An Indian Ocean Fishing Trip and lemonfish Fingers

Out & About

During my summer holiday a few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to go fishing with some friends off the sleepy Durban South Coast town of Amanzimtoti.  I’d cut my fishing teeth in the waters of lake Kariba and the Mediterranean sea and absolutely loved to fish, so when the chance arose to try my hand at some Indian Ocean angling, I grabbed it.  Read more about this trip and the delicious results after the jump >>

The Spurwing is a small, privately owned charter fishing vessel which belongs to a friend’s father.  My Beau and I joined a Christmas eve fishing trip aboard the Spurwing where we were expecting to strike it lucky with some game fish; namely tuna, yellowtail

The trip started with a visit to the local Post Office to get ourselves some recreational angling permits (a bargain at approximately R70 each, valid for a year) and to a pharmacy for seasickness bands – these use pressure points in your wrists to combat seasickness – just in case.  Both my Beau and I have spent time at sea, however we were taking no chances with potentially rusty ‘sea legs’.

The day began at 4am, as we drove out to Amanzimtoti.  It was an overcast morning with some light rain when we arrived at the beach.  The Spurwing was towed from the boat club onto the beach by a shiny blue tractor and we hopped aboard, preparing for a beach launch.

By ‘beach launch’ I really mean a ridiculous kamikaze-type manoeuvre whereby the unfortunate occupants of the vessel don life jackets and cling on for dear life while the skipper and his crew of one coax the boat out into the wild, rolling, waist-deep surf and at the worst possible right moment simultaneously give the boat one last shove, scramble aboard, hit the throttle and charge over the breakers!  It was petrifying but also exhilarating and we all got absolutely bloody soaked in the process. This all before sunrise.

I won’t bore you with the details of this seven hour fishing trip; the short version is that this young lass got horribly seasick whilst the boat was at anchor, due to cross-currents that sent the boat rolling in sixty seven different directions at once. Additionally, I was mocked by my all-male fishing pals and accused of feeding more fish than I caught. Even so, I managed to land a good few, notably a large Cobia – also known as Lemonfish – between delightful bouts of nausea.  Talented, ‘eh?

Unfortunately the game fish weren’t on the bite due to unusually cold water, and we returned to the beach with a boatload of disappointed lads.  I was only too happy to reach the beach though, and bailed off the Spurwing as quickly as my weak & wobbly legs could. It took twenty four hours for the motion of the ocean to abate, which honestly was worse than being on the boat.  Safe to say I’m done with ocean fishing? Definitely.  I have a new-found respect for fisherman and what they encounter on a daily basis.

A day or two later I hauled out my prize catch, filleted it and cut it into goujons, or fingers.  I then made a crumb with eggs, stale baguette, dried herbs, seasoning and spices, coated the fish and shallow-fried it in some oil.  I was told that Lemonfish is so named because it has a subtle citus-y flavour, which it really does, so wedges of lemon weren’t actually a necessary accompaniment.

My Beau was in charge of the skinny fries, and made the most amazingly crispy but still-fluffy twice-fried chips, all of which were gobbled up in record time.

I must say that the fish goujons were completely delicious – I’m not certain if it was the fresh and fragrant flavours of the Lemonfish, or whether there was an appreciation on a deeper level due to my suffering for it.  Either way, you just can’t beat enjoying freshly-caught fish! Yum!

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