Umzimkulu Shark Report September 2017
It’s been a great year for the sharks of The Umzimkulu – starting right back in February, with the rains. For hours, and day after day, the the brown water literally poured out of the mouth, huge Zambezi moms could be seen making their way tentatively under the bridge and up into the river. Three at a time on one afternoon. Having only really seen this at Tugela and Port St. Johns before, this was a real stoker.
These huge mommas head way up river, to give birth. To 12 or 13 young eager pups that swim away from their mother immediately at birth. These guys go straight into feeding mode – highly developed instinct being their only teacher. They grow like most bigger fish do, at about 5 to 7kgs per year. Which means that the cute little Zambezi we caught 4 years ago – would be cruising at about 30kg’s. Chris Leppan (the south coast one), got one at about that size last year, which he also released in perfect health. It ate a live bait.
Then at the end of a charter on the river, it was after golden hour (the second one, we have figured there are two down on the river), I was peering into the overcast afternoon, back over the lines, when all of a sardine, here comes a shark, clean out of the water! He looked at least a metre and a half! And he fully breached! With a gentle spin, and splash! Back into the water. I yelled, “Did you see THAT?!”. But no-one else did. Only me. As usual.
But I was avenged the very next day. We had the Farinha clan aboard, about 12 of them, and were fishing for kingfish and rock salmon, trolling the deep spots, underneath the Ghost House. When SPLASH! A huge sound, right next to the boat. This time I missed it, but everyone on the boat exclaimed, “SHARK!”. By now every one of us were looking forward and here it come again! It’s full body length out of the water. A mean looking Zambezi on his way the 2metre mark. Maybe 50kg’s or a bit more. Then he breached a third time. With his trademark slow spin. It most definitely was an interaction with us. It sure felt that he wanting us to acknowledge him or something.
So we told the story back at the Umzimkulu Marina that afternoon, and found out that the very same shark (or his twin), has been spotted doing this pirouette leap, up and down the river mouth area. Some guy was driving over the low level bridge and a Umzimkulu shark leapt out of the water right next to him!
And to round off this Umzimkulu shark report. Earlier in the year, when the river was still flowing, I went down to The Block to check the launch. Over and away from me on the other side of the river mouth – the fishing famous Sandspit, some idiot had let his kids swim, albeit in the shallows. They were knee deep, when in between me and them, a zambezi came clear out of the water, doing the very same pirouette!
Same guy? Maybe? Let’s just hope it stays away from the shark nets, when it finally matures sexually, and leaves the safe haven of the Umzimkulu River. Slim chance.
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Report by The Sardine News