Tuesday, February 24, 2009

THIS IS SPARTAAAAAAAAA!!!!! or something like that...

I dunno who has the time to think up all this crap, but it's wickedly good...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Diamonds are a guy's best friend...

or, at least, these diamonds are. This is my first Diamond Ray, which I caught on Sunday 22nd just before 5pm.

I had arranged to meet some of the guys from the Cape Town Fishing website at Hangklip, on the other side of False Bay from where we are, on Sunday to catch the incoming tide and maybe a geelbek (salmonid fish) or two which are supposed to be running riot out there at the moment.

I got out there a little later than expected as there were some things to do around the house and I only left just after 11h30. I thought I had enough time, but it turned out to be a 100km drive! I checked the spots indicated on my Google Earth printout but there were no shore anglers to be seen so I turned around and made my way back toward Gordons Bay. If need be I would even fish from the harbour wall, just so long as I could wet my line.

I fished at a spot called Platbankies 1, pictured above, which is anything but "plat" (flat). It is, in fact, a 200m hike down a cliff face (and up again later). It is difficult to get a good cast out and ended up in me landing on my arse getting my thigh and arm scraped and bruised when I tried too hard to get some distance. It's a nice deep-water area so there really was no need to try and get extra distance so it was all my own fault anyway. However, I was lucky, as I could have fallen into the very same gulley I would land the Diamond Ray in a little later, and would probably have broken something, such as my neck.

I had been trying a few different types of bait in the couple of hours I had been there, getting hooks stripped on every throw. It wasn't until I threw a mackerel fillet and I foul-hooked a strepie (karanteen) around 4pm that I confirmed what nibbler was chewing my baits off. I had hooked the strepie right at the point where you would insert a slide hook so I immediately changed to a slide knowing it would only be a matter of time before the strepie got taken either alive or dead. And I wasn't disappointed. In just over 1hr, as there was nowhere for me to put my "pension pipe" into the ground, I was sitting on a rock holding the rod straight out in front of me (like straight-sticking) and I felt the tension pick up followed by a few clicks of the drag and I knew it was a flatfish and not a bronzie shark.

I struck the fish hard and about ten minutes later, after dragging the ray into a gulley, I had to land, photo, unhook and release it all on my own as there was no-one else around. It measured 112cm in diameter (tables show 12.7kg).

What a beeaatch to land...but a pleasure in seeing it swim off...

I threw out another couple of small mackerel fillets, but each time got stripped, until about 18h30 when the wind very suddenly picked up to gale force and it became very unpleasant. After another hour or so of bracing myself every time I saw the wind come across the water, I decided I'd had enough and packed up my gear for the hike uphill.

Here you can see the wind whipping the water off the top of the incoming swell. The swell was moving left to right, but the wind was in the opposite direction.

Sitting in the car, panting, I SMS'd SWMSBO that I was on my way and the force of the wind made it feel as though the bakkie was going to be flung over the cliff. Every time the wind gusted through, it felt like the front of the car was lifting up and in a bakkie the size of that, you know how hard the wind was blowing. It was quite scary and I got the hell out of Dodge before something bad happened and you would not have got to read this story...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SA Politics is in the News again...or is that "still"?

Carl Niehaus is the ex-spokesperson for the ANC, currently facing possible fraud charges, and eviction from his "townhouse" (looks more like a fuckin' mansion to me) for failing to pay the rent. On top of it all, the sheriff's guys arrived to attach some of his furniture for non-payment only to find that it is all part of the furnished, rented, townhouse...

This article was written by Brandon Faber, on News24, a local news report website...

17/02/2009 10:31 - (SA) Brandon Faber

I don't see why everyone is so shocked at the revelation that Carl "The cheque's in the mail" Niehaus is a less than honest man, habitual liar, fraudster. Surely that's a prerequisite for being the spokesperson for the gang of thieves and scallywags ruling the land?

I can imagine his job interview going something like this. "So, Carl, you're a pathological liar/general lowlife and talk more nonsense than Manto could on a good day. You don't have a doctorate as you said, you're dishonorable, despicable and deplorable in every sense of the word... we bet you'd steal candy from a baby." "YOU ARE PERFECT for the job my boy! Welcome to the club comrade - here's a government credit card. Spend it wisely." (nudge-nudge, wink-wink).

I mean really people. The ANC haven't a clue what it means to keep their fingers out of everyone's and anyone's cookie jar. There is a big difference between being a liberation movement and governing a country effectively and, sadly for us all, this troop of circus freaks just don't have a clue.

