Breakaway at the Breede

Breede River Lodge

In March, after applying for our visas, we had a few days to spare. It had been a long summer season at the lodge and we were desperately in need of a break! So, we went fishing!! Our destination, the Breede river – a first for myself and Chenelle. Rotten with flu, I missed most of the drive there, lying with the rentals seat as flat as it could go.

After booking into the Breede River Lodge (an awesome spot, with super helpful and friendly staff, which we would recommend to anyone) we made ourselves a comfortable bed infront of the fireplace and the TV and settled down to watch some T20.

The following day we had allocated to late lie in’s and lazing around. After a hearty brunch we headed down to the marina to book ourselves a boat for the next day. Your’s truly had no copy of his skippers ticket so we were limited to a 3m dingy and a 15hp. After a day of R&R and an afternoon prepping our tackle, we headed over for a braai and catch up with one of Nelle’s friends, Sarah Halse. Sarah is currently based at the Lower Breede River Conservancy (breede-river.org or on Facebook). After a great supper, lots of chit chat and too much wine, we were off to bed.

At 5am the next day we got up and got ourselves sorted. Before 7am we were on the river on our ship (which later earned itself a name) – The Electric Ray. We started by drifting downstream off the NSRI between the kayaks which were partaking in a comp on the river that day. After a few casts we noticed some surface action closer to the lodge. We moved up as fast as we could, which was only slightly faster than a determined kayaker. On arrival we witnessed some leeries hitting small baitfish, which had now decided to seek refuge below our vessel. In situations like this you are extremely grateful for Costa’s.

After not a single follow on a surface lure we decided to change over to my “go-to” lure – a bucktail jig! First cast, three tweaks and ON! This carried on for about 2 hours – all that was needed was to locate the baitfish and the leeries were there. We never managed to land anything big but a leerie is a leerie, and on 8lb braid and a light rod, it’s always fun! We must have landed in excess of 20 fish between the two of us whilst surrounded by kayaks which seemed to be oblivious to the happenings on the Electric Ray. In between all the action we spotted a pair of humpback dolphins, we didn’t think too much of it as they are spotted regularly at Flamingo, however we later learnt that this was not a common occurrence.

Leerie reflections

As the tide began to push we decided to go have a look up river – what an amazing body of water! The guys which get to fish this river often are definitely nothing less than spoilt! Nelle managed to the leerie of the day after spotting some nervous mullet. By now the south easter was blowing a steady 20knots. Over the course of the day I had occasionally experienced the odd tingle from the tiller arm but took little notice. Heading back, into the chop, the motor got drenched. Needless to say the little tingle turned into a heart-stopping jolt which sent Nelle into hysterics everytime it gave a kick! We managed to work out a plan with a Shimano Terez and a cooler box, which allowed for minimum contact.

By now the wind was howling and spotting fish was impossible. We handed the boat back and decided it would be best to report the shock! After an office full of laughter it was revealed that they were aware of the problem and had forgotten to warn us – a good laugh was had by all!

Thank you to the Breede locals – Keith Tait, Paul Anderson and Mike Dolhoff who all steered us in the right direction allowing us to get the most out of our limited time on the river. It was also great catching up with my old friend, Arno Dames, who was spending some time on the river with his family.

Breede

A lot of upset was caused with the implementation of new rules on the river (i.e. no night fishing and no trolling of lures) but I honestly have to say well done to the people that made this possible. The Breede is a truly special place and should be looked after.

Our estuaries in South Africa are under severe fishing pressure and it is up to all of us to try and educate our fellow anglers of the importance of catch and release.We all need to play our role in ensuring healthy stocks for the next generation – each and everyone of us makes a difference.

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