Fishing Lake St Lucia

In my youth we would go on fishing holidays to Lake St Lucia. I was very lucky that my grand parents had a place at the lake. It is called Makakatana bay. In the beginning my Oupa the late Lionel Gunter had a boat and we would go with him fishing, my Goco the late Patty Gunter would also join us . I remember him striking so hard once that he hit me on the head. I was sitting behind him. He was from the colonial days. so we had a gillie on the boat and the gillie would bait up my grandfathers hooks and gaff the fish and do all that sort off stuff. My grandfather would pre make up his traces with bait on them, then freeze them. My grandfather would catch a fish, the gillie would gaff the fish a put it in the sack, unclip the trace and clip on a fresh bait, my grandfather would then cast out again. It was fun and I learnt a lot from my grandfather. I do miss him.

I have not been to Lake St Lucia for may years. It had dried up for a while, but now the water is back. I am going there at the end of June (2014) for a week and I am super excited. I do believe you are not allowed to keep the Salmon you catch. I am keen to try some drop shot and my daughter is rather keen on fly fishing so lets see what happens. My parents, Family members have been and the catch reports have been good. This does bring back memories of my fishing days at Lake St Lucia so I am writing some posts from the old days.

How to Tie a Snell Knot for Circle Hooks

Snell Knot for Circle Hooks

The snell knot is the best knot to attach circle hooks to line. The snell knot presents the hook in the best position to hook the fish.

When you look at the image on the right, the difference in presentation is clear.

The snelled circle hook is presented so it will catch easily in the corner of the fishes jaw, while the normal tied circle hook has a good chance of not setting at all.

How do you tie a snell knot, or rather how do you snell a circle hook?

6 Step Guide to Snell a Circle Hook


Use the graphic above and the following 6 steps to tie fishing line to a circle hook using a snell knot. We used an offset-eye circle hook for clarity. Snelling a normal straight-eye circle hook is exactly the same.

Click the image for a larger printable version of the snell knot guide without borders.

Step 1:
Pass one end of bite trace through eye of circle hook and down the hook shank to the same length as the hook shank. Double the line back behind the hook shank, leaving a large loop (the loop must be large enough to make 7 or 8 wraps over the hook). Then pass the end of line back through the eye of the hook.

Important: The line must enter the eye from the bend side of the hook, and exit from the same side.

Step 2:
Hold the hook and line at a point behind the eye between thumb and forefinger. Don’t let go while making the wraps or the snell knot will unravel.

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Step 3:
Start wrapping the line closest to the eye over the shank, the bend and both layers of line.

Step 4:
Wrap the line 7 or 8 times.

Step 5:
Switch hands gripping so you hold all the wraps together from the bend of the hook. Pull the leader (the part that will be the bite trace) gently to close the wraps – guide the wraps to form a neat roll of line like  a barrel.

Step 6:
When snell knot is almost tight, slide the wraps neatly up against the eye of the circle hook. hold the short end left along the hook shank with fishing pliers. Pull the bite trace and this end at the same time to tighten the snell knot completely.

Trim the tag end to finish the snell knot

That’s all there is to snelling a circle hook.


Author: Mike Otgaar Dedicated salt water angler. Rock and surf fisherman, deep sea fisherman, kayak fisherman. Ex commercial Natal line-fish and East Cape chokka fisherman. Shark conservation activist. When not fishing I’m a web developer and small business owner to pay for the fishing.

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Glow in the Dark Lure

glow in the dark paintI now have my own glow in the dark lure. The other day my kids where painting some ceramic unicorns. My wife showed me some paint she got for the. It was glow in the dark paint. It spiked my imagination so off to the tackle box and out with a lure I could paint.  It was fun painting with the kids. Well they did a few coats for me and tested in it a dark room. It was rather hard to take a picture of the glow in the dark lure, but it worked. So once again I hope to get to the water soon to test my new glow in the dark lure.

Fishingski Surf launch

It is hard work 🙂 but we are human so don’t give up.

Circle Hooks or J-Hooks?

I am still very new to the idea of circle hooks. I have used them for barbel fishing and they work very well. I am going to St Lucia Lake soon and want to try the circle hooks for salmon.

Double Dorados

The latest kayak fishing mission for big Dorado’s in South Africa by Kayak Clown and his friend “Drop Shot”. A secret place where dolphins steal your yellow fin tuna.

by Kayak Clown

Fish Length to Weight Calc

Don’t have a scale and just hooked into the big one? no worries, Fish Length To Weight Calc allows you to calculate the weight of a fish by simply entering it’s length! Over 270 Saltwater species from predominantly around South Africa as well as a range of species that roam our oceans such as Barracuda, Sharks, Marlin, and many others.
This App encourages you to safely measure the length of a Fish, and thereby avoiding any injury or harm to the fish. This applies especially to ‘Catch and Release’ to preserve the health of our fish stocks.

You can also share the details of your catch with your friends and fellow anglers on many of the popular social media platforms such as Facebook, BBM, Whatsapp, Twitter and any other Social network of choice!

Fish Length To Weight is one of the most accurate calculators currently available.

