I’m thinking about buying my own boat

If you’re familiar with my blog then you already know that I am an avid fisherman. I am lucky enough to live in South Africa where there is always something to fish for. While I prefer saltwater fishing I have recently started exploring the lakes and streams in my county and there are plenty to choose from. I could spend the rest of my life freshwater fishing and still not visit every one. Since freshwater fishing is becoming my new favorite activity I’ve decided that it’s time to start thinking about buying a boat.

 

Since my true passion is still saltwater fishing I knew that the boat I decided on had to be durable. By this I don’t mean leakproof, hopefully they all are, but that it can handle corrosive saltwater. Rust and corrosion are common problems on boats that spend a lot of time in the ocean so this means that I also want it to be relatively easy to rinse clean. Thankfully it is usually just me fishing or an occasional friend so the boat I thinking about buying is relatively small. This also makes it easier for me to tow when I checking out the various lakes and rivers.

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When I’m fishing in freshwater I usually use a lightweight spinning reel, but when I’m casting in the ocean my gear is large and heavy so I have the strength and power I need to reel in the big fish. This means that I want a boat that will allow me to easily attach a rod mount, and yes I will probably use it when I’m waiting for a bite during freshwater fishing. After all, no one wants to hold a rod for hours if there is a convenient mount nearby. This also leaves my hands free so I can accomplish the various small tasks that always seem to pop up on a boat.

 

The final thing I need to consider is the engine. I need it to be powerful enough to get me out of any rip currents, but not so much that it is illegal in freshwater. I also don’t want to scare off any nearby fish as I am puttering by, and thankfully there are several relatively small and quiet motors for me to choose from. Another advantage to a small motor is that it is easier to wash the saltwater off of.

 

A few extras are also nice to have, if my budget allows it. Along with a captain’s seat for steering the boat, it would be nice to have a couple on the deck. It doesn’t even have to be chairs, and actually I would prefer a bench. This way I have a convenient place to set my gear so it is always close by when I need it.

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Why I like to teach kids to fish

Fishing is a sport that’s likely to be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of gender or age. However, teaching children how to fish might seem like a daunting task in the beginning, although it doesn’t have to be. Fishing expeditions are fun and can help develop a set of skills which may occasionally be required, and the neat thing about them is that they manage to keep children off technology, at least for a while. We all know that spending some time at the beach has become a less social activity these days, as people tend to spend a lot more time with their electronic devices, be they Playstations or smartphones, instead of chatting with their friends and family.

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That’s why one of the primary reasons I personally enjoy teaching kids how to fish is that it helps them learn a bit about patience. It goes without saying that technology is a necessary evil, and sometimes it pays off for kids to learn its basics even when they are toddlers. Later on in life, technically advanced individuals have a higher chance of succeeding compared to less tech-savvy people. Even so, holding a fishing rod for one hour or so requires a good degree of patience that allows children to disconnect from technology and learn to connect with a relative or friend and with a fish, as well.

 

pa2Survival skills can also be improved significantly because fishing helps one get back in touch with nature. For instance, the kid has to know how to tie a knot, catch a fish, clean it, and then even learn to cook it, provided that someone is there to explain all the principles of such activities. Naturally, it’s very unlikely that a kid eventually grows up into an adult who fishes for a living. Even so, it’s safe to say that being one with nature is far easier to achieve when children find out where their food actually comes from.

 

pa1Yet another reason for teaching youth how to fish consists of the fact that it assists them in learning new things. Sometimes, it’s quite important for the fisherman to know a bit about the biology of the species he or she is trying to catch. Whether these fish prefer resting under lush vegetation when the sun is up in the sky or whether they prefer a particular type of bait or not, the fact of the matter is that it all boils down to extensive research. One simply ought to have some knowledge about the fish one’s trying to catch. Besides, love for nature can be considerably improved once you tell your kids about the catch and release policy or about how beneficial it is for your local environment to catch one invasive species or the other.

