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Thread: The sandsharks of Langebaan

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Default The sandsharks of Langebaan

    I saw the thread about flatties on fly, and was going to post this there, but this information is specific to targetting the sandsharks at Langebaan so thought i would give it it's own thread. Langebaan is starting to warm up at the moment so the sandshark fishing should get quite good soon so thought it would be a good time to share this.

    A while ago Dave Marshal pm'ed me for information about targetting them, and i have just cut and pasted my response to him here:

    If you're going for just a day, check the tides, the wind and the cloud cover. The less wind the better because of visibility. We are always targetting sighted fish so a chop on the water makes them much harder to see. If there is wind on all the days, then look for the sunniest day on the weekend as this will also help you see them. The tide is important as the fishing is definately better on the pushing tide but you can still catch the fish around low tide, you will just have to walk a lot more to find the fish.

    We usually wade the prawn flats until we spot a moving sandie. They must be moving or they will not take a fly. You will see lots that are buried in the sand and there is absolutely no point in targetting these fish. you can drop your fly right on their nose right at your feet and they will not respond. The ones that are moving are looking for food and those are the ones you must target. As soon as we see a fish, We cast the fly in front of them by a few metres and hope they stay on that course. If the fly lands with too much of a plop on the surface it can spook them so we try lead them by as much as possible. If they see the fly, they will move towards it and land on top of it. Now the difficult part is when to strike because you can't see when he actually eats it. We used to strike when he lands on it but were foul hooking a lot of them like that. The last few trips we did, we noticed that when he is moving towards it, we give it very short little strips (like 1 inch strips) and keep doing it when he lands on it. you will then go tight as soon as he eats it and you can then strike. Our theory is that he lands on the fly but dosn't necessarily land his mouth on it, and feels around for the movement of the fly (think as if he landed on a moving prawn), and he then moves his mouth to where he feels the movement and eats it. Another important thing is that you must be able to see your fly so that you know when he stops on top of it.

    The tackle we use is 7 or 8wt rods but a 6wt will be fine too. A 9wt will also be fine, but we find we get better presentation with the lighter rods. We use clear intermediate lines to help reduce spooking the fish and the leader is probably about 10 or 12lb mono or flouro.

    The flies should be quite heavy to get down to the bottom quickly (usually only knee or shin deep but it must get there fast into the path of the fish), but must not be too heavy to spook the fish when it lands on the surface. I use mostly Crazy Charlie patterns with dumbell eyes to get it down. They are mostly about a size 2 or size 4. I like using naturall coloured ones with a bit of olive or brown in them, but these are a bit difficult to see so you can put a bit of red, pink or chartreuse in them to make them easier to see.

    The prawn flats that we fish are close to the south end of the lagoon. We usually fish on the langebaan side of the lagoon but there is also a bank on the reserve side of the lagoon that has lots of sandsharks. To get to that you must drive through the reserve and follow the signs to church haven. The best would be to get a map when you enter the reserve and you will see where it is. You just park at the parking area and walk down to the lagoon and wade onto the flats.

    The other place where we mostly go is on the langebaan side. If you drive into langebaan on the main road, you drive all the way through town on that road. At the end of town the road curves to the left but there is a dirt road straight in front of you. That dirt road is the short cut, but can be a bit hairy in a normal car. You just follow that dirt road until it curves to the left, and you will eventually see some wooden poles sticking half way out into the road. you can't miss them. just park there by those wooden poles, and you will see the path that leads down to the prawn flats. If you are not keen on that dirt road, you can stay on the tar road as it curves left out of town. It goes up a steep hill, and at the first four way stop you turn right. You are still going uphill at this stage. Stay on that road until you go over the top of the hill and down the other side. you go down for a while, and just before you get to the bottom you will see a dirt road on the right. you will now see the lagoon in front of you. Turn right onto that dirt road which is much better than from the other side and a bit shorter. again you just drive up to the wooden poles in the middle of the road and park there and walk down. It is very safe to leave you car there - we have never had issues leaving it there. (edit: Since writing this i have heard that there is now a boom blocking off this access, but i have not seen this myself. If that is the case i would go to the churchhaven side - there are just as many sandies there, but it is less protected from the wind)

    I would also suggest that you make sure you have a valid salt water fishing license which you can get at the post office if you don't have one. We have often been checked by the conservation guys there. They hang out there to catch the guys that are pumping for prawns without a license but also check fishing licenses.

    Other things not to forget are your polaroid glasses - they will help a lot in seeing the sand sharks. Once you see a couple you will get used to picking up the moving ones and will be able to pick them out coming from a long way off.

    When conditions aren't great, we have found it is easier to wade in a line, and spot for each other. If I am on the left i will see the ones coming from the left first, but i will not be ready to cast so i point it out to the guy on the right and he has more time to cast to it. He does the same for me with the ones coming from the right.

