FISHING REPORT 1 JULY ’20 July 2, 2020 by The Kingfisher Big seas and strong winds have made fishing difficult these past few days, but with plenty of sardine action around, it looks to be an exciting week ahead. Ray’s tip: Braid packing. With the use of bigger reels and stronger drag systems, the importance of having the braid packed properly on the reel has become paramount. Under the pressure of the higher drag, loosely packed braid will dig in and an all mighty part off will occur. Make sure you are putting the braid on properly or get it done by a professional. The last thing you want is to spend all the time and money on a trip only to call it early because of (easily avoidable) gear failure. Offshore: The fishing offshore has been up and down. The sardine chasing has only yielded a handful of species while most have focussed on the wahoo and couta. North – The north coast has seen plenty of good catches from both the skis and boats. Some very late season dorado have been around making for some surprising catches. Most of these fish have not been actively targeted but the greed of a hungry dorado knows no bounds. The two most productive spots along the north coast remain Umdloti and Jex Estate. Both of these spots have produced good mixed bags over the past week with the inshore snoek bite being amazing in the early mornings and the offshore tuna and couta fishing varying from day to day. The snoek have favoured the strip baits but many have fallen to the UV Strike Pro Magic Minnow. The couta and tunny have gone wild over live mackerel but a well-presented dead mackerel is next best. Central – The fishing along the Durban coast has been solid. The bottom fishing has been picking up steadily with very few trips lacking a trophy fish. Some of the reds have been of monstrous proportions. Standard rigs of two or three strong hooks (Mustad Hoodlum) and a heavy enough sinker have been the ticket. Bait has not been that important but squid and sardine are always a good choice. The gamefish have been a bit slow off Durban itself but some monster tuna have been landed. Mackerel once again has been the livebait of choice for the couta (and anything else really). A couple of wahoo have been hooked but the southern sector has been the place to go for these stripey, speed rockets. South – Wahoooooo! Reels screaming under the torture of a wahoo’s first run are a thing of beauty. Livebait has been the key to successfully target the wahoo on the shoal. A live bonito is almost a guaranteed bite when rigged properly. A wahoo has amazing eyesight so you have to get the balance of wire that is strong enough yet not too thick. American Fishing Wire (AFW) bleeding wire in 60lb has become a firm favourite for wahoo traces. The anglers following the sardine action have done fairly well although the gamefish have not been that wild around the pockets of sards. They have managed some decent snoek and garrick. Rock and Surf: Make it stop! Too many anglers have learnt that some of the beasts of the deep cannot be stopped (even with 1000m of 150lb and a locked drag). The sane anglers have managed some very good fish with plenty of edible action along the coast. North – The north coast anglers have been firmly focussed on edibles for the past month. The reef areas have been loaded with all sorts of species from rockcod through to lemonfish. Targeting these is fairly straightforward with either a single or double hook trace. Make sure you are using circle hooks! This is for your benefit (not getting stuck) as well as the benefit of the fish (less deep hooking). Bait is either chokka, prawn, sardine or a mixed grill. The other main catches up north have been the fish around Tugela. There have been plenty of smaller kob, some decent shad and a lucky few tripletail. Remember to stick to your limit as the authorities have been clamping down on the poachers taking more than their share. Central – Durban has been a bit quiet. Most of the fishing along the KZN coast has taken place either north or south, leaving the central section deserted. The beaches south of Umhlanga as well as the Blue Lagoon pier have been the choice spots this past week. The main catches have been cape stumpies (silvers), shad, blacktail and the occasional garrick. The smaller fish have gone for prawn and squid baits but the cracker prawn has remained the choice for the bigger specimens. The shad have been hot and cold with short bursts of activity followed by quiet spells. Your best bet will be targeting them in the early hours of the morning. The garrick have been few but worth the effort. Rig your livebait on a 6/0 Mustad Tuna Circle (cable-tie through the eye socket) and watch your hook rate go up. South – The south has been full of sardines for a few weeks now. With cold weather and bigger seas, we may even see more beaching activity in the near future. The gamefish have been scarce around the sardines but when you find them, the action is frantic! Garrick and snoek have been the main catches with some anglers managing double figures on spoon or plug. The main targets down south have been