The weather has been fairly favourable for all the facets over this last week and everyone has been able to get out and enjoy their favourite pastime. The sea has been flat and the sun has been out, but the reports have been slow to filter in meaning that either the guys are too busy catching fish to let us know or they are too embarrassed to say they caught nothing.
We have just finished our annual stock take so we are fully stocked and ready to set you up for whatever fishing adventure you have planned.
Please see the following link for the ASFN newsflash of the week (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaOIBuT0bAg and
The offshore scene has been fairly active with the arrival of the shoal couta and the ever-present tuna keeping all the offshore guys busy no matter their vessel of choice. The sea is looking fairly tasty for the weekend and the rest of the week (but Mother Nature can always change her mind).
North – The northern territories have been producing the bulk of the summer pelagics, as expected. These have been mainly dorado and tuna while the lucky few have managed some very nice couta. Live bait has been the method of choice. A nice lively mozzie will ring the dinner bell of any of the game fish up north (and locally). If you are travelling up North, make sure you have enough lipped lures in purple and pink and if you are going the Kona route I would highly recommend red and black and the fruit salad colours from either the Williamson or Pulsator stable.
Central – The couta are back in town! The shoalies are here and the sharks are not being as much of a nuisance as normal, we are up! The shoalies are ravenous and will take almost any bait or lure once you have found them. The method of choice is to target them on artificial lures with particular emphasis being bucktail jigs. A 7-8ft spinning rod paired with a small coffee grinder and braid with a chartreuse and white bucktail is deadly. A great outfit of choice is the Daiwa Exceler offshore series spinning rod in the medium 7ft size, on to this I load up a Procaster 4000 and on to it I put 20lb Daiwa J-Braid. This set-up is more than capable of handling most fish and can double up for throwing poppers and spoons at almost any predatory fish offshore.
The best method is to work the bucktail like you would a whipping spoon. That is to cast it in the direction the boat is moving and then allow it to sink to the floor. Keep an eye on the line as you often get a take on the drop. Once the bucktail has got to the bottom you whip the lure up fairly rapidly until you get up to the surface. The bites can be vicious so I would advise the use of a short bite wire. Alternately, the more classic methods of targeting the couta would be to troll the likely spots with lures or live baits and then once they have been located, to drift slowly over the area and focus your efforts at the depths you are getting the bites at.
South – Tuna are out and about along the entire South Coast. Trolled lures have been the best method of catching these feisty football-sized tuna. They are on the small side but there are some proper giants mixed in. We have been shown pictures of 25kg+ tuna coming out from Toti to Shelley Beach. The yellowtail off Shelley Beach has caused a few broken egos but the landed fish have been truly celebrated. Jigging for these fish has been the most successful and has resulted in the most fish boated.
The bait has been thick off of Toti for the last while and since the season is getting on a bit, I would recommend stocking up on some mackerel and redeyes. If you are going to pack these away for a month or more, preparation is vital. Make sure you pack the fresh bait on to trays and then in to the freezer. Once they are frozen solid vacuum-sealing is your best friend as this prevents the baits getting freezer burn.
Rock and Surf:
Please see the following video for a peak at the dusky kob: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMuw2sBWE0k. This is one of the most popular target species along the KZN coast. They are caught in almost all the salt-water environments including the harbours and estuaries.
The rock and surf scene has been buzzing with inedible action. This has mainly been in the form of diamonds and sandies from up North but locally (central) there have also been a few flatties coming out.
Choosing the place to fish this weekend is a no-brainer. Diamonds up north. The weather is looking good and they fish have been around in big numbers. These diamond smashes do not happen each year so we need to make the most of them while they are there. Please see the following video for a few tips and tricks for catching diamonds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWIbHspBjLU) and please remember to handle them with care. Fishing is going to be wild until the westerly starts to blow them away. Mackerel has been the best bait by far for these fish.
North – As mentioned above, this is really the place to focus your efforts. The fish are there and the fish are big. There are fish for the lighties in the form of brown skates. These are best targeted with a lighter rod (around 5oz) and a mackerel cutlet bait or a red eye sardine head with cutlets wrapped around it. These browns do get quite big (over 20kgs) but they are a lovely fight on the lighter tackle and are very manageable for even the smallest future angler. The diamonds and sandies on the other hand are big bruisers (the sandy more so). They are large fish and require some strength to pull out. The diamond is not a strong fighter but he is heavy and he knows the currents. For this reason I would recommend a heavier rod when specifically targeting them. Something in the 7oz range such as the Daiwa Saltist Elite (either the 14’ 6” or the 15’) or the Daiwa Saltist Heavy 14’ 2” spin 6-8oz. These rods have plenty of backbone to pull the fish but are still forgiving enough to cast a big bait and not kill your back on the fight. Reel-wise you do not need capacity but you do need drag. A Daiwa BG 6500 or Saltist 6500 or 8000 is more than adequate for the job and on to these I would load some 40 or 50lb Daiwa J-Braid and a 200lb braid leader. The trace is simple: Full metal jacket with a 9/0 Mustad tuna circle.
Central –The central zone has produced some quality flatfish over the last week. Diamonds have been the main fish coming out. Much like the north they are favouring mackerel with a head and cutlets being the best choice. There is no need to use an FMJ trace and I much prefer to use a straight nylon trace for my flatfish targeting along the Durban coast. The shad are still causing havoc as they are ravenous and strip any well-prepared bait to a skeleton in seconds. Targeting these fish is easy enough but they are undersized so make sure you stick to the regulations and let the small guys go to grow bigger for the future.
