The annual Kingfisher Shad Competition has begun (as of the 1st of August). This competition runs for the months of August and September. There are amazing prizes for each month so get your spoons and sardines and get an early entry in! First prize is a Daiwa BG 5000 spinning reel, loaded with 30lb Daiwa J Braid valued at around R3000.00, second prize is the Poseidon Coastline 3 piece surf rod with two extra tips valued at around R2200.00 and third prize is the Daiwa Laguna 5000 spinning reels valued at around R1100.00. Guys, please remember that the bag limit for shad is 4 and the min size is 30cm. The shad competition is hoting up! All three of the prizes are currently held by shad over 4kgs (1st is 4.9kgs)! You still have some time left so make sure you get out there and target those bigger fish to try win one of the amazing prizes up for grabs. Remember your shad needs to be fresh to count (no frozen fish) and it can be weighed in at any of our Kingfisher branches.

The fishing has been a bit quiet over the past week. Some facets have had amazing catches while the others have seen little return. With the end of the windy month upon us, we can look forward to better weather and hopefully more fish.

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 (

Ray’s tip: Circles and live bait. Circle hooks and fishing with live bait go together like a good steak and a fine wine. When you are hooking live baits, you do not want to put the hook in too deep as you will damage the bait. Hooking the bait too deep will result in the bait dying very quickly. Whether you are fishing offshore or from the beach, a long-lasting live bait is very important. When it comes to hook selection for live baits, everyone has their own personal preference. After changing over to circle hooks I could not go back! There are a number of ways to rig a live bait with a circle, the easiest being just pinning it through the top lip. The best method however, is to use a short piece of Dacron on the hook and then to cable tie the live bait to the hook going through the eye sockets and through the loop created by the Dacron. This method allows you to troll, throw or slide the live bait with total confidence. Not only does it keep the bait alive for longer, it also keeps the hook proud and ready to set in the corner of any fish’s mouth.


Snoek and bottoms. That has been the tale of the offshore scene. The bottom fishing has been very kind to all those venturing to the deep while the shallow water fishermen seeing plenty of results around the river mouths in the form of snoek.

North – The north coast has seen plenty of bottom fish around the deeper reefs and wrecks. The geelbek and daga have made up the bulk of the catches but there have been plenty of bigger soldiers and reds between. The daga and geelbek have preferred a live bait (as always). Get your hands on some mackerel or maasbanker and drop them in to the zone on 8/0 circles. The reds have gone for smaller baits although the big soldiers currently inhabiting some of the reefs have snacked on the smaller mackerel. If you are going after the soldiers in particular, you will want to use smaller hooks, something around a 6/0 circle will be perfect for most of the reds. For this reason we often make the traces up with two hooks, a 6/0 circle at the top baited with a smaller bait and then a large, meaty bait on the bottom 8/0 circle. This will allow you to target everything from slinger to geelbek. The lower north coast has seen plenty of snoek action. The Jex Estate area has been by far the most productive but any of the river mouths will see some action in the early mornings.

Central – The central zone has been much the same as the north, with snoek and bottoms being the main order of business.  The stretch from Umgeni river mouth to Umhlanga has been the most productive for the snoek. The usual methods have not been all that successful and most of the fish have been taken on spoons retrieved rapidly just behind the backline. Remember that this is a potentially dangerous area to fish in and that you should always have one person on the boat looking out for rogue waves. This can be very difficult to do when the snoek are wild, but as long as the wave-watching duty is shared, all will be well. The bottom fishing has been much the same as the north as well. Reds and geelbek have been the main fish coming out. The shad are wild at most of the bait marks, so take plenty of spare jigs…

South – The south coast has been rather quiet. The Aliwal Shoal area has seen some gamefish action but the overall results have been long days and little to show. Of the gamefish coming out, tuna have made up the bulk (if not all of the catches). The tuna catches on the south coast (much like the central and north) have been split on live bait and lures. The best method for these nomadic predators is to troll lures around until you find some action and then switch to live bait if you are not getting any bites. Alternately you can put a trap stick out with the first live bait that you catch and then to continue catching bait. The action of the baitfish getting pulled up to the surface will attract any gamefish that will then snack on the live bait on the trap stick. You can suspend the bait under a balloon or let it swim freely. Keep an eye on the stick as often the takes are subtle.

