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Fishing has played a large part in Durban's history providing both food and recreation for a section of the city's populace. Len Jones has been an active fisherman in the region for almost all his life and has turned his experiences to good effect by publishing three books of memoirs. He was kind enough to provide extracts from them for me to publish on this site. Allan Jackson.

Len Jones' fishing memoirs

The three books published by Len include:

  • Sharks, dolphins and big fish; by Len Jones; Self-published; 2003.
  • Hooks, spears and spanners; by Len Jones; Self-published; 2005.
  • Mixed Bag; by Len Jones; Self-published; 2008.


The three books are written by Len in a lively humourous way and chronicle his long fascination with fishing and the sea. They are crammed with incident and many close shaves with the elements, dangerous denizens of the deep and the 'long arm of the law', all of which periodically tried to interfere with his fishing actvities.

Len & Jessica Jones with a haul of geelbek.
Picture courtesy Len Jones.

Click picture to view enlargement.

True, the books are largely concerned with fishing in its various forms but they are by no means too technical or boring for a non-fisherman like myself. There is still plenty of interest and much light cast on what it was like to live in the Durban of those days. The books are profusely illustrated with photos and Len's own drawings.

The books are available from Exclusive Books branches in Durban, from various fishing shops around town and from Len himself. He also offers a selection of his drawings for sale.

Contact details:


Tel/fax: +27 31 4664723

Len Jones
P.O. Box 21117
South Africa

Book extracts:

  • Pier Rat: Len's introduction to fishing on South Pier and the fishermen's efforts to fish in the area immediately adjacent to the whaling slipway and to 'acquire' whale meat for use as bait, in the face of interference from the law.
    From Encounters with Sharks, Dolphins and Big Fish.
  • Those Were the Days: Sharks of extraordinary size were landed on South Pier including a great white shark which, at 754.54 kgs (1,660 lbs), was the largest fish taken from land with a rod and reel.
    From Encounters with Sharks, Dolphins and Big Fish.
  • Mean Green Fishing Machine: Visiting anglers from the Transvaal amazed the locals with their ingenious fishing contraption.
    From Mixed Bag.


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