FISHING REPORT 28TH OCTOBER 2015.
Exciting times lie ahead as anglers begin to see more and more catches of quality summer fish as the weeks go by. With a windier than usual October, days on the water have been limited, meaning every gap has been taken willingly. Rock and surf conditions have been favourable in most areas along the coast for most of the week and weekend, which was a bit of bad news for anglers looking to launch out to sea.
Rock n Surf:
Kosi Bay saw ideal surf conditions for most days during the week, which meant that the anglers who happened to plan their trips right managed to hook and land some lovely fish. Most catch reports included Sand Sharks of 50kgs or more. These were landed on heavier spinning tackle or sliding gear.
As a few anglers found out on the weekend, Sand Sharks can be difficult to hook, often swimming off 100m or more than spitting the trace out. It is extremely important to make sure of two things when targeting these fish, particularly on nylon main lines.
The first is to make 100% sure that your hooks are sharpened to a needle point each time they are sent into battle. The second and most important contribution to a decent hook set is to make sure that the strike is powerful and repeated at least three times. In 100m of the average nylon, there is close to 10m of stretch, meaning that if the line is under moderate pressure during the strike, there is only 90% of the struck line being gained on the strike. This will increase exponentially as the distance of line increases, which has lead most anglers to use either braided line, circle hooks or a combination of both, for the circle hook presentation, no striking is necessary. A loose drag is preferable where the fish is allowed to turn away from the angler and make its run; only once the line is being taken does the angler tighten up on the drag and allow the hook to set itself. Some anglers prefer to strike once the hook is in place to ensure the hook is firmly set.
Cape Vidal also had its fair share of larger fish being landed during the week, most of which were Diamond Rays, Honeycomb Rays and Sand Sharks. Again here, most of these fish were over 50Kgs. One of the species which made an appearance was the Blacktip Shark. Various reports of Blacktips of decent size were received which were mostly caught on larger slide baits.
Richards Bay north saw a decent number of Honeycombs in the 30kg range and Brown Rays in the 15kg range. Many of the anglers who caught these fish were in search of Stumpnose and were using smaller Red Eye baits. This is one of the reasons why good quality hooks are suggested by all of the experienced anglers.
On the South side of Richards Bay there was more action for most of the week, with a wider variety of fish being landed as well as some of the larger specimen. Most of these fish were Sand Sharks, Diamonds, Browns and Honeycomb Rays with the odd Blackfin Shark sneaking in every now and then.
Tugela has started to pick up from its quiet spell, producing a number of fish ranging from Grey Sharks to Stumpies, Bonefish and Shad.
Ballito had a good run of Grey Sharks as expected for the conditions, a few Brown Rays after the extended periods of North East winds blowing and also a few nice Sand Sharks too. Anglers spinning off the rocks found themselves hooking into quite a few Kingfish on drop shot and Daiwa D Minnow lures.
The Blue Lagoon north bank has once again produced a number of Garrick on live baits during the mornings or afternoons on a few of the days during the week. There have also been a number of Stone Bream and Stumpies landed in the area close to the mouth.
The Beachfront along Durban has had its share of good fishing on around three occasions during the week and on Sunday, where fishing came to life and many anglers spend a good few hours at the water’s edge landing anything from Brown Rays to Snapper Salmon, Grey Sharks to Stumpies and everything in between. Anglers who have been using the new Mustad Tuna Circle hooks have been far more successful than the average angler with a much higher hookup rate. Stumpies have been feeding extremely well and can be caught alongside the Piers or closer to Ushaka.
Toti has had a good run and has seen the season’s first Pompano so far, giving the summer fishermen a taste of what is to come. Sea lice set out for Stumpnose was the bait that worked for these Pompano. Along with the Pompano, anglers caught a number of Grey Sharks and smaller Sand Sharks during the evenings.
Umkomaas has been the top Grunter spot over the last week with some excellent catches being reported.
Scottborugh saw plenty of action and had anglers bending for hours with catches of Hammerheads and larger Grey Sharks. Off the Point, Sand Sharks have also been a common sight.
Port Shepstone had good catches of Hammerhead Sharks off the deep water points, a few Blue Rays further down the coast and also Bronze Bream at Trafalgar and Palm Beach. A size 1 Mustad Chinu hook has been the better bet for these fish if they are feeding shy, as the light gauge wire allows the bait to have a far more natural action in the water. Garrick have been caught down the coast on live bait as well, making decent size for this time of the year.
North of Port St Johns, anglers have had a good run of smaller Hammerheads, which is common for this time of the year. These can be caught on slide baits as well as larger baits cast on spinning outfits. For these fish, the Mustad 8/0 O’shaunessy Bait hook seems to be producing excellent catches. Garrick and Kob are still plentiful on artificials, when the weather permits fishing.
South of Port St Johns, Garrick and Kob continue to feed well, as well as large Hammerhead Sharks which have been opting for much larger baits. There are also a good number of edibles around the rocks which have been fun on light tackle.
Over the last week, as with rock and surf angling, the Bay came alive with flat fish. The majority of the catches reported were Brown Rays, however there were also a few Diamond and smaller Honeycomb Rays. Many of these fish have been spotted along the Wilsons Wharf area on the sand banks and on the Centre Banks in around 1m of water. It is difficult to avoid the capture of these Brown Rays, as they are not fussy on their pickings. One of their favourite snacks is a Cracker Shrimp, which is why many Grunter anglers have had solid hook-ups in the summer months. They can be targeted in certain areas; however it really depends on the conditions. The best time to target these fish is on an incoming tide on the sand banks after two or three days of constant North East winds, using either fleshy baits such as Red Eye cutlets or a simple Cracker Shrimp. Hook Size can vary according to the preference of the angler, however there has been good success on a Mustad fine wire Demon Circle size 3/0 or a Mustad Chinu 4/0 or 5/0 for the larger baits and a standard running trace with 0,40mm fluorocarbon will do the trick.
