Fishing in the snoek season is a massive affair for the smaller towns dotted along South Africa's Western Cape. Lamberts Bay, a small fishing port is invaded by recreational and commercial snoek fishing enthusiasts who clog up the roads leading to harbour and bulge the carparks to bursting. Large, small, elegant, expensive and basic boats are launched in a long but disciplined stream at the slipway.

Beware the first timer - if you flip-flop around at the waters edge you will get some coarse advice what to do with your boat from impatient people behind you.

It is exciting, it is fun and the tempo is all go. The commercials are the first to help out with more than just advice as you wait in the long line of trailers and trucks awaiting launch -- but only if you warn the ones behind that you are new at this.

Fishing for snoek is a time of celebration

For the old fishing hands of South Africa, this is not just another day. The declining fish stocks and the withdrawal of major companies left many people dependent of the snoek run for an income. The harbour is brimful of children skipping around, playful dogs, old sea-dogs, happy tourists and anxious fish buyers.

Overhead fly screeching gulls delighted for the boon and in the waters, the seals play and fight over scraps that the cleaners throw out. Coffee stalls are set up and do a brisk business in the early morning and in the afternoons the same stalls produce fresh deep fried snoek aroma to tantalize the taste buds.

Fishing with a handline but take a spinning rod along

Very few commercial boats go out with rods and reels as most of these fishing people know that the best way to catch snoek is on a handline. Snoek, the long snake-type fish is a shoaling fish, so when you get to find their depth, the fun begins! These very popular game fish which are restricted to the Southern Hemisphere can reach a length of two metres and may weight up to six kilograms, so as Kelpie told me (most sea people seem to live with a nickname), if you want tight lines on the snoek fishing run then you have to have at least 52kg line and swivels.

He said that it is important to "have at least one rod on board just in case the snoek are not feeding hungrily. In this case, they would go for a spinner or spoon."

The boats come in around early afternoon and the buyers and tourists and day trippers are there waiting for them. Freshly caught fish straight from the dockside is simply the best. The large fish that are caught mainly on pilchards, or pike, if that is available, are considered to be a nice eating fish across the southern oceans and they can be cooked by frying, broiling, baking and even in a microwave. But if you want to eat the local way, brush with olive oil, lemon juice and a dash of Cape Malay curry powder and throw it on the barbecue. Best served with good beer and best friends. Tight lines!