As I’m sure most of you have worked out by now, Cape Vidal is a bi-annual trip we do in conjunction with the Durban Fly Tyers and the South Coast Fly Anglers. This year we moved the first trip forward from April to February in the hope of picking up some bigger kingies. Sadly however we got the dates slightly wrong and ended up at Vidal over neaps rather than spring tides. None the less, we got down to it and had great fun.
As per usual Nick and I headed up together and were on the road by 4am on Friday morning. We met up with another group to put some of their kit into our trailer and then the journey began with a steaming cup of coffee. The next stop was at the St Lucia Wimpy where we met up with the rest of the crew for the usual R20 breakfast.
And then it was time for the games to begin…
We jumped into the cars for final 30 minutes, armed the paintball gun, and began painting the backs of the other cars. Sadly however we ran out of gas and thus had to behave ourselves for the final 15 minutes.
Nick and I opted to stop at Mission Rocks while the rest of the boys headed for the main beach. It was a risk, since it was neap tides, but we were hoping that this would mean calmer seas and allow us to fish the ledges for a few wrasse. Sadly it was not to be as the ledges were under water with a big break falling onto them. We enjoyed the views for a while and then headed on to the main beach.
When we arrived we could see some boys had headed north while others had gone south. We opted to go north and fished the surf on-route. This got me into my first fish of the trip, a small bastard mullet, as well as a few (very) small wavies.
Eventually we caught up with the rest of the gents who were fishing behind the northern ledges. A few chats quickly revealed that the fishing had been slow and a lot of the boys had landed nothing. Nick and I were lucky enough to get a few blacktail and the odd Cape moonie in the small gullies.
At around lunch time we headed back to the car to setup camp. This trip was unique in that 5 of us were camping (the men) while the other 8 were staying in a chalet (the boys).
After establishing we were in site 48 Nick and I set about erecting the tent. The process was easier than expected and soon we were relaxing in the shade enjoying an ice cold beer. It was at this point that the security guard, who’d watched the entire process, walked over to us and informed us that we’d set up our tent on site 49 and needed to move. Thanks for the warning bud!
Thankfully the move was easier than the initial setup and we were soon enjoying our second ice cold beer while Daniele, Ian and Graeme set up their tents. This also meant a third beer for Nick who took the first NekNomination of the weekend out of a fly rod tube. Game on!
Bad news then followed when we were asked to move for a second time since another group had booked two sites and needed them to be side by side. Thankfully we only needed to move the following day and so we picked up the rods and headed back down to the beach.
The afternoon session followed the morning session in that fishing was tough and the fish were small. That said everyone got onto the board with a species or two, so most people were happy.
We initially fished the beach and picked up a few wave garrick before focusing on the bay at sunset. The bay produced very little and we saw only one chase by a decent sized kingfish. I fished a strong rip pulling over a sandbank and hooked into either a springer or a pickhandle barracuda, but sadly it threw the hook on its first jump. Sad panda!
That evening we braaied in the campsite and consumed a few more beverages under the stars. The bushpigs never visited us so I guess that may be limited to the chalets. Amazingly the monkeys were also few and far between and posed no issue at all.
The next morning we were up early and again opted to head north. The plan was to do a big session and to head as far as 10kms north. In the end we only made it around 6kms but it was still a good slog. Fishing remained slow in terms of size but there were numbers to be had if you fished small flies in the right areas. Again everyone produced fish with a few new species coming out.
Lunch was eaten on the beach and we eventually cruised back into camp at around 2pm for another iced cold beer and the dreaded moving of camp. Thankfully it didn’t take too long and by 3pm we were done and ready to head back down to the beach for the afternoon session.
For me this meant my go at a NekNomiation, knee deep in the surf, wave garrick on the line, and beer in hand. Job done!
At the risk of sounding monotonous the fishing remained slow other than the rats and mice. A lot of small wave garrick came out as well as the usual moonies and stonebream. The odd bastard mullet, shad, kingfish, smelt, lizzard fish and spot damsel also came out. So I guess it wasn’t all bad. Again the bay was heavily targeted around sunset, and again it was to no avail.
That evening we braaied in a light drizzle and consumed a little too much rum. I’ll continue to blame this on Daniele’s heavy hand when he used half a bottle for the first 4 drinks. It was bound to be downhill from there.
Feeling a little ropy the next morning we decided to head south in the hope of better fishing. The shore break was large but there were more holes heading south than up north so I was feeling positive. Once again I got a few wave garrick but otherwise things were slow.
Eventually we opted to head back to the bay for a last ditch attempt (and a swim) before heading home (already drooling for the traditional Steers burger and milkshake). We immediately spotted a few moonies which Nick started targeting and then, out of the blue, a pair of 70cm greenspot kingies arrived to attack the bait balls.
This excitement saw me running up and down the beach throwing every big fly I had in my box at them. This included clousers, deceivers, polar baitfish, and squid patterns in varying colours. I had one chase which was rejected at the last second, leaving my legs feeling like jelly, but otherwise it was all in vain.
Eventually I admitted defeat, had a swim with the kingfish (and got some great footage), and then packed up my kit. After a quick shower we were in the car and heading for the rum relieving chocolate milkshake and burger.
Despite the slow fishing, it was another epic Vidal weekend to remember.