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Light Tackle Artificial Angling - Part 3  Rating:  Rating
 
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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:24 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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Light Tackle Fishing – Artificial Baits – Part 3

By Neil Gouws

October 2008



Okay, so you now have all your fishing equipment, and you’ve set everything up, you are now “locked and loaded”, but where must you use it and when must you use it.

There are different places that you could go artificial angling, being estuaries and ofcourse the sea.

For the purposes of this article I will split them up and try and go into as much detail as I possibly can, remember I’m not Neil Allmighty, use it as a guideline and work from there, I’m not some super all knowing fisherman, I tell you what I do know, it’s up to you to use it in a way that works for you.

If you have a better understanding of where, when and how your success rate can only get better, and the more you go fishing, well the better it will get.

With artificial angling the most important thing is mobility, you must be willing and able to move around, don’t just stand and spin and dropshot in one spot the whole day, move around while casting ! Work an area that you believe has potential. 

Also the day of us having to go to a fishing spot and not knowing what the conditions are like are long gone, we now have technology available that “helps” us. If a specific wind has been blowing gale force for 5 days and the swell height is 6m, what exactly would you want to go and do by the sea except get washed off the rocks, Use the technology that’s available to you.

What are all the things that we will look at :
  • Tides
    • Low and High Tide
    • Spring Tides
    • Neap Tides
  • Barometer Pressure
  • Weather Conditions
  • Water Conditions
  • Time of day or night
  • Reading Rivers
  • Reading the Sea - Surf
  • Reading the Sea – Rocks
  • Knowing the fish you want to target
    • Cob
    • Garrick
    • Shad
    • Strepie
    • Blacktail
    • Spotted Grunter
    • White Steenbras 
In short … Tides have to do with the gravitational pull off the sun and moon and the direction of “spin” of the earth.

For a more in-depth explanation on tides please see http://home.hiwaay.net/~krcool/Astro/moon/moontides/

What is important to know is that you get 2 spring tides and 2 neap tides in a month, not to the day, but more or less.



Last edited on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:30 pm by neilg

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:25 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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Tides
Anywhere in the world, where the water is able to flow into the ocean that body of water will be affected by tides, to go into what causes this is a long story, and the history is not required. What is important is that you get 2 low tides and 2 high tides in any 24 hour period. This basically means that the tide moves from one extreme to the other extreme every 6 hours.
As an example, you get to the sea and it’s low tide, if you stay there for 6 hours you will then be fishing from a low tide to a high tide.
Should you stay 12 hours you would fish from low to high and back to low tide again.

Why are tides important, in short, generally a low tide forces baitfish into deeper waters where predators can get hold of them, and high tide gives bigger fish access to areas where the water level was to low for them at low tide. This is very important if you are working for example a big bank where people normally target fish like Grunters (Tiger), the deeper water now gives them the ability to go onto the bank and feed.
It could also be as such that at low tide the baitfish are quite safe, the angle of the river could actually afford them protection (water 1foot deep), but when the tide changes and the water level pushes higher, it could give predators live Garrick access to target the baitfish cause the water is now deeper.
An outgoing tide (high tide falling to low tide) takes the “dirtier” river water in the direction of the ocean and a pushing tide (low tide pushing to high tide) pushes the cleaner sea water back into the river.
If you are on a boat for example, I would strongly suggest staying around the area where the “clean” and “dirty” water meet.

As you move from a Neap Tide to a Spring Tide the low tide will gradually get lower and the high tide will gradually get higher.
As you move from a Spring Tide to a Neap tide the low tide will gradually get “higher” and the low tide “lower”.
What I’m trying to say to you is that it’s a smooth “transition” from the one to the other, you don’t get spring tide for one day and then it’s over, and you also don’t get a Neap tide and it’s over, they “flow” into each other.

Another thing with tides, when the water reaches it’s lowest on a low tide there is normally a “period” during which the water stands fairly still before the tide turns and the water start pushing towards a high tide. It’s not okay the water has reached high tide and now immediately turns and working towards low tide. It’s a smooth transition, almost as if there is nothing forcing it. It just happily happens if I may put it that way.

Spring Tides
Spring Tides are the extreme of low tide and high tide. You will have a VERY LOW low tide and a VERY HIGH high tide. You get 2 spring tides a month on Full moon (Vol maan) and on New Moon (Donker Maan). This is a great time to actually go and look at the places you fish, because the water pulls back so much on low tide you can actually see the structure. It ofcourse also forces baitfish into water in places that would on a low tide have offered them protection.
I must mention with this that the flow of a river is normally quite strong during spring tide, you cast your lure to your left and a few seconds later it’s on your right.

Neap Tides
On a neap tide you have very little difference between low and high tide, the water almost stands still. In short, the water won’t get deeper and it won’t get shallower either. Gives you the feel of a Dam where there is little to no water flow.
The flow of a river is much more “relaxed”, you actually have the ability to work your lure with ease due to the lack of flow in the river.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:25 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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Barometer Pressure
The very short of it, without making it complicated, a falling barometer shows bad weather / conditions coming and a rising barometer shows good weather / conditions coming.
What is more important is that there shouldn’t be EXTREME changes, fish normally go off the bite when this happens. If barometer pressure is consistently low over a “long period” fishing can still be good, but if it jumps up and down faster than a rev counter it should not be very good for fishing. If the barometer pressure is consistently high then fishing should also good.
You don’t need to go and buy a barometer to have access to this information, it’s available on most weather sites and also on DSTV. For you to actually use this information you should store the information so that you have a “history”. I DON’T.

