Leervis at Cape St Francis

Leervis at Cape St Francis

Leervis (Lichia Amia)

This is my first post for several days. Busy making a living, and trying to snatch a few hours making living enjoyable – fishing…

The Cape St Francis adventure was enjoyed. Fishing was not outstanding, and the weather, well let’s just say it could have been better. However the extended weekend was a good break from local life, and may be the last time I can do one of these expeditions until next year.

One Leervis Caught

At least I managed to catch one good fish, a Leervis of around 6Kg on Sunday. These fish, also known as “Garrick” in some parts of South Africa are excellent sport angling fish. They fight determinedly and cleanly. Unlike some other notorious members of the King fish family to which they belong, Leeries seldom head for the rocks, preferring to pit themselves against the angler in the mid to upper water region.

Their unique body shape and curved lateral line (not visible in the photo unfortunately) are distinctive of this exciting sport fish. They also make good eating, although some care is needed to fillet the flesh away from the bones for maximum enjoyment.

This one was put on the braai Sunday afternoon, and shared with a group of fishermen also spending the weekend in St Francis.

Leervis feed on smaller bait fish, elf being a favourite. This time however a small Dassie was the bait that produced the results. Many anglers scoff at using a dassie for bait, however I have had good results with this species. Live bait fishing for Leervis is a bit of an art. More patience is required than normal; once the leerie takes the live bait, the angler usually needs to wait and ‘give line’ while the leerie moves off with the bait in it’s mouth. After up to 10 or 15 seconds the leerie will turn the bait, to swallow head first, sometimes stopping to do so.

Leervis can also be caught on a variety of spoons, plugs and poppers. The sight of a Leerie chasing a popper retrieved rapidly across the surface of the water evokes excitement in any angler.

Fish responsibly: stick to your bag limits and release any fish not intended for a meal. Also release larger fish – these are successful members of the species and make good breeding stock, besides which, the really big specimens are nearly always poor eating.


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  1. #1 by Mike on 12/10/2012 - 14:01

    Ray, when you going to fish lighthouse again? Those rocks look very much like the lighthouse point – near the beach if I’m not mistaken.
    I agree with the blacktail bait, small blacktail and cape stumpies (AKA silver bream to the Natalians) are great bait for garrick. At a time I only had a shad rod (#1) and shad were too large to cast. So I got into using blackies and silvers, and caught a lot of garrick that way. Excellent fight on the lighter tackle as well.
    These days we are spoilt with slide rigs. Imagine a 50kg plus blacktip shark on a shad rod! “Bending!”

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