Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Me, the wrong side of the law and pollution

On Monday evening Robert and I decided to go fish of the rocks at Victoria Bay for some shad for the pan while I slide out a bait for my raggie.

Arriving there I met up with another one of my fishing friends, Ian. He was busy spinning with a spoon and the shad was taking it eagerly.

There was lots of bait fish and shad in the water so I thought I might get lucky with a big shark...I WAS WRONG. I slid out a whole shad but nothing picked it up. I have a idea that the other shad ate it off piece by piece with their razor sharp teeth.

At least we had great fun with the shad on light tackle. The thing that I found disturbing is all the left over nylon and plastic bags on the rocks left behind by the previous anglers. And the smell of the rotten bait. Come on guys. Plastic is very light. Carry it back home with you or at least to the closes dustbin.

And nylon line just being left on the rocks. That's plain stupid. And dangerous.

"While some marine debris breaks down fairly quickly, plastic debris can take the longest to break down:
paper towel 2-4 weeks
Styrofoam cup 50 years
Plastic bottle 450 years
Mono filament fishing net 600 years

Go have a look here and realise what you are doing to nature.

At 9 when we decided to go home we got stopped by a marine inspector. They were very friendly and polite and wanted to check our fishing permits and fish(for size and bag limits) Lucky me received a R300.00 fine for not having my permit on me. For some stupid reason I did not put it back into my fishing bag.

So learn from my mistake. Take your permit with you on your trips and if you still don't have one GO BUY ONE. It's only R65.oo for a full year(available at any post office) Instead of a R300.00 fine you can pay your permit for 4 years and still have change for hooks and bait. And don't be rude to the inspectors. They are only doing their jobs. If they don't protect the ocean resources we won't have anything left to catch. And I won't start to play golf now.

Anyway, we are planning a trip to beautiful Glentana for Friday. I'll keep you posted on that and take some nice photo's

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Making up a steel trace

Steel trace for shark fishing Today I'm sitting here planning my next trip. And dreaming about the BIG one. So i decided to build some steel traces and show you how I prefer them. I use 150lb nylon coated stainless steel trace wire, metal crimping sleeves and weighed non return slides. My hooks of choice is BANDIT Octopus 10/0 hooks. I like them cause of their sharpness but mostly because they are high carbon which mean if i break it of in a fishes mouth it rusts away really fast.

First I cut of a length of just over 800mm of wire. Too short and sharks will swallow it and bite off your main line. Too long and you will have difficulty sliding your bait through the waves. Using a metal sleeve I connect one end to the slide clip. Make sure its tight and not able to pull loose.

At the other end I slide two hooks on. Making sure to put the wire in from the back of the hook. Then I use a sleeve to attach only the last hook. The other one is now sliding between the clip and the hook. That is just so you can use different size baits. The fixed hook I normally hook into the bait fish's mouth and the sliding one through his tail.

There you go. Easily and fast you have a extreme strong shark trace. The little circle thing on the pic with the swivel on is the stop for the bait so it does not slide down to your sinker and get all tangled. You attach your main line on the swivel and sinker line on the ring. I use a 1mm leader line and a little bit weaker sinker line. If you get picked up by a fish and your sinker gets snagged it will break off and leave the fish on your main line.

For sliding I use a 14ft custom build graphite rod and a Daiwa Saltist reel.
This is the weights I'm casting out. I cast this as far as i can and pull on it till I feel that it digs into the bottom properly. Then I clip on my bait and slide it into the water. Slowly rocking the rod forward and back for a good few minutes to help it slide down.

Remember to sharpen your hooks!

First outing-Close but no cigar

Yesterday morning (21 April) at 1 in the morning Robert and I left for a small coastal village called Little Brak River about 10 kilometres from us. We wanted to see if we might meet some shad there and i took a extra rod to use for sliding in a big bait hoping for my big raggie.

We arrived there just after 2. The water was a bit on the rough side but we decided to give it a go. Saltwater babers where biting like mad and i wasted a lot of time trying to catch something to use as bait. The mist packed up very thick and we made a small fire out of driftwood to fight the cold.

Sunrise was beautiful over the ocean and very welcome too. At this time Robert caught a decent size blacktail and i hooked it up and slid it out on a live bait trace. All types of small bankfish started biting at sunrise but nothing worth mentioning.

