Distance casting - South African style

I hope you all had a truly wonderful Christmas - we had a blast this end, it's such fun with the kids, and getting back to work is a bit of a shock to the system. Watching my two girls open their stocking on Christmas morning is something that will live with me for a long time. My thanks also for the kind comments posted on this blog.

I have finally found some proper time to edit and process all my photos from a trip I did down to South Africa a couple of months ago - wander back through the blog and you will see how it went. What has really stayed with me is the ease with which the good rock and surf anglers down there can cast big baits and leads out, often to some extreme distances as well if the fishing calls for it. I have witnessed this kind of fishing a lot in Namibia - we have some great shore fishing around the UK, but what we do not have is lots of big fish that actually take a lot of line. And I mean a lot of line.......

For the "smaller" species, the guys were using mainly Shimano Trinidad 20 and 30 reels and 0.50mm (roughly 30lb) mainlines. They routinely remove any form of braking systems from their reels and instead thumb the line down through the cast. It is mightily impressive to watch as you can see in these photos. Big rods, big reels, big baits and some silly big fish at times. Awesome stuff.

But distance casting is obviously only relevant if you need to do so to catch fish - in these photos the guys are really whacking the rods because there is a howling onshore breeze and they need to put the baits right in the middle of a reef system that runs parallel to the shoreline.

What a winter we are getting so far - I can't remember the last time we had proper rain or a big south west gale (August ?), but aren't we getting some proper cold weather ? I reckon a winter like this has been due for a while and over Christmas we wrapped the kids up and spent as much time out and about as possible before hypothermia began setting in !! We were down in the Isle of Wight with my in-laws, very close to the beach, and none of us like spending all day inside doing nothing.

A Very Happy New Year to you all, and I hope that 2009 proves to be a good one. I know that there is a huge amount of doom and gloom around with every single newspaper and news station obsessing about the credit crunch, but it can't all be bad news can it ? I feel really positive about a lot of things in my working life and I am really looking forward to 2009, but I also feel apprehensive about certain things as well. Life is tough or tougher for a lot of people right now, but personally I reckon nothing in life is more important than family, and my personal goal is simply to continue to look after mine as best I can (and land a few big bass as well, of course !!).

I will start off in 2009 by taking a look back over 2008 on this blog, and picking out particular bits of fishing gear etc. that I reckon have really helped my own fishing no end - reviews and conclusions if you like. Rods, reels, lines, lures, waders etc., plus a bit of music of course, all in due course.