How to fight a fish?

How to fight a fish?

Would you like to know how to fight a fish?


The most important thing when fighting a fish is to keep constant pressure on the fish. I like to work the fish closer with the rod and then wind down as I lower the rod back to fish while keeping a bend in the rod. As the fish moves closer to the boat I loosen the drag slightly to allow the fish to run if it is still a bit feisty.

However, I use my thumb to add pressure on the spool of the reel, by doing this the fish still has to work hard. But with the thumb on the spool it is easy to reduce pressure quickly, thus allowing the fish to move a away with out breaking your line.

Another detail that people miss is how much drag is created by fishing line and as hard as it seem it remains very important to loosen your drag when the fish is far out. Especially when the fish is traveling at speed.

When the line is far out and the fish settles it is advisable to just up the drag to get line back unto the reel and then at the same time to use the boat to work towards the fish, It is always best to not drive directly to the fish as you might cut your own line off. So a small angle is very use full.

Constant communication between the angler and skipper can also great aid in avoiding mishaps. Many skippers prefer that one keeps the ratchet of the reel engaged. This helps them to “follow” the fight audibly while making sure that their is no other obstacles in the way.

Do not get impatient towards the end of the fight. Many fish are lost at this last hurdle when anglers up the drag for that last “pull”!

For information contact Fishing Pro Shop

How to fight a fish?
How to fight a fish?

St. Lazarus Banks

St Lazarus Banks

Where can one find Dogtooth Tuna, massive GT’s and a abundance of other game fish? Many locations will spring to mind, like the Seychelles, Madagascar, Bassas de India and of course St Lazarus banks.

St Lazarus banks lie off the northern coast of Mozambique, approximately North East off Pemba and East from QUISIVI in the Quirimba’s archipelago. The banks lie in the nutrient rich Mozambique current and rise from a depth off 3000 meter to 10 meters over a very short distance. These conditions form a ideal home for all game fish species. Couple that with the fact that long liners and commercial netters avoid the area and you have what I will call game fish central.

So the choice was made that St Lazarus will be our destination and luckily a friend of mine, John Nel runs one of a handful of fishing operations to the banks. John informed us that their fishing season runs from August to end April due to weather and that the fish seem to become bigger towards the end of the season.

We liked the idea of bigger fish later in the season, so we booked our trip for the 27th of April through to the first of May. All we needed now was to get a fishing group together.

Larry Class was immediately in followed by  Danie Visagie with whom I have fished at Bassas da India. My good friend Ehrard van Heerden was also more than up for a fishing trip of a life time! I was elated as one requires seriously committed fisherman who can live in confined spaces that will often not be in the most comfortable of places and we had these qualities in this group.

The next concern was tackle and only the best will do, we assembled a range of tackle including Shimano Stellas , the new Penn Torque spinning reels, Jigging Master Rods, Heru poppers and a assortment of jigs. Most reels were spooled with  Tufline braid, leaders were tied on and tested again and again. We were ready.

Wednesday ,27 April was D-day and the group got together just before 0600 at OR Tambo international. Every one was in great spirits and keen to leave a cold and unseasonaly wet Gauteng behind.

We boarded the LAN flight, the flight would take us to Maputo where the plane would refuel before flying on to Pemba. Everything went according to plan and we landed at a very hot and humid Pemba International Airport, our skipper Lucas was there to meet us and he took us straight to the aptly named St Lazarus, a 35ft G-Cat that would be our home and fishing platform for the next few days. Tackle was unpacked and all the unnecessary bags were sent to a place of safe keeping to ensure maximum fishing space.

Our next mission was to reach the Quirimba Archipelago where we would anchor before setting off to the banks. We trolled large Marlin lures on our way, but unfortunately with-out any action. The sun started setting as we reached Quisivi. All of us were so keen to catch a fish that we targeted the Karapau and Squid that came to investigate the boat at anchor.


At 2300 we lifted anchor and set off for the banks, we had a very bumpy night steaming directly into the swell and I don’t believe that any one slept much. We arrived on the banks just after first light and what a beautiful sight to see the water change colour from a deep blue purple to a light green as we moved onto the banks.

The popper rods came out immediately and it was not long before we had our first visitors, a pack of Sailfish charged at our poppers but we just could not get a popper to stick in their hard mouths, the sailies were soon replaced by the first GT of the trip landed on a Cuberra popper. We continued popping for the another few hours, with every one getting a few kings, we also had a Dogtooth Tuna inspecting our offerings, but once again a hook-up eluded us!

