“IT’S easier to apologise than ask for permission” – source of quote unknown.
I believe this to be the norm in society today, where consideration is the last thing on most minds.
As a young boy, I spent many hours fishing the popular spot known as Blue Hole on the Marine Drive.
Unfortunately this area seems to suffer the “Porcupine Rock” syndrome, as a result of the hole formation.
A few years ago when there was no stigma and undue attention paid to shore diving, I dived out 77kg of sinkers in one go at Blue Hole.
Blue Hole is approximately four metres deep, lined by a rock formation and open at one end to the sea. The haul of sinkers tells you how popular this spot is.
The abundant species here is without doubt the shad, better known as elf. Mussel-cracker and cob are also caught here from time to time, along with reef fish like black tail and hottentot.
Angling for shad is very different to other species, as the bait is presented on the drift (no sinker) and a steel trace is required as these fish carry piranha-like teeth.
Sardine is the choice of bait for these ferocious feeders, which don’t waste time feeding. They are mostly caught at first light as the rising sun strokes the water. Those golden rays seem to do the magic and I believe a silver trace enhances the attractor factor required to raise the attention of these inquisitive feeders.
However, as fast as they come on the bite, so too do they go off the bite. This is as a result of their nature to move swiftly along the shoreline feeding on mostly small bait fish. The moment they come on the bite they must be kept there (lock bait in the form of chum), should you have the palate for a few of these spoils, which are best eaten as fresh as possible. I think out of the water and in the pan is the best way to describe these fillets, as they do not freeze well.
They are also good smoked and prove excellent as a starter. Wind-drying is a good idea if they are to be enjoyed at night that same day.
Most shad are between 1kg and 3kg in weight and must be 300mm long to be legal size. Annually there is a closed season from October 1 to November 30. Shad also make excellent cut bait for cob and Cape salmon (geelbek).