FISHING REPORT 08 January ’20

So the New Year begins. Some have managed to land their first fish of the New Year already and some have even bested their previous records!

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: Unhooking devices. Unhooking a toothy fish/shark can be a tricky endeavour if you don’t have a pair of pliers, an extended hook remover or a T-bar hook remover. The heavier gauge of the T-bar makes it ideal for removing hooks from bigger fish like sharks and rays. The benefit of the longer handle makes it ideal to get in to the hard to reach areas where a hand should never go. Too many people are bitten trying to remove hooks or snagged by the loose hook in the fish’s mouth. Pliers are the best for small to medium fish as they can pry hooks out fairly easily and are inexpensive. Remember that it is best to get the hook out where possible but if removing the hook is going to cause more harm, then just snip it off and let the fish go. When it comes to fish with teeth, length is your friend so make sure the tool you are using is long enough to keep your hands out of harm’s way. So whether you are fishing for giant sharks with a drone or tigerfish in the dam, you should definitely have something to spare your fingers.

Offshore:

The offshore fishing has been going very well for most of the coastline with reports of billfish, dorado and good bottoms streaming in.

North – The north coast has seen some lovely couta being landed over the past few weeks. All the usual techniques are producing fish, but a live mackerel on a slow drift is certain to get the couta’s attention very quickly. Remember to start the morning out with your baits nice and high in the water column. Once the sun gets higher in the sky, you can start dropping them deeper using downrigger sinkers. A simple bottle sinker and an elastic band is all you need for this. Zinkwazi has been very kind to the offshore anglers and is the pick of the spots on the north coast if you are looking for variety. The snoek have also been around in big shoals hunting the schools of sprats. They have also been joined by some bigger tuna. These fish key in on a certain size prey item and will ignore anything bigger than the sprats they are hunting. This is the time to throw the Kingfisher Anchovy spoon!

Central – Much like the north, there has been plenty of game fish action to keep the offshore anglers happy. The dorado have been full up on the ships and any debris. These are very hungry fish that, once in a feeding mood will eat any bait presented. The dorado are on the small side at the moment with most fish weighing between 3 and 4kgs. There are some bigger fish mixed in, so keep trying and you will connect with some of these bigger boys. The closer inshore waters have been full with sprats that are getting hammered by the tuna and snoek. As mentioned above, this is the perfect time to throw a small realistic spoon like the Kingfisher Anchovy. The tuna have also responded to live baits but the snoek have been fixed on the smaller sprats. The snoek are of giant proportions at the moment with many reports of fish over 8kgs coming in! These giants can bite you off so make sure you have a small piece of wire on the front of the spoons.

South – The south coast has seen some good pockets of baitfish. These have been a mix of redeyes and mackerel. With bait being rather scarce at the moment, it is a good idea to stock up on whatever you can. Take care of the bait and freeze it properly. The south has also seen plenty of game fish action in the form of dorado and tuna. Trolling lipped lures has been the most successful method down south with the darker coloured lipped lures outperforming the other colours. Look for areas of change, be it temperature or depth. These are the most likely areas to hold fish. The south coast has also seen some fine bottom fish caught over the festive season with plenty of poenskop and coppers landed.

News from Mtunzini. “With the holiday season coming to an end we are expecting the fish to come up to the shop, begging for food as they are so used to being fed all day every day for the last 3 weeks, I suppose the holiday season is nature’s way of ensuring an abundance of food during the juveniles growing period. Jokes aside many an angler was kept entertained by the abundant species of fish found in the estuarine system. Although the odd big catch was reported most were undersized and returned to the water.

The other day I was collecting stock from Kingfisher and while waiting I was chatting to the guys down stairs and coming from Mtunzini naturally the topic switched to Diamonds and why there are so few about, the conclusion was we have not had enough North wind and consecutive hot days, but we have had stunning weather so far this year so let’s see if this will be enough to bring the Diamonds on the bite. The shad are biting like mad and amongst them the odd Snapper kob is coming out most guys are walking away with their quota. There are several patches of weed in the water here is a tip, if you see weed on the tide mark walk on. Diamonds are coming out here and there and Riaan got 3 in 2 sessions.

On the Ski Boat side some very nice specimens of Javelin Grunter, Kob, Slinger and Catface Rockcod have been landed. Game fish seem scarce but an angler reported that while spooning at Gerries they had 4 Couta follows but no takes. Boats fishing the Richards Bay area are catching Wahoo, Tuna and Dorado. Young Louis fished 2 days in a row and I said what are you doing with the fish he replied “Gee Nic have you seen how much fish an up country visitor can eat”. The wind for the week end is not too hectic but on Sunday the swell might come into play”. Thanks Nic Maitland fromMtunzini Fishing Shop for this report.

Rock and Surf:

The summer fishing has been wild and some massive fish have been hooked with a couple being landed. It is the time of the year to break your personal best, so get your bait box packed and check your knots because it’s going to be a good season!