Fishing line

This Monday morning my wife and I were walking along the beach at the mouth of the Illovo River in Kwazulu-Natal when we noticed something white lying on the sand. What we found was very sad, as it was a beautiful sea gull that had died as a result of getting fishing line tangles around it’s legs and I suspect that it was therefore unable to take off and either drowned at sea or starved to death.

We often pick up fishing line discarded by fishermen who do not have any regard for the environment, the animals and birds or for other people who use the beaches.
Please Everyone who uses the beaches, pick up any fishing line or other rubbish left behind by these unscrupulous IDIOTS and place these items in the nearest waste bin.

It dose not matter if it’s not your waste, do it for the birds and animals, even for the children as sometimes the line has old rusty hooks in it.

Thank You
Roger and Hester Gurr

Surf Launch on a Fishingski or Kayak

You get lots of types of surf and just as many types of beaches. I am just sharing what I have learnt over the years. I do have a skippers ticket and have been out to sea many times on different types of boats. I remember the first time I went out to sea. My dad has just finished running in his motors and we were at Mtunzini. So he said to me and my mate, lets go do a Surf Launch. The nice part of that launch is that you that can launch out of the river mouth. Well it was a frightening experience that day. We managed to go over a few small waves, but the next thing there was this massive wave that was just about to break, we had to punch through it. I remember cutting my knees as I was flung into the air and water sprayed onto my face as we went through the wave, then landing on my knees on the other side of the wave. The shock was short lived as the next wave was even bigger, I am so glad my dad turned the boat and we were out of there. I have learnt a lot of respect for the sea over the years, and have a deep love for it.

Well I did many more launches after that. Some straight off the beach, some through river mouths and some protected behind reefs. I do have many stories but that will be for another post. This  post is about surf launching on a fishingski (kayak).

Waves come in sets. That means you will have a few big waves then a few small waves. I am not a good one for maths but I will watch the waves for a while before I make any move. The other thing is that the waves always look much bigger when you are sitting on your fishingski with them charging down at you compared to when you are on the beach. So watch the waves and look for the sets.  Another challenge is you don’t have the speed and power on a fishingski like a ski boat so you need to plan ahead a bit. There is nothing more scary then being caught at the breaking point of the waves and the big set is still building up behind that. You are going to get nailed hard and with no mercy.

You get steep beaches, flat beaches and beaches with a sandbar, just to name a few. There might even be a channel. Just watch the channel as only very big waves break in them. Steep beaches tend to have a shore dump and even before you are on your fishingski you could be back up the beach. Steep beaches sometimes have a step down just before the wave breaks. This makes it hard to get onto you ski when you are in deep water and on top of the wave and getting pushed back to the beach. If you can get past the shore break quickly, generally you should be then on you way to the next part of the fun and games. The technique I use to get beyond the shore break is to hold my fishing ski by the foot strap with one arm. The other arm has the paddle. You are holding the fishingski like a suitcase at your side. I do this as close to the water as I can. Sometimes I do have to move back as a big wave comes and will turn the fishingski, don’t rush it. Just after the right wave has hit the beach I run and drop my ski into the water. Now putting both hands on each side of the foot wells I keep running and pushing the fishingski as fast as I can. The main thing you want is momentum, as this will keep you going forward. I then throw my leg over the fishingski but keep them both out of the water. So I am now in a pushup position on the fishingski and the boat is still moving forward. Then it is bum in the seat, bring the feet forward, paddle on the go and feet into the foot straps. All in one fluid motion. You need to keep moving forward otherwise the waves will push you back up the beach. If you watch surfers you will see this is how they get going. The thing is they don’t get into a sitting position afterwards, but what they do works.

So you have got past the shore break, depending on your area you might have a mid-break. A mid-break is cool to help you catch your breath and plan your next run. If you have no mid-break you would need to just keep paddling and keep the forward momentum going as you either punch through foamies or go over waves. Keep paddling as it is very important that you have power when you punch a wave. If you have stopped and a wave hits you, you will go backwards and you will fall off your boat. I have sometimes gone over a wave only to land a bit skew and then loose my balance and fall off my ski. It is just one of those things. If you do fall off and the waves are rather close and you feel you wont be able to get back on time before the next wave comes hold onto your boat. I normally hold onto the front of my boat, because it will be upside down and I bring my hand as close to my chest as I can. This way I can use my folded arm as a sort of shock absorber as the wave tries to pull the boat from me. My body then also acts as a sea anchor and the boat is facing out to sea when I am ready to flip it over and jump on. I sometimes feel like a wave is just to big and it is very close to breaking and there is just no way I am going to make it. I will jump off my fishingski and flip it over and hold onto the front for dear life. Sometimes it works but sometimes the force is just to strong and I will not be able to hold the ski. Then I have to swim. Never let go of your paddle.

At the end of the trip when you get beyond the surf zone you can then enjoy the fishing and it will all be worth it. Sometimes you don’t even get your hair wet, so what is all the fuss about. I just love it, no matter what happens.

Double Island Damage

Such a cool video of going out to sea.  It is tough and the sea is a powerful beast  but it is so much fun. Well done on the fish Jamie Downey and the awesome video.