.270 Winchester cast lead session
Catch the elusive yellowfin tuna
The New Leatherman Generate MUT envy
Overland to Central Kafue
Part 1 of a wild Zambian Adventure
Make a Plan
Toilet paper rope - stronger than you think
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8 .270 Winchester cast lead session 17 The New Leatherman Generate MUT envy
28 Overland to Central Kafue Part 1 of a wild Zambian Adventure
40 African Ahi Master gamefisherman Mike Laubscher shows you how to catch the elusive yellowfin tuna
70 African hunters of yesteryear The Maneating lions of Tsavo
92 Make a Plan Toilet paper rope - stronger than you think
96 True North Fierce Mastery
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Published by Safari Media Africa Editors United States of America Editor: Alan Bunn email@example.com Associate editor: Galen Geer firstname.lastname@example.org Europe Hans Jochen Wild email@example.com Africa Southern Africa: Mitch Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org Central Africa: Cam Crieg email@example.com Financial Thea Mitchell Layout & Design Xtasis Media and Digital Wind Advertising and Marketing South Africa: T. Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org Phone +27 13-7125246 Fax 0866104466 USA: Alan Bunn email@example.com (706) 2762608 African Expedition Magazine is an independent bimonthly publication promoting fair, sustainable hunting, a protected environment and adventure sports in Africa. The African Expedition Magazine is published by Safari Media Africa
Disclaimer While all precautions have been taken to ensure the accuracy of advice and information provided, the Proprietor, Publisher, Editor, or Writers cannot accept responsibility for any damages, inconvenience or injury whatsoever that may result from incorrect information. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher or its agents. African Expedition Magazine assumes no responsibility to return graphics unsolicited editorial, or other material. All rights in unsolicited editorial, letters, emails, graphics and other material will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and material will be subject to African Expedition Magazineâ€™s unrestricted right to edit and editorial comment. All material and/or editorial in African Expedition is the property of African Expedition and/or the various contributors. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the prior written consent of the Publisher.,
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Magazine Reading Tips Read Online: Go to www.africanxmag.com to page through the virtual magazine.
Read it on your PC: Read the document like a normal magazine. You will need the free Adobe Reader. In Adobe Acrobat, choose View>Page Display>Two-up continuous
Hear the magazine! 1) In Adobe Acrobat, choose View>Read out Loud>Activate Read out Loud. 2) Choose View>Read out Loud and the option you want: Read This Page Only/Read To End of Document/Pause or Stop. 3) Choose View>Deactivate Read out Loud to deactivate the read out loud function This option is great for visually impaired outdoors enthusiasts
Jump directly to articles On the contents, just click on the article to jump straight there. To jump to pages or articles, click on one of the icons on the right in Acrobat Reader. The green circle gives step-by-step instructions for common features.
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About this magazine This magazine is a radical departure from normal magazines. Of course, it is a superb-quality printed magazine. But you can also get it on: • The web • PC • Laptop • PocketPC • PalmPilot and many others All you need to do is to copy the .pdf file to your PDA using the synchronisation software provided with the device. For more assistance, contact your supplier. You also get a scaleddown version on your mobile phone. Just point your internet-enabled mobile phone to mobile.africanxmag.com and select the issue you want to read or download animal call ringtones. You can also order a printed copy (in color or black and white) of any past or present issue.
Read your way. Easy.
Note: Make sure you have the latest version of Acrobat Reader installed. To update, choose Help>Check for Updates in Adobe Reader. Volume 5 Issue 4 | 7
cast lead session
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am using my Magnetospeed Chronograph more and more each day. There has always been a need for using a chronograph when developing loads, however I often passed up its usage because I was too lazy to set up the equipment. Now that Magnetospeed has come out with their unit, I can put it into my shooting bag, and have it in operation in less time than it takes to put the rest of my equipment onto the shooting bench. This has made it a part of almost all my shooting sessions.
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I decided to run some lead loads through their paces in my old standby .270 Winchester pre-64 Model 70., which was made in the 1950â€™s. The barrel is shiny like a plate of mercury. However, you can drop a bullet Âž of an inch up the throat before it touches the rifling. This means the seating length is limited to the maximum length of the magazine, and there is considerable bullet jump before the bullet engages the rifling. I was thinking of replacing the original factory barrel until I found out this rifle still shoots sub-inch groups with my hunting loads. I mounted a Leupold VariX 11 3x9x40 scope with objective lens parallax adjustment, using the Leupold quick detachable one-piece base with matching one-inch diameter rings. The reticule is the Leupold dot on tapered crosshairs. These optics, and the barreled action, are mounted into an early black finish McMillian fiberglass stock. This gun has been with me for a long time, and has shared a number of great hunting trips. It was my choice many years ago for a light rifle on my first hunting trip to Africa. The gun is so reliable that I mostly use it as a back up rifle, while playing with newer pieces of equipment. Remembering how good it was, I decided to go back and see how it shot lead bullets with its worn barrel. The cast lead bullets selected were from an old Cramer mold, listed as throwing a 140-grain bullet. My lead mix is a mixture of scrap wheel weights with 2% tin added, run in 500 pound batches in an old high school print shop propane melting furnace. Bullets are dropped directly into room temperature water immediately after the sprue has hardened. Sizing is done in an original Saeco lubricator sizer, and finish out with a .278 inch diameter. The lube is NRA 50/50 Alox and bees wax. This bullet is a gas check design and I used Hornady gas checks. The finished bullets ranged in weight from 140.1 grains to a maximum of 141.0. Cases for this venture were an assortment of several manufactures I wanted to use for this run. I sized the necks only to the depth to cover the gas check and the lowest lubrication groove. I seated the bullet with the addition of a soft gas check which was added by using the mouth of the case like a cookie cutter. Powder selection was limited, due to the fact I still have a quantity of Unique on hand and want to use it up while I am still able to do some shooting. The charge selected was 9 grains and all charges were thrown from a Saeco adjustable powder measure directly into the case. Maximum range from lightest
to heaviest charge was 0.1 grains. I had a quantity of old Remington round cup copper primers which had been sitting around for over 50 years, and I felt this was a good time to see if they would still function. All shooting was done indoors at 25 yards. I set the scope at the 3-power setting, to shoot at a 1.125â€? green dot. Parallax adjustment was turned all the way down for the closest range setting possible and the target was very clear. 38 rounds were fired into a group within the marker, forming a large hole with a lot of green around the outside of the group. This grouping was shot with a time spacing of about a half-minute between shots, and the barrel was pretty hot by the time all 28 rounds had gotten to the target. I then shot 10 rounds over the chronograph and these were the results. Point of impact at 25 yards was one inch lower then the setting at 100 yards for my regular 140 grain hunting loads. Maximum velocity Minimum velocity Average velocity Standard Deviation
1335fps 1276fps 1310fps 19fps
I feel that is pretty good shooting for a gun in the 60 year old bracket. This old timer appears to still have a lot of life in itself. Probably more then I have, but now it can still bring pleasure to the next generation of shooters and a lot of fun shooting in the mean time for myself. This gun was manufactured sometime in the late 1950s and can still shoot sub MOA groups with my hand loads. I have no idea of how many rounds of jacketed ammunition I have fired through this original factory barrel, but I now seat the bullets out to the maximum length of the factory magazine. This is my favorite gun for loaning to first time hunters whom I have meet in Africa. Most of the time, they are so far over gunned when they arrive, they are afraid of their own rifle and it is necessary for me to loan them this gun to bring back their confidence. The 140grain Winchester Fail safe bullet has smashed clear through the shoulder of a mature Eland. This bullet has now been discontinued and I save my dwindling supply for hunting large game in Africa. The 90-grain Sierra have accounted for a large number of monkeys and baboons. It is hard to believe what this bullet will do on these animals until you see the results for yourself. California and many other states here in the United States now require non-lead bullets, and for these Volume 5 Issue 4 | 11
My personal Pre 64 Winchester model 70.