Rock and Surf:

The rock and surf fishing has been fairly slow. The good news is that plenty of summer species are starting to make an appearance so we could be in for a bumper summer! The snoek have kept the spinning guys working the shore around the river mouths and the bait anglers have kept busy with the shad

North – The north coast has seen some early summer flatfish and sharks come to the side. There have been plenty blackfin sharks hooked by both drone and throw bait anglers. These fish are difficult to land due to their jumping antics and their ability to straighten hooks and snap wire. The demand slightly longer 200lb wire traces and strong hooks. Get a fresh mackerel in front of them or a snoek head and you will see yourself in to a jumping jack. If you are lucky enough to be able to swim a bonefish out along the upper north coast then you are almost guaranteed a hookup! The north coast has also seen some success for the spinning guys in the form of kingfish and snoek. The colourful spoons and new-age slow-pitch jigs have seen plenty of success from the far south all the way to Cape Vidal (and beyond).

Central – The central zone has also seen success for the art lure/spinning angler. The Umgeni mouth has seen some snoek action but the fish have been just beyond reach for all but the thinnest braids. Find a spoon and braid combo that allows a rapid retrieve and a cast over 120m! Most of the fish coming out on lures in the central zone have been shad and the Gold Falcon spoon has been the only spoon to throw. The central zone has seen some edible fish coming out, mainly stumpies and shad. These have been centered around the piers and Umgeni. Prawn baits have been the key for the stumpies while sardines have been the best for the shad. There have been a few inedibles coming out but they have mainly been grey sharks and smaller rays coming out to the guys droning baits in to the deep.

South – The south coast has seen more edible action than the upper areas of KZN. The south coast from Toti all the way down to Port Edward has seen its fair share of kob,  garrick, bronze bream, stumpies and shad. The garrick and the kob have been snacking on any live bait that you can get your hands on but have shown a particular preference for a feisty karannteen. Check Ray’s tip on how to rig them up for these fish. The shad have been a bit patchy but once you find them, they are feeding the entire day on anything you throw at them. Throwing a spoon is a much faster and cleaner way of catching a few shad and generally catches more fish than bait. The rest of the fish have been mainly located around the rocky ledges and gullies of the south coast.


The freshwater scene has been heating up, much like the weather.

Bass – The Albert Falls Bass Classic took place over the last weekend and saw plenty of decent fish to the scales. Some proper weights were brought in and the competition was a true success. The rest of the KZN dams are fairing just as well. Midmar has been doing very well for the guys who know where to go. The slightly deeper offshore structure has been the place to look for the bigger fish during the day, while the shallows have been a place to get your numbers up in the cooler hours of dusk and dawn. Use a decent fish finder and drop some finesse baits on to the deep-water structure and keep your wits about you as the bites can be finicky. The shallow water can be fished in a multitude of ways from squarebills to spinnerbaits, so choose your method of choice and cover as much water as possible. Colours are a thing of personal preference but I would suggest staying with the naturals to most closely imitate the fodder of the bass. The rest of the KZN dams such as Inanda and Hazlemere are seeing plenty of fish being caught and much the same methods as mentioned above will see success.

Carp – The carp are starting to warm up properly and the winter sessions of long hours and few bites are coming to a close. Inanda is currently producing some amazing fish and there are some giants getting lost. With the current amount of weed in the dam, it is vitally important that you beef up your tackle. If you are fishing in a particularly weedy area then a boat is extremely important. The bait choices have not changed much but the use of particles is definitely increasing as we move to the warmer time of the year. The fish are becoming more active so keep your eyes open to spot the activity. Do not stay and wait for the fish if you can clearly see activity in an area. Move to the spot as 5 mins in a productive area is better than 2 days in a dead area. Tigernuts, boilies and popups should be in your bag at all times as they are the baits of choice. Use different hookbaits on each rod and try to figure out what they are feeding on. Switch all rods to the bait that is working (once you have caught a few fish on it).

