The weather has been less than ideal for fishing over the last week but some have managed to sneak a fish or two out. Please see the video link below for some highlights from the end of January.
Sun protection. I am sure all of us have suffered the pain and embarrassment of rocking up at work on a Monday looking like a red and white raccoon. The pain is not pleasant and the mocking is not fun so make sure you take the right measures to make yourself sun-safe. Either cover up with uv-resistant clothing or lather up with some good quality sunscreen like Xeroderm Factor 40 (or both).
The offshore scene is still buzzing with the reports of marlin and various billfish. The run up to the billfish competition up north is seeing many anglers stocking up on all the necessary tackle and keeping our reel spooling machine in full song. Dorado and tuna are still around for the guys venturing out while the couta are making a significant appearance (at last).With the seas being up for the last week, not many guys have managed to launch and those that have, have returned very green. Their hatches have seen some fish but the reports have not been spectacular. Remember, when the weather is bad and you can’t go fish it gives you time to score some brownie points with your wife. This means you are more likely to be allowed to go fishing in future.
North – Of the very few reports that have come in, the catches have been small and the crews green around the gills. The conditions have prevented many from launching. With the big seas and rough conditions you cannot blame them. The billfish competition is coming up soon so the guys have been preparing for this and we can hope that the conditions improve and the fish are as big (or bigger) as last year. For the rest of the guys there have been the usual dorado, tuna and kingfish. Trolled lures have been the baits of choice with the darker shades working particularly well. Of these darker colours, Kona-type lures in red and black have been extremely effective for the sailfish and purple and black lipped lured for pretty much everything else.
Central – As with the north, there have been very few launches and even fewer reports that have come in for the Durban coastline. The bottom fishing charters have still launched and they have put their clients on to the fish. Even when the clients have been hanging on the side rails feeding the fish. Rockcod and slinger have been the main reported species. The gamefish gents have reported some couta catches, which is nice to see, while tuna have made up most of the other reports.
South – Small tuna have been the order of the day down south and not much else has been reported. The guys have reported some wahoo action but few have been landed. There have been some sailfish and dorado off Toti for the guys targeting them. Live bait has been the best for these fish with mozzies being particularly effective.
For the trolling guys, the black Rattler is hands down the best lure along this section of the coast.
Rock and surf:
With summer in full swing, there are certain species that fill our wish lists and dreams. For the edible guys, the GT or Giant Kingfish has to be very high up or at the top of many anglers’ target list. Please see the species video to gain some important knowledge on the Giant Kingfish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGeIgfeV1GU.
For the inedible guys (myself included) the top summer species has to be the giant sandshark. This is a hard fighting species that is beautiful and never gives up. Please see the following video for more information on the “Sandy” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGhTNaEW1T4
The Fishing has been a bit slow with the conditions preventing most from getting on to the beach or rocks.
North – This has continued to be the best area along the coast to try your luck. With the big reef structure of Mtunzini, the larger swells that have been plaguing the rest of the coast do not have as big of an impact up there. With the chance of big fish smashes, this has been the most fished section of the coast this has meant that it has been fairly crowded in the popular spots. The fish have been extremely patchy with one producing one day and another the next. This has highlighted the importance moving around and searching for the diamonds. Remember that the bite happens very quickly once you have found them, so do not waste time sitting and holding pole. Also, when fishing up north during summer, please take Ray’s tip for this week to heart and wear the appropriate sun protection.
Central – This has been the second most fished area along the coast. This is not due to the possibility of fish but more with the fact that this area experiences some shelter when the sea is up and allows the angler a chance at fishable water. The reported catches have been dominated by small hammerhead sharks, shad and grey sharks. The odd honeycomb and brown skate have also managed to sneak their way in to the catches. In terms of baits, mackerel have proven to be the best all-round bait and a mackerel head with cutlets has been the downfall of many of the bigger fish.
South – The South Coast has been producing the odd fish but nothing on a big enough scale to recommend any specific spot. There have been small shad along most of the south coast and the larger (legal) sized ones are proving to be very good bait for the inedibles around. These have mainly been sandies and honeycombs. The edible fishing has slowed down but the guys that have caught have had to fish very hard to get the pull. Pompano, stumpnose and kingfish are going to be the main species coming out so make sure you have enough chokka and pink prawn to make the deadly combo bait that all three of these species love.
Albert Falls has been producing keep nets full of carp recently. Although these are not the biggest fish, they are feisty. Sweet and fruity is what they are after. So make sure you have the appropriate dips and sprays in your box. FX has been my favourite flavour for these smaller carp with 4×4 coming in a close second. Other anglers have been using tjop-tjop and black magic to good effect as well. Using a smaller hook bait has caught more fish and even though they are not as resistant to the tilapia, the small soft floaties are very effective.
On a side note, the tilapia and bluegill are also feeding well at Alberts and a small float with some earthworms on has been working very well.
Hazelmere Dam has seen an influx of small bass. This has been due to the higher dam level flooding the bankside vegetation giving the small bass plenty of place to hide and hunt for food. This is one of the best places to take youngsters or ladies to target bass. It is not only easy to catch 20 fish in a morning, you can also fish with light rods and small reels. Best lures for these small fish are little crankbaits, spinners, small soft plastics and poppers. Make sure to handle these fish carefully as they are the future of the dam and taking them out will only result in a poor season next year.
Albert Falls Dam has been fairly dirty of late, but the big bass are being caught by the guys actively searching for them. Reports are showing that these bigger fish are enjoying something fished slowly but with a lot of movement. My personal preference will be a Carolina rigged worm with a long tail. This can be slowly dragged along a good looking spot and should produce the goods when it comes to these bigger fish. For the smaller guys, pretty much any method will work but small spinners and worms have been the most productive.
While the Midlands took a proper beating from the storms of last week and the weekend, we can only be thankful for the rains – at least we are not facing a Zero Water day like the Capetonians! The downside of the storms is the hail damage that the farmers had inflicted on their crops, but the rivers are pumping and the dams are filling. Both Midmar and Spring Grove have come up over 5% in the last week, fast approaching 90% and 80% respectively. Good news as Albert Falls (still sitting just short of 21%) waits patiently for these 2 dams to fill before water can be released to it. As a result of the rains, the fishing has slowed considerably – there has, however, still been a few good bass reported from Albert Falls.
On the trout front, The Mooi River is pumping chocolate, so pretty much out of the picture for the time being. Over the hill, the Bushman’s River catchment doesn’t appear to have had as much rain, and is still fishing; last weekend’s Natal Juniors Fly Fishing Trials reported some excellent fish – great stuff from these lads!
Further north, Sterkfontein also received some late afternoon rains over last week and the weekend, but the fish were up for it and playing along in the sunny mornings. Foam beetles, in bronze and black, were the flavour of the day, interspersed with smaller dries such as emergers and caddis. Looks like there is still some rain in the forecast for the latter part of this week, but easing off for the weekend…so plenty of time to dust off the tackle and plan a day out. Thanks to Jan Korruble from The Fish Eagle for this report.
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