Saltwater fishing isn’t only for bait anglers

2013-07-06 00:00

FISH are as fickle as the tide. That is to say, they aren’t as fickle as you would think. Rather, they follow specific patterns that should you pay attention, are easily used to your advantage. Estuary fishing, much like all other types of fishing, takes a measured approach that is tailor-made to suit the species that you are targeting.

In a 2007 study initiated by the South African Deep Sea Angling Association (SADSAA), it was estimated that sport and recreational angling as a whole had a larger economic impact in South Africa than rugby and cricket combined. Needless to say, fishing can be a very expensive hobby. Fortunately, fishing in an estuary doesn’t require that you go out and set yourself up with an entirely new range of tackle. The tackle that you use on the dam or in the ocean is perfectly adaptable for estuary angling and your hard-earned fishing prowess is unlikely to fall by the wayside if you hold onto some of the basic principles that have become ingrained in you over the years.

If you have never been saltwater fishing, then as I mentioned two weeks ago, the one element that you will have to keep an eye on is the tide. The rhythms of the tide are an excellent metaphor for the ebbs and flows that your fishing experience will follow during a day out on an estuary. The movements of estuarine fish are dependent on tidal activity, therefore your chances of catching a fish increase along with the rise in the water level.

Be sure to look for fish in areas that are likely to offer some cover as well as an easily available source of food. Taking a stroll along the shoreline and islands that pop out during low tide is a great way to determine where these areas are. Some fish, such as grunter, like making a tasty snack out of prawns venturing out from the safety of their holes, so take note of any areas where these are abundant and then fish with prawns to easily dupe a grunter into offering up a bite. Kob, salmon and Sea Barbel, on the other hand, like to prowl around in deeper water, so take your fish finder along and pay attention to any drop-offs or holes that you may pass over as your cruise to your next spot.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to increase the size of tackle that you are using when heading out to a saltier climate. There is a lot to be said for hooking and landing a fish using lighter tackle. Where’s the fun in hooking a fish and dragging it onto your boat faster than the snippet of highlights that screens after an enthralling Test match? Rather slow down a little and enjoy the moment. Just remember to use a trace and take along a boga-grip, some of these fish come armed with teeth.

Those anglers that don’t mind getting their hands dirty should stick to the basics of tying prawns and strips of sardine fillets onto their hooks using elasticated cotton. There is nothing more frustrating than having to re-bait your hooks after every cast. While you may not enjoy the rank odour of raw bait, the fish that you are hoping to illicit a nibble from are sure to fall prey to their rancid magnetism.

Saltwater angling isn’t only for bait anglers. Take along a few of your favourite plastics and salt-water cranks for a slightly different approach that is bound to get results.

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