SEALINE - South African Angling and Boating Community > General Angling Topics > Fishing Grounds/Spots/Locations/Destinations > Fishing locations in Cape that don't produce today...is this true?
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|In the seventies, we used to have massive elf runs off the rocks at Sunny Cove, near the station and good size too...they took spoons (spinners) with gusto and when they went off the bite I used drift bait which often tempted them if presented temptingly.
We also took yellowtail quite often. It was quite common.
Opposite Fish Hoek Bay at Clovelly they often caught White Steenbras and the occasionally musselcracker believe it or not. Never hear of that today.
Can anybody comment on that...maybe it still happens secretly...ibut I doubt it...such things are hard to keep quiet.
What tempted me to ask this question is quite recently I read that some fishermen have caught yellowtail from the beach between Simonstown and Glencairn...very interesting as once we saw vast shoals there about only 70-80 metres out...
I don't live in the Cape anymore and very seldom go there...with the intention to fish preferring the Transkei coast and fly fishing for trout in Drakensberg and Eastern Cape Highlands.
But maybe some of the very old fishermen can add something to this.
Dr halibut hoffman
|Not an old fishermen but stocks have changed..Some are resident/semi resident like cracker and some like elf and yellowtail move around.
Ok..steenies, the stock is severely depressed in general since the 70's but on the increase. Large fish in breeding pool in eastern/southern cape are increasing. Trekking for the species now banned.
Cracker..False bay stock has been fished out. generally resident but there are records of huge treks of breeding shoals of muizenburg prior to 70's. Also records of them being trekked in Houtbay. That stock for sure gone, no food at that beach, just fiberglass filaments..Surf there and you find out quickly. Hear of isolated catches at secret spots in the reserve. Cracker pretty much fished out till past hermanus although creeping their range back there. The stock of breeding fish in southern and eastern cape is in good shape and they are the few (only one?) of our large reef fishes that are around in catchable numbers from the shore and one is able to reliably target. I notice the trend of guys (and gals) that are tending to release large fish nowadays to improve things and even when I look at latest new regulations for the fishing for locals in MPA's they have for the first time introduced slot limits and it bodes well for the future fishing and for Daffs future intentions. First non Doff decision from them in a while! The revised limits for locals permitted to fish in the reserve areas designated are only allowed one cracker a day and only between 60 and 80 cm in size, to protect the breeding stocks. I foresee this coming to recreational limits in the near future. So cracker could make a return to false bay in the next 15 years I reckon if things carry on the way they are (15 years is the time it takes a fish like that to recover from decent stocks to all-time high stocks looking at fisheries that have recovered around the world with similar sized and growth rate fishes). Trekking for cracker banned. The rockpools in the southern and eastern cape has almost as many baby cracker in them as blacktails, the stock is coming back for us so hopefully we can enjoy and conserve this absolute premier gamefish.
Elf..population decimated since 70's.. and before that too, the 70's the population was on the way down but there were still so many fish that no-one noticed. By the late 90's it had collapsed. It is now on the up and up..but nowhere near the 70's level. Large fish becoming more common in the eastern and southern cape. Small fish back in numbers and the population could recover nicely as there is lots of bait in the water. Limits on commercial harvest of bait and recreational and nosale limits on elf have worked. In the old days their are records of an export industry of fish oil cooked from tons of blue 9kg elf netted in langebaan, cooked in huge house size iron cauldrons and exported to UK along with an industry based on tons of bokoms of handsized baby leervis. Which could explain why the west coast population of leeries has collapsed. Trekking for elf banned as far as I know.
