Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

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Richie Fisher
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Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby Richie Fisher » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:55 pm

About a year ago I had a dream to go to the Skeleton Coast in Namibia for a bucket-list fishing holiday. I suggested it to IanK but, later, due to family health problems he had to bow out. I was left with the choice to leave it for another year in the hope he could join me, or go solo. Not knowing what the future may hold I decided to go for it.

On 6th March I flew from Manchester to Dubai, Johannesburg and then to Walvis Bay in Namibia, a total of 31hrs. I was met at the airport by Simon and his wife Sharon who have a family business called Sea Ace Fishing Adventures. We drove an hour and a half to their home in Henties Bay. Simon would be my guide for the next seven days....

Day 1

The sea wasn't perfect (weed) but we tried a few marks in the hope of getting some small stuff to break me in gently.

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Not long to wait and first fish on the board, a new species for me Barbell (Catfish). These fish have huge spikes and can cause you a bit of grief if you're not careful!

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Next I was in for a shock, one of the rods arched right over and I was into something very stong. A good fight ensued with line being ripped off the reel (Diawa Saltist BG 40H). After a very good scrap I brought in a Spotted Gully Shark..

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In fact I brought in four in total to complete a fantastic day's fishing.

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Day 2

I realised just how strong the UV rays are over here! I was burnt on both legs and also my bottom lip (strange combination!). I'd taken a load of tee-shirts and shorts along with factor 50 suncream and aftersun. That plan was in tatters already. Apart from stuff to wear around the house, I had one pair of long lightweight pants and a hoodie which I had to wear all week.

Conditions were really bad today with the sea like washing machine, it was rough! We tried a few places without success and so I asked Simon if we could try a species hunt in a sheltered spot. First up was a Smoothie..

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A Kabeljou (Cob), similar to Bass on steroids!

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and a Guitar Fish...

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That concluded the day.


Day 3

Today we would try for a Bronze Whaler shark (my main reason for coming).

The morning brought 3 Spotted Gully Sharks and another Guitar Fish...

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I actually lost 6 consecutive Bronze Whalers in the afternoon. One went into rocks and broke me off. One was my own fault and I didn't hit the rod quick enough. 4 others bit through the shock leader. I was gutted!


Day 4

Today was a memorable day!!

After missing another couple of Bronzie takes I eventually connected good style and although prepared for a good scrap I had no idea what hit me. These things go like a train! There must have been 30 lbs of drag on the reel and it stripped line for fun. I had zero control and just had to let it do it's thing. It took me 200 yards one way, then the same the other. This must have happened ten times at least. I was making half a metre at a time on the reel. This wasn't fun, it was a proper battle and I was getting beaten up. After 40 minutes and on the verge of exhaustion I got it close enough for Simon to tail it from the surf. Yes!!!! Landed!!!

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Using the South African measuring chart it came in at 163lbs!! Exhaustion, pain and euphoria decided that it was time to call it a day. I was wasted!


Day 5

I kid you not I was still hurting from yesterday and was secretly hoping for an easy day.

Today I hooked into a Bronzie and had it on for about 2 or 3 minutes only to be bitten off. I missed 2 others also during the day. A fish that was on my holiday bucket list was the Elephant Fish and I asked Simon if we could try for one.

First up was a small Smoothie

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Another Guitar Fish

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A few Barbell and Cob (no photos)..... and finally!!!

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Yes!!! Elephant Fish


Day 6

Today I achieved angling nirvana.

Simon drove me to a mark where I'd previously caught Spotted Gully Sharks. His wife Sharon joined us for the day and I think she brought me good luck. To cut to the chase, two rods out and 4 Gully sharks landed and 2 missed inside 40 minutes!! The action was incredible. No time to take photos at one point because both rods were going off at the same time. Exhilarating action!

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I was once again shattered because these sharks really fight hard! We had a packed lunch and moved up to a place known as Mile 72 for a Bronzie. If I'm honest, I secretly hoped I wouldn't hook up with one because as I said previously it's a proper street fight.

No sooner had the lines hit the water, a shark hit one rod resulting in a line bite-off. After about 40 minutes one of the rods arched down, the rod was lifted into the strike and "shark on!" Immediately the second rod registered and Simon quickly pulled for a non-hookup to give me space. For the first 5 to 10 minutes it seemed like I'd hooked into a juvenile shark but as time went it got stronger and stronger. It was measured at the height of the fight that it had taken 300 metres of line.

If you've never done this from the shore before I can't stress upon you how hard it is to fight these things. At one point I was screaming out aloud. After 1hr 20 minutes it was close enough into the surf for Simon and Sharon to tail into the shore. I dropped the rod and went to help. It was so big we could only move it a couple of feet or so. After photos and measuring it was returned perfectly into the surf and we stood and watched it swim away. At this point I "must have had something in my eye" as I teared-up. An incredibly emotional time for me for various reasons, and a lifetime ambition achieved.

The Bronze Whaler came in at 256lbs on the SA measuring chart.
Like I said...NIRVANA!!

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We went back to the house and I went straight to sleep in the afternoon with exhaustion and I hurt all over.


