After being a ski-boat owner for a couple of years, I was forced to sell the vessel after my wife and I bought a new home three years ago. I rarely miss having the responsibilities of a boat. The annual seaworthy tests, costly upgrading of safety equipment and services etc. Fuel is also a huge expense and the days never seemed to end having to town it to storage, wash the boat, flush engines etc.
But when we have balmy, sunny winter days in Cape Town, with absolutely no wind, I inevitably start looking for traces of Cape Snoek making their appearance visible. Spotting snoek vessels near the Cape Town waterfront as they prepare to launch at Oceana Powerboat Club. Or snoek vendors making their appearance on the streets of neighborhoods like Woodstock and Salt river.
Fly fishing for Cape Snoek, Thyrsites atun, is not a delicate affair. We’re talking big heavy flies, fast sinking lines and hustling for position in amongst the commercial snoek fleets. it’s generally a great day on the water and apart from catching some hard fighting snoek, you might even learn a few new swear words from the commercial fishermen. Snoek also makes for great fare on the open coals, especially if cooked West Coast style with butter and moskonfyt (grape jam) on the fillet side. Wash it down with some crisp Cape Sauvignon Blanc and you’re a happy man, guaranteed.
Here are a few pics from my snoek fishing days in and around Cape Town.
One of my first ever snoek on fly, just off Kommetjie Point on the Atlantic Seaboard.
The bussiness end of a snoek. Heavy Clousers are the go-to pattern, and I prefer to tie them with synthetics to prevent them being shredded by the fish’s razor sharp dentition.
Matt Lourens fighting a big snoek off Dassen Island on the West Coast. Fishing close to the commercial snoek fleet is the easiest way to run into big shoals of these slender silver predators.
To err is human, but to AARRRR! … is pirate!
A view of Cape Point on a cold July morning.
A mid winter snoek off Cape Point. My tackle of choice is a fast action nine weight with an Airflow Coldwater Di7 sinker.
Most fishermen maintain that snoek does not survive being released. The fact that a number of tagged snoek have been recaptured proves otherwise. Here I am preparing to release a tagged snoek.
Heavy Clousers and wire trace; essential when successfully targeting Cape Snoek. Skull rings are optional.
Niel Malan with a trophy Buffels Bay snoek
The stomach contents of a snoek caught off Cape Point
A solid West Coast snoek caught near Yzerfontein on the Atlantic West Coast
Fast snoek action on a misty August morning fishing in close proximity of the commercial fleet
Happy days, going vas with a fat winter snoek.
Cape Point Yellowtail
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Great stuff Conrad!
Nice photographs and a great story. Who do we contact to go fly fish for snoek and other Cape offshore species?
Arrrr. Those are not snoek matey.
Them be cape sailfish.
Conrad, you are such a legend! Shot for the inspiring post, can’t wait to hook one of those fish on a fly…Honestly, mantis shrimps in their stomachs!?
Bonteheuwel Barracuda ek se…
wel slaat my dood met ‘n pap snoek, I had no idea anyone had caught them on a fly.. very nice indeed.