FISHING REPORT 19TH JULY ’19 July 17, 2019 by The Kingfisher The initial madness of the sardines has settled down a bit. The sardines are still moving past but the bulk of the action is taking place in the deep. Please remember to leave the areas that you fish in a better condition than when you got there. Take a few moments to pick up some litter and take it to the nearest bin. 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 (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8f8U0GjLGWFaEiUjs-n01w/videos). Ray’s tip: Keep it frozen. Defrosted bait can be a complete trip disaster. Having a quality cooler box or chiller is of vital importance to any fishermen. Something which can keep your bait frozen for extended periods of time in hot weather. The right bait box is the Safari Chillier range, adding to a good chiller is a divider. This simple tool allows you to split the box in to two sections. You put the bait you are going to use last in first, fit the divider and then put the first bait in on the top. This means the bait below the divider will stay frozen no matter how often you open the chiller. Safari Chiller has just launched two sizes, one fits the 8lt and the 12lt boxes and the other the 10lt and the 18lt Safari Chillers. At under a hundred Rand each, this makes great sense. Offshore: The offshore fishing has not had many fireworks of late, but the abundance of better bottomfish and the inshore snoek fishing has made up for the slower offshore scene. The Bobbies Annual Bay Fishing Competition Is scheduled to take place on the 10th August in the Durban bay. This is a fantastic competition for all light-tackle enthusiasts and is definitely one to put on the calendar. For more information please contact Brett Hibbert (073 104 2395). North – Jex is still producing plenty of snoek. The size of these fish might not be show-stopping, but the numbers definitely are. The usual snoek tactics have all proven successful along the north coast but a fillet of red-eye sardine trolled slowly (enticingly) along the backline has definitely caught the better fish. If you prefer a fasted paddle then small lipped lures and Clark spoons are the way to go. Add a small piece of light wire in front of the lures if the bigger snoek are around or risk it to get more bites, the choice is yours. The north coast has also seen plenty of bottom fish on the deeper marks with some spectacular fish coming to the gaff. Central – Tuna have been the main gamefish coming out along the Durban coast. The sizes have varied greatly with most of the fish being around the 10-15kg mark. These are very hungry fish and are great fun for the novice anglers to catch. Your standard couta tackle is more than suitable for these smaller tuna but you need to up your tackle if you are going after the bigger boys. The bottomfishing crews have been having a blast. The boats have been coming back full of smiles…and fish. There have been some very big red fish and some giant red steenbras. These slower growing fish should really be sent back to their home, so please consider releasing them if you can. Bait has been plentiful with mixtures of all the usual suspects. South – The Sardines are around in pods, but they have all been in the deep. The bigger weather systems coming through will make for some very challenging conditions if the netters are going to attempt to pull a net or two. Bottoms are wild! The commercials and the recreational guys have been landing some truly spectacular catches on the south coast bottomfishing spots. There have been rockcod, reds, geelbek, daga and some old-men (Mussel-cracker and copper steenbras). Please release these bigger fish as they are slow-growing and are the breeding stock for the future population. The gamefish have been few are far between but the guys have managed to keeping ticking over with tuna. Rock and Surf: The drone boys have been the only ones getting stuck in to the sardine-run toothies. The gamefish have been lacking but a few have fallen for a fresh sard or seven. The Whaling Station Challenge is taking place on the 27th July. With some big prizes and a small entry fee (R100), this is one to put on the list of things to do. Tickets are available at the Merebank Military Base. For more information, please contact Major Carl Schoeman (082 874 7475). North – The north coast is still fishing well for the guys targeting edibles. The stumpies have been feeding very well on crustacean baits. A fresh ghost crab or a juicy sealice is irresistible to these fish. Add some pink prawn to the mix and you are in for a good day of fishing. Look to target these fish in the working water in and around the sandbanks and you should get a bite. The bigger kingfish have also been around and have caused many tackle failures for the guys getting picked up on the lighter