Ray the Fisherman

A fisherman who works as a sub-contractor, project manager and consultant when I am not fishing. Living in the Mossel Bay area, with access to some really good pristine fishing spots allows me to pursue my favourite occupation as much as possible. I really feel sorry for all those people who miss out on one of life's real pleasures; a large fish on the end of a line.

Homepage: https://mosselbaai.wordpress.com

Goodbye South Africa

Goodbye South Africa – We Will Miss You

It’s sad to say goodbye to a country that gave me a good life for many years, to all our friends and colleagues. But eventually I realised I had no choice.

I first came to South Africa as a young man on a backpacking holiday, keen to explore new places, discover new cultures, meet new friends. It’s true to say I fell in love with this country shortly after arriving.

After I finished learning my trade, I took a long break from the damp, cold weather of Yorkshire which I spent backpacking around Africa, and South Africa. I inquired about getting a job in this sunny, friendly land. The possibilities looked good. Skilled, qualified tradesmen were wanted in those days.

I went back home, worked for almost a year, but all the time I was thinking about South Africa.

I Decided to Move

It was easy in those days (early 1970’s) for a Brit to work in South Africa. I wrote to a few of the people I’d met before, and was offered a job! So, there and then I decided.

Marriage and Citizenship

My first employer was in Cape Town, and this was where I met my wife, Jen. When we decided to marry, I decided to become a South African, and applied for citizenship. Eventually, I was granted this (it took a while). I was proud to call myself a South African.

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Changing Times

Hi all.

It’s been some time since I’ve done any blogging… There have been so many changes in my life the past 9 months, and I’ve had little time to write or fish.

I was made an offer I could not refuse (sounds like a 1930’s Chicago gangster offer doesn’t it) and I am heavily involved with this new work opportunity. There were all the things to do as well; red tape, work visas for Jen and me, sell the house, the vehicles and the furniture, say good-bye to friends and neighbours… Anyone who has emigrated will know what I mean.

I am no longer in Mossel Bay, or even in South Africa any longer, and this blog is mosselbaai – not very appropriate any longer. I haven’t yet decided what I will do with it, whether I will keep it or not. I don’t see myself having much time in the near future to maintain and write new posts however.

I have asked contributors to move any articles they kindly allowed me to use for this blog to their own blogs if possible… Should I delete the blog, it would be a pity for the readers to lose some of the useful fishing information they contain…

Thank you all for following me these past couple of years – it’s been a lot of fun

Ray the Fisherman

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Know the Job

Surely a Contractor Must Know the Job?

Wouldn’t you think a contractor, or a sub-contractor must know the work in order to be awarded a contract? Evidently this is not a requirement  any more.  How can a business award contracts, then hire someone else (who previously undertook the work) to instruct the new sub-contractors how to do it? Seems to me there’s something wrong with this equation.

To my mind, the contractor knows the work. He hires workers able to undertake the tasks, and instructs the workers how to do the job. Isn’t that the way it works. Apparently not. Sub-contractors get contracts without more than a very basic level of skill. I’ve had a welding team in the past month that may be OK to knock up a set of burglar bars or a braai stand, but have no idea how to run a weld for a pressure vessel. Hell, this so called contractor doesn’t even have an argon rig… they arrive on site with a couple of oil filled AC arc boxes – those kind you buy at Game or Makro.

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Shad Run Madness

photo of shad fishermen

Shad fishing South Coast style… (Image from thesardine.co.za)

The Seasons are Changing So Must the Fishing

Mid May and winter is around the corner. We have already seen the change in fish being caught in the area. The species common in summer have become fewer in number while winter fish hasn’t really started yet.

Fewer elf have been seen lately. These tasty bait fish are most prevalent in Mossel Bay during summer, but come the winter months and the drop in sea temperature sees these fish begin their annual migration up the East Coast to the spawning grounds off KZN, and to face the gauntlet of Natal’s ‘shad-run’.

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Footprints in the Sodwana Sand

photo of of beach at mseni

The Beach Below Mseni - Sodwana, South Africa

We left our footprints in the sand and nothing else. Who would leave trash on this pristine beach? Anyone doing so should be expelled from the reserve without refund. During the night it rained, and heading down to the beach on the Mseni side we found sand showing no sign of human presence. If not for the wooden stairway leading to the beach one could easily believe the we were the only people ever to have set foot on this beach…

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Sodwana Bay Nature Reserve

sodwana bay lighthouse form bay side beach

Sodwana Bay Lighthouse seen from the beach

One hundred kilometers south of Mozambique lies the Sodwana Bay Nature Reserve. Forming part of an extensive conservation area incorporating the Lake St Lucia Wetlands, Kosi Bay and several private game reserves, this coastal reserve is second only in size to the famous Kruger National Park. In recent years proposals have been made to extend the reserve to join up with Mozambique, creating one vast nature conservation area in the Maputaland Corridor.

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Arrived at Sodwana

photo of sodwana bay

Sodwana Bay - Seen from Lighthouse path

We got here at last. After leaving the Kingfisher in Durban, we got on to the northbound highway, determined to get to our ultimate destination with no further delays.

A Good Road North

The N2 national road from Durban to Hluhluwe is a pleasure to drive on. Although it carries a fair amount of traffic, the surface is in better condition than many of the other main arterial routes in South Africa, is double-carriage for a good part of the way, and the toll sections are reasonably priced.

On another occasion I may have been tempted to stop off at Tugela Mouth or Mazeppa Bay, but we suddenly realised nearly a week had gone by. For a change we arrived at the campground, run by Conservation Services (the old Natal Parks Board) while it was still light, and the office was open so we could book in. Late arrivals can still check in, paying a deposit to the rangers at the gate, but then must call in to the office first thing the next day to sign the register.

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Rocky Bay, Bait and Heading On

photo of rocky bay beach

The Beach at Rocky Bay - KZN

Good intentions lost out to fishing. Plans to be in Durban by shop opening time got way-laid by the desire to wet a line in the morning. Overnight stop at Rocky Bay, south of Durban found us camped within  50 footsteps of the shore, so the call of the fish was just too powerful to ignore.

Rocky Bay has not Produced Much Fish

That’s what the local early morning anglers had to say. For several years this spot has been un-productive. Theories abound why this previous hot-spot has been so quiet in recent years. Some say the sandbank running along the coast is keeping the fish away from the shore, others say the sandbank will keep the feeding shoals in-shore. Offshore fisherman are catching, so there are fish in the area.

The sandbank theory makes sense to me – It can clearly be seen extending a long way along this part of the coastline, and is very shallow. Waves build up on the bank and break, before continuing to the beach.

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Wild Coast to KZN

photo of port st johns umzimvubu river

Port St Johns on the Umzimvubu River

Leaving Mazeppa we took N2 National Road as far as Umtata, then veered back towards the coast and Port St Johns. This scanic route winds it’s way through the rural part of the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal, along some really poor roads. It’s worth it though, this is maginificent landscape – anyone with a suitable vehicle and the time really should travel this region.

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