My family has been visiting Wavecrest hotel for more than forty years. It is where I went on my summer holidays when I was a kid, and I have many happy memories from the place. I did a trip there a couple of weeks ago, along with my Dad, Geoff, who will be turning eighty in May, and his brother Ron, who is turning eighty four, also in May. It was great to do a boys trip, as we have done in the past, and while it was only for four days, it was definitely special to get back there together.
The staff welcomed us like returning family, after a drive of almost eight hours through the Transkei, with the last 35km having been dirt.
While my Dad and my uncle were planning on fishing with natural baits for edible species, I had been preparing some paddle tails and a variety of other artificial lures to target kob over the next four days. The weather forecast was looking good and the surf size looked reasonable.
We had booked over spring tides, which allowed my Dad and uncle to get fresh bait from the rocks at low tide. The rocks in this area are full of life and it is easy to collect red bait, octopus and crabs from the rocks and pools.
I had brought my little river boat along as well. I was keen to try the river for kob and garrick as well as the surf, particularly if there was some north easterly wind and the sea water got very cold.
On the first day I concentrated mainly on the river, exploring and checking out the channels and the structure. I caught some small Garrick and kob on a 72mm suspending Sebile Stick Shadd, a lure that is proving to be deadly for our estuary species.
I also got some small kob and Garrick on a 3” soft plastic Berkley Powerbait jerk minnow, rigged on a 1/8 oz jighead. The fish were right on the bottom at that stage and the only way to get a bite was to bounce a lure off the mud slowly.
The following day I decided to try for some kob in the surf. We walked the rocks to the south of the hotel, looking for areas that looked good for kob. I found a spot with lovely milky water, with lots of sand and bubbles in it, with some deep channels near rocks.
I made some casts with a paddletail rigged weedless. The first hit came on about the third cast, but no hookup. It was good to have confirmed that the fish were there though and I kept trying. A short while later I had another bite and this time I set the hook and felt the fish on the other end. After a short fight I landed the kob, taking care not to scrape it on the rocks as I brought it ashore. It wasn’t a big fish, but it was the target species and I was pleased.
I fished a number of other spots before getting a second fish on the paddletail. It was around the same size as the first fish, but caught about a kilometer away, from some different rocks.
I found that the Berkley Salt water Grass Pig was working well. The narrow shape allowed me to cast it far, while the soft plastic gave it lots of movement, even at low speeds. The narrow profile also ensured a better hookup rate, as the hook point was exposed much easier than on a normal bodied paddle tail. I rigged these on the 5/0 Owner Twistlock Swimbait hooks. These were perfect for kob, and worked very well.
That night it rained quite heavily at the hotel and the following day the river was quite muddy.
I parked the boat near a drop off at a deepish hole in the river and started working the area with a ½ oz Berkley Fusion Bucktail jig in blue and white. I had been fishing the area for a couple of hours when my jig suddenly stopped and line started peeling from my spool. After a hard fight, with some solid head nodding, I landed a lovely river kob. The fish lay on the surface next to the boat, gills pumping and I was able to appreciate a solid fish in the 5kg range.
My Dad and my uncle had a great trip. They landed a number of bronze bream, kob, blacktail, musselcracker, etc from the rocks. It was good to see them having a successful rock and surf trip at their age, one never knows when the limbs are going to become too frail for rock hopping. I enjoyed the time on the river as well as on the rocks. Hunting kob is a great challenge and it is always very satisfying when a hunch pays off and fish are caught as a result.