Sardines have appeared off East London and also there have been sightings of many birds on the water just south of the Wild Coast Sun. This is the beginning of this year€™s Sardine Run and we wait for reports in the hope that these fish reach us soon. In the meantime game fish are all along our coast with Garrick and Shad on the bite. The sudden drop in the temperature should also affect water conditions and provided there are no heavy rainfalls that would cause dirty seas; we could look forward to a good Sardine run this year.

Commonly pilot shoals of Sardines appear along our coast and bird and fish activity out at sea begins to happen now and fishermen start getting excited about the prospects of being at the right place at the right time. Just a little advice though, please check your tackle! Don’t leave that to the last minute and bombard the tackle shops with emergency repairs. There is plenty of time to make sure that your equipment is in good working order and you just don’t want to lose a prize catch because of faulty tackle.

Kosibay €“ With the water temperature being somewhat warmer, that is up until the cold front over last weekend. Predominately edible fish such as Stumpnose and Pompano were caught. The Pompano fell foul to Chokka/Prawn baits, the Stumpnose were caught on small Crabs and Sea lice/Mole Crabs. These fish both fight well, especially on light tackle and are best fished with hooks ranging from 2.0 to 4.0 like the Mustad Hoodlum and Big Game range.

Mapelane/Cape Vidal €“ Like the beaches further north, the Stumpnose and Pompano have made their appearance here too, with a few Shad thrown into the mix. As above the same baits still reign supreme. There have also been a few Raggies, mainly caught on big bloody slide baits especially late evening and into the night. Anglers should make sure they have a good quality Headlamp as in winter nightfall can come early.

Mtunzini/Amatikulu – This area seems to be home of the big boy Shad with a number of 3+ kilo being caught. Unsuspecting Anglers, sliding Mackeral or small Bonito have often hooked a fish thinking it could be a nice Kob or perhaps a Garrick, when they see the silver flash in the water.  A number of Snapper Salmon have also been caught on smaller baits, predominately Squid and Prawn combo€™s.

Ballito Area €“ Has seen a number of Snoek and Bonnies feeding on the backline area and for a lucky few using 10ft6 Rods like the Exceler Elite that could reach this area were also rewarded for their efforts. For the Drop shot Pros some nice Kingfish especially Black tip Kingies have been up for grabs in this area as well. 

Umhloti/Umhlanga €“ For the Spinning enthusiasts this area over the last week has been heaven on earth. A number of Bonnies and Snoek were caught from the shore using Bullet Spoons. For light tackle there can be no more fun than seeing a Snoek tail in the water, throwing a spoon, winding it with a quick retrieve and nearly have the rod nearly pulled out of your hands €“ what a way to start the day.

Durban Beach Front €“ With very little wind €“ lake Durban, with its clean water left many people scratching their heads. A few Stumpies and an occasional Pompano were all that were on offer. The guys fishing off the piers had a mixed bag of small edibles €“ mainly Grunter and the ever present pest the Puffer Fish. Please ensure before venturing onto the pier that fishing is not prohibited.

Toti €“ Shad are still being caught on both sides of the swimming pool, especially early mornings, the late afternoon sessions have been interrupted with a few small Grey Sharks and Spinner Sharks happy to snack on Sardine throw baits. Maybe some of the Garrick at Winkelspruit could be visiting this area soon.

Winkelspruit ­­€“ There is still some Garrick on offer, mainly off the rocks, where deeper water can be reached. The area is producing some live bait such as Karanteen and Black tail, which are perfect for Garrick, although they can€™t resist a live Shad. In the low light early morning conditions perhaps a Plug or S-bend Spoon might be an alternative for the artificial Anglers.

Umkomaas €“ Reports are of mainly small Grunter with only a few making size being caught on the North side of the mouth. Some small shoal Kob and undersized Shad are still making their presence known.

Pennington €“ The McCarthy Goldfish fished on lighter jigs has provided a few Kingfish. Smaller S-bend Spoons fished with a slightly slower retrieve have accounted for a few Shad.