We caught some small reef sharks too and decided to pack up just before 8. While we packed up we heard screaming sound like a cat giving birth. Realising that something finally picked up my live bait a ran to my rod, got it in my waist buckle and gave the train at the other end of my line some time to swallow the bait. After a quick ten count a tensioned my reel's drag a bit and set the hook. FISH ON..BOAT ON....WHALE ON!!! It felt huge. Smiling like I won the lotto the fight started..But after a few minutes my line just slacked. The hooks did not set properly or a had trace failure. We could not tell cause after I lost the fish my line snagged on the reefs and I had to break off. Without our smiles we speculated what it could have been. Ragged tooth shark or young great white shark most likely. We decided to do the walk of shame and left for home without our picture of a big shark. Next time. Already making plans to build stronger traces.

At the end off the day it was great fun anyway. Relaxing and being so close to nature. Food for the soul.

You can have a look on Google earth at the spot where we fished. On the southern tip of Africa close to Mosselbay. 34'06'24.24"South
22'07'58.70"East. My next post I'll show you the steel traces we use and teach you a bit about the sliding technique for getting big bait out far.

The BIG plan

Spotted Ragged Tooth Shark
I'm really hooked on fishing. I do all types of fishing but lately i started looking for a new challenge. So i decided to pick a shark species and a weight and see if i can manage that.

My first personal challenge is to catch and release 150Kg+ spotted ragged tooth shark(hopefully without any injury to myself or the shark)

ClassificationOrder: Lamniformes (mackerel sharks)
Class: Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)
Family: Odontaspididae idae - suffix meaning that this a family name. All animal family names end in -idae.
Genus: Odontaspis - odonto, odon - tooth (Greek) or Carcharias - carcharo - sharp pointed, jagged (Greek). Refers to the teeth.
Species: taurus - bull (Latin). Presumably refers to the stocky body.
The Ragged Tooth Shark (Sand Tiger or Grey Nurse Shark)was originally named Carcharias taurus by Rafinesque in 1810. Since then it has also been referred to literature as Odontaspis taurus, Eugomphodus taurus, Odontaspis americanus, Squalus americanus, Carcharias griseus, Odontaspis arenarius, Carcharias arenarius, Odontaspis platensis, and Carcharius platensis.
Common NamesEnglish language common names include Ragged Tooth Shark (Sand Tiger or Grey Nurse Shark) shark, grey nurse shark, ground shark, spotted raggedtooth shark, slender-tooth shark, spotted Ragged Tooth Shark (Sand Tiger or Grey Nurse Shark) shark and ground shark. Other common names are bacota (Spanish), pintado (Spanish), sarda (Spanish), cação-da-areia (Portuguese), mangona (Portuguese), tavrocarcharias (Greek), chien de mer (French), kalb, (Arabic), grauer sandhai (German), hietahai (Finnish), karish khol pari (Hebrew), oxhaj (Swedish), zandtijgerhaai (Dutch), peshkaqen i eger (Albanian), shirowani (Japanese) and spikkel-skeurtandhaai (Afrikaans).
Distinctive Features
The most distinctive feature of the Ragged Tooth Shark is it's teeth - ferocious looking and always visible the ragged tooth Sharks grin can hardly be mistaken for any other shark.
The Ragged tooth Shark is a large, bulky shark with a flattened conical snout and a long mouth that extends behind the eyes. The first dorsal fin is set back and is much closer to the pelvic fins than the pectoral fins. The anal and dorsal fins are large and broad-based and the second dorsal fin is almost the same size as the first dorsal. Gill slits are anterior to the origin of the pectoral fins in this species. The caudal fin of the Ragged tooth Shark is asymmetrically shaped with a strongly pronounced upper lobe.
The Ragged tooth Shark grows to a length of 3.6m. Males mature at 2.1m and females at 2.2m. Average size ranges from four to nine feet with maximum length believed to be around 10.5 feet (320 cm) in females and 9.9 feet (301 cm) in males. Male maturity is reached at 6.3 feet (190-195 cm) at four to five years of age. Female maturity is reached at six years or over 7.2 feet (220 cm) in total length.
So sit back and enjoy the ride with me.
During this time you will also see some wonderful spots along the South African coastline and also some weird and amazing sea creatures.
And if you are a avid fisherman like me I'm sure you will also learn a thing or two along the way.
I'll keep you up to date on all my trips, successes and losses. Expect a lot of blood, sweat and tears. All in the name of fishing.