Sardine! Sardine! Sardine! They are here! The much-anticipated sardine run has finally hit the KZN shores in a big way. These little silver fish bring with them shoals of predators in the water and crowds of people on the beaches. If you have any leave, this might be the time to use it…As always, remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date with all our new video releases and to brush up on your species knowledge, tactics and tips/tricks


Ray’s tip: No bait like fresh bait. Well, with the sards here and everything focused on eating sardine, there is only one bait to use. If you are wanting to target edible fish or inedible giants, a fresh sardine (or bunch) will be the best way of attracting their attention. The best way to rig the sards on to your hook would be the “banana bunch”. This means feeding a few sards on to the hook by either threading the hook through the eyes or mouths of the sards. You are not throwing very far so do not bother with cotton on the bait, just lob and hold on. For the guys wanting to specifically target edibles and stay away from the sharks, it is best to not use bait but to instead only throw spoons or lures. A spoon that closely resembles the shape of a sardine is your best bet to tie in to one of the many game fish around. Remember that you can hook many species when spooning in the sards (prodigal son, kingfish, couta, snoek, kob, garrick, tuna, bonito to name a few).

Rock and Surf:

Couta, kingfish and sharks are filling the reports from the sardine chasers. Those that have been lucky enough (or sick enough…) to follow the sardine action have been treated to one of the best runs in many years. The sharks have been following the sardines closely and have been taken on sardine bunch baits lobbed to them. Sight fishing for 200kg+ fish…adrenaline rush of note! There have been too many great catches to mention each angler individually, congratulations to all those who have managed to land a new PB.

North – The North Coast has not sent in many reports. To be fair, all the action is happening around the sardine’s shoals on the South Coast. Having said this, there have been some very good catches happening on the upper North Coast. Matt Visick managed a very good raggie on the north coast (Mtunzini). This fish was landed after two much bigger fish were lost. The reefs and ledges up north will still be a good bet if you are wanting to target some edibles.

Central – The central zone sits in anticipation of the sardines. With the colder water temperatures at the moment we can hope that a big South Wester blows the sardines in to the Durban and brings all the predators with them. Beyond the scope of the sardine action, there has been quite a good showing of shad, garrick and kingfish at Lugs (Blue Lagoon). This fish have been mainly falling for lures with the bullet spoon proving to be the winner. The piers have also been doing fairly well with anglers reporting good catches of shad and pompano.

South – This is where all the action is happening! At the time of writing, the sardines have been netted at both Pennington and Scottsburg. With the cold water that is around, it is predicted that they will stay close inshore and should move further up the coast as the days go on. There have been some spectacular fish that have come out all along the South Coast. Most of these catches have been around the sards but some have happened either ahead of the chaos or in the wake. Sharks of over 200kgs have been landed and many bigger fish hooked. This is big boy territory, so do not go under-gunned or you will only lose tackle. 50lb J-Braid or 0.58mm Kingfisher Giant Abrasion are the lines of choice for the spinning reel and multiplier anglers respectively. Give yourself the best chance to land these giant fish and use the best tackle available, our operating hours are Monday to Friday 8AM to 5PM and Saturday 8AM to 1PM.


There has been so much focus on the shore side of things that very little has been reported for the offshore scene. The reports that have come in however, have been something to drool over. Giant amberjacks, yellowtail, tuna and couta. The north has seen some very good fish landed and many good fish taxed. Sarah-Lee Gernetzky landed a bus couta, this fish pulled the scales to over 25kgs, well done Sarah-Lee! In other news, there have been plenty of tuna coming out on all the major spots. Pinning a live bait on a balloon while catching your bait for the day is a sure-fire method of seeing if the tuna are around. The couta and snoek have also been around (the couta more so than the snoek). The couta that have come out have stretched the arms and the scales.

