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Legal wheels on our beaches, but …

by Eugene C Kruger

As winter starts to creep in here’s a warm welcome one and all to our May issue that again presents a high-end, mixed bag of angling related content.

One recreational fishing trend that justifies an upfront mentioning is our feature on “Fat Bike Fishing”, which is growing in popularity among beach anglers up and down our eastern coastline. To lead off a mini-series on this beach fishing innovation news editor Charmagne Grimbeek and photographer Tobias Weber experienced first-hand the joys – and physical demands – of a day on the beach at St Lucia with saltwater guide Jeff Asher-Wood. Their account begins here.

Ever since vehicles were banned on our beaches by erstwhile minister of environmental affairs Valli Moosa in 2002 – not without huge opposition, I must add – beach angling has meant sometimes exhausting hikes to get to chosen spots that for many people has certainly made beach fishing less attractive. Those fishing in organised competitions I note use hand-drawn trolleys to cart around all their gear, and the weigh-masters, apart from being on top of their game as to rules and the like, must now also be physically fit enough to keep moving from angler to angler on foot – no more vehicles allowed!

But anglers are an incredibly resourceful lot, so I suppose it is not surprising that Fat Bike Fishing has arrived with a bang and is certainly set to once again make beach angling as popular as it ever was. There are however certain factors that make riding a bike on a beach different to riding on a normal road, and this mini-series will explain just about everything you need to know. It is certainly an exhilarating way to go beach fishing!

I must however warn that the beach vehicle ban includes motorised bicycles, so there is a risk that the authorities could, as they can be expected to do, decide to ban bikes on the beaches in their entirety, which of course will be a massive setback, once again. So please discourage those who are using motorised bikes on the beaches from doing so!

It’s always intriguing – and also highly interesting – to read what first-timers experience when they actually get the opportunity to go fish a venue that’s been on their ‘bucket list’ for a long time. This year Werner Lubbe, who has lessened his commitments to formal angling at provincial and international level, at long last found the time and opportunity to fish one of the most sought after and prestigious saltwater venues in southern Africa, namely Mazeppa Bay. His story however drills deeper into the pure personal enjoyment of the adventure than most accounts in the genre – he had to employ lessons learnt over many seasons of high-level competitive angling to overcome unexpected and highly disruptive weather conditions.

My first Dusky shark, landed on the island.

Go enjoy all of it, and much more, in this issue!

Meanwhile enjoy the shortening days on the beach, bank or boat, and as always, Take Care!