Margate €“ With the bait fish still being available on the right and the Slide traces working to perfection this area is still producing Garrick and remains a hot spot.


Transkei €“ As reported last week Jaws number 1, 2 and 3 could have been filmed in this area during the past week. With a large number of Anglers fishing this area after the reports of the one that got away, very few were disappointed with their own tales of the one that got away. Many Anglers got well and truly stretched with the bigger fish easily showing Anglers why braid is necessary as backing and unfortunately reefing them in the deeper reefs. With fish these size it€™s not unusual that few fish would be landed due to the terrain fished. The Saltwater Sport Slide traces worked perfectly for Bonitos as well as smaller live baits that could be pinned as slide baits. The results are in and there are definitely Sardines on the Transkei coast, mainly the Waterfall Bluff south areas.  With sightings this early and a few cold fronts expected its time to get the Reels serviced, the Rods checked and be prepared for some great angling ahead.


Local fishing enthusiast, Jordan Mattig who is twelve years old boated a 29.6 kilo Sailfish while fishing off his Dads boat X-Factor at Umhloti. This fantastic fish took an hour and six minutes to land on 10kg line using a Daiwa Saltist 40 Reel and Daiwa Grandwave Boat Rod. Well done Jordan on a really good catch.

Richards Bay/Mapelane €“ Some small Couta have been caught on artificial baits. The early morning low light conditions being the best times to fish. Snoek have also been caught on the Onda€™s the Silver/Sardine pattern being the preferred poison for these fish.


Blythdale/Umhloti €“ This area has produced some nice Couta. Bait fish have now started to move in and with bait fish you will always find the predators, so it would seem live baits would become the preferred baits. Small Bonito, Maasbunker and Shad are good choices for this area.


Durban €“ The Yellowfin Tuna have been feeding although sporadically on a somewhat hit and miss affair, the only constant companion have been the Sharks targeting any live baits from Redeye Sardines to Maasbunker and Shad, that hopeful Skippers and crew have put out. With Mackeral and Redeye now becoming more abundant, hopefully the Sharks will leave the Tuna for the Skippers supper.

Toti €“ With live bait moving into this area slowly a few small Snoek and some Couta have been landed. With the cooler water hopefully a lot more bait fish will be around, which will draw the Game fish. Some Kingfish have also been available for Anglers on Drop shot as well as Buck tail jigs, especially fished around pinnacles.

Umkomaas €“ Although not entirely part of the €œboating fraternity€ a lucky Jet Ski Angler landed a beautiful fish. The 34.2kg Wahoo was caught on backline at 12:30 on Wednesday afternoon€¦ a beautiful fish – at a very strange time. Some nice Couta are still being hooked in this area as well as a few Braai Snoek.

Pennington €“ Some Wahoo have been welcome although the Taxman is still taking his share. As we start going into proper winter the Couta may not be as prolific in this area although the larger specimens will be much appreciated. Being further down the coast, this area could become a hotspot in a few short weeks.

Should you Skippers have a few Mackeral left in the live bait well €“ don€™t be shy to smoke them as smoked Mackeral pate can be a perfected starter before the big Rugby game.

A Yellowfin Tuna of 106.75kg has been caught by Frank Scholtz during the SADSAA Tuna Nationals fishing tournament which is being hosted from Simons Town. This remarkable fish was caught on 10kg breaking strain line and the angler fought the fish for just on 6 hours. The fish was hooked 60km off cape point and after the hook-up the fight travelled for just over 7 km.

This fish is in the process of being registered to improve the current world record of 97kg and the current South African record stands at 93.1kg.

The SADSAA Tuna Nationals are currently taking place over 5 days, where 6 provincial teams and one SADSAA team are competing for the honours of being crowned the top team in the country. Frank Scholtz is representing the Border team, together with Kevin Bourke and Gary Thompson. The skipper of the day was David Edgar on his 30ft Arrow Cat, €œWitch Craft€.