When barometer pressure is consistent, fish will feed as normal, when it drops fish will go into eat while you can mode, before the conditions get very bad. If the conditions are very bad the fish “stop” eating, or I would rather say eat a lot less.

Okay, that’s a quick run down on tides and barometer, but it can get much more complicated. My advice, don’t make it to complicated, if the conditions look good go give it a try.

ESA did about a 3 page article on Barometer pressure a few months ago. To much detail for my small brain.

Something to note, when the barometer pressure is “high” the weather is normally quite pleasant, when the barometer is very low, the weather is normally not that pleasant. Remember that.

Weather Condition and Water Condition

It is said that the best fishing times are during overcast (cloudy) days. In some ways I agree with it, but in other ways I don’t. I have had days where the water is clean, the water is flat and the sun is burning me and I still have good results while fishing, then I’ve had the same conditions and caught NOTHING.

What I can say, I don’t like to go fishing when the wind is howling outside, first of all it’s not pleasant (I’m there to have fun), you have to fight the wind when casting and the wind blows your line so much you have no “connection” with your lure. Then ofcourse on the beach there is also the sandblasting effect the sand has on your exposed body parts. I don’t have any corrosion on me therefore I don’t need sandblasting.

A little off the topic :
I would say I have more success because I don’t try and target big fish, I target fish of ANY SIZE. When the big one comes along, he’ll also take my lure. There are more small fish in the ocean than big fish, if you want to set yourself up for disappointment then only target big fish. On light tackle a “small” fish can and will give a good account of itself. On heavy tackle on a big fish can give a good fight. The best fight I EVER had was with a fairly big blacktail on a VERY LIGHT action 8ft rod, took me probably about 10 minutes to land. Had to be very careful as I was fishing gullies for Strepies, will lots of rocks and mussels.

A light breeze is fine, it’s actually refreshing.
I’ve gone fishing when the sun shines, when the wind blows, when it’s overcast, when it rains, during the day and at night.
I also prefer an overcast day with a very light breeze, not because the fishing might be better, because the sun doesn’t burn me alive, the breeze has a calming effect on my soul and cools me down.

Then there is also the story of a westerly wind is good or bad and a easterly wind is good or bad, its not really about that, it’s about what effect that wind has on the sea or a river, a specific wind could bring cold water closer to shore, it could make the water dirty or make the waves big. Or on the other side it could clean the water or push the cold water away from shore.

As an example
Conditon of Sea Wild Side Port Elizabeth Bay Port Elizabeth

Flat Sea / clean North or North West South West
Clean Sea West West
Cold Sea East East
Big Sea / dirty South or South East South or South East

So looking at this example, let’s say the sea is quite flat and the wind blows in a Easterly direction at 30km/hour for the whole day, the effect it would have on the Sea on the Wild Side in PE is that it would make the sea colder, bigger and also dirtier. This could be bad for fishing. But there is a flipside to that coin, it could take the water from being too clean and too warm to a “little less clean” and not so warm. This could be excellent for fishing conditions. Complicated !

You understand what I’m trying to say to you ?

If we look at Cape Town it could possibly be a totally different picture. It depends on a specific area. Use resources available to you to find out what effect the wind has on a specific area, if you monitor and log information for a few days you will very quickly see what effect certain winds have on different parts of a stretch of coastline. You don’t have to go and log the info for the rest of your life, do it for a few days, just so that you know.
When I plan on going to a place I normally monitor it for a week or two before the time to sea what’s happening there.

I use as an example http://www.windfinder.com and http://www.magicseaweed.com
There are many more available, the more you have, the more info you can gather.


I have attached an example from http://www.magicseaweed.com that if monitored over a few days will show you what effect the wind has on the sea in a specific area. Unfortunately it doesn’t show you if the water is clean or dirty, but it’s a great starting point.
USE TECHNOLOGY.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:25 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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Time of day or night
Now this is a story by itself, but from experience I have found that the fishing is normally better early morning and late afternoon, but this is because I target predators. If you target another species you could find that they are actually very active during the day, in certain water conditions and on a certain tide.
Predators are normally quite active as the sun comes up or as it sets and that’s the time that I normally target them. These include (but aren’t limited to) Elf/Shad, Leervis/Garrick and Cob.

When I target fish like Strepies and Blacktail it normally happens smack bang in the middle of the day, and I always catch them.
Remember that predators need all the help they can get when they are out hunting, and a little darkness helps them.
Small fish are more active in the day because the predators aren’t around.
There’s an old saying … if the cat is gone the mouse is boss … well it’s the same with fishing.

Okay, I think I’ve covered the conditions, although not in EXTREME detail, but there is definitely enough to push you in the right direction.

Based on all of that, you ask yourself if there is ever ideal conditions, no there isn’t ever ideal conditions, but there are good and bad conditions, and you should go fishing when the conditions are good not bad.

Now for the rest…

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:26 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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Let’s have a look at rivers in some more detail

In rivers the tides have a very big affect on the water level, and based on that there would be different times to go and target fish in specific areas.
To give you the exact difference in water level between low tide and high tide would be impossible, if differs and is based on how far it is between a Spring Tide and a Neap Tide. For this we are purely looking at a low tide and a high tide.

