The fishing and weather has been very kind to the holiday-makers. There has been good fishing to be had by everyone, no matter the facet of choice.
Bluebottles…the curse that comes along with the good fishing we experience after a few days of north east wind. They can range from just annoying to very painful. So, for this time of year it is highly recommended that you carry some medication to help deal with the painful stings. Meat tenderiser, vinegar and anti-histamine are the best to use on stings. An alternative is the use of Lycra longs with booties. These will prevent any stings albeit a little uncomfortable.
The offshore fishing has continued to pick up as we move further in to the summer season. Although the spots are more crowded with the onset of the holiday-makers, the fishing has been fantastic along the entire KZN coast.
North – This has been the busiest area along our coast in terms of catches and reports. With two of the most popular holiday destinations (Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay) being located in this section, the north coast has been a hive of activity. Remember to always obey the ethics of Ski Boating when you are out at sea and especially during these busy times. In terms of the catches, the tuna are continuing to fill the hatches and you are pretty much guaranteed one if you try for them. Other species coming out have been billfish (marlin and sailfish), dorado, couta and kingfish. The big game hunters have had mixed success with marlin and sailfish with only a few trophies so far. The inshore gamefish boys have been living the life with the summer fish keeping them very busy.
Central – Tuna have made up the bulk of the central coast catches. The same methods as mentioned in previous reports will work but particular mention must be made of catching them on a popper. If you have not done this yet, make a concerted effort to get one before the year ends. It is an experience not soon forgotten. Other species coming out have included some much awaited couta. Although they have not been in large numbers, they have been bigger fish. Dorado have been around and the guys trolling for billfish or tuna have been pleasantly surprised when a popcorn bream has launched itself from the water. Look for these fish around any floating structure, be it a large boat or floating tree. You can target them with any artificial from a fly to a popper, but best bet is to toss a live mozzie to the structure on a circle hook and to wait. You will soon know if the dorado are there.
South – Couta have been around on the South Coast, but the tuna have been so thick that some guys are even complaining about catching too many! The tuna have been loving almost any colour lipped lure trolled at speed. The colours which have marginally beaten the rest have been the purple/silver and black Kingfisher Rattler. With the large amount of tax being paid to the “grey suits” at the moment, it really helps the pain of losing a fish when the lure the shark took with it didn’t cost you an arm and a leg. The Rattlers swim just as well (if not better) than many of the more expensive lures and they catch fish. The big wahoo are still around and the Aliwal clan have managed a few decent specimens.
Rock and Surf:
Some north east wind, a fresh mackerel head and you are in the money for this time of year… The entire coast has been firing when the conditions align. The inedibles have been feeding more on the second day of north east wind as opposed to the third. The best method for targeting some of these denizens this time of year is finding a nice deep hole or rip and placing your bait in the middle or on the edge of this.
North – Hlobane, Mtunzini wading banks, Zinkwazi and Blythedale have been the best spots but do not limit yourself to the success of the past. As mentioned above, you are looking for deeper water where the fish can take shelter and wait for high tide or darkness to feed. The best spots along the north coast to try your luck for a new inedible PB would be Tinley Manor, Nonoti, La Mercy and the spots mentioned above. The fish have been loving a fresh mackerel head and have been showing this bait preference over all the other offerings. The main species coming out have been diamond rays (ranging from 15 to 80kgs), grey sharks, giant sandsharks, marbled electric and blue rays. The shad have continued to plague the anglers fishing for the bigger fish, but some of these “pests” have been over 3kgs, a welcome nuisance if there ever was one.
Central – The central section of our coast (uMhlanga to the Bluff) has seen many anglers and bathers over the last week. Please refrain from fishing on the swimming beaches as this is a recipe for disaster. There have been a lot of shad around; these have been absolutely wild at uMhlanga Lighthouse, Blue Lagoon (Lugs) and the basin by Ushaka Marine World. Peter Gething landed a bus shad of 77cm shad at uMhlanga on Wednesday, this fish converted to 6kg, well done Peter. Due to the large quantity of smaller fish around, it is best to use a bait such as Japanese mackerel as this will give you more baits per fish used. If the small fish are pestering you then it is best to move spot or to fish deeper (cast further). These same spots have been producing some lovely grey sharks (up to 20kgs!). The greys have only been feeding at night, so it pays to fish a few hours in to the dark to get one of these strong fighting sharks. The basin and Durban beachfront has seen some very good inedible action. This has included a monstrous ribbontail (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHcUptRuHG8) and some big diamonds and grey sharks.
South – This has been a very popular section of the coast due to the high volume of holiday houses along this stretch. Reports of shad by the truckload have been flying in. These have been bigger fish from the south than those along the central coast. Other species coming out have included pompano, kingfish, grey sharks and diamond rays. The honeycombs have not made a large showing as yet and we are still waiting for the back-breakers to start feeding. The brown rays have started to appear more in the reports. These guys love a small redeye bait placed on a sand bank. Don’t be afraid to throw close when fishing off one of the many points along the south coast, as this often produces the quickest pull.
Carp – Inanda Dam has been rather productive as the guys fishing for carp off the boats have been getting a few fish in the 6kg region with reports of carp as big as 14kg all round. A lot of these carp are being caught on a conventional style of carp fishing. Most of the fish are being caught on sweet, hi visibility baits. SA powder has been doing a very good job for a lot of the anglers with success. For the more advanced side of carp fishing, the specimen anglers have had great success the past few weeks with tiger nuts as well as boilies. A lot of the bigger carp have been coming out rather close in comparison to past times; some very big carp have reportedly been coming out in casting distance. Shongweni Dam has been rather productive the past week with many reports of nice fish being caught. There have been quite a few carp in the 8 KG region coming out on tigernuts and Giant Maize. Ground feed being a combination of Tiger nuts, giant maize, Hemp seed, chick peas and whole kernal mealies. Bites are at random times through the day and evening. Rigs generally used are Combi rigs and Standard braided hair rigs. Fishing along the margins proved to be most effective for a bite, however a lot of the bigger carp have been coming out in open water.
Bass – Hazlemere continues to be one of the better dams to fish in KZN as numerous reports have come in talking about the large numbers of bass coming out. The guys fishing from the kick boats and boats have been getting most of the action as they have been able to access the more remote areas of the dam. Senko style soft plastics, c-tails and crank baits have been working extremely well. The bigger bass proceed to take the crank baits over the soft plastics. This is definitely one of the few dams where you are almost guaranteed a fish, making it a hot spot for family outings where the kids can all enjoy themselves. Albert Falls; we have been informed that watermelon red has been the colour that has produced the catches, with junebug being a close second. Reports have shown that the mojo rig or weightless flukes in these colours have been working very well, especially when worked slowly around some underwater structure such as the ridge in the middle of the dam.
Richards Bay and Durban harbour have been producing some very nice fish. While the smaller paddle tail-type lures have been working up north, the Durban harbour has been favouring the small Halco twisty. This tiny silver spoon has accounted for some decent springer and oxeye tarpon in the last few weeks. The fly guys have also been having some great success with the torpedo scad (some over 40cm!!!), oxeye tarpon, flathead, kingies and springer. Small white baitfish or squid imitations have been working very well, as well as poppers and flippers.
Remember that with all the festivities this time of year that drinking and driving (or fishing) is never a good idea and can put you and your loved ones in danger. Keep it safe and happy holidays.
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