Brad and I have been going off Cape Point together for almost a decade. First on tiny inflatables, then slightly bigger monohulls, and now finally in some decent craft, much to my delight.
50 odd miles off the water changes to cobalt blue, and rises from the teens to 20s. Its something you can even feel in the air and you can’t help but get excited when you see it.
The tuna had been wild this season, and Brad was convinced that if we were ever going to get a chance to get them on fly on top, it was now. Departure from Hout Bay was early. Brad wanted to pull Konas for 4 hours in the hopes of raising a unicorn. They’d been around but Chad, Christo and I soon got bored, and when Brad woke up from his 20 minute nap we decided to tell him he’d been out for 2 hours.
We tracked some trawlers and pulled in close behind. Watching the birds, seals and other animals go mad off the back of these things is always exciting. They’re living chum slicks, and Christo’s first throw of a plug resulted in a hell of a sight. A big yellowfin surfed up almost effortlessly and almost stopped to eat it. The hook pulled on this and after a few moments of excitement the fish vanished.
I wasn’t ready now but would be next time. Buzzing the trawlers seemed to be the technique, but soon it pulled its nets. Tragedy. We were going to have to stop and chum. A lot.
We headed back to the area of Christo’s hook up and began to chum. It wasn’t long and the guys had fish on the bait rods. I resisted and kept chumming. I had to get them up. Soon we had the first fish come up for floating Pilchards. Sprinklers on we continued to dispose of boxes of the things.
They quickly locked on landing bait and Brad would throw and I would land a fly next to it. On numerous occasions I had late refusals and even a fish or too grab the back of my Howe style flashy profile. I couldn’t believe how near the misses were.
I quickly noticed something. Any tension on the line would result in a early refusal. And we had an aquarium of yellowfin to test techniques on. I didn’t have a floating line, a floating fly may have been what was needed. I had to resort to other things. Eventually I felt like I had the technique. The fish were 5 or so meters down and the trick was to cast and then retrieve a few meters to allow a dead sink, anticipating the current so there was no unnatural tension on the line and so that the fly didn’t move in any direction other than down, dramatically. Still I could see them charging in and turning. Fly change.
I had tied a massive Game Changer for last trip, and reading this Ewan is probably going to chuckle because I have belief in that fly above almost all else. I tied on to the 80lb leader with a perfection loop and first drift/sink I was on. The take was tricky to detect with all the loose line but as soon as I set all hell broke loose.
The video will tell you what happened thereafter. As always the Fortuna was faultless and didnt even get warm at its 30lb drag setting. I was on a mission to not spend 4 hours up front on these 100lb fish as the conventional guys had ragged me about. My future spot on the boat depended on it. 120lb backing, leviathan & 80lb leader. I can tell you with fair certainty I now know exactly what muscles are used in an offshore fly fight. I have never pulled so hard for so long.
I have to thank the guys on what was truly a group effort. Christo cut off a shark and a Tuna when we almost wrapped, and we all stood very quiet in the last moments hoping not to jinx ourselves. Next time we’ll get that pic.