With the Festive season well on its way, Shad season open again and many anglers and their families going on leave, there is a huge amount of excitement in the air. Planning a trip to the seaside or to the dam can be a bit of a gamble at the best of times, but with the amount of fish coming out over the last two weeks, there seems to be no shortage of confidence amongst the fishing community and the planning has commenced.

Rock n Surf:

North –

With Shad season now open, there are thousands of happy anglers gracing our shorelines as far as the eye can see. Last week was the longest week ever experienced for many anglers as they could almost taste fresh Shad. Anglers spent time making up traces, buying bait, planning trips to their favourite Shad spots and also getting those frying pans ready. For many, Shad season is not only about catching Shad, it is also about using the Shad for bait to target other species of fish, generally game fish or Sharks.

It is also about getting the children involved in a sport that will have them begging for more. Shad along the KZN Coastline are amongst the easiest of fish to catch and are often found in huge shoals which can be located relatively close to shore, making it an easy fish to target for those who may not be pro casters. A simple spinning rod and reel is all that is required to cast out a Sardine or Sardine fillet as bait, along with a sinker just heavy enough to avoid rolling or dragging in the wash. Generally, a 12′ or 13′ rod with a casting weight of 3-5oz is preferred and a spinning reel filled with 20-25lb Nylon is more than adequate. Please remember, there is a limit of four Shad per angler and a minimum size limit of 300mm.

The Zululand stretch has been highly productive of late, seeing plenty of fish on artificials as well as bait. Shad have been caught throughout the week in various locations but have been caught particularly well on Daiwa D Minnows and Maria Stick baits. Kingfish have made up a large chunk of the catches on artificials over the last week, most of which have been Big Eye, Black Tip and smaller GT’s.  These Kingfish have also been caught on smaller baits around rocky patches and off sand banks by anglers targeting Stumpies or Pompano. For those with a larger target in their sights, there have been good sized Sand Sharks around, which are being caught on Mackerel slide baits and other bloody baits. Remember to use heavier hook snooting’s when using larger baits as these fish will test your tackle to the maximum. Diamond Rays have also been frequenting the shallows, taking any sized baits from small Chokka baits to Bonito head.

Richards Bay was quiet over the last week and with the South West winds that blew, the fishing was even more disappointing for half the week. Three days of South West winds meant cold water and plenty of debris and weed in the water, making fishing relatively difficult and taxing on braided lines. For these conditions, a spare spool filled with nylon is a better option.

South of Richards Bay produced a good number of Brown Rays, Stumpies and Sand Sharks for those looking to have fun on throw baits. Tugela also had a bit of a tough time with the weed in the water, making fishing close to impossible on most days. With the winds blowing the Grey Sharks onto the bite, there were plenty of catches reported throughout the week, with a surprising number of catches over the 10kg Mark. This is definitely a spot to take a look at during this week’s North Easterly winds, this wind brings in cold water and that is what you need for the fish to turn on.

Anglers spinning at Zinkwazi have seen plenty of Garrick action along the backline, which will also be incentive for bait anglers to take advantage of the opening of Shad season which will definitely assist with having one of the better baits in the water. Shad have been plentiful in the mornings as well as later on in the day into the afternoon. Inedibles such as Diamonds and Sand Sharks have been caught throughout the week.

Local –

Durban has been an excellent spot to fish in the last week. The Piers, Beaches and Harbour have all been fishing exceptionally well. Stumpies and Pompano have made up the bulk of edible catches in these areas, ranging from Blue Lagoon down to the North Pier. Shad have been landed the whole week and have continued to bite through the weekend. With the reopening of Shad season, Blue Lagoon will return to its former state and have many a keen angler catching their share of these tasty fish. Stumpies up to 5kgs have been caught in the Ushaka area, by anglers using Sealice or Red Eye baits. Grunter have been surprisingly scarce considering how many have been caught in the Harbour over the last week.  Blue Lagoon managed to produce a Garrick or two over the last week, but should be seen in better numbers now that Shad are legal to use as bait.

South –

Toti has seen far more Garrick recently and although there have been no catches on Shad; Mullet seem to be doing a mighty job.  Further along the South Coast, Shad are abundant probably due to the lower water temperature which has been sitting at around 22 Degrees constantly. Kob in the 3-5kg range have been coming out regularly in these areas, on bait as well as lures such as Mc Arthy Paddle Tails. Most of the River mouths have produced a good number of fish including Kingfish and Grunter. For those planning on going on a fishing trip down the coast, the time is now.

Port Shepstone River has been fishing incredibly well and has had various catches of Garrick, Kob and Grunter. There have been no better reports from any area along the coastline regarding catches of edibles and game fish in the rivers.

Further down in the Transkei, the Sharks have been plentiful and present on each and every single day of the week and weekend. The most abundant of all Sharks have been the Hammerheads which have been feeding particularly well on Chokka baits which have been set afloat with a large portion of floatation such as Glow Foam.

Harbour –

After a few days of slow fishing in the previous weeks, the Harbour seems to have settled somewhat and is now consistently producing good catches of Grunter. The anglers fishing from the Batt Centre Pier have had good success using Cracker during the late afternoons and into the evenings.  Off the boats, things have been a bit different, making fishing relatively difficult to get right consistently. The banks have had a massive showing of tailing fish, which are clearly visible by boats up to 100m away. At night these tailing fish can be heard and Paddle Ski anglers are doing very well with these fish on light tackle, drifting a weightless Cracker over the active feeding zones.

