FISHING REPORT 11 MARCH ’20

With cooler sea temperatures, fairly settled seas and some more consistent winds, the fishing has been good all round. With the weather looking like it will hold for the weekend, we should see some amazing catches.

 

Ray’s tip: Handling inedibles. With all the big rays and sharks being landed in the last few weeks, a few handling errors have been seen while landing or releasing these beasties. With sharks, the danger is all at the front. A few basic guidelines to follow: Never put your hand in a shark’s mouth. Removing hooks should be done with a T-bar if they are deep or pliers if they are shallow. Do not pull large sharks far from the water. This will put a lot of strain on the body (yours and the shark’s). With rays/skates there are a few tips to follow: Much like the sharks you do not want to pull the rays far from the water. Ideally keep them in the wash zone. Keep your fingers far from the spiracles. Handle them by their mouth. Use a glove if you are scared. When pulling them, keep your body low to avoid stressing their spine. Never flip them on their back or lift then for photos.

Offshore:

The snoek and dorado season has been amazing! We have seen giants from both species on a fairly regular occasion this year.

North – The north coast has seen plenty of action. The snoek have been feeding well in the early mornings with the bigger fish being slightly deeper and the smaller ones close in. Trolling fillet baits has been very productive for these fish. The choice of hook is often a personal one but a decent thin gauge hook with a very sharp point will do. As long as it is not offset. Alternately, you could use a bass worm hook. These hooks are surprisingly sharp, very thin yet strong and with their shape makes putting the fillet on a breeze. Those that prefer the lipped lures will struggle to beat the Strike Pro Magic Minnow or the Kingfisher Rattler.

Central – The Durban coast has seen plenty of happy fishermen. The bait has been around. Although the shoals have been small, beggars can’t be choosers. The tuna have been testing the tackle off Durban with some beasts being lost and some beauties landed. Live bait has continued to be the best choice for targeting these fish but the most exciting has to be throwing poppers. The explosion of a 20kg+ tuna smashing a popper will get anyone excited! The bottom fishing guys have been doing okay. No real reports of massive catches have come in but consistent hauls of reds, rockcod and occasional geelbek.

South – The south has seen a very good dorado season. Trolling skirted lures along the depth change lines has produced the most consistent fishing. Colour of the skirted lures has come done to personal choice but black/red, fruit salad and pink/white have been the pick of the colours. The couta have been scarce and only a few have been reported. The most successful method has been live mackerel down rigged. Fish deeper as the day progresses.

Harbour – The harbour has been fishing very well over the last couple of weeks. The grunter have been playing ball and some amazing catches have been made. Fishing as light as possible is the answer to better results. Not only will you get more bites, but you will also enjoy the fight a lot more. The lure anglers have managed some good catches of kingies and flathead. Smaller jerkbaits and paddletails have been the most productive lures.

Rock and Surf:

The northeast wind and the settled seas have led to some amazing catches over this past week.

North – The north coast has seen the most variety in terms of inedible action. The banks that are shallow enough to wade on to are the first choice when looking for spots to fish. The species coming out have varied depending on the area but the main culprits have been diamond rays, brown skates, sandies, thorntails and grey sharks. Mackerel and redeye sardine are the most successful baits when targeting all these species. On the edible side, the reports have been few and far between but the north coast has produced some good catches of kob and snapper salmon. Fleshy baits paired with chokka have been the most consistent producers of fish.

Central – The basin area of the Durban beachfront has seen some of the most amazing catches this past week. The number of giant thorntail rays hooked and landed is quite astonishing. Our very own Ray and Jace were in amongst the action on most days, landing fish and helping others with their catches. These fish are very big and often require a few people to move them. Mackerel and bonito are the baits of choice for these giants. Rigged on a 9/0 – 12/0 circle hook will work magic. These are not fish for light tackle and fights can easily go over 4 hours, so make sure you and your tackle are ready. The rest of Durban has seen a lot of inedible action in the form of sandies, brown skates and grey sharks.

South – The south coast has also benefited from the northeast wind. The deep-water beaches have seen some hectic action. Sandies, honeycomb rays and brown skates have been the main species making up the catches. These species do not require wire and all put up great fights. Circle hooks work fantastically for all skates and rays and are the first choice when targeting most inedible species. The reefs and ledges that make up a lot of the south coast have seen some good brusher and bronze bream action over the past few weeks. The brusher have gone weak at the knee (fin) for a crab while the bream have greedily attacked bulky pink prawn baits.

News from Mtunzini. “The lagoon has strange colour to it or should I say very muddy considering we have not had rain for some time but with the Spring tides pushing far up stream then drawing a lot of water on the outgoing tide we hoping this will mix the water up and leave the water cleaner. Fishing has been a bit slow although some nice fish have been caught including a nice Shad at the main car park yesterday evening. The baby Honeycomb Rays are still in the lagoon and give a nice fight on light tackle, please don’t turn them over when you trying to remove the hook you can damage their tummies.