We may as well complete the picture and populate parliament with some ponies, dogs, elephants (real ones) - and about a hundred barrels of hay. Manto can be the opening act with her "magic beetroot and garlic" trick. "The Great" Toni Yengeni can be our resident illusionist (now you see me, now you don't) and Jacob "I'm not a crook" Zuma will be our cannonball guy... Finally a chance to fly high.

Young Julius will, of course, delight the crowds with his water-squirting flower, oversized shoes and moegoe behaviour while Jackie Selebi and Co will handle the knife throwing part of the entertainment. Snacks will be provided by a company affiliated to the wife of suspended SAA chief, Khaya Ngqula, and, for those seeking a more mind-altering experience, the SAA cabin crew kiosk near the back is not to be missed.

It's not all fun and games however ladies and gentlemen. The ruling roosters of South Africa realise the importance of education so every person attending will receive government-endorsed copies of "Embezzlement for dummies", "The beginner's guide to cronyism" and "How to ask for your day in court but do everything within your power (and the taxpayer's budget) to avoid it."

Tickets go on sale next week and can be bought from the friend of a cousin, of a KwaZulu-Natal business man that also happens to be a Jacob Zuma supporter. All you need to do to guarantee your seats to the best show in town is send an e-mail to southafricanmamparra@gmail.com - with your bank account details, ID number, scanned copy of your signature, mother's maiden name, copy of your passport and finger prints - as well as your physical address and the times when nobody will be home - and your tickets will be rushed to you ASAP.

Not only that, but, if you buy now* - we'll throw in a free copy of "Talking kak my way" - by Carl Niehaus.

*Offer valid while stocks last.

Just WHEN and HOW LONG is it going to take for this fuckin' population to wake up and smell the coffee/roses/fraudsters? How much more is the ANC and its gravy-train robbers going to steal from the country before the population decides it's had enough? The mind doesn't boggle...because there are no brains in the sector of this population that votes for these arseholes...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Not a bad weekend, even if I didn't get to go fishing...

thanks to the weatherman. Windguru.com had predicted that the strong SE wind would drop on Sunday afternoon but, as usual, the weather "guru's" were wrong. It blew non-stop, at gale force, from Friday morning right through until this morning when it calmed slightly, even though it's still too strong to go and wet a line at the moment.

Getting back to the weekend, it wasn't a bad one. I managed to keep busy and see some of the Super14 rugby games including the one where the Sharks came from behind to beat the Stormers (whew!).

I guess it all started on Saturday morning though. As planned, I got up early, had a cup of coffee, checked when the good sport was to be broadcast on TV, then got stuck into the garden. I pruned some trees, mowed the lawn and swept up the berries from these godforsaken bushes they have on the coast here. They're worse than bloody syringa trees, honestly! At least with syringas, the stuff that falls off them doesn't stink, but these bushes (fuck knows what they're called) have a little blossom that turns into a little white then purple berry that falls onto the ground and putrifies like a week old dead fish. I must have filled about half a black plastic bin bag with all the berries.

Anyway, I dumped all the rubbish into the back of the bakkie, then took a drive to the dump. I was going to go to the newly-discovered Kommetjie dump which is just around the corner from us, but fancied a scenic drive to Simonstown dump instead. I will do almost anything, including drive out of my way, to have a look at the sea. After leaving the dump, I made my way back over the old pass, but not before stopping to rescue a distressed "Boomer"-like dog that was obviously lost. Meet my new pal, Sandy...

Luckily Sandy had a tag on his collar with a cell number which I called. The old man who answered the call was very surprised to hear that his dog had gone walkies, as he had "just dropped him off at a dog-minder as we are going away for the weekend". My first words to him were "Call your dog-minder and ask him how Sandy is doing". I'm not sure if he did or not, but it would have been good to hear the response. Sandy jumped into the old man's Merc and off they went, and I left for home after taking a photo of the dog to show Steph (and claim my bonus points).

Once I got home, I resolved to finish off the antique desk I was renovating. I was tired of seeing it stand under plastic on the patio outside the house. Much longer in this salty air and it would probably start rotting. So I finished off the sanding, fixed a crack in one of the pillars, then used wood filler to fill some old screw holes on the drawers, left by the old handles I'd thrown away. It wasn't going to be an easy job though. We'd had a new surface made for the desk before we left Shit Towne and, as Murphy would have it, it didn't fit the frame properly. The pattern you can see in the surface edges did not correspond with those on the old frame, but I wasn't to be outdone...I have a router and a circular saw. First, I routed the edge of the frame to see if I could get it to match the surface, but that didn't work as I couldn't get the corners routed far enough back without cutting into the corners of the desk. Then I decided to make the corners a feature of the desk, taking a few centimetres off each of the sides so that there was just a part of the routed corner left showing. As you can see by the picture, the corners now look like they are part of the new surface, rather than part of the old frame.