Grunter have also been on the bite and have been caught consistently throughout the week. There have been huge Grunter spotted off the center banks tailing in shallow water, which have been successfully caught by paddle ski anglers drifting over the banks with a Cracker Shrimp. Batt Centre Pier produced a decent fish of 3,3kgs, which makes it the most productive land based spot to fish for the last two weeks in a row now. Around the northern side of the center bank, there have been good amounts of Grunter between 1 and 2kgs. On the game fish front, various reports of Pick Handle Barracuda have been received from anglers fishing off the banks with small Strike Pro Poppers, as well as from the Yacht Moll using small spoons, poppers and paddle tails.
Ski Boat –
Thanks to a week of almost solid North Easterly winds, not much Ski Boating has taken place along our coast over the last week. For the brave or for the anglers who managed to get away from work to get out to sea during the week in the decent weather, there was no shortage of fish. Catches of Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, Sailfish, Marlin, Couta, Snoek and Dorado were abundant and all fish were caught relatively close inshore.
In the Sodwana area, Charter Boats have made huge catches over the last week and have kept clients extremely happy. Further South in the Maphelane and St Lucia, there have seen plenty of Yellowfin Tuna and Couta around, being caught on Rattlers along the 50m Mark.
Richards Bay continues to impress with even better reports coming through than the last few weeks. A massive Bull Dorado of 23kgs was landed on a Kona whilst trawling for Sailfish along the 100m mark. After this fish was landed, another three fish between 15-20kg were landed along the exact same stretch of water. In the shallower water, there has been a massive showing of Yellowfin which have been taking Rattlers and feathers trawled fast along the current lines. A fair amount of Couta have been taken on live baits along the 50m mark, with downrigged baits proven to be the most effective. Bonito remain the most effective bait for the larger fish.
Zinkwazi is beginning to heat up somewhat, showing that it is still one of our coasts’ top Couta spots. Dorado have also started to make their way down and have been targeted successfully on the fishable days. Yellowfin Tuna are still being caught throughout the week and have all weighed in at around 5-8kg.
Durban and Umhlanga have been far more productive when it comes to Tuna, where the average size has been far larger than up north. Umhlanga has seen Tuna averaging 20kgs. Dorado have made their way into Durban’s deeper spots, as experienced by the anglers fishing in the much deeper waters for bottom fish. It is always a good idea to keep a live bait rigged on a spinning outfit ready to cast if the opportunity arises. Dorado can often be seen circling boats and have not been caught as there is no tackle ready for the job. A Mustad Tuna Circle rigged with a live bait on a Dacron bridle will last the whole day in a live well, which is the most effective method of targeting a fish around the boat.
There are a few Snoek off Toti and Warner Beach, which are fairly common between the Shad. Bottom fishing has still been good as far as Port Edward where there are good numbers of Cracker, Rock Cod, Slinger and Yellowtail. Shad have been plentiful around the shallower waters which have been a nuisance for anglers attempting to catch bait. Tuna are becoming more abundant in the waters of the lower South Coast, along with Yellowtail and Skipjack.
Albert Falls has seen plenty of action with the smaller fish along the shorelines as more and more structure gets exposed. It is an excellent time of the year to take the youngsters down to walk the shorelines in search of smaller, easier to catch Bass averaging 20-30cm. These are the sessions that get a child hooked for life, a starting point in a fishing career that will become a lifelong passion for the sport which is a very important part of a child’s upbringing. It is the simplest style of Bass fishing known and can be used successfully by anybody at any age. The thing that makes shoreline fishing so effective is the element of surprise. The angler remains in the same spot for only a few casts before moving down a few meters to try another spot. This is essentially power angling and can be done using a variety of baits. The fish are feeding out of reaction rather than hunger as they would in the deeper darker water. Popular baits/ lures include spinner baits, jerk baits, weightless soft plastics and top water lures. A weightless paddle tail such as the variety in the McArthy range is deadly in the shallows if fished correctly. If the fish are feeding very slow and are not taking the faster moving items, a slower presentation with a jerk bait may prove far more effective. Albert Falls is by far the best dam to “Bank Bash” as there is a decent distance of water to cover, whereas Inanda has a very limited area to fish due to cut offs and restricted access areas. Inanda has also seen a better number of smaller fish in the shallows which have fallen victim to a variety of smaller jerk baits. The odd strike in the shallows has come from a larger fish or two in the 1-2kg range. Spinner baits have produced the larger strike from the boat, whereas slow retrieved soft plastics have been number one in the deeper waters.
After a very windy week, Inanda has begun to fish far better and has started to produce far better size fish. Once again, the margins have been the better bet when it comes to the larger fish. If it is small fish that you are after, which are also a far better bet for the children, then the camp sites are the better areas to fish. The water conditions are ideal at the moment and have been producing some lovely fish between 1-3kgs for the anglers using conventional tackle.
Albert Falls is also starting to heat up somewhat and the fish are becoming much more active in the shallows. Smaller hooks and lighter tackle are getting a better and faster bite in the clean water, which means that anglers have downsized to the Mustad Mosquito hook size 8 for standard conventional angling and have been getting far better results.
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