Kenton On Sea Saltwater Fishing Report July 2011 - Gareth Roocroft

Let me start off by introducing the wonderful town of Kenton-on-sea to you. I have been lucky enough to of traveled to this Eastern Cape costal town since I was very young with my parents in 1989. I have always been amazed by the wildlife and fish species that occur there and I eventually took up saltwater angling there when I was 13. Since this age I have been a dedicated and passionate catch and release sea angler and I thought, since I started up this information based website: Fish the Sea, I would share my travels, fishing journey and stories about my favourite place in the World, so here goes this is the first report I will be posting. I fish Kenton-on-sea 3 times a year so keep your eyes open for more reports! Enjoy...

Day 1

So I drove my parents down to Kenton on sea in the Eastern Cape and was lucky enough to be able to spend a few days fishing there. We arrived at about 6.30pm and we unpacked and then I was off to the Sandbar floating restaurant with my light rod and lures to target some Kob and Shad. I threw about 5 lures and a Halco twisty spoon which I got a nice knock on, but no hook up and then a great chase right to the edge of the lit up jetty area. It looked like a tiny Kob but it didn’t commit. My good friend Steven Victor then met up with me with his bucket of sand prawns, thank goodness! While I had a few more throws with a Sebile topwater lure Steven rigged up and first cast… He had a nice take. He was also using light tackle and he had a nice tussle with a beautiful Spotted Grunter. His first in the area after trying for many years. Now I was keen to get one so I put my lures away and put on a sand prawn onto a Diachii 1/0 hook… I casted into the lit up area and then I felt a few bites, one after the other and then a big bite. Was a great feeling, thinking it was probably a Small Spotted Grunter I tightened up my drag and as I did that I just heard the best noise a fisherman could hear "zzzzzzzzzzzzzz", after about 5 minutes of tough fighting Steven landed my biggest White Steenbras for me to date, wow was I happy, my previous biggest White Steenbras was 15 centimeters and after I weighed and took some photos this 'Steenie' went on to fight another day, it weighed 1.2 kilograms and I caught it on a Shimano Nexave 6 foot, Penn Powerspin 2000 and 3kg line, what a feeling, I finally now know why they call them Steamers! After the Steenbras was released Steven hooked into another fish, he foul hooked a Cape Stumpnose and it was safely released. It was my turn again and I reeled in a White Seacatfish of about 25 centimeters, actually was quite fun fighting it on the light tackle but getting the hook out wasn’t! Fish released and then Steven was into a nice fish, it pulled and then he got it to the surface, it looked like a Spotted Grunter but unfortunately the hook pulled. I got one decent Cape Stumpnose (Flatty) and then we parted ways, what a great night of fishing and after the 12 hour drive I wasn’t even tired just pumped full of adrenaline and thinking about how amazing that White Steenbras was!

Spotted Grunter Caught By Steven Victor White Steenbras caught by Gareth Roocroft
White Seacatfish caught by Gareth Roocroft Cape Stumpnose caught by Gareth Roocroft

Day 2

After pumping some sand prawns at the Boknes lagoon for a night session, I sorted out all my tackle and headed off to my favourite fishing spot in the World, Bats Cave… Most of my biggest edible fish have come from this spot and I rigged up my light rod (Same setup as the previous day, Shimano Nexave 6 foot, Penn Powerspin 2000 and some 3kg line) and tied a float trace with 7kg Maxima leader, I wanted to get a Bronze bream! The fishing started off slow with a few peckers trying to rip the octopus off my hook. There wasn’t much action so I decided to try a smaller hook and first cast I got a big take and was taken right into the reef and cut off, I thought this was a fluke but I put on a hook one size bigger and tried again, same thing happened, burnt off… So I repeated once again and this time I didn’t give the fish any line at all and I ended up landing my largest Blacktail to date, 27.5 centimeters, what an amazing fight especially on my light setup, just another reason why I love to fish light! I got another 3 Blacktail, 1 very small and 2 others of 25 and 26 centimeters respectively, also both bigger than what was my largest before the day had started, 23 cms. Then I went back to the sandbar floating restaurant where I was keen to get a grunter, I met some of the locals there and we had a few beers and fished. My first 2 casts yielded 2 Cape Stumpnose and then it was quiet until the tide turned and started to push… Out of nowhere I just felt this huge suck on my sand prawn… After setting the hook the fish used the current as much as it could but to no avail and my 3kg line and 6 foot rod held up once more to produce my largest Spotted Grunter: 40cm! Wow I was so happy, after that I got another Stumpnose and moved on to the Kariega slipway with the guys I had met. First cast this time with pink prawn, I was on, It felt like a good fish and when I landed it I saw that it was a Sand Steenbras well over 30cms, also another PB for me, wow this trip was breaking all my records and I was chuffed. 1 Blacktail and 1 Cape Stumpnose later we called it a night and I eventually got into bed at 3am, what a days fishing!

