Summer is properly here and both the shore-based and boat-based anglers are rejoicing in the fast paced action that is expected this time of year.
The summer gamefish are here in full force. Most of the anglers putting the time in are returning with a few fish in the hatch. A technique which has increased in popularity (for very good reason) is the use of a popper to target tuna. This involves either blind casting a popper around likely areas (wrecks, reef or bait-holding spots) or waiting for a pod of dolphins to come past and then throwing the popper in amongst them. The yellowfin tuna go absolutely moggies for a popper and, once you have seen a surface strike on a popper from a tuna, you will change your main method of targeting them very quickly.
North – The North Coast, as expected, has been the place to go if you are after some hectic gamefish action. Catches have included tuna, wahoo, dorado, sailfish, kingfish and marlin. Most of the catches have been on trolled plastics. These have ranged from the use of Kona-type lures for the faster pelagics to small lipped lures closer inshore for the reef-based predators. Remember that, although the use of wire in front of your trolling lures will reduces the number of bite-offs, it will also reduce your strike rate. A good compromise is the addition of a swivel on to the split ring on the front of the lure. This will add a small amount of protection from the toothy brigade.
Central – The Durban coast has also been a productive section of water. Reports have been full up with tuna and these have been for all guys from the Ski Boat fraternity to the Jet Ski and the Fishing Ski paddlers. Successful methods have included drifting over bait spots with a live mozzie, trolling lipped lures around while getting some exercise and the previously-mentioned use of a popper. The other main target has been the dorado which have moved in. They are full up on most of the bait spots as well as the ships and FADS (Fish Attracting Devices) along the coast. Pink is the colour of choice when it comes to targeting dorado. The bottom fishing charters are continuing to have good catches of reds and rockcod during the day and daga and geelbek at night. Sharks are still a problem with taxes being extremely high (and no rebate in sight). Using stout rods, a 10” KP and 100lb braid is the best method to winch up your catch.
South – The offshore scene on the South Coast has been alive with tons of tuna, wahoo and the odd couta filling the reports we have received. The dark coloured Rattler has been cleaning up with the tuna and it has out-performed all the other lures in the area. Guys specifically targeting the wahoo should consider either trolling a Kona- or feather-type lure at speed in the likely areas or, a live jube jube bonnie. Sharks are also proving to be an issue and the best way to get around the taxation is to move off the spot once the sharks move in and to use heavier than normal tackle to be able to get the fish out before the grey suits leave you with a head (if you are lucky).
Facebook has been flooded with good catches from both the fly and art lure guys fishing in Durban and Richards Bay harbour. The springer have been full up in Durban harbour and the fly rodders have taken full advantage. Any small baitfish patterns or squid imitations will do the trick for these fish. A fast strip is the best way of enticing a take, but the hours of darkness are the most important. The oxeye tarpon and kingies have made up the rest of the catches for the lure guys. The bait anglers have continued with the good run of mullet and white bread is the best bait for these hard fighting fish. A top bung with a baby shoe trace (two hooks) drifted slowly in any of the likely areas will be the best bet at hooking in to a mullet. Some grunter have also come out on cracker but these have all been smaller fish.
Rock and Surf:
If you haven’t seen your backing in a while, now is the time to make sure it is still okay. Many large fish have been hooked in the past week, some have been unstoppable so make sure you double check your knots and that you and your tackle is up to scratch.
Ray’s tip: Finding the gap. With summer being here and the main targets being the big nasties, the tip of the week is to put your bait in the right area. It’s pointless having the best sarda head with cutlets and throwing it miles in to open water. You put yourself in much better stead if you put your well-made bait in an area where it will distribute the scent to a wider area. The best spot is a gap in between two sandbanks with a rip current pulling out to sea.
North –This has continued to be the place to be, the inedible guys have been having a ball with the variety of species one can expect to catch up here when the conditions are right. There have also been some large edibles coming out up north; these include some impressive giant kingfish and some larger kob. Hlobane and Mtunzini wading banks are the two spots to focus your efforts on if you make a trip up north. As Ray’s tip this week suggests, look for the water that is running out to sea which would indicate a break in the banks. This means that your bait scent is being pulled out in to the deeper water and that the big boys in the deep have access to the shallower water via the very same gutter. Placing a large fleshy bait in this area after a few days of north east wind will almost guarantee you a pull. If you do intend to wade up north, make sure you are a competent swimmer, you wear light clothing (to avoid drag) and that you always have someone watching you from the shore.
