The simple guide to a serious angler’s bait options

THE Eastern Cape is in my opinion the hunting and fishing paradise of the world.

We literally have more species of antelope, bird life and fish than anywhere else.

Our climate is moderate and we have a usable infrastructure to support all this.

There is so much to offer the outdoors man and yet things seem so neglected. The public at large seem so complacent regarding this jewel on our doorstep.

The Sundays River surf zone from the river mouth back to Coega Harbour is another East Cape jewel that caters for every type of angler.

Edible and non-edibles abound in numbers and the area is vast enough to cater for a number of anglers who can spread out.

The area has limited access so once again it is restricted to the strong and healthy. Vast distances need to be covered in order to get to these productive spots.

Access can only be lawfully gained from the river mouth area or from Hougham Park.

This is strictly a no-go vehicle zone.

This zone is not bait specific and the artificial angler has also achieved great success here in the past. The choice of fresh bait is paramount to increasing angling success in general.

Recently I was introduced to a fellow, “Rob” (no names no pack drill) who supplies custom prepared baits for the serious angler.

A tip to be used when selecting sardine is to look at the colour of the bait’s skin in general and the colour of the eyes. The more scales the sardine has the better as this retains freshness and oils that are most important. The more natural it looks the better the quality. Rob says the local sardine supply is vastly depleted so a foreign market has been sourced.

Aqua culture of sardine has now been perfected in one of the “Brics” countries where the size of the sardine can be selected out of the tank according to preference and processed without undue stress being placed on the fish as in the case of purse seine netting.

The fish get spoilt in the nets through bruising and scaling and when placed into crates prior to processing and freezing.

The top half is far better than the bottom half due to the pressure of weight creating a vast difference in quality (sardines are subject to softening and come off when casting) of the 5kg box locally produced.

The Ghost cotton used to fix the sardine to hooks should be used sparingly as this detracts from the natural appeal of the bait. The mass production process is not good for the angler hence the field of custom baits.

Specialised baits are now produced through smaller vacuum packed and frozen quantities. This allows the angler to select only what is required and (hopefully) reduces pressure on the natural bait stock.

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