Gutted, hooked at a price

FREEDOM TAKERS: This young seagull was found entangled in fishing gut with a hook
FREEDOM TAKERS: This young seagull was found entangled in fishing gut with a hook

I HAVE been a hunter and gatherer from an early age and as a young boy there was no better thrill than to eat my own piece of “biltong” or braai my freshly caught fish. Something like this basic life skill is lost today to most children.

The world of virtual reality is here. It might have less impact on our natural resources but that survival instinct that humankind possessed is all but lost with our newer generations.

Recently I approached the Lions Club of Uitenhage and requested a sponsorship for transportation so I could get a Uitenhage school class to the WHICH estuary for a “Bank Life Forms” lesson experience. The children were enthralled as some had never been there before.

This is an experience every child has the right to by learning from exploring the banks from above the high water mark down to the water’s edge. It being quite a muddy affair added to the thrill of the outing.

The litter problem that plagues our estuary was also highlighted by a trip to the Motherwell canal for direct observation of how litter enters the system through the many ports that expel stormwater from our streets.

While the Bay is still plagued by the now notorious red tide, the wild side of the coast seems to be healing; however there is still good fishing prospects ahead with the conditions being so good.

The estuarine anglers report catches of many juvenile fish that, caught on light tackle, provide lots of excitement. This is the ideal time to get the youngsters “hooked”.

I have received a disturbing set of photos from one of the honorary marine coastal officers who serves on the estuary.

He found a young seagull entangled in gut and a hook. He managed to catch the bird and free it from the ensnarement that was limiting its freedom and would eventually have killed it.

It is sad to see these birds hurt by gut that litters the estuary. Every precaution must be taken to remove pieces of irresponsibly generated waste. Anglers must examine the line, remove weak sections and destroy them.

Keeping your runners wet will also help lessen the friction that damages your line. It is a good idea to rotate the line every now and again too.

In other words, turn the line around and use the bottom end. Normally, after catching a fighter, I strip about 20m of line off as this section gets fatigued and becomes suspect. Throw it in the bin at home or even better, still burn it. That way it can never hurt an animal. –  Reel Time, with Wayne Rudman


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