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Cape Point - February 22nd, 2006
supplied by: South Sea Safaris RECORDED:88 °FISHING: Excellent WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THE LOCAL SCENE - Wednesday 1 February 2006
In my last report, 28 Nov 2005, I mentioned that the weather had been relatively kind to us and that we had done a good number of trips. Well, about a week after the report, the South Easter came and blasted us and has continued to do so throughout December, January and today it is still a gentle gale of 40knots plus at Cape Point. We only managed about 8 trips for the whole of December and 7 for January. I keep waiting for the weather to settle, but in vain. The wind just will not let up. Fires are raging in the Western Cape as I write and the inland provinces and Kwazulu Natal are washing away. This is the typical summer weather pattern, but to the absolute extreme. We can only hope February will be better.
Some good news is that the yellowfin did not disappear as expected. On the odd occasion that we do get out into the tuna grounds, they are still as thick as ever. In 2004 the tuna simply disappeared on 12 November. Normally they depart sometime in December, but this year, no-one told them they are supposed to leave. Obviously these fish do not read the same books that we do. Nor do they pay any attention to what WE THINK they should be doing! Not that I am complaining, on the contrary, if it weren't for the tuna, our fishing would be dismal at present. We are still averaging around 7 fish per trip, but the average has dropped to about 50kg per fish, where it was about 60kg per fish in Oct and Nov. Last year, Hilton Lavita landed a fish of 97.5kg, our personal best at the time. As Murphy would have it, his brother, Dilon, landed a fish of 97.5 kg as well. Almost exactly a year later! Both fish are the biggest caught by any boat in our fleet. The brothers now have three bests on our boats. A longfin of 32kg and two yellowfin tuna of 97.5kg each. Hope they don't read this, it'll make their heads swell!
The longfin tuna (albacore or longies) have at last put in an appearance and catches have been quite good over the last few weeks. Fish are small (around 8-10kg), but on light tackle, they give very good sport and when a school of them comes up, the action is usually fast and furious.
A method I have been using very successfully on catching yellowfin has been to tie a bit of foamalite to the sardine bait and let it drift away from the boat. The foam floats on top of the pilchard and cannot be seen by the fish coming up from below. The result is a take that resembles a dry fly being taken by a trout, except in this case the "trout" is about 100pounds. It really is something to see and is sure to get the adrenalin pumping. This works particularly well when the fish are full of s..t and bait and leader shy. For those of you who go out there on your own boats, give it a try, it is great fun.
Currently the water in the cape canyon area is beautifully blue and 20 - 22C. We are keeping a lookout for the dorado, but have yet to find any. Hopefully they will start popping up in the next couple of weeks. If we can get to sea, that is!
I am interested to see what the later part of the season holds in store for us. Will the tuna leave early? Will they get thicker or less? I don't think anyone has the answer to that one. Watch this space.
Cape Point and False Bay
Luckily the tuna are still here. The yellowtail have all but disappeared and the cape salmon never arrived in any number worth mentioning. Since the big south easters we have had a number of 'tail, but it has been hard work and catches have been poor. Nothing like last season.
Last season we had around 600 fish for the summer, this year I don't think we have hit the 200 mark yet.
The temperature of the water at the Point is like a yo-yo and one day it is 15C, the next 19C. Colour is like dirty coffee and yellowtail don't generally like that. There were quite a good number of shoals at Seal Island for a few weeks, but they seemed more concerned with pro-creation than with feeding. The result was a number of very frustrating days where our catches reflected about a tenth of our work rate. They say a randy yellowtail isn't interested in food. Well I can definitely vouch for that. We did tempt a few very nice fish and our biggest was a respectable 10kg. Even so, the reward was hardly worth the effort.
Struisbaai and Agulhas Banks
Struisbaai has been cooking on occasion and I have heard of some good catches of yellowtail(big fish in the 15-18kg class). Even small yellowfin tuna in the bay and on the six and twelve mile banks. Water on the twelve mile is warm and clear and it gets one to thinking about the marlin we had there last year. The time is now and we will be taking one of our boats down there for Feb and early March. Small gamefish are plentiful out there at the moment and that is always a good sign. If you are interested in having a go at a needlenose, please give me a call or drop me a mail. Our striped marlin of 95kg there last year was the biggest one caught along the SA coast.
Kob and geelbek have also been good down there and I have had reports of plenty of good cob coming from the Duiwenhoks river area. (Just north of Breede river)
That is about it for this report. Till next time, tight lines.
