THE white musselcracker is probably the most exciting fish to catch from the rocks. Beachview is just the place for these awesome fighters that test your equipment to the limit.
Being accessible by car makes this shoreline popular among anglers but being rocky it is rather difficult for the not so sure-footed.
There are many gullies and vast rocky ledges to choose from along this coastline from Maitlands in the west to the Kini Bay area in the east.
These fish dive down into the “bricks” (rocky reefs) once hooked, and give you the runaround.
This species is best described as head and tail with teeth much like cobble stones or mealie pips. They are equipped with a jaw that can crush any shell that protects the food within.
The Venus ear or siffie (cousin to the abalone) is the best bait for musselcracker but, being part of the haliotis spadicea species, collecting it is now illegal.
Other bait options are red bait, which is best presented in a mature state.
Red bait is the only bait that the angler uses that need not be fresh. Any shell bait is a good option – however, crab is a delicacy for these elusive fish.
Sand and rock crabs are hard to find but offer an alternative to Venus Ear and will deliver more than can be expected.
There is considerable craftsmanship to placing a crab on the hook.
The crab is presented live, and must be presented naturally to give the angler the best advantage.
Cracker move in schools and as a spearfisherman I remember seeing spectacular schools pass me while diving this coastline in the past. Other fish species such as galjoen, blacktail, stumpnose and hottentot are also caught here. There is a closed season for galjoen from October 15 until the last day in February each year.
The choice of hook is also important as these fish have hard mouths that require a good hook set.
It is also very important to use sharp hooks (about 5/0 size) in silver.
“Circle” hooks are also a good choice, especially if you intend releasing your fish, and here I’m talking about angling in general.
The beauty of circle hooks is they generally hook the fish in the corner of the mouth, set easily, are extracted with ease and do little damage to the critter.
Simply, it is the most user- and eco-friendly hook on the market.
Most tackle shops stock them and the beauty of these hooks is they don’t require a strike.
The hook is set as the fish runs with the bait, through the resistance of the line.