Fish move around with the tides, for many reasons including staying in the cleaner water or staying in the dirtier water, being forced off banks, having access to banks and so the list goes on, everything keeps on changing because of the rising and dropping of the water level.

Lets have a look at some examples :

If we look at this example - a high tide
If has a fairly “shallow” and flat area that affords protection to baitfish on a high tide
It has a very sharp drop into deep water where predators can prey on bait fish.

So it means that on a high tide the baitfish can move into the shallows where they are protected from Predators, this is a good time to catch livebait with a thrownet, if you are doing the livebait for predators thing.

If you had the ability to cast from the one side to the other side (in a perfect world) you could work your lure off the bank into the deeper water where predators are sure to hang around.



Now look at the above example - a low tide
The tide has pulled back, it’s now low tide and suddenly that protection that the baitfish had has vanished, giving both top water and “bottom water” predators the opportunity to target them.
They now don’t have the shallow water that protects them and are forced into the deeper water.

These 2 examples show exactly why fishing off a boat gives you an advantage, you are able to cast in the very shallow water and then work your lure back to you (into the deep water), exactly like a baitfish being forced into the deep water.

For you to understand it better, a real world pic



You can see the water in front of me is a darker muddy colour, and then suddenly it starts going to a greenish colour, this is where the water suddenly gets deeper. Here the tide is about halfway out, still leaving a safe place for the baitfish. Predators hang around by the drop offs, just waiting for the smaller fish to go into the deeper water.
Yes I know, I should have been a model … thank you for noticing.

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neilg
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Looking at another example, on both low and high tide.

On a low tide the fish would have some protection in the shallows, but on a high tide that shallows are now suddenly deep, where predators can get to the bait fish.

This is also an example of how a high tide gives fish like Grunters access to prawn banks. On a low tide you would be able to pump prawns without getting wet, but on a high tide there is now suddenly enough water for the grunters to move in and get some prawns for themselves. It would then be the perfect area to target them.
The baitfish are now also in danger from predators, because they now also have access to the area where the baitfish were hiding. Water is not deep enough for predators.



Here is another real world pic, the red lines show about where the channel is, based on the water colour, and this is at low tide, with a pushing tide, the fairly shallow water right in front of the kids will get deep enough for predators to move in, and will also afford prawn eating fish the opportunity to get to the prawn banks (right in front of the kids)
The sexy one on the left with the orange and black “wetsuit” is my son Ethan, my most dedicated and “hardegat” fishing buddy. He thinks he knows everything, including the Bimini Twist (which he doesn’t know).

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:26 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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In this example there is a big bank in the middle, on a low tide it’s out of the water and on a high tide it’s under water.
So at low tide it doesn’t offer the baitfish protection, forcing them to run for the side, perfect time for predators to target them.
But at high tide they must now run back to the bank for protection as the predators can now attack them on the side. Again perfect time for predators.

These pics that I did on the computer should now give you an idea of how the baitfish and the predators move around in a river, depending on the tide.

It’s very important to note that you normally locate the baitfish in the shallowest water that they have access to, and that you normally locate the predators in the deeper water, AS CLOSE to the shallow “protected” waters as possible.


Here is a google earth image of Sundays River Mouth that shows you the banks with channels around them, exactly as explained in the pictures. This just shows you what it really looks like, so that you can get a better idea of what I’m talking about. Look really long and hard at this picture, it shows you so much.

My best advice is to use google earth, zoom in and look at the water, teach yourself to look for places that fishing should be good, and then go and try them out. The more you do it the better you will get at it.

We are just scratching the surface, we are so far from finished it’s scary. I’m trying to show you how to read a river, not how to fish it, well not yet, we’ll get to that later.

I hope you now have a better understanding of how to read a river, cause if you don’t I don’t know how to explain it better, I’m not a damn writer you know. Understand that every river is different, but the concept stays the same. Prawn banks and baitfish in the shallows and predators in the deep, the one wants to eat the other, and you want the predators to think that your lure is what they want to eat.
Baitfish also need to stay somewhere where they can get food, and predators go where they can get food, it’s a vicious cycle of life…

Baitfish look for places that offers them protection, any type of protection, be it in shallow water or close to bridges (car bridge pillars, train bridge pillars), and the predators simply go where there is food, in most cases the baitfish.

If you want to be consistently successful you will need to know how to read a body of water, what you are targeting, where your quarry lives and what your quarry eats.

All I want you to know up to this part is :
• How the water level changes and why
• How the weather affects a body of water, whether tidal or open sea
• Where baitfish live in a river
• Where predatory fish move in a river
• How to locate channels and banks

If you understand that after reading everything, then it’s mission accomplished up to this part.
I really think that you should understand it, no matter how inexperienced you are.
But more detail will come as we go further.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:27 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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At the Sea

Okay, enough of rivers, let’s go to the sea.
A lot of the details discussed with rivers are actually the same for the sea, not to the point, but there is still that idea. Shallow water = banks = baitfish/food, deeper water = channels = predators.

We have to break the sea part up into 2 parts, surf being one and rocks the other, and ofcourse to make matters worse you also get a combination of the two.