the giant sharks hanging around the sards. The anglers lucky (or skilled) enough to land some of these giants need to be congratulated. Make sure you, your tackle and your knots are up to the task. This is one-on-one fighting with a beast. If you can’t manage it alone, then rather fish for something smaller. Freshwater: The cold chills in the air make morning fishing a bit difficult, but worth it. Many venues are starting to open up so the fishing reports should start getting more information. Carp – The carp fishing on a whole has been good. Most of the fish caught have been from private venues as the major waters have just opened. The specimen anglers are prepped and ready for the big carp season. The cold weather and water generally slows the smaller fish down and gives the bigger fish a chance to get to the bait. The winter season involves using less particles and more boilies. A fishmeal boilie will put out more of an oily scent which will attract the fish faster and last longer in the chilly depths. The colder weather also leads better to oily scents as opposed to fruity smells. Look at flavours such as gumtree or garlic to get a faster bite. The conventional anglers generally slow down during the winter time as the bites slow down. There are bigger fish to be had but it is much more of a patience game than the summer carnage. Bass – Post lockdown bassing is looking promising. With more public venues opening, we look forward to some epic catches coming in. The colder months are not the time to stay at home. On the contrary, some of the biggest fish are landed in winter. The cold weather and water makes the bass sluggish and resistant to chasing. Look at targeting their haunts with a chunky creature bait pitched in to the heart of the structure. Braid is your friend here as not only is it going to make hauling the bass out of the mass of sticks or weeds easier; it is also sensitive enough to detect the subtle bite as the bait crashes through. If this fails, look at targeting likely areas with either a reaction bait like a jerkbait fished on lighter tackle or a finesse worm fished dropshot style. Trout – The chill of winter is in the air, the grass is starting to crackle under foot and the ice is getting clingy with the rod guides…Time to go fly fishing! The trout are going to be looking for meals that will help then replenish their weight. Look to throw some bigger streamer patterns such as paparoach flies in olive, large woolly buggers and one of the myriad of baitfish imitations. Fish slower and make sure you effectively cover the area you are fishing (in terms of depth). News Jan Korrubel – “Happy to see that the fishing has begun again and the report is back on line … herewith some news from The Midlands: And just like that, WE ARE BACK ON THE WATER! Well, it wasn’t *really* “just like that” … I am sure you will agree that the wait was interminably long, but it’s over and we can throw a line…Happy days. Sadly for the river trout anglers however, Lockdown kept us off the streams and the season closed without so much of a whimper… L … by the time the season re-opens on 1 September, the fish will have had a 5 month break from having fluff chucked at them, so should be good and ready to bite! While we have had some light snow to date, fingers crossed that we still get a proper snow this winter – the melt will feed the rivers and we should have a blazing start to the season… On the flip side, the Stillwater’s have already seen great action earlier in the month, with some excellent fish in the upper single figures (pounds that is) coming to hand! This past weekend’s fishing was however, on the slow side with a “Beastly Easterly” moving over. With a couple of cold snaps under the belt, waters are cold – probably nearing the 10deg.C mark – and properly clear. Fish will still be feeding, but with spawning on the brain, may need some enticing so larger flies are likely to produce a strike … popular flies at this time are the woolly buggers (in olive and black aka “Speedcop” liveries), minnow patterns and large dragonfly nymphs. If fish are seen cruising close to the banks in shallow water (looking for suitable spawning area), sight fishing a floating or slow intermediate (i.e. “Hover) line with an attractor pattern (e.g. “egg pattern”, blob or even a White Death), with a trailing small nymph can prove to be effective. Who doesn’t like to pick a fish, cast to it, and have it east right in front of you? On the bass front, Midmar Dam re-opened earlier this month for fishing, so looking forward to hearing some news shortly. No word on Albert Falls as yet… Dams levels are still looking good after the late rains: Midmar just on 98.5%, Albert Falls on 42%, Spring Grove just shy of 68%, and Mearns just shy of 70%. Wagendrift Dam (on the Bushman’s River) just under FSL at sitting on 99.45%. With no recent reports incoming, seems to be all quiet on the local scaly (Natal Yellowfish) fishing”. Thanks Jan. Please remember to leave the areas that you fish in a better condition than when you got there. 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