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areas I use the Barnes 130-grain TTSX. This new bullet is a great addition to the .270 line up and does a grand job on harvesting game in California. I have never recovered one of these bullets, even after passing through the shoulder blade or spine of an animal. Though we did not find the bullets, the bullet channels were very impressive. The .270 Winchester cartridge is now over 80 years old, but it is still a favorite throughout the world. All the big bullet companies have this caliber in their lineup. Hornady game bullets have been with us for over 50 years, and it was with the Hornady .270 Core Lock bullet, I harvested a 225-pound leopard in Zimbabwe during the 2005 hunting season. This bullet smashed the front shoulder and dropped the leopard out of a tree at about 40 yards distance. A 130-grain Barnes TTSX also made a one shot kill on a 225-pound boar hog in the mountains of Central California. The pig was running like a streak of lighting at about 130 yards. The single bullet took out the spine just above the shoulder, and rolled the animal like hitting it with an 18-wheel truck. No meat loss and I was able to see the bullet impact through my Leopold scope set at 3 power. Cast lead loads have given a new life to this caliber. A selection of cases, a pound or so of powder, combined with either large rifle or large pistol primers, along with a good cast bullet with gas check, and you can have a field shooting and practice rifle you can fire almost a thousand times for the cost of three boxes of factory ammunition at todayâ€™s prices. After a days shooting with cast lead, the barrel cleans up to where it looks better then new. Coyotes and prairie dogs are looking for a short life span if they pop up any were within 150 yards of this combination. These loads bring a lot of fun back into the .270 Winchester.
Leo Grizzaffi is a lifelong hunter and veteran of many African safaris. Author and reloading expert, his specialty is the care and feeding of big bore double rifles, however he also dabbles with the little calibers. Leo resides in California, where being a lawyer and judge in the City of Los Angeles sometimes interferes with his busy hunting and reloading schedule.
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The New Leatherman Generate MUT envy
ig bold and bulky, the Leatherman MUT is for real men. Whip it out when the other guys brag about their little multitools and listen to the deep silence of respect. Use it to calmly adjust your scope and wait for it - the boys will come.
It is a known fact that all African hunters love a multi tool - but to have the ultimate Leatherman generates serious MUT envy.
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We have all been there at some point: you are in the bus or at the range and that nut or screw comes loose. A cartridge sticks in the chamber or your scope mount loosens on the rail. Hunting rifles put a great deal of stress on fasteners - and we never want to drag the whole toolbox along on a hunt This is where the Leatherman MUT comes in. The Leatherman MUT is the first multi-tool that functions as both a tactical and practical tool for military, LE, or civilian shooters. The MUT features multiple areas on the tool threaded for cleaning rods and brushes and all the screwdriver bits are sized for standard military and civilian sighting adjustment work. Also built into the design of the tool is the flexibility to replace the most commonly used parts on the spot, using a simple Torx #8, keeping down-time to a minimum. With all this, a MOLLE sheath and scope adjustment wrench included, the Leatherman MUT may very well be the most efficient and useful piece in your hunting kit. The primary blade length is 3 inches/7.6 cm, closed length is 5 inches/12.7 cm and it weighs 11.2 oz or 317.5g Volume 5 Issue 4 | 19
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First impressions When we opened the box we noticed the extremely high quality nylon pouch. The pouch is coyote brown and MOLLE compatible and can also be easily worn on a belt. The sheath is well thought out with a large hook and loop flap on the front. There are elastic bands on the sides to add compression and keep the MUT secure while allowing easy removal and replacement. Inside the pouch is a hidden compartment that allows for storage of extra bits. The MUT comes packaged with a small double ended twelve point wrench. One side of the wrench is 1/2”, which is perfect for the rail mounting nut on Badger Ordnance rings as well as several others. If you properly install you optics, they should not come loose - but stuff happens in the bushveld. On the opposite side is a 3/8” twelve point. This covers many other scope rings as well as the adjustment nut on LaRue locking levers.
Look and feel In it’s closed/stored configuration there is access to several features. Firtstly, the cutting hook is a protected blade that will make short work of webbing. A tool like this is critical for cutting jammed seat belts and aircraft harnesses without risk to the crewman. On top of the hook is a flat grooved surface that is intended for use as a hammer. You should not try to disassemble a Land Rover with it but it works well for tapping pins into place. The tip of the hammer is shaped to fit inside the ejection port of the M16/M4. In a bolt override malfunction or “Type ATE” a tool must be used to hold the bolt back while the charging handle is pushed forward. This will release the trapped case. The tip of the MUT hammer is designed to do this. This is a much safer way than using a knife blade and risk losing a finger. Two attachment options are available: the carabiner and the pocket clip. There aren’t any wimpy spring steel clips on the MUT - Leatherman used a solid, skeletonized pocket clip made of titanium. The carabiner doubles as a bottle opener.
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Ease of use The tool that everyone needs first is fast access to the knife blade. For right handed users the thumb falls perfectly on the hole in the blade, and a swipe of the thumb easily swings the blade into itâ€™s locked position. The 420HD combo edge blade locks open with a liner lock and has no play when deployed. Closing the blade can be accomplished easily with one hand by depressing the lock with the thumb and carefully starting the blade forward with the index finger. Once the blade is unlocked the thumb can pull it forward into the stowed position. Opposite of the combo edge blade is a saw blade also designed for one handed deployment. Its position, however, makes it more difficult to access. The saw has large sharp teeth that will easily cut wood or bone but will not work well on thicker metal. The saw us useful for building survival shelters or traps. Both blades are well protected by the metal body of the tool. The chassis wraps around them and guards the tips of either blade from catching and accidentally deploying. The MUT comes with a punch perfectly sized for the fire control group pins on the M16/M4 family of weapons. This is also the same size as required by the M110/SR25/ AR10.
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It can also be used to knock out stubborn take down pins. The punch is replaceable and for LE/Special users a Glock sized punch is offered. The spare punch can be stored in the pocket on the sheath. The scraper is made of bronze to allow the removal of carbon from the rifle bolt without harming the weapon. Opening the tool allows the use the needle nose and regular plier functions as well as the wire cutter and crimper. On either side of the plier head a hole is threaded to accept standard GI cleaning rods. The extra weight gained by threading the MUT onto a cleaning rod can be extremely helpful in tapping a stuck case out of the chamber. The threaded hole on the carabiner side can be accessed with the tool closed. The tips of the needle nose pliers are able to handle delicate tasks and the normal pliers section is serrated to offer purchase on fasteners. The blades have no problem cutting small gauge wire cleanly. Large gauge wire may take two tries, but is easily accomplished. The wire cutters are designed with flats towards the hinge to cut coat hangar type wire. Stored in the body of the tool and retained by a retaining
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bolt are two long bits. The first contains a 1/4 flat blade screwdriver and No.2 Phillips Head. The other bit has a 7/64 hex and T15 Torx side. On the outside of the tool is a short 3/16 flat blade and No.1 Phillips Head. These bits snap securely into the receiver in the end of the â€œhandleâ€? opposite the hammer head. They are held securely and released by pressing on a spring clip. The combination of flat and Phillips bits will be useful every day, and the T15 Torx and 7/64 Hex will work on many scope rings.
Price The MUT is pricey - but then again, so is a Ferrari. It this world you mostly get what you pay for.
The User Guide Download the user guide here
Summary Although relatively big, the MUT is quality constructed, superbly multifunctional and extremely useful in the bush. If I am in a survival situation, this is the multi tool I would choose.
Mitch Mitchell is a hunter, outdoorsman and the author of several books on African wildlife and survival.
