FISHING REPORT 19 February ’20 February 21, 2020 by The Kingfisher With some “interesting” weather over the past week, the fishing has been a little up and down. The warm water has put off some of our shore species while the offshore guys have filled their hatches. Ray’s tip: Gaffs. Like them or hate them, the gaff is a very useful tool for landing fish. It can also be a fairly “fish-friendly” tool if used properly. A gaff is pretty much a large hook on a stick. For the fisherman who wants to keep the fish that he/she catches, it is a very neat way of securing them to be landed safely. This is very useful for fish with teeth (couta, snoek, wahoo…) or when fishing in an area where it is not possible to get to the water’s edge to land the fish (Transkei coast or Rooikrans for example). When it comes to inedible species (sharks and rays) it is a tricky affair. An inexperienced person can easily kill a sharks or skate with the incorrect gaff placement. It is highly recommended that you only use a gaff as the last resort and preferably learn to angle a fish to an area where it can be safely landed. Offshore: The offshore fishing has been very good for the past week with many anglers struggling to drag their skis up the beach after filling their hatches. There have been tuna, snoek, sailfish and some dorries for good measure. North – The north coast has been on form these past few weeks. Vidal and Sodwana are on fire at the moment so if you are looking for the right time to go to the upper north coast, it’s now! The rest of the north coast has been firing on spots. Umdloti, Umhlanga and Westbrook have been the top three spots but fish have been coming out along most of the coast. Snoek have made a real charge this past week with some bombers being boated. Fillet baits trolled behind the backline in the early morning have been the most productive of the three methods (spoons, fillets and lipped lures). The Kingfisher Rattler has also claimed its share of the fish (for those who prefer a lipped lure) while the Kingfisher Anchovy spoon has continued to deceive any fish that sees it. Central – The Durban area has been tricky. The ability to launch in almost any sea thanks to the protected launch areas (Harbour and Vetchies) has meant Durban has been fished on most days. There have been a lot of frigate tuna and sarda around for those looking for bait. Further offshore the warmer water has made for some good game fish sessions. There has been a good run of sailfish in the past week. Trolling the Kingfisher Rattler Chuggers has produced enough of these beautiful fish to prove their effectiveness. Those preferring a more stationary approach have had some success with drifting live baits and throwing poppers for the tuna and dorado. Circle hooks have been very effective for the live baits while the Kingfisher Rattler popper has cleaned up the surface action. South – The south coast has held some colder water, unlike the north. This cooler water has meant some good bottom fishing on the reefs for the recreational guys. There have been some proper rockcod caught over the past week on a variety of baits, but a lively live bait has generally produced the bigger and quicker bite. Those preferring the game fish action have had a mix of success. The couta have been playing hard to get with only a handful of reported catches. The tuna have kept hopes alive with their eagerness to eat most lures and baits. The dorado have slowed down in the south but they are still there to be caught. Harbour: The Durban Harbour has been producing some lovely grunter over the past week. The guys on boats as well as those wading the banks have seen success using light tackle, no sinker and a cracker. This setup leads to more positive takes and less dropped baits. The spinning fraternity has been getting a mixed bag of fish from the harbour. The flatheads have been feeding well and have made up the bulk of the catches but there have been various kingies, springer and oxeye tarpon as well. Rock and Surf: The shore fishing has been a bit slow this past week. Although the good days have fished very well, the warm water has put most of the fish off. Let’s hope the rain and northeast wind cools things down. SASAA B and Development nationals took place this past week. The competition takes place over 5 days in the Struisbaai area. Overall it was a tough tournament but the teams who were able to grind it out and consistently put fish on the board ended up walking away with top honours. The KZN teams faired very well keeling up with the top 3 teams on all days the KZN B1 and B2 fished as two separate 6 man teams and over all the B teams finished as follows: KZN B1 Gold Medal Winners. Angler Shrinav Sahadev overall Gold medal Winner in the individual B teams. KZN B2 Bronze Medal Winners. Angler Warren Anthony finished 6th overall in the individual competition. Both Warren and Shrinav both managed beautiful specimens of Eagle Rays of over 50kg. North – The hot and humid north coast has seen plenty of action. The inedibles have been testing the angler’s knots up north with some giants being hooked and only a few landed. Fleshy fish baits have been the ones to go for, with mackerel and red eye sardine producing the best results. If you are wanting to target multiple species at the same time then a standard 90-150lb wire FMJ trace with a 9/0 circle hook will be the best bet. Using this with your bait on a dingle dangle will allow you to cast the distances needed along with using the circle hook as it is meant to. Those targeting the edibles have also been doing well with a couple of species. There have been bronze bream feeding in the shallow rocky areas. Pink prawn or crackers perform the best. There have been plenty of smaller kob and snapper salmon have been feeding heavily in the north. Chokka and sardine baits are getting the quickest bites. The guys spinning from the shore have managed a few snoek as well. The Kingfisher Anchovy spoon proving its worth. The stumpies have also been around in patches. Central – The Durban coast has been plagued with warm water this past week. The sea has been like a bath, and from my experience, no matter how much you try you won’t get a bite fishing in the bath…The edible anglers have managed a few decent stumpies along the beachfront. The warm water has made for difficult fishing but a good bait presentation and lighter lines have been key to getting the bite. The piers have also had a lot of shad in the mornings. The fish have been smaller than ideal but most are making size. Those wanting something big and/or with teeth can try their luck in the evenings. Most of the inedibles being caught have been grey sharks and diamond rays. These can both be targeted using fleshy baits, so make sure you have enough red eye sardine and mackerel in your box. South – The south has had some cooler water temps but still a bit too hot for the fish to feed confidently. The 1 or 2 