Day 7 (final day)

Well firstly, I woke up knackered, with my face all puffed up after the exertion of yesterday. I didn't feel up to fishing for a Bronzie because my arms were wasted.

Needing an easy day we decided on a species hunt. How wrong could we be!

My first fish turned out to be a 53 lbs Gully Shark! After that I caught Barbell (about 10), Kabeljou (Cob) about 14, a Steenbras and a Galjoen.

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Galjoen...

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Cob...

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Steenbraas...

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Then this happened, a large cob which fought like heck!

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and, if by a miracle to end my fishing holiday, the biggest Cob I've ever seen in my life, coming in at 33lbs 7ozs!!!!

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What an absolute beast to end my holiday with!!

All fish and sharks were returned in a healthy condition to fight another day. I'm making a video which will be online soon, I'll post a link when it's up.

Once again, many, many thanks to Simon McGowan and his lovely family for putting up with me. I spent the flights home with the biggest smile on my face. :D :D :D :D :D :D
2018 Species
Dab Codling Whiting Poor Cod Flounder Bronze Whaler Shark Spotted Gully Shark Smoothhound Lesser Sand Shark Kabeljou Steenbraas Galjoen Elephant Fish Barbell Plaice Pollock Thornie Ballan Wrasse

roger williams
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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby roger williams » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:14 pm

What a fantastic trip Richie. You very likely won't remember me but I was talking to you last year about taking up fishing as we visit the Wirral often throughout the summer. It's never like this on the Mersey is it !!!!

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davie495
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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby davie495 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:17 pm

no words Richie...

seen Henry Gilby fishing for these on TV years ago.. don't see into often.

superb, absolutely superb..

bet you can't wait to get your beads and spoons out for the flounder....

:clap: :clap: :clap:
Stu

2018 Species:[10] Cod, Ting, Dab, Huss, LSD, Flounder, Smoothound, Garfish, Pollock, Mackerel

2017:[24]
2016:[14]

Dyl
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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby Dyl » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:47 pm

FANTASTIC!!! What an amazing trip :clap: :clap:
Made up for you getting your targets that’s a stonking Bronze Whaler!
Looking forward to the videos :clap: :clap:
2017 Bass 2.7lbs / S Hound 11.8lbs
2018 Huss 9.15lbs :doh:

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Steve Duffy
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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby Steve Duffy » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:10 pm

Amazing. :clap: :clap: :thumbsup:
D.I.L.L.I.G.A.F
AGNB
Thats bang out of order !

Species--- Bass,ray,smoothhound,starry smoothhound,plaice,flounder,dab,LSD,huss,whiting,coddling,mackeral,pout,pollock.

Degs the 2nd
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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby Degs the 2nd » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:59 am

Awesome fishing Richie :thumbsup: :D
Decent fish 2016- Conger 14lb-1,Huss 11lb-5,starry hound 10lb-7,smalleye 10lb-1

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Bobdeniro2
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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby Bobdeniro2 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:54 am

Absolutely fantastic :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: . I love that big bronzie but the number and sizes of other species is amazing. PS I bet you didn't do any swimming off the beaches :lol: . Looking forward to the video :thumbsup:
2018: Codling, Dogfish, Dab, Flounder, Plaice, Pollack, Rockling, Starry Smoothhound, Tope, Whiting,

Ranny715
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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby Ranny715 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:00 am

Outstanding trip. A ten pound Mersey smoothound has a lot to live up to.
Interesting the Kabeljou which is also Dutch for cod.

Willpower
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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby Willpower » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:17 pm

Brilliant trip and fantastic photos Richie. Could easily be my local beach (less sunshine and astounding fish).

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roy.s
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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby roy.s » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:59 pm

Trip of a lifetime Richie.....superb !!!! Excellent report as well. :clap: :clap: :clap:
2018 species.......Codling, Whiting, 5 B Rockling, Dab, Plaice, Flounder, Pouting, Thornback ray, Starry smoothound, Common smoothound, Bass, Tub Gurnard,
2017 species.......17

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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby manchesterangler » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:43 pm

Thank you Richie for posting the photos from your amazing fishing holiday. :clap:

Scrolling through the photos of all those exotic hard fighting fish has cheered me up, as I think I'm suffering from Winter blues at the moment.

Surely Spring weather has got to arrive some time soon and with it a few feeding fish ;)

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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby Paul Argent » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:44 pm

Incredible report and photos what an amazing trip you had


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Adam Roper
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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby Adam Roper » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:20 pm

Superb Richie :clap:
2017 Species

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Godders123
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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby Godders123 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:41 pm

Well that trip went rather well then :lol:

Awesome stuff Richie, it doesn’t get much better than that!!
Graham

2017 Species [21]: Flounder, Conger, Bull Huss, Codling, Whiting, Dab, Dogfish, Plaice, Mackerel, Ballan Wrasse, Pollack, Smoothhound, Thornie, Eel, Sole, Bass, Garfish, Cuckoo Wrasse, Corkwing Wrasse, Goldsinny Wrasse, LS Sea Scorpion

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starfish
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Re: Fishing Nirvana - Skeleton Coast

Postby starfish » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:51 am

super sesh that mate well done :thumbsup:
some top fish there well worth the trip :D


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