After a good few months of extremely good inedible fishing from the surf, and very little news from the edible side, the tables have turned and things are looking up for the dinner table. As far as the deep blue goes, it has been a treat to hear of the amount of Snoek and Couta being boated all along our coastline, but it is the Sand Sharks and Rays that are giving anglers some great fun as these fish can be in excess of 80kgs, especially the Sand Sharks.
Make sure that your tackle is in tip top shape as these fish could take you to the cleaners. Your reel needs to have a good drag system with lots of power, reels like the Daiwa Saltiga (especially the Daiwa Saltiga Hyper with a 15kg drag rating) and Saltist BGs do the job very well. Big deep water points on the South Coast such as Green Point, Scottburgh and the Park Rynie area have recently yielded some very big sand sharks.
The Zululand coastline is still producing Skates and Sharks when the conditions are right. Mtunzini, Port Durnford and the surrounding areas are the hot spots for this time of yearfor another month at least. The weather to look for is very hot conditions and at least one full day of North Easterly wind to have blown before you make the effort. Generally to start on the low tide and fish the pushing tide is most effective. Your target species this time of the year up there is the Diamond Rays, with Honeycombs, Browns and the occasional Sandy in between. Baits to use are Sardines, Chokka, Mackerel and Bonnies. Most of which you will be able to get from The Kingfisher in Durban.
Kosi Bay/Vidal- Kosi Bay at this time of year becomes a magical place to visit, with the hatching Turtles making their way from the nest to the ocean to start their lives. Although an extremely moving and stunning sight, most of the beaches become slightly crowded with tourists and viewers. This has steered anglers away from certain areas, but those who chose to take a walk in search of alternate grounds were all rewarded with good catches.
Bigger baits such as Shad cutlets and Mackerel slides grabbed the attention of some Black Fin Sharks and a few respectable Honeycombs. Cape Vidal produced many edibles at the start of last week, mainly Pompano, Stumpnose, Bone Fish and Cave Bass. When these fish are on the bite, Chokka is a must when considering baits to use. Many families still enjoying dropshot fun in the shallows with the Wave Garrick, Shad and Smaller King Fish.
Richards Bay- An endless supply of Brown Rays, Honeycomb Rays, Daimonds and the odd Sand Shark, 99% of all inedibles being landed on Mackerel and Red Eye baits. Red Eye being the more versatile of the two, has seen a good few edible species as well. One will notice many Snapper Salmon pecking at the baits, and many have been landed. Although these fish are not known as a target species as such, they do make for excellent table fair. So the next time you hook into a few of these “pests” there is no harm in taking one or two home for the pot.
Salt Rock/Shakas Rock-Before the bad weather and upside down seas arrived, quite a few Grey Sharks ranging from 5-10kgs were landed around Shakas High Rock on a variety of baits from live Blacktail to Chokka throw baits. The light tackle spinning enthusiasts have had a great time with Snoek and Kingfish off all of the deep water ledges. Here are some hints and pointers to the anglers who may have been struggling to hook into some of the Snoek that are around:
1) Snoek are fussy feeders, if they are not eating your offerings, try down size yourspoon if your tackle permits a lighter weight to be thrown the same distance.
2) Remove any steel trace used in front of your lures. Even if the Snoek are biting. The presence of steel trace will lessen your chance of a bigger, more weary Snoek, this applies to all species.
3) Cast further by filling your reel with a lighter braid such as triple Fish Gator braid 20lb. This may seem light but Snoek are not dirty fighters and no pressure will need to be applied to steer the fish away from obstacles.
4) Look for what we call “working” water. Rips, current lines, scum on the surface and sand banks are a great place to target Snoek.
5) And the golden rule, ignored by most, but the most valuable piece of advice, retrieve your spoon as fast as possible. If you think you are retrieving too fast, wind faster! This technique will produce a bite 95% of the time when slower moving presentations are proving fruitless.
Durban- Durban Piers are heating up with many Pompano being landed on Sea lice, Grunter on a variety of baits including Sea lice, Cracker Shrimp, Red Eye and Chokka, and of course many Snapper Salmon on any bait they can get the few-toothed mouths around. A very lucky angler who found himself at Blue Lagoon over the weekend managed a very respectable Pompano of 6kgs!
Bluff/Toti– Longfin Kingies have been plentiful off most areas on the Bluff, caught on bait, lures and fly, tthese are great fun on light tackle. Bigger Blacktail are starting to show face recently, along with some nice Stumpies. At Toti and Doonside there have been plenty small shad that are falling victim to S-bend spoons.
