With the weather and sea conditions being far from ideal, fishermen have had to get a bit sneaky to find the fish.

Ray’s tip: Let it glow! Many species respond to illuminated baits very well. Shad, walla walla, kob, geelbek and grey sharks to name a few. Now when it comes to getting your bait to “glow” there are a couple of methods that you can use and each has their own application. The first and most popular is the use of chemlights/glow sticks. These little tubes use a chemical reaction to produce light. They have two chemicals inside in compartments that need to be mixed by “cracking the stick”. Once this is done, the glow light will emit light for a couple of hours. This stick can be added on to or above your bait to attract the intended target species. The other main methods are similar. The first is glow beads the second would be glow skirts. The beads and skirts need an external light source to charge them up. So you will need to shine on them with a torch or headlamp before you cast them out. Both of these methods are effective for adding a little bit of attraction to your bait without glowing as much as a glow stick. The difference is that the skirts add movement as well which is helpful at attracting species such as kob. Next time you are fishing at night and struggling for a bite, try one of these methods and see if they make a difference to your success rate.

The offshore fishing has been a bit nasty this past week with the sea being a bit “big”. Big is a serious understatement as the massive walls of water smashing against the coast have made launching a bit tricky. Luckily the guys managed some fish before the big seas and post big sea should see some better results.
North – The north coast managed to escape the bigger waves. North of Richards Bay seemed to miss the big seas that hit KZN. The fantastic snoek season continues on the north coast with some of the biggest snoek coming to the boat in a long time. Fish close to the 10kg mark have been a regular occurrence which is wild! The fish have been landed on various methods but the fillet bait has claimed most of the bigger fish. Trolling a shiny red eye or Natal sardine fillet in the early hours of the morning has been the king of the snoek tactics. Look for areas close to the river mouths with rip currents concentrating the baitfish in the area. Trolling through this area with fillets and smaller lipped lures while throwing a spoon can be a devastating method of catching these beasts. In terms of lures and spoons, the new Kingfisher Mucho spoons are starting to prove their worth along with the ever-popular Kingfisher Anchovy spoons. The lipped lure of choice continues to be the Strike Pro Magic Minnow.

Central – The central coast has also seen the big snoek and the same methods apply. The deeper waters have seen some good tuna on livebait and poppers. There has also been a fantastic “run” of bigger couta off the KZN coast that has brought with it the magic song of screaming drags. The tuna and couta have preferred a live mackerel over any of the other baitfish. The couta have mainly been caught on down-rigged bait while the tuna have favoured something closer to the surface. If the tuna are your soul target then a circle hook will be the best way to rig the livebait. If are wanting to multi-target then a standard wire rig will be the best way to prevent being bitten off.

South – The south coast has had the sardines around for a couple of weeks and the shoals have brought with them some gamefish and a lot of sharks. The big snoek and garrick have been the main fish being caught along the shoals. The snoek have preferred a spoon retrieved rapidly in the area that the sardine shoals are moving through while the garrick have been caught on plugs and livebait in and around the backline. As always, please use the utmost caution when fishing close to the surf line. Make sure to have at least one person on the boat dedicated to watching the waves. The guys fishing Aliwal have managed some monster wahoo but the pickings have been scarce and a live bonnie has been that best way to tempt these stripy torpedoes.

Rock and Surf:
The big seas have made fishing very difficult. Most of the catches have been fish caught while scratching in the back gullies and areas protected from the massive waves.

North – The north coast has not reported much in the line of fish caught. The guys fishing for edible fish have managed some better rockcod and stumpies but the inedibles have been absent from the reports. The edible fish have mainly been caught using softer baits like red eye sardine heads with cutlets on the outside. Alternately you can use a more pecker-proof bait like chokka with a bit of sardine or prawn on the outside.

Central – The central coast has been rather quiet with catches. The piers have been the only spots to produce any fish. The shad have been around but the sizes have been less than ideal. The drift baits have been the most successful for these fish. There have also been a lot of Cape stumpnose (silvers) around. These fish have been fools for a cracker and prawn bait. A 1/0 size hook with two crackers and a sliver of pink prawn is a great bait for most of the smaller edibles. Those looking for garrick have had limited success on the central and north coast but a live shad is ideal for these sport fish.

