Knysna South Africa

Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:26 am

This should be in work snappers technically.

Had to work in Cape Town for a week, took a weeks holidays after with a few colleagues and headed to Knysna a sleepy enough town to relax.
I had wanted to get out on a charter or get a beach guide in Cape Town before I left but the weather was shocking. It rained a record amount in one week and there was continuous high winds so that was ruled out. ... ps/map.jpg

Arrived down to Knysna on the Monday and ate and drank, typical holiday stuff. Up early the next morning in the rental car to suss the place out fish-wise. I had two telescopics brought with me and a small box of lure and rig building gear.

I found a spot with a pier and there was a few fellows fishing away but they wern't too interested in having the chats so I moved on intent to try the spot myself later. Located the tackle shop called Breezers, had a chat with the lad behind the counter. He gave me a map of the lagoon and some local knowledge. Its illegal to buy or sell live bait in Knysna so had to get frozen squid or chokka as they call it and some tackle.

Next hurdle was the licenses, you need a license to fish from the shore another one to fish from the boat and another one to collect bait. So I got a boat and shore one (from the post office) as I had organized a charter for me and 3 others the next day, more on that tobacle later!

Chilled out for the rest of the day and read a couple of South African fishing books that were in the house I was staying in, the owner was an avid fisherman and had left 6 stout spinning roads and a box full of gear, happy days.

Went down to the pier that evening with my bud Al, the local set up was running ledgers on barrel or bullet weights, really light gear with one hook on the business end and strips of chokka. The wind was howling that evening but to our backs which was ok. 4 hours not a bite, we had two rods out into the lagoon, one mini rig down the pier wall (you never know) and we spun with various lures. No joy, there was one guy at the other end of the pier and just before dusk he landed three gully or sand sharks he was calling them in about 40 mins, one the size of a dog fish and two large ones up bout 4 feet. I had to help him land all 3, to say his respect for the creatures was poor was an understatement. He was an Africana or white Dutch guy to you and me and each time he dehooked the fish he would give it a few kicks and just walk away leaving it on the pier, So I had to throw them all back, much to his amusement.

As much as the guy was a creep I wasn't too stubborn to find what bait he was using and ask for a bit off him. He left soon after and left us a couple of manky sardines. We baited em up half a fish each and waited. The trick here is to leave your rod flat on the pier but with the drag super loose and wait. We actually got two runs but didn't manage any hook ups. We found out after that gully sharks had sort of hard gums as opposed to teeth and were hard to set a hook in. We packed it in and went home for a fishless BBQ.

The next and charter booked for me and 3 others, starting at 7am
Fishing with Johan, I told the guide the night before it was sharks I was after and I had been told there was a lot of rag tooth shark in the lagoon so I was very excited.
And for 350 rand (€35) how could you go wrong?
I wont waste too much time writing about this disaster. I could tell by the rods on the boat from the start this guy was no great white hunter. He only had two boats rods and 2 spinning rods for the four of us. He had no fresh bait and he only had manky mackerel for the sharks, which he was highly reluctant to change on the hook every time I suggested we should be re-baited. In 5 hours we caught 3 puffer fish and we had one run on one of the boat rods but we don't know what it was. He had a chum bucket but his heart just wasn't in the fishing. I had a serious grump on for the rest of the day. (see my defeated face in pics below) The puffer fish plague anglers there like dog fish. And what Johan didn't tell us was that once a puffer get onto your hook no other fish will go near it as they'll pick up the scent of the highly poisonous puffer!
A disaster all round.

Had to take a few days off the fishing after that, Me and Al tried another evening at the pier, this time with our own sardines. Our old friend the shark lover was there, just as we set up he landed a nice sized guitar fish, which he threw onto its back, gave it a few stabs of his knife packed up his gear and hopped in his car with his wife and drove off, this guy was in his 50's I don't know what his problem was. I went down and threw the fish back and thankfully it swam off. The pier was busy that evening and about 6 or 7 other anglers sat and watched me, again with confusion on their faces???????

At last I got a fish of my own and landed a nice guitar fish, a BATTLE on the little rod I had, brilliant sport. Then a few min later I got a ray (species unknown) on squid. Another battle on my little travel telescopic. Had a few more runs but went home early as we were up for 5am to go out on the boat with the Jim guy who owned the house we were saying in, he had been out of town previously.

5am the next off we went after little sleep, stomach full of wine, champagne, castle lager and baileys. The perfect lining for a day on the lagoon (insert green face here). The boat was a little beauty, 90hp outboard and turned on a dime on the mill pond lagoon that morning. Fished away for a few hours in one of Jims favourite spots, we were plagued by puffers. I hooked up to one nice shark again battling me on the light rod but it shook the hook just before I got it out of the water. I was unsure of the species, maybe a gully shark, Ah the one that got away!

Weather turned nasty soon after and we had to pack it in.

Flew home to Ireland the next day. Great trip but could've wished for better fishing, The weather was really hit and miss all week. I really should have gotten myself a new rod and they were dirt cheap. The South Africans use seriously hardy rods for beach casting, Not that long, Only 10-12 foot but like tree trunks! I picked up a few knives, some lures and a lot of eagle claw circle hooks, I should've bought another suit case!
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Re: Knysna South Africa

Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:29 am

more pics
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Re: Knysna South Africa

Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:27 pm

Nice story dude, shame it wasn't more productive, however I'm really confused with everyone's dismay at the old catch and release.!?!?!

Re: Knysna South Africa

Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:09 pm

nice report cormdogg - pity you didnt get that shark

mcgett - if your going to eat the fish - knock it on the head and dispatch of it quickly - if your not eating it - throw it back

your man above seemed a bit of a sicko - kicking fish on the pier and leaving them to die - or just stabbing it and leaving - whats the point - must have some issues

Re: Knysna South Africa

Wed Nov 25, 2009 4:36 pm

Cheers, 5 fish for about 11+ hours fishing on top "that" hand ball was tough going. Only for the food and drink I'd have been a moaney cookey monster all week. They've a major problem with fish stocks in that particular area. Hence all the licenses. Its a funny country, more law protecting the fish than some of the people. The is a large township in Knysna and there is genuine subsistance fishing. There were hoardes of lads out on the flats every morning with cast nets and digging for shrimp and clams. There were lads fishing who were literally out to catch their dinner so anything would've gone in the pot. The guy on the pier was just an ignorant white South African, of which I've met too many in my 3 years working in South Africa.