking. I urge folks to keep their side clean. There is no place for snaggers and cheats!
Lazarus Bank dream fishing trip: Andre Kelbrick, avid angler and patron at the Fishing Pro Shop in Pretoria East, recently went fishing. BIG!
Enjoy the story by Andre…
I recently rewarded myself with a once in a life time deep sea fishing experience. After countless hours of researching charted fishing trips, trying to determine whom is the best of the best, I was introduced to Lucky Strike Fishing Charters. They offered me the opportunity to accompany them on a trip to the pristine waters of the world renounced fishing location, Lazarus banks in Northern Mozambique, Pemba.
Geared up and ready to go, we started our adventure in Pemba. We set out on the yacht called Bom Dia, and tackled the journey to Lazarus Banks. At first I was nervous to journey 150km into the sea, but my mind was quickly set at ease when I observed the capable and professional staff on the yacht. I knew I was in safe hands seeing as safety was the captains first priority. It was clear from the get go that this is definitely a well-oiled seasoned fishing charter.
Catching monsters was the aim of the game and Lazarus did not disappoint. We gave it our all every single day, utilizing every fishing method including popping, jigging, trawling and light fun on our flick sticks. At the end of the day the knowledge and experience of the captain is the factor that made the big difference. We hooked the giants as was promised. We were almost pulled overboard by some big Dogtooth tunas. I stood astonished trying to proses what was happening. I never thought I would see a rod snap like it was a toothpick or a Shimano Stella being spooled to the point where the real was too hot to touch. Unfortunately the monsters were victorious as I was not physically nor mentally prepared for this immense battle. We were all speechless realising what monsters were lurking below us.
We managed to land some fish most people can only dream of. Some of my favourites included the nice sized GT’s and extraordinary Wahoos. The Yellow fin tuna’s was everywhere we looked. We also encountered a pack attack of Dorado’s. Over the course of the trip we had a tally of 16 different species of fish. Definitely any fisherman’s dream.
This was truly a great experience and I urge every fisherman looking for the fight of their life to join me on my next trip with Lucky Strike Fishing Charter. I pledged to return to these untouched waters to show I am worthy of the true Monsters of Lazarus.
I’m looking for more avid anglers to join me for my next, If you would like to join or want further details, feel free to contact me.
Tight lines. Below are some photos of our trip and other monsters lurking in the depths of Lazarus.
Thank you Andre Kelbrick for the story and inspiration! – Xona