This past weekend saw some spectacular Ski Boat fishing. The snoek found this weekend to be a particularly good time to eat out. Some boats recorded catches of over 10 fish per angler. Small spoons, lipped lures and fillets trolled behind backline all proved to be successful methods.
Ray’s tip: Go catch a snoek! You can do this either from the shore or from any boat. Shore-based targeting comprises of a 10’6” or longer spinning rod, a fast ratio spinning reel with some thin braid to throw the smallest spoons as far as possible. My suggestion would be the newly-released Daiwa Saltist 11’6” Power Spin 3 piece rod paired with a 4000 size Daiwa Saltist reel loaded with 15lb Daiwa J-Braid. This will allow you to throw the small spoons far enough to reach the snoek while the reel lets you wind the spoons in fast enough to attract the snoek’s attention. From the boat I would use the small reel but substitute in a shorter rod of around 7ft, my choice being a rod with a nice soft tip to prevent hook pulls, a rod like the Daiwa Saltist 702MHS 60 -110g would be great. Snoek love feeding in rips and current lines right behind the backline. Throw your lures or troll your fillet baits in this area in the early hours of the morning. Focus your attention around river mouths and you are guaranteed to up your chances of hooking one of these strong game fish.
The offshore reports were fairly scarce from this past weekend with quite a few boats deciding not to launch with the big seas. The brave (or fool-hardy) skippers that did go out managed some very nice snoek and a few other game fish for their efforts.
North – “The north” has been the answer from all of the guys asked about the location of their snoek catches. Reports have come in from the past weekend of record numbers and sizes of Natal snoek coming out. Numbers have been upward of twenty fish caught in a single morning while some lucky/skilled (or both) anglers have managed double digit monsters. The biggest fish reported was a giant of 10.5kgs. The tuna have still been feeding well along the North Coast and up to Sodwana. Trolled, lipped lures pulled at speed have triggered the most bites but the bigger tuna have definitely favoured a frisky live bait. Pinning a mackerel or mozzie with a 6/0 tuna circle (either through the top lip or utilising a cable tie bridle) will guarantee a solid hook-up. Use a short leader of fluorocarbon to add in invisibility and abrasion resistance and make sure to use a rod with enough backbone to pull that tuna in before the grey suit tax collector claims his share.
Central – The central zone of KZN has also seen its fair share of the recent snoek action. Fillet baits trolled behind the backline near Blue Lagoon have been gobbled up. Adding a small lipped lure such as the little pink and white rattler or the ice cream colour Strike Pro Magic Minnow in between the fillets can often result in more fish being hooked. Also make sure to keep your light spinning outfit and small spoons close at hand to fire off a cast at any action that you might see. The Kingfisher anchovy spoon and the small sprat spoon have been the best choice to throw at the busting snoek while a fresh redeye fillet has been the best fillet bait. Make sure to test the fillet next to the boat to see that it is “swimming” correctly and not spinning. Adding a sparse skirt in front of the fillet will also bring the fish in quicker. If you are new to the saltwater scene or you do not have the time to tie your own traces, pop in to any of our retail stores and pick up some of our professionally tied snoek fillet traces.
South – The South has been very quiet in terms of reports coming in. Much like the North and central regions, the tuna are making up the bulk of the catches. These have been on the smaller side but some lucky anglers have wrestled in some bigger fish. Once again the all black Rattler has proved its worth on the South Coast and has sold out in our Warnadoone store. This colour works extremely well in the early hours of the day as it throws a solid silhouette for the predators to hone in on. The bait has not been as wild as the cold water would suggest and the bonnies are still scarcer than hen’s teeth.
Rock and Surf:
Have a look at the first of many vlogs from the north coast where our ASFN ambassadors take advantage of the diamond smashes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PE-SBba8PMg).
North – Last week saw the conditions line up beautifully and the fish up north responded. Our ASFN ambassadors were out on the Thursday and managed some lovely fish on the new rods that they have been testing. Look out for the videos in the upcoming weeks and see how crazy the action can be up north when the conditions come right. The Mtunzini area and the Richards Bay area have been the two places to focus on. The Mtunzini area has been producing diamonds and countless zambezi hook-ups (but very few being landed). The diamonds have favoured mackerel and have taken plain mackerel baits while guys with fresh bonnies have stood holding pole. The Richards Bay area has been the hotspot for sandies and these have been the dominant species coming out (ranging from 30 – 65kgs).
Central – The beachfront has seen some edible action over the last week. The species coming out have been shad, pompano and snapper salmon. The shad have been 90% undersize and they have been a pest for anyone fishing for a bigger fish. Using lycra cotton instead of latex can make the difference between your bait lasting 2mins or 20mins and this can be the difference between catching a fish or running out of bait early in the night.
The pompano have been feeding well in the early mornings and the guys who have been successful have said that sea lice have been the most productive bait. Remember that these fish feed on the edges of sandbanks and right behind the shore break. Often making the change from a full throw to a lob over the shore break can produce a pull.
South – The south has been quiet…There have been reports of a few inedibles coming out for the guys who persevere through the night and a few pompano for the guys fishing in the early mornings but the rest of the reports have not been fun to read. The inedibles being landed have been a mixed bag of the usual suspects including sandies, diamonds and brown rays. All of these love a mackerel head with some lightly-beaten cutlets wrapped neatly around it. Use a cone sinker where-ever possible to reduce the chance of scaring the fish with a poke from the grapnel wire and don’t be afraid to fish with straight nylon.
