After three whole weeks of some of the most incredible angling most of us have experienced in Natal, we are beginning to think when is it coming to an end! We have seen yet another exciting and productive week from boat, shore and freshwater! There are no signs whatsoever of slowing down as fishermen all over enjoy the spoils that our waters are offering.
Rock n’ Surf:
Kosi / Maphelane / Vidal – As a lot of us are aware, our KZN north coast generally has more than enough to offer us in terms of fishing during the December, January and February months as the warm waters move down From Mozambique with the warm Mozambique Currents. With this warm water comes many different warm water species, flat fish and Game Fish of all kinds being the most anticipated throughout the year!
What we have been experiencing is a huge flat fish run, mainly species such as Brown Rays, Honeycomb Rays, Diamond Rays and Sand Sharks. Over the last month, with last week being no exception, our North Coast has been on fire with hundreds of these flat fish being landed. The smaller species such as Brown Rays have been falling victim to small bloody baits such as Red Eye / Chokka combo baits and Red Eye head. The bigger species like Honeycombs, Diamonds and Sand Sharks have been enjoying Mackerel cutlets, bigger Chokka baits and Shad baits when available.
Other Species such as Stumpnose, Shad, Bone fish Pompano and Kingies are also present and will take on a small Chokka bait, Prawn bait and Red Eye bait.
Richards Bay – Probably one of the most targeted areas this year, Richards Bay is yet to disappoint. Whether in the harbour itself or from the surf, anglers have had the time of their lives with many species ranging from edibles, non edibles and game fish. Good reports from last week indicate that the fishing has not slowed down and a lot of good catches were seen from the surf.
Our competitive anglers saw over a ton of fish on the weekend, with the majority being made up of Diamonds, Browns, Honeycombs and other Shark species. This is enough to get anybody eager to fish!! In between the in-edibles we saw some very nice Stumpnose, plenty Wave Garrick (3-spot Pompano) and other smaller edibles. Great for light tackle angling.
These Wave Garrick take readily on small spoons and drop shot in the breakers, and put up a fairly decent fight on light spinning tackle. Small baits such as Chokka tentacle, small Sardine chunks and Prawn baits can be used as well. This is a great species for the kids to target! A rod no longer than 7ft and reel no bigger than a 2500 size is required. Light nylon of 15lb will do the job. The Daiwa D-Shock 7ft combo is ideal for this.
Umhloti/Umhlanga/Glen Ashley – Reports of small Shad, a few Stumpnose of decent size, many Brown Rays and Diamonds. Due to the lack of fresh local Red Eye available at the moment, anglers have been using Hookies 500g boxes of sardines and they have proven to be excellent for edibles and in-edibles alike. When in doubt about baits, remember that just about every fish in the sea will eat Chokka. Squid makes up the bulk of a lot of species staple diet. Not only is it eaten by many species, but it is also a tough bait that is not easily removed by smaller fish, “peckers” as we call them.
The anglers using Aqua Cats “Dingle-Hopper” have been successful with bigger species of Sharks and flat fish. The beauty of this bait boat is that one can drop a bait in excess of 1kg up to 500m off shore, thus presenting a very attractive bait to very large fish.
Blue lagoon/Durban Central – Due to the rains experienced over the last week, water colour was on the brown side and more than enough debris and plant life was washed down the river and into the sea. This makes for poor angling as fish do not like to swim in dirty water for two main reasons. Fish do not like to get sand and dirt in their gills, their gills are very sensitive and do not function properly if exposed to muddy water. Secondly, dirty water has a low visibility and makes for bad feeding. The only exceptions to this rule would be Sharks, Flat fish and the odd edible fish.
This was the case over the last week and on the weekend as we saw few fish landed at Blue Lagoon. Clean water should be pulling through this week and fishing will improve. Our beachfront has provided our anglers with some great fishing with some rare species of fish being landed too. Bow mouth Guitar fish, which are closely related to our more common Lesser and Greater Sand sharks, are fairly uncommon catches in KZN and are a once in a life time catch for most. These prehistoric looking Sharks are very similar in shape to the Greater Sand Sharks with the exception of a rounded nose as opposed to the sharp pointed nose of the Greater. Two very nice specimens were landed last week at Ushaka, one being 2,07m in length, a great catch!
