A note to all readers of the weekly fishing report is that the report is done retrospectively, this means that the report you receive or find in the newspaper on a Friday is based on the previous weeks catches, weather patterns etc. Due to time restraints for submissions to the various media, unfortunately we cannot do it any other way. Now that the technical stuff is out of the way, lets have the good stuff. For the most part, last week saw some good weather and then Saturday just like the Sharks, all Anglers were defeated. Winter is definitely upon us, with the sun setting earlier and coming up later. There were a few fish caught up and down the coast although not as many as we would like.
Rock and Surf
Tugela Has cleared up quite nicely, with the water a beautiful Ginger beer colour. Reports of a few juvenile Kob and Milk Sharks made this my pick of the week. This area is definitely one to watch as often produces some lovely fish during the winter periods, mainly during the early morning sessions.
St Lucia/Cape Vidal Its winter and this means there are Shad about in these areas. The Brass coloured Falcon Spoon on an 8ft Crossfire Rod, with a little Regal 3000 size Reel is the ultimate arsenal to attack these fish. The bonus of fishing this method is that you can quickly get your live baits to put out for hopefully a Garrick or two as well as bigger Kingfish. It also can keep the youngsters busy while Mom has a lie in back at the camp.
Mission Rocks Still producing some nice fish – Cave Bass, Stone Bream and smaller Kingfish being the main species caught during the last week.
Richards Bay Typical for this time of the year, there are some juvenile Kob which can be targeted with Anglers using Paddletails as well as Chokka baits. Along with these lovely edible fish come the menacing Milk Sharks and these Critters with their sharp teeth are also fond of Chokka baits and often bite edible Anglers off. The Paddletail route could also save you a bit of tackle.
Tinley Manor Was not its usual busy self with very few fish being caught and the majority of these being a handful of Gray Sharks in the 5-8 kilo range. The early risers managed to get some small Shad on either bait or Kingfisher 1S Spoons.
Ballito A true sign of the winter is definitely when the Bronze Bream arrive and their brothers the Stone Bream. Due to adverse conditions this weekend, many competitive Anglers deliberately targeted these species and were justly rewarded with some lovely fish. The Mustad Big Gun no.6 hook and a Prawn or Chokka bait is your best bet to target these fish. These feisty fish hit hard so be prepared.
La Mercy La Mercy river mouth still one of the prime target areas for the bait boat fishermen, resulted in a sad tale of woe on Sunday morning after a large Mackeral was put out for bait, the Reel screamed, the fish was hooked and the knot came undone. The Angler concerned was under the impression that it was either a big Sandy or Ribbontail Ray.
Umhlanga – Has seen a few small Shad in the early morning with the odd Shad just making size. Those kicked out of bed for hogging the duvet caught a number of them on various Spoon varieties and the Die-Hards also got a few on bait.
Durban Piers Somewhat quieter than usual, this is perhaps due to debris in the water and a fair amount of seaweed. The Sunkist Pier saw a few small Grunter and on the low tide on warmer days, Lesser Sand Sharks.
Beachfront Due to Spring Tides and the water running away very quickly many Anglers suffered with the pecking order and were helpless to stop it. Those lucky enough to catch a few under sized Shad could really consider themselves lucky. The non-edible Anglers managing some Milk Sharks and the odd Grey Shark.
Bluff The winter months are often very kind to this rocky area and a number of various Kingfish species often chase the Shad in close. These Kingfish are usually targeted on live baits with fairly heavy equipment to prevent cut offs on the rocks.
Toti/Winklespruit Both of these popular spots have seen the arrival of juvenile Shad and small Garrick. Although not on a daily basis, the Shad can often be plentiful and a warning to Anglers to make sure that even your live bait or slide bait is of legal size. A reminder to all Anglers is the 70cm minimum size limit for Garrick.
Umkomaas Locals in the know have kept it under the cuff that there have been a few nice Kob coming out near the river mouth. These fish have as yet only been targeted with bait so perhaps the Rapala ranges and Paddletail Pros should give it a bash. There have also been a few Grunter caught here however none making legal size.
Scottburgh A few weeks ago, saw some lucky Spinning enthusiast catching some Snoek off the points, yet this week there were very few fish around. The reports received were of very few edibles and even less non-eds, even though the weather and sea is looking much better for upcoming days.
Margate Another popular spot which didnt disappoint in the number of fish, (mainly Shad), however did disappoint on the size. It is a wonderful sign to see such a number of Shad this early in the year and we can only hope that it will be better than last years bumper Shad run. Popular spots both above and below Margate have started to see some lovely catches of Bronze Bream, which is very encouraging as these fish are very fine table fare.