    Don't be disheartened if you don't see them. Just walk around a lot in the water and cover the area until you find a few. If there are a couple in an area, there are usually a lot more that move through that area. A very good area we have found at the langebaan side prawn banks is a set of rocks down to the right of where you park your car and walk down to the lagoon. When you get onto the sand, walk to your right and you will go over a group of rocks. Go over those and go to the next set of rocks. If you stand on those and watch for a while you should see some of them moving around those rocks. When the tide is pushing they move in from the deep water on the right, going up to your left, where you have walked from, and on outgoing tide they move back to the right to the deep water, but inbetween that time they are crawling all over the prawn banks. They can often be very very close to the shoreline so you can also walk up and down the shoreline looking for the moving ones.

    Oh ja - one more thing - if you foul hook some in the wing (and you more than likely will), they will not fight very well and you might be disappointed. Normal fish fight harder when foul hooked, but when you hook these guys in the wing they can't swim properly so they don't give a great fight. When you eventually get one in the mouth though, you will see that they are super strong fighters with both of their wings functioning and they go on blistering runs! They are then really fun to target! Just persist till you get one in the mouth and you will know what i mean!

    Hope this helps anyone looking for a change - it really is a fun different way to flyfish, and probably the closest we will come locally to targetting bonefish on the flats or parrots like the bassas boys - could be good practice if you're intending to go on a trip for either of those.
    "So hereís my point. Donít go and get your ego all out of proportion because you can tie a fly and catch a fish thatís dumb enough to eat a car key.." - Louis Cahill - Gink and Gasoline

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default

    Great info, thanks G.
    Handle every situation like a dog.- If you cant hump it, piss on it and walk away. --JASPER.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Hi Grant
    thanks for a super post.

    You can also try the section further north form Chuchhaven, towards and in Kraalbaai. Very sheltered from the wind.
    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

  4. #4
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    really informative post, thanks. I'll be down at the cost towards the end of Oct so hope to give these ideas a try
    ---------------------------------------------
    http://wildjohannesburg.blogspot.com

  5. #5
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    Spot on bru! Lekker post!
    Re the boom- news is that its there to stay- only hoping the idiot who put it there will be willing to let guys through on a daily basis. Else one will have to explore the possibility of parking and walking around the point to the flats- shouldn't be too long a walk.
    Where is Cptfly- he has been keeping up to date with the boom story I think?

    Also remember to take closed shoes or booties for wading- wearing normal fishing boots or going barefoot are both not that lekker!
    " Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian." -Dennis Wholey

  6. #6
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    Default Thanks!

    Excellent information - many thanks! Was at the reserve a couple of seeks back to go watch the flowers with the inlaws (well worth doing so by the way). Stopped at the "preekstoel" and must have seen well over 100 sandies cruising in very shallow water. Was well pissed off with myself for not brining a rod. But will go back soon. Perfect location to take the family as well.
    Never mistake knowledge for wisdom.

  7. #7
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    Nice one
    Report is spot on.There is a way to get 100% hook-up in the mouth.Its in the mouth or no hook-up.One other thing to try is a leadcore line on a 6wt.Rio makes a nice shooting head and it is nice in the wind. Your leader makes a massif difference in the sink rate of the fly on a leadcore line.
    My ideal outfit for sandshark is a 6wt/leadcore line & 8 pound leader.Have landed some monster sandies on it (1.2 meter+).
    It is save to say that the code has been cracked & its all to do with the fly.
    Hooking them in the mouth makes for a very spirited fight and you will get on to the backing more than once.But for langebaan go for a 5wt ,the sandies there are very slender and have not seen one of more a 1meter there & they are a bit lig in die broek.

  8. #8
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    so Big Jim...is this fly quite specific and protected or could you elaborate on the fly a bit for everyone? even a pic would be great if you're willing to share that...

    thanks for this thread Grant. very interesting read and would be quite an experience im sure.
    bushveld scalies - worth the blood, sweat and tears

  9. #9
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    The fly is very specific.I have two different patterns for sandies.Sandsharks have taken a bad rap, or has had a dirty little secret when it comes to ff ethics.And to jig a sandshark is like drinking alcohol free beer.
    The patterns have taken 6 years to develop and only the last two years it's come full circle so to speak.
    This is one specie I have given up on more than I have tried.
    The fact is that sandshark do have a go at fly patterns but there is a lot that goes wrong before it gets to the mouth of the sandshark!
    The ideas are not mine but all have been put together in two nice and effective patterns.The one will be named the O.B.N-pattern(something Old ,something Borrowed ,something New).
    Will come back to this thread in the next week or so ,with all the info and pic's.

  10. #10
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    Sounds interesting Big Jim...

    looking forward to seeing the final product...
    bushveld scalies - worth the blood, sweat and tears

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