tackle. These big bruisers need to be targeted on heavy tackle with a livebait as they will try very hard to reef you. The inedibles are still around but need to be searched for. The blackfin are going to be the easiest of these to catch. Central – The upper central zone has seen quite a few blackfins hooked in the past week. A few of these have been landed, with the rest beating the anglers. A live bait is the best for these fish, but a fresh dead bait will get you the pull. The shad have been wild on the piers and the deeper water points. The fish have been on the small side so please stick to the bag and size limits. Japanese mackerel are a good substitute for sardines, but the fresh Natal sardines are still the best if you want to catch your share. The shad have made fantastic live baits for the garrick and a few lucky or persistent anglers have managed to land a few of these gentlemen fighters. South – The south coast has seen all the sardine action. Unfortunately the rock and surf guys throwing baits have not landed much in the line of edibles or inedibles. The drone guys have managed to hook up to some giants with a few big sharks coming to the side. Large baits are the best bet to get the bigger fish. Yellowtail, bonito and shad are the better baits to use. The few edibles that have come to the side have fallen for fresh sardines. The garrick that have come out over the past few weeks have come to live shad around the Toti area. News from Mtunzini: “After a quiet weekend on the lagoon, with not much fish been caught the fish came back on the bite and the guys fishing Drop Shot got quite a few small Black Tip Kingfish as well as River Gurnard and small Kob fishing from the picnic areas and near the mouth. River Bream were abundant with some very nice size ones been caught, we ask that you put them back as they are breeding at the moment. Early in the week a Shad was caught in the main car park so it your hook gets bitten off they could be the culprit. Conditions and tides are looking good for the early morning and late afternoon anglers, we have extended the area to include the Shangri-La Beach as well as the banks, and this will enable anglers to take advantage of the deeper water at those 2 spots. Fishing over the last 2 days have been good with Spinners been landed and some are a decent size, it is not long and they will be heading out to deeper waters. As of the 1 August you may not keep sharks caught in the MPA or use them as bait, you may catch them but you must release them period see Gazette 42479 point 8 (4) . When fishing on Wednesday Kaylee caught a River Gurnard in the Surf, this is the first time I have seen one come in from the surf, it is still out there, got to be a candidate for fish of the month. Some of the ski boat guys went out on Wednesday and besides seeing a Wondering Albatross resting up, managed to catch quite a few fish, mainly Kob, Marcel and Pierre struggled to get out on their Jet Skies and as we know they are in and out of the mouth weekly, it is getting shallow so take care. The MPA comes into being in a few weeks’ time will not really effect most anglers except no more night fishing in the MPA and you may only catch a shark from the beach, how they going to tell sharks to stop biting bait is beyond me as you are not allowed to catch them from a boat and as we know it is not practical to cut your line every time you hook a shark (this is what the law requires), this will remain a grey area, personally if you can bring it to the boat and remove the hook if possible and let it continue on its merry way. We are running a Spinner Shark competition on the 13 July fishing from 6am to 6 pm, you can fish for the whole 12 hours or for as long as you would like. Spinners feed around the banks and will take any fishy bait i.e. Sard, Mackerel and Bonnies etc. Entry fee is R15.00 per angler which goes towards the meat hamper to be handed out on Sunday morning at 10am. Tickets are on sale for the Spinner Competition at the shop. The Honorary Officers for the Siyayi Park are having a Golf Day on the 13th of July 2019 to do some fund raising to support the good work they do. At the shop we are collecting donations to hand in at the golf day, the money will be used to buy fuel for extra anti-poaching patrols your support will be gratefully received”. Thanks Nic Maitland from Mtunzini Fishing Shop for this report. By the way guys, conservation is what it’s all about and there is information available so you can make informed decisions as to what species are needing our protection and which can be safely consumed and the SASSI website does a fantastic job of doing that and it’s really easy to do if everyone downloads their app onto their phone so they can immediately check the fish they’ve caught. The app can be downloaded from their website