Transkei The Port St. Johns area which still has lots of dirty water has seen a fair amount of Kob being caught on the Rapala Floating Magnum lure. Whilst many Anglers have their favourite colours the Orange and Green and Mackerel look alike top my list. Saltwater lure enthusiasts take note, its time to dig up those soft plastics as the Garrick, Kob and Kingfish are around. These predators are chasing the Shad and it has been a bit of slow start but if the trend continues, the early morning and late afternoon sessions are a definite must and for those targeting Kob fish into the night.
Ski-boat and Paddle-Ski
With water temperatures dropping and the water being very green, both Paddlers and Skippers alike, were not too enthusiastic. Fortune always favours the brave and for those Skippers and Paddlers that did venture out, there were some fish about.
North The Zululand coastline has been producing some good catches of Natal Snoek. These seem to be majority shoal size fish in the 5-7 kg range. Predominantly the Strip bait and artificial lures boating the most fish. The Couta have also slowed down a bit, due to off-colour water and low visibility conditions.
Central The Paddle-skis have had some luck with a few Couta being caught between Umhloti and Zinkwazi. The Umgeni river area on a good day, might also produce a Snoek or two on the smaller Rattler lures and Siglon fluro-carbon leader material. Some silent Skippers have also been at their favourite spots targeting Geelbek which have started to appear on the deeper wrecks.
South Reports of some good catches of bottom fish in the Bluff to Toti area has had some Skippers trying their luck at new venues. This time of year is very unpredictable, so make sure that your hard and fast rules can be adapted. Some nice bottom fish such as Rock Cod, Red fish and the odd Kingfish have all been boated. Many of these fish have been in water between 40 and 70m deep. The more available Mackerel and Chokka strip baits being put to good use.
It seems that Shad are now everywhere including the Bay. Many of the local Anglers popping into The Kingfisher have been requesting Mustad Long Shank hooks in order to prevent being bitten off while targeting other species. There are lots and lots and lots of small Grunter in the centre bank region and the Walla-Walla at night are still just as rampant. Anglers fishing from the bank have had mixed success and common agreement is that an incoming tide is now preferred.
Fly-Fishing Majority of the areas in the Berg are still fishing fairly well, despite the weather conditions. As per usual for this time of year the typical winter patterns still doing the trick. So pull on your Long Johns, brace the cold and catch some Trout.
Bass Over the last week decent fish have been hard to find. The winter pattern has set in and my advice is to use Carolina Rigs as majority of boat Anglers country wide will use this for the coming months. Bass will not only be found in deeper water in winter, they are more active in the deep, but equally present in shallows. When targeting shallow fish, Siglon fluorocarbon as a leader is a must, this is due to the fact that during summer in warmer water, algae and moss thrive and this lowers the visibility. During winter with colder water, the visibility increases. The number one rule when fishing during winter is your retrieval speed if the water is clean and the fish are lethargic, ensure that your bait is retrieved very slowly. If you think youre fishing too slow then slow down.
Carp Winter is definitely here, dig out those warm jackets and keep the kettle boiling, or fill-up Thermos flask. The bites now may not be as plentiful but some good quality fish can be expected. To assist you in targeting some lovely fish, try to use stronger scented baits such as Garlic, Cinnamon, TCP, Vicks and Bun Spice. It is also time to scale down on the size of bait and really think about the conditions you are fishing.
Tiger Fish The colder the weather, the less the bites, with some lucky Anglers being able to sneak a few days off work to go target their favourite species, the colder weather definitely did not help. A few smaller fish in the 500-800g range were caught near the river entrance and the evergreen Tiga-waka Spoon did not feature too well. Possibly due to there still being large amounts of upcountry water and the very cool conditions, a case of lock-jaw set in with these fish.
If you think you have what it takes as an Angler, then measure your own monster catches against some of these world records.
The largest Tuna ever caught was a 1496 pound Bluefin caught in 1979 off the coast of Nova Scotia. While the largest Carp was 94lb caught in 2010 in Dijon, France. The saddest story of all was possibly that of the world record Bass, where in 2006 a man thought he had caught the world record Bass weighing in at a whopping 25 pounds, but because the fish was foul hooked through the gill it was disqualified from the record books and the previous record logged by 2 other Anglers of 22lb and 4 ounces still held.
And proudly South African as ever, the worlds largest Narrowbanded Mackeral was caught off Scottburgh on the Kwazulu Natal coast in 1982 by Michael Wilkinson, the fish weighed a rod bending 99lb (44.91 kgs).
ASFN Season 2 premiers on Monday nights on Super Sport 6 at 19h30 be sure not to miss it, there will also be six rebroadcasts during the week.
For the latest KZN fishing news presented by O.J., tune into East Coast Radio at 5:40am Monday – Friday.
The Kingfishers trading hours are:
Mon, Wed, Thu & Fri 8:00am 5:00pm
Tue 8:30am 5:00pm.
Sat 8:00am 1:00pm.