At times when the fishing is tough, it is necessary to downsize on all tackle, which means going lighter on the line, leader, sinker, hook and even swivel. Some anglers who have been fairly successful in comparison to others have been using a 6lb Daiwa Sensor line tied directly to a size 8 Mustad Mosquito hook, snelled and fished in the tip of the Crackers tail on a drift over the sand bank. This is a gamble, as there is a chance of the Grunter cutting the line with its gill plates, but it is definitely a way to get more bites.

The Brown Rays in the Bay have been fairly abundant and have been caught on the banks with Red Eye baits as well as Cracker. Along the Piers, the Pick Handle Barracuda have been around, making up the bulk of the reports. Hand sized Kingfish have also come onto the bite and the odd 3-4kg Black Tip Kingfish has been seen patrolling the shallows in search of that slightly larger bait.

Ski Boat:

North –

As many anglers may or may not have known, the game fish catches along the Natal coast have been completely out of this world.  Anglers at Sodwana have been ranting about the success they have had with the Marlin and the Sailfish on just about any lure that is put out behind the boat.

The Dorado from Sodwana down to Zinkwazi have been phenomenally good and the catches of Dorado off Cape Vidal and St Lucia have been compared to some of the best seasons in the last 30 years. As the weather settles and more gaps open, Charter boats have found themselves making an easy living, with their responsibility to entertain guest anglers extremely simple. Wahoo have been feeding well along the coast as far down as Pennington, but have made quite a severe appearance in the Cape Vidal and St Lucia areas too.

Yellowfin Tuna have made their way down the coast from Mozambique and have been found in huge shoals of 4-5kg fish. Anglers have been experiencing mayhem where every single lure trawled behind the boat is being hit by these fish, which has been fairly easy to deal with as these fish are of manageable size. Anglers have been using Rattler Stick Baits for the larger Tuna on bait balls on the North Coast of Durban, casting into the bait, allowing the lure to sink and winding it back with an erratic action.

Further down the coast at Zinkwazi, anglers have still been targeting and catching Garrick along the backline. It is late in the season and the Garrick shouldn’t be here for much longer, but while the going is good, get into the shallow water and enjoy some Garrick fishing with artificials and live baits.

Local –

Westbrook has had a tough time with the launch site being washed completely away with the westerly winds, leaving only exposed rocks. This has caused for an inactive launch site and many anglers are opting to launch from Salmon Bay instead. Westbrook itself is still fishing well and has had some nice Tuna come out over the last week.  Beachwood, Glenashley and Virginia have all seen good catches of Snoek off the boats and Skis, many of which were around 5kgs.

Along the Blue Lagoon stretch, the Snoek were also caught on Skis, by those who managed to keep a cool head in and amongst the millions of Shad. Bottom fishing off Durban has been extremely good with many catches of larger Rock Cod, Geelbek and Daga. In the deeper waters, there have been good catches of Dorado, Bonito, Yellowtail and Wahoo which have been very good sizes for the majority of the fishable days.

South –

The South Coast has seen some lovely catches in the last week, ranging from Cape Yellowtail, Wahoo, Tuna, Couta and even Sailfish in certain areas. After trawling the WS05 Rattler 150 for only half an hour, one boat managed to catch 5 Wahoo off Shelley Beach.

Fresh water:

Carp –

With our local dams starting to become more popular at this stage of the year, it is no wonder that reports of Carp catches have increased so much. Anglers using conventional tackle have managed to land some lovely Carp over the last week and weekend. With the water being so clean at Shongweni at the moment, anglers are forced to downsize their terminal tackle but have managed to land some good fish even on 6lb hook snooting’s when fishing with conventional tackle. Maize has been responsible for most of the catches over the last week, but anglers using specimen tackle have also caught some larger specimen on 12mm boilies and tiger nuts. Albert Falls seems to be slowing down with the bigger fish, with reports of smaller fish up to 5kgs being received this week.

Bass –

Albert Falls has slowed down somewhat over the last week and has fished well only in the mornings and late afternoons, spinner baits have worked well in the shallows in the morning sessions. Shongweni has had an average performance recently with most fish being landed on plastics. In the clean water, Mustad Ultra lock hooks with their fine gauge wire have been helping out with the presentation of the soft plastics. Hazelmere Dam is very low at the moment but is still producing fish on spinner baits and larger soft plastics. Darker colours such as black and June bug have been producing the goods.

Fly fishing –

Fishing in the Midlands has slowed down substantially over the last week or so, due to the rising water temperatures. Most fishing should be done early in the mornings before the shallows heat up, and a floating line will increase your chances of a bite as the fish will be feeding on the surface. Night time fishing is also extremely effective if permitted at the waters in question. White Death or DDD patterns will be a good choice at this part of the year, and need to be fished extremely slowly. If the wind picks up, try fishing with an intermediate line and tungsten weighted fly, the fish will become more active as the wind cools the surface temperature.

The latest series of Hier Gaan Ons Alweer with Petri de Wet premieres Monday evenings at 17:30 on kykNet, channel 144 and there are a number of repeats during the week. Series 14 runs for three months, ending on the 28th December 2015. As most of you know, Petri and his guests cover various angling styles in and around Southern Africa.

The Kingfisher’s trading hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 to 17:00, Tuesday 8:30 to 17:00, Saturday 8:00 to 13:00.

SUNDAYS & PUBLIC HOLIDAYS FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON: Sunday the 6th December, Sunday the 13th December, Wednesday the 16th December, Sunday the 20th and Sunday the 27th  December: 8:00 – 13:00.

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