Trout – The trout fishing is still going very well. The fish have started to move away from their “frisky” antics and are starting to focus on putting some weight back on after an active spawn. This is a time when the insect hatches start to flourish so get your dry flies ready and keep your eyes open for the fish sipping or violently taking the insects off the top. A tip when it comes to looking for surface action: the bigger the splash, generally the bigger the item that is being taken from the surface. This is sometimes skewed by the smaller fish that show a bite too much gusto when eating on the surface. For the deeper water, minnow and nymph patterns will still be your best bet at hooking the bigger fish. Olives, greens and browns are still the best for all these patterns. For those looking at doing something different, the Natal scaly fishing has been wild over the past few weeks. These are exciting sport fish that can help hone your river skills before the upcoming river season. They feed in a similar way top trout but are a little stronger than their imported cousins.

News from Jan, The Kingfisher in Pietermaritzburg – “Well, it would appear that winter is come and gone … although I am pretty sure that as soon as such a statement of fact is declared, The Weather Gods will jump in to disprove it!  (here we are secretly hoping that this will indeed be the case, as we really haven’t had much of a winter and would still like to see a good solid snow dump on top of The ‘Berg to put some of the runny stuff into the catchments … that or some proper Spring rains will also do nicely, Thank You.)

Spring is literally around the corner, and by the end of this weekend we will be in it…where has the year gone?  The upside of course, is that 1 September brings with it the official opening of the Trout River season, and I for one, will be out there sampling it in all its glory.  Catch next week’s report to hear all about it…but in the meantime, if you are planning to a dabble on our streams this season, do have a look at The Kingfisher Fishing Channel on YouTube … there are three new video clips dealing with tackle and setup, tying a great little foam hopper searching pattern, and footage on what you can expect from our premier brown trout water.

The winter Stillwater competition season came to an end with last weekend’s Finals of the TOPS Corporate Challenge where some excellent fish made their appearance from the waters around Nottingham Road.  The winning fish pulled the tape to 62cm / 25 inches, and there was a fair share of 50+cm / 20+ inch fish in the mix.  While the waters are still on the frigid side, the summer-like air temps above threw some seeds of confusion at the fish, resulting in a wide variety of flies coming up with the goods and no single pattern which could be held accountable.  As they say: you ain’t catching unless you fishing, so the only way to see what they are biting on is to at least put something in the water!

The tail-end winter scaly fishing has picked up a notch or two over recent weeks, with some superb fish in the 55-60cm / 22-24 inch bracket being brought to hand.  The lack of precipitation has kept the rivers clean and clear and the low water levels perfect for wading.  Flies of choice have been nymph patterns on the bottom (PTN Hot Spot being the most popular at present) with no reports as yet of any dry fly action … although this will come as the water warms over the next while and the bugs start moving.

With the warmer weather, the bass spawn is on the go already with catches of some “fat ladies” … a solid fish of 4+kg was reported from Albert Falls Dam this week. During this period, increased emphasis is being put on proper handling and C&R with the spawning fish: it is recommended that larger fish require a second hand to support their weight when being held horizontally, holding fish by the lower jaw with the weight of the fish being carried by the jaw in an exaggerated fashion is simply not acceptable.  While injured fish will likely swim away and appear completely normal, the long-term effects of this loading are currently unknown, and it is suspected that many fish belly up later.

We look forward to seeing you in your favourite Kingfisher Tackle Store to assist you with the VERY BEST in tackle and advice!’ thanks Jan. Tight lines and screaming reels.

The Kingfisher’s trading hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 to 17:00,

Saturdays 8:00 to 13:00.


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