Ponta Malongane / STRAB / My 1st Kayak Sailie
Ponta Malongane / STRAB / My 1st Kayak Sailie
Perfect Place, live African music, great people and the fish of a lifetime, let me tell you a fairytale story!
On Wednesday 26 May 2010, Piet Botha(son of Pik) and his band “Jack Hammer”, started playing their relaxed African music at sunset on a beach in Mozambique called Parque de Malongane. They carried on well into the night marking the start of a four-day music festival called “STRAB”. 30 of Southern Africa’s best and up and coming bands.
But for us die hard fisherman, Strab was only an added bonus in this already perfect setting.
Ponta Malongane is one bay north of the southern tip of Mozambique, which is Ponta d Oura. The launch at Malongane is slightly trickier than D Oura but is a more popular fishing destination because of the prolific reef structure in the bay.
Traditionally kayak fishing tactics have involved trolling artificials as fast as possible, or slower trolling or drifting baits. Recently vertical jigging has become more possible for us paddlers. We had planned to jig on a reef called Cloud Break, which is 2.8km offshore and goes from 32m down to 41m; this was of course weather dependant. The jigging lures we used were 1.5ounce to 3 ounce Berkley Nitro jig heads accompanied by 5 or 7inch Berkley soft baits, as well as bucktails and the very new squid jigs.
On our 1st launch the weather was immaculate and this allowed us to explore the deeper reefs extensively. It was not long and Derek, the wetbiker in our party was stuck into something solid. He was using light tackle, and after a 30 minute battle landed a stunning Ignobilis of 13 to 15kg. His day and week were made!
Between the 3 kayakers out there we only managed a few bottoms, which were rather disappointing.
The second day and we were on the water before sunlight. We trolled articficials straight to the same reef, without success. The westerly was blowing and with it us off the outside of the reef. So after 4 or 5 downs with your jig, you would have to paddle toward the shore and back onto the reef. Again we only got some stunning swallowtail rockcods.
After 3 hours of hard work against the wind we decided to put 2 baits out and head shallower. My plan was to pull a mackerel behind a pink skirt with a baitswinner and a sardine behind a pearly duster on the top. As expected, within seconds of putting the sardine out, an ever-present Remora ate it. I rebaited, tried to make some ground away from the “suckers” and let it out again. To my disgust another “tekkiekop” ate my last sardine. So my mackerel was to swim solo back to land.
With the figures on the beach growing ever clearer, I started to ponder where I should negotiate my beaching, but the Great Ocean had other plans.
Loud splashing behind my kayak, and my 6 foot 6 Ugly stick is doing a dance! I looked back and something with a bill was shaking its head above the water with angry intent. I accelerated by giving 5 deep dug strokes, hoping that this time the hooks would set properly. This time they did, and my Penn Torque 200 confirmed this when my 30-pound big game started stripping off at speed.
Whenever my adrenalin pumps when fishing I loose track of time. After a surging run, the fish came back to the surface to do a majestic tail walk, which felt like 10 minutes but was probably 30 seconds. It dived back into the water and this time its run was straight towards me, the worst ran through my mind with the line slightly slack, fortunately the Toque’s cranking speed got me back into contact with the beast.
My fishing partner, Rudolf, was about a kilometre away from me, being certain that I wanted to release this fish if I landed it, I shouted and waved like my life depended on it. Rudolf put some back into his strokes and the fish pulled me slightly north and then out towards Rudolf.
“I saw something jumping, is it a Dorado?” Rudolf asked me. “It’s a Sailie”, I screamed, “Please come get my camera”.
So like a professional photographer and a true fishing partner, Rudolf paddled after me while the fish towed me around.
After some serious pulling on the fish, I got a glimpse of it, and then I thought, “Is it a sailie?” Its sail was not up and this was a huge sailie, if it was a sailie and not a small marlin.
So after giving me a real run for my money this beautiful creature came up slithering next to my kayak. I used my cap to grab its bill; it gave 2 more tired shakes of its long body, before I rested its head on my lap. The perfect hook up, the 4x strong treble in the top of its mouth and the single in the top of its bill. For once everything had gone right on that big fish, and it didn’t get away.
After removing the hooks and a couple of photos, I put his big eye back into the water world it knows. I used its massive sail to turn its back upright and straight away it started to snake in the water again. I pulled it forward and let it go, as if it knew, or had been there before; it was free and would fight again!
Thanks to STRAB, to our team “Hunter Ski” from campsite 11, to Ponta Malongane and mostly to the great God up above, for giving me this experience I’ll never forget!