In search of a gurnard prettier than a warthog

AYN Rand once said: “You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”

We stare this in the face today!

The world is bent on capitalising on every opportunity there is to make a quick buck out of exploiting our natural resources but the consequences of these actions are largely ignored.

“Hydraulic fracking” is a prime example of what is about to happen in this land of ours.

The sea has had its fair share of trouble too.

Toxic waste that gets dumped or ends up at sea, lands on our supper tables through the delicacies we enjoy.

We witness many projects and schemes to feed humanity but there is nothing like putting the food on the table yourself. If we don’t take care of this we will be the slave of some nations that will have the monopoly of life’s food basket in the future.

We need to sustainably manage our resources in every way we can.

Food resources are being threatened daily as we consume more than can be supplied. Global warming has had a severe impact on our oceans and the life that thrives off it.

I have a friend, of many years standing, who has retired to the Kromme River and lives the life many of us dream about.

Besides his fanatical fishing passion, he loves to impart his wealth of knowledge on the youth who visit him from time to time.

One such fellow, 15-year-old Armand Human, was privileged to such an experience recently.

He expressed the desire to catch a garrick, which has been a lifelong dream.

Not knowing much about the technique, he was introduced to Marius Potgieter, the “legend of the Kromme”.

Armand is acknowledged for the catch of the period for his garrick of 10kg. It was his first garrick, and what a fish to celebrate the occasion with. The fight took an hour and five minutes to subdue the magnificent predator. Sadly, it was not released. The fish had to be followed with the boat as it almost spooled him. I was privileged to such an experience too many years ago with Marius. He has the uncanny knack of being able to target a certain species. His experience will determine what, where and when.

At low tide one day, accompanied by Marius, I caught a gurnard. They tell me it is lovely eating but to me it is the ugliest looking fish I have ever set eyes on from the sea. It really does not look appetising at all. I joked with him and said: “The day a gurnard is prettier than a warthog, then I will eat one.” I have fished many a time with Marius and have never failed to catch except the days he has, due to conditions declared a no fish day. Nevertheless, you try!

Live bait angling is such an experience that if you have a fish on it it is usually a fish of note. The fish will test you and your equipment and, if there is a flaw, the fish will exploit it. The only time exploitation is legal!

It is a disappointment second to none to say goodbye to a fish that has beaten you badly!

Believe me I have the T-shirt, along with many others. The summer months provide the opportunities to fish live bait as these bait fish are in abundance now. The species that prey on them visit our waters during this period in large schools and you can often see the chases in the shallows and on the surface of the channels.

If you have no live bait a surface plug thrown out could give you a show worth the effort and a memory for life. There are many tricks that are used to lure in those predators.

The most important aspect to live bait presentation is the fish must look wounded so that it provokes and entices a “hit”, however, it is important that the fish be as alive as you can have it. In other words your hook placement must not injure the fish but make it look weak and vulnerable.

It is said the strong prey on the weak. Well, that is typically so in the sea as much as it is on land.

If the live bait is injured when hooking it up, it will soon die and you waste an opportunity. The bait will sink to the bottom and will be preyed on by a “flat” fish.

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