 

In the end, this sport is about striking a conversation and spending time outdoors with family and friends. There’s nothing like a day soaking up some sun and waiting for the excitement of your next catch.

Fishing for sharks in South Africa

Having been around for more than 400 million years, sharks have managed to remain virtually unchanged in form for about 70,000 millenia. Thanks to their ability to adapt to evolving marine environments, sharks have successfully sustained their survival to the current day. They are the top predator in a wide range of ecological systems. Each shark specie should be considered in its own right, capable of fulfilling its special ecological function. Large pelagic sharks in South Africa are marked in recognized areas where food is abundant and that provide optimal resting spaces for the creatures. These include Sodwana Bay, Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks.

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Protea Banks

 

Thundered scalloped hammerheads have been seasonally sighted by divers on Protea Banks. They are frequently encountered by divers over sandy bottoms where sand sharks also prefer to rest. Known for being a challenge to photograph because of their relative shyness, hammerhead sharks in their adult form can be found in deeper waters offshore. Juveniles are commonly sighted inshore during summer starting in the Western Cape northwards.

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Zambezi or bull sharks can reach lengths of more than 4 meters. This robust specie has a predominantly grey body and a lighter underbelly and is known for its freshwater capabilities. Bull sharks are largely confined to river mouths, estuaries and coastal waters. Implicated in plenty of attacks worldwide on surfers planet2and bathers, Zambezis favor murky and inshore waters. They are often sighted on Protea Banks in KwaZulu Natal, where they are not considered threats to divers despite their inquisitiveness. Tiger sharks are another unmistakable submarine presence. They grow to 7 meters in length although South African sightings have typically been of females shorter than 4 meters. Tiger sharks tend to either shy away or cruise past divers. They respond well to baiting and will stay around divers in a baited environment.

 

Aliwal Shoal and the rest of KwaZulu Natal

 

Blessed with plenty of gullies, caves and pinnacles, Aliwal Shoal is the seasonal residence of hundreds of ragged-tooth sharks. Divers who visit the area between June and October will experience many sightings of large and fully mature ragged tooth sharks. Raggies, as they are affectionately called, are perhaps the best loved species in South Africa, growing to 300 kg or 3.2 meters long. They move from the Eastern Cape to mate in KwaZulu Natal’s warmer waters during the winter months. Congregating in large numbers, raggies are a steady diving attraction at Aliwal Shoal, Protea Banks and the Quartermile reef at Sodwana Bay.

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Bronze whaler sharks are principally sighted in shallow waters of cooler, temperate conditions. They favor the Cape, with large numbers of them keeping pace with the sardine run up the Wild Coast to KwaZulu Natal. They feed on small sharks, bony fish, squid and skates near the bottom. Also known as grey shark in some areas, a bronze whaler has no distinctive markings, which distinguishes it from other species.

 

Other South African areas

Found in the coastal waters from Cape Town to the tropics, dusky sharks are never implicated in human attacks and are commonly caught by fishers. They are the most common catch in KwaZulu Natal shark nets. planet5The world’s largest living fish, the whale shark, reaches lengths of 13 meters and maximum weight of 13 tonnes. Whale sharks prefer balmy waters of 21 to 25 degrees. They are most commonly seen in the summer months off the KwaZulu Natal south coast, Ponta Do Ouro Mozambique and Sodwana Bay. Since 1991, the great white shark has been protected in South African waters, where no one is allowed to catch them or to even try to do so. Orcas and man are its only known predator. Attaining a length of 7 meters and over 1800 kg in weight, great whites are sighted in all tropical and temperate waters worldwide, often seen close inshore.

Shortfin Mako sharks can be found offshore in most regions of South Africa, with dives scheduled from Cape Town during the summer months starting November through May. Blacktip sharks or Oceanic Blacktips are sighted in open ocean as far as the tropics and in east coast estuaries, serving as a highlight on baited dives. Cow sharks can be easily encountered in shallow waters less than 50 meters deep.

Why should you invest in high-quality fishing clothes?

