One of the perks of my current summer holiday destination on the Agulhas coastline is its proximity to one of my favourite spots to target dusky kob in the suds. My buddy Michael Gradidge and myself have gone for evening sessions for the past week or so, since the setting sun has been coinciding with the correct tides making it prime time to hunt this rather elusive quarry.
The first evening was one of the best. When we approached our regular spot, I could sense the skepticism from the crowd of conventional anglers, many of them have probably never encountered saltwater fly fishermen. Their skepticism was short lived however. I waded into the surf, picked a piece of working water, stripped off about 15m of flyline and launched my first cast into the waves. After I stripped off another 10m or so, I started a jerky retrieve, stripping the line into my line basket. The fly must have been just behind the first wave when I had a good pull and I instinctively set the hook. First cast woop! Woop! As Mike helped me photograph and tag this beautiful schoolie sized dusky kob, I could see the look of disbelief from the other anglers. We resumed fishing and a few minutes later another was landed.
Since that first evening, several friends came to fish with Michael and myself over the course of the week and the action has been pretty consistent.. Several fish were caught every session and it was not uncommon for three anglers in a row to get hookups, as a shoal of schoolie kob pulled through. Despite being outnumbered, us fly fishermen were out-fishing the conventional lure fishermen almost every evening. Only the experienced spin fishermen were having success. The obvious mistake of the inexperienced anglers is casting too far, casting straight to the horizon and retrieving too fast. Those in the know were making casts diagonally behind the waves and retrieving as slow as possible, ensuring that the lure was in the strike zone for as long as possible.
I think that the reason the fly proved to be so successful for this type of fishing is that most of the strike occurred really close in and that we could slow down the retrieves much more than would be possible with spinning gear, allowing the fly longer time in the strike zone without getting snagged on the rocky bottom.
I’m still waiting for that 100cm, 20 pounder to make it’s appearance and until then we will diligently hit the suds as the sun goes down this summer.