Spooning for Cuta (King Mackerel)

Fishing for cuta along the KZN coast could be likened to fishing for tuna in the cape.

Fishing for cuta along the KZN coast could be likened to fishing for tuna in the cape. It is an absolute staple and can be enjoyed by anyone from paddleski anglers to large charter boats. Up until recently the stocks of these fish have been under severe strain and catches have dwindled drastically. The few remaining cuta have also become rather fussy in what they will eat. There are various methods to catch cuta however nothing is as exhilarating as “whipping” a spoon and going tight!!

Spooning or “whipping” as it is often affectionately referred to is probably the oldest form of fishing by means of artificial lures. Looking back at the history of fishing lures, fishing spoons are one of the oldest forms of fish attractors and have been used in various forms for hundreds of years. The construction of these spoons has varied through the years, but two versions have become the go-to for cuta namely Tin (White metal) and chrome. There are hundreds of different spoon shapes including V-Back, S-bend, Bullet, Keel and the list goes on. Over the years the V-Back in various sizes according to what tackle you are using, has been the unanimous spoon of choice. The old school guys will swear by the Tin variant however the chromed version is just as effective. The V-Back can be rigged with either a large treble at the bottom and a short wire leader with a small power swivel on the top ring or with two single hooks at the bottom and a single at the top along with a wire leader and small power swivel. I prefer the latter as it works similarly to a slow pitch jig where the spoon has a dying flutter action on the drop. More often than not the bite is had before you have even had a chance to retrieve it. The heavier and much larger whipping spoons have traditionally been used mainly by ski-boat anglers however, jet-ski anglers and even kayak anglers have enjoyed some great success on these large spoons when targeting Cuta. CHASE Lures have a comprehensive range of whipping “Couta” spoons available from most leading tackle stores nationwide.

When tackling up the variety of suitable gear is huge with modern jigging outfits accompanied by  heavy duty spinning reels being the logical choice however, in following with traditional purist ways the good old KP (centre pin scarborough) reel rigged on a 9ft slow action fibre glass rod and filled with 35lb monofilament cannot be matched in its action. The slow retrieve of the KP matched with the bend of the rods give the spoon an erratic action when being retrieved and sends cuta into a feeding frenzy. Often this method is used whilst live-bait fishing to attract the cuta to baits that have been set out.

The tried and tested action involves dropping the spoon down to the required depth and then retrieving by winding the tip of the rod down to the surface of the water followed by 2 or 3 sharp jerks in an upward direction. This can be repeated until the spoon has been fully retrieved. Once a fish is hooked hold on for dear life and beware of the KP handles as they have caused many a novice and experienced angler some serious pain.

Please limit your catch rather than catch your limit. Fish sustainably so that the next generation can enjoy what we have in the past.

📷: Kevin “Slayer” Tait from Racetech Yamaha

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