As fishing requires a wide range of equipment, certain sectors related to fishing gear tend to be left aside or deemed as being unimportant. Fishing clothing is one of them. Many people consider fishing garments not useful, so they prefer wearing their usual clothes, even though some circumstances may require waterproof materials or special clothing items. Any fisherman should understand that even though it is possible to practice fishing wearing comfortable T-shirts and pants, it is essential for your success and personal safety to wear the appropriate ones for a specific context.

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Mostly, people see buying a new pair of shoes or a jacket from the wrong perspective. You assume that the best deal will get you amazing quality at a less expensive price, but that is rarely true. The sums you pay for good quality clothing will always be bigger than the one you pay for low-quality ones. Even so, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a quality hat at a good price. If you’re not convinced that paying a larger amount of money on a good pair of pants is not worth it, why don’t you try acquiring quality small clothing items at first to be able to notice the difference? Start with a good pair of fishing gloves and compare them with a cheaper pair. The difference will be huge.

 

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Certainly, a good investment doesn’t mean acquiring the most expensive hat from the most well-known manufacturer on the market. Mostly, it means a thorough study of the market and choosing the most suitable product for you, after having gathered the needed information and being well aware of the advantages and disadvantages provided by the specific product you want to buy. Buying a well-made pair of pants can cost you loads of money and should be treated as an important investment. When you want to buy a new laptop, you document yourself well on the product you are opting for, well why shouldn’t it be the same with clothing or accessories?

 

planet5Believe it or not, a pair of well-made boots can last up to a decade in and still be in good shape even if you wear them more than a couple of times a week. A laptop may not last as long. Technologies change rapidly, new high-tech products quickly replace older ones and, in a couple of years you may find yourself in need of acquiring a new one. It’s highly unlikely that this happens with shoes. If they last and have a smart design, you can wear them for years in a row, without them becoming shabby or out of fashion.

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Talking about design, common clothing will more or less respect the general in-fashion designs with slight variations, hence you’ll barely feel like you’ve made a choice, but mostly that you got the best out of a thousand of similar products. It is quite the opposite with high standards clothing, as design is a first-hand matter for top manufacturers and is rarely ignored.

Getting ready for bass fishing

I became interested in bass from the moment when I started fishing. It always seemed to me that only the skillful anglers were able to tackle bass, but, in time, I realized that is not necessarily the case. As a matter of fact, your equipment accounts for more than 50% of your chances to succeed in landing bass. So, I’ve gone through many experiences of failed gear combinations, to finally find one that has entirely satisfied my expectations.

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I’ve always been fond of lightweight fishing gear, because I found it easy to handle and to adapt to my own way of casting. As such, I decided that if I wanted to master my equipment perfectly and have the best chance at catching bass, I should choose the one rod that makes me feel comfortable and offers me plenty of control when using it. The Shimano Stimula 2 offered me precisely that. This medium power, 2 piece rod is excellent to take with you when you leave home with the sole purpose of reeling in some bass. Its length of 7 feet is ideal for this species, and it helps you get a hold of the rod even in less comfortable situations.  As a fast action rod, it is extremely sensitive, a characteristic enhanced by its composite construction and its cork grip. Due to its split design, the grip allows you to hold the rod with ease even when you are fighting an aggressive specimen, which is not unlikely. If you need more force to drag that fish to the shore, the EVA butt cap allows you to prop it against your chest and will increase your stability.

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As I needed an ideal reel to this highly efficient rod, I’ve stumbled upon a baitcasting reel from Piscifun that worked wonders, even though it came with a shockingly reduced price. Its lightweight body made with nylon glass fiber convinced me this was a match for my lightweight rod. It is fitted with 13 +1 ball bearings and the spool is made with computer numerical control machined aluminum. It features a double knob to make hand-slips almost impossible and an anti-reverse system that will really come in handy when you are fighting a furious fish. The spool has a line capacity of 12lbs/100 yards, but you can put more on it without fearing it will break. It has a 6:3:1 gear ratio, which makes it perfect for bass, as it is smooth enough not to startle the fish, but fast enough not to give it time to escape the hook. If you want to see a video review, you can check out this link.