This tournament has placed itself over the years as the most prestigious game fishing event on the South African fishing calendar.

The official prize giving will take place on Saturday the 19th at 18:30 at South African Marlin and Tuna which is a part of the False Bay yacht Club in Simons Town.


Zinkwazi/Tinley Manor €“ This area has produced some nice Couta falling mostly to live baits. Many a Paddler after hooking one of the Crocs has had a fair paddle back to their starting point. It is maybe worth getting up and over the early morning chill to get this exciting bit of exercise in.

Salt Rock/Umhloti – Snoek in the +/- 6kg range have been regular fare in this area. Live baits as well as artificials are still working well and with the flat sea over the last couple of days, have meant an easy launch.

Durban – Yellowfin Tuna have been taking best to Maasbunker and these gas bottles really do put up a good fight. Due to live bait now being more readily available, especially closer in, live bait containers are a definite must have.

Toti/Winkelspruit €“ For the prepared Anglers, the odd Garrick have been hooked. Further south from Winkel some Snoek have been up for grabs for the athletic paddlers.

Umkomaas €“ Fishing in this area seems to have quietened down – with only an occasional Tuna and some Snoek being landed.

Scottborough/Pennington €“ With not too many bites but some really big fish when you do get the bite, expect big Couta and sizable Snoek.

Durban Bay €“With bigger fish mainly in the deep water, it is best to fish this area with heavier tackle as you don€™t know what you are going to catch. Grunter in the 2+ kilo range and some Rock Cod have surprised many an Angler. When fishing the Bay always be aware that scattered debris can be a hidey-hole for a number of species. For Junior/Novice Anglers 3 and 4 inch Drop shots can be a fantastic way to spend a few hours fishing from the shore targeting the Bar tail Flatheads, as these ferocious fish are great fighters. Handle these fish carefully as they are related to Porcupines with all their spikes.


With the cooler temperatures fish are still feeding slowly. The smaller Flies stripped slower are more effective especially when fished around weed beds etc. As the proper winter weather and cold water have not yet got rid of heavy weed, careful accurate casting is required.


Top water lures and weight-less Flukes at this time of the year are still your best options, fished mainly in and around structure and weedy areas will get the best results.  The post-dawn early sunrise sessions seem to be when these fish are at their most active.


Shongweni Dam €“ is producing some reasonable sized fish, the natural flavours being top performers.

Inanda Dam – seems not to be as active although has produced better sized fish, although the fishing sessions seem to have been extended somewhat.

Tiger Fishing

The fishing seems to have cooled off just like the temperatures. It would seem that temporary lock-jaw has set in for some of the fish. The Copper Spoons fished in the early morning light still working very well. Strip baits of Sardine and Chicken fillet as well as the very small Anchovies which resemble small live baits proving the most popular in opening the lock-jaw specials. As we move into the colder months, hopefully the fishing will improve and Anglers can fish longer hours without resembling a Lobster come the end of the day.

Fishy Facts

The legal size limit for the Garrick is 70cm and Anglers are permitted just 2 a day. These fish can be caught from the Cape Point to Cape Vidal. And Kwa-Zulu Natal is the sight of their annual spawning migration where the large numbers of estuaries are used as nursery areas.  Garrick fish can also be caught in the Mediterranean and West African waters.

For the latest KZN fishing news presented by O.J., tune into East Coast Radio at 5.40am Monday – Friday. Any info about fishing, fish caught or competitions in your area, please send an email to mike.pereira@kingfisher.co.za or fax 031- 368 4007.

Check out the new Kingfisher web site: www.kingfisher.co.za and become a member. Membership is totally free and there are great prizes to be won every month. They have just updated the tide tables for 2012 and come with a few new added bits of information, like tidal movement, sunrise, sunset ETC.

The trading hours of The Kingfisher are as follows: 

Mon €“ Fri.  8:00am €“ 5:00pm.

Sat.           8:00am €“ 1:00pm.

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