Packed beach

By the third of January, you’d expect the crowds of visitors to start receding. We’ve had the festivities of Christmas and the excitement of New Year and there’s real life waiting just around the corner.

But no. Yesterday afternoon, the local car park was as full as I have ever seen it, with cars from Cape Town, Swellendam, the Free State and Limpopo. The reason, I suspect, was the fresh southeaster which had stirred up a sandy gunk, thus:

This “ginger beer water”, I have been told, makes for excellent fishing, and so a billion fishermen had descended onto what I quite reasonably call “my beach”. The rocks were suddenly full of Klipdrift and swearing, discarded tackle and raucous laughter.

I never saw these people when I was out there in the driving rain of two days ago winter.

Also out in full force were the SANParks officials, clipboards in hand, lanyards fluttering in the wind, checking permits and observing catch size. (Although for all the promise, I never saw a single fish being landed.)
It’s weird that the guys in green are never there when the perlemoen poachers are at work (now there’s a group that doesn’t care about the weather), but I guess they can’t be everywhere at once.

The wind is forecast to drop today, and so all the fishermen will likely disappear too, leaving the beach for just me and the beagle, as it should be.


I get sent a lot of jokes via email.
Generally, they’re not very good, but this one tickled me, so I’m going to share it.

A Tall Klipdrift Fishing Tale

I went bass fishing this morning at Groendal Dam, but after a while I ran out of bait. Then I saw a puff adder with a dead lizard in its mouth. Lizards are good bait for bass.

Knowing the snake couldn’t bite me with the lizard in its mouth, I grabbed it behind the head, took the lizard, and put it in my bait bucket.

Now the dilemma was how to release the snake without getting bitten. So, I grabbed my bottle of Klipdrift and poured a little brandy into its mouth. His eyes rolled back, and he went limp. I then released him without incident and carried on fishing, using the lizard as bait.

A little while later, I felt a nudge against my foot. I looked down and there was that same snake with two more lizards in its mouth.
Life is good in Africa.

Numerous disclaimers here: I’m not sure that lizards are good bait for bass (or anything else), I’m not sure that a puff adder is unable to bite you if it already has something in its mouth, and I’m not sure how a puff adder (or the SPCA) will react to Klippies being poured down its throat.

Maybe it’s the fact that it involves brandy. But I think it’s more likely that I just liked the idea of a snake more obedient than our beagle. I’m actually making a list of things that are more obedient than our beagle, and so far it turns out that everything is more obedient than our beagle.

And that’s why I don’t do fishing…

Busy, busy day today, so here’s a quota “photo” which I’ve had for a while and explains perfectly why I’m not a fan of fishing.


When we used to go fishing with my uncle, everyone else would be hauling in tons (not literally) of fish, and I’d be there pulling up some seaweed every now and again.
I do, however, remain the rockpooling champion of the Cape Agulhas municipality.

And while we’re talking about fishing…

(Because we were talking about fishing here.)

How’s this for a headline?

“Seal Harvest Would Create Jobs”

Yep, that’s the plan of ANC MP Meriam Phaliso:

The government should consider allowing the harvesting of Cape fur seals as a means of job creation to compensate for several fisheries that have collapsed through overfishing, says ANC MP Meriam Phaliso.

During a briefing to the National Assembly’s portfolio committee by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, about renewed rights allocations in eight fisheries, Phaliso said the only point of concern was to find a humane way of killing the seals.

Cue inevitable outcry from environmentalists, greenies and the armchairs of slacktivists everywhere. But, in actual fact, it’s not a new idea:

In 1990… a five-year concession allowing a Taiwanese businessman to kill seal pups was cancelled at the last moment by then environment minister Gert Kotze following a huge outcry.
The concession would have allowed up to 100 000 pups and a number of bulls to be killed and processed for pet food, leather and aphrodisiacs in a Port Nolloth factory that had already been built.

Wow. You can get a lot out of a seal, hey? Almost as good as a whale or a rhino. It all sounds like a splendid plan. If only they weren’t so lovely and fluffy and… awww… just look at his whiskers!

Hang on… I got sidetracked by his cuteness. Damn it.
Right, here’s Phaliso’s reasoning for the sickening bloody massacre of the sweet fluffy seal pups with their puppy dog eyes:

Seals are “the biggest poachers of some of the fish and nobody is arresting them… seals are a job-creating mechanism that can put food on the tables in some areas”.

Well, nobody is really arresting human poachers either, are they? But to be honest, Meriam, though your cull idea is a bit on the harsh side when compared with simply “arresting” the seals, it might be a more pleasurable end than being locked up in Pollsmoor overnight.

Meanwhile, just up the road in Elgin (a thankfully seal free inland town), fruit flies were ruining the local apple crop. This was costing food, jobs and livelihoods. In fact, many people in those fruit growing areas called the fruit flies “the biggest poachers of some of the apples”, yet remarked that “nobody is arresting them”.
At first, I put this down to the fact that it’s really difficult to get handcuffs small enough, but then I realised that there was no need to arrest the fruit flies, because we humans are already massacring them with insecticides and genetic modification.

Innocent lives were lost. And yet where was the outcry? Where?

Could it possibly be that because fruit flies don’t bask on rocks around False Bay looking lovable, and instead merely go about eating their natural diet and destroying human livelihoods – i.e. just like the seals apart from the rock bit?

Yeah. It’s damn hard to love a fruit fly, isn’t it? And you need loads to make any decent volume of pet food.

For the record, and belatedly because you’re already on your green high horse, I’m not necessarily suggesting that the seal harvest idea is a good idea. It came from a member of parliament and those two things rarely go together. That said, it would provide jobs, money, and increase local fish stocks. Thus, I am suggesting that a bit more thought than just, “Seals?! OMG! No!” be put into your response to Ms Phaliso’s scheme.

I’m also willing to bet that the rate of objection will be far higher among those who can easily put a meal on the family table for their kids each evening. That’s because there are plenty of people out there who can’t afford to do that and would surely jump at the chance to put a seal on the family table for their kids each evening.