degree drop in temperature has been enough to produce some bites but someone needs to add a bit of cold water before the fish get cooked! The bronze bream and stumpies have been keeping the scratchers busy in the gullies. Pink prawn has been the most successful bait this past week. The warmer water means fishing with lighter lines for your hook snoots. Try using 15lb Maxima Ultragreen on to your Mustad Chinu 1/0. This combo has landed enough big bream to be relied on. The inedibles have moved to the deeper and cooler water. Look for areas with access to the deep and you should come right. Freshwater: The freshwater fishing has been really kind to the bass guys with a lot of decent fish being landed. The carp are enjoying the summer warmth while the trout sulk in the depths. Bass – The bass fishing has been on a real high over the past few weeks. The heat has made the fish feed actively throughout the day. All of the usual techniques are grafting with reaction baits getting the more aggressive bites. This means jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and cranks. Colour is always a controversial topic but I err on the side of natural. Look at the local fodder for the dam and try to match it as a safe bet. Albert Falls has been producing the biggest fish in KZN over the past month or so. These fish have been coming out on all methods so stick to what you are confident with and you should break your current personal best. The other dams like Hazlemere and Inanda are also producing decent fish. With the bass feeding like they are, it is time to hit the water! Carp – The carp fishing has been a mixed bag this past week. Some anglers in the further inland waters have managed some very big bags of fish. Floaties in honey and banana flavours have been the pick of the conventional baits. The bomb flavours are also debated but a bit of fluoro in the mix will get the fish’s attention which is always a good thing. The specimen anglers are getting their best results using tigernuts as bait. The flavour has not been the most important thing but the bigger tigers have got the bigger bite. Make sure that you add these in to your feed mix to get the fish feeding hard on the bottom for their food. The other particles to add are up to you, but you can add corn, boilies, pellets, tigers, peanuts and hemp seed to name a few. Fish closer to the weed lines and you should get some action at most of the KZN dams. Trout – The trout fishing has been going very well at the bigger venues. Look for places that have big, deep dams. These larger waters will hold the cooler temperatures in the depths and are thus more likely to have active fish. Please do not fish if the waters get too warm as the heat can lead to the fish not making it after the fight. Fish the deeper channels of old roads or riverbeds as the deeper contours will hold the bigger fish. Use conventional streamers like papa roaches and zonkers to effectively fish these zones. Those wanting some real adrenaline pumping action need to make a trip to Sterkfontein to hunt the smallmouth yellowfish. There are also bass, carp, barbel and largemouth yellows on the menu. Fishing has been good at Sterkies for the past few weeks but the fish have been picky on the time they choose to feed. Make sure you have some size 18 or 20 ants in the box and some 6X tippet in case they get finicky. News from Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB- “With a break in the rain, summer came back with a vengeance and The Midlands had a few blistering hot days. Luckily some overcast and cool conditions a bit some more rain saw this come to an end before the waters really started cooking again… With the dearth of rain last week, this past weekend probably would have been a good one for the rivers, and the possibility of using a dry fly back on the game plan. The rest of this week sees some more rain coming through, but as mentioned previously, it’s all good as autumn draws closer setting up ideal conditions for the spawn. On the Stillwater front: Natal Fly Fishers Club have instituted water closures for many of their lower-lying waters in an effort to curb fish mortality from fighting fish in warm (hot!), oxygen depleted waters, while keeping some of the higher-altitude waters open as these will have the benefit of more moderate temperature fluctuations. Instead of bucket mouths, the anglers at Albert Falls Dam are reporting seeing a plethora of crocs … this is Africa guys, be careful out there…! With the heavy rains of early last week, the Midlands Dams continue to fill nicely: Albert Falls 34.56%, Spring Grove just shy of 51%, Midmar at 94.74%, while Mearns is topping over at 105%. Wagendrift Dam (on the Bushman’s River) is also at FSL at 101.42%. With no recent reports incoming, all quiet on the local scaly (Natal Yellowfish) fishing. The yellows of Sterkfontein are getting all the attention of late, with fish being taken on a variety of patterns … however, the Good Doctor’s Beetle still being the fly of choice. 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. A couple of competitions to look forward to: The annual Durban Ski-Boat Club Festival is taking place on the weekend of the 24th April 2020. With over R1.5 million Rands worth of prizes and the main prize of a Seacat 520 with 2 x 60hp Yamaha 4 stroke motors, this is a competition not to be missed! Entry forms are available from The Kingfisher with early bird registration valid until the 31st March. New Hanover Prep. The 17th New Hanover Prep farm bass competition is happening on the 14th March 2020. With 20 dams to fish and prizes for both adults and juniors per dam, this is a must fish competition! Entry fee is R200 for adults and R130 for juniors. For more information look at www.newhanover.co.za or phone Stof 082 496 2696 The Harding Bass Compo. This takes at the end of the month, 29 February – registration takes place at the Harding Country Club on the evening of Friday 28th and the following morning – after which the comp takes place on 10 of the ever popular Harding farm dams. Matatiele Lake Fly Fishing Compo. The much-anticipated Matat fly fishing competition is happening on the weekend of the 5th of June. Entry fee of R1000 covers dinner (Friday and Saturday), lunch on Friday, coffee/tea and rusks all weekend, camping and a goodie bag. With some amazing venues and awesome prizes, this is a competition you have to fish! Contact Shane (083 2994996) or Dale (081 4010027) for registration and further details. 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). 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. The Kingfisher retail store at 53 Hunter Street, Durban will be closed for annual stock take on Monday the 2nd and Tuesday the 3rd March. Our apologies for any inconvenience caused. All other stores will be open for trading. Our closest store in Durban is Tackle Centre, 121 Old Fort Road. 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