At 4am on Friday morning Nick pulled into the Plantations parking lot to pick me up for an epic long weekend at Cape Vidal. The Baha Boys had teamed up with the Durban Fly Tyers for a fly fishing trip that was certainly not to be forgotten. We vigorously packed the car and then headed for the garage at the first toll plaza on the N2. Despite it being so early we were oozing excitement and rearing to go.
Just before 5am (the planned meeting time) we pulled into the garage and found ourselves a stool in the Steers where we ordered ourselves a steaming cup of coffee. Feeling a little peckish we also snuck in a small Steers burger which was quite possibly the worst tasting burger I’ve eaten. The wait then started…
At a quarter past 5 we received a phone call from Graeme saying that one of the boys had pulled out due to a bad case of the flu. Unfortunately the man in the trenches was their driver and the rest of the DFT boys were forced to change their travel arrangements last minute. Thankfully Neill stepped up to the plate and offered his bakie for the trip…all was back in order.
Our next stop was at the Wimpy just outside of Richards Bay where Nick and I got to meet Neill and John, two of the DFT members we’d not fished with before. We filled our tanks with mega coffees and R20 breakfasts before getting back onto the road with our sights still firmly set on Cape Vidal.
Clearly the DFT boys were less eager to get to the water than we were as they pulled over in St Lucia to buy a roll of tinfoil. Nick took the opportunity to brand Neill’s bakie with Baha decals while he was browsing around the Spar. This stop was immediately followed by another stop at another Wimpy for an apparently mandatory ice cream. Stop number 4 in a 3 hour drive…this seemed to be getting a little out of hand.
The DFT guys, always up for a little fun, clearly noticed our eagerness to get there and pulled over at a pizza place for pizza and beer. Now I don’t often turn down pizza and beer, but stop number 5, really? Thankfully they were just pulling our legs and shortly after that we entered the St Lucia game reserve and were quickly nearing Cape Vidal.
After a thirty minute drive through the reserve (with a little game viewing) we pulled into the parking lot at the Cape Vidal launch site. We kitted up the rods in a slight drizzle and then the 5 of us finally walked down to the beach.
Immediately in front of us was the launch site, which essentially consists of a natural bar of rocks that starts from the beach and heads out to sea in an arc. This rock structure eventually goes sub-surface forming a reef and a fantastic protected bay with little to no surf action. Snorkelers and kids thrive in this area…and apparently so do the kingies in the evenings and early mornings when they come in to feed on the bait fish which seek refuge here.
Looking north there were white beaches as far as I could see and looking south showed rocky ledges followed by a short stretch of beach and then some more rocks. “Where to start?” I wondered to myself.
Neill and John immediately headed north to fish the surf zones while Graeme headed south in search of shad. Nick and I, unsure of whom to follow, opted to fish the small bay from the rocks while we gave it some thought.
Nick was the first to get into a fish, a small Cape moonie which got him grinning from ear to ear. On his next cast he was hit again but missed it. I quickly sided up next to him and soon we were both nailing moonies almost cast for cast.
We were both fishing with small orange flies and, after getting sick of the moonies, we both put on larger, white flies in the hope of picking up something feeding on the moonies. Almost immediately we both got into juvenile yellowtail kingies. It’s amazing that, despite them being only slightly bigger than the moonies, they can pull that much harder.
At this point I’d landed 11 fish and Nick had landed 6. A group of swimmers, seeing us landing fish after fish, decided to come and snorkel directly in front of us. After almost hooking them several times we decided that it was a good time to explore the water to the south in search of species other than humans.
Graeme was on his way back and said he’d landed a couple of wave garrick and some queenfish. The shore break was huge but we braved it for around an hour, getting pounded by the waves, in search of more fish. I was rewarded for my hard work with a decent shad in the surf which I saw coming from a mile away. It smashed my fly on the surface of the wave with a huge splash, almost as if I was dry fly fishing. After a short but good fight I had the shad safely on the beach.
It was fast nearing lunch time so we headed back to the car where we met up with the rest of the boys and checked into our wooden chalet. Nick began unloading the car while I grabbed a few things and headed up to the stairs to our house in the trees. It was at this point that I heard Nick yelling profanities.
Whilst unpacking the car Nick had heard some monkeys directly behind him. Upon turning around he quickly spotted them in the trees eating somebodies rolls. His immediate reaction was to laugh his arse off at the unfortunate people who had lost their food. He then looked down and quickly realised that one of the sneaky monkeys had in fact taken our rolls. In a quasi-rage he chased the monkeys thus leaving the car unprotected to be further raided by the backup monkeys. My word those guys are sneaky.
With most of our food recovered, and now on full guard, we continued unpacking the vehicle and finally got to sit down with one of our home brewed Baha beers for lunch. This was accompanied by a few, now rationed, hotdogs.
