I RECENTLY spent a few days at Kromme River from just before New Year until just thereafter and predictably the fishing was poor as a result of the high water traffic experienced at this time of year.
I was in awe as I witnessed very little compliance. There was a total disregard by many over safety on the water.
Prior to my arrival there was a near-tragic accident where two boats collided and a young woman suffered serious leg injuries that will leave her with a disability. Yet, despite the accident I saw no increase in law enforcement.
In fact, during my stay I never saw a single inspector.
This was quite evident by the disregard by some towards other water-users as a result. Overloading of boats was common practice and the use of life-jackets while launching to sea through the river mouth was also laughed off. The excessive use of speed was quite disturbing, especially around jetties where moored boats suffer damage and many children swim. I personally experienced a water-skier overtake my craft from behind, pass my boat within five metres and douse the occupants of my boat with his wake.
Such horseplay can have tragic consequences. As funny as it might be to some, the fact remains it is irresponsible. The sad part is, it was a person whom I know and who has a vested interest in the Kromme. I would have expected better.
The use of jet motors on the Kromme is of great concern to me, as they enter shallow waters where life-forms prevail. Of particular interest, is the ink fish that are prolific on the Kromme. The eggs that are due to hatch are systematically wiped out by those who venture into water shallower than half a metre. The law is specific in this regard.
There are many other life-forms that dwell there and unfortunately the breeding season is in conflict with the holidays.
Water temperatures were as high as 27°C – great for holidaymakers but unfortunately this does not bring the fish on the bite. The fishing is best left until the river returns to its normal sleepy self. While enjoying a few days off with my friend Marius Potgieter, who needs no introduction, we discussed many issues. One of these chats was about the barometer that has intrigued me for many years.
He spoke about an incident when he was still a small boy where he was shown a gulley shark liver in a jam jar of salt water. On inquiry he was told it was a barometer and was taught how it worked.
When the salt water became opaque, there was a westerly wind expected, which is a product of a low pressure trend. The clearer the water became, the more favourable it was for an east wind to blow. He was told that one never went to sea on a clear jar.
Despite the poor fishing conditions, I managed to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Kromme in its entirety. The bushbuck fed on the river banks undisturbed by the numerous passing boats.
As boats approached, the buck would lift their heads and watch the boats pass by, only to resume feeding undisturbed. I witnessed this in numerous places on the Kromme and up the Geelhout tributary. The Kromme is certainly the premier estuary of the Eastern Cape.