The sea has been rather warm over the past few weeks and this has led to unpredictable fishing. That being said, there have still been some very happy anglers and some great catches this past week.

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Ray’s tip: Tags and Tagging:


Tagging is a process of assessing a population and its movements. The process falls under a broader description called “Mark-Recapture”. As the name states, the animal is captured and marked and then allowed to return to its habitat. After a period of time, it is captured again and the data is assessed regarding movement and growth.


This is being done with many species of animals in SA but of importance to us is the work being done by the Oceanographic Research Institute in Durban. They run a program where the public can join (after being screened) and can then tag the fish that they catch. The program has been running for many years and has revealed some amazing results regarding the growth and movement patterns of fish.


Visit or get in touch with the tagging officer (Gareth Jordaan if you are interested in joining the program.




The offshore fishing scene has been alive with catches of bonito, frigates, sarda and dorado. Most of the coast has been fishing very well, but the warm water is causing the fish to head out to sea in search of the cool pockets


North – The north coast has been treating the anglers well. The big winds have driven some away and on some days, made the sea unfishable.

The days that have seen the conditions line up, have seen many happy anglers beaching. The Umdloti area has seen an invasion of sprats. This in turn has brought the snoek in to a frenzy. Make sure you have your Kingfisher Anchovy spoons ready as these fish can get locked in on a single target and will ignore anything but an exact copy. The best method is to troll a few lures and fillet baits behind the backline during the early morning and while you are moving along, throw your spoons in to the surf zone and retrieve them rapidly back. This will either result in a vicious take on the spoon or a strike on the fillets/lures. Fish lighter wire for snoek and use as little as possible as they can be very shy. Look for the action and you are bound to hook up to some of these delicious game fish.


Central – The Durban coast has had its fair share of the action of late. The same sprats that have been seen of Westbrook and Umdloti are hanging around the north and south piers, so the same strategies as above will apply. The Durban area has also seen a good run of sarda, bonito and frigates. These are amazing baits and should be treated with the utmost care to preserve their fragile skin. Place them on to a trace immediately if you intend to use them as live bait or place them in an ice slurry as soon as possible if you are going to freeze them. There have also been plenty of dorado around and multiple hook-ups are a normal occurrence. Most of the bigger fish have fallen for a live bait, so troll your lures around until you find the school and then switch over to drifting with livies to up your chances of a big fish.


South – The south coast has seen some good offshore fishing for both tuna and dorado of late. The same tactics that have been described above apply for the south. There have also been some snoek around the river mouths, so put in some early hours there and troll a few fillets/lures. The Strike Pro Magic Minnow is the lure of choice for these snoek and any of the colours will do you well, but the ice cream colour is best.


The commercial and recreational bottom fishermen have had mixed results. There have been some amazing hauls and some near-empty hulls. The slinger are feeding very well and the night-time guys are still landing a fair share of daga and bek. Remember to move if the sharks start hassling you.


Rock and Surf:

The shore fishing has been a mixed bag. The first KZNCAU postal league competition was held this previous weekend. Most clubs jumped in before the big westerly wind that was predicted. The teams that fished the Mtunzini area did not fare well as only a single diamond and raggie was landed (between 120+ anglers). The teams that fished further north saw much better results. The poor fishing was due to the warmer water that had pushed in…


North – As mentioned above, most of the KZN union fished the north coast. There were no real fireworks but the further north the teams went, the better the catches became. The banks and Port Durnford area were heavily fished with hardly anything coming out. These areas will only start to fire again after the water cools down. The rest of the north coast has seen some grey sharks on the points and the odd scratching fish on the beaches. The best bet at this time of year is to wait for the NE wind to blow for a few days and the water to cool down to around 20 or less. These conditions will push the fish to feed and will turn the fishing up.


Central – The central zone has not been fishing very well. This is due to the warm inshore water and the sand pumping. The piers have produced some edible fish but the inedibles have been few and far between. The edibles around the piers have been favouring crackers. A few crackers on the hook fished to the working water has landed some anglers with big stumpies, white muscle cracker and pompano. These fish are all pretty leader shy, so use as light a hook snoot as you can get away with. There have also been plenty of shad for the guys fishing in the early mornings and late afternoons. Japanese mackerel have been the pick of the baits and a gold Falcon spoon has been the pick of the lures.


