FISHING REPORT 05 February ’21

We made it through the first month of 2021! So far so good and the fishing has been oh so good…

Ray’s tip: Choosing the right hook when faced with a wall of options can be a daunting task. There are a few basic rules and tips you can follow. Firstly, there is no such thing as one hook that is perfect for every species. Secondly, size of hook is extremely important and will be dictated by the target species. For example: the hook for bronze bream (Mustad Ringed Chinu size 1/0) is not the right hook for stone bream. This does not mean that you cannot catch multiple species on one hook, but that you should vary your hook according to the species you are targeting to get a better hook-up to landing ratio or to better present the bait to that species. Using the example above, a bronze bream enjoys and bigger prawn bait and has a bigger mouth than a stone bream. Therefore, it requires the bigger hook. A stone bream is a shy fish and has a much smaller mouth. This means that when we target the stone bream, we scale down the bait and therefore the hook to produce a more natural-looking bait that gets more pulls.


Offshore:

Giant tuna, dorado, couta and a lot of billfish! What else could we want?!

North – The north has seen a lot of snoek action at all the usual haunts. The paddlers have done very well with their silent approach. Fillet baits have done well to locate the snoek but once found, a switch to spinning with a small spoon has been much more effective.  The sharks have been very active on the north coast spots with taxation being particularly high at Umdloti. I’d you find yourself losing fish to the sharks, your best bet is to move off that spot. You are not going to be able to pull the fish faster than the shark can swim.

Central – The Durban section of KZN has seen a lot of happy anglers recently. The dorado have kept most of the anglers happy enough but those looking for more action have found it! The marlin have been full up. A lot of smaller marlin have been landed this past week. These are a fantastic introduction in to big game fishing. One of the most overlooked aspects of marlin fishing is the role of the skipper. He/she needs to keep the boat positioned in such a manner that there is always tension on the line and that the marlin is never swimming towards the boat.

South – The south coast has seen the early arrival of the couta with some good size fish already appearing. Most of the fish have been further north but the “crocodiles” are still a few months off. Fishing the colour lines caused by all the rain has been the most successful method for targeting the snoek and dorado (two different depths) down south. Trolling fillet baits on the shallow lines has been the downfall of many snoek while the deeper water lines have been loaded with dorado.

News just in from Nic, Mtunzini Fishing Shop – “Fishing over the weekend in the lagoon was very good and some nice size river