Happy new year! Let us hope for tight lines and a prosperous 2018. So far the weather has been playing game but the conditions are far from settled.
Ray’s tip: Tackle preparation will save you money and frustration in the long run. 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 are up to scratch. Pop in to one our shops and get us to test or have a look at the set-up you are using and whether it is ready for the task at hand.
Mahi Mahi! This is the war cry ringing out across the sea at the moment. The dorado have been starting to really come on to the bite in the last week. The FAD locations are closely guarded secrets, so you are limited to fishing any debris you find floating along the coast (be it a log or container ship) or becoming good friends and buying a few beers for a skipper that has a few FADS. Always keep in mind that with dorado, where there is one, there are more…
North – The North Coast, as expected, has been the place to go if you are after some hectic game fish action. The guys have been having great success in the Vidal, Sodwana and further north areas. Catches have included sailfish, tuna, wahoo, dorado, and marlin. Trolled dead baits have been working particularly well for the Paddle Ski guys while most of the catches for the Ski Boaters 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. Although the use of wire in front of your trolling lures will reduce 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. This will also give your lure a better swimming action and reduce the amount of line twist.
Central – The bottom fishing charters are continuing to have good catches of reds and rock cod during the day and daga and geelbek at night. Sharks are still a problem but for fear of an audit, I will not mention taxes or SARS…To eliminate the amount of losses incurred while fishing (whether you are wagon-wheeling a red from 100m or trying to budge a stubborn gas bottle from under the boat) use the heaviest tackle you can. This will reduce the length of the fight but will increase your chance of landing the fish. Using stout rods, a 10” KP and 100lb braid for your bottom fishing and tuna sticks and 30lb+ mono for the game fish is the best way to bring in your catch whole. For the game fishermen, the Durban coast has also been a productive section of water. A few anglers have even complained about the amount of tuna they are catching (I’ve never had this issue). If you have a dorado on your wish list to get your new year to a flying start, now is the time to get out and get him.
South – Port Edward has seen some decent bottom fishing action with most of the dedicated guys returning with a few reds for the pot. Chokka is still your best choice for bait as it stands up to the peckers while pilchards give off the best smell for the larger fish but they are more sensitive to peckers. In terms of game fish, the South has been producing some lovely tuna for the guys trolling both Kona and lipped lures. They have been showing a distinct love for darker lures of late, so use something with a bit of purple and black. The wahoo have still been around and they guys at Aliwal and Shelly Beach have managed a few.
Rock and surf:
The rock and surf scene has been flooded with two species of late, diamond rays and shad. The edible guys obviously nabbing the shad along the entire coast. These have been bigger fish ranging from 2-6kgs while the diamonds that the inedible guys are getting diamonds between 20 and 100kgs.
Ray Thompson from The Kingfisher sent in this report “We fished Illovo Beach one night after work with a few customers. Mike Dyer (also from The Kingfisher) caught a small (20kg) sandy off the bat followed by a +-25kg diamond ray. One of the customers with us (Arshaad Shaik) kept getting bites but missing the fish. With guiding from us and the use of my Daiwa Saltist Elite rod and Daiwa Dogfight reel, he managed to hook in to a proper fish. This was Arshaad’s first ever fish and it was giving him a good go. Mike and I were shouting words of encouragement (like “Get off your …!” and “Stop playing with it and PULL!”). After about 15mins of tussling, he finally managed to bring the fish to the side. An awesome diamond ray with a wingspan of 1,88m, this converts to around 60kgs. Not a bad first fish! Arshaad followed this up with a small grey shark.”
See pictures of Arshaad and both of his fish.
North – Hlobane and Mtunzini wading banks are the two spots to focus your efforts on if you make a trip up north. 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, wear light weight clothing (to avoid drag) and that you always have someone watching you from the shore.
A notable catch lately from a KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Angling Union angler swimming a diamond ray up north was a zambezi shark of 220kg+. This shark nailed the diamond as it swam over the bank and lifted it in to the air. Well done to the angler, a great catch on a grinder!
Central – The central piece of KZN has seen floods of tourists and visitors from upcountry and has therefore not been too friendly to us fishermen. The guys that have managed to wet a line have been rewarded with some shad and stumpies while the grey sharks and diamond rays have been treating the inedible guys to a decent fight. The stumpies have really loved a fresh sealice bait while the shad have gone for their usual sardine or Japanese mac. For a change of pace, try a mixture of a peeled sealice with some pink prawn or chokka. This is a deadly bait for almost any edible species along with working well for the flatfish.