Feeling rather relaxed post lunch we headed back to the beach and once again all went off in our separate directions. Graeme once again headed south while Neill and John, who’d got a handful of wave garrick in the morning, once again headed north.
Looking at the large shore break which seemed to have only gotten bigger, Nick and I once again decided to head for moonie point in the hope that we’d get into some bigger yellowtail kingies. Sadly we found no more kingies and ended up landing moonie after moonie. I stopped counting at 30 and Nick got round about the same number.
Although it wasn’t what we wanted, the moonies had provided us with great entertainment on day one and we headed home in the dark, hoping for smaller seas the following morning.
Another DFT member, who’d come up later in the day, joined us that evening. Paul had fished the beaches to the north and had, like the other guys, landed mostly waves garrick with the added benefit of one small blacktail.
That evening we fired up a monster fire, tanned some meat, and enjoyed a few home brewed beers and the left overs of some Mozambican rum. As with all boys fishing trips we spoke rubbish until midnight and then crawled into bed ready for the next day’s fishing.
Day two got off to a slower start than we’d hoped for. Nick and I were up at 5am but there was a lot of rain about and the rest of the crew were still fast asleep. As such we remained in bed and finally got up at closer to 7am when the rain had subsided.
We quickly threw down a few of Graeme’s wife rusks and then headed for the beach. Sadly the shore break was still huge and far from ideal for fly fishing. Nick and I once again targeted the bay but sadly it produced nothing other than moonies.
Getting a little annoyed with the rats and mice we headed south and took on the punishing seas. I worked hard for a single wave garrick but eventually we decided to head back to the chalet to reassess our situation.
Back in the chalet we sat around the table tying up flies and chatting about the afternoon session. The tide was starting to pull and I hoped that that meant a smaller shore break in the afternoon.
After a little lunch everyone looked to be settling in for a nap. Annoyed that I hadn’t yet fished the northern beaches I packed my kit and announced my intentions to head out. Nick decided to give it a miss and relax in the chalet while Neill pounced on the idea and we headed off up the beach.
Thankfully, with the tide having pulled back, conditions were greatly improved. The sun also peaked out from behind the clouds for the first time of the weekend so all was looking good. We began fishing the shallows and any holes and channels we could find. Soon we were rewarded with thick shoals of largespot pompano and I was pulling out a fish every second or third cast. Looking up the beach Neill seemed to be having the same luck I was. I quietly smiled to myself.
We kept heading north and eventually found a channel running close to the beach. Amazingly there was a sandshark lying in it and Neill quickly changed flies in the hope of landing the beautiful creature. He had a quick few flicks as it lazily moved off to deeper water and we never saw it again.
Moving further along the beach I upped my species count by getting into a few bastard mullet. I’d heard the stories of these fish but you never really believe them until you experience it for yourselves. They pull like absolute busses and I had a fantastic fight with one the length of my stripping basket.
Later in the afternoon the rest of the boys joined us. Sadly the tide was at its absolute lowest and the fishing had gone quiet. We still got the odd fish but the flurry we’d experienced earlier in the day was long gone. Nick seemed to be punished for some reason as he continued to catch moonies in the surf while the rest of us got wave Garrick (I’m convinced they were following him wherever he went). We relaxed on the beach and chatted whilst watching the sun set before heading back to the bay as it darkened.
Back at the sheltered bay I threw a few casts in the dark hoping the kingies were out but sadly there were none to be found. It’s quite possible that this was since they’d moved the launch area deep into the bay and there was a good chance the boats were disturbing the fish.
After a fantastic shower than removed most of the sand lodged in my orifices by the shore break we lit another fire and relaxed around it with Baha brews. It had been a good day and I was ecstatic that I’d headed north and landed a new species.
Nick headed off to bed early while the rest of us relaxed around the fire waiting for the resident bush pigs to come and inspect the fire, as they do like clockwork every evening. After feeding them a few scraps we snuck in final rum or two and then climbed into bed at around 11pm.
Sunday morning was a relaxed pack up session with the plan being to fish after packing the cars. The morning was dominated by wildlife visits with Nick getting into a heated session with one of the Samango monkeys. They’re so cheeky that they open doors and come inside if you don’t lock them. And they’ll take food from the kitchen while you’re standing around it. On a more pleasant note a tame bushbuck also visited us in the camp and we had a great time feeding him our left over oats.
By the time we’d finished packing Nick and I decided that getting wet and full of sand was not a great idea before the long drive home. As such we said our farewells to the DFT boys and headed back through the game reserve and home.
Cape Vidal was an epic weekend with many hours of tough fly fishing. We made new friends and landed new species. And although we landed no big fish, Nick and I got well over 100 fish in the two days we fished (over 300 fish were landed in total). We will most definitely be back!