The search for a lure-caught kob
One of the most sought-after edible fish on the South African coastline is the kob. The two species most commonly caught by shore anglers on the South African coastline are the dusky kob and the silver kob.
For the purposes of regulation, the divide between the range of these two species is Agulhas.
Agulhas the silver kob is most common and east of Agulhas it is the dusky kob.
Anglers west of this point are allowed to keep five kob, whereas the daily
catch limit for anglers east of Agulhas is one. These limits have been set as a
result of the status of the populations of the respective kob species. From the
limits, it is clear to see that the state of the dusky kob population is not
nearly as healthy
as that of the silver kob.
There are a
number of methods that can be used to target kob along our coast and all of
them are effective. The method that has captivated me is spinning for kob. I
have often wondered why I prefer to cast spoons in search of these fish and
I have come up with two answers. The first is that the area in which I learned to spin for kob generally requires a fairly long cast to reach the holding fish, and the second is that there is nothing quite like the feeling of a kob smashing your spinner.
In order to get started, one has to make sure that you have tools suitable to the task. Personal preference plays a huge role here, but the basics should remain the same for most anglers. My preferences are:
Once you have the kit, it is time to catch fish. More than half of the skill of catching kob on a lure is knowing where they are likely to be holding. Kob are ambush predators. They therefore want their prey to come to them. The easiest way to find kob is to look for an area where you have shallow water flanked by deep water. The kob are likely to hold in the deeper water, waiting for food to be washed off the shallower spots.
It stands to reason that on a pushing tide the kob will hold on the inside of the shallow water, and on the outside if the tide is dropping.
There are no fixed rules to finding the fish but if you fish these areas to get started, you will be giving yourself a fair chance.
When you do hook a fish, it is important to try and take a snapshot in your mind of exactly where the fish hit your lure. This helps greatly when reading a stretch of water as not only do you know where to fish, but you also begin to get a feel as to which area will fish well given the particular stage of the tide. When selecting which beach you are going to fish on a particular day, it is important to have a general understanding of the area you are angling in.
Research shows that kob are more territorial than we think. This tells us that certain areas are more likely to produce more consistently than others. It therefore makes sense to fish these areas.
The next aspect of spinning that the angler needs to understand is which lure to use. There are spinners of various shapes, sizes, colours and weights. It is important to have a feel for when a particular lure is likely to be at its most effective. In calm water and calm wind conditions, one would use a broader, lighter spinner with more shape to it, and in rougher and windier conditions one would use a slimmer, heavier, straighter running spoon.
I have mentioned the two extremes of the spectrum but on most days the fishing conditions will be somewhere in between and this is where one needs to experiment a bit with lure, size and colour. Always look to see what bait fish are around and start off by matching the size of the bait that you see. The lure colour is most often dictated by the water colour and the overhead conditions. On a clear day with clean water, a shiny spoon is likely to work well and on a cloudy day with stained water a darker colour spoon is likely to be more effective.
The retrieve is often a hotly debated topic, but I feel that there is not one retrieve speed that works. I have found the greatest constant for me to focus on is the tension on the line. The faster you wind a lure, the greater the tension on the line, and vice versa. I have an idea of what each lure should feel like when I am retrieving it and I vary the speed of my retrieve until a find this sweet spot for the lure. This will vary depending on the sea conditions. I then keep this tension constant throughout the retrieve by varying the speed to suit it. The general rule for kob is that slower is better, so if you are going to err, it is better to wind too slowly than too fast.
As with any angling discipline there are any number of intricacies that may apply to a given situation but these all stem from understanding the basics. Take these basics and have fun with them on your local coastline. It will not take long for you to get dialled in to what works in your area.