By 1200 every one was sufficiently warmed up and we decided that it was now time to target a big Doggie on a live bait. We did not have to travel far before we had a brace of Rainbow Runners, the preferred food of big Dogs.

The drift was set and it did not take long before our first client arrived, turning out to be a decent dog that we managed to release successfully. That was our last dog for the day. The weather had progressively gotten better all day ending with a perfectly flat see as the sun settled in the west. We enjoyed a braai while catching a variety of snappers and other reef fish on drop shot tackle.

Friday morning started out with popping again and the kings did not disappoint! We were here to catch big doggies, so out went the live bait rigs and back came the Sailfish, Ehrard hooked his first sailie ever on a very light spinning outfit with a light leader, unfortunately the thin leader parted! Larry had dropped a jig in the meantime was on with something big!!! Larry fought the fish hard and after 10 minutes we had a number plate. One big GT. The GT attracted the attention of a monstrous Doggie and I just had to drop her a bone… Oh dear ,big mistake! The fish proceeded to spool my Gorilla 12C taking 300meters of 80lb braid set at a 18kg drag as if she was still feeding!

Eventually, after a long struggle  with wahoo jumping on all our offerings we found a bait suitable for a doggie and it was not long before Ehrard was in with his first Dog followed by Danie with a great beast of a dog.

We set off to our popping spot, but mindful of the sailfish in the area we beefed up our leaders to 50lb. This paid dividends as Ehrard once again hooked up on a very acrobatic sailfish which he managed to land.

The afternoon was once again for popping ,but this was different, the Kings that came up to play were big, real big with myself and Larry being smashed before John managed to get one to the boat for a photo session! Huge fish…

Friday evening was bumpy with the current pushing one way and the wind the other … Not conducive to resting and I must admit that a few of us were a bit on the green side!

We did not pop as hard as per normal in the morning with the goal being to get a dog for Larry. Bait was scarce and it was only by late morning that we found the Rainbow Runners. Luckily they were close to the area frequented by the dogs. The first few drifts were slow with no action and we needed to start heading back due to bad weather approaching. Lucas the skipper called it. “Last drift!”

As we hit the 60 meter mark the Tiagra gave that scream that we were waiting for and Larry was in! The battle of wills took 40 minutes before we had Larry’s monster on board… What a machine!

The time had come to leave the Banks and a time for reflection. The weather worsened as we headed for the sanctuary of the Quirimbas where we had a good nights sleep. We planned to do some more fishing on the Sunday morning, but the weather just did not allow it and we had a plane to catch later in the day, so we steamed at full speed for Pemba.

Lucas invited us for crab and a shower at his place in Pemba which was accepted with-out any hesitation. The crab was wonderful and so was the hot shower.

I think every one of us slept on the flight back to  Johannesburg. We arrived back to a cold and wet Jo’burg. The planning for the next “long weekend ” has already begun!

For any more info on this trip contact Johan or Charles at the Fishing Pro Shop on 012 809 3334.

Planning your fishing trip?

Planning your fishing trip?

Hi to our all new web audience!

Welcome to our new website and content channel. To fire it all up, here is how I plan ahead regards weather and conditions…

Unfortunately going fishing has become quite expensive and their fore it is vital to plan your trips to coincide with the most productive times. Before I start planning I have a look at the long term weather forecasts using the following online programs:




Passage Weather   

Yr weather                

Accu Weather         

I generally use the top four for my salt water fishing as they indicate wind, wave size and wave frequency and the latter two for my inland fishing. Preferably tri to get two or three of the programs to agree on the weather!!!

Further to this on the Saltwater side I use:

this gives me a good indication of ocean temps which can be critical on deciding what to target. Fishtrack also has a very nice feature on the sidebar

Tides/Solunar Table (Solunar theory explained allows you to drag the cursor anywhere on the map and then get the tides and the best fishing times during the day. Definitely worth becoming a paying member as this will also give you a seven day bouyweather forecast.

If we are fishing in land (fly fishing for yellows) I check the flow rates of the rivers at:

and state of our dams at

All of these programs are free and pretty accurate, allowing the angler every opportunity to be at the water when the bite is on!