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Hazardous fishing

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Hazardous fishing
There are plenty places it can be pretty dangerous fishing. Kodiak Island, Baring Straits or the Amazon, to name a few.
Africa is no exception.

My dad and I were fishing around the mouth of the St. Lucia estuary, a nature preserve on the North Coast of Natal Province in South Africa.
We had come up on a Thursday night, looking forward to a long week end's fishing which we hoped to commence before Friday's dawn. Since it was a school day, the place was deserted except for a few guys from Shongweni who had parked their two Land Rovers parallel to a high sand dune and pitched camp there.
My dad parked his truck a little ways from them and made a few enquiries about the fishing conditions, of which he was informed were excellent.
Shoals of Tiger Prawns had moved into and around the mouth of the estuary and various fish species were having a frenzied party - particularly the Spotted Grunter.
My dad and I decided not to sleep the night and immediately head for the estuary instead.
From about two hundred yards away I could already hear the splashing of excited fish above the crash of the Indian Ocean's waves. Eagerly he and I began to run toward the mouth in anticipation of the great fishing in the inky darkness ahead.
As we got closer we slowed the pace, switched on the flashlights and began to examine the river and estuary shoreline for Nile crocodiles which occupy the area in healthy numbers.
The few we did sight, their eyes glowing back at us through the new moon night, were a safe distance from us.
Arming our lines with heavy bronze spoons with double trebles, we attacked the thrasing grunter with casts over and beyond their schools, retrieving the spoons with broad, quick sweps of our 16ft surf rods.
It was almost a sick joke how easily we were foul-hooking them and hauling them to shore. We were able to keep only the biggest and toss the rest back.
After only perhaps a half hour, my dad shouted to me that he could see a large school of frenzied fish in the shallow surf on the opposite side of the estuary. Convinced they were mullet, he decided that the four monster grunter we had kept were enough and we should try for mullet as we would need the live bait for the dawn cast. Grabbing our cast nets we found our usual crossing spot - a sand bar which bridges the mouth in about two feet of water at low tide - and after scanning for reptilian hazards once more, we crossed.
During the crossing we noticed the grunter weren't the only ones to have a hearty meal, but several crocks were in turn, feeding on them.
With his flashlight pointing the way to the spluttering mullet, my dad shouted his excitement and gve his orders.
We were to come in from behind and the sides of the mullet school and trap them between us, the shore and a lone boulder in the shallow foam skirts.
Barely had we tossed our nets when the boulder raised a huge head with iridescent eyes, and a second smaller squat body emerged from the shadow of the living rock.
Simultaneously we realized we were staring straight at a hippo cow and her calf ....!
Calm as a breeze, my dad took me by the arm and we backed away. Mommy stood up and faced us with the kind of quiet manevolance that only wild animals can project. We both knew well that if she chose to charge, neither of us would outrun her so we gingerly made our retreat to the treeline and climbed up a nice, sturdy beachnut.
Through the gloom we watched her and her calf lumber away until they were swallowed up by the night.
To be on the safe side, we decided to hang out in the tree until daybreak. That Friday we fished 'till about 14h00 before heading back to the campsite for lunch.
On our arrival, we found one of the Land Rovers belonging to the Shongweni fishermen to have its engine block and transmission lying in the sand and the hood of the car caved in.
The two guys who had stayed behind with the stricken vehicle - waiting for a tow truck to arrive - related a story to us in which a hippo cow and her calf had happened along that night, stepping straight from the sand dune onto the hood of the Landy, collapsing the hood and breaking the engine and tranny away from the mountings.

My father and I couldn't the sneaking feeling of guilt that we had somehow contributed to these poor fishermen's plight, but at the same time feeling very amused and in awe at these seemingly docile giants which I have a tremendous respect for.

(This post was edited by AdictedBassTard on Jan 23, 2006, 2:21 PM)
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Re: [AdictedBassTard] Hazardous fishing In reply to
I've been told that hippos are meanier than rinos
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Re: [maddawg] Hazardous fishing In reply to
You sre quite right. Hippos are the second biggest killers in Africa after Crocks (as far as game animals go).

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Re: [AdictedBassTard] Hazardous fishing In reply to
That is a good story, could you imagine going fishing and then coming back to your car and having it crushed? Then finding your Mother in Law, brother, ect. saying they have to lose weight!Wink


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Re: [DanielJRioux] Hazardous fishing In reply to
I have had a few brushes with wildlife whilst fishing in Africa, but this one stands out in my mind the most. It just seemed like my dad and i had inadvertantly caused an unfortunate but humorous chain of events. It's a great illustration of how one human's interaction with wild animals can directly or indirectly affect another.