This is the season for the big crocodiles, so make sure that your tackle is in the best nick possible and that you upgrade your wire thickness and bait size. There have been some very good yellowtail and amberjack hooked (and some landed) on the lower South Coast. These brutes will test your tackle and strength to the max. Make sure you are ready for the fight before you drop your bait in to the deep. The guys following the sards have managed a few good fish but the chaos has been attracting every sharks in KZN. The tuna and couta have been with the odd pocket of sards and a jig and drop trace should bring you instant success.


With all the sardine activity in the big salty pond, the freshwater scene has been quiet…too quiet. What has come in has been much the same as the previous week or two. The trout in the Stillwater’s are going crazy for dragonfly nymph and minnow patterns, the bass are starting to cool down and the carp are around but the specimen guys are dominating the catches.

Carp – As mentioned above, the carp scene has been one for the specimen guys. There have been fish for the conventional “papgooi” boys, but the bites have been small and very far between. The specimen guys on the other hand have managed to land some decent fish, some of which have topped the 20kg mark. With the specimen bites, the guys have been setting up a good feeding area which has kept the fish in the vicinity of their baits and has therefore produced a lot more bites than the conventional method. Good quality, strong scented baits will keep the fish’s interest and will therefore keep your alarms screaming. Remember that the nights and mornings are cold at this time of year, so prepare accordingly and make sure that you have a flask of nice hot coffee at the ready.

Bass – The basing scene has been quiet. With the onset of the colder temperatures the bass have responded and decided to go deep. As we mentioned in a previous report, finesse fishing for this boys with a drop shot rig and a finesse worm will produce some surprisingly large fish. Other methods that are worth a try at this time of year are a Carolina rig fished with a large worm such as a dead ringer. This needs to be fished slowly around deep water structure. I find a slow sweeping retrieve to be the best method for me. By this I mean sweep the rod to the left or right and take up the slack with the reel. Make sure to keep in contact with the bait as the bite is often very subtle. Pitching a jig or creature bait in to heavy structure can also be a deadly method for this “winter” fish. Colour is not as important as putting the bait right in front of his nose.

Trout – Suffice it to say that the winter Stillwater trout fishing in The Midlands is ON FIRE currently!  This weekend passed saw The Boston Fly Fishing Festival as well as Leg 1 of the Tops Corporate Challenge being held on the waters around Boston and Nottingham Road respectively.  With conditions being the best in years, expectations were running high…and they delivered in spades. The BFFF saw some 75 anglers tackle the local dams in the upper Dargle / Boston area, of which 5 anglers managed to evade the fish for the entire weekend – the remaining 70 anglers recording 290 qualifying fish.  The average fish size was 39cm / 15.35 inches, while there were 2 fish of 63cm / 24.8 inches vying for the title of biggest fish.  Top angler was local lad William Gilbert from Estcourt / Howick High, and the winning team was The Zimmer’s comprising Hilton locals Alison and Anton Smith, and Roxanne and Wayne Stegen.


The TCC saw some 60 anglers, in 15 teams of 4, on the waters around Nottingham Road, of which more than a few teams managed to evade the fish for the entire weekend…names being withheld to protect the guilty parties!  The balance of the anglers tabled some 220 fish, the smallest being a mere 22cm / 8.66 inches, with the biggest stretching the tape to 62cm / 24.4 inches.  Top angler was regular visitor Ken Bain from Brookwood Trout Estate in the Cradle of Mankind, and the winning team was Wildlife Assignments International comprising Charles van Niekerk and Shaun Beverley from north of the Boerewors Curtain, local master fly tyer Anton Martyn, and Jan Korrubel from The Kingfisher PMB.  Of the 15 teams, 6 went through to The Finals, and with two more Legs to go, there will be a further 10 teams qualifying for The Finals which will are scheduled to be held at the end of August.  Now we have the perfect excuse to go fishing…to get some practise in…Water temperatures are properly down, The Midlands Stillwater’s are sitting around 10 deg.C.

Apart from the winter trout, other species are relatively quiet.  Anglers are still targeting yellowfish in the lower reaches of the Umkomaas and Tugela Rivers, and reports from Midmar indicate that some small bass are still around and being taken on 4” lizards.

Tight lines and screaming reels.

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