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Author Topic: Steenbra  (Read 3076 times)

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Offline Simen

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« on: September 06, 2015, 06:02:08 PM »
Catching Steenbra on the Namibian coast.
With the length and diversity of the Namibian coastline it is an essential to be able to “read the water” so to speak.  A lot of anglers make the mistake to do long and deep casts, when looking for Steenbra. The where to cast here is more of importance than the how far do you cast. Steenbra is at times caught just behind the first wave- meaning not more that 10m from the beach.

Where there is a small drawback formed with a wave, which in turn forms a shallow bank is one of the favorite places for a Steenbra to feed.  When you encounter a sandbank which is in the process of being washed away you must know this an excellent place to fish, because as the water and wave action wash away the sand, it exposes crabs, white mussel, etc.  All are great food for a Steenbra.   

Sandbanks, either in front or the back are places where they are to be found. The place I would consider the most frequented by this fish will definitely be in gulley’s, regardless of this gully running parallel to the beach or going straight out to sea.   Other ideal places will be the drop off’s either to the right or left of sand banks.   A rocky area where there is black mussel present is also one of their favourite feeding places.
Red line = Gulley
Yellow= Sandbank

Large schools of these fish congregate at certain times and areas during the year, but most of times you will have to do your bit to get one of these “steam trains” on the hook.

There are places when doing your first cast, that the smaller Steenbra will actually be a nuisance.   Best advice here is to move either to the left or right of this area and see if you don’t find any larger ones there, or either move away from the place all together.
When fishing for these “steam trains” fish as light as possible, meaning not tackle wise but with a very slack mainline. Just enough to have a bit of pressure on the rod tip. A large Steenbra does not like to feel any resistance on the bait as it usually just picks up the bait and takes off.  Other times your line just goes slack all of a sudden DO NOT tighten the line, leave at as it is, the bait was picked up and the resistance of the sinker was felt, it will now leave it for a short time and then come back at it at speed.

Also your drag must be set close to zero, REMEMBER your goal is to first get the fish on the hook before you get it onto the beach.  With the speed these old timers pick up the bait, you will either be too late, to loosen the drag, or he will open your hook, or break the line. Your drag must be so loose that you should not be able to lift your rod (pullback) without the line playing out.

Once you feel the fish running you can then set the hook and tighten the drag. Again do not rush the fight by having a too tight drag. Steenbra’s are usually clean fighters, but very, very, potent fighters. It is not uncommon for these fish to fight themselves “belly up”. They will use wave action, currents, side washes all to their advantage. They are very strong swimmers and when they put their body’s broadside into a wave, they create massive resistance. A too tight a drag can make you lose a fish in no time.

BEWARE- they tend to keep a bit of energy stashed to give it a last go right in front of your feet in the shallow water, be very careful of this, as this is the place where the hook gets pulled often.

Here I don’t want to get into brand names, as each angler has his preference.  Any normal medium action rod combined with reel of your choice that you use for edibles will suffice.  Line dia .35 to .45mm. A leader line of .6mm will do, as in most cases you will find the fish in sandy stretches of beach.  Hooks ranging from a 2/0/ to 6/0 short shank.  With the hooks I suggest a good quality hook which does not bend or open easily. I would advise to use Fluorocarbon on the hook snoods these are skittish feeders. (.6 to .8mm).


Two types of traces are mostly used.

The first being the fixed trace-where the hook snood and the sinker line come tied together on a single swivel.  The hook snood being 350mm/500mm long. The sinker line in both these cases being 100mm longer. Used more in a rocky bottom where, if the sinker should get stuck, it can get pulled loose by the fish.

The second be the running trace—this is where the hook snood is tied directly on the mainline and the sinker line has its own free running swivel. Hook snood 350mm / 500mm.  The sinker line in this case to be 100mm shorter in both cases. Used where the fish are very skittish to pick up the bait, and to minimize the actual drag made by sinker.

The two main types of bait used while fishing for Steenbra are: White mussel and octopus. However catches are also made with pilchard (meat side on the outside) and with sand crabs. Used in this way to create a longer slender bait.)
Never make your bait more than double the size (dia.) than the bend in your hook.  However the length of the bait should be 3 X the length of the hook.  (meat on the outside.)
White mussel:
Generously use white mussel to make elongated baits on the hook(s). Don’t be afraid to cover the hook in total, but leave the hook tip standing proud. White mussels are very soft and the hook will easily push through the bait once the fish bites. Use very thin cotton to secure the bait onto the hook.

A FRESH octopus leg is deadly when it is applied for bait. Don’t waste time once the octopus has turned pink, rather try different bait.  Cut the leg to the length of approx 12cm and 1.0 to 1.5 cm in diameter. Strip the skin and suckers off so that you are left with the white meat.  This section will be used to wrap around the base of the bait you will form with a thinner piece of leg.
Should you have large (thick) octopus legs just cut a section at 45deg across the leg and tie that onto the hook. Secure tightly with thin cotton above the hook eye as you don’t want the bait to slide down and form a ball on the hook only.
First layer of Octopus on the hook
Second layer over the first to complete the bait

Pilchard (insides out – meat on outside)
Use sections of a pilchard (to fillet is best) and tie them onto the hook with the meat to the outside. (Half the pilchard cut open in length and tied inside out all the way up the hook snood.) Make sure the hook tip is standing proud.

Sand crab.
Tie on with elastic bands or cotton as on the sketch. Or just hook on.  (Through the main pincher protruding through the side, or through the back protruding through the top,)
( Sketch taken from “Aas is die geheim” by Nicky Lourens.)

The other method is to use 2 x 6/0 hooks which then gets hooked through the body(one facing up and the other down). Do this just in front of the last legs (one side of body) and then tie these legs which are on both sides of the hook onto your line.

As Steenbra‘s are bottom feeders it is not advisable to add flotation to the bait.

When fishing in gulley’s the best time is 2 hours before and after high tide. The water is then deeper and the wave action more to loosen food from the surrounding areas and wash this into these gullies.  As the water will have less action in these gullies it is an ideal place for these fish to search for food.
Wading onto a sandbank at low tide will enable you to fish most of the time during the day, as to such a time you have to move to a gulley.  The gulley is then between the beach and the sand bank on which you were standing. Now you are casting towards the sand bank.
With a bit of luck added.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2015, 04:26:57 PM by Simen »

Offline Willsonut

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Re: Steenbra
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2018, 06:36:29 AM »
I want to go down, it would be fun. But i do not have time