ASFN tugs with Yellow Tail in Cape Town
ASFN ambassador and well-known television presenter Carolien van Rooijen, travelled to Cape Town for a fishing experience like no other. One day of reeling Yellow Tail provided Carolien with those arm muscles that costs somewhat in months of gym membership fees! This is her story.
South Africa’s Mother City offers several different attractions such as Table Mountain, breathtaking scenery, quaint winery and of course, gigantic tuna that got me hooked approximately 10 months ago. I don’t know what they put in Cape Town’s water supply, but it seems that all the fish along the Cape coast have that extra kick to it, as I experienced first-hand during our recent trip where we went offshore to target Yellow Tail.
Steve Potter and his son Joseph from Cape Town Fishing Charters in Hout Bay took Andre Henn and myself out recently to target Yellow Tail off Cape Point. Leaving Hout Bay harbour just after first light, the game plan was to head straight to Cape Point to target Yellow Tail on light tackle.
I must admit that I was quite nervous upon exciting the harbour as big swells were pushing through. It was my understanding that on the KwaZulu-Natal coastline, swells of 3-4 metres might often be seen as unfishable, but not in Cape Town. This is a normal day out at sea! But with Steve’s excellent skippering skills, and the support of his two trusted Yamaha 150 HP outboards and Two Oceans boat, my slight panic conditions soon eased up.
Steve later explained that in the period of five years, he hasn’t had a single day of worry with either of his bulletproof Yamaha outboard motors and commended the company’s after-sale maintenance services.
The cruise along the shore was a breathtaking experience. Here, mountains meet the Atlantic Ocean, and everyone with a passion for nature should experience this as photographs will never be able to catch the beauty of a perfectly composed picture. The water was filled with boats as local anglers and commercial fishermen roamed the waters to get their share of the Yellow Tail action. And, judging by the amount of bird activity, there were definitely some bait fish going around. Arriving at the designated spot, Steve started looking for some fish activity with his fishfinder while the rods were already rigged with a diversity of artificial lures such as the Maria lure range, and some Sebile were on close stand by. Now drifting, Andre rigged an entire chokka bait which is a method shown to us in St. Francis Bay recently. Once the baits were out, we started spinning and working our lures on top of the water.
Andre got the first take on his Maria lure, putting up a strong fight as it was worked towards the boat. The chokka bait Andre rigged earlier also started screaming, and I jumped to it! Unfortunatley, the fish was a bit too quick for me and threw the hook a split second before I could tighten the drag. One loss for me, and it was the second take of the morning. Andre managed to get his fish to the boat and after some photographs and a very lively Yellow Tail kicking, this fish was released back into the water, taking off at a rapid speed.
A little while later, having lost my second fish on the Maria lure, I was convinced that I was surrounded by a bad omen and this played on my mind. Did I take too long to tighten the drag? Should I strike harder to set the hook? I ran through the list of anglers’ superstitions, which are plentiful, and all seemed fine…!
Several anglers have explained to me in the past how important it is to get your state of mind right for fishing as the biggest contributor to bad angling days comes from the angler itself, not the fish.
The shoals of Yellow Tail were moving rapidly through the area, and we trawled our lures around while the guys rigged the chokka baits. My big moment struck again and this time I was determined not to let this opportunity slip through my fingers. I had a quick strike and set the hook. As the metres of line streamed off my reel, I quickly realised that although Yellowfin Tuna are considered feisty fish, this one was up for the task of giving me a good tussle!
For its size, the Yellow Tail is definitely one of the stronger fighting offshore fish, and joy settled in when I finally got it next to the boat. We decided against using a gaff as we wanted to release the fish back in the water unharmed. The guys got their gloves ready to lift the fish out of the water for a couple of seconds for a quick model shoot for ASFN and Leisure Boating magazine. This beautiful fish, with its distinctive yellow tail, blue/green upper body and silver belly, as well as idiosyncratic lateral line, makes for one very pretty picture.
This was a spectacular add to my species list and definitely a must catch fish for any angler. As the day continued, we got more Yellow Tail on artificial lures while trawling and spinning as we worked the Cape Point area. It clearly shows that several approaches can be taken to catch these fish, as well as the use of bait, trawling and spinning. A must-have for any angler on the boat is a spinning rig with a selection of lures, easily accessible, which can be cast quickly as it takes mere seconds for a big school of Yellow Tail to pass by under the boat. Your boat’s ability to handle big waters, reliable outboards, and a good fishfinder to look for structure and fish are all crucial factors that contribute to a good day’s fishing. Work rate and mindset are also factors which often affect one’s fishing in a drastic way.
Governed by South African Law, there are catch limits for every species of fish to be caught on our coastline. Some of these limits may include large quantities like five Yellow Tails per fishing licence on the boat. Frozen fish are not as nice as fresh fish so if you would like to keep the catch, do your part for the future of our resources and stay under the limit amount per day, and only take what you will eat within the next two days. Catching a fish is one thing, but being able to release is what makes your day even better!