Southern African style 1

Got a special rig, tell us about it!

Southern African style 1

Postby Jeri » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:15 pm

Hi All,

A comment from the ‘Introduction’ section about how we fish here in southern Africa for similar species has prompted this topic.

One thing that I have noticed from a lot of threads is how you are all motivated by some typically English techniques and then subsequently the components that go with that system. Like impact shields and various other gizmos. Not that I’m saying it is wrong, but for anyone that has fished in the UK, they will know that the options are for much smaller fish, and the use of much smaller baits and hooks – usually fished at distance.

We had a few folks trying to promote UK systems and products here in southern Africa, and the biggest problem and failure point was that the gizmos tended to be too small for our bigger baits and hooks, as well as the fact that generally the fish did not seem overly impressed.

After years of fishing all round the world, even as a young kid fishing with a handline in Manly. Sydney harbour; I have come to the conclusion that fish are generally unimpressed by complicated systems, and simplicity is the key word. This has never been more apparent here in southern Africa, especially for some of our smaller shark species and Kob (like your Mullaway).

One of the most effective rigs that we use is a simple single paternoster with a couple of hooks presented pennel style. The bait, usually a fish bait like sardine or mullet ( a very under-utilised bait – will discuss later), the bait is cut and mounted on the lower hook, and bound on with bait elastic, then the sliding hook is then placed in the top of the bait. The lower hook being proud allows for it to be clipped onto the sinker. Here, we do away with all the fancy clips, and just cast our sinkers with a bait release clip wire when we mould the sinkers.

One of the variations of this very typical set up is to avoid a problem with smaller fish biting into the middle of the presented bait, is to bind the sliding hook into the bait half way down. We do tend to use an awful lot of bait elastic – the very thin kind. The middle hook presentation system stops the crash bites from smaller Kob, missing the hooks in the first set up, and it is surprising how often we end up catching Kob on that sliding hook. The key to a lot of our presentations comes from studying our target species. Kob are a shoaling predatory species, and if one bait is available, then one fish will shoot away from the shoal and hit the bait and dive away to eat without sharing with its brothers and sisters. Their typical strike system in nature is to grab a bait in the middle. Spent hours at the local aquarium studying their behaviour to see the patterns of how they react in different situations.

The next variation on the same theme is to add buoyancy to the bait, to make it float above the bottom, and perhaps have more movement and induce strikes from the predators. For this we use small blocks of medium hard foam, almost like very dense sponge. A rectangular strip of this is bound to the shank of the lower hook and up the trace, but no bigger than the bait likely to be used – again bait elastic is used for this. The bait is cut like normal, but then another cut to split the bait vertically to wrap around the foam. All bound on, and the second hook placed as desired.

In competitions, where weigh is critical, and where there is a possibility of catching sting rays, we would skip the float in the bait, as they won’t rise off the bottom to get at the bait. So, for those wanting to avoid too many stingrays, it might well be an option.

We use the same buoyant bait techniques for sharks when we bait fish for them with dead baits, just scale up to suit. The buoyant bait has more movement, and with cut baits allows for potentially more scent to be put out into the current. One of our key baits for smaller shark species is mullet, mostly because it is a robust bait, and is exceptionally oily.

Preparing mullet can be done a number of ways, but favourite is just the head and gills put on a pair of hooks, as this is a small compact bait, and can be cast maximum distance, especially when clipped. The next option for a much stronger scent bait is fillets that have been skinned, just the flesh of 2 fillets bound with bait elastic into a sausage shape then mounted pennel style – with or without floatation.

All basically simple presentations, mounted on hooks to get best distance and scent into the water, presented in a way that suits the species we are targeting.

Hope that stirs some thought processes in how you might try something different.


From sunny Africa

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Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:52 pm
Location: Namibia, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Namib Desert

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