Why I enjoy surf fishing

For me, surf fishing has always been intimately close to the ocean and that is probably the main reason for which I enjoy it so much. In fact, I started surf fishing after having had the opportunity to talk to some folks that were doing it nearly every evening and morning. I said, why not? I kept some fishing gear at home that I haven’t been using for years, but that I still remembered how to handle and I joined them.

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I didn’t get very lucky in the beginning, of course. My gear was not fitted for this kind of fishing, but, in time I procured my own tackle gear nicely adapted so that I could land some fish. It took me a while to master the techniques for this type of fishing, but I had a deep satisfaction when I managed to do so. I rarely felt such a feeling of accomplishment, as when I caught my first fish. With the memory of this success in mind, I continued my way to becoming an experienced surf fisher.

You’ll notice that this particular fishing category brings more disappointment than fulfillment. But, you know how it is, the longer the waiting, the sweeter the reward. When you do land a fish, it is a reason for celebration. And I did celebrate, with my wife and friends. Of course, this is also due to the fact that you don’t have the necessary skills and equipment to target the species that populate the ocean. If you choose the right place and moment, something will bite, I can assure you. For example, I started landing more fish when I began using the appropriate type of rod. And by that, I mean not only one with the necessary length, but thought out for this particular activity and nothing else. For me, this product was the Penn Prevail, but one of my friends is using the Okuma Longitude – another piece of equipment especially designed for surfcasting that I would recommend to anyone who intends to take up surf fishing.

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A few words about the Penn Prevail rod and why I prefer it above all other surf fishing rods on the market. Firstly, it is extremely lightweight, which means you’ll be able to handle it with ease, even if the shaft is 12 feet long. Due to its length, you can combine it with heavier lines, so that you are able to tackle larger species without worrying for the rod. The Penn Prevail has a medium-heavy action and it is fitted with a long handle made with some kind of rubber. Not quite sure what the material is, but it does a great job even when your hands are wet. It is a spinning rod, so, again if you don’t have much surf fishing experience, it’s a deal you should not lose. I have been using this rod for some time now and I can say it is a best option for beginners. In fact it is so good that you won’t want to use anything else even when you gather enough experience to use heavier and longer rods.

About Me

planet1I decided to create this blog so that I could share my fishing adventures in South Africa, where I live. In spite of the fact that I usually prefer ocean fishing, I’ve recently started exploring freshwater fishing as well ( after reading some useful articles), given that the country has a plethora of rivers, lakes, and streams that I ought to take advantage of. Our nation has been blessed with countless beauties, some of which are the waters that run freely all across the land. We have many mountains and dams. The two species that I intend to focus on are bass and carp, which have been introduced to South Africa sometime in the 20th century. I don’t recall the exact time when these two species were brought into the country, but seeing how bass is an intelligent fish, catching it is often challenging.

planet2planet3In the blog posts that I will write and publish with the help of this space, I am going to detail my expeditions, as well as the techniques I will be using and the gear I’ll be needing in order to perfect my craft. It goes without saying that catching fish is even more rewarding when you know that the species you’re targeting is an invasive one, which is why I’m not a big fan of the catch and release policy, particularly when bass fishing. Here, in South Africa, the damages done by this type of fish have not yet reached the magnitude of the one that you may find in the waters of the United States of America. I, for one, enjoy fishing both as a hobby and as a means to put food on the table. While my wife isn’t exactly keen on the sport, she will not be accompanying me on my adventures. However, she will join me when preparing the fish I’ve caught so that we turn it into delicious meals for our family and friends. That’s why I intend to share all of these experiences with my readers, so that they learn a bit about South Africa and its coastline, as well as about the most common fish you’ll find here.

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Needless to say, I salute all worldwide fishermen. As I document my experiences, I ask of you to leave comments and interact with me as best as you can. If you ever have any pieces of advice so that I’m able to take my fishing to a whole new level, be sure to leave a comment, and I’ll always be thankful.