Stubb'Sea Chronicles: Gamefishing Season

As the saying goes, that’s why it’s called fishing and not catching.

You may recall my last blog which celebrated, with much jubilation, the return of the King Mackeral (Couta) in good numbers. Well, a stumbling block in the form of some late season localised rain, and a few powerful weather systems, though hopefully temporarily, pushed the proverbial cork back into the Champaign bottle.

Although there were bites to be had, the numbers decreased, but sporadic, good catches up and down the South Coast meant that a “red letter” day was potentially out there if you persevered. Onboard Stubb’Sea, we did just that, and were rewarded with some decent, al-be-it, not, monumental catches of Couta. There were a few days when conditions were superb, but the bite was relatively slow, which left me a little perplexed, but as the saying goes, that’s why it’s called Fishing and not Catching.

On a positive note, there is a lot of bigger fish around, as well as some monsters. Many anglers along the coast have celebrated that magic 20 kilo benchmark this season (perhaps more than ever before), and with our “prime” Couta season for the mid-South Coast still to come, I look forward to sharing some news on big Fish.

We connected with one last week, an absolute screamer that pulled the rod flat in the holder and striped top shot then backing at an alarming rate before we gained some control and began to gain some line by following the fish with the boat. Unfortunately, it was not to be, as the hook pulled after a few minutes. Upon retrieving the line (a few hundred meters thereof), the trace did not have even the slightest kink in it, yet the brand new Red Tarpon Hook was virtually stripped of its red paint. I could envisage that hook, in that sinewy piece of the jaw, right between those big croc teeth, that eventually tore out of that soft flesh as the drag of line in water became too much. Anyway, that’s a fishy tale, and I’d prefer to have a photo than a story. Maybe next time!

I do however firmly believe that we will catch good numbers of Couta through to July, and, as baitfish numbers increase (which they generally due on the South Coast during the cooler months), these fish should hang around our piece of coastline instead of moving on through. When we combine these Couta with Tuna (some quality fish appearing), and Wahoo which should start showing their annual presence very soon, Stubb’Sea will be focusing exclusively on Gamefishing Charters for the next few months, unless clients specifically request to do a full bottom fishing session. The reason behind this is solely based on getting quality fish to the boat, and the patience and perseverance that is often required to get them. The old adage of “Stick, Stay and Make it Pay” comes to mind.

Quality fish are best targeted with Quality bait, and it’s been great to see the arrival of shoals of Jube Jube size Bonnies (small Bonito ranging in size from 15 to 25cm). Not only do they make exceptionally good live bait for most gamefish, but they also make extremely effective dead baits, which, when rigged correctly (so they do not spin when trolled), account for a lot of big Couta, so some serious bait catching sessions are on the card to fill the chest freezer. When these little Bonnies arrive in good numbers as they have this year, it traditionally means some good fishing is to be had over the coming months, and there can be times when these finicky feeders can be a virtually guaranteed bite. Often the more difficult catching a live Bonnie can be, the quicker the bite, so the challenge becomes not catching the gamefish, but the bait. Most anglers have their favourite daisy chain or small spinners or spoons, which are sometimes a closely guarded, yet badly kept secret after a few beers in the bar.

On a more holistic note. As a Charter Boat Captain, it is a privilege to spend time with some great and diverse clients, and April has been no exception. I have had brothers, fathers and sons, cousins and close friends on the boat, and there is little that can beat the quality time of spending a day on the water. We’ve shared some good laughs between bites, celebrated some good catches and bemoaned some slow sessions, but the overriding theme is one of comradery and bonding. As can be seen in the pics below, we have also had some cracking sunrises.

If you are interested in searching out some quality gamefish, give me a shout on 083 378 9802 and let’s go hunting!

Till next time, C

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