Showing posts with label salt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label salt. Show all posts

Scouting Swaziland

Have you ever had a far off adventure that keeps crawling back to the front of your consciousness? I have. More correctly, I do. My adventure is in South Africa.

The Background

My wife's cousin and her family live in Swaziland, a country hugged by South Africa on its Northeastern border. She and her cousin are basically sisters who grew up in different houses. Our children and theirs are very close in age so get togethers are always fun and entertaining for all. I have been receiving increasing pressure to take a trip to Swaziland to see them.

She's a smart woman, my wife. After several failed attempts, she knew how to hook me into going. Swaziland has become somewhat of a jewel in Africa for fishing. They have trout streams, largemouth bass lakes and are almost pollution free. An untouched paradise if you will. Just across the border in Mozambique is saltwater and Maputo Bay. Further working toward me going is a private lake that the cousins have access to.

Honestly, this would be a once in a lifetime trip. I don't foresee being able to travel very often to Africa or even South America. I daresay I may only get to do Africa once.

Enter my imagination.

If I am going to do this, I want to do it big.

The Plan

Local intel is telling me there a few to no kayaks on any of these lakes. Noted.
I also know that Lake Komati is a growing hotspot for South Africans to seek out big largemouth. With only a few years since development, the lake has already produced an 11.9lb behemoth. Regular catches are bass between 5 and 8 pounds. Yes. You read that right! The bass are getting fat on a fish called a Blue Kurper which is in essence a Tilapia.

The streams are fished by conservatory fly fishermen some but not with the pressure like Colorado gets here in the States. I might have to try that too.

As for Maputo Bay, I'll have to do more research. Security is a huge concern for me while there. Inside of Swaziland, threats are minimal, security is tight and tourists are welcomed. Mozambique may prove to be a different story.

In scouting out Swaziland I feel like I would most likely be out of the US for 14 days. Four of those would be for travel and then 10 for exploring. I would like to spend an entire day at Lake Komati, maybe two if we stay at the lodge. It's only 75km from where we will be staying and has a nice highway (if there is such a thing) to and from. I'd like to spend three days on the private lake looking for different species of fish. Both of these excursions I would want to do in a kayak. More on that in a bit. The third leg, if it proved safe and worthwhile would be to cross the border into Mozambique and fish Maputo Bay. For safety this would also likely be a surf casting trip and not a kayak trip. Great white sharks are no joke, not to mention those crazy currents.

The How

The hardest part of trips like this is lodging. Luckily, that part is figured out. This trip would most likely take place in November or December of 2014. The seasons are different of course and the November/December time frame has temperatures from the mid 50's to the low 80's. That also allows for time to gather what will be needed. To make this happen, I would need sponsors to be able to donate equipment. The idea would be any equipment that doesn't fit in a suitcase would have to be shipped and stay there when we leave. The cousins run the African Christian College in Swaziland. Ideally all shipped equipment would then be donated to ACC for their use. A write off as a charitable gift.   So what items would we need?

Kayak, 11-13 feet in length.*
Video cameras to film along with batteries and memory cards
Fishing reels, rods, line, artificial baits*
Kayak cart for transport*
Rope for tying down kayak*
Pliers, gaff, anchoring method*

*donation items

The Finished Product

Ideally, I would like to be able to produce a documentary and a book about the adventure. If a company wanted to send a crew to film it, I could help make arrangements for lodging and most likely at no cost. The other logistics we could work out. I do not expect any payment for this adventure. I want to be able to show people around the world Swaziland and its natural beauty as I discover it for the first time from a kayak with a fishing pole in hand. Only a few anglers in the United States will be able to discover what I am planning for. I'll be bringing my story through video and writing even if I am unable to receive help. There is time to plan, come on board and be a prominent and integral part of the adventure but it needs to start taking shape now. If you have an interest in helping and being a part of "Scouting Swaziland", please contact me. 

If you are unable to help, be ready for a completely new adventure in early 2015. Thanks for reading!

Chris Payne
(512) 517-3936

Skinny Water Reds

Cody Carpenter is today's guest blogger. Cody is an avid kayak fisherman, an ambassador for Mariner Sails of Dallas, TX, a TCU Horned Frog and runs a blog called Always up for trying new things, Cody shares with us a guided adventure he recently embarked upon with Dean "Slow Ride" Thomas. 

by Cody Carpenter 

I recently took a trip down the coast and stayed in Port Aransas for a week. This was our second time down there and I love it more each time I visit there. This was also my first coastal trip since my addiction to kayak fishing started. There was no doubt that I was fishing from a kayak, in the ocean at some point on this trip.

     I mainly stick to lakes and ponds and occasionally a river or two, so to venture out into the big blue was going to be quite a new experience for me. I can watch all the You Tube videos I want, but nothing compares to actually being there and having first hand knowledge about what you're doing. I
decided to book a guide for my first ocean fishing experience for a variety of reasons. I knew nothing about tides, how shifty the coastal weather can be, fish patterns, and the list goes on and on. I simply didn't have enough experience in my mind to be on my own in the ocean and I didn't want to compromise my safety and the well being of my two buddies with me. I called Slow Ride Guide Services in Aransas Pass and booked a trip with Dean Thomas who is the owner of Slow Ride and one of the first to be on the Wilderness Systems Pro Staff. I had heard about what a character Dean was and what a good time he shows his clients on the water, and he didn't disappoint. After I hung up the phone with Dean, many months in advance, I looked at my wife and told her, "I think I'm going fishing with Matthew McConaughey." He had that kind of Texan surfer thing going on in his voice and I knew it would be a lot of fun.

On the day of our trip we arrived at the kayak shop at about 5:30 in the morning and followed Dean to the marina. There we launched in his brand new skiff, this is one impressive boat, and took off to the location that we would be fishing. I could tell that Dean was a little worried that fishing would be slow, due to unusually high winds and extremely low tides, but I wasn't worried. As we passed several different flat areas they were eerily dried up to the bone and the shallow water along the shore line looked like it could be a problem trying to anchor up. We managed to find a nice branch that Dean had suspected to hold fish based on the bait traveling patterns due to the dried up flats. We immediately untied and launched our Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120's and got straight to fishing. right off the bat we could see Mullet jumping across the surface and the torpedo like wake behind them. This we were informed was our target, the Redfish or Red Drum, would produce a very noticeable wake and sometimes they could even be spotted in only a few inches of water with backs and tails breeching the surface. For the next five hours Dean paddled along side us pointing out signs of our prey and how to catch them, it was like having our own fishing coach. All morning there were signs of life and action. Early in the morning I landed a Skip Jack that put up an impressive fight for how small he was, and it looked like it was going to an action packed day. As the day progressed we all had top water blow up after blow up but could not get the fish to actually bite the hook, and that's pretty much how it remained the rest of the outing. It was very frustrating all day because we could plainly see fish everywhere, they were just lazy and didn't want to commit to biting our hooks.

     Disappointed? Yes, of course, but what angler wouldn't be? However, I don't walk away from this trip empty handed at all. This experience has poured a foundation of experience that I feel I can build on for many future trips to come. I have gained invaluable information from my five hours with Dean Thomas that has helped me to consider all the underlying factors that come along with kayak fishing in the saltwater. I know that Dean was disappointed that we walked away without any fish, but like I told him, you put us on the fish, you cant make them bite too. I will 100% book a trip with Dean next time I'm in Port A, just for the good time.
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