With bad weather on its way, anglers will be doing as much fishing as possible early on in this week, and Ski Boat anglers fishing in the Durban Ski Boat Festival will be hoping for the best, with only Sunday looking launch able. Good luck to those who fish this weekend’s Ski Boat Festival!
Rock ‘n Surf:
North – As far as Sodwana Bay up north, and as far as the lower Transkei stretches, anglers have been met with relatively big surf, massive running swells and strong surge currents. It has been a difficult call for most anglers, North and South when it came time to think up a game plan, and considering the conditions, the vast majority of anglers settled for nothing more than light tackle off ledges and in gullies, targeting smaller edibles on Prawn baits. This seemed to be the more productive approach and many anglers fishing in the Kosi Bay area did relatively well with species such as Wave Garrick, Stumpies, Stone Bream and small Pompano.
Further south at St Lucia, very few anglers took to the water, and even fewer fish were seen. The odd Bonefish and Stumpnose were seen around the shallows north of the launch site during the week, and for most of the weekend. For those who did spend some time using heavy tackle, there were a good number of fish landed, however fishing may have been fairly uncomfortable.
Richards’s Bay fished much the same and produced the odd Grey Shark over the weekend as well as the various edibles.
The Harbour was on form in the strong Westerly winds and saw dozens of good edibles coming out, for boaters as well as from the side. Grunter in the 2kg range were common, as well as Stumpnose and Perch. All of the above were landed on Cracker.
The area from upper Salt Rock to lower Ballito was amongst the more popular of spots and saw many anglers as well as many fish. The best approach in a rough sea is sometimes to downscale completely and to scratch in the gullies, instead of fishing in the rough seas where the sanded up waters can have a negative impact on the fishing. Fish do not like sand in their gills and nor do they enjoy low visibility conditions which render them easy targets to predators. In the gullies, the list of predators is substantially lower and visibility is much higher due to the lack of sand. A small Prawn bait in the gullies will produce a variety of species from Blacktail to Stumpnose, Rock Cod and even Shad at times.
Ballito and Salt Rock produced a good number of fish, particularly in the Sheffield area, which were landed on a Daiwa Laguna 4000, Laguna 11′ rod, 20lb Daiwa J Braid and a Mustad Chinu 1/0, the angler was using fresh Pink Prawn as bait.
Local – Umhlanga was much the same and saw anglers scratching for smaller fish at the Lighthouse. A variety of edibles were taken here, as well as a few Grey Sharks and the odd Lesser Sand Shark.
Blue Lagoon saw some huge seas and was unfishable for the majority of the week. When the sea did start to settle, the fish did come back onto the bite in the cleaner water and anglers saw a few Shad, Bonito and even a Pompano or two.
Durban beaches have been another spot for anglers to congregate in these strong South West winds, as the Bluff and interior of Durban acts as a shield and helps calm the seas in the basin. The fishing does however suffer a bit in the South West and edibles are the bulk of the catch. Grey Sharks can also be caught and this was the case during the week when anglers found themselves catching a fair amount of Grunter, Stumpnose, Pompano and a handful of Grey Sharks.
The Bluff fished very well and had anglers stocking up on bait daily. Prawn and Squid mix baits produced many an edible and anglers willing to put up with the conditions were rewarded greatly. In the beginning of the week a few anglers had good success with the Black Tip Kingies on live bait, but the prolonged Westerly combined with the dwindling live bait availability meant that this would soon come to an end. By Thursday the Kingies had moved on.
South – Toti had another small Shad run but anglers soon left and set off to find calmer waters to fish.
Umkomaas was a washing machine and saw few fish apart from a few Brown Rays and Snapper Salmon.
Scotties has had some lovely clean water moving though thanks to the Westerly, but unfortunately suffered from rough seas. Grey Sharks, Pompano, Grunter and smaller edibles were the only fish around for the majority of the week. For the rest of the coast down to the Transkei, most beaches were batted, cold, miserable and had big seas. Well done to the anglers who did fish and catch. Clean water made good Garrick hunting grounds and far south the anglers managed a good number of these larger specimen between 10-14kgs on live Shad. Chaos Plugs did well in calmer seas in more protected areas. A fair amount of Brusher were also landed on Crab baits or Crayfish baits in the gullies. A Crab rigged on a Mustad Big gun 6/0 will do great for these bigger Brusher.
Harbour – Durban Harbour has come to life in the recent weeks passed, with last week being no exception. Charter boats have reported a number of good catches around the Harbour in various spots, of Grunter up to 5kgs, Snapper Salmon, huge Malabar Rock Cod and plenty of others in the mix. It was good to see that most of the boats who set out came back with some good fish, including the anglers from the boats who had a chance to use some spinning gear and had good success with the Rock Cod, Kingfish and Torpedo Scad close to the Harbour mouth area. It seemed that the fish were feeding closer to the ground and Dropshot such as 5″ McArthy Minnows or the smaller paddle tails were being cast out and allowed to sink, and retrieved with an erratic action along the bottom. This presentation around the rocks can be deadly for the Malabar Rock Cod and Rock Salmon, however, one should stock up on lures and jig heads before attempting this as the target species tend to run straight for the rocks once hooked, which can lead to tackle loss. In the deeper water, there have also been good catches of Grunter which have been caught more and more over the last week. A two hook trace seems to be the best option in the deeper waters and have been accountable for most of the reported catches. The Mustad Mosquito hook is the best option for this presentation as the hooks light gauge tends to give the baits a far better action in the water.