Float trace for Blacktail & Bronze Bream 28cm Blacktail caught by Gareth Roocroft
40cm Spotted Grunter 30cm + Sand Steenbras caught by Gareth Roocroft

Day 3

I started the day out walking the main beach with my Elbe 10 foot rod, Penn 3000 reel and 1 ounce chisel nose plug. I casted and casted but unfortunately had no chases and saw no signs of anything. As I was leaving one of the charter boats that go off Kenton came in and I waited to see what they caught. Four nice Kob were taken off the boat as well as a big Red Roman and some other redfish... After getting that motivation I headed off to Bats Cave armed with some sand prawn and Berkley Sand Worm. After baiting up 5 or 6 times I hooked into something strong and decent, I used the waves to get it up onto the rocks and then I was really happy… A 34.5 centimeter Stonebream! I really love these fish but this was my first Stonebream since 2006. Another few re-baits and I caught a small Blacktail and then it went quiet and then I decided it was time for some dropshot. I rigged up a sand worm on a size 4 hook and fished it wacky style similar to the bass wacky rig and the fish were loving it. I caught my first Strepie on dropshot and then landed my second ever Blacktail on dropshot and then the fun started as I hooked into another monster  Blacktail. Before this my ruler managed to get donated to the sea so I could not measure him, also a big fish. It went quiet once more and I called it a day, another great days fishing! In-between that I managed to get some Mullet in my throw net, a first for me!

Chisel Nose Plug On Elbe Estuary Pro 35cm Stonebream caught by Gareth Roocroft
Large Blacktail caught by Gareth Roocroft Blacktail caught on dropshot

Day 4

My first task of the new day was to get some sand prawn. Back to Boknes Lagoon where I pumped about 30. Then I was off to the sandbar floating restaurant to try get a Grunter. There were a lot of peckers around so I cottoned on 2 Sand Prawn at a time and eventually hooked into a very big cape moony, using a 1/0 hook! I couldn’t believe how I had hooked this fish in the bottom of the mouth as their mouths are tiny and I used to struggle hooking these fish with a size 8 hook. I was very happy with this fish and he was safely released. Then all hell broke loose as a shoal of Kob came through. What a time to leave my artificial lures at home. The Kob were every where smashing small bait fish and mullet. There must have been about 30 fish between 20cm and 60cm and they would not touch my sand prawn baits… It was a great sight to see the Kob feeding like that even though I was angry with myself for not even bringing a spoon or spinner, but that’s fishing for you! The Kob moved on and the fish went quiet, so after the 1 Moony I went home.

Large Cape Moony caught by Gareth Roocroft

The next morning I was up early and headed off to Bats Cave… The sea was flat and perfect conditions to fish but not the best conditions for the fish. I rigged up a float setup with a size 4 hook and octopus tentacle/sardine combo. The peckers were around and I eventually hooked into a small Strepie, followed quickly by a small Blacktail and another Strepie… Then it went dead as the tide started to turn and after one more small Blacktail, I headed back. I wanted to go to the Sandbar before they closed at 6pm and I casted out an octopus/pink prawn combo on a size 2 hook and waited, I hooked into a very nice fish, don’t know what it was and never will, it quickly pulled a couple of meters off my reel and then slack, I hate that feeling! A few casts later I picked up a massive Cape Stumpnose for that part of the river, about 25cm, maybe more fought very nicely and was quickly released that would be my last cast. I then headed off to the Kariega slipway, tried to get some live bait but the mullet outsmarted me. So I threw some sand prawn and got a small Cape Stumpnose before the cold chased me home. I woke up early on my final day down here for a while and struggled to wake up It felt like I had a chest infection. I then packed up all the stuff I needed for my upcoming Transkei and Cape Vidal trips and then attempted to do one last session, but struggled as I was really sick and had a long drive the next day...

Strepie caught on float Small Blacktail caught on octopus
Cape Stumpnose (Flatty) caught by Gareth Roocroft Small Cape Stumpnose caught on sand prawn