West Coast Gangsta - The Cape Snoek (Thysites Atun)

What they say the anglers do, is to remove the eyeball and rub the clear jelly like substance called vitreous humour on the wound which will stop the bleeding.

This species of fish is a sort after Cape delicacy, which has been caught and harvested by commercial fisherman sustainably using handiness from a boat, this fish can be cooked on the coals, grilled in the oven, deep fried in batter and smoked and even the row – egg sacks – deep fried.

In Africa this species is found from Angola to as far to the north of Plettenberg Bay. It can reach to a length of 2m and weigh up to 9kgs, in New Zealand and Australia the species is known as Barracouta. When our stocks here in South Africa are low, you will notice that major retail brands in the fast-moving consumer industry are selling snoek, however the species that they are selling to their customers is the Barracouta imported from Australia.

The recent run of the West Coast snoek started prior to the Easter weekend when boats started arriving once they heard that the locals were catching good numbers of between 300 – 500 fish per boat, where the fish were sold to the hawkers at R85 per fish.

These fish are caught by local commercial anglers who fish commercially and sustainably by using the handlining method (as seen on videos), using sardines and pike as bait, as well as using a dolly which is an artificial lure which consists of a 9/0 or 11/0 Mustad hook, a bright coloured tassel, either red, pink or green with a shiny lead. The hook is attached to the line and has the tassel and lead above, this is then thrown into the water and the angler then pulls the line in buy hand mimicking a bait fish, this style of fishing takes place when the snoek is thick, and the echo and sonar are lighting up like a Christmas tree.

These massive schools of snoek actually come here to spawn and over a weekend there are up to 160 boats on the water when the bite is on, so one can imagine the chaos in Lamberts Bay. However, one needs to handle these fish with extreme caution as they have a set of gnashers which can leave considerable damage to ones hands. Once bitten it is difficult to stop the steady flow of blood, but what they say the anglers do, is to remove the eyeball and rub the clear jelly like substance called vitreous humour on the wound which will stop the bleeding.

As the fish are still 25 nautical miles off Lamberts Bay, let’s just hope that they come closer to shore so that the commercial anglers who have the smaller 2- and 4-man boats will be able to catch these fish sustainably to put food on the table and earn an income.

So please support our bona fide small scale commercial community.

Share this article

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Related Articles