The name Ken Stone is synonymous with many things. Apart from the salt of the earth and farming, his name is one in the same as fishing. He would never be considered ‘a fish out of water’ at the seaside. Ken is a natural.
Even on dry land, hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest ocean, he can be found fiddling with lures, making sinkers and checking on the mechanics of his boat, Spindrift, in anticipation of the next ski boat fishing trip. ‘Spindrift’ refers to the spray blown from the cresting waves, and is the perfect name for a boat that has made so many trips out over backline. One of his first and earliest joys remains one to this day.
The legacy of fishermen is that of passing down gifts and skills from father to son, through the generations. Beginning with Ken’s beloved dad, Ossie Stone, and in turn passed on to our son, Gareth. Lest we not forget to mention the fisherwomen in our family; our daughters Jackie and Hayley too have inherited a deep love of the ocean.
Being born a Karoo girl and growing up in Utrecht, deep sea fishing was completely foreign to me. And to this day, I seem to be the only one without sea legs! My first experience of the ‘Stone Family Fishing Fraternity’ was being asked by Ken’s mum, Pegs, to get up at 4am to help make boat lunch for the crew going out that morning. I soon suggested (very tactfully) that perhaps a ritual of boiling eggs and making sandwiches the night before might afford us a little longer in bed!
Marrying into a fishing crazy family meant I had no option but to cast my cares upon the waters, climb on board and learn the ropes of being a fisherman’s wife. Not a fishwife. As the saying goes - if you can’t beat ‘em, join ’em! I have been known to obligingly concede; swallowing a Medazine before launching into the deep when Ken has been short of crew. And the fishing addiction bites. This exhilarating experience brings with it the most wonderful sense of inviting freedom. Once out there, bobbing about on the swells, there’s a kind of peace that can only be experienced on the majestic ocean, undoubtedly one of God’s mightiest creations!
Needless to say, our holiday destinations are almost always somewhere along the seashore. The never-ending sandy shores of northern Mozambique and Cape Vidal being the favourite haunt for ski boating; and the rugged, rocky, coastline of the KZN southern Wild Coast for surf fishing off the rocks.
Holiday time at the sea means fresh fish for supper, quite literally straight from the sea and into the frying pan! My favourite is the ‘chicken of the sea’ - Dorado! Our go to recipe was taught to us by the legendary gentleman, fisherman and ski boat owner of Wild Goose, Roycie Rosettenstein, once upon a time way back on our very first fishing trip to Pomene, Mozambique. Just as it was with Royce, so it is with Ken. They love cooking the fish that they catch for supper that night, letting me off the hook of being responsible for the meals most evenings! Check out my Folklore Fish Cubes recipe here.
(Very little bottom fishing is allowed off the South African coastlines due to man’s exploitation of the seas. Bottom fish such as Rock Cod, Mussel Cracker and Scotchman are residential, and are to be found in many of the fishing reserves where angling is controlled, even disallowed. Thus we find ourselves catching and feasting mainly on the migratory game fish such as Dorado, King Mackerel (Barracuda), Cob, Geelbek and Yellow Tail for this recipe. Limitations are also placed on the game fish where catches (number of fish permitted) are limited based on the abundance or rarity of the species.)