Reel Time| Pelagic fishing efforts are welcome news for Bay

Jacques De Jager holds a 4.5 kg Grunter caught recently at Swartkops.
Jacques De Jager holds a 4.5 kg Grunter caught recently at Swartkops.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has finally seen the light and taken a stance on the long-standing problem of sardine dumping in the bay by now introducing restrictions and conditions.

I had received many complaints backed with photographs and published this for public awareness.

I must state I am not opposed to sardine trawling in any way, however, I cannot condone the waste of the resource due to dumping of a catch deemed uneconomical to process.

The area from Sundays River to Cape Recife has now been closed for pelagic fishing efforts for a period of seven days. The area can then be tested again on May 24 on a “voorloper” basis, where a scout vessel is sent out to investigate the viability of the potential catch.

Only vessels with an “observer” on board will be allowed to operate once the area is declared open. This is most definitely a step in the right direction to conserve and maintain this vital resource for the bay and sustain its well-being.

I think these restrictions and operating conditions will be wellreceived by the community at large.
On the issue of cage diving and the perceived shark attack potential, I suspect the illegal dumping of sardines far outweighs any effect the chumming for sharks by a single operator will have.

Shark cage diving will take place around Bird Island far away from any bathing facilities. The bay has a very healthy white shark population, yet we have no WAYNE RUDMAN threatening shark attack behaviour. This industry will be a big plus for the bay and a valuable tourist attraction.

On the angling scene, catches have been reported all around the bay. Shad are still taking the hook off the rocky holes on the wild side of the bay, with white steenbras or pignosed grunter being caught near the wall of Coega Harbour and on the sandy shore as far as Blue Horizon Bay.

As the water temperature cools, we will catch more of these fish. They are a vulnerable species and bag limits should be obeyed. They are a schooling species and can be easily exploited.

A very notable catch was that made by Leon de Klerk at Pollok Beach, with a “piggy” of 16.5kg being landed. Some spotted grunter have blessed anglers on the Swartkops, along with numerous juvenile garrick providing a little fun. It is this time of year that our attention to bait presentation needs to get focus, as the water gets colder so the clarity too improves making the fish more selective as a result.

This weekend’s weather: We experience typical autumn weather with a slow falling barometer tomorrow and an expected water temperature of 18°C. A light northerly wind should prevail throughout the weekend, with high tide at 6.05am.

We venture out of the new moon phase of Tuesday, once again lending us the three day after spring tide conditions, which should produce fish.