After the success of the first Cape Vidal trip in April we headed back, this time with 14 fly fishermen from Team Baha, the DFT and South Coast Fly Anglers, to try our luck yet again.
Nick picked me up just before 4am and we quickly passed Jan and Gavin on Fields Hill as if they were standing still. Clearly it was going to be a long drive for them with Jan cruising at a conservative 100km/hr on the freeway.
Our first stop was at the garage just before the Mvoti Toll Plaza where we met up with Clinton and Hayden (and waited for Jan and Gavin). They eventually arrived as we were finishing our much needed cup of coffee and we were soon on the road again.
The next stop was at the Wimpy in St Lucia where we sat down to our standard R20 sunrise breakfast. Slowly the boys from the DFT and South Coast Fly Anglers pulled in and joined us. We were however eager to get fishing and left them with their breakfasts to head for the gate.
Thankfully the weather was far better than anticipated with only a gentle breeze and the odd bit of drizzle. We quickly kitted up in the parking lot and then made our way onto a much changed beach. Due to what I can only image was huge seas, the beach had been flattened and a lot of the dunes and launch site entrance had been washed away. In fact, I believe they’ve closed the launch site and as such there were no boats there for the entire weekend.
The first thing I noticed upon walking onto the beach was just how low the tide was. We’d previously visited Vidal on neap tides and the spring tide took me by surprise. The reef which extends out from the beach was fully exposed and we decided to walk out to the point to see how it fished. Amazingly the rock we’d stood on during our previous visit was half way up the beach. What a pleasure!
Upon taking up my chosen spot on the rocks I was amazed to see a turtle swim casually past me in the crystal clear waters. What a treat. I stripped line into my basket and threw my first cast at some structure I could see 20 meters out. A few casts later and I was into the first fish of the trip, a lizzard fish, which was a new species for me and the Baha Boys. Shortly after my lizzard fish both Nick and I got into some small kingies. A good start to the trip I thought.
From the reef we headed for the beach where we headed a short distance north fishing the deeper holes. It was perhaps a little shallow but I did pick up a small shad as well as a decent wave garrick.
Hoping we could unpack the cars and have a quick lunch we headed back to the parking lot. Sadly however they would only let us in a 2pm so we fished the area directly in front of the parking to kill a little time. Despite being midday we did well on the pushing tide and all picked up a few wave garrick.
After unpacking the chalet we enjoyed a quick lunch and tied up a few flies before heading back down to the beach at about 3pm. By this stage the rain was belting down and the wind had arrived to make fishing a challenge. We elected to fish a channel near the launch site which had a good current flowing across it and contained a lot of white water.
Things were initially quiet and the pouring rain and howling wind did little to aid the boy’s motivation. Eventually there was a small gathering of fly fisherman under a nearby bush while I battled on by myself. And then suddenly things came alive; I hooked into a decent fish but it came off. I continued stripping and the fish took the fly again allowing me to land a lovely shad.
Suddenly the fisherman under the tree were back on the beach throwing their lines into the wind. Everyone got into a few fish with Hayden landing the biggest shad. I however had the sweet spot and managed to land no less than 16 shad and 4 kingies, much to the disgust of those standing around me who only landed a few fish each. That said there were moments when two or three of us were on at once.
As the sun began to set on our first day at Vidal we all headed back over the dunes to our chalets where we finally got to crack open an ice cold beer. A fire was lit and we all stood around it tanning our meat and discussing plans for the next day. Nature was kind enough to join us at the braai with the presence of both bush pigs and genets.
Hayden was less than pleased with the presence of the bush pigs and spent the majority of the night standing with what can only be described as a bolder in his hands in case it got a little too close. We did however discover that bush pigs love fresh shad.
Eventually we all headed off to bed in preparation of an early start on Saturday morning.
Nick and I were rudely awoken at 5am on Saturday morning but some overly eager (and underly clad) “friends”. We quickly had a cup of coffee and a few rusks, while tying a few flies, before heading down to the water.
Low tide was at around 9am and I was more eager to fish the pushing tide than spring low when the water was exceptionally shallow. Sadly when we got down there, in the rain, it seemed that it wasn’t going to matter too much. Overnight the crystal clear water had changed to something that resembled a foaming chocolate milkshake.
Remembering that the best time to catch a fish is when your fly is in the water we walked out along the ledges and began fishing the white water. It was tough going and we only managed to produce a few small moonies between Nick and I. That said I guess we should’ve been happy as the rest of the guys blanked.
When the tide started pushing we headed north along the beach for a while but quickly realised it was all in vain. The rest of the boys had already headed back to the chalet (again due to the pouring rain) and eventually we decided to do the same.
It’s definitely worth mentioning that both Nick and I were wearing Columbia Sportswear rain jackets. I can’t tell you enough just how amazing these jackets proved to be. Despite fishing in the pouring rain, often waist deep in water and waves, we both remained bone dry from the waist up. So a big thumbs up to Columbia for incredible gear.
When we reached the chalet we were greeted with a nasty surprise. One of the boys had left a window open and the chalet had been raided by no less than 15 monkeys. This involved the eating of all of our food (bar what was in the fridge) and then kaking over the entire chalet when we arrived home and they couldn’t escape quickly enough.
Since we hadn’t really eaten breakfast we cleaned the chalet and then headed to the Wimpy in St Lucia under the guise of needing to stock up on food. We managed to catch the last 15 minutes of a disappointing Bok game while throwing back burgers and then headed to Spar to replace our food.
Back at camp Nick and I headed down to the beach while the rest of the guys opted to relax in the chalet. We stopped briefly at the other chalet to see how the rest of the boys were doing. Sadly they had very little to report and, besides Bruce and Marco, they seemed to have also opted to relax in the chalet due to the rain and wind.
Down at the beach the water had only gotten murkier, it was once again pouring with rain and, being spring high, the sea was huge. Nick and I gave it our best shot managing to only get wet and battle raging seas. No fish were landed but we felt manlier for trying.
Eventually we conceded defeat and headed back to a chalet full of warm men enjoying cold beers. We quickly joined them and slowly the evening turned into tomfoolery. Boredom had gotten the best of the boys and they started loading the potato cannon with various items to test its power. Everything was fired from paper wads to eggs (oh the carnage), and it was Clinton’s cooler box (and several of the boys) that felt the wrath.
On Sunday morning the water was still dirty and a lot of the guys decided to head home early. A few of us fished the dirty water along the ledges and Nick managed to pick up one bigeye kingie while the rest of us blanked.
We eventually all gathered on the dunes with the boys from the South Coast Fly Anglers and the Durban Fly Tyers. The South Coast guys handed over a floating trophy to us for the most fish caught on the trip. We then slowly headed for home, stopping of course for lunch at Steers including the mandatory chocolate milkshake.
Vidal, as always, was a treat.