Once that was done, I started oiling the desk with Teak Oil and the colour that came out of the Kiaat wood was amazing. Deep hues of gold and brown. The oil soaked into the wood quickly and I gave it three coats with a rag which, with hindsight, was not the best way to do it as there are little bits of fluff (which can be rubbed off by hand) stuck to some of the rougher parts of the plywood panels. I have to replace those panels sometime as I sanded through to the second layer on some of the panels when taking the old varnish off. That's for another day though. Right now, it looks great and it's good to be sitting at a proper desk instead of a sewing table.

Incidentally, when I went looking for new drawer handles and told the old geezer at Mica Hardware that it was an old government desk, he seemed to be knowledgable enough to claim that it was probably made by prisoners in the old days. He appeared to recognise the type of work they did back then so spoke quite authoratively on the subject saying that prisoners made a lot of the old government furniture in their workshops. Maybe he was a prisoner back in the days...

So I finished sanding the drawers, oiled them three times, drilled the holes for the new drawer handles and carried the frame into the dining area out of the sun. Once I'd fininshed screwing the new locks and handles onto the drawers, I put them into their rightful slots and laid the surface onto the frame...magnificent.

I haven't mounted the surface on permanently yet, as I'm trying to decide whether to screw or glue it on. Fishman, suggestions please...I think glue, like the old top had.

While I was busy on all this, SWMSBO and my mom (who is visiting for three weeks) went out shopping. I thought they were going for a movie too, but they were back quite quickly considering they were two women in a mall the size of Sandton City.

On Saturday evening, we went to the Imperial Garden, a Chinese restaurant in Fish Hoek. Very good value for money and the wine was half the price of any other restaurant. If I remember correctly, the bill came to R440 including tip, and we all had starters, main courses, and the womenfolk shared a deep-fried banana as dessert.

On Sunday morning, I decided to lie in bed and read a while, crawling out into the daylight at about 11h30. I'm almost finished Ken Follett's newest novel "World without End" which is just over 1,300 pages long but is quite a good read, full of information about medieval England.

The three of us manoeuvered the desk into its current place and rearranged the other furniture to make it look like it had been there for a while, then I got out the fishing tackle bag and sorted out the contents. I also stripped my Torium50 reel down to give it a good oiling, something I hadn't done recently. I also though I'd fucked up pretty badly too as there was a drag ratchet pawl on the handle that sprung out on its spring when I loosened the star drag. Once I'd oiled the reel, I battled with my mind as to how I was going to get the pawl back in place and it took me a good half hour before I realised the little hole on the end of the main shaft was there for more than just oil. I placed the pawl in its slot on the spring, pushed it into the recess and slid a thin bait needle into the hole...voila, the pawl was held in place and I wound on the star drag to its rightful tension. Having the parts diagram next to me was a big help too, as it just confirmed that the pawl wasn't just some spare part that wasn't actually needed, even though it didn't explain how to get the pawl back into place. With all the bits and pieces in place in the bag, I decided I needed to make a light frame to support the bag contents rather than just having everything stored in a soft bag. Today I went out and bought the aluminium angle rods and this coming weekend I will build a frame for the inside of the tackle bag...stand by for photos of that.

The rest of the evening was spent in front of the TV, watching the Mnet movie ("Rendition" - with Reese Witherspoon, who plays the wife of an Egyptian who is arrested for a bomb plot in Cairo) and then reading myself to sleep after that. All in all, a nice relaxing weekend...

Hope yours was too...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Angling is like Buddhism...

it's more a lifestyle than a sport.

Or, at least, for those of us who pursue it passionately, it is a lifestyle.

Both my brother and I are anglers and he is a great rock and surf angler, but aside from a number of trips on the deep sea ski boats, he hasn't taken his angling any further. Perhaps he doesn't need to, as he catches enough fish from the beach.

My father, on the other hand, is a great all-round angler, one of the best I know in fact. He started angling as a youngster in Scotland, sometimes poaching fish to earn a few bucks for the fish he sold to butchers. He once told me he held the unofficial world record for a freshwater salmon (the number 76lbs sticks in my mind) but he couldn't claim the record because it was poached (in fact, gaffed, it was so big) on private waters.