These reports are compiled based on our own catches and information we receive from reliable anglers, both recreational and commercial, who are out there fishing. This ensures the reports are factual and current affording all anglers fishing the coast an accurate assessment of where to go and what catches to expect. For more up-to-date information drop me an e-mail on email@example.com
This past season has been a difficult one insofar as our weather has just not given us a break. Unseasonal winds, early winter and the expected change in fish patterns associated with such conditions all played havoc with my determination to find fish for every angler every day ... we did it but it does take it's toll on one's credentials :-). Our Yellowtail annual congregation around Seal Island from March to May didn't materialise this year due to the cooler water in False Bay. This was compounded by the constant netting of these fish in Smitswinkel Bay and Fish Hoek ... and to those critics who try to baffle us with science by telling us these fish don't spawn, mate, or incubate in False Bay ... best you ask for your school fees back. The greater majority of the fish we caught or those netted were full of very ripe roe and as they say "every picture tells a story". Fortunately or unfortunately we caught very few but at least had the honour of releasing a great many of them. And to those anglers who accepted our reasons for releasing your fish ... thank you again.
Our Tuna season was great as predicted (I hate to have to say this but ... I told you so). People often ask me how we know where the fish will be or how we know they are even in the area ... my explanation is always the same ... it's what we do every day (when the wind isn't blowing) and one develops a sense of knowing ... it's probably an instinct which is hard to explain unless you're in tune (NO ... I'm not a fricking fortune teller). To give an example of this, I ran out to the Tuna grounds on one particular day, 23 miles into the blue ocean, nothing in sight but 3 other boats that had been trolling for over 3 hours. I ran past them and greeted each one in turn. It didn't take long for a radio call to ask where I was off to in such a hurry - to which my reply was that I was running until my instinct tells me to put our lines in. Well call it luck or whatever but not even a mile further on I suddenly pulled back on the throttles and put the lines in the water (haven't a clue what made me do it) ... while still setting the lines two of the big sticks went on with Yellowfin. I immediately called the 3 boats to me so they could enjoy the fun, only to get a reply of "how the F**K do you do it" ... well don't ask me 'cos I don't fricking know ... put it down to instinct or luck ... ok ... put it down to luck.
Now that you're seriously planning to fish with us this coming season ....
This was a good Tuna season, and more especially for Yellowfin, the Albacore (Longfin) were there but very scarce. I have my own assumptions for why ... and that is because the big supposedly international gamefishing associations are creating so much fuss and noise about their own American (did I say that) waters that the boats doing all the damage have moved south and are decimating our stocks in peace (so pay you affiliation and accept they drive the problem to your waters). For those less informed, Albacore Tuna are the ones used for tinned tuna on the supermarket shelves ... and the economy must go on ... albeit at our expense.
Our Yellowfin were slightly smaller in average than last season but still well in the 50kg plus range ... with many fish going between 80 and 100 kg. Absolute beasts, and taking more than one angler to subdue them. Our closest fish were 1/2 a mile off Cape Pont (yup!!! casting distance from the rocks) ... and fish over the 55kg mark, awesome.
Our Yellowfin season started late February and lasted until now (there are still a few fish being caught) ... a nice long season with lots of fish ... out average was 3 - 6 big fish a day. :-) And yes I smile 'cos it's good for my clients. The main method we used this season was trolling early day and going onto the baits from midday to late afternoon. One of our most productive lures was the Mega-bait 7" Sea Boz (if you need some, let me know). The reliable plain white squid behind a Bird was once again a deadly combination. Trolling speed at 1800 rpm on both motors - one trimmed up to create the white water wash I like.
Baiting was still the 'hook a fish, stop and chum while fighting' method ... all shoaling fish respond to this technique anywhere in the world. Put out baited lines and spin while you wait for the first pull ... the spoon (spinner) attracts fish to the chum line where they will relax, feed, and become blasÚ ... and easier to catch.
Right now we are in between seasons, a frustrating period that will last until August / September when the Snoek will start moving in around Hout Bay and the Yellowtail will come onto the Rocky Bank / Cape Point area.
The beaches have been fairly productive with Steenbras at Koelbaai and along the Hangklip coast, Hermanus Plaat and De Mond (the odd one at Maccassar). Galjoen along Strandfontein and Misty Cliffs on the Atlantic side.