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Overland to Central Kafue
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Part 1 of a wild Zambian Adventure
he idea was to explore the ‘Wild West’ of Zambia and use the thereand-back time for more than just ‘getting there’. We reckoned it would be good to look in at Sioma Ngwezi and ‘do’ Liuwa Plains and Kafue National Parks for starters. The plan unfolded after some preliminary internet research and during exploration. Volume 5 Issue 4 | 29
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‘Zamkafuzi and associates’? Well, our routing was via Botswana and Namibia to the Barotse Flood Plains of the Zambezi in W Zambia. From there we drove through Kafue National Park and thence along the Zimbabwe side of the Zambezi, visiting Mana Pools and Matusadona National Parks, the latter via the rough ‘back route’, before heading south and homeward to South Africa, via Hwange, four weeks later. That was from mid-September to mid-October 2013, within the four-month dry season. We were two couples, our friends Tim and Denise Blight in a recently acquired, newish Landrover Defender station wagon, and us in our trusty 1983 Toyota Hilux 4x4 which we’ve owned since 1984. Since our first trip together in 1981 we have enjoyed several southern African expeditions in the Blights’ company. Over the past we had been unable to make expeditions due for financial or leave reasons. At last it was feasible again so when Tim suggested this trip we jumped at it. We all enjoy the challenges of being self-sufficient away from ‘commercialism’ for weeks at a time and have kitted ourselves and our vehicles accordingly. Population growth and expanding infrastructure development have forced us to travel further afield in search of truly remote areas. Western Zambia was within ‘striking distance’ so it appealed. The ladies pleaded for more nights in each campsite rather than follow the guys’ yen to tackle the driving challenges and explore new territory daily. Our internet research and email contact with ZAWA (Zambia Wildlife Authority) and African Parks, controlling authorities for Kafue and Liuwa respectively, revealed that a week in each of these parks would have way exceeded our budget in half the time we had available! Where else could we go that was relatively new to us and not too far, within the time and cash we could spare? A suggestion was that we just meander around W Zambia exploring the area, perhaps briefly visiting one or two of the parks, as day visitors from some close-by campsites. But that reminded us of the time, nearly twenty years ago, when we bush camped outside another African park and spent a frustrating ten days, with our young families, seeing virtually no game, even in the two days and single night we felt we could afford in the park! None of us was keen to repeat that! Yet W Zambia beckoned. Apart from the intelligence provided in a magazine article carefully kept by Tim, we had little to guide us, especially as internet searches revealed little, if any, information on other campsites within our budget. I read an old magazine article on Sioma Ngwezi, while in our doc-
tor’s waiting room, which wasn’t very encouraging, yet the lack of its development was tempting. First stop for us was Francistown where we were blessed with the generous hospitality of ministry friends. We had decided to carry less cash this time than on previous trips and took the bank’s advice to draw foreign currency on our debit cards. So, after successfully testing this system in Francistown, refuelling and purchasing a few supplies for lunch we made for Kasane and the campsite at Chobe Safari Lodge. Thankfully there was one tiny site spare at BWP 85 per person for the night. Roomy, clean well-maintained ablutions and friendly staff. Next afternoon we were to meet our friends after visiting Chobe, so it was an early start – just a place to wash, eat and sleep. We paid 270 Pula (BWP 270) for our vehicle, named Violet, and the two of us to enter Chobe National Park as day visitors. It was sad to see the shabbiness of the entrance gate and office and the staff apologised that their stocks of maps and pamphlets were exhausted. Along the River Route we saw plentiful buffalo and zebra grazing on the Chobe flood plains but only one large herd of elephant, surprisingly few for a park known for its elephant. A close but rather obscured leopard dozing in dense bush close to the road was a highlight, as was part of a herd of sable antelope moving slowly into denser bush. Some fish eagles, one eating his catch in a tree near the road, watched by a curious hamerkop, several striking (not downed tools) carmine beeeaters, saddle bills and open billed storks and lunch in the shade atop Violet all added interest. Michele and I remembered a close encounter with elephant while on foot near Serondela, which was a campsite in 1981, but we could not glimpse the substantial tree we climbed. We met Tim and Denise on the roadside on that sweltering, dry and dusty African afternoon a few kilometres outside Wenela, the Namibian side of Katima Mulilo, where we topped up all fuel tanks and jerries before crossing into Zambia. They had driven from Kimberley, the length of Namibia, via a friend’s birthday party near Windhoek over a few days. Intelligence from friends in Lusaka confirmed high fuel prices in Zambia. Botswana’s fuel was usually cheaper so we had filled up fully in Francistown but would have benefitted by doing so rather at Wenela, both in the total cost of 210l of petrol as well as the reduced load lugged through Chobe sand especially! Diesel for the Landy was similarly priced, often a few Volume 5 Issue 4 | 31
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‘cents’ cheaper, and the Landy was less thirsty than old Violet.
Fuel prices. The figures are actual petrol prices, per litre. Diesel prices were similar. Country
Exchange rate ZAR per 1
South Africa (Northern)
US$ 1.55 – 1.61
Namibia (Wenela) Zambia (all over) Zimbabwe (varied)
Zambia impressed as an expensive destination from the moment we crossed the border. Not only was fuel expensive but it seemed that Zambian authorities were intent on capitalising on tourists as each couple was relieved of the equivalent of more than ZAR1000 in border fees and insurance premium. These comprised vehicle insurance, which varied slightly according to engine capacity, road tax that is received only as US$ 20, CIP only as ZMK 100. The insurance company reluctantly allowed us to pay in ZAR while the municipal levy was gladly accepted as ZAR 50 (ZMK 25) per vehicle. Compare this with the other countries we travelled through.
Country entry fees Country Botswana Namibia Zambia Zimbabwe
Total per vehicle BWP 190 (double entry) NAM$ 220 US$ 20 + ZMK 485 US$ 55
Tim’s magazine article praised Kabula Tiger Lodge’s facilities and campsite on the banks of the mighty Zambezi so, since it was only about 60km north along the main tar road (M10) from Katima, that was where we headed. Kennister and Delicious made us feel immediately at home and ensured we had plentiful shade, firewood and hot water under spreading shade trees on the rolling well-kept lawns of the campsite adjacent to the lodge. Although the GPS listed the lodge it could not pinpoint the turnoff from the main road, probably confused by the very recent, almost completed rebuilding of that part of the M10. When we located it, after local enquiry, we
had simply missed the largish signpost in the slanting late afternoon sun. Camp facilities were comfortable, clean and well-maintained and we had the place to ourselves so, at ZAR115 per person per night, we booked two nights. That went some way towards satisfying our ladies’ request and gave some time to investigate the slight trickle of axle oil I had first noticed at our Kasane campsite the previous night, that had become a well-developed star-like sludgy smear on the inside of Violet’s right rear wheel. A troop of vervet monkeys entertained us during our leisurely breakfast next morning, especially with their antics around the camp’s irrigation system. Lodge management has signs requesting guests to help keep the monkeys wild by not feeding them and mostly the monkeys had got the message, except for the odd curious guy who lurked in likely vantage points from which to launch lightning ‘strikes’. Close examination of the oil seal revealed that it’s inside diameter was exactly the same as that of the bearing retainer it ran on – an undetected fault after that bearing was replaced in preparation for the trip. Thankfully very little oil was lost and the differential preserved. No suitable replacement seal was available in Sesheke or Katima so we pressed on with one oil-sodden rear brake drum. We decided to attempt entry to Sioma Ngwezi National Park from the south. Again, despite updated Tracks for Africa, the GPS was unhelpful, neither were there any road signs. The spirit of adventure kicked in and we headed west on a likely-looking track. Our track became rapidly sandier and Violet’s front hubs had to be locked and tyre pressures reduced. A local resident, travelling in his small sedan, confirmed we were on the right track so we pressed on without seeing another vehicle or habitation, twisting and winding through endless bush for several hours in thick sand. This was Africa! The GPS occasionally suggested we had entered the eastern edge of the park but there was no other sign to confirm this. The only signs of animals were occasional cattle dung and spoor and almost no birds. Tim was rather deprecating of the fat high-speed tyres fitted on the Landy, especially when one was punctured on this track, probably by a stick piercing the characteristically thin sidewall of this type of tyre. Changing that wheel entertained the kids in a school we’d stopped at to check directions. Definitely he was going to change tyres after this trip!
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Before we reached the school and nearby village we had seen almost no other signs of human or animal habitation and the track seemed to have no significant branches. In fact it went very clearly into the village but not out again. One of the villagers walked us to the ‘exit’ and road to ‘Kapua’ we thought they said. It needed a healthy dose of imagination to recognise any track at that point but the flat topography, endless sand and use of makoros for cattle water troughs in the village suggested that this area was also flooded periodically. After the village we and an ox cart piloted by two small boys, took turns in passing one another along the once again well-defined track. We made camp behind a large, apparently vacated, termite mound a little way off the track. The flies and gnats from kilometres around were delighted to have our company but, instead of reciprocating we cowered under pieces of shade cloth to avoid them, especially when a swarm of bees decided to join the party! To the couple of locals who walked by on the track at dusk the scene of bundles of talking, quaking green shade cloth must have been quite eerie. Thankfully peace descended with the sunset. We left ‘Fly Camp’ soon after sunrise to escape the inevitable swarms and, after a brief breakfast stop where a largish tree had fallen across the track, ploughed on towards the ‘ZAWA people’ the villagers had mentioned. Around another bend in the track about an hour later, suddenly there were some buildings and in the road leaned a young woman whose whole demeanour challenged, “Don’t mess with me!” As we slid to a sudden stop we noticed a roughly hand-painted sign on a nearby tree, “ZAWA”. She announced that we had entered a national park and thus park fees were due. I countered by describing our route, stating that there had been absolutely no signposts, we had not used park facilities but camped in the bush and the only animals we’d seen were cattle. She confirmed some details of our route then graciously replied, “In that case you may pro-
ceed.” Within 400 metres we were on the M10 heading north again for Mongu. We had probably travelled less than 130km in thick sand in a rough winding arc west of the M10, perhaps criss-crossing the park border on occasion. The few pans we saw were very dry and although they had obviously seen heavy activity when wet, they had seen no new visitors for weeks, maybe months … cattle or game? Perhaps the game was concentrated more towards the western border with Angola – likely if there was water there. Further north, on the newly-tarred M10, the sign read, “Ngonye Falls”. We were blessed by the sight of these multiple ‘low’ cataracts across divided streams of the Zambezi at this spot. We could see only part of the main cataract from our vantage point on the west bank as we had declined the offer of a row boat trip to the island for a fuller, closer view at an additional cost of ZMK 26 per person. The motor boat was being repaired. There is an entry fee of ZMK 26 per vehicle and ZMK 14 per person – both daily. The guide’s fee for a walking tour was ZMK 50. This community project also offered camping at an additional ZMK 26 per person nightly. Also operated as part of the local ‘community project’ was a nearby ferry that our host at the Falls encouraged us to use, rather than the ferry at Sitoti further north. We reasoned that we should stay on the west bank heading for Liuwa and save the ZMK 150 per ferry crossing charged per our foreign-registered vehicle (ZMK 60 for local vehicles) to cross to the east side of the Zambezi and back again en route to Kalabo, the gateway to Liuwa Plains National Park. Our maps showed the road continuing up the west side of the river all the way to Kalabo. The ‘community’ ferry was delayed over lunch to allow its single functional engine to cool, so we decided to test our hypothesis and keep driving. Oh boy! To be continued ….