The freshwater scene has been slow over the past week with very few reports coming in. The fish don’t seem to know that summer is the time they are meant to be feeding. With all the tiger competitions coming up, get your tackle prepared and give yourself a chance to win.
Carp – The fishing has not changed over the last week. The carp are still feeding at Albert Falls but these are fish under 3.5kgs. They can be lots of fun, but if you are after the bigger fish you are better off giving Inanda a go with your specimen tackle. Remember that with all the weed in Inanda that landing the fish safely is of utmost importance so make sure you have a boat that you can go out on to fetch the fish. Using a drop-off lead system from Korda will also lessen the chance of getting snagged up. The sweeter flavours are still producing the most bites with Crème Brulee working very well over the last week. The conventional guys are having success in all the KZN dams (except Midmar), so if you haven’t got your first carp of the season or you are just wanting to spend a relaxed morning at the dam, come in and grab some floaties and pre-rigged traces and go have some fun.
Bass – Much like the carp, the bass fishing has not drastically changed over the past week. Hazlemere has still been the place to go if you are wanting to catch 20 bass in one session. Albert’s and Inanda are definitely worth a trip if you are looking for the new PB though. Watermelon red has been the best colour, the little red flakes in the natural green colour obviously triggering the bass to attack the lures a bit more aggressively. Most of the soft plastics have been working but the worm-type lures with lots of movement in the tail have been the winners. Remember to always clean up after your session as we have received countless reports of litter and fishing-related trash left at Hazlemere. Please take your rubbish and scrap line home with you as the line and hooks can ensnare other wildlife (or people), leave only your footprints at the dam.
Tilapia –The tilapia have been feeding very well in all of our dams. This is more than likely due to the heat of summer causing most of the insects to start hatching and this in turn spurring the tilapia to feed. One of the best baits for these little fighters are termites (flying ants). The bigger the termite the quicker the bite. You can also target tilapia using artificials such as spinners and small plastic lures. The most successful of these is hands down a small grub imitation on a jig head. Colour comes down to personal choice but yellow and white are the safest options. Fishing with either bait or lures on the lightest rod possible can turn a quiet day in to a hectic morning of action.
Tiger – Jozini has been very quiet leading up to the Let It Swim Tiger Tournament (16th and 17th March). For the guys going up for the first time, you have two main options: bait or lures. In terms of bait you can either go for live bait or flesh baits. Flesh baits will be similar to fishing for snoek (fillet baits) while the live bait method will incorporate using one of the many tilapia in the dam. The best way to rig the live tilapia is a sharp single hook just in front or behind the dorsal fin. Suspend the bait under a float and fish it near structure or drop-offs. For the lure side of things the options are almost endless but you can limit yourself to the use of spinners and spoons. These create enough vibration and flash to trigger the tigers to attack. Copper is by far the best blade colour with accents of red and black adding very well. With the spinners, make sure you are using single hooks on the back and crush the barb. This will greatly improve your hookup rate. You can also add a fillet of sardine on to the hook for some added flavour. With either of the two methods make sure to use wire as the tiger’s teeth will go through pretty much anything. If you are really struggling for a bite though, don’t be afraid to switch over to using some fluorocarbon instead. This may still be bitten through though but it may just get you a bite when the tigers are being fussy.
Jan Korrubel from The Fish Eagle in PMB sent us this report, “The rains appear to be easing in The Midlands, and while the waters are still a touch up and coloured, anglers are getting some respite. Reports from higher up on the streams indicate that the trout are starting to look up again, with fish responding to the dry fly. In heavier water lower downstream, weighted nymphs are still the order of the day. The Stillwater’s are still on the warm side as we wait for autumn to cool the waters down, but there are some good fish being reported. If the fish are not playing the game, make sure that you are giving the line and fly plenty time to get to the bottom as this is where the fish will be sitting in search of cooler water.
The standard recommendation is to retrieve as slow as possible, but also change your tactics by varying the retrieve and fly pattern (or combinations) to get the trout to make a move. While Albert Falls is filling slowly (just about on 28% at present), both Midmar and Spring Grove Dams are overflowing. With the higher water levels, there will be lots areas to try for bass. In flooded grass, a Carolina rig with a bead, or a weightless fluke / frog is recommended. On the rock banks and drop offs, the recommendation is for a straight Texas rig as well as medium to deep divers.
Popular colours are anything “bass”, pumpkin or watermelon. With heavy winds, Sterkfontein has been somewhat tough over the last week, but conditions improved over the end of the weekend and some excellent fishing was had. Many anglers are turned off by the sheer size of Sterkfontein Dam, most under the impression that having a boat is a necessity to fish the water. While boat certainly is advantageous, there are many kilometres of productive shoreline that can be accessed by foot from both the Municipal and Qwantani sides. In rougher water, try the larger dries like stimulators, hoppers and Chernobyl Ants, while under calmer conditions, beetles and emerger patterns prevail. If the dry fly isn’t producing, a small (#14-16) suspended weighted nymph will usually do the trick.” Thanks Jan for this report.
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