Women in Fishing

The first day we could fish after lockdown . . . . . game on

Having moved to Struisbaai before lockdown and catching a large Cob it lights a fire in you. It brought back fond childhood memories of catching fish in Struisbaai with my parents.Then came lockdown, with this village surrounded by the ocean it was challenging to stay home and just look at the view.

What did my brother-in-law give me for my birthday? You guessed it, an assassin Fishing rod and a Saragosa Reel, I was truly blessed.  The first day we could fish after lockdown . . . . . game on. 

There is nothing greater than family and friends fishing together, this is something we cherish and are grateful for every moment together. I try and fish with my sister whenever I can.  The alone time together is the best.

Fishing is no longer a mans sport but, being a woman, I always find myself surrounded by gentlemen, who want to set up my rod, hook my bait, and cast the line for me, which leaves me to stand and catch a fish. 

I found myself wanting to learn more and realised that if I wanted to break this pattern, and learn to set-up my rod, bait the hook and cast, I would have to go out on my own. I started where most people do,  by watching Youtube videos, got a book on Knots and hired a guide. I also looked at the option of joining a club.

I didn’t have to wait too long and there was an inter-club competition in Struisbaai one weekend. Low and behold there was only one woman I found amongst all the men, Sonja Marais. She was very kind and was bubbling over with enthusiasm about fishing. I asked her about clubs, fishing in general and how she found the learning process. It was confirmed that a club was the way to go and within three days I had signed up with Tygerberg Rock & Surf club (TRS).  

TRS have a whatsapp group where you are welcomed instantly and it is amazing the amount of information, tips, location and bait preference is shared.  The experience I have gained from Sonja and Rodger about casting, the use of hooks and sinkers in certain areas is irreplaceable. 

I must admit that I did struggle with casting, my release was too early, which resulted in a high case covering not much ground. I took Rogers advice and put a sinker on my line and practiced on the grass at home.

I must say that Youtube is also a great help, but it does not come close to the hands-on experience you get when fishing in different locations, conditions and with fellow fishing enthusiasts helping you every step of the way.  

I also love to fish on the Breede in Witsand, every location has its beauty and peacefulness. Plenty a Cob caught here.

I am also very keen on deep sea fishing and had my heart set on the 2021 Marlin Tournament in Struisbaai. Sadly at first there was hesitation on allowing a woman onboard the boat to partake. The fourth person I called – Rikies of the boat Marco Polo, said YES.  With his only concern being that there was no toilet on the boat, I replied no problem.

This was an experience of a lifetime, the crew met every morning at 4am and we were on the water before 5am. We fished for 6 days straight and if you take good care of your health and get enough sleep – it is doable. Overall we came third, the Marlin fishing, dolphins, birds, flying fish just to name a few that we saw daily were epic. The solitude, team work and being part of an experienced crew is a memory I will cherish forever. There was also no cellphone reception, what a pleasure!

I caught my personal best, a 100kg Hammer Head, it was a very strong fighting fish for me. The first thought that came to mind is, I can’t do this, HELP!! what have I gotten myself into. Then I started to relax into the fight, listening to the words of wisdom from my crew and slowly but surely the reward payed off.

What I learnt from this experience and about myself is that I can do everything that I set my mind to with a positive attitude.  I just wish that there were more woman who enjoyed the sport of fishing.

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