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Ronan's report

Friday, 04 January, 2013

An outing with my friend and old fishing partner, Hoosen Bobat is sadly becoming an annual event. Hoosen is in my humble opinion a master flyfisher who has inspired me along the years with his innovative fly tying, innovative tactics and continuous laboratory for experimenting with both of these. In fact, it is both of these that has led to the development of a very successful fly which he named the “Flipper”. I will share this story about how this fly was developed some other time.

Anyways, launching in Durban Harbour (South Africa) from his walk-on mooring is becoming an absolute pleasure. Motoring out through the no-wake zone of the marina, and feeling the salt breeze through my hair made me feel like I was really home again. It also made me remember the days when we would launch about 4 times a week in search of Springer/Ladyfish/Tenpounder in the Harbour.

The short run to the sandbank was filled with anticipation, and as we pulled up on the bank, shoals of Mullet and a few monstrous metre long Bonefish looking fish raced off the shallows.

It was not long before we were both rigged up and ready. With all my fishing stuff being stolen earlier this year, I had to dig into Hoosen’s fly box, who gladly shared his “A –Team” flies with me. Soon we were casting into the drop-off and waiting for that heavy pull on the end of the line.

Durban Harbour is not as tame as it appears. There are also plenty Zambezi or Bull Sharks in the harbour. The last attack was about ten years ago at around 2am, where an angler lost his ankle after wading in knee deep water. The previous attack was in 1926 where a race horse that was training, was bitten. The shark situation has “worsened” since the harbour entrance was widened about five years ago.

Standing waist deep and casting into the drop-off, I froze when I saw a large shape of about a metre long swimming very fast towards me. It turned away when it was about three metres away as it spooked. My luck – it was not a shark. I very quickly retrieved my fly and had three casts at the fish, but it was not interested. The ranges of my casts were no more than tem metres, but I could still not quite make out what it was. I followed the fish on foot through the shallows and had a few more casts at it, without any success. It could not be a Springer – surely it would have eaten my fly. It might have been a bonefish, but surely it would have eaten my fly too.

After giving up in frustration chasing this fish in knee deep water, I waded over to Hoosen who was now 150m away. It must be a Milkfish we concluded, but still not sure.

As the tide flooded the sandbank, we saw three of these large shapes swimming towards us. Hoosen and I were standing about 7m-8m metres apart in thigh deep water and they swam right between us. Clearly – they were monster Springer!

We both had numerous casts at them without any success. They appeared to be swimming in circuits all around us and also appeared to be performing some sort of mating ritual. Neither Hoosen nor myself had experienced this before and it was wonderful to see these magnificent fish at such close range. Would have been better if one of them showed any interest in our flies, but nevertheless, it was magnificent to see them swimming around us unperturbed.

The day was not a complete loss – just being out on the boat again was sole refreshing stuff. The day ended with Hoosen hooking and losing a few small Springer, and I managed to land two small ones of around 50cm-60cm. We both landed a few small Sand Gurnards between us.

I can only hope that you have many similar stories, but with more successful endings. Well, if you were wondering what is the answer to the question in the title, I am sure you will agree that Fun outranks the Frustration on this one.

Tight lines and screaming reels.

Pic Of Day

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