John and his wife, Michele are veterans of several southern and east- African safaris. They are currently both on the ministry staff of Barberton Christian Church, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Volume 5 Issue 4 | 37
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ellowfin Tuna is one of my favourite species to target when heading offshore. They are abundant, you can catch them using so many methods, they fight hard and they taste good. Mike Laubscher 40 | Volume 5 Issue 4
Master gamefisherman Mike Laubscher shows you how to catch the elusive yellowfin tuna
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The name Tuna derives from the Greek verb “thuno” meaning “to rush, and that is exactly how a Tuna will fight, a local nick name that we give them here is Gas Bottles, because of their compact muscle filled torpedo shaped bodies, and off course when a gas bottles lid blows goes off it is virtually unstoppable. Tuna are an amazing species and unique when compared to other game fish species and so I usually consider Tuna a species all on their own. Tuna are warm blooded (endothermic) which means that they can alter their body temperature and so control their metabolism according to their environment. This ability allows Tuna to live in a wide range of temperatures from 16 – 28 deg. C, and gives them the stamina and endurance needed to maintain high speeds for long periods of time. This is also what makes them such a worthy opponent on a rod and reel. Tuna always need to be moving as their body requires large amounts of oxygen in their muscles and blood of which they have at least twice as vessels compared to other species causing their flesh to be redder and darker than other fish. Yellowfin Tuna have a magnetic sensing organ in their heads, change colour when excited and when cruising swim at around 14-15km/hr with top speeds just below 90km/hr. You can find Yellowfin Tuna on the warm side of currents and warm spots, on the edge of colour lines, where there is a lot of bait, swimming with Dolphins, on the peripheries of reefs, pinnacles and ledges and more often than not where you find feeding bird activity. I find that Yellowfin Tuna often come into the shallows early morning and late afternoon and spend most of the day out in the deeper waters, but there are many other factors to consider, especially food source. Yellowfin Tuna can be found along our coast line almost all year. Just a short note on birds, usually along our coast Tuna are associated with the little birds we locally call “Sterkies” (Little Stars), if you see these birds all moving in a direction usually it means they are heading towards a feeding area. When you find them circling, diving and hovering it means that they have found a feeding area which almost always means that Yellowfin Tuna are in the vicinity. The height that these birds hover from the water usually indicates the depth that the school of Tuna is feeding or chasing the bait shoal. The bulk of the Tuna we catch along our coast line will vary from 4Kg (9lbs) - 30Kg (66lbs), and whilst a 25Kg (55lbs) plus Tuna is considered a trophy in most circles, there are Tuna in the 40Kg (88lbs) - 60Kg (132lbs) range regularly in our waters, and sometimes even larger specimens, especially out in the deep, my personal best is 86Kg (189lbs). There are so many lures available in the market and they may all very well catch Tuna, but over the years of having successfully caught thousands of Yellowfin Tuna off Durban, I have a few lures that have performed consistently well and have become my firm favourites. The way I rig these lures has also been crucial to their success. Simply dragging a bunch of rigged lures behind the boat will not give you consistent results. To me lure trolling is a science and an art and requires attention to fine detail to get your lures working at their best.
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with the packaging.
I prefer the use of short stiff Big Game rods 5’6” (1.67m) long. Rods with eye guides are fine if you fishing lighter, but I much prefer rods with roller guides. I use the Okuma Makaira Big Game Rods with Roller Guides on my 24Kg (50lb) and 37Kg (80lb) tackle, have rods with eye guides on my 15Kg (30lb) tackle.
In most cases the line used is too light and too short, the hooks not suitable, way undersized and never positioned in the correct place. When rigged and used correctly these lures can hook-up and land big fish, not only Tuna but also Dorado, Wahoo, Sailfish and Marlin.
On my 15Kg (30lb) and 24Kg (50lb) I have straight butts, but I use bent butts on my 37Kg (80lb) tackle.
Colours My top colours for Bullets and Feathers
Whilst one can use 30lb (15Kg) stand up tackle, I prefer using 50lb (24Kg) to 80lb (37Kg) tackle as the chances of hooking up with a really big fish are good and then you have the muscle to be able to handle the fish. Long Rods are not suitable as the do not allow you the leverage that shorter rods with give you.
For reels one definitely needs to have a 2 speed lever drag Big Game Reel in size 20, 30, 50 or 80 size, personally I use the Okuma Makaira reels in size 20, 30 and 50 for this job. The 2nd gear will come in handy when you have a big tuna that is holding deep and circling; and one needs the muscle to pull the fish up before the sharks get to it. I have been using the Okuma Makaira Reels for 2.5yrs now and they have been worked hard and often on my charters and caught many fish with no problems, the drags are ultra smooth and I am very satisfied with them.
As for line, my ideal choice is 50lb (24Kg) line for this type of fishing, however one can scale down to 30lb (15Kg) or even scale up to 80lb (37Kg) line, especially when fishing deeper out. I have a personal preference for Berkley Big Game line, but there are many good lines available on the market that are more than capable.
Lure Selection The lures I mostly use when specifically targeting Yellowfin off our coastline is Bullets and Feathers, and not the little ones. I also like to use Halco, Rapala and Yozuri hard plastic lures. Whilst I have heard many rave about the success of using squid lures, I must say that they have not consistently produced fish for me and so I don’t really make use of them and tend to stay with what is working for me on our waters. So when buying Feathers and Bullets I try get them unrigged, but usually these are not easy to find and I am forced to buy them rigged. As soon as I get them home, I take them out of the packaging and immediately cut the line and hook’s off and throw them away
●● Black/Purple or Blue/Purple ●● Red/White ●● Blue/White ●● Pink/White ●● Orange/Yellow ●● Olive On the hard plastic lures I pretty much only use 3 types in all their sizes, Rapala X-Raps, Halco Laser Pro’s and Yozuri Hydro’s. My top colours ●● Red/White or Red/Silver ●● Blue/White or Blue/Silver ●● Orange/Yellow or Orange Black ●● Black ●● Pink ●● White ●● Olive ●● Clown On the subject of colours, they can be broken in to 3 categories and if you cover these 3 categories you will already be in the running. ●● Dark like Red/Black or Black/Purple ●● Light like Blue/White or Red/White ●● Bright like Orange/Yellow Of all my feather colours, Red/Black and Olive have been my top fish producers. Whilst there are many arguments on colours, I think colours play a secondary role and although it is important, Form and Movement are of utmost importance. Form is the shape and size of the lure Movement is getting your lure to swim optimally in Volume 5 Issue 4 | 45
render the lure useless.
