With the weather being anything but stable, you have to make the most of any opportunity that Mother Nature grants you.
The offshore scene has been full of Dorado and Tuna. This seems like the same news that we have had for the last few weeks. There have been some amazing catches in the last week with the highlight being a black marlin of close to 200kgs being caught off of Umhlanga on a live shad. This special catch was made on a Daiwa Grandwave 50 and 30lb kingfisher line. The battle lasted 3 hours. Well done to the angler!
Ray’s tip: Dorado! Keep it simple this week and go and target dorado. They are full up along the Central and Northern part of our coast. Recommended methods include trolling a deadbait with a pink skirt, a live bait (preferably a small mac or mozzie) or throwing a lure (popper or soft plastic) near the Fads.
Cape Vidal is producing very well for the guys putting in the extra effort. There have been a few cold days when the fish don’t seem to comply with the game plan, but a change to lighter tackle or more natural colours has worked to get them feeding again. This can also work in reverse when you have been fishing with a natural colour lure and not getting any pulls, change to something bright and garish. This change may just change your frown upside down.
The Dorado are going silly off the Durban coast at the moment with many guys being able to try cross different fishing methods off their bucket list while targeting them. This is the perfect time to have a bit of fun and get some of the family on board and catching these amazing (and great eating) fish. Also don’t be afraid to try take one on ultra-light tackle or on fly.
In terms of the other action off the central coast, we have seen a few reports of wahoo and many reports of tuna. Both species can be successfully targeted with high speed trolling with either lipped or skirted lures. Purple, black and pink are the most successful bait colours at this time of year (they work very well for the rest of the year as well).
Shark in the water!
The taxmen have been hitting the south coast hard lately. Unfortunately the only real solution is moving away from the action and beefing up your tackle.
Tuna are wild off the lower coast and all the different modes of transport (skiboat, jetski and kayak) are making the most of the feeding frenzy. The upper south coast has seen some lovely offshore catches. These have comprised mainly of tuna and dorado but a few couta have made their way in to the hatches.
The bottom fishing crews have started to slow down with catches getting slim but the slinger, rockcod and other reds are still around.
Rock and surf:
As we move further in to summer, the fishing continues to pick up. This has been the case for the inedible chasers as well as the guys looking for the summer game fish.
I hate to sound repetitive, but Hlobane and Mtunzini are the places to focus your efforts at this time of year. It is at this point of the year that we have seen the KZNCAU teams bring in record catches of diamond rays at the Mtunzini wading banks. These catches have been tons of diamonds recorded by individual teams of 8 anglers during a session of 8 hours and some teams have caught over 8 tons…
So, with this in mind, it is definitely time to get your hands on the freshest bait possible (available at your nearest Kingfisher branch) and go take a trip to the north coast.
Catches have included Blackfin sharks, giant kingfish, diamond rays, brown skates, honeycomb rays, giant guitarfish, grey sharks and shad
The central piece of KZN has seen some great angling for both the edible and inedible guys. Catches have included diamond rays, brown skates, honeycomb rays, blue skates, giant guitarfish, grey sharks, pompano, stumpnose and shad. The edibles have mostly been coming out along the beachfront and at the Umhlanga lighthouse rocks. The Pompano have been on the larger size with some amazing specimens falling for a well presented prawn bait placed on to a bank. The inedibles have shown a decided liking for the mackerel baits on offer with a mackie head and some cutlets on the side proving to be the bait of choice for the entire section.
The upper south coast has had a bumper of an early summer season with patches of real fire in terms of the inedibles. Some days have been slow, but most of the reports have reflected that with the right amount of effort you should walk away having caught at least a grey shark or brown skate. Prime locations have been the points along the toti coastline and the beaches with nice deep sandbanks further south. Wading through on to a sandbank and putting a shot in to deeper water has spelt success for most that have tried it. This method has resulted in some big non-eds, mostly large diamond rays (60kg+).
