Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page.

Not catching in S.A.

27 October 2008

I did see some fish while I was on holiday and having taken a rod and reel I had to have a go. It's always a good policy to look first and, as soon as we arrived in the Kruger reserve, I had the chance to peer over a bridge. Sure enough, in the river below there were some big fish. I'm sure that the sport would have been fantastic had I been allowed out of the vehicle. However, the risk of being grabbed by a crocodile or ambushed by a large carnivorous mammal is just too great and we were simply confined to the vehicles for most of our stay.

Later on in the visit we stayed at various places along the south coast of South Africa. Sure enough, like every other part of the world, there were people fishing. I went along and chatted to them and took a few pictures but my little spinning rod was not up to the sort of approach that they adopted. Almost everyone was using a very long beach caster to lob several ounces of lead into the pounding surf. Whether it was a beach of golden sand or rugged rocky terrain the approach was the same. The bait was either bits of 'sardine' or more often 'redbait' a massive orange-yellow coloured sea squirt that they collected off the rocks and bound onto the hook with elastic. I did not see anyone catch anything and my brief sorties with the spinning rod were equally fruitless.

On a trip to the Cape I managed to get down onto the rocks and I found a brown kelpy pool which was clearly full of small baitfish. A few casts with a plug only resulted in a single tiny mullet, foul hooked. Otherwise I never had a sniff from anything. I saw very few fishing birds and no sign of fish activity at the surface. Clearly the numerous sea lions were managing to catch fish and on one occasion I had to stop fishing as one rushed round under my rod tip. Perhaps at some other time of year or with a bit more experience and a lot more time to fish I could have done better. I never though I'd say this but even the lack of fish/fishing didn't detract from a wonderful holiday.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com

River fish.

The rivers in the Kruger were low and full of fish but the risk of being eaten prevented me from fishing.'

Several species.

Even these vague pictures, taken from high on a bridge, show big fish (5kg+) of at least two species.'

Fishing the Cape.

I paid a couple of quid for a licence and managed ten minutes rock hopping.  Lots of kelp and good conditions but no fish.'

My catch.

The only thing I caught was this little mullet that blundered into my plug.'

S.A. Style.

A typical long rod and rough sea at Mossel Bay.'


A local chap baiting up with a sea squirt - apparently a deadly bait.'