Rigging I will start with the Rapala’s/Halco’s/Yozuri’s. If I can I try avoiding wire and rig with 1.5m of 0.650.70mm fluorocarbon joined to the main line with a double fig.8 knot. Line any thicker than 0.65-0.70mm and your lures will not swim properly and keep popping. When fishing Rapala’s/Halco’s one cannot use more than 24Kg (50lb) main line as then your lures will not swim and keep popping, so with 24Kg (50lb) main line I use no leader, with a 15Kg (30lb) main line I use 7m of 0.65-0.70mm monofilament leader which I connect to the main line as follows, main line doubled for about 500mm with an Aussie Plait and connected to the leader line with a double fig.8 knot, to this I add my 1.5m of fluorocarbon. Towards the end of summer when there are Wahoo around or when close inshore in King Mackerel (Couta) waters I will add 0.5m of No.7 single strand stainless steel wire joined to my fluorocarbon with a no.6 power swivel. If there are many sharks in the area on a particular day I will also use wire. Ensure you tie your knots well as Tuna can really test your tackle and your knots to the limits. Correctly rigging Bullets and Feathers is important, as I mentioned earlier I cut all the hooks and rigging from the purchased lures and then rig them properly so they can work. The way I rig Bullets and Feathers is the same. Depending on lure size I will use Mustad Big Game Stainless Steel Hooks in 8/0, 9/0 and 10/0; large hooks increase your chances of a solid hook up significantly when compared to smaller hooks. My main reason for using the Stainless hooks is that non stainless hooks rust and then stain your feathers or skirts and personally I have found this stain to 46 | Volume 5 Issue 4
I rig my Bullets and Feathers with a single hook, stiff rig, with almost the entire hook outside the skirt and only the hooks eye inside the skirt; this keeps the rigging IGFA legal, but very effective.
Leaders Attached to the stiff rig I use a 5m leader of 200250lb Leader, I like to use Sportex Line for my leaders, it is a hard, stiff leader line and well priced. Hooks are always fixed be facing up. In many cases we use birds along with these lures and if your leader is too short the bird will drag the lure instead of letting it swim naturally and I have found 5m to be the ideal distance. The other reason I like the longer leaders is that I do not like using wind on leaders as wind on leaders have way too many disadvantages and are mostly used by novice anglers. I double my main line 6m long with an Aussie Plait and attach my snap swivel at the end of the doubled line and this gets attached to the 5m lure leader. Disadvantages of using a wind on leader are as follows: ●● You lose almost 30% of the line capacity on your reel making space for the wind on; this is a huge amount of line capacity. E.G. Approximately 250m - 300m of line when using 24Kg (50lb) line on a size 50 Big Game Reel. 300m is the average amount of line that the average fish takes on its first run before you turn it. ●● By the time your leader is off the reel you have already reached a stage where the drag settings on your reel are affected and your line capacity is already reduced significantly and is at a level where you should be backing off the drag thereby reducing your chances of landing the fish significantly.
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●● The wind on leader connection to your main line is subject to high wear and tear and can fail easily. ●● The long thick line in the water creates unnecessary line drag in the water and affects the swimming of your lures. If the snap swivel you use to connect to your lure leader is oversized, one can use smaller ones when using doubled line and this also reduces drag in the water.
Where to troll for tuna Tuna can be found around structure, wrecks, reefs, pinnacles, ledges and also areas where bait fish are prolific. You will also find Tuna in current lines, colour lines and in areas where the water temperature has a change, usually the Tuna will be on the warmer side of the temperature line. Terns often referred to as “Tuna Birds” are usually a dead giveaway that Tuna are present and you will usually see them working the area with their beaks pointed down, the Terns are waiting for the Tuna to work a bait ball to the surface, usually the higher the birds fly the deeper the shoal. If you come across them sitting on the water it often means that the bait ball is still very deep and they are waiting, but check the birds closely to see if their crops are full as it could also mean you are too late and the feast has already happened. On your fish finder you will see the thermocline, if it’s too deep the area may not produce as you will not be able to raise the fish towards your lures. In deeper water thermoclines deeper than around 100m are considered too deep, in shallower water the thermocline should be in the mid water. If you see Tuna on your finder, mark the spot on your GPS and start working that area in a widening circle, clover or figure of 8 patterns. If you hook up one Tuna, start to work that area as there are most likely more around, Tuna very seldom swim alone. Often a shoal of Tuna will work a bait ball and there will be no Birds around, whilst trolling you need to constantly scan the area for any surface action, on my boat I scan ahead and my deckhand scans behind, if we see action then we change course and start moving towards it. Tuna are never stationary and always on the move, they usually swim into the direction of the wind, but when they are around structures, reefs etc. you will find that they swim around the peripherals and move from one structure to the next.
How to set your spread Setting your spread is a subject that could fill a book all on its own; the type of vessel you are using, and if you have out riggers or not will dictate to a large extent what kind of spread you will be setting. On my boat we can run up to 9 lines at one time, however I usually only run 5 – 7 lines; and once we working a shoal I rarely run more than 4 lines and there is usually no time to string the riggers between hook ups so then we run our lines straight from the gunnels. I often like to run a “mixed spread” of feathers/bullets and hard lures, especially in the cooler seasons. Tuna is the one species where multiple hook ups are common place, so the more lines you run the more fish you can have hooked up at once, if not every line you running, and so you need to be sure you can handle a multiple hook up if all your lines get taken. I have to add that I love the adrenaline rush when all lines go and chaos takes over on deck, it’s one of those exciting moments that are very difficult to describe but exhilarating to experience, and probably one of the main reasons I love Tuna fishing so much. Always run the shallow running Rapala/Halco further back than the deep runner, doing it the other way around will just cause you tangles and heartache. Trolling speed is a question I often get asked, and my reply is always the same, when your lures are running properly then you are at the correct speed, wind, current and sea conditions will affect the way your lures swim significantly, especially when you are running Rapala’s/Halco’s. Bullets and feathers can work well at a wide range of speeds and are not really difficult to work with so when I am running a spread of only feathers/bullets I will usually run a lot faster than when running a mixed spread, having said that slower running feathers/bullets often produce good fish. A screaming current will make trolling Rapala’s/ Halco’s very difficult and the only solution is to slow down, there is no point in running these lures when the keep on popping out. It is also critical that you tune your Rapala’s/Halco’s to run true, and you need to check them after every fish as often the fight will bring the lure out of tune. When running only feathers/bullets I tend to run at 6 – 8 knots, when running a mixed spread or Rapala’s/ Halco’s only I find the best speed range is 4 – 6 knots. Volume 5 Issue 4 | 49
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I like to run a large bird on my Shotgun lure, and smaller birds off my riggers, my riggers are very high so my smaller birds have a lot of airtime and then come splashing down. When setting your spread and you getting the lures out, always send the furthest ones out first and then the closer ones, you don’t want to risk a tangle when one lure passes the other. When retrieving always ring in the closer ones in first. Typical distances that I like to run my lures are as follows: ●● Shot Gun – 35m ●● Outside Riggers – 30m ●● Inside Riggers – 20m ●● Outside Corner – 20m ●● Corner – 15m With Tuna fishing I prefer running my spreads parallel instead of staggered as normally used for Marlin fishing. TIP: When letting your lures out, the easiest way to know how far you are letting your lures out is to count them out. The distance from your reel to the first eye/guide on your rod is approximately 0.5m, so 30 pulls would be approximately 60m. Once your lures are out you can fine tune them, feathers/bullets are best run facing down the slope of the boats wake waves. I have made two diagrams showing lure positions in the standard 7 line spreads that I use most of the time, from these diagrams it is easy for you to chose which positions will work for you on your boat whether you run 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 lines. You will notice that I always like to run at least one Red/White lure in my spread.
7 Line Feather/Bullet Spread Shot Gun Here I like to use a large Luminous Green or Hot Pink bird with either a large Red/Black feather or an Olive Bullet, nowadays I very rarely use anything else in this position.
Outside Riggers On my right outside rigger I like to run a Red/White feather or Bullet, and on the left a Blue/White or Olive feather or bullet, if I have Red/Black on the Shot Gun, then I will definitely have Olive here.
Inside Riggers On my right I like to run a bright colour like Pink/ White and on the left Black/Purple or Blue/White if I am running Olive on the outside. Here I like to run small birds in Pink, Red, Orange or Red/White.
Corners In these positions I like to use the large Pulsator Disco feathers, but any large feather or bullet will also work very well. On the right I like to run Orange/ Yellow and on the left Red/Black or Black/Purple
7-Line Mixed Spread Shot Gun Here I like to use a large Luminous Green or Hot Pink bird with either a large Red/Black feather or an Olive Bullet, nowadays I very rarely use anything else in this position.
Outside Riggers On my right I like to run a Red/White feather or Bullet, and on the left a Blue/White or Olive feather or bullet, if I have Red/Black on the Shot Gun, then I will definitely have Olive here.