Yellowtail..this fishery got stuffed in the 80's with russian and eastern pursesein and bottom trawl fleets that were allowed to operate off the aghulas banks to bust sanctions. They vacuumed up the sardines, mackerals (which is only now recovering), katonkel (same), and tail purse seined up, reefs and fish got trawled in their ****..the tail population was for lack of a better word, destroyed. Spots that were regular tail spots from the side for decades before stopped producing and are still not fished till today for tail. Rooi els, hermanus, mossel bay etc..The population only started recovering in the 2000's and was only on the up and up in the last 5-6 years..only now is there enough breeding fish to make a full recovery and enough bait. Problem now is that the entire countries stock uses the west coast and cape town as a nursery and with enough days of east the whole coast except for the western bays of false bay go ice cold with an upwell, that concentrates the entire countries juvenile stock in those bays and about 6 guys/families have the "traditional rights" to treknet them and they do. The only family that has a right that does not more the babies for whatever reason is the smits trek, they did not trek the last few years. 2 years back I think the trekkers got more than 800 tons and the fishery took a backseat literally since then with numbers down again on the whole and up the east coast and in southern cape there is an entire class fish missing from that year (those fish the 9-12kg range now after growing for one or two years since their choms got netted, but scarce, lots of 2-6kg fish again let us hope elnino does not deliver them to the trekkers this summer). So that stock is on the up and up but still gets nailed by a few at the expense of all whereas if it was allowed to really and fully recover without trekking, the stock would become such that one could commercially harvest it with rod or line all day long all year long and not be able to make a dent in the numbers..Even three years back we were seeing rugby field after rugby field of baby tails passing the cliffs into false bay..but they got nailed and I've not seen a rugby field of tail since..trekking here is the main factor affecting stock recover in my opinion.
Side note..false bay one of the few places with a decent semi-resident cob stock that survived..breede basin, jeffries bay and algoa bay stocks decimated from commercially targetting the large breeding fish at their spawning aggregrations in the same manner that their relatives have been over/out fished the world over from china to mexico. Ja in SA we stuffed things up proper..But luckily still recoverable with work and assistance.
So ja hope that helps..
Last edited on Sun Sep 30th, 2018 10:32 am by Dr halibut hoffman
|Good and interesting reply...thanks Dr Halibut.
My late father once told me when he was a little chap he used to fish off the rocks with a hand-line and caught dassies, hottentot and galjoen. One day whilst fishing near Millers Point or Boulders a large red stumpnose appeared in the water below him "browsing" on the edge of the big rock he was fishing from. He put on a larger hook baited with a big piece of red-bait but the stump ignored it. Later he found out that had he had some squid or perhaps a crab from the rocks he would probably been successful.
Sad, when you think what we have done to the ocean.
Dr halibut hoffman
|Ja those large smart and resident stump also gone, are well documented and recorded. In Bidens "Sea angling fishes of the cape" he talks about the resident one at kalkbay wall and may mention of those at millers..He talks of them trying to entice the fish with every bait possible but they were too old and smart..It/they used to hunt octopus at the waters edge to everyones' entertainment. The one at kalkbay was quite an attraction and was well known.
Dr halibut hoffman
|Ja no ous here called me a greenie..LOL no they were just ignorant..the fish stocks are waaaaay off from where they can and should be at..Decades of bad fisheries management, unsustainable commercial harvest. The trawling of false bay also stuffed it up proper. The nail in the coffin for the yellowtail and reef fish was the 80's collapse due to purse seine and trawling on the southern cape banks..things slowly crawling their way back to only a fraction of what it was..best stocks are not more than 10-20% of what they should be..Worst are a percent or less. Breeding populations of large females are all but gone in most species. Most anglers carry on none the wiser..Government mainly does niks.
Here is an excerpt from a good book with epic accounts of the old days. The accounts of the early and later whaling industry are also eye opening. There were only 30 or so female southern rights left visiting SA left at one stage?! Anyway on with the show..Link to the books PDF after..
"Before the harbour had been completed a railways official had seen three men putting a net outside the entrance to the harbour. At that time there were no laws prohibiting such activities but it waspointed out that “this was detrimental to the fish feeding off the pier wall.” On 3 September 1917 proclamation no. 196 was introduced which forbade the use of nets within a radius of half a nautical mile of the outer extremity of the pier.
Even before the breakwater was completed, the pier became a popular place for fishing. A small charge was introduced for the privilege. Between 1917 and 1919 takings amounted to £3 000.
From the time that work on the harbour started, records were kept each day of the weather conditions and this information including the barometric reading, was posted up for the fishermen. The Kalk Bay pier was soon attracting large crowds. Leervis averaging between 9kg and 20kg were landed.
One angler, Mr Terence C. Ferguson, established a record when he managed to land a 25kg leervis. It took 45 minutes of struggling up and down the pier to land the fish.