Many other flat fish were caught in the same area, most of which were landed on Spinning tackle such as Daiwa Windcast reels and Poseidon 14ft rods. As fun as this type of fishing can be, one always needs to remember the importance of safety when it comes to landing and returning these fish to the water.
South Coast – South coast anglers seem to be having as much fun if not more, than the North coast anglers. More so on the edible side and big Sharks than flat fish, there have been many reports from all areas. Some very big Zambezi Sharks on slide baits were landed, some over 150kgs. The Raggies have been extremely common over the last 2 weeks, with many over 100kgs being landed mainly on large fleshy baits. On the edible side, Bronze Bream have been on the bite for some time and show no signs of slowing down. These are taken on small Chokka / Prawn or plain Prawn baits, Black tail, Stumpie and Zebra are taken with these baits too.
Terry Nel from Port Edward reports that Shad have been a little on the quiet side, but Bronze Bream are eating well with some good sized fish taken. Sea conditions are good and the shoreline lending itself to nice fishing. A number of good sporting fish have completed the equation and species including Hammerhead, Hound and Grey Sharks making up the catches. Blue Rays are also around with larger fish up to the 17,5kg coming out from the beaches and points. An awesome Blue Ray was landed by lady angler Christine Nel fishing from
Sodwana / Maphelane / Vidal – With no shortage of angling excitement from our North Coast, it is with great excitement that reports of King Mackerel have been coming through thick and fast, with many boats beaching with at least a fish or two for their efforts. It has reached the point where the most difficult decision in an anglers day is whether to target Dorado or Couta.
As the saying goes, “In life, there are good problems, and bad problems… And this is a good problem!”. Couta have been relatively elusive over the last few months but it is believed that a good Dorado season is a bad Couta season and vice versa. Most anglers have been catching Couta on live bait, as it has always been the more effective method, but a dead bait swum dead strait with a duster above it will also produce the goods.
Preferred baits being Bonito, Mackerel, Shad, Walla Walla, Maas Bunker and Sardine. Tackle is relatively simple, with a Rod such as a Poseidon Couta 8ft paired with a Daiwa SL50 reel is ample. A good 30lb nylon is the norm, with a 5m leader of about 0.60-0.70mm. Baits are either drifted over a mark, or slow trawled with motors just in gear. Apart from Couta, there are still many Bill Fish, Dorado and Wahoo being landed all on Rattlers or Williamson Kona’s.
Durban- With the water being off colour due to the rain washing muddy water into the sea, angling close in shore has been slow but has picked up as the water cleared up. Snoek at Blue lagoon have been on and off due to water conditions, but north of Blue Lagoon at Glen Ashley, Virginia , Ballito and Sheffield the Snoek have been firing on all cylinders. Some specimens of over 8kgs on Strike Pro Magic minnows and Halco Jelly prawn Sorcerers.
In the deep, more Marlin have been landed and one boat who has set a standard is Taurus Charters, who have seen their fair share of Marlin over the last two months, landed another beauty of a Black over the weekend, keeping yet another client happy. Couta have been landed off Umhloti on live baits, with the odd Yellow Fin Tuna jumping onto the baits as well.
Albert Falls, Inanda, Midmar, Shongweni and Hazelmere have been good to us recently, with Albert falls and Hazelmere taking top spots over the last week with not only Bass but good catches of Tilapia and Carp. Albert falls has slowly started to show signs of its flood plains starting to decompose, this is a good thing. It attracts all forms of insect life which then attract the bigger species such as Frogs that Bass feed on. This will furthermore attract the Bass into the shallows and calls for precision casting and long distance casts into the back of vegetation to get to the fish. It is a rewarding and fun technique.
Carp- Fishing in most of our dams has improved over the last two weeks as water temperatures steadily increase, with more of the smaller Carp between 3kgs and 10kgs being landed. This can be extremely fun as there are more fish around and feed readily on almost any bait presented. Sweet flavo