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Super Mario’s Adventures: Shark Fishing in South Africa

Mario Asprou looks back on a ray and shark fishing adventure of a lifetime during a recent visit to Mossel Bay in South Africa.

I recently headed to Mossel Bay in South Africa where I would be ray and shark fishing, my target was to catch duckbill ray and the many sharks that swim around this coast. I packed my Tronixpro Naga MX as my primary weapon of choice. This rod has been with me on many trips not only in the UK but also in Norway and in Africa on a previous trip. One of my main aims was to catch a big shark on the rod. It’s a seriously capable rod with plenty of power, so I was interested to see how it would tame one of these big beasts!

The first morning we were searching for duckbill ray, casting out it only took thirty minutes before I had my first duckbill, then the fishing really kicked off! We hit a pack of hounds, where fish were being brought in cast after cast. After catching several good-sized hounds, I hit one fish which was much bigger. After running me ragged around the beach eventually, I landed a beautiful specimen of 60lbs, a new personal best for me.

Shark Fishing in South Africa
Most of the shark caught were tagged to aid conservation.

After taking a few snaps and slipping the hound back, I sent out some more fresh baits, and it wasn’t long before the Naga MX was screaming off again with another big fish. Straight away when I hit the fish I knew it was a big one, it was going on long, slow runs and nodding its head in a tell-tale heavy thump. After an exhilarating fight, with the fish through the breakers, I eventually got the shark onto the beach. It was a ragged tooth shark. I was over the moon with this fish, it’s not the biggest raggy tooth shark, but it was awesome to get such a fish so early in the trip. It weighed around 100lbs, and the Naga MX handled it with no problem. With my confidence heightened in the ability of the rod, I decided to go all out and put a larger bait on to try and get a monster.

The first day petered out without the monster I was looking for, but going into day two, it was all on. We headed to a deep water rock mark for an all-out shark fishing session, where we would be mainly targeting big sharks, a good workout for the Naga MX.

Shark fishing can be a slow business. As we waited for them to home in on our baits, I took the opportunity to fish with some smaller baits. I had some great fun with small hammerhead shark, they were prolific on almost every mark we visited, and are fantastic for passing away the time while waiting for their bigger cousins. It wasn’t too long until one of the shark rods screamed off…

Shark Fishing in South Africa
One of the many hammerhead shark that were caught during the week

We were fishing the shark rods on rotation, and I was up first, I put on the butt pad and hit the fish. The power of the fish was immediate, with a slow, but almost unstoppable run to begin with, I had to wait for it to tire on its first run before piling on some pressure. After making some headway in turning it towards the shore, it soon recovered some energy and went on another slow, plodding run. Again, I had to bide my time until it tired before I could make some headway once again. The fight lasted for over an hour and a half until the fish was finally tired enough. I eventually landed it on the beach, it was huge bronze whaler!

Shark Fishing in South Africa
Bronze whaler with a measured weight of 350lbs, tagged and released.

After taking some quick photographs, we measured the shark, both its length and girth and tagged the fish, recording its details before sending it back on its way out to sea. After some calculations with the shark’s dimensions, we had the weight at 350lbs! I was absolutely delighted with this, it put up an excellent account of itself and was a new personal best for me. It was one of my targets for the trip, to get a big bronzy.

As the light levels started to drop, we got a sense something was going to happen. Dropping light levels is seen as the golden hour, when the fish go into hunting mode and action is often just around the corner. True to form, the Naga tore off with another big fish. Again, the fight was brutal, still sore after the bronzy earlier, after an hour, my back was falling apart, and it felt like my arms would be pulled off at any moment. Little did I know I was still halfway through the fight. After much toing and froing and two hours since the initial run, I landed another bronze whaler, a little smaller than the previous one, but at 330lbs it was another beast of a fish. It goes to show just how capable to Naga MX is, it’s a beachcaster designed for tackling UK fishing, and yet, it is perfectly capable of taming sharks over 300lbs.

Shark Fishing in South Africa
Another cracking bronze whaler at 330lbs, caught on the Naga MX and tagged and released.

The rest of the holiday went quickly with plenty of action on each day we fished. We caught plenty of hammerheads, dusky sharks, smaller bronze whalers and countless, good sized smoothhounds. It was a truly epic weeks fishing, where we caught plenty of big fish but also lost our fair share as well. South Africa is a special place, the scenery is as impressive as the fishing, and the people are truly friendly. I must pass on the thanks to Shawn Mey, our guide for the week who pulled out all of the stops to make sure we had a fantastic holiday with plenty of big fish. I can’t wait for our next adventure!

Mario’s week was organised with Go Fish Mossel Bay.

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About the author

Mario Asprou

Mario Asprou

Mario started fishing when he was just 4 years old and the sport has always been a true passion of his. One of his most memorable catches has been an 8lb bass caught with live bait whilst fishing on a local beach. Another was a 105lb blue shark when fishing on board White Water out of Milford Haven. Read more...