While the summer rain cycle appears to be in full swing, the long-term records unfortunately show a different story. From a 10-year average of just under 1200mm, we received less than 900mm for the year last year in The Midlands…that’s some 30% down. With the end of El Nino, and La Nina predicted to make landfall last year, this hasn’t really materialised…the dams are getting there – Midmar at ~83%, Mearns at ~81% – but nowhere near full and overflowing as they should be at this time of year.
A recent visit to the headwaters of one of our local brown trout rivers told the same story – water level / flow down from my previous visit 5 weeks ago, and water temperatures warm (17-21 deg.C over the course of the day). While we saw some fish, they were scarce in numbers and not particularly looking up at the dry fly.
On the up side, the lower reaches of the rivers have good, deep holding water, and those anglers fishing these stretches are reporting some good fish; brown trout of 50cm+ over the last weekend were taken on nymphs fished deep.
We all know that bass love the warmer waters, and even with the dam at a low level, Albert Falls just keep producing. Taken on a black C-tail worm, a fantastic 5.49kg fatty was reported by Michael Cannon last week. What a great catch.
With the recent spate of warmer weather, the yellows up at Sterkfontein are also starting to make an appearance. Good fish are being reported on a variety of dry flies, the ubiquitous “Sterkies Beetle” still being one of the favourites along with the Elk-Hair Caddis, and other emerger patterns.
The carp at Inanda dam have been showing here and there on the specimen and conventional side of carp fishing. The guys fishing specimen have been successful on sweeter flavours as the warmer weather starts to make a difference. 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 also been doing quite well. Feed being used is a variety from whole kernel mielies and hemp seed to standard Supercast mielie bomb. Baits being used are sweet smelling baits such as sweet dough and the sweeter range of floaties and mealies. Traces predominantly used are the fixed rietvlei and baby shoes traces.
There have been a few smaller carp coming out at Alberts the past week on conventional methods. Plain and sweet baits are being used mostly, the feed is mostly plain with fluorescene added occasionally. Small soft baits such as floaties, dough and earth worms have been getting all the bites from the small fish. Honey and FX are two of the dips that have really been standing out amongst most of the other flavours according to reports. After putting your mealie bomb on your sinker or spring and bol dip or spray has been added be sure to have some SA powder on standby to put you bomb and dipped baits into for additional colour and flavour. The SA powder also helps to keep your dip and spray on your bomb and bait during the cast.
Bass- The past week the size of the bass have increased quite a lot as many bass over 2kg are coming out at the more popular dams namely Inanda, Nagle and Albert falls. These bass have been falling victim to senko’s, Jerk baits, Crank baits and Flukes. The soft plastics have been more work in the deeper water than shallow but that’s where the hard plastics come and have been getting the bites. The bigger Senko’s have been rigged on a Carolina rig when fished deep and the flukes a mojo rig around the water grass. Drop shotting has started to become the in thing now at Hazelmere dam for the smaller bass as its one of the easiest methods of targeting bass due to the little amount of works that needs to be done to get a bite.
Nagle dam has been somewhat successful with some decent bass in the 2kg region coming out on crank baits and spinner baits in bright colours being retrieved quite slowly. The guys frogging are being smashed very aggressively but are unfortunately losing the majority of their fish due to these bass around the structured areas being quite large in comparison to the also quite large 3kg bass. Lots of smaller bass have also being coming on junior flukes and small senko worms in the shallows.
According to reports, Jozini dam has been producing quite a few tigers in the 500g to 1.5kg region. Most of the tigers being caught have been coming out on sardine baits as well live bait and fresh fillets. When fishing live bait, try to use a short shank hook with a wider gape as oppose to the longer shank. The longer shank hooks are more used for tying fillets and bait onto where the length of the shank is useless when fishing live bait. The wider gape also assists in hooking up with a live bait due to most of the gape being taken up when hooking the live bait.
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