My last few visits to Umhloti have been amazing. Until now surviving on the odd pull from Salads, little Kingies, Garfish, etc and then earlier this week watching my son being pulled to his knees by a Kingie grabbing his spoon at his feet kept the enthusiasm going.
Every morning of late has just been so beautiful. The birds have also been a little curious. The resident Goliath or Giant Kingfisher making his regular appearance on Pinnacle rock, along with his lesser companions, the Pied Kingfishers and then what looks like some young Albatrosses gliding in on the heavier swells earlier this week and lots of juvenile Malgas or Cape Gannets. This morning really blew me away when six Oyster Catchers went flying past on their way up north. Not a huge birder, but that seems very early or else there is something nasty coming from down South weather wise.
After a few on-offs a few mornings ago, this morning they all stuck. The first Snoek was very early and had to make careful work of my footing in fighting the fish. Having had a little bit of a drought for a while my determination led me right to the very edge only to be taught some respect by Neptune fortunately coming out just with a few decent fishing wounds – but the fish was out! That was the good old slow retrieve with the glow bullet before dawn cracks story. Not much went on for a while until it was time to change tactics and test a new foil Couta Casting spoon. The very first top-speed retrieve was met with instant success. I was just starting to think that Couta Casting was a very appropriate name based on what I assumed was on the end when a big shark put an end to that contract.
May is the month of the big Snoek but it is also Blackfin time and the dangers or being taxed on a decent fish are very real. Another Couta Casting foil, but this time second choice colour, five or six top-speed retrieves later, another on with a big splash on the surface. My heart jumped into my mouth as I expected a big fish to take off and to be taxed yet again. Don’t know whether it was fortunate or unfortunate but the fish came quite easily and then put up a major scrap right next to the rocks - once again having to rock crab all over the show to find the appropriate gully to slide it out. Two Snoeks (93cm and 81cm) for the morning must surely be the start of a good day – and it’s the start of a weekend!
If you enjoy eating mussels, get out there and get picking (assuming you are all licensed up). In May the quantity of flesh inside each mussel is amazing. They are all plumped up, ready for the winter. Good time for picking. Can’t wait for the mussel starter tonight, followed by fresh grilled Snoek. Couldn’t ask for a better meal after an amazing morning.
Tried this recipe last night on mussels and it was amazing:
Fry 1 chopped onion and 2 cloves crushed garlic and thyme with a little olive oil in a pan until soft but before it changes colour. If you have any spring onion, chop the green parts into short (30mm) size lengths and add this to the pan as well. If you like a small bite, chop a green chilli quite finely and add this to the mixture. Add a glass of dry white wine and while this is simmering, add a dash of white pepper and a teaspoon of Aromat. Allow the mixture to reduce to almost a third. At this point, throw in your 30 steamed and de-shelled fresh plump mussels and then add 200 ml of fresh cream or you can substitute the cream with a milk and flour mixture to give the sauce some substance. If you are fond of cheese, throw in about a handful of grated cheddar cheese and once melted and stirred in, throw in some freshly chopped parsley and I like to put a few more sprigs of spring onions into the pan. Put the lit onto the pan while you wait for your choice of crispy bread, or toasted fingers to be ready. Make sure you use a spoon otherwise you will eat your fingers off!