What a weekend of fishing was had in our local waters, the much sort after Diamonds were here but not in great numbers there was still enough to go around and this was from all the beaches, some nice big Sandies were caught at Emboyeni. An angler had a Duckbill Ray he was fighting followed in by a Shark, they saw it behind the bank for the first time then it followed the Duckbill over the bank into the trough but luckily for the angler it did not bite the ray which they landed. Some big Zambies were caught although none were over the 300kg mark. Chris and Michael got 4, Michael also had a bust up and landed one while Chris got 3 with a total weight of over 600kg the biggest being 260kg and the smallest 198 kg, 3 were males. Shad and Snapper were caught and pretty decent size ones at that, these fish also make great bait whether you slide them whole or cut off the heads the non eds will queue up to take the bait. The flat fish are coming in quiet close much to the annoyance of some of the guys who only target edibles. Fishing seems to be good going forward into the week, last evening another nice Sandy was caught.

Sjoen Davidson was the winner of the Cape to Rio Compo with a 10.5kg Couta and I believe Action got the prize for the biggest other game fish with a marlin. Closer to home the boats that went out reported good catches of bottom fish, some very nice size Rockcod and Kob were boated the weather was kind all weekend so I am sure the visiting boats did well as some of them fished for 2 days”. Thanks Nic Maitland from Mtunzini Fishing Shop for this report.

Freshwater:

The freshwater fishing has been dominated by the bass fishing (which has been amazing). The trout are also making smiles in the berg and the carp are consistently feeding in most waters.

Carp – The carp fishing has not changed much in the past couple of weeks. The fishing has been good on both specimen and conventional fronts with consistent catches. The sweeter flavours have been producing the best results which is the norm for the warmer months. Inanda continues to be the best dam for the specimen anglers. Fishing accurately is essential at this venue. If you are 10m out you may as well be fishing a different dam. Create a feeding area and fish your lines next to and in front of the feeding spot. For your feed, mix the particles so the carp feed freely. Albert Falls has been the venue for the conventional anglers. Well packed mielie bombs allow you to cast that little bit further and often produce a quicker bite. Floaties in sweet and fruity flavours will be the pick of the baits. If all else fails, add some earthworms to the mix…

Bass – The bass have been feisty! The fish of all sizes have been aggressively eating most baits but the soft plastics have produced the bigger fish. All of our KZN venues hold big fish and all of them are fishing well at the moment. Don’t be fooled by Hazlemere, it has some giants! Natural colours such are watermelon seed and green pumpkin are always a good choice if you are uncertain of the venue. Fish lighter weights to start and weightless if possible. The heavier the weight the more it restricts the action of the plastic. On that note, straight-tail worms can often produce better results than the ones with large curly tails. The subtle vibration caused by the lobe on the straight-tail can drive bass mad.

Trout – The trout fishing has been a mix at the moment. The rivers are fluctuating a lot with the rains that have been coming through. The fishing has fluctuated with the water level and flow rate. If you manage to time it right you can be in for some magic river fishing. The Stillwater’s have done consistently well this season and the fishing will start to pick up as we move towards the colder months. The deeper channels are still the place to fish at the moment so make sure you have a quality sinking line on board. Fish shorter leader on sinking lines to keep the fly at the right depth. Flies such as zonkers, craft fur baitfish and papa roaches should be in every box.

 

News from Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB. ”After nearly a week of little / no rain, the rivers cleaned up nicely and the weekends fishing looked to be game, set and match … but while the water was near perfect, the fish were not behaving, and it was slow going all round.  Hopefully just a wee spell of “in-between season” offishness (if that’s even a word!?!), and the autumn fishing will hot up dramatically as things cool down and the fish start feeding up for winter…  There is still some rain in the upcoming forecast, so don’t pack way those nymphs just yet … but for the “nose in the air purists”, dry fly time is nearly upon us…

Little word from the Stillwater’s, as the Natal Fly Fishers Club water closures are still in force for the time being. Dates are starting to fill (if not full already) for the winter Stillwater events – the season kicking off with the Boston-Dargle and Kamberg Trout Festival in mid-June and the Corporate Challenge running end June through August.  The waiting list(s) are waiting for you…

With the spell of warm weather, surprising that there is no news of any bucket mouths coming to fore … maybe they too are feeling the inter-season offishness?

With the lack any big rain, tam levels stayed pretty much constant for the last week: Midmar 96%, Albert Falls 34.2%, Spring Grove 62.6%, and Mearns 99%.  Wagendrift Dam (on the Bushman’s River) is also at FSL at 101%.

With no recent reports incoming, seems to be all quiet on the local scaly (Natal Yellowfish) fishing.  Jan Korrubel presented the “Alphlexo Crab” at this month’s meeting of the Natal Fly Dressers Society, and there was much discussion surrounding the use of this principally saltwater pattern in freshwater, particularly for the scalies (and also for brown trout).

The yellows at Sterkfontein are perhaps also feeling the season change … last weekend conditions were near perfect, but the fish were very picky with only a few coming to hand.

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 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.

The New Hanover Prep Comp. The 17th New Hanover Prep farm bass competition is happening this weekend, 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 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.  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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