Let’s first look at the surf :

For you to be able to read the surf (that piece with the nice sea sand) you need to understand a few things, they are
• What causes waves
• Where Sand Banks are
• Where Deep Channels are

I will be talking about the sea under normal conditions, meaning that the wind isn’t blowing gale force and the waves aren’t 6 meters high, cause when it’s like that even the MOST EXPERIENCED fisherman will battle to read an unknown piece of surf.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:27 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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Okay, why do we have waves and how do they work
Again, I’m not going to try and explain the inner workings of a wave, I want you to understand why they are there, and what “creates” them, I don’t want to act like I’m a wave scientist, I’M NOT. I know about them what I need to know, that’s it. There are more important things that I need to know more about, waves aint one of them.

In short, waves are created when the water suddenly gets shallower, this forces the water to create waves.
Let’s rather look at the picture, it makes it much easier to explain.


In this picture :
Blue = water
Brown = sand (the bottom)
Yellow = the sky (the area above the water)
Pink = “broken” wave – white water

Okay so the sea is quite flat in the deeper water, but as the water comes up to a sandbank it’s forced to create a wave by the fact that the water is suddenly much shallower and is forced up towards the top.
So because of the fact that the water is now suddenly shallower, a wave is created, as long as the water is not too shallow the wave will “grow”. When the water gets shallower than the wave is big it will break, well that’s my theory anyway.
The wave now breaks and washes over the shallow area (the pink line) and washes over into the deeper channel.

The water is now suddenly deeper again. But as the water gets shallower again the process is repeated.

All you need to know when looking at the workings of a wave is that they are created when the water gets shallower ( like a sand bank), and they break when the water is “very shallow”.

I was once told that a wave isn’t bigger than the water is deep, and I’ve read that if you take the height of a wave and multiply it by 1.5 you get an idea of how deep the water is there. Both still tell me the same thing, waves are created when the water gets shallower, they break when the water gets very shallow. How deep is the water when the wave breaks, I don’t know, walk out, measure it and let me know, then we’ll both know.

So what’s important about this
• When you see a wave forming in the sea (far from the side) and breaking you know there is a bank or a shallow area.
• The white area in front of where the wave broke is the approximate area where the bank stops (pink in the picture) and the water gets deeper again.
• The water is now deep again cause no waves are forming and there’s no white water either, meaning there’s a channel
• Waves are created and break again on the side, where the water is shallow

That’s the short and sweet of it, you understand ? I flippen hope so.

Now just as in a river, the predators will hang around in the deeper water, both on the deep sea side as well as in the channel, and food will be in the shallower water, like close to the side and on the bank itself.

What more can I say about it ? Not much, that’s the short and sweet of it.

Just to make sure that you understand, and to make it a little different see this picture



Here you see the white water (pink area) is much bigger or stretches for longer, it is like that because the bank has a much bigger very shallow section.


And in this picture it’s a never ending bank, that runs all the way to the side of the surf where you are standing.

When there water is this shallow it’s generally not very good for targeting predators, the water is just to shallow for them to get in and attack the baitfish. If this was at low tide you could come and try at high tide, but I would rather go looking for channels.

Remember You are looking for holes and channels.



Here is another google earth image, see the banks here at the back, with the deeper channels in the middle, exactly as I explained in the drawings.

When looking at this pic, it is actually ideal because the channels are connected to the open sea, and this allows predatory fish to move in and out of the channels.

But because you are such a “well tuned with the sea” fisherman you also noticed that this google image was taken at LOW TIDE, cause you were looking at the sand and saw that there is wet sand. Well I hope you did.

Ofcourse tides also have an affect on this, at low tide a bank might be very very shallow, affording “protection” to baitfish and other sea creatures, but at high tide the water gets deep enough for predators to move in, forcing the baitfish to run the gauntlet over the deeper channel to get to the safety of the shallow water on the side, exactly the same as in a river. This is when the predators will attack them.

On the banks at high tide you would be targeting fish like Grunter and Steenbras, in the channels you would be targeting fish like Cob, Garrick and Shad.

You see, the sea doesn’t just look the same everywhere, if you know what to look for it’s a very different story. Every 100m is a different picture, if you know how to look.

Then ofcourse, all channels don’t run parallel to the side, some of them actually run into the sea (a RIP).

See this pic.



You see this wonderful channel that runs straight into the sea. Again you noticed that this picture was taken at low tide. And when it reaches high tide that channel gets a lot deeper and the banks are covered with deeper water aswell. The deeper the water, the bigger the predator ? (a lot like the bigger the problem the bigger the hammer …)

Remember, waves form when the water gets shallow and breaks when it’s gets too shallow, that’s the white water you see. The green water between the white water is the channel, it’s much deeper.

After reading this you should be able to read the surf.

To show you the ultimate surf spot, check this one out. Paradise to a fisherman that knows what to look for. And yes this is all pics of South Africa, exactly where, I don’t know, I didn’t record it since I was busy looking for examples.


And while we at it, check this one out aswell, heaven for a fisherman that knows what to look for.



Again a lowtide google image (what is it with them and low tide), look closely at the deeper areas right close to the side, at high tide this will be a lot deeper and could possibly be a place for predators to come in.

I strongly suggest you make use of Google Earth, it really is a wonderful FREE tool. Download install and use it, but remember you have to be online to use it.

Okay, you are now a surf reading specialist.