Ferguson also held the rod record for the pier, of a 60kg kob, which took one hour to land.
Bumpercatches from the harbour.
During those early years of construction, excellent catches of white stumpnose were made in the harbour area every year. Without even going to sea, the boats in some seasons caught sufficient fish at their moorings to sell to the hawkers in the morning. Some of the catches made by the line fishermen off the pier can only be described as phenomenal.
On 11 January 1920 when the boats had returned from sea and most of the crew had made their way home a large shoal of yellowtail was sighted just off the pier. The men went back to the wall, caught mackerel for bait and then proceeded to catch yellowtail by the score. When the shoal moved away after a couple of hours, the harbour was covered in a carpet of fish. The yellowtail averaged between 2,2kg and 4,5kg each. The total catch was estimated to be over 6000 and sold for twopence each.
At daybreak on another day the fishermen had a good catch of geelbek off the pier. The geelbek was then followed by a shoal of mackerel so large and so dense that the top fish were forced out of the water. These mackerel were then followed by a shoal of yellowtail.At one stage there were 30 rod anglers playing the fish up and down the wall but soon all their gaffs were broken. They had to give up because the line fishermen with their hand lines were too busy to offer up their gaffs.
On this occasion fish were being caught with mere scraps of bait. When their lines broke, the line fishermen hurriedly knotted them together again.By midday the excitement was over. In this time more than 500 fish, averaging 11kg each, had been landed. Between February and April of that same year very large steenbras were also caught off the wall."
So when was the last time a 20kg leerie was caught off kalk bay? Or when was the last time 6000, or even 500, yellowtail were caught from the harbour wall? LOL One before I am too old I hope we can recover our stocks.
If one can find the old reports from hermanus, the "fishing eldorado"..That will blow your mind..it was not uncommon to catch tuna and yellowtail from the rocks there as well as hook huge red steenbras, the most common catches from the rocks being yellowfin tuna, sarda sarda, yellowtail, mackerel, large cob, geelbek and large elf.. It was not uncommon for a fisherman to catch a hundred large cob and geelbek and a hundred blou elf in ONE NIGHT when they were running. He would catch his own bait before hand by catching the plentiful mackerel that were always around. When the red steenbras would run for whatever reason, upwelling or breeding, the whole sea would go red for as far as you could see. My mates ballie still remembers the shoals of leervis that would stretch for more than 10km when returning from a breed and sardine chow up north in Natal..All those fish long gone..
We in SA in days past, literally had the most productive piece of coastline on the entire planet. Where it sits in relation to the poles and equator and the angle of the coast to the prevailing E-W current down the eastern seaboard of each continent in S hemisphere, generated from the surface ocean waters intertia and spin of the earth, and the huge (largest in the world) "goldilocks zone" of reef shallower than 120m at aghulas with its seasonal current and wind driven upwelling and resulting in a food explosion that is the largest in the world...it is all very unique. That is the reason for us having more sparid (sea bream) species in our waters than the rest of the world has combined, the unique geography and immense and unparalleled amount of food it creates. It also is the reason also that the human species evolved into modern man on this coastline as well.
The largest indian ocean yellowfin come down and fatten up here, the worlds humpback whales come here to fatten up before breeding and so do the largest southern bluefin tuna come swim all the way here for the amount of food that gets generated by the localized conditions.
And our forefathers either fished it out or allowed it to be fished out..and today, even in the "untouched places" the stocks are a fraction of what they used to be and should be, we are none the wiser but fishing just the leftover scraps of days past..AND we are irresponsibly fishing the last breeding stocks that could give us the chance to allow the stocks to return..So it is up to us..That is why I have been on here like a stuck broken record for the last few years, slot limits, slot limits, breeding stock, breeding stock, slot limits..etc..it all just makes sense and the science behind it is old news already. Other countries implemented policies 20 years ago based on the science when it was new, when they were in the same boat, and those policies have spawned stocks beyond their wildest dreams!
It is time for use to wake up and claim our historic fisheries back and look the bloody hell after them! And leave them intact for our children and grandchildren to never be hungry or bored or left wanting for a job again..the sea can provide if we let it.
Last edited on Sun Sep 30th, 2018 10:43 am by Dr halibut hoffman