here: – http://wwfsassi.co.za/sassi-app/ Freshwater: The freshwater scene is in full blown PB season. Carp, bass and trout of giant proportions are showing up on social media on a daily basis. Get out there and break your own personal best! Bass – Nagle, Albert’s and Inanda have been producing some real pigs. Although the fish are more sluggish at this time of year, once you have found them you can catch them. The winter bass do not want to move far for their food so you need to get it in front of them. Natural colours and bigger baits are the way to go. Jigs and creature baits are the preferred method as you can pitch these in to the thickest cover. If you are targeting the big fish in heavy cover, up your hook gauge (thickness) and the strength of your line. Braid as a mainline comes in to its own for this type of fishing. With the directness of the braid, you can feel even the slightest bite and the lack of stretch allows you to put maximum pressure on the fish quickly in order to drag it from the structure. Look for areas of structure that will allow the bass to get deep in to the cover. Carp – The mielibom and boilie guys have been having a great time of late. All of the dams in KZN are producing some amazing carp, with many going over the 20lb mark and some over the 30lb. The conventional anglers have been ticking along and the catches have been consistent. Banana and honey are the two flavours that continue to out-shine even the new “fandango” flavours. The combination of sweet and powerful smell from these two powerhouses means they are a must-have in everyone’s box. The specimen anglers are in the zone at the moment. The colder weather has meant that all the extra goodies in the bivvy are finally getting used and the gas cooker is running on all cylinders to keep up with the coffee and tea needs. On the fishing front, the PBs are being broken regularly. The carp have been big and strong. Boilies and particles are both producing the goods, with particles reducing the risk of barbel snacking on the boilies. Do not over-feed the area and keep the flavours nice and attractive. Trout – Much like the carp guys, the fly fishermen have been breaking their previous personal best catches. The cold water has made the fish very feisty so they are fighting hard and also a bit fatter than normal due to the current spawn. Speaking of the spawn, the fish that are in spawning mood only have one thing on their mind and that is not eating a woolly bugger… These fish can normally be seen grouping up in bays and are pointless targets as they will not eat anything. Rather leave them to do like they do on the Discovery Channel. The rest of the Stillwater can be fished with egg patterns (fished static) and streamer patterns for those who prefer more active fishing. Keep an eye out for the evening hatches as the warmer days will still offer you a dry fly bite. News from Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “The Weather Gods are blowing hot and cold, and so are the fish…the only certainty being that if you ain’t fishin’, you ain’t catchin’! With rivers still closed for winter – although we are now over the halfway mark and on the downward slope to opening day on 1 September – the Stillwater’s of The Midlands are the place to be. “The Tug is The Drug” as they say, and the winter fish give a proper feisty pull. Next weekend also sees Leg3 of the TOPS Corporate Challenge taking place on the Stillwater’s centered around Nottingham Road … the fish have had a good rest since the back-2-back event of June, so we should be expecting great action! As mentioned previously, with the winter spawning shenanigans still on-going, fish will be in the shallows…this, in combination with crystal clear waters, a perfect opportunity for sight fishing from the bank. It does however call for a modicum of stealth and presentation finesse … jumping straight in a float tube (particularly on the smaller dams) will put the fish down and lessen your chances. Reports coming in are that the carp are still active. For the fly angler looking for a tussle, carp are a highly underrated target. With the recent hatches of mayflies and midge, Albert Falls Dam has been providing some great sport on the dry fly as the carp mop up rafts of pupa and shucks off the surface. Definitely on the slow, but for those in the know, winter is when the big (ger) bass and Natal Yellowfish (Scalies) come out to play for those prepared to put in the time on the water. There have been a few good bass of 2kg+ coming out of Albert Falls Dam, and the lower reaches of the Umkomaas, Bushman’s and Tugela Rivers are where the yellows are to be found. Don’t forget to visit your local Kingfisher store for the best tackle and advice!” Thanks Jan. Tight lines and screaming reels. 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