South – The south coast saw a particularly memorable catch this past week with our good friend Avi landing a giant of a giant kingfish. Avi was using his custom made Kingfisher rod, his Daiwa Saltist 50 reel filled with .55mm Kingfisher Giant Abrasion line and a Mustad 9/0 Tuna Circle hook. The fish was caught on a live shad at Winkelspruit and converted to nearly 50kgs! This is a spectacular catch and deserves congratulating. Revival of the fish was attempted but after the long fight, the fish was too exhausted and unfortunately had to be kept. Well done Avi!!! The rest of the south coast has also seen quite a few kingies coming out. The best bet for these fish is a shiny belly bait, a spoon or a well-presented chokka bait. Look for some working water around the sandbanks or rock for the best results. The scratching guys have had a good run of bream (stone and bronze). These fish have pulled their nose up at anything other than crackers, so make sure you have some fresh ones in the cooler box if you are going to pursue them.




The freshwater fishing over the last few weeks has been very consistent. The bass are feeding well, so if that is your game then you should be on the water as much as possible. The carp have been keeping the guys busy with lots of small fish feeding hard. The trout are the only fish that are not actively rejoicing in the summer heat. The heat and sun at this time of year can be vicious, so make sure to wear your sun protection and be sun-wise.


Bass – The bass fishing has been wild over the past few weeks and months. The heat of summer gets them feeding ferociously and they will attack most fast moving lures. This time of year is when you need to be fishing your spinner baits, buzz baits, swimming jigs, jerk baits and diving lures. The best times to be on the water are undoubtedly the early morning and late afternoon. This is because the bass will sulk in to the depths during the heat of the day as they do not fancy the hot water in the shallows. Keep your top water rod handy as the evening and morning top water action can be spectacular. All the dams from Hazlemere to Midmar are fishing well and there have been some great fish landed over the last few weeks.


Carp – The conventional carp anglers have been kept very busy over the past few weeks. The sound of alarms has been ringing out over most dams. The smaller carp have been full up in all the dams and these are the fish responsible for the hectic action. The specimen anglers have been trying to keep away from these fish as they are after the parents. If you are wanting to avoid the smaller fish, try upping the size of your bait as the small fish will not be able to get the bait in to their mouths. Try fishing with tigernuts or boilies for the best results. Also remember that these fish are ferocious feeders and can clean out a bait area quite quickly, so make sure to replenish your baiting area frequently. Also try to add more particles in to the mix as this creates a blanket of finer particles that will take a lot longer for the fish to clear out. Stick to the sweeter flavours and you should be having some fantastic action at any of the local waters.


Fly fishing – This is a poor time of year for the Stillwater trout anglers. The water in the dams gets so high that you cannot safely fish for the fish without killing them. If you are going after the fish, make sure to fish in the coolest dams in terms of water temperature. Alternately I would suggest pursuing alternate targets such as scalies in the rivers or bass. Both of these species can be targeted using your trout tackle and many of your trout flies. Use the nymphs for the river fishing for the scalies. They are partial to black flies and a hotspot nymph with a bright orange spot drives them dilly. Be careful in the areas where you fish for these gamely fighters as the snakes are more active during these summer months. For the bass, all of the smaller patterns will work for the littler guys, but if you are after the bigger fish then you will have to fish your streamers. Use the largest woolly buggers or zonkers in your box and fish as close to the structure as possible for the best results.


News from Jan Korrubel, The Kingfisher in PMB: “The heat wave at the end of 2018 continues to make its presence felt.  While not great for some species, it’s happy days for others…


Many of the Midlands trout Stillwater’s have been closed for fishing due to high water temperatures (mid-20’s and above).  Only some of the higher altitude waters remain open.


With the dearth of rainfall in December, river levels dropped considerably, but received a bit of a recharge from an end-of-year thunderstorm.  Water levels came up a few inches and water temperature dropped a couple of degrees, and some excellent fishing was reported earlier this month.  The upper reaches fish well on a dry fly, an emerger (i.e. half-in, half-out) being the pattern of choice.


We are still need of some good rains before the end of summer in order to see us through the dry winter; currently Albert Falls Dam is sitting at 35%, Midmar at 94%, Spring Grove at 50%, and Mearns at 54%.

The warmer weather has put the bass on the bite, with some excellent fish over the 5kg mark being reported from both Albert Falls and Midmar Dams.


With water temperature sitting at 20+ degrees, the good weather has also seen Sterkfontein producing the goods.  Reports mention hatches of the smaller black flying ant, so a smaller black dry fly (flying ant / parachute / emerger) have been the “go to” patterns of late.

The weekend weather forecast sees a slight cooling off, and there is some rain predicted for next week – fingers crossed…”

Tight lines and screaming reels.

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