I spent a week in Mazeppa Bay in June. We were hoping for good conditions and the Sardine Run to happen. Neither did. We experienced 5m+ seas for a solid week and the Sardines just didn’t arrive.
It was a seriously steep learning curve for me, fishing the Transkei and with Two Handed Switch Surf rods for the first time. Now fishing a switch 2 handed when you’ve never done it is tricky on sand in calm conditions. Try 25knts, rain and a 6m tidal surge. I fished in day-glo orange, Simms Stream boots and a life jacket, dodging the massive sets breaking over the slippery rocks. If you google search Mazeppa Bay you’ll notice that a large share of the search results are about anglers washed to their deaths. I was sh$t scared. There are massive rips that the sharks hunt inside. Either will get you if you’re washed off. Search and Rescue isn’t an option.
Heres what I learnt:
Fishing two handed:
The CND Atlantis was supposedly built around the Airflo beach lines and should be mated to a similar afta line weight (11 weight). I dont think thats correct. The rod needs a 700g head to load. Its not easy finding those lines. I should have gone for an 8/9 like the Beulah. Fishing reverse in wind is a problem and you do sacrifice distance this way. Also, as both your hands are taken you have less mobility. Carrying a rod rigged on your pack is not an option. Too much weight and undirected line speed. You will cost yourself the rod strapped to your pack.
Fishing in a strong rip off the rocks:
I initally rigged crabs through a mono keel with 4x 2.5mm tungsten beads. Not enough to get the flies down. The only way was to wrap a section of 3mm diameter lead on the bottom of the fly. Like so:
We had water temps of 13/14 degrees. Snow on the mountains meant that the Transkei experienced some of the lowest water temps its seen. NOT good for fishing. Usually all the lagoons are a sure bet for Leeries, Kob and Grunter. You need the 18+temps.
Dont do it bare foot. At one point I was following and watching a baby electric ray barefoot. Ya, not so smart. Everyone had a good laugh when I stepped on it. Twice.
Where were the fish?
At the river mouths. The sea temp was a good 7 degrees over the lagoon temperature. The inverse of the norm. These fish didnt want to eat though. Trust me, everyone tried. In the week we were there the sum total of all anglers landed 3 sharks. I also found fish holding in gullies (Galjoen, Blacktail), but they weren’t just holding, they were hiding. Too rough and too cold to eat. Prawn bait left in the lagoons wasn’t even touched overnight.
Dont think I’ll be back anytime soon. haha.