Essential bag limits have increased the cost of deep-sea fishing

JOHN Rushkin once said: “What we think or what we know or what we believe in, at the end has little consequence. The only consequence is what we do.”

We see many adverts in the media about our dwindling bird populations, especially birds that are in the coastal zones.

The birds are an indicator of how sound the environment is. The state of the biodiversity depends largely on the abundance of bird life.

We as individuals must collectively do our part and not expect it to be done by others for us.

Daily bag limits, as necessary as they have become, have changed the deep-sea angling pastime in such a way that many can only reminisce about the past.

Many used to fund the next trip by what was caught today. Now that the sale of recreational line fish is illegal, these charters out of the Port Elizabeth harbour are really a thing of the past.

Sad as it is, angling has now become expensive and this has placed pressure on the estuaries, mainly as it is more affordable but still costly.

All these measures put in place are because we as anglers have created this through our own actions. Sadly we don’t learn from this as the attitude still exists that, if the fish bites, it’s mine regardless!

A number of years ago, during the ‘60s and ‘70s, deep-sea charters were really popular in Port Elizabeth. Two “swaers” (brothers-in-law), Jimmy and Mike, decided to take one of these day trips. They booked at the local tackle shop where they bought the necessary hand lines, sinkers, and so on.

These charters would leave port at first light and set sail for the islands, usually and return mid afternoon. Jimmy and Mike were new to the game of deep sea but were keen on the experience.

As things go with novice deepsea anglers they usually don’t have their “sea legs” and Jimmy got violently ill. With one of these attacks his dentures sank to the bottom of the ocean.

Mike, on the other hand, handled the sea well and caught in abundance. While Jimmy suffered somewhat with these violent attacks and tried a little self hypnosis to ease this crippling nausea, Mike caught a beautiful cob around the 30kg size.

Jimmy lay there wanting to die – and you really want to die as it gets that bad.

Mike took out his own dentures and placed them in the mouth of the cob he had just caught. Wanting to perk up his “swaer” a little and have a joke on him, he announced the find: “Look here swaer!” he exclaimed, and showed the dentures to Jimmy in the fish’s mouth.

Jimmy removed them and took them in hand and, after examining them for a second or two, tossed them overboard saying “Na, they’re not mine, swaer!”

So the two returned home toothless with much to explain!

While on the topic of deep sea, I thought I would share a photo taken of me at St Francis Bay with a Cape salmon (geelbek) I caught a few years ago. It was really a good fight and great on the table too! It weighed 12kg.

These size fish are not so plentiful these days. Cape salmon are caught in schools and are easily exploited too. One thing is for sure. Let one fish break loose and the whole school follows and they are gone. There are techniques to keep the school under the boat and then the whole school can be caught but that is best not discussed here or revealed at all. Let some secrets remain secrets!

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