MOGAMED JACOBS looks down the deserted beach and finds comfort in his solitude.

He chooses a spot which seems identical to the next, unpacks his fishing gear and prepares for a 10-hour shift of some serious unwinding.
It is 05:30 on a rainy Tuesday morning, but the 36-year-old Mitchell’s Plain resident glows with content.
This is, after all, doing what he loves most – fishing at Beespens near Strandfontein.

“I’ve been coming here three times a week for about 20 years,” he smiles.
Every time his face lights up, he resembles a man who is at complete peace with the world, a man who has discovered the very essence of happiness.
He fishes about 10 hours a day and three times a week, so there is plenty of time to contemplate the meaning of life.

“Sometimes I sit here the whole day and fail to catch anything,” he continues.
“I will sit in a world of my own and forget about all my problems. One learns how to deal with these as well. Even if the fish don’t bite, I will start thinking rationally about various situations. Sometimes you will get an idea, quickly pick up your stuff and leave so that you can go and implement it.”

Jacobs was born in Bonteheuwel, a place he describes as being “a little rough around the edges”.
His father taught him everything he knows about fishing, and he has been implementing these skills from a young age.
“It kept me out of trouble,” he winks. This is one of the main reasons he wants his 13-year-old son, Tashreeq, to join him on his fishing excursions when he can.
“Unfortunately he isn’t too keen … but I was the same when I was young. After some time I gave it a try, and as soon as that first fish bit, I was hooked for life.”

Ever since then he has pulled out some real beauties, the biggest being an 11 kg kabeljou. He has caught a few sharks as well, which is apparently quite common.
“A battle with a shark can drag you towards the water with quite a force. It could take up to three hours to finally get it out of the water!”

When listening to the excitement in his voice while he explains the thrill of the hustle, it becomes obvious that the serene wait is trumped by the big catch.
And when that happens it is not only Jacobs who celebrates, but his whole neighbourhood.

“If I catch many, or a big one, then I distribute it among those who are hungry. There are days when my neighbours would eagerly await my return and hope to benefit with a fish or two.”
Jacobs insists, however, that a day without any fish is far from a failure, since the main reason behind his hobby is to relax and drift away in the breeze.

Jacobs doesn’t pretend to know the answers to the meaning of life, but a lifetime on the beach has taught him one important lesson.
“The secret is that one must work hard in everything one does, whether it be a job or a relationship.
“If you manage this, then you will show people your unique value.”

French playwright, Marcel Pagnol, once said: “The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.”
For the smiling Jacobs, the past, present and future represents just one thing – fishing.