The second best thing about fly-fishing off a float tube in False Bay is the looks you get when you gear up in the parking lot. Pull out your Ark inflatable or SUP and no-one will bat an eyelid. Take out a float tube and people will stop and stare. Like you’re mad or something. Truth be told, it’s a very convenient and effective craft to fly-fish from. It’s very quick to launch (much faster than other inflatable craft like Arks or SUPs). I can fit all my gear in the pouches, stick the anchor and flippers under the seat and walk down to the water with the tube over the shoulder and fly rod in hand. It’s more stable in the waves than you would imagine, and I have literally taken crashing waves without capsizing. I guess low centre of gravity and legs plus long flippers act as water anchor. All my mates think I’m shark bait waiting to be chowed, but with literally thousands of surfers in the water in and around Cape Town every day and minimal shark attacks, I’ll take my chances.
The best thing about this fishing is the silver kob that we target on the reefs in False Bay. On a good session you can catch quite a few, and double digit tallies are not uncommon. I love the solitude of this fishing, and seeing the sun set over the Cape Flats while waiting for the evening bite to commence is quite special. Earlier this year Jannie Visser, who lives 10 minutes from the water, decided to give the daylight hours a go for kob. Normally hours of darkness are more productive, but Jannie reported good catches around late morning low tide.
We hit the water on one of those balmy late summer mornings. With a busy day ahead, this would be like a surf session before work, no longer than two hours. With Jannie on his SUP and me on the tube, we paddled over some barrier reefs before we got to a nice gully with three rocks breaking the surface, forming a basin. We each took a side and punched casts into it. On his second cast, Jannie stuck a cast right against the exposed rock and went tight as the fly was sinking. A few cast later he was in again with his second fish for the day.
After another fifteen minutes with no eats, Jannie suggested we move.”If the kob are there they will eat. They’re shoaling and don’t mess around. If you spend 15 minutes with no action it’s better to move on and find the fish elsewhere”, Jannie explaned. This time we moved to further out into open water. It wasn’t long before Jannie’s light grey DMA got hammered again, this time by something bigger. I paddled over and got my camera out. After a good fight, Jannie boated the biggest silver kob I’ve seen on fly in False Bay. A beautiful 78cm specimen. Jannie was clearly stoked and after a few more casts decided it was time to pack it in. “I’m going to give it a few more minutes, I’ll swing by for coffee on my way home”, I told him.
I decided that I wasn’t only jealous of Jannie’s excellent fish, I was also a bit desperate. I just had to get a fish. Desperate times, desperate measures. I swopped caps. Yes, I packed away the rookie cap I was wearing and took my Makulubaas cap from my backpack. With several tarpon under the belt, this cap has walked the mile. “Ten casts” I told myself. I was now quite far out, in a deep gutter with some foamier rolling over some shallow stuff to the one side. I went tight on cast number six. The fish didn’t take any backing. But then again, I was fishing a good drag and wasn’t anchored. So I got towed around a bit. Later Jannie told me that he watched the entire little spectacle, and it was the last bit as the fish was close in that was particularly difficult. Eventually I had the fish cradled on my legatos and flippers. After admiring it I watched is disappear down below. At 85cm, my personal best silver kob (Argyrosomus Inodorus).
Get the Mission Fly Mag in print
Looking for something good to read?