North – The north coast has seen plenty of flatfish and sharks. Zinkwazi has been full of grey sharks for the past few weeks with big hauls being landed with fairly regular occurrence. These fish enjoy slightly smaller but meatier baits than the bigger sharks. A mackerel head with cutlets from a redeye sardine is a deadly bait. Those looking for bigger sharks need to aim for the area around Tugela and further north. Seola has produced some lovely fish in the past week and should continue to fire with all the NE wind. Those wanting a giant sandy need to flock to Richards Bay as there have been some true giants landed over the festive season.

Central – The beachfront has also had plenty of fish to keep the local anglers happy. The area from Blue Lagoon down to the North Pier has seen plenty of grey sharks at night and a mix of brown skates and honeycombs during the day. These fish will all eat the same baits so be prepared for anything when you get your bait in to the deep. The edible anglers have had mixed success but the piers have produced a couple of shad and stumpies. The night time fishing has been much more productive than the day which helps when the thermometer is ticking past 30! Prawn and chokka baits are the call for the stumpies and other pan fish while the shad are attacking the sardine baits with vigour.

South – The south coast has seen plenty of action for the throw bait and drone anglers. The fish have been feeding on most of the deeper beaches such as Toti, Illovo and the points down south. There have been plenty of sandies which are definitely high on any anglers list. These fish are hard fighting and long running species. A 10/0 circle hook and a head bait will definitely get the attention of any nearby sandy. The deeper points are producing fish on a regular basis so head to the nearest point and hold on tight.

Freshwater:

News from Jan Korrubel, The Kingfisher in PMB – “While The Midlands has seen some good rains of late, and the input to the upper reaches has got the rivers and streams moving again, the hot weather continues and is keeping water temperatures on the up side of comfortable limits for the fish.  Reports are mentioning temps of 20deg.C early in the morning already, rising to the middle and upper 20’s by the afternoon … anything above 20deg.C is considered not good for trout, so many anglers are calling it done after fishing just a brief early morning session.

Ditto for The Midlands Stillwater’s … the NFFC (Natal Fly Fishers Club) have put a cap of 2 anglers per WEEK on all their Stillwater’s … many anglers have responded positively to the cap, saying that unless you fishing for the pot, practising Catch and Release in the current warm conditions will result in more kills than survivals.

Summer time is of course bass time, and with surface temps in the upper 20’s being reported, both Midmar and Albert Falls Dams have produced some good fish, with one of the reports mentioning a 4kg specimen from Albert’s.  Anything “watermelon” continues to be the colour of choice.

In-between some angry windy spells, Sterkfontein has also been producing some good fish.  Latest reports mention that the fish seem to have gone off the favoured beetles, and have turned their attention to subsurface nymphs.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our Customers “Tight Lines!” – may your fishing calendar be looking stacked for the year ahead.

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.

In other freshwater news:

The dams and rivers have been teaming with action. The festive season saw most of the freshwater venues full of fishermen and boats. The bass are the kings of the freshwater scene at the moment but the carp are keeping the conventional anglers busy.

Bass – The bass fishing has been going amazingly well in all of the KZN venues. Inanda, Alberts, Shongweni, Nagle, Midmar and Hazlemere are all producing trophy catches. The festive season has seen plenty of boat traffic that has limited the areas where the fishermen have been able to fish but with the holidays almost over (sorry for the reminder), the waters should start quieting down. The bass have been feeding on reaction baits with anything that has a vibration, wiggle or rattle getting smashed. Look at fishing an area with a searching pattern like a spinnerbait or bladed jig and then revisiting the same area later in the day with a more finesse approach like a wacky worm or Neko rig. Colour has not been of the greatest importance at the moment but the brighter colours are producing some bigger fish, so the choice is yours. With the summer heat beating down, it pays to fish deeper in the cover and on the offshore structure. Look for over-hanging trees and offshore humps and troughs.

Carp – The carp fishing has slowed down for the specimen anglers. The summer heat puts the bigger fish in a lazy mood and generally makes them move off food. The smaller fish on the other hand flock to anything sweet and gobble it up with reckless abandon. The conventional anglers have been having great hauls of these smaller fish at all the KZN venues. A good mix of sweet flavours on your bomb and on the feed will attract the fish quickly to your bait. Use mielie pips as they will stay on the hooks longer as the feeding frenzy knocks all the feed around. Look to fish in areas that have a lot of weed as the summer heat causes the weed to produce a lot more oxygen during the day and the fish like hanging out in and around these high oxygen areas during the day.

Trout – The trout fishing, much like the specimen carp, has died down. The bigger fish are not enjoying the heat of summer and have sulked off in to the depths. Look for areas where the inlet comes in to the dams as this provides colder water that is generally full of oxygen. These inflows are prime spots to target fish in the warmer months. Also with the heat comes a myriad of insect hatches. The dry fly enthusiasts will have a great time matching the hatches as close as possible. The stream and river fishing is producing a lot of fish for those hiking in to the berg. Please use caution as the summer heat brings with it a lot of snake activity. Consider buying a set of decent snake gaters. They are worth their weight in gold! 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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Please send any info about fishing, fish caught or competitions in your area to mike.pereira@kingfisher.co.za.

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