While he was growing up, dad got into fly fishing and for the most part, tied his own flies with great success. For anyone who knows fly tying, you will know that it involves great skill and patience, understanding the feeding habits of the fish you're trying to attract and the waters you'll be presenting your fly on. Scotland has some of the best fly fishing waters in the UK, although some of the fish are what we might call tiddlers these days, even compared to the hatchery trout we get in SA.

When we moved to SA in 1969, we moved to Springs, a little town just outside Johannesburg, and dad got us interested in angling in the dams, catching carp and barbel (catfish). He lost interest in it though, I think, when we started showing interest and proficiency in this aspect of the lifestyle.

But dad also dabbled a while in rock and surf angling, quite possibly to interest my brother and I in yet another form of angling. Just after we moved to Stanger on the north coast of SA, dad bought us all decent equipment and I still remember the first time we went to the beach together and I caught a small sandshark. He talked me all through the bite, what to wait for, when to strike, how to play and land the fish. Quite possibly, my brother will remember those times as well, but he ended up doing his own thing and developed his own (successful) style of angling.

At one point, after being friends with some of the commercial fishermen and going out on boats with them a few times, dad and a friend bought a small ski boat that was rigged out for deep sea fishing, and he took us out on a few occasions. Deep sea fishing is great fun, but not if you get seasick easily. Luckily for our family, all the men seem to have their "sea legs" and don't suffer from seasickness.

Just a couple of years ago, I got into the fly fishing "scene" and bought dad a 5wt fly rod, reel and line as I wanted to try flies in the sea, as well as see if I could rekindle his passion in fly fishing. After all, he has the entire Indian Ocean on his doorstep. To this date, dad is the only one of us all to catch a fish in the sea on fly. It was a small pompano, taken in the shallows just down from their house.

As for myself, aside from the aspects of the lifestyle I've mentioned myself in above, I enjoy angling because it gets me out of the house ("you watch too much tv") and into the fresh air. I get to socialise with people I would never have met if we didn't share the same passion in angling and we talk passionately about our shared lifestyle.

I've never fished in Scotland, except as a very small boy growing up there, but would like to go fly fishing with my aunt one day (yes, my aunt - she has a passion for fly fishing unlike her husband who only has a passion for Chivas Regal). I haven't tried fly fishing down here in the Cape yet as most of my angling days are spent on a beach with a 14ft rock and surf rod in my hand, trying to catch my first "real" fish here. I've caught a few sandsharks and puffer fish here, but those don't count. Until I catch a decent size edible fish, or a large shark, I will consider myself a Cape angling virgin.

I get out onto Kalk Bay harbour wall now and then, and try to catch my own chokka (squid) which is used as bait for bigger fish. The wall is always crammed with anglers trying to get their quota of chokka and there is always an air of cameraderie. No-one cares what tackle the other guys are using as chokka is caught from the wall with light spinning tackle, rather than large bulky rock and surf rigs. Everyone laughs when a chokka is caught as the rush is then on to get it past the marauding Cape fur seals who ambush your catch on the way in.

I've enjoyed my limited angling time in the Cape to such an extent that I've developed what I called the "False Bay Angling Assistant" to help other new anglers in the area. It's a simple double-sided A4 document that has a Google Earth picture with some GPS coordinates of angling spots, bag and size limits of the popular fish in the False Bay area, names and numbers of tackle shops, tackle repair guys, handy hints and tips in angling conservation, as well as types of fish that we are just not allowed to catch due to legislation. Since its creation, I'm on version 3, and the document is posted on three different angling websites. It's also been downloaded by over 400 anglers, so I like to think I'm doing my own small bit for the lifestyle.

This coming weekend, I hope to be standing on a beach again, rod in hand waiting for the "big toothy bus" to try and wrench the rod out of my arms, enjoying the company of a couple of guys from the fishing forum I'm a member of who are also passionate about the lifestyle.

In about five weeks time, I should be sitting on a Transkei beach, again with rod in hand enjoying the company of the Kosi Fishing Team (Fishman, his Sis-in-law, skoonpa -father-in-law- and Rudolph) and a couple of others who want to join us this year. Fishman has done his usual sterling job of organising this year's trip and everyone is all gee'd up to get out there. They, unfortunately for them, are all landlocked up in the Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces, so they don't get to do as much angling as myself. But we're all looking forward to getting together again (this will be my third trip with the team) to spend five days talking shit, drinking copious amounts of Capns Organ or brandy and coke, and just generally enjoying the outdoors and the company of other passionate anglers.

But most importantly, enjoying the angling lifestyle...