No two days are the same as anglers put it all on the line

[caption id="attachment_35777" align="alignright" width="300"] GREAT CATCH: Ferdie Botha with a 3kg baardman caught at Van der Riets[/caption]

THE fascinating thing about angling is that no two days are the same. To understand the prevailing conditions and weather phenomena is something to make a study of.

These observations create the experience an angler needs to make a regular catch. The basics are always applied with a little spice, so to speak. Being observant will always be creative, but your safety also depends on it.

Conditions with the sea can change without warning. The barometer is an essential tool for an angler and especially for the deep sea angler.

Never go to sea on a falling barometer. Although the spring tides are the most productive, they are also known to accompany rough seas as the water displacement between tides are around two metres in our area.

These create rip currents which can be very treacherous especially in river mouths where many a craft have capsized as a result.

An experienced surf angler will tell you about rip currents that they have experienced while wading out to cast in. Should you ever get caught in one, remember they always end down the shore, so remain calm and save your energy by going with the flow.

Another popular shore species is the belman or better known "baardman". This fish has a characteristic single tassel or whisker-like tentacle on its chin which resembles a "bok baard", hence the common name.

It is mostly found along the mixed rocky and sandy shores of our southern and eastern coast and is predominantly a resident species dwelling in caves of the reef sections. This makes them a popular spearfish species too. They are delicious for eating as well and can be filleted with few bones or braaied.

These fish feed mostly off crustaceans, polychaetes and molluscs and spawn seldom more than one kilometre offshore.

They are not known to enter estuaries either, due to their territorial nature. Personally I have had the most success with bloodworm over the years at places like New Brighton beach and dollos area.

They often pick up your line and swim in shore with it and seldom run your drag. They eat better than they fight and average around the three kilogram mark.

They are caught regularly along the shore from Hougham Park to Sundays River mouth.

But access controls make it a very long walk these days.

The Sundays River mouth requires a boat crossing from Pearson's Park. Then a stroll down the surf towards Van der Riets will give one the easiest access to this surf zone. At low tide one can wade through the mouth of the river.

Many a good fish have been landed there, with cob being the predominant edible species. Artificial lure anglers also like the area.

- Reel Time, with Wayne Rudman