Let’s move on to the Rocks (not the drug, the world has enough “rock stars” already)

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:27 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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Reading a Rocky Sealine

Again, the concept is EXACTLY THE SAME.

If there are reefs under the water waves will form and break, that’s if they aren’t very deep under the water. If they are deeper you will just get a swell.

What is a swell you ask, damn man, do I have to explain everything, well yes I’m doing this for everyone so I guess I have to hey.

If you look at what the water does it gives you an idea of what the bottom looks like, if you know what to look for you’ll get a very good idea.

Look at the examples below, I will explain some more with them.



Here is deep water with no structure, so the sea is just flat. There is basically no swell.



In this picture, it’s still the same deep water, but there is now a swell that picks up on a regular basis, the swell picks up and then drops down again because there is structure at the bottom, like a reef that is higher than the normal flat surface, because of this the water is forced up, creating the swell and showing you that there is structure.


In this one there are lots of reefs or pinnacles, that creates lots of swells, this tells you that there is lots of structure.

Got the idea ? Hope so

Understand that it all depends on the condition of the sea, some days the sea is so dead it feels like it’s a dam in the middle of nowhere, on these days it is very difficult to clearly see the swell, but if you look really really closely you will see some kind of movement that will give it away.

On a normal day when the sea isn’t “dead” but also not rough, it’s just right, you will clearly see it.

When fishing off a boat without all of todays technology you can locate structure this way. When the water is very deep the sea has little life, but the minute you get close to structure the sea immediately starts picking up a swell.

Also look at the surroundings, if there are lots of rocks on the side, you can be sure it will be the same under the water.

I want you to also understand that there can be a swell on the sea, not caused by structure, but if it is the case it will be consistent and everywhere you look there will be a swell. It is quite normal, there is basically always some kind of swell running on the sea. Look at this pic then you’ll understand it better

Here you see the swell running, but when it goes over a “elevation” like a bank or a reef it will lift higher and reveal to the “trained” eye that there is structure under the water. Look and you will see.


Look at this picture, just to give you a better understanding.
On the left you see the exposed rocks, and you also see sea sand all over the place (middle), well if you look in the water you will quickly see it’s about the same under the water.
What you see above the water paints a very rough drawing of what’s underneath the water, 99 out of a 100 times. Remember we talking rocks and sand, not trees and plants.

The white water shows you that it’s very shallow, be it because of rocks, a reef or sand, it’s very shallow. The swell shows you there is structure.

Just one more thing, sorry I have to, let’s just have a LITTLE more detailed look at the report I had earlier.


Looking at this I see that the APPROXIMATE water temperature is ABOUT 20 degrees. Let’s say this is about normal, so it’s good. If the “normal” was say 30 (as an example), it would not be good, the water would be too cold.

Swell height at 12pm is 9ft (about 2.5m) and the period is 9 seconds.
What this means is that there is a 2.5m swell running in the sea, and the period between 2 points in the swell is 9 seconds.
It also shows you the direction of the swell, the wind speed, the wind direction, the temperature and the conditions like cloudy, rainy or sunny.



A picture based on what’s at the top, just to make sure you understand


Okay after all of this you should be able to “read” a fishing spot fairly good, be it in a river, on the surf or on the rocks. Remember the idea is to give you a pretty good understanding of the water, not to try and turn you into a water analyzing specialist.

There are always clues that a body of water gives you, if you know how to look for them and understand what it means you have a huge advantage over a fisherman that doesn’t know. Although he might be lucky and catch a fish you will know there is potential for fish or there isn’t really. That’s gives you the upper hand.

You should have a better understanding of what to look for and why something happens with the water.

I consider the reading of the sea finished,

Now it’s time to find out where to go looking for the fish.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:28 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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Targetting fish

A lot of what I’ve said about reading rivers and the sea already should tell you where to go looking and also why to go looking there.

But there is some more to it.

I will be happy with any fish that bites, but when I go fishing I like to specifically target one or two species of fish.
To be able to REALLY target a specific species of fish you need to know as much as you possibly can about them.

There are some magazines that takes one fish every edition and then really really really look long and hard at them, you should do the same if you want to be successful at targeting a specific fish.
Think of fishing like a “qualified” bank robber thinks of robbing banks.
You do a fair amount of research on what you intend targeting, you find out what it likes to eat, you find out what type of water it prefers, you find out where it likes to hunt, put it this way, you find out as much as you can.

Magazines that do this in a fair amount of detail include (off the top of the hat, I might miss one) :

Go Fish – actually a kayak fishing magazine
Extreme Sports Angling – a bit of everything
Fish – a bit of everything
Ski-Boat – a boating magazine

There are more magazines, I’m not saying that the above mentioned are the best, I’m saying that when they look at a fish in their magazine, THEY REALLY LOOK AT IT. Exactly the way you should. I’m also not saying that these mags are filled with detailed info on many different species, they all normally take 1 fish and look at it per edition. Over time I have built up files full of information by reading all the local mags I can get my hands on.

I normally keep a magazine in normal condition for about a month (keep in mind that I buy something like 6 every month) and when the new ones come out the old ones are cut up, pages torn out and they are put into files, I only keep the information I want and then throw the rest away. End of the month the process repeats itself, EVERY MONTH. In a year or two you have so much information it’s scary.