Outside Corner On my right I like to run a Red/White or Blue/Silver and on the left Pink or Orange/Black shallow running Rapala/Halco. My lures of choice are the Rapala XRap 15, Halco Laser Pro 120, Yozuri Hydro
Corners On my right I will usually run a Blue/White or Blue/ Silver and on my left I like Clown or Orange/Yellow deep running Rapala/Halco. My lure of choice is Rapala X-Rap 30. On my riggers I prefer to attach my lines using the old tried and tested method of rubber bands bands, 3 turns forward and 3 turns backward over your line is sufficient to attach the elastic to your line. I am not a fan of rigger clips of any kind. I also only use one rigger line and attach both rigging points on the one line. Lever drags need to be set at one third the breaking strain of your line when on strike and when trolling your reels must be set on strike, even when I use star drags I use a scale to set my drag.
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The Hook up: How to fight and land your Tuna This is where many fish are lost, right at the hook up, and in most cases it is angler error, knot or line failure or inexperience that causes this. ●● Always check your line for damage ●● Make sure your drags are properly set ●● Ensure your knots are done properly and tested. ●● Check and sharpen your hooks, I like to use a diamond file to sharpen my hook points. ●● Make sure, chairs, harness and buckets are ready and set. ●● Have all tools like knives, pliers, gaffs etc. ready and easy to be taken. Now you have a fish on the reel is running and the rod is bent down in the gunnels. ●● DO NOT touch the rod or slow down the boat, if it’s a big fish accelerate the boat a little to allow the hook to penetrate and set properly. ●● Wait and see if other rods are going to hook up also. ●● Make sure the angler is in the fighting chair, or ready with a harness or bucket. ●● This should all be done in less than 10 seconds. ●● Now you can take the rod out of the gunnels to be given to the angler. ●● DO NOT STRIKE EVER - you will lose your fish. ●● Once the angler has the rod and he is in control, make sure he is pumping and winding only then you can slow the boat down to about 3 knots, and be sure to inform the angler that you slowing down so he can make sure there is no slack line. If it’s a small fish I never slow the boat down or clear my lines. ●● AT NO POINT should there ever be slack line. This will cost you a fish 99% of the time. ●● Now you can clear all lines in the way, and if it’s a really big fish, clear ALL lines. ●● Keep the boat running straight at all times during the fight, this will give you best control of the fish, and also significantly reduce the chance of a shark taking your fish. ●● As the fight continues, ensure the angler is feeding the line correctly onto the reel. ●● At all time the angler must be ready for the
fish which will try to run again, especially the bigger ones. ●● When you get the fish coming towards the boat you can guide it to the back of the boat or the side if you running outboards and then get ready to gaff the fish as it comes alongside the boat. ●● Don’t wield the gaff around, this scares the fish and makes them want to run, rather hold the gaff flat alongside the boat until you ready to use it and do this in one swift motion and be sure to hit your target first time. ●● If you have a Multiple hook up, do not try to bring all the fish to the boat at once as this will just end in disaster, one angler fights hard until you get that fish landed whilst the others keep their fish under control and fight it slower, once the first fish is landed the next angler can fight hard and so on until all fish are on deck.
Chunking for Tuna Chunking is also known as “Chumming” and “Block Baiting” and this is always done from a drifting boat and whilst this method is typically associated with Tuna Fishing, it is also very effective for many species of Game Fish and even Bill Fish.
Tuna Tackle The best tackle to be used when chunking is Big Game Tackle. I prefer the use of short stiff Big Game rods 5’6” (1.67m) long. Rods with eye guides are fine if you fishing lighter, but I much prefer rods with roller guides. Whilst one can use 30lb (15Kg) stand up tackle, I prefer using 50lb (24Kg) to 80lb (37Kg) tackle as the chances of hooking up with a really big fish are good and then you have the muscle to be able to handle the fish. Long Rods are not suitable as the do not allow you the leverage that shorter rods with give you. These are the same rods used when trolling so you do not require additional tackle. For reels one definitely needs to have a 2 speed lever drag Big Game Reel in size 20, 30, 50 or 80 size, personally I use the Okuma Makaira reels is size 20, 30 and 50 for this job. The 2nd gear will come in handy when you have a big tuna that is holding deep and circling; and one needs the muscle to pull the fish up before the sharks get to it. These are the same reels used for trolling so you do not require adVolume 5 Issue 4 | 53
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As for line, my ideal choice is 50lb (24Kg) line for this type of fishing, however one can scale down to 30lb (15Kg) or even scale up to 80lb (37Kg) line, especially when fishing deeper out. I have a personal preference for Berkley Big Game line, but there are many good lines available on the market that are more than capable.
Knots are also of utmost importance, and I like using knots that give two strands of line over the hook or swivel, so the knots that I prefer to use will be a doubled figure of 8 knot where you pass your tag end through the eye before going through your 4 loops, and another knot that also works well is a Palomar knot with 3 wraps. On Circle Hooks I like to Snell them with the line coming out the eye on the hook gape side forming your complete circle.
Leaders and Hooks For leaders I prefer using fluorocarbon lines simply because of their high abrasion quality, and these should be matched with tackle that you are using. ●● For 30lb (15Kg) Main line, I use 55lb-80lb fluorocarbon ●● For 50lb (24Kg) Main line, I use 55lb-80lb fluorocarbon (This is what I use most) ●● For 80lb (37Kg) Main line, I use 80lb-100lb150lb fluorocarbon My personal preference is the 55lb-80lb fluorocarbon Circle hooks are the correct kind of hook to be used for this kind of fishing as they are ideally suited in the way that they work to give you solid and secure hook ups and reduce chaffing on your line by the Tuna’s fine teeth. On my big boat I usually make my leaders 1.5m long, but if you fishing off a smaller boat, you may want to reduce the length to 1.0m-1.2m long. These are connected to the main line via a strong power swivel I usually use the Japan or Centro brand. For 30lb main line I use size 6 power swivels, for 50lb main line I use size 4 power swivels and on 80lb mainline I use a size 2 power swivel. Hooks need to be sized according to the size of bait you are using. For circle hooks, for leaders up to 100lb I like to use the Owner Light Game hooks or Mustad Ultra Point Circles 7/0, 8/0, 9/0, mostly I use the 7/0 and 9/0 hooks, for the 150lb leader I will use their heavy gauge circle hook in a 8/0, 9/0, 10/0. With the 10/0 being my hook of choice For J-Hooks I like the Mustad Hoodlums in size 6/0 or 8/0, but I still recommend Circle hooks and they are my first choice. It is important to ensure that you are using good quality terminal tackle on the business end, cutting corners here will result in lost fish. Make sure your hooks are always sharp; I use a diamond file to dress the hook points before use.
I use no leader or doubled line on my main lines with the exception of 30lb class where I use a 0.65mm (50lb) mono filament leader of 7m. On my 50lb to 80lb class tackle I tie the main line directly to my swivel. Double line or thicker lines will cause excessive line drag and interfere with the natural drift of your bait. Also bear in mind that the possibility of other Game Fish or Bill fish can and will take your baits and so one needs to be prepared for these.
Preparing your Chum Chunks I use the 5Kg bulk packed sardines, typically one will use 5-8 of these boxes in a day, take each sardine and cut off the tail and the nose (from centre of the eyes), then you cut the balance of the sardine into 5 equal pieces. Tullen Snips are the best tool to be used for cutting as you can cut over your bucket and let your pieces fall straight into your bucket. I like to have 2 buckets for this and mostly I prefer the galvanised 10 litre steel buckets, but plastic buckets will also do the job. The 1st bucket is for all the nose and tail pieces that you cut off because you do not want these in the water as they float and then you will get birds into your chunk line, and by leaving them in a bucket they are out of the way keeping the deck clean, we usually dispose of these over board at the end of the trip before we run home. The 2nd Bucket is for the chunks. I cut up one 5Kg box at a time, when this gets to about 10% we start cutting the next box. You keep all your boxes of bait frozen until you are ready to use them during the day. I use a 2 litre coke bottle, cut in half at a 45 degree angle to scoop the chunks out when we deploy them.
Preparing you Bait Chunks Here I like to buy the 1Kg individually packed Sardines, and one would normally need 5 – 8 of these, here we take about one third of the Sardines out of the 1Kg box at a time and prepare them giving us Volume 5 Issue 4 | 55
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around 25-35 bait blocks, the rest we keep frozen until needed. The idea is to now cut these sardines whilst still frozen to match the size of the chunks from your chum. We are going to cut these sardines into 5 pieces, try keeping the stomach area as 1 piece and cut off the tail and half the head. These must be prepared and ready before you start your chum line. Whilst the norm is to keep your bait chunks the same size as your chum chunks, there are times that one needs to deploy half or even full sardines into the chum line to get results, the half pieces we cut at a 45 degree angle to make a shovel.