South – The south coast has seen the bulk of the action for the predatory fish and sharks. The upper south coast has seen a handful of garrick caught on livebait, spoon and plugs. These are fantastic fish to catch and deserve their gentleman status. Make sure to put in a rapid retrieve for your plugs and that they have eyes on them as this is a vital trigger for the garrick. The shad have been loose on the upper south coast with an almost guaranteed limit every morning. Please remember that the limit on shad is 4 (not 20) and that the minimum size limit is 30cm. The anglers wishing to target the big sharks are best suited to the lower south coast. The drone anglers are doing very well with any big bait dropped from 200-300m out. The Mustad Demon circle heavy in 14/0 has proved to be the hook of choice if you want to land your fish.

Freshwater: The dams around KZN are opening for fishing and the fish have been obliging. With some better weather on the way, let’s see what happens…
Carp – The carp fishing has been slow but this should pick up as more people get back to the water’s edge for a throw. The specimen anglers have managed some decent fish in the first session. Inanda and Shongweni have been the only reported venues for carp. Tigernuts and boilies have been the most productive baits for the specimen anglers while the ever-popular floaty has done the conventional anglers well. Banana-flavour continues to produce the goods for the conventional anglers at all the venues being fished. A banana floaty combined with any of the mielie bomb mixes and a spray of banana on the bomb will be a good way to start fishing any venue. The specimen anglers have done very well using tigernuts as their hook bait while each individual has their own secret blend of feed they put on to the spot. Using a good mix of prepared tigernuts, chopped and whole boilies along with some mielie bomb mix will keep your spot fed for a good few hours.
Bass – Much like the carp, the few anglers that have gone fishing have managed some very good catches. Hazlemere has already produced some decent fish. A more subtle approach has been the most successful method. Fishing a weightless worm with either a Texas-style rig or a whacky rig. Colour has not been the most important factor but the naturals are always a good choice. The Texas rig will be a better choice for fishing areas with more structure or weeds as it will not snag up. The whacky rig is better suited to more open areas or fishing to fish that you can see. This time of year also lends well to smaller jerkbaits and light line. Target the areas close to structure or weed beds. Fish these jerkbaits with a lot of pauses and you should be in for a couple of bites, just watch your line.
Trout – Egg patterns and orange flies. This has been the most productive fly selection for most venues in the berg. The orange flies can be anything from an orange woolly bugger to an orange Hamills killer. The two main approaches at this time of year are to either fish to visible fish on the gravel beds or to fish deeper areas close to likely spawning grounds. The first approach is heart-stopping as you see everything. Fishing a static egg pattern can involve a lot of waiting but is highly effective. The second method involves a lot more active fishing, so pick and choose which method suits you.

News Jan Korrubel – “While the naysayers are reporting that we haven’t really had a winter yet, this weekend might just change their minds as a monster cold front is set to waft over the country – fishing in the snow sounds like a plan!
Those fingers that I kept crossed for a proper snowfall might just have done the trick – the melt will feed the rivers nicely and keep flows up for the latter half of winter, providing the river with a flush now that should give us a great start to the new season…
The Midlands Stillwater’s have however, been providing their fair share of good fish. Waters are CRYSTAL clear and COLD, so among success with “the usual suspects” (woolly buggers, minnows, and damsel/dragon patterns), the attractors fish in tandem have been bringing up their end. Egg patterns in orange, white, chartreuse serve duty to pull the fish in, who then (usually) eat the trailing pattern (e.g. damsel or nymph), but as they say … There’s always one! … Who will gobble the attractor! A fish is a fish they also say…
Midmar Dam re-opened earlier this month for fishing, and news from the campsite is that the carp and bass of 1kg+ have been on the bite … Almond and Perdeby are the flavours of choice for the carp, and olive / watermelon / pumpkin Senko for the bass. Albert Falls also re-opened last week, and after having had a break over the Corona lockdown, a “swamp donkey” of note came to hand this past weekend … again olive / watermelon / pumpkin was the colour of choice, on a Z-Craw.
Dam’s levels have dropped just a bit, but still looking good for mid-winter: Midmar just on 97.8%, Albert Falls on 41.28%, Spring Grove 65.5%, while Mearns has come up a percent to 71.25%. Wagendrift Dam (on the Bushman’s River) just under FSL at sitting on 98.6%.
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. Take a few moments to pick up some litter and take it to the nearest bin. Tight lines and screaming reels.
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