Other magazines also do articles on fishing, but in my own opinion not as detailed. Most magazines actually give me the feeling that the writer wants to share his experience with me, tell me a story, not tell me in detail what I really want to know, which is everything about that fish he’s caught. Stywe Lyne and Inshore also do good articles from time to time, but not to the extend that the first 4 does, they normally go the story telling route. I buy them, and take to file info from every edition, I just keep more from the first 4.

If you really do that (study a fish) you will have the ability to go to a area, look at the water and the conditions and know that you are likely to encounter species X. You won’t be spot on every time, but if you have an idea of what you’re likely to encounter you can use bait / lures based on that, which counts in your favour.

Look at it this way, if I know that everything is perfect to target say blacktail then why in the world would I want to cast poppers, the blacktail won’t go after them. Garrick will, but they are probably not there, the reason they might not be there can be many things, including that the water is too shallow or whatever reason. You get the idea ?

It’s more important than you think.

Another very important note, go to the ocenarium, the one with that BIG FISH TANK that you would love to do fishing in and look what the fish are doing, hell make it a family day. Look where the cob, the grunters, the shad and the other species that you would like to target are swimming. Look at what fish are around the structure in the tank. That big tank gives you the chance to see them in a “natural” environment doing what they normally do. I know the tank is smaller than the ocean, but again, it gives you the idea. You guessing why you never thought of that … hey !

In this article I cannot do into detail on every imaginable fish you might encounter, first of all I don’t know every fish that well and second, it could end up being 1000 pages long and take 100 years to complete.
I also don’t want to give you everything on a plate, I want you to you do your own research.
If I give you a fish you eat for one day, if I teach you to fish you eat almost every day ….

I know it sounds like a lot of work having to go and research a certain fish, but I promise it’s fun, and worth it, ESPECIALLY when you start seeing the results.

When you read magazines, don’t just look at the picture of someone holding a fish, REALLY look at the picture.
Look at the rod, the reel, is there a lure in it’s mouth, what does the sea look like, is the water clean, is it dirty … study the picture, they contain more info than most people realize.



I’m not trying to tell you that you should run and buy everything you see in a magazine, I’m telling you there’s more to that picture than most people actually realize.

Let’s say you have a pink bucktail jig, but every magazine you read you keep on seeing the white one, over and over and over from different anglers, in the mouth of the fish you have been trying to catch for 6 months, well let me say it should ring a bell …

Look at http://www.sealine.co.za as a perfect example, people post pics of fish on a daily basis, how many times have you actually looked at the picture, what most people do is see a fish, reply nice fish and that’s it. I steal with my eyes, every single day of my life. You should learn to do the same.

Okay, so I’ve turned you into a criminal, atleast we’re getting somewhere, as long as you only do WINDOW Shopping. But you get what I’m trying to say to you, don’t just read, really read, don’t just look, really look.

Let’s look at a few fish in Some detail (some more than other)

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:28 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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COB - KABELJOU



I’m not gonna look at the fish in some structured scientific way, I’m looking for the detail I need.

Cob / Kabeljou is part of the Cob family, there are a few different ones.
It has a silvery colour with some pink, especially along the head and fins

It’s found both in tidal rivers and at sea, in water from about 1m deep up to 50m and deeper.
They are often found moving in and out of tidal rivers with the tide, following baitfish. They are also found in the surf zone, especially around sand bank edges, waiting for baitfish and food to be washed off the banks.
Targetting them in deeper gullies next to bank edges on a Sandy bottom is a very good idea. When the tide allows it they can also be found moving onto sandbanks to chase baitfish.
They can also be found around rocky areas and gullies, chasing after smaller baitfish.
In rivers you can’t go wrong targeting them around jetties and also Bridge Pillars.
I have seen one or two swim around, and I saw that it’s a relaxed affair, just cruising through the water.

They can be targeted on both low and high tide. On low tide I would concentrate on the channels with the deeper water, but on high tide you should concentrate on both the banks and the channels.
During the day look for discolored water and foamy water like close to river mouths, around sandbanks where waves are breaking and also around reefs and rocks, again with white water.

Most important thing to note, where there is baitfish there are normally predators, a sure way of knowing is to look out for mullets and other baitfish starting to jump out of the water and trying to get away from something in rivers. It might not be a sign that there are cob, but it’s a sign that there are PREDATORS.

Cob hunt mainly by using smell and lateral line senses, not so much sight, it’s very well equipped to hunt at night and in low visibility conditions. Their lateral line enables them to pick up very small vibrations from struggling fish. Best times include early morning, late afternoons and also at night.
They are often found in “dirty” water also referred to as ginger-beer or pea-soup.
When the sea is not so good for other fish because it’s a little diry then chances are good that it’s just perfect for cob.

Diet is small fish, but also prawns, crabs, worms, squid and cuttlefish.
Bait fisherman often catch them on Chokka, Octopus, Pilchard, Mackarel, Karenteen, Mullet and Shad. They are also caught on prawns and worm, mostly by people targeting Grunters or Steenbras.
When choosing a lure you should keep that in mind.

They are often caught on Rapalas, swimming lures, jigs and spoons, all presented fairly close to the bottom. In fact I would say the closer to the bottom the better. You would almost drag a spoon on the bottom. They are said to be fairly lazy, so make sure you don’t retrieve your lure too fast. A rapala bumping on the bottom is a sure way of picking up a cob (if they are there). If the water is 2 m deep and you have a diving rapala rated for 3m it will bump the bottom the whole time when retrieved, driving cob crazy. Just make sure it’s a sandy bottom when you try this.
All forms of artificial angling discussed in previous parts are good for targeting cob.