Anchovy Oil and Glitter Concentrated anchovy oil can be mixed into your block baits, but I do not like to use this when in shallower water due the amount of sharks that we have around as this will attract them also, but it does give an extra scent to the chum line attracting more fish into the area and is more effective in deeper waters where there are not too many sharks around. Glitter is a visual stimulant to fish and can bring the fish out from the deep, but one needs to mix this with sand to get it to sink into the water otherwise it just floats on the water. I like to use silver glitter most times, but if the water is a little turbid then gold glitter does have an advantage. Glitter can be obtained at most party shops and we take 1 large packet of glitter and then we mix it with beach or river sand in a 10kg bucket, again I prefer a galvanised bucket. This is something you prepare at home and be sure to mix it evenly and thoroughly. When using the glitter/sand mix we utilize one of those small gardener’s shovels to cast the mix into the water, l lightly loaded shovel at a time and we drop this over before we deploy the chum blocks. Once in the water the glitter will go down with the sand and then separate from the sand which falls, and hang in the current making many flashes which can be seen from far and deep to get the interest of hungry and inquisitive fish that will then come and inspect and find your chum and baits.
Rigging your Bait Chunks Whether using a circle hook or a J-Hook the procedure is the same and very simple. On the thinner side of your chunk push your hook
point into the centre of the chunk next to the spine about 50% of the way and then push the point of the point out through the skin. Then pull only the bend of the hook out and turn it the opposite way around and push it into the thicker end completely hiding the hook. You want the hook hidden so that your bait chunk looks just like the chum chunks, and the hook is laying flat against your chunk. Every time you deploy your bait, use a new chunk.
When and Where to Chunk The kind of areas for chunking would be much the same as when you are trolling, and so one would look for the same things. Tuna can be found around structure, wrecks, reefs, pinnacles, ledges and also areas where bait fish are prolific. You will also find Tuna in current lines, colour lines and in areas where the water temperature has a change, usually the Tuna will be on the warmer side of the temperature line. My favourite area by far is on a distinct current line. Chunking requires current and wind to work so your boat is moving, and whilst one can hope for perfect conditions, the truth is you will have to make the best of the conditions of the day to get it working for you. You cannot chunk if your boat is not moving as your chunks will just sink down. In our area currents are usually around 2-3knots and we mostly have current and wind in the same direction, typically a N-S current and a NE wind, or the opposite a S-N current and a SW wind. The perfect day would be the 1st day of a SW wind when the current is still running N-S, but these days are few and far in between. Be warned, that in summer when the Dorado are at their peak and you are chunking it is common place for a hungry pack of Dorado to take every bait in the water and a mixture of adrenaline and chaos sets the mood on the boat.
Working your Chunk line Once you have all you tackle and bait ready, and you have arrived at the area where you want to chum, you need to do a test drift 1st to enable you to check you drift on the GPS and an once you have a track that you can see you can now go and position your boat for your chunking, whilst doing the test drift all the tackle and bait can be made ready for action. ●● One rod per angler, I usually don’t like more than 4 rods to be used on my boat when Volume 5 Issue 4 | 57
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chunking. ●● All rods get put in the gunnel holders and enough line is pulled out so that the bait and leader can run in the water when deployed. The rods will stay in the gunnel holders for the entire process until you get a fish on. ●● Drags must be on free spool and only the ratchet on. ●● Every angler baits up his hook and gets ready before the chunks are deployed. Once every one is ready, we take the half 2 litre coke bottle and deploy the first chunks. At the same time as the chunks are deployed the first angler deploys his bait and pays out approximately 50m of line into the water, as soon as he is done then you deploy another scoop of chunks and the next angler deploys and so on until all the lines are out and drifting naturally in the water. Be sure to set you drag on light as soon as you have finished paying out your line. Once the 50m of line has straightened out leave it for about 1 minute and then retrieve the line, until each angler’s line is back and then repeat the procedure again and again until you get a fish. You need to be vigilant and continuously watch your lines and work your chunks.
The hook up: How to fight and land your fish This is the exciting part, but you need to contain yourself and think about what you are doing in order to get the hook up. As soon as the reel starts running and the ratchet starts to scream, be sure to thumb the spool to prevent an over-wind.
nel holder and wait about 10 seconds, then slowly tighten up the drag and allow the rod to set the hook, once the hook is set you take the rod out of the gunnel and start your fight. If using a J hook, leave your rod in the gunnel holder for about 5-6 seconds, then tighten up your drag quickly and take the rod out of the gunnel give one hard pump to set the hook keep your rod straight up after the pump and wind down and be sure to have no slack line when you do this, and then you start your fight. Leave the other baits in the water as there may be more fish around and you can get more fish on. As soon as the first reel starts running mark that point on the GPS. Once the angler or anglers are well set into the fight we clear all the lines and start up the boat and engage gears in idle, this now gives us control over the fish and also significantly reduces the risk of having your fish taxed by a shark, we then start to fight the fish one at a time and get them to the boat. Once all the fish are landed, we go back to the point where we got the first hook up and we begin the drift procedure again. Note that the minimum size for Yellowfin Tuna on our coast line is 3.2Kg or 56cm, and the maximum allowed is 10 per angler. Having said that, limit your catch and don’t catch your limit. It is very difficult to do catch and release with Tuna species, and if you are going to do this you need to remove the hooks and get them back into the water immediately their fast metabolism and high requirement for oxygen requires them to swim in the water, there is not even time to take photos or they will not survive. If they have been hooked in the gill area there is no point in releasing them. If you intend releasing them handle the fish with a cloth and not your hands as the acid on your hands will cause infection on the Tuna’s flesh.
If using circle hooks, leave your rod in the gun-
Mike is an outdoors person who loves, respects, admires nature and God’s creation with a passion, Mike has been fishing since the age of 7yrs old where he started in Durban harbour. With a special love for animals, especially fish and birds, Mike collected Tropical marine fish and kept an aquarium for many years, which he says taught him a lot about fish behavior. Mike is in his sanctuary when out on the water surrounded by nature, away from the hustle and bustle. Visit his web site at http://www.bluewatercharters.co.za
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African hunters of yesteryear
The African hunters of days gone by have had experiences few hunters have today. In those days, the game was much more plentiful and regulations were non-existent. Hunting was more dangerous in those days - no chopper evacuation when clawed up by a wounded leopard and no protection against marauding tribesmen. We can learn something from them. In this series, we feature some of the writings of the hunters that came before us and who hunted in an era we think of with nostalgia.
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The Maneating lions of
THE COMPLETION OF THE TSAVO BRIDGE by Lieut.-Col. J. H. Patterson, D.S.O.
hen all the excitement had died down and there was no longer any dread of the man-eaters, work went on briskly, and the bridge over the Tsavo rapidly neared completion. As the piers and abutments progressed in height, the question of how to lift the large stones into their positions had to be solved. We possessed no cranes for this purpose, so I set to work and improvised a shears made of a couple of thirty-foot rails. These were bolted together at the top, while the other ends were fixed at a distance of about ten feet apart in a large block of wood. This contrivance acted capitally, and by manipulation of ropes and pulleys the heavy stones were swung into position quickly and without difficulty, so that in a very short time the masonry of the bridge was completed. Volume 5 Issue 4 | 71
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The next business was to span the sixty-foot distance between the piers with iron girders. As I had neither winches nor sufficient blocks and tackle to haul these over into position, I was driven to erect temporary piers in the middle of each span, built up crib-shape of wooden sleepers. Great wooden beams were stretched across from the stone piers to these cribs, and laid with rails; and the girder was run over its exact place, while still on the trucks in which it had been brought up from the coast. It was next “jacked” up from the trucks, which were hauled away empty, the temporary bridge was dismantled, and the girder finally lowered gently into position. When the last girder was thus successfully placed, no time was lost in linking up the permanent way, and very soon I had the satisfaction of seeing the first train cross the finished work. Curiously enough, only a day or so after the bridge had been completed and the intermediate cribs cleared away, a tremendous rain-storm broke over the country. The river started to rise rapidly, soon flooding its banks and becoming a raging murky torrent, tearing up trees by the roots and whirling them along like straws. Steadily higher and higher rose the flood, and standing on my bridge, I watched expectantly for the two temporary trolley bridges -- which, it will be remembered, we had built across the stream in order to bring stone and sand to the main work -- to give way before the ever-rising volume of water. Nor had I long to wait; for I soon caught sight of a solid mass of palm stems and railway sleepers sweeping with almost irresistible force round the bend of the river some little distance above the bridge. This I knew was the debris of the trolley crossing furthest up the river. On it came, and with it an additional bank of stormy-looking water. I held my breath for the space of a moment as it actually leaped at the second frail structure; there was a dull thud and a rending and riving of timbers, and then the flood rolled on towards me, leaving not a vestige of the two bridges behind it. The impact, indeed, was so great that the rails were twisted round the broken tree-trunks as if they had been so much ordinary wire. The double tier of wreckage now swept forward, and hurled itself with a sullen plunge against the cutwaters of my stone piers. The shock was great, but to my immense satisfaction the bridge took it without a tremor, and I saw the remnant of the temporary crossings swirl through the great spans and quickly disappear on its journey to the ocean. I confess that I witnessed the whole occurrence with a thrill of pride.
