Getting up at 6am on a Sunday is not everybody’s cup of tea. But the prospect of catching yellowtail and snoek around Cape Point made it easier to sacrifice some sleep.
The trip started in the pretty marina of Simonstown aboard Destiny – a powerful skiboat of Cape Boat Charters, powered by two four-stroke engines of 150hp each. Our group of four anglers was quite a colourful mix: a Finnish couple from Spain, a guy from Johannesburg and a German student, but after the introductions from our skipper Alan we found we all got along very well from the beginning, and the day promised to be a lot of fun.
Leisurely cruising out of the marina, the skipper gave us some safety instructions before the boat accelerated and shot along the scenic coastline of the Cape Peninsula towards Cape Point. During the half-hour trip, Alan took some time to introduce us to some of the various points of interest we passed: the penguin colony of Simonstown and a rock full of Cape Fur Seals, the main diet of the Great White Shark. One of our party was especially interested in the Cape bird world and thanks to the experienced guidance of our skipper we were able to see some rare birds like albatross and petrels.
As we neared our destination, the Cape weather showed its ambivalent character. Having departed Simonstown in bright morning sunshine, we now found heavy clouds hovering above us. In addition, around Cape Point the sea started to get fairly bumpy, a phenomenon referred to as the “washing machine” by the locals. Nonetheless, as we made our way around the most south-westerly tip of Africa, we were able to experience the famous tourist attraction from a completely new and impressive perspective.
Finally arriving at the fishing grounds, we eagerly put our lines into the water and began trolling our way further out to sea. Excited chatter quietened as the minutes ticked by. Nothing. It was a disappointment after our initial anticipation, but we all understood that such things happen.
Alan made a great effort to make catching some fish possible for us and thanks to some insider contacts he received the tip that could save the day, just when we started heading back around Cape Point. Speeding to the promising location we could see a couple of other boats already floating in the area. Eagerly we grabbed our rods again.
The technique for catching snoek is fairly simple, though physically demanding: let the spoon lure sink to the bottom and reel it in as fast as possible. It took a few attempts to convince the fish but by the third try I seemed to have figured it out. Bam! The rod bowed down to the force tearing on the other end of the line. Finally! The fish was clearly not going to give up without a good fight, which was great fun on the fairly light tackle we were using. When I eventually dragged aboard the first snoek of the day, I could have not been more pleased. From this point on, the catches and the weather got equally better, and one after another our group reeled in snoek after snoek, each around 4 kilograms.
Then the action stopped as suddenly as it had begun. The snoek had moved on or were simply no longer in the mood to jump on our bait. So we returned to Simonstown around 3.30pm, stopping en route to clean the fish. Alan also gave us some tips on how to braai our catch (salt, pepper, a few squirts of lemon juice and some garlic butter) – simple but delicious, the perfect way to top off a fun day.
Fishing around Cape Point with an experienced guide is exceptional fun when fishing for yellowtail and snoek on light tackle and gives the opportunity to see the Cape from a whole new angle. Next up… 30kg yellowfin tuna.
by Florian Suess