Reaches maturity at about 6 years of age and can grow up to a weight of about 75kg.
Reaches sexual maturity at about 100cm or about 10kg.

They can be infested with worms (in their flesh), it is said that this is not dangerous to humans when cooked.
Smaller specimens make for better eating than the bigger specimens. I don’t like to eat them over 5kg, best is normally in the 2-3kg range.

That should give you a good idea about cob.


I’ve gone into a fair amount of detail on cob, the other fish I’m not gonna do so much.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:28 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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GARRICK – LEERIE - LEERVIS



Better known as the Gentleman of the Sea, and a very hard fighting fish.

I understand they are part of the Kingfish family.

They are called the gentleman because they fight in the upper water column, not easily diving for structure and breaking you off. Don’t think for a second they give up easily, in fact that make use of their body in streams and fight very hard.

They have teeth, but it feels more like sandpaper. Look at the picture, you will see the lateral line on them.

They are found all along the South African coast line, and normally close to the surf line (just behind the breakers), where they hunt on fish like shad, strepies, pinkies and mullets.

They hunt in groups, but normally not huge groups, I would guess in the region of 5-15 fish, but that’s just a guess.

They are great fish to target when doing artificial angling and will take all the lures discussed.

In rivers they tend to target mullet and at sea shad. If you are spinning for shad your chances are quite good of picking up a Leerie. Where there are shad there are normally Leeries aswell.

Sexual maturity is reached at a size of about 80cm, and they can apparently grow up to 32kg (180cm).
They are not very often caught at night, and best times are normally early in the morning and late in the afternoons.

I like to think of them as a high tide fish, just like the Shad – but that’s just me.

NOT THE BEST EATING FISH, they are targeted for their great fighting ability and should be safely released.
They will give you a very good fight on light tackle.

It is a recreational only species targeted by spearfisherman and recreational anglers.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:28 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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SHAD – ELF



My absolute favourite fish to target.
They are very aggressive feeding fish ! And they have the TEETH to back it up, they really make me think of piranhas (as found in the amazon). Once they are in a frenzy they will attack ANYTHING THAT MOVES, even a shiny swivel or a CLEAN silver hook.

Once the small fish go off the bite you can be very sure that they have made their appearance.
I have caught more of them than I care to remember, and catching every single one on light tackle has been fun. They take spoons and swimming lures at speed, most of the times hooking themselves, and once hooked they do put at quite a fight. Never say die, never surrender.

Elf are shoaling fish and move around in schools, normally in the upper part of the water column.
They are known by many people as the high tide fish, and that’s when I target them (from the shore). Off the boat in deeper water they can be targeted all day around structure like islands.

Best times for me have always been around high tide, best when it’s early morning or late afternoon, just as it starts getting light or dark.

They feed on pilchards and pinkies(gorries), anchovies and also on octopus, squid and shrimps, hell they will even eat their own. To them ANYTHING is fair game.

Once hooked they will keep on biting, shaking and sometimes even jumping out of the water. Watch out for their teeth, yes they will bite you too, and it won’t stop bleeding quickly either. Because of the fact that they keep on biting, even when hooked they often bite of the lines of fisherman not using lures or wire.

I must say add that I don’t use wire on my lures, and also can’t remember ever being bitten off. In fact most of the elf I’ve caught only had the hooks in their mouths. Ofcourse it might not be the case if a 10kg specimen comes past and swallows my lure, then I’ll probably be bitten off.

Size range is normally in the 1kg range (and smaller), but they can get bigger, bigger than 10kg and up to about 14kg – getting up to 15 years old. Sexual maturity in the range of 1-2 years (about 30-35cm)
I would still love to get into a fight with one of the 10kg specimens.

They are unfortunately kept in numbers by most fisherman (much more than allowed), and because of that the bigger specimens are very rare. If you know what you doing you can easily catch 10 of them in a few minutes.

Off the boat I have had days where I catch and release in excess of 60 elf. GREAT FUN on light tackle.

Please practice catch and release, only keep what you gonna eat / use for bait, let the rest go.

The bigger ones (normally 4kg and up) are known as Blue Elf because they get like a bluish colour.

Closed season from 1 October to 30 November.

Eating is good, the fresher the better. Catch it today, eat it today. Not a fish that freezes well.
Dean from ESA had a very good idea (on TV), he takes a coolerbag, puts in ice and some seawater, if he catches a shad that he wants to keep (for eating purposes) he puts it in there, it’s a mixture almost like a slushpuppy. He says it keeps the fish fresh and the meat firm, if you keep one be sure to give that a try, sounds very good.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:28 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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STREPIE – KARANTEEN



They have a silver colour with yellow lines that run from the gills to the tail.
Though normally small, they can grow quite big, I’ve read up to 50cm, but I think 30cm is more realistic.
Record apparently stands at 1.5kg.
Average size is more in the 15-20cm range.

They are mainly found in gullies and close to shallow rocky reefs, right there in the white water where nobody is fishing. They can also be found in estuaries. If the water is very clean and the sea not rough you can actually see them swimming around in the gullies.

A hand or two full of chum and you’ll quickly see just how many of them there are.