Central – Umhlanga Lighthouse has been consistently producing grey sharks at night and a few larger than normal fish have been hooked but not landed. Mackerel head baits have been the bait of choice in this area and the recommended trace would be a 6/0 circle hook (something like the Mustad tuna circle) rigged with a short bite trace. A notable catch from this piece of coast was a 9 kilogram garrick caught from the Virginia Beach Pier by an angler using a toby spoon fishing for shad.
South – The southern part of KwaZulu-Natal has been the only section of the coast consistently producing decent edible fish. Guys have reported good catches of kob at most of the river mouths. This fish have fallen for paddletails more than they have for bait. Other species coming out have included shad (ranging from the usual small tiddlers to 4kg giants), pompano, bronze bream and garrick. The South has also produced its fair share of inedibles for the guys targeting them. The sandies have been wild at certain deep-water points and the reports have been that they are eating redeye baits with a lot more vigour than anything else.
Carp – Inanda Dam has been doing rather well the past few weeks on the specimen side of carping with many reports and photos of big carp being caught. With summer upon us, all round fishing will get better and better by the week. The carp at Inanda Dam have been quite abundant on the specimen and conventional side of carp fishing. The guys fishing specimen have been successful on higher protein baits and fishy flavours as the colder weather puts the carp off feeding. Most of the carp are still being picked up on long distance marks such as drop offs, submerged trees, gravel patches etc. but are now also coming quite close to the side in front of the reeds at night on small particle baits. The conventional side of carp fishing has slowed down the mostly due to the smaller fish disappearing to the banks and the inlet seeking warmer water. Feed being used is a variety from whole kernel mielies and hemp seed to standard Supercast mielie bomb. Baits being used are slightly stronger smelling baits such as the old faithful brown bread and onion and fermented tiger nuts. Flavours that have been doing the trick are still perdeby, aniseed and gum tree. Traces predominantly used are the fixed Rietvlei and Baby Shoes traces. Shongweni Dam, unfortunately as the weather gets warmer, the barbel come out to play. Shongweni is known for its barbel picking up just about any bait in the warmer months. Catching carp here in the warmer months isn’t impossible, but tricky. In order to not attract the attention of the barbel to easily, the amount of feed you put in the water must be kept to a minimum. With that being said, the size of your bait should also be kept as small as possible. Barbel are attracted to large amounts of feed, masses of smaller fish feeding on large amounts of feed and also big baits. Yunus Paruk caught a lovely 30.6lb fully scaled carp at one of his local private dams, this is his PB, well done Yunus.
Bass – Hazelmere Dam, with the warming of the weather, the bass are starting to feed a lot more often and more aggressively. C-tails, baby flukes and crank baits have been doing very well with quite a few reports off the banks as well as off float tubes of small bass coming out. The C-tails in chartreuse and watermelon red have doing very well, as well as flukes in the Houdini colour. The fishing at Albert Falls has really started to pick up across all facets here as many bass are being caught off the boats, float tubes and starting on the bank now too. Most of the bass coming out from the bank are rather small but fun to catch none the less. Poppers and Strike Pro Thai Sticks have been doing very well early in the mornings while the water is calm but Senko’s in natural colours have been doing well throughout the day. Dark flukes have also been catching quite a few fish mostly late afternoons when the sun starts going down.
Tiger – Reports from Jozini are getting better by the week as most recent reports have said that quite a few tigers have been coming out, nothing spectacular but at least the fishing is starting to pick up. Sardine being the usual bait of choice fished on either a shad trace or a sliding trace.
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This week’s content:
Monday 10h00 AM – SPLASH – Giving away DAIWA J-Braid to two lucky subscribers!!
Tuesday 10h00 AM – FISHING VLOG – Mazeppa Island – “Anything can happen!”
Wednesday 10h00 AM – BAIT Demo – Long Cast Mackerel Bait
Thursday 10h00 AM – ASFN Out & About – Visiting Hook Line & Sinker – Ballito
Friday 10h00 AM – GEAR – Rigging MUSTAD Kaiju Hooks
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