On to Mazeppa Bay

photo of sea at mazeppa bay south africa

Mazeppa Bay, our first destination on the rugged Wild Coast. Mazeppa Bay is well-known for shore-based angling for big sharks. Sharp drop-offs from land to ocean result in deep water access close inshore, with the big sharks and rays coming within reach of cast-bait angling methods.

Mazeppa Bay Deep Water Fishing Spots

There are 3 popular deep water fishing spots around Mazeppa Bay; The Island, Boiling Pot and Shark Point. With a name like “Shark Point” what else could we expect to find except sharks. Situated just North of Mazeppa Bay village Shark Point has provided many anglers lot’s of battles with sharks over 100kg…

One of the species on my expedition list is the Zambezi shark (AKA the Bull shark). Zambezi’s get big – several hundred kilos and come very close inshore. Zambezi’s are probably responsible for most non-fatal  shark attack injuries in South African waters. They range from the tropical east coast to the Eastern Cape (in summer when the water is warmer). I haven’t before landed this species, so the Zambezi is high on my list of desireable fish to catch.

Although there have been rumoured catches of Zambezis in or near Mossel Bay, the furthest south I know of producing a land-based catch of these sharks is Cape St Francis…

Fishing Mazeppa for a Zambezi Shark

Day one at Mazeppa we headed down to Shark Point, after hiring a local ‘porter/gillie’ the previous day and arranging when and where to meet up. (Always a good idea when fishing the Wild Coast and the coast of Zululand – there is so little work in these regions this sort of opportunity is appreciated and word gets around you are giving something back to the community – not just there to take, take, take). These locals know the area well, and can direct a fisherman to the right places.

Armed with the heavy sticks and Daiwa Grand Wave 50 reels loaded with 600m of 50kg (bought so long ago I forget the exact number) braid and about 160m 18kg Mono, a few of the remaining yellowtail and several large squid baits, as well as the normal rock and surf tackle we arrived at Shark Point just in time to see the sun poke it’s head over the horizon. The water was nice – too nice in fact – Zambezi’s favour dirty discoloured water to fed in.

Twenty minutes later the first slide baits were on the way out to sea. Settling back with the rods in ‘pensioner pipes’ – holders designed to keep the rods stable in rocks and sand, coffee and breakfast was passed around. Three hours later the rods were still in the holders! In the meantime Jen and I tried scratching for a few edibles, and once again Jen got the first – a bronze bream. We discussed puling in one of the shark baits and switching to a ‘livey’ using the bronze – but decided it would be better for lunch…

Mid morning and the south-wester had started to pick up, further flattening the sea. There was no suggestion at packing up though – we were here to fish. Discussing the matter with our local assistant we came to the conclusion there was no point in moving to a totally new place now – too late in the day already. Instead we decided to hike a bit up the coast, and look for more promising deep water spots

No Zambezi, Howling Wind, and a few Small Fish

No Zambezi shark was caught this day – the baits offered got donated to the local gulls instead. No sharks at all for a change – these are usually a reliable catch with big baits in deeper water. The bag for the day was another bronze caught on our venture along the coastline. By lunchtime the wind was really howling – more than 40km/h and fishing conditions had become unpleasant – scratching for small fish became futile – the wind was putting such a large bow in the lines we wouldn’t have felt a bite anyway, so we packed up and headed back to the chalet. (Yes – a break with tradition – for security reasons we stayed in self catering chalet).

What would Day 2 at Mazeppa bring – we will have to see.

Ray the Fisherman

NOTE REGARDING PERSONAL SAFETY ON THE WILD COAST

When venturing into the Wild Coast, personal safety must always be considerred… The biggest problem is theft of ones possesions. For this reason I strongly recommend staying in a secure resort or similar accomodation – or even with locals. Tent and caravan camping can end up with a vacation cut short due to theft unless the camping ground is well managed and secure. Real violent crime common in more urbanised areas is relatively scarce, it is opportunistic type of crime that becomes a problem for holiday makers. If planning to stay for any length of time, a good idea is to meet the local tribal chieftain and negotiate ‘safe passage’ while in the area – it works and is not expensive.

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