South – The southern KZN coast has been quiet and although the South Coast has been packed with visitors, the reports have not been coming in. The Amanzimtoti area has been producing some lovely inedible fish with some brute diamonds and large brown rays dominating the scene. The season is getting very late for the Bronze Bream so if you are wanting to get a last fish for the season, the time is nigh. Trafalgar would be the spot of choice. Further south in to the Transkei, there are reports of lots of kob and bronze bream.
The past couple of weeks has been very good fishing for most of our anglers across most facets of freshwater fishing. Tilapia fishing is something that a lot of art lure anglers target due to the size of the fish and also a lot of people believe they cannot be caught on art lure. When spinning for tilapia, the outfit that is recommended is very light but not too light due to some of them getting quite large in some areas. A 6 foot rod and a 1000-2000 size reel spooled with a 6lb line or 8lb braid would be an ideal outfit for targeting these fish. Lures that work very well consist of spinners, small grubs, cranks baits and any small lures in general due to them being quite aggressive eaters. Tilapia can be found in very similar areas to bass such as around structure, bays and around water grass and drop offs. Small poppers is a personal favourite early mornings and late afternoons around water grass and close to the banks.
Inanda Dam has probably been one of the more successful dams in KZN the past few weeks as many reports have come in of big carp being caught right across the dam as well as off the boat. The average size carp coming out is around 8kg and 90% of the carp being caught have been on specimen traces by specimen carp anglers. Particles seem to have been doing the trick for most of the carp being caught, but a couple of the smaller carp have been picking up on maize balanced with pop up corn. Shongweni Dam on the other has not been as successful. There are still a couple of fish coming out along the margins in the evenings and the majority of these carp have been coming out on tiger nuts with particle mix feeding areas. The fishing open water have been getting the bigger carp as open water is much deeper than margins, the wait is much longer, but the quality shows.
Hazelmere Dam proceeds to produce some nice bass the past week as quite a few anglers have picked up bass over 2kg. Grubs have been working in the shallower water in between the water grass. The bigger bass have been coming out on spinner baits, crank baits and jigs with trailers. The smaller jigs have been rigged with senior chunks and the bigger jigs have been rigged with creature baits and craws. Similar colours are always preferred between the jigs and trailers. Nagle Dam has slowed down a bit in comparison to past weeks. Spinner baits have been getting most the action for the bigger bass around the drop offs and structure.
The fishing at Jozini Dam proceeds to get better as more and more anglers are reporting back with news of nice tigers being caught, and the fish coming out are ranging from 800g to 2.5kg. The majority of the tigers being caught are being taken on live baits, the smaller live bait have been doing more damage than the bigger live baits as the guys are getting fish a lot quicker. However, if your interest lies more with fewer but bigger tigers, then bigger live bait is the way to go.
Thanks to Jan from The fish Eagle in Pietermaritzburg for this report.
“With the summer rains making a regular afternoon appearance, rivers are flowing and dam’s levels are on the up. Midmar is now over 80%, Spring Grove just shy of 75% and Albert Fall which was below 20% is now back up to 20%. Hope this trend continues for the rest of the summer months before we hit the winter dry spell. The showers have had some impact on the rivers, with the heavier falls muddying the waters for a short spell, but on the whole, they have cleared just as quickly. Some excellent fish were reported in the period between Xmas and New Year, a good few brown trout in the 16-18 inch (40-45cm) bracket, and then a solid fish of 22 inches / 55cm managed to make its way to the net. On clear water days, the upstream dry fly is the technique of choice, while coloured water will require the use of sunken flies to get the flies down to the fish. We saw increased activity amongst the carp anglers over the holiday period, but no reports were forthcoming – we trust that these anglers were keeping their cards close to their chest and their fish off the record books…! There have been some good bass reported from Albert Falls recently, we trust that the increased water level is having a good effect and will continue for the next while. Sterkfontein also saw some increased activity from the holiday makers, with the warm sunny days in between the thunderstorms yielding the best fishing for the yellows (small and largemouth), with a nice spectrum of flies providing results”.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers Tight Lines for the year ahead – may the fish be with y’all!
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