South –The South Coast has been the edible location of choice along the coast. The bronze bream are still feeding well (to everyone’s surprise). We have spoken endlessly about how to target and what to use, so look through our previous reports and see our YouTube channel to see the past videos. There have also been a few kob, pompano and some very nice stumpnose coming out down south. The baits that have been producing the pulls are pink prawn as a base mixed with sealice or chokka. This is a very versatile bait for any edible fish and will work from way down south to the Mozambique border and beyond.
When the sea is up or the wind is blowing, give the inland waters a go. Many of us live within a short drive of the nearest dam or river and most have not even fished it. This may be due to interest in other facets of angling or just lack of knowledge of the area. Please come in and have a chat to one of our friendly retail staff and we can get you set-up to catch your first ever bass, carp, barbel, bluegill, trout, tilapia…you name it, we can help you catch it.
Carp – Albert Falls is still producing big bags for the guys fishing there. These are 90% small fish (around 1kg) but guys are catching a few slightly larger boys. This has been the dam of choice for the conventional guys. For those who don’t know, carp angling is split in to two broad categories: Conventional and specimen. Simply put, conventional angling is what most carp fishing undertake as it involves the least amount of effort and catches the most fish. This type of fishing is also referred to as “papgooi”. Specimen angling is specifically targeting the larger fish (the specimens). This is a very intricate sport that is really a thinking man’s game. It involves months of planning and week long trips that can result in 1 fish, albeit a 20kg carp. The choice is yours and we stock all the equipment to help you get set-up in either facet.
Conventional angling is by far the most popular of the two in terms of sheer numbers. This involves fishing with a mielie bomb and one or two hook baits. Making your own mielie bomb or ground feed can be an extremely rewarding thing to do. There are a multitude of YouTube videos and blogs dedicated to carp fishing and making of baits. For the best mealie bomb, get yourself a meat mincer and prepare some whole maize by soaking them for 24hrs then cooking them at a low heat until they swell and they are soft. Take the mealies and mincer to the water and when the time comes to put your mealie bomb on, take a handful or two and mince it up and you have the best mealie bomb you’ll ever use. Making your own baits and catching fish on them will make your catches all the more sweeter.
Bass – Hazlemere Dam continues to be the place of choice when it comes to numbers of fish being caught. This is the perfect dam to take someone who is wanting to catch his or her first bass. All they need is a light spinning set-up and a small selection of lures. This dam is located in the “countryside” so it makes for a beautiful day out; just make sure you leave before the hoard of Jet Ski enthusiasts arrive and race around at top speed. These speedsters generally arrive as soon as the sun is up in the sky, so make the early trip if you want a nice peaceful morning. The lures of choice have been weightless flukes in dark colours along with a worm fished slowly on the bottom around the trees.
Shongweni and Inanda Dams have produced the bigger catches and the bigger individual fish. This might be due to the reduced Jet Ski traffic or the reduced angling pressure. Some very good fish have come out at both venues to the guys fishing top water frogs. This is specialised fishing and requires a heavy to extra heavy rods with braid. This is to pull that behemoth out of the foul structure that he lives in. Colour of the frog does not seem to be of much importance although everyone has their favorite. The braid enables you to pull as hard as you want and to be able to stop that bucket-mouth getting you stuck. The frogs work best in the early and late hours of the day and, as they are very weedless, you can (and must) throw them in to the heaviest structure you can find. Jan Korrubel from PMB reports that while water levels are still high, the upside of course is that the rivers are flowing properly and dams are full – both Midmar and Spring Grove reached capacity in the last week, and spilled over causing much excitement. The last overflow being 2015, which for Spring Grove, was only the second occurrence since the dam’s completion in 2013.
Water is being released from Midmar, feeding Albert Falls, which is now at 26%…close to 30% up in the last 2 months. The full waters will be setting up the autumn/winter fishing nicely, and there is already talk of a productive trout season ahead. The rivers will have had a good clearing flush, and once water levels subside and start clearing, the fish will be on the move. Water temperatures will also be on the decrease shortly, giving further impetus to the feed up for winter spawning. There isn’t much in the way of rain in the forecast for the upcoming week, so the rivers will start fining off and the stillwaters clearing. As for those can’t be waiting around, as they say : “There is always one…” and a few trout anglers suffering from a dose of Cabin Fever headed out last weekend to try their luck. These guys will no doubt point out the rider “You aren’t going to catch anything if you don’t put anything into the water…” and so right they are…the chances of catching anything from the comfort of your lounge chair are nil!
On the stillwater side, large olive flies (e.g. Papa Roach Dragonfly, zonker baitfish) were the order of business in the off-colour waters…black, another favourite, not coming up to scratch. With the rivers heaving, heavily weighted nymphs were required in order to get the flies down to the bottom where the fish will be sitting to get out of the main push of the current. In these scenario’s fish will also move to the edges – again, where the current is less due to friction from the river bottom/structure – sitting in slack water tail outs and back eddy’s. A large dry fly (e.g. rubber-leg hopper pattern) can prove very effective as bugs often fall into the river edge. Sterkfontein is still providing some good fish, although conditions have been tough over the last week with strong winds.
Get out there and go catch your next PB, tight lines and screaming reels
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