Umkomaas–Grunter, Snapper Salmon and the odd Brown Skate at Umkomaas, were all taking small baits and Red Eye cutlets readily. Port Shepstone has been producing Brown Skates off the beaches, in front of the Station, as well asgreat catches of Blacktail and Stonebream.
Sodwana Bay – Has produced good catches of Tuna around the 5-10kg mark, which have been caught mostly on Rattlers and Halcos,trawled between 30-50m deep. These “smaller” Yellow Fin Tuna still put up a tremendous fight for their size, but unlike their bigger brothers and sisters of about 10kgs and up, they can still be bullied to the boat if Sharks are troubling the anglers. On the right tackle of course. Maphelane produced a good few Marlin yet again, and most of these fish have fallen to a variety of the Pulsator Kona’s on the 700m mark. Fairly decent by-catches of Tuna, Sailfish, Dorado and Wahoo have been common too.
Umtunzini fished well with Couta and Tuna, the problem here being Sharks taking their fair share of fish,so heavy tackle is a must. A minimum of 30lb nylon, a strong reel such as a Daiwa Saltist BG50 or even SL50 and a rod with enough backbone to turn the fishes head.
Durban-Off Durban over the last week, the Snoek seem to have erupted, not only on the common spots such as Blue Lagoon and Hyper, but off Vetch’s Reef in the basin as well. This is something we do not experience often but it should be taken advantage of while the fish are in the area.
These fish have been taking baits intended for other species of fish, however the lack of bite-trace on small hooks left many anglers scratching through their tackle packs, looking for bigger hooks and wire. As the news got out, anglers flocked to the area and managed a good few Snoek on Strike Pro Magic Minnows and Sprat Spoons too.
The Bluff area and the Cutting has been working well with Couta on live baits and Mackerel trawled slowly over the marks. It was nice to hear of a lot of big Snoek being boated at the Umkomaas area over the last week. The majority of these fish were landed of a standard Snoek trace with Red Eye fillet as bait. The Pink Dusters have worked well in the dirty water.
South Coast-Port Edward anglers were treated to a fair amount of Sail Fish over the last week, caught mainly on live bait in 25-50m of water. Live Mozzies being the bait of choice here.
Bass – At this time of year, there are a few hints and tips that one could use to help improve angling, as the water temperature increases, water levels flood and new food sources pop up. Lure retrieval should be more aggressive and faster, crank baits and jerk baits with faster retrieves will get more bites than slower presentations.
Even when fishing patterns such as flukes, senkos or spinner baits, a jerk then pause retrieve will be more productive than a straight level retrieve. In a dam such as Albert Falls, smaller Bass hunt in shoals to trap Tilapia in the shallows, and on particular drop offs and structure. Keep an eye out for action on the surface, caused by fleeing baitfish, and present a weightless fluke on the outskirts of the shoals, this is where the feeding Bass patrol in hope for an injured Tilapia to veer off track. Fish these areas thoroughly and there is some great fishing to be had. Another fun target species is Tilapia on light tackle. These fish can grow to weights in excess of 4kgs and a specimen of 1,5kgs will out fight most fresh water fish pound for pound.
Carp- Carp angling in our big three dams(Albert Falls, Inanda and Midmar) has been exceptional, with the presence of a lot of smaller fish. This keeps us busy, but it would be nice to see the average size of the Carp increase a bit. Due to the temperature increase, algae and surface weed has increased substantially. This is good in a sense that when decomposing occurs, animal life thrives and there is a massive ecosystem boost and fishing becomes excellent, but until that point, what is happening is the weed and algae is draining all of the oxygen from the water, causing the fish to travel to water that is rich in oxygen. In a small dam, this is a good thing because the fish have only one option and that is to move to the river inlet, which makes them easy targets.
There are some great fishing shows that are being aired on DSTV. Please check out your TV guide, sometimes Super Sport will change the channel that it is supposed to be aired. ASFN premiers on Mondays, Super Sport 8, channel 208, 19:30 to 20:00,and FreeSpool Angling premiers on Thursdays, Super Sport 8, Channel 208, 19:00 to 19:30.
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. Any info about fish caught or competitions in your area please email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 031- 368 4007.
The trading hours of The Kingfisher are as follows:
Mon Fri. 8:00am 5:00pm
Sat. 8:00am 1:00pm
We will be closed for our annual Stock Take Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th March. Our apologies for any inconvenience caused.
The Kingfisher wishes all anglers tight lines.