My prediction for the coming season ... good Snoek and Yellowtail but very late (October / November). Tuna will arrive after the full moon in October. SE Winds could be pretty shitty (now that was easy) but they will bring good Kob and Cape Salmon (Geelbek).
26th January 2005 And into the new year we go ... with a blast. Just when the fishing got absolutely awesome the %$#@*& wind came - for a solid 20 days. Starting the day before Christmas we returned with a catch of over 40 Yellowtail with the smallest in the pile weighing in over 8 kg and one of the biggest going almost 13 kg - and all on poppers and spinners. No fishing on Christmas day (family reasons but champing at the bit - had to settle for horse riding with the kids) knowing the fish were wild on Rocky Bank. For the period till after New Year the Yellowtail went crazy every day. And then the wind came ....
The first time we have been able to get out since the beginning of the month is this last Saturday. With boats running in all directions to look for the fish we chose Seal Island (it's that time of the year) - loads of the bait fish which should be there this time of year but no fish (thanks to some little white boat who wouldn't learn how to approach a surface shoal). Then a little bird mentioned a Snoek on Whittle Rock ... Well, after fishing for an hour in peace, catching the odd Snoek for the charter and many calls from the commercial skippers - the fleet arrived en-force ... like a $%#^@(& armada. The Snoek run in False Bay had started. By Sunday there must have been over 100 boats on Whittle but enough fish for everyone. And a little word for that unknown commercial who gave me a hard time on Sunday ... this is my bay and these are my fish - I allow you to fish here and have a few of my fish - understand that ... 'nough said. (bold hey :-)
There are some nice class of Yellowtail on Rocky Bank but it means drifting and keeping an eye out for the passing shoals. Then throw your spinners and you'll catch a few - no boat loads but a great day's fishing. Trolling has been unproductive. Same at Seal Island but watch that place - it's going to happen there soon.
Plenty of Snoek at Whittle Rock and outside the Point at a place called 'Groendam' - Scarborough side of SW Reefs.
Bottom fishing for Cape Salmon (Geelbek) has been poor but this is mainly because of the distraction of the Snoek. By now these fish should be well inside False Bay and places worth a look are York Shoal, Mossel Bank, Seal Island and Wolfgat. Whole pilchard (sardine) with a strip of fresh squid will be your best baits - fished a meter or two off the ground.
Some nice Kob off the Pavilion at Strandfontein in the evenings. Use the same techniques as for Cape Salmon but in shallower water of 4 to 8 meters.
Some nice Kob on the Strandfontein beaches on the high tide and a few Elf (Shad), but beware a lot of these fish are under size. Please guys, return these fish with the least possible harm ... you'll catch them next year if you do. And don't fish for Galjoen - the season's still closed and the inspectors are out in force.
Still no sign of the Tuna but give it a few weeks and I think we could all expect a very nice surprise ... lets wait and see.
That's all for now. Tight lines and for those of you who demanded another report ... this one's for you
28th December 2004 Well the year is almost over and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you out there the very best in fishing for 2005 - may you catch your biggest fish ever in the coming year.
The fishing has been as hectic as ever down here in the Cape with the exception of the Tuna. The Tuna season got off to a cracking start and great numbers of really big fish being taken every fishable day. But then late in November a warm current of up to 21░C moved in and overnight the fish disappeared. Since then it has not been worth the run out to the grounds. You want my prediction on the Tuna??? I think they will be back late in February or early March - not before - but they will come in good numbers and we will see very many Yellowfin going over the 90 kg class with a few (if the anglers can hold out long enough) going into the 100 kg plus. Not too sure about the numbers and sizes of the Albacore (Longfin) though, their numbers and sizes have been down for the last couple of years.
Wanna catch Yellowtail ... come down here. Rocky Bank has been the main area of concentration with fish also at the Bellows, SW Reef and the Anvil - some inside the Point towards the Rooikraans Ledges and scattered shoals all along the coast to Fishhoek. The fish on Rocky Bank and those areas outside the Point have been a really nice class. On one day just before Christmas we landed over 40 fish between 8 and 12kg - all on spinning tackle ... now that's hectic fishing. We have been taking them mainly on the deep diving plugs with the Storm Lures working the best, however I've had 2 new divers to test and they are dynamite (wait for my report on these new lures:-).