We were never long without excitement of some kind or another at Tsavo. When the camp was not being attacked by man-eating lions, it was visited by leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, wild cats, and other inhabitants of the jungle around us. These animals did a great deal of damage to the herds of sheep and goats which were kept to supply the commissariat, and there was always great rejoicing when a capture was made in one of the many traps that were laid for them. Leopards especially are most destructive, often killing simply for pleasure and not for food: and I have always harboured animosity towards them since the night when one wantonly destroyed a whole herd of mine. I happened at the time to have a flock of about thirty sheep and goats which I kept for food and for milk, and which were secured at sundown in a grass hut at one corner of my boma. One particularly dark night we were startled by a tremendous commotion in this shed, but as this was before the man-eaters were killed, no one dared stir out to investigate the cause of the disturbance. I naturally thought that the intruder was one of the “demons,” but all I could do was to fire several shots in the direction of the hut, hoping to frighten him away. In spite of these, however, it was some time before the noise died down and everything became still again. As soon as it was dawn I went to the shed to see what had happened, and there, to my intense anger, I found every one of my sheep and goats lying stretched dead, on the ground with its throat bitten through. A hole had been made through the frail wall of the shed, and I saw from this and from the tracks all round that the author of the wholesale slaughter had been a leopard. He had not eaten one of the flock, but had killed them all out of pure love of destruction. I hoped that he would return the next night to make a meal; and should he do so, I determined to have my revenge. I accordingly left the carcases exactly as they lay, and having a very powerful steel trap -- like an enormous rat-trap, and quite strong enough to hold a leopard if he should put his foot in it -- I placed this in the opening into the shed and secured it by a stout chain to a long stake driven into the ground outside. Darkness found everyone in my boma on the alert and listening anxiously to hear the noise the leopard would make the moment he was caught in the trap. Nor were we disappointed, for about midnight we heard the click of the powerful spring, followed immediately by frantic roaring and plunging. I had Volume 5 Issue 4 | 73
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been sitting all evening with my rifle by my side and a lantern lighted, so I immediately rushed out, followed by the chaukidar (watchman) carrying the lamp. As we approached the shed, the leopard made a frantic spring in our direction as far as the chain would allow him, and this so frightened the chaukidar that he fled in terror, leaving me in utter darkness. The night was as black as had been the previous one, and I could see absolutely nothing; but I knew the general direction in which to fire and accordingly emptied my magazine at the beast. As far as I could make out, he kept dodging in and out through the broken wall of the goat-house; but in a short time my shots evidently told, as his struggles ceased and all was still. I called out that he was dead, and at once everyone in the boma turned out, bringing all the lanterns in the place. With the others came my Indian overseer, who shouted that he too wanted revenge, as some of the goats had belonged to him. Whereupon he levelled his revolver at the dead leopard, and shutting his eyes tightly, fired four shots in rapid succession. Naturally not one of these touched the beast, but they caused considerable consternation amongst
the onlookers, who scattered rapidly to right and left. Next morning a party of starving Wa Kamba happened to be passing just as I was about to skin the leopard, and asked by means of signs to be allowed to do the job for me and then to take the meat. I of course assented to this proposal, and in a very few minutes the skin had been neatly taken off, and the famishing natives began a ravenous meal on the raw flesh. Wild dogs are also very destructive, and often caused great losses among our sheep and goats. Many a night have I listened to these animals hunting and harrying some poor creature of the wilds round my camp; they never relinquish a chase, and will attack anything, man or beast, when really driven by hunger. I was at Tsavo Station one day -- unfortunately without my rifle -- when one of these dogs came up and stood within about thirty yards of me. He was a fine-looking beast, bigger than a collie, with jet-black hair and a white-tipped bushy tail. I was very sorry that I had not brought my rifle, as I badly wanted a specimen and never had another chance of obtaining one.
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Donâ€™t set sail on someone elseâ€™s star. He who talks incessantly, talks nonsense. Volume 5 Issue 4 | 85
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We are the green revolution. We do not print many thousands of copies and have hundreds stay on the shelves or come back to us. We distribute digitally and print on demand only. This is negates the necessity of the cutting down of trees to make paper - which will never be used.
Viva la Revolution!
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Make a Plan
Hints and advice are given in good faith to be of help in emergencies. The writer as well as the publisher, personnel and agents concerned does not accept any responsibility for any injury, accident or damages that might arise from the use of any of the hints. 92 | Volume 5 Issue 4
Toilet paper rope stronger than you think
CLICK HERE to buy your copy of Make a Plan now for only $8.50
Except for the corn-cob men, we all know for what toilet paper is used for. Well, there is still another use, one can make a strong rope with it. On its own, the single layer is thin and feeble, but plait a couple of layers together and you have a rope that is strong enough to hoist up a person. ●● Roll the toilet paper out in layers on the ground, at least five times the length that you need as well as a minimum of ten layers on each other. Three people will be needed to plait the rope, one on each side of the unrolled toilet paper and the third person in the middle. ●● The two at the ends then start to turn the toilet paper, both clockwise round as they are standing opposite each other. And like this they carry on until the paper is tightly wound up. ●● The third person then lightly pulls the middle of the toilet paper rope towards him and slowly start to wind it up anti-clockwise whilst the other two are still busy winding it up in a clockwise direction. That is how you “build” the rope. ●● Then carefully stretch out the rope, a little at a time, and repeat the two steps above to double the rope. If there is enough paper, and you can lay it out long enough, you can double it again and again until you have a cable that is strong enough for nearly any job. The principle to wind up relative poor fibre to plait a strong rope exists already for centuries. Strips of plant material like sisal leaf fibre, fibrous bark and even strips of clothes, blankets, towels etc. can be used in making a rope, if needed urgently. The same principle can also be used to strengthen rope that is too narrow. In this way, fishing line on a pulley can perhaps become a tow-bar. Dr Wallace Vosloo is an Engineer and Scientist by profession. His family has lived in Africa since 1696 and he has a deep love for the continent. He is a practical outdoorsman and loves traditional hunting, axe and knife throwing, longbow shooting, black powder rifle- and cannon shooting, salt and fresh water fly fishing and tracking. The art of survival is Wallace’s main field of interest and his passion is to transfer these old forgotten skills to young hunters. Volume 5 Issue 4 | 93
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Your African safari is a unique experience. Now you can document your hunt day by day and revisit those exciting times for years to come. 31 Full days of journaling space with vital information: ●● safari clothing ●● personal item checklists ●● health and first aid ●● mammal identification information with photographs, tracks, dung and SCI and Rowland Ward qualification minimums.
Know how to administer CPR. Deal with dangerous animals up close. Identify and treat bites from snakes, spiders and scorpions. Know the right emergency numbers to dial in an emergency – it’s all there. A must-have item for every serious hunter. Sturdy PlastiCoil binding for durability and easy opening, 110 pages, 6.0 x 9.0 in. Full color covers and cream interior printed in black and white.
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Let’s come back for a moment to original glory, the glory of God given to us when we were created in his image. So much light could be shed on our lives if we would explore what we were meant to be before things started going wrong. What was it that we were created to do? What was our original job description? God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule.” (Gen. 1:26-28) And let them rule. Like a foreman runs a ranch or like a skipper runs his ship. Better still, like a king rules a kingdom, God appoints us as the governors of his domain. We were created to be the kings and queens of the earth (small k, small q). Hebrew scholar Robert Alter has looked long and hard at this passage, mining it for its riches. He says the idea of rule means “a fierce exercise of mastery.” It is active, engaged, passionate. It is fierce
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