North- Many Marlin being landed over the last week and weekend throughout the entire Zululand region as well as down the coast, out in the deep as well as some fish in surprisingly shallow water. Good reports of Natal Snoek on backline and slightly deeper water off Maphelane, being landed on strip baits with pink dusters and also small Rattlers, Halco sorcerers and chrome spoons. For those lucky enough to have some of the 18g Anchovy spoons, there was no better option. Most Snoek have been between 2kgs and 6kgs with reports of larger fish being landed on fillet strip baits. Couta have been on the bite throughout the week, many of which have been landed from St Lucia and Cape Vidal on live baits. Bonito seems to be the best bait at the moment, preferably live.
Seas are predicted to settle after the weekends bad weather, and most days of the week and next weekend should be fishable with the exception of a few days which seem slightly off. The Dolphin Coast has produced plenty of game fish over the last week, seeing the majority of them coming out of either live baits or diving lures. With the introduction of the new Rattler 120 range to the already popular Rattler diving lure selection, Paddle Ski anglers will be extremely happy to know that there is now a range of lures which are able to be trawled at a much higher speed with the same excellent results. Available in 5 new mouthwatering colours, the new range has already been tried and tested and has proven to be a winner. The best seller, the 150 Range has also received a new set of colours which will come into use for this winters Yellowfin Tuna and Couta on the North Coast.
As most of you will know, The Durban Ski Boat club Festival is being held this weekend, and has been the talk of the town for the last few weeks as eager anglers prepare for this anticipated event. There have been a few Couta coming out around Durban, most of which are being kept on the down-low in order to reserve spots for the comp. Most of these fish have been coming out on the Bluff and close to the Cutting, and then on the North Coast closer to Umhlanga and north towards Umdloti. Live Walla Walla and live Shad have been the two most effective baits, failing the capture or purchase of Walla Walla, Bonito has been an ideal substitution.
Down South, good catches of Queenfish on Aliwal Shoal which have been landed on McArthy drop shot and also live bait. Also good catches of Kingfish at Umtwalume area on live Bonito too.
Carp – Carp angling, a pastime often overlooked by many, with its growing popularity here in Natal has become one of many families favorite outdoor activity. There is nothing quite like the tranquility of sitting next to the dam with a camp fire going. Winter is finally here and now is the time to target those bigger Carp at your favorite venue. As a reminder, here are some of the Msinsi Rules and regulations of the waters controlled by the Msinsi group in Natal, specially seeing as there is a long weekend coming up and there will be a few visitors in Natal.
Tackle – Two lines and three hooks per line are permitted. A hand net or gaff may be used for landing fish, the latter being frowned upon by most anglers. Nets, other than landing nets, are prohibited. Live bait may be used, only if the bait has been taken from the dam which it is being used in. A 30cm scooper may be used for collecting bait. Bag limits. Scales -10 per angler per day, irrespective of size.
Bass – Weather conditions and pressure cells have been fluctuating severely which is usual for this time of year. Many anglers will see this as a bad thing but the more experienced anglers will use this to their advantage. Bass will often sense the low pressure cell moving in and start to feed rapidly. During the cold front the fish do not stop feeding, they only become less active and move into warmer pockets of water, making them more difficult to locate. Bass will also feed well after a cold front as the surface temperature starts to warm up again. Give it a try, there are two cold fronts expected this week so go test out this theory at your favorite dam.
Albert Falls and Inanda have both fished well recently, with Albert Falls producing good bass between 1,5kgs and 4kgs. The majority of catches have been reported coming out of the drop offs by anglers using crank baits, which has been the recent trend over the last two months. Light nylon is preferred for this application, as well as a softer rod which is far more forgiving. Many anglers have opted for fluorocarbon over the years, which have a few advantages. The first advantage of using fluorocarbon is that it sinks far quicker than monofilament which means that the crank baits dive far deeper and can get to depths that advantage the angler over his competition. The second advantage is the improved abrasion resistance, which means that the diameter of the line used can be downsized without sacrificing strength. Lastly, when making extra-long casts, fluorocarbon is known to aid in the detection of bites and structure detection because of its lack of stretch. This will help with identifying different types of structure.
Shongweni is also picking up after its quiet session, and most anglers who have visited this beautiful dam have caught Bass in the shallows on surface lures like Strike Pro Gobi Poppers and Thai Sticks.
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