SOUTH AFRICA: Hunting & Fishing With An Old Friend


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May 28, 2013
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England, Scotland, Wales, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Germany, USA (Wyoming) and Hungary.
I first met my friend Gareth in 2007 at school, as he was over for a year from South Africa. Life and COVID got in the way of some attempts to meet up in SA but finally the stars aligned and flights were booked.

I landed on the Saturday evening into East London and we drove to my friends beach house in Haga Haga, where we had a Braai, beers and a catch up into the night. The next day we were to be up at 6am to go deep sea fishing with a friend of his, 8 of us in total on the boat. We caught 8 Copper Steenbras (1 each is the limit) a decent sized Kob of around 10-12kgs and lots of what they called dog fish but not as I know a dog fish. We had another good braai that nights and lots of beers (this was a theme of the trip).


The next day was a chilled one and we drove to my friends house in Queenstown. We made a plan for the week; a couple of days hunting on some of his friends farms and then a few days shark fishing at the end of the week as the weather was looking good for it. Now, the hunting was not through an outfitter and it was us going to some of my friends, friends farms to help out with some culling.

Tuesday saw us up early and heading out to a farm where the farmer wanted some Blesbok and Hartebeest culled and we were happy to oblige.

We spotted a heard of Hartebeest and made a plan, which involved going down into the river bed, walking out of sight to close the distance and then sneaking up a hill to a rocky out crop which put us around 80m from the herd. They had no idea we where there and my friend said to pick out a bull, so the first one to turn broadside and have no other animals behind it was taken.



The Blesbok proved to be tricky. They would see us from 800m away and just run, they were very spooky. Its quite a big farm of over 30,000 acres and so we didnt have much of a chance to find them again but we found another herd and this time managed to use the landscape again to close the distance.

We celebrated with another Braai and beers. The next day we head to another farm who is again a friend of a friend and he wants some springbok rams shot as there are too many in the herd.


That evening we pull into another friends place who does butchery in Queenstown to drop off our animals for processing. He backs onto the national park and feeds the Rhinos hay from his back garden. They were there when we turned up and it was great to whiteness them so close.



The next morning we were out and climbing a mountain looking for hopefully an Eland but as its free range, they are there or their not. It turns out they weren't, but it was a lovely spot. We had a really nice Kudu bull at 200m but sadly he was about a week out of season.


We then drove back to the beach house in Haga for shark fishing. The first afternoon we had spenty of bites but all from small Grey sharks and a Smooth Hound.




The next morning, we were back to the same spot and the same theme of small greys and smooth hounds - not the big boys we were after but we still have time on ourside.


That night, we decide to try a new spot which has proven a success in the past for my friend but landing big sharks there isnt easy. Our first bait out is hit within about 15mins and this is what is reeled back in -


We guessed a big bronze whaler to just bite our bait in half like that. Frustration as this was the sort of shark we were after but we push on and rebait. We are getting to about 9pm now and the smaller greys seemed to have gone which we were glad of, as they kept getting to our baits before the bigger sharks. At about 9:30pm the bait gets hit and the rod is bent over - its a good shark and its on!

Lots of head shaking seemed to suggest it was a raggy. It went on lots of long runs and put up a great fight. My lower back and arm were starting to tire as the awesome power of this animal was on show. We decided we needed to make our way off the rocks and onto the beach to land the shark, so this made for a 200m walk and crossing some gulleys and getting wet.

We got to the beach but the fight wasnt over yet. The shark put its self into a big rip and we were at stale mate, with neither side taking line or giving line. I put the rod on my shoulder and started to walk up the beach and walk back winding in as I went. This got the shark out the rip but it went on another big run which almost ended with me being face planted into the beach as I try to hold on.

Finally we see it in the surf and my friend goes out to grab it by the tail, instructing me to keep tension on the line so it cant swing round and bite him. He grabs it and as the waves come in he uses it to pull into out the waves and into the white water. We didnt put it all the way out so the waves coming in continue to put water through its gills.

It turned out to be a nice female ragged tooth shark 194cm in length weighing around 150kg according to an app which works out the weight from the length. It also turned out to be a shark my friend caught the previous year in March and had tagged. So, the new measurements will get uploaded to ORI to help which research on sharks. All the sharks we caught on the trip were tagged and loaded into the database.



After a quick photo shoot and taking the measurements we pulled the shark back out into the surf and when it had recovered enough, it swam back out to sea. Its hard to describe what an experience it was to catch a fish like that but hopefully ive given you something to feel like you were along on the ride. We didnt get back that evening till 1am but we stayed up and enjoyed some more beers to toast an amazing creature.

The next morning we went to a spot which is a big secret of my friends but holds lots of juvenile raggys. We caught four in around an hour and tagged them all.



Its a nice idea that on future return trips I may catch again one of these tagged sharks..

Now, fishing done and time to head back to Queenstown for our last evening. I cant thank my friend enough for taking the time to have me over and provide such an amazing trip. Now back to work in the UK...
Looks like a great trip, congrats and thanks for sharing!
Awesome sharks! Thanks for the great write-up
Great trip report and pictures.
Thanks, all. We had a blast!
Looks like you had a great time in RSA. Thanks for sharing. Nice pics!
So that's what friends are for !!! Congrats on a great trip and report.

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