Arniston Smooth-hound

So, the mission was set- Boeta wants a Smooth hound

I paid Arniston a visit the previous week, and with the big Easterly blowing a gale before our arrival on the Friday, I wanted to target a few of the Kob that Waenhuiskraans is famous for.

Now, to give you a bit of info on the Arniston coastline, and what to be looking out for.  The wind that you need is an Easterly, or a South Easterly. 

If that wind blows gale force for three or four days, and then switch to a light north Westerly, then you are in the money!

The South Easterly will be blowing straight on the coastline, changing the watercolor from a normal crystal-clear pond, to a lively, almost “bubble gum milkshake” color.  As soon as the North westerly starts, the water will settle, and generally the barometer will drop, creating near perfect conditions for Kob, or most fish for that matter.

As we arrived at the spot, I immediately prepped an Ocie leg, wrapped with fresh tjokka, built around a soft dingle-dangle with a good amount of float, and sent it off into the ocean.  My tackle of choice was an 8/0 Mustad fine wire circle hook, .90mm hook trace, connected to a power swivel, clipped onto a Mustad quick release clip, and tied on to 200lb braided leader. (Just in case…)  I’m currently using the Berkley Venom Eyelash Viper, and paired the rod with a Penn Slammer 6500, with 50lb braid loaded onto it.

The rod dipped and I landed a descent sized Elf, after missing a solid fish, and judging by the teeth marks in the float on the dingle, it was a beauty of a Kob that did not swallow the bait properly.

On the next cast I felt a bump, and then my rod was pulled flat with the drag screaming as line peeled of the reel.  This was a big fish, and I immediately knew that it was a big Smoothie. I did not win any line on this fish; it just screamed of and swam left and almost immediately bust me off on a reef. 

I wound my line in and saw the .90mm hook trace popped under the pressure, and unfortunately, I did not have any thicker mono with me.  Luckily, I found a made up Spotty (spotted Gulley) trace in my box, consisting of 10/0 Eagle claw circle hook, snelled onto 150lb carbon coated steel, tied onto a big power swivel. 

Time for Revenge as I found a big Tjokka Head in my bait box, pushed the dingle dangle through the tjokka head and wrapped it with an extra layer of fresh tjokka….

The bait was in the water for less than 10 minutes when the rod dipped, and the drag screamed again! Vasss, and with the steel giving me the extra confidence to pull the hell out of the fish, she was landed quickly and without too much drama.  After a quick pic, the 1.6m+ Smooth hound was safely released.

So Boeta really wanted to land his PB Smoothie, as his previous PB was just over a meter, and I knew just the spot for him to safely target his fish. 

The weather was not ideal, with three days of westerlies leading up to our mission.  At least we had a high tide around 6:30 pm, and I figured that a late afternoon pushing tide should be good enough to get us some action. 

This time I had my steel traces ready, and with the fresh Tjokka bait I got from Jacita, felt confident that we had the right bait in the cleaner water.   The wait wasn’t long at all when he’s rod dipped, and the drag was screaming!

I passed the rod over to Boeta and as he tightened up, the Smoothie jumped out the water behind the backline.  Now, my son is 9 years old, and I knew he would have a hard time pulling a sizer Smoothie on a 15ft6 rod due to the leverage of the long rod vs his small frame.  I’m proud to say he hang on and got into pulling the fish when he needed to.

What a relief when I could finally leader his fish onto dry sand and with a measurement of 144cm, he can feel rightly proud of his catch!

We tagged and released this feisty female in a great condition, and she swam off strong!

It is agreed by all the Smooth hound shark is pound for pound one of the strongest fighting fish we get around our coast, especially when targeting them between the rock and reefs. 

That’s the main reason why your tackle needs to be up to standard when targeting these fish.

The main baits used for them would be big tjokka baits, Ocie leg, Mullet head and even Bloodworm.  Many a Steenbras angler have been fooled when a big Smoothie picks up the bloodworm intended for a Steenbras.

They are awesome fish to target and do try to handle them with the necessary respect as, unfortunately, they too are under tremendous fishing pressure from commercial fisherman and recreational poachers, selling their catches to subsidize their fishing trips.

If possible, try to join a tagging program to assist with the study of these beautiful creatures- as I feel that our ocean would be a sad place without the ever-lurking Smoot hound shark, waiting to test you and your tackle to the utmost.

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