Cape Salmon (Geelbek) have certainly made a good appearance this year with some commercial boats landing over 2 ton per boat in an outing. Now I don't have a problem with this (ooops! let me just straighten the saddle on my horse) but if a species of fish is under threat then EVERYONE should be limited in their catches ... or am I missing something here? Now I have absolutely no problem with catch restrictions, in fact I believe they are an excellent way to manage our fish stocks ... and sure, the commercials should get more, it's their livelihood. The new fishing regulations just published now restrict all recreational anglers down from 10 to only 2 Cape Salmon (Geelbek) per day while there are no limits placed on commercial fishermen - no quotas, no numbers ... nothing ... catch all they can - and they do. The only reason for reducing bag limits is when the scientists decide a species is under threat - but then why not also put a limit on the commercial boats who account for well over 95% of the annual catch anyway ... something smells fishy here! Doesn't sound like a fish stock problem to me - I think someone needs to explain.
There has been the odd appearance of Snoek but this traditionally is not a good time of year for them anyway. There have been some nice Kob around in the usual Muizenberg to Maccassar stretch but once again ... watch your bag limit - now down to 5 fish per day and that's fair ... but again, no commercial restrictions.
I received an interesting mail from Mozambique, which sheds a little light on the problems they are having up there ... take a look. Perhaps a paradise lost???
"About us Up Here, I really believe that something can be done (here in Mozambique) with your help, (and or with other external help) concerning the vessels that troll illegally and use big (but really big ) long lines in our waters. We cut when we can but you know that is really impossible to cut them all, and not all the boats have the right equipment to do so. The mater is so critical that even dolphins, and sharks are catch when they push the nets for yellow fine tuna. The situation is critical and the navy don't even has boats or any other conditions to control them ( actually I believe that they don't even want to control, since that will oblige them to work) and in the mean time our sanctuary will disappear in 4 to 7 years. What a pity." If anyone has a solution or knows how we can assist, please let me know ... before it's too late.
That's about it for this month but to say ... HAPPY NEW YEAR
9th November 2004 And now for that long awaited report. You'll never believe how many people around the world have given me a little nudge (if you can call it that :-) to update the site. Well guys, to all of you who sent me a mail, thanks and here goes.
Summer is here with a vengeance and with it the good Tuna run I predicted in the September report (and yes I'm pretty pleased it was only my neck I stood a chance to loose). The Yellowfin are spread over an area of about 10 square miles with some shoals already moving in to the Cape Point area. From the latitude 34:30 to 34:40 and Longitudes 18:17 to 18:00 you WILL find Tuna - that's an area starting about 20 miles off Cape Point. Those closer shoals of fish are of a smaller 40 to 50 kg class whilst those fish further out are going up to 90 kg. The Albacore (Longfin) tuna are around but not in any great numbers - and they are generally a smaller class for this time of year.
Although these fish are being taken on the troll with deep diving plugs and plastic squid, the bigger fish are being taken on baits. As usual, the operation is to troll until you get a strike, stop the boat and while fighting the fish, chum the area. The Yellowfin are coming up to the boats quite quickly which is an indication of their good numbers.
The Snoek are still non-existent and this has to have been the worst year in a long time. But don't fear, they're not wiped out - they have been plentiful in the deep Tuna grounds where the long-line boats recorded many shoals during the winter. I believe the reason for the no-show this year is due to the unusual weather pattern this year, which in turn altered the water currents that usually bring them onto the coast. Here's hoping next winter is back to normal.
The Yellowtail are moving through False Bay on time and will remain along the coastal area from Buffels Bay to Kalk Bay until late December when they will start to move across to Seal Island to feed on the Pilchards. Not that there won't be Yellowtail at the Island now, it's just that the numbers move in January. Fish Hoek Bay has been producing some nice fish and there was a 20kg Yellowtail reported from the netters last week. There are shoals outside the Point from Anvil to Bellows and SW Reef but they are moving fast which indicates a small prey such as Anchovy or Mantis Shrimp - how's that for a clue on lure sizes?
The Kob are around though mainly during the night hours. The beaches are producing Kob during the day over the higher water periods but look for the dirty water.
No sign of the Cape Salmon (Geelbek) yet although I did see very promising signs off the Point and inside Buffels Bay on my return to harbour on Sunday evening. So we can expect them to make an appearance very shortly - and I look forward to that.
This month we have a nice addition to the report which gives us a nice insight into what's happening in other parts of the world. Here is a report on the fishing in the USA sent by one of our avid followers sitting in his NY office (wishing he was out here though, hey Don :-)
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