Salwater fly-fishing ace, Jimmy Eagleton has been sucessfully targeting silver kob (Argyrosomus inodorus) on the west coast of South Africa. Dusky kob (Argyrosomus japonicus) are commonly caught on fly in the Southern and Western Cape, no-one that I know of have had much success catching silver kob on fly until Mr Eagleton started doing so. And in the cold waters of the Atlantic, none the less.
A few weeks ago I received a late evening call from Jimmy. What he told me I could hardly believe. He just managed to catch a geelbek (Atractoscion aequidens), or Cape salmon as its also known, on fly.
Geelbek are often incorrectly identified as kob. Similar looking to the kobs, the geelbek is a much more elusive species and highly prized catch by rock and surf anglers. While all the kob species has square or rounded tail fins, the geelbek can be distinguished by the sickle forked tail. It also has a pronounced yellow colour inside the mouth, which is where it’s common name derives from. (geelbek = yellow mouth). Although I have read reports of geelbek being caught on fly from boats using dredging lines and techniques, no one has ever managed to catch one on fly from the shore.
Jimmy told me of how the fishing on that particular evening was pretty slow until he made his remarkable catch: “It was late in the evening with a dead low tide. My thoughts were that it’s time to pack it in, it was a slow night. The wind dropped and made reaching the opposite side of the gulley a do-able cast. I decided to make a few more casts and got a solid take, typical silver cob strike with a head shake in between short runs. The cob came in nice and steady as I played it on the line and not the reel. Big mistake, in a flash it turned into something else and line was flying out of the stripping basket like nuclear spaghetti. From there on, runs were long and hard with that dreaded head shakes that were followed by another long and hard run.
Always knew there was a chance of getting a Geelbek at that spot and it became a reality as I slipped the net in under it. It took quite long to revive the fish, but it swam of very strong. Immediately phoned like-minded people straight away to share the experience.”
Well done Jimmy on a remarkable catch!