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Fishing in Wilderness: Part 1

We had decided beforehand that this was primarily going to be a fishing getaway. The Indian ocean coastline along the garden route is particularly rich in fish, although not as many species as further (and warmer) north. Elf (Shad), Kob and Bream are bountiful here.

Fishing, for my part anyway, is always a learning experience, there are so many different conditions and variables that I rarely get used to any one of them. So being the perpetual novice, and an irritating one at that, I begin the process of harassing the locals to discover the best spots, the best bait, the right jig or trace, to get the fishies leaping into my lap.

Shad or Elf as it is known in South Africa, is renowned as one of the best eating fishes available and they have been running in the area recently. Tales were coming in a the local bait shop, “the Elf are going bedonnerd!” , it loses quite a bit in translation, but in essence means they are going nuts.

Needless to say we were very excited by the bedonnerd Elf and went about getting tackle for them. We were enthusiastically sold some “deadly” Shad traces, which look like a little Espetada stick for a pilchard, with a hook on the end by the tail. You impale a whole pilchard, tail first onto the spike and then clip the contraption onto your line with a clip swivel. Very neat and convenient and no need for a sinker. These were our secret weapon and we felt like walking fish magnets.

The spot of the moment is the jetty at Victoria Bay and the time is low tide going to high or about 7:30 to 21:30 at night, this is supper time for the fish and you’d better not be late. This is where we made our first mistake. Instead of going to the boom town fish party at the jetty, Pete had spotted a secret hidden away place where it looked like the seasoned locals fish. If you can judge the spot by the extremes it takes to get there, then this must be where Moby Dick lazed away the rest of his days.