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KOSI MOUTH

As a venue for fishing with lure,bait or fly the mouth at Kosi Bay offers tremendous opportunities to prospect flats, estuary, rock or surf. At the interface between estuary and ocean, it is possible to intercept fishes entering or leaving the Kosi system, or target predatory species which congregate and feed at the mouth.My first visit to Kosi Mouth was in November 1997 and whilst this month can still be very windy, the Kingfish are definitely active.

kingfish1.gif - 74567 Bytes Some four hours after high tide one can wade the mouth safely to the crescent shaped outer reef which is an ideal stance to reach the deeper inshore gulley and sand banks beyond. The north east wind usually starts pumping by 9.00am which precludes fly fishing in the sea but it seems to bring on a short chop, aerateing the water and giving it a lively promising look.

On the reef we took a variety of edible fish and Kingfish up to 21kg on 0.40mm diameter light tackle. Larger Kingfish were lost, some due to inadequate tackle, some to incompetent angling, but mostly it was fish that were too large which made for the southern tip of Madagascar. Preferred baits for the Ignobilis were long and large Chokka which had been skinned, pounded with a meat tenderiser, wrapped inside out around flotation styrene, then impregnated with silver glitter . The bottom end is pre trimmed to form 2 or more tentacles and the finished bait is between 200-300mm long.

We spent early mornings and late afternoons fly fishing over the high tide, before and after the wind. The best sport was had early one morning on the inland end of the north side of the mouth at the peak of the high tide when there was a window of 3/4 hour with little or no current. A flock of terns were feeding almost over the sand and on my 2nd.cast a chartreuse Crazy Charlie was taken by a small Greenspot Kingy which gave a good account of itself on the 6 wt. Donald and I could see the Kingfish attacking the bait fish from the deep water, almost at our feet, and enjoyed good sport for an hour. We noticed that not unlike trout fishing, it was the insignificant untidy looking brown flys that seemed to work best.

At high tide when the sun is shining, conditions are ideal for snorkelling at the Aquarium over slack water when visibility is at its best. Low tide brings the water down from the upper lakes which is clean but unsuitable for diving because of the whiskey hue from the neighbouring wetlands. We noticed that even after heavy rains the water filtering out of the wetlands carried very little sediment. The Aquarium is breathtakingly rich in fish life both in terms of species and abundance. I promised to show this to my daughters while it still exists as a reminder of how all of our major estuary systems probably looked years ago.Separating the Aquarium from the sea, are dying trees on the dune which the locals say resembles a sleeping dragon. I hope that the sand dunes don't eventually engulf the inland reef. See this while you can.

On windy days a long walk on the estuary sand banks will be rewarded by a close up inspection of the fish kraals and another chance to fly fish in the channel. Donald had some good takes from a bank but was outfished by a local with a handline. A walk of 40 minutes north along the beach will see you in Mozambique almost beneath the lighthouse at Ponto Do Ouro. Shallow limestone ledges along this stretch yield fabulous varieties of edibles and Kingfish for the light tackle angler over low tide. A small saltwater fly pattern presented here will take spotted Pompano in the shallows, almost shot for shot.

Our party returned to Kosi mouth on November 1998 and I was as before, enjoying the anticipation, but dog tired before we left Durban. This was compounded, when to my dismay, it was agreed that we would all leave Durban at midnight instead of 5.00am. Needless to say,on very little sleep we met our hosts at 5.30am at Kwangwanase. No sooner had we settled in, our hosts unleashed 100 litres of ice cold beer which quenched our thirsts but drained our remaining energy.

At 4.00pm I woke in a deck chair, partly sunburnt, partly hung over and dehydrated. Typically, everyone thought this a good time to fish so grabbing our plugging rods we headed for the mouth. The plug I tied on was an easy choice - it had been selected, painted and lovingly sharpened six months previously, so leaving Donald on the beach gazing into his tackle bag, I waded through a channel onto a sand bank and lazily lobbed the plug into the rip ebb tide just to wet and stretch my new line. The second cast was much longer and as I retrieved the surface plug it disappeared in a huge explosion of impact and water. I knew this was a big Kingfish and as it turned and headed for open water it was getting bigger by the minute. The heckling and banter had started but I was reluctant to estimate the Kingy's size for fear of landing a foul hooked "Stockie" and being the butt of all jokes for a week. kingfish2.gif - 61268 Bytes

After 30 minutes I had not gained an inch of line. The fish was 300m out and sulking while my headache worsened and the jibing gained fresh momentum. At last an extra ounce of pressure won a metre of line, after which I was able to retrieve by walking backwards then running forward and winding furiously. After 50 minutes the finished fish was beached but unfortunately could not be revived after weighing in a net at 45kg (99lbs). The next day the Kingy was expertly filleted by the staff who must have all eaten well for a few days. In its stomach were huge mullet bones.

Anything after that was bound to be an anti climax yet we had 14 strikes in 2 days all of which were lost, some in a comedy of errors. The most exciting chases were after a long cast onto the uncovering reef, a yank onto the water and a single crank of the reel before an eruption of a fish attacking from its holding position under the reef overhang. Any underwater structure would provide good cover for them to ambush prey, particularly in a current. I switched to light tackle but was beaten by another large fish two nights later. Donald landed another of 21kg but the giant fish had moved along the coast, or entered the estuary.

I am already looking ahead to November 1999 when the modified plugs, flys, and bait traces will be tested at Kosi Mouth. I can't wait.

Glenn Rogers