Rand Rifles was a siding to supply water to steam locomotives in the early days of yore. It was about 16km from Walvis Bay and a popular fishing spot. it was well known for its Galjoen, a much sought after fish. Caught from the rocks. Rand Rifles got its name from a military squadron which was active on the Witwatersrand during the 1st WW.
My father had a Land Rover pickup and it was seen as his fishing bakkie and woe betide anyone who said otherwise. My 7yr old opinion did not sway him much.
We used to frequently go fishing at Rand rifles and loaded the neighbours next door as they had no vehicle. This was a brilliant tactic because my fathers fishing bakkie had the nasty tendency to sink into the sand and had to be literally manhandled out again. The more hands the merrier.
The neighbours were people of a unique stock which we in south Africa will probably not see again. They were part of the “Dorsland Trek” which returned to South West Africa in the early 19 00. They had left South Africa for Angola to farm there but that ideal never materialised.
The first thing to be done was the establishment of the camp. I.e. erecting the tent and build up the fire for cooking the rock mussels. While we were doing that the neighbours were doing the same but the difference being to boil up their magou. Magou is an Afrikaner traditional drink. Made from mieliemeal yeast, sour milk and salt. It takes one a little time to get used to the taste and is quite pleasant.
While we kids were still buggering around in the camp the fathers were on the rocks complete with fishing gear and attire patiently waiting for the big one., always waiting for the big one and being the talk of the town. Talking about it in the pubs and in the bars, talking about it at home to a tired mother and grinning into his beer. The big one was larger than Zion and that in itself makes it huge. I was about 7yrs old when my father arrived home after a lucrative fishing trip. He had caught a huge Steenbras and wanted to measure it. Easily I would opine. Get son Zion into the bath and place fish next to Son Zion and see who is the longest. In this case the fish won the competition and beat Zion to the length. The bath was 1200mm.
Rand Rifles beach was amassed with jumbled rocks and of all shapes and sizes and gullies formed over geological history. These gullies opened parallel to the shore and was home for a myriad fishes. That was unknown until one of the older boys threw a line in and the fish coming out was endless. The gullies were a Mecca for crayfish and octopus used for bait Modern half-jack Mellow Wood bottles and wine bottles also found their way into the gullies. Sinkers, hooks and bits of line were at home Rocks are rough and tend to chaff the lines should they run over the rocks and the result is loss of hooks and sinkers.
We as children had the job of searching the nooks and crannies and recover the lost gear. We, too, had the job of collecting the rock mussels which were boiled and served piping hot. That made our day. Not quite certain but this may be NO 200.
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