On Saturday morning we were up at 05:30am (did you know it is still dark then) to go fishing up the West Coast. Famed for its bounty of sea life which we were intending on decimating, the West Coast is dry, sandy and wide open. As with most places of this nature the more inhospitable the land, the more welcoming the people.
The first and second people we met in the sleepy town of Laaiplek, were both Police officers who paid no attention to the beers in our hand, but were far more worried that the tide was not yet right and that our hooks were too big for the “Harders”. Harders are a West Coast delicacy, they are strung up, salted and dried in the wind, at which time they become “Bokkoms” or fish Biltong. You can see them hanging in bunches in most places along the West Coast “Weskus”
This is a great site on the towns and history of the West Coast.
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So we began fishing at around 07:30, in a beautiful setting at the end of a jetty near the river mouth, but the outgoing tide was so strong that huge clumps of sea grass collected rapidly on our lines. So we had a braai (BBQ) in the meantime and waited for the tide.
Peter goes everywhere prepared with a capital “PR” and had tables, gas cookers, cooler boxes, chairs et al. My preparation usually consists of a bag of meat and a box of matches. The gas braai isn’t doing the trick, so Peter breaks out the charcoal grill which he apparently keeps in the glove box, and gets the fire going. Unbeknownst to us 3 who are doing the fishing, Peter is braaiing on the wooden jetty and the steel drum he is cooking on is progressively charring the deck. Plumes of black smoke start rising from the dock as we scuttle the braai to safety. It is the fact that one can quite easily and innocently burn down a fishing village in South Africa in full view of the authorities that tickles me about this country. Try doing that in England. Peter later dumped the burning coals into a trash bin next to the dock which duly burst into flames, pretty, and no harm done.
After a incredible Atkins inspired breakfast of Bacon and Boerewors (Farmer Sausage), the tide had settled and we stopped getting grassy lines, but nothing else. A family started fishing next to us using sardines as bait, were consistently pulling up Gurnet and what were I think tiny shy sharks. So we bribed them with some boerewors and got some sardines. It did work, although I was the only one to catch a fish that day out of the 4 of us and I must say it was a beauty. Apparently he best fishing to be had here is at night when you can catch the elusive Elf “Shad”, one of the best eating fishes and White Stumpnose. Next time Fishies Next Time!
Shout out to Negeva for the eyebrow raising tank girl inspired fishing outfit, of biker boots, rugby socks and pink accenture and Lauren and Peter for their concerted fish conservation efforts 🙂