It is said that they feed on seaweeds but I beg to differ, I have caught them on worms, pilchards and also chokka, seaweed might be their natural food, but they take bait, and they put up quite a fight for their size aswell.

Maturity is reached in the 14-27cm range, which equals an age of about 18 months.

They are classified as baitfish, but make for good fun on light tackle. If nothing else is happening, go lighter and smaller and have some fun catching them.

If you are a rock and surf fisherman targeting bigger fish, keep a few, GREAT BAIT for bigger fish, either sliding it as a dead bait or swimming as a livebait.

I have dedicated days catching them – LOTS OF FUN.

When you target them you are very likely to also encounter some Blacktail, sometimes nice and big ones.

Some people eat them, but I have no idea how good a eating fish they are, they are simply to good a bait for me to eat.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:29 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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BLACKTAIL – DASSIE



EXACTLY THE SAME AS A STREPIE in the sense of targeting them, they are found in gullies, around reefs and also in our rivers, normally in small shoals or schools. They also love the turbulent white water around rocks and in gullies.

I’ve read that they can grow up to 45cm long and reach a weight of about 3kg.

Again, a hand or two of chum and you’ll have hours of fun targeting them, one fish after the other.

They eat anything that comes their way, so most baits (with the right size hook) will be attacked and grabbed with “force”.

On light tackle they are also a lot of fun to target, and when I target strepies I often a few of them aswell. Caught one of about 38cm last year in Cape St Francis, now it really put up a fight on light tackle.

I know people eat them, but again, I haven’t so I don’t know what they taste like.

When you target either Blacktail or Strepies make sure to chum the water, and while the chum is busy attracting fish you can get your tackle ready.

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:29 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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SPOTTED GRUNTER – TIGER



This is a VERY shy fish, make sure you don’t scare it !

They have a sloping forehead with a fairly pointed snout and the perfect lips for a big kiss. Silver brown colour with dark brown spots.

On the right tide you often sight fish for them in rivers. You can actually see their tails clearing the water. This is because they are busy blowing prawns out of their holes on the prawn banks located in the rivers.
They are mainly caught in fairly shallow water and some of the “deeper” channels in rivers.
They can tolerate fresh water and in Swartkops the “annual grunter run” normally happens after big rains push fresh water into the river.

They are also caught in the surf, especially around shallow sand banks.

They really are die hard fighters, and will fight any fisherman to the bitter end. I love catching them on light tackle and have had quite a few VERY NERVOUS moments, especially when the fish gets to close to the anchor rope.

Bait fisherman catch them on sand prawn, mud prawn, swimming prawn, blood worm, tape worm, sea lice and also on thin strips of either chokka or pilchard.

Maturity is reached at about 3 years of age (about40cm) but it’s a fairly slow growing fish, with a fish in the 9kg region being as old as 15 years.

Tagging data have shown that the fish are resident, being recaptured in the same rivers.

The lighter your tackle the better.
If you want adrenalin pumping through your body, go target them.

A VERY VERY GOOD EATING FISH

Last edited on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:41 pm by neilg

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:29 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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WHITE STEENBRAS – PIGNOSE GRUNTER



Looks a lot like the Tiger, part of the same family, fights just as hard – IF NOT HARDER, but grows MUCH bigger.

Just as ugly as a Tiger, about the same ugly shape and lips, but not full of dark spots, more like dark lines from top to bottom of body.

If you know and target the Tiger you also know and target the Steenbras. Where you find the one you are very likely to encounter the other.

Bigger specimens are definitely located around the banks in the surf zone, and smaller ones can be found in the rivers.

Bait fisherman catch them on sand prawn, mud prawn, swimming prawn, blood worm, tape worm, sea lice and also on thin strips of either chokka or pilchard.

They can also tolerate fresh water

They are found on the banks, just like the Tigers, blowing prawns and worms from their holes.

In the surf zone, they are normally found in schools, in rivers it’s normally not the case.

A VERY GOOD EATING FISH

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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:29 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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A Source of information about some fish – not every detailed, but all info is good.

http://www.sealine.co.za/view_forum.php?id=60


http://www.south-african-game-reserves.com/fish/


another one - better http://www.hookandreel.org/fauna.html

Okay so I’ve covered some fish, some in more detail than others, but I wanted to give you the idea, ofcourse there are MANY other fish that you can target when doing artificial angling.

What’s most important is that you know more about them than they know about themselves.
Remember the most important – where they live and what they eat !!

You can go and find out more about the fish YOU wish to target.



Okay, that’s about it on this one.
Sorry that I keep on breaking it up, I do it so that it doesn’t end up being too long.

Hope I didn’t make any mistakes, there might be a few spelling mistakes, you start getting tired of checking your own stuff over and over and mistakes start slipping in.

The last part will cover the lures retrieves, and anything else that I can think of including where to go look for them and why.

I know it is actually covered in "some ways" in this article already, but we'll just look a little harder

Hope you enjoyed this one.


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 Posted: Fri Oct 10th, 2008 05:51 pm $report_button
   
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neilg
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Enjoy the weekend people, going home now

Cheers

and no, there will be no writing this weekend, nothing, I'm gonna relax (when the kids sleep)

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SEALINE - South African Angling and Boating Community > General Angling Topics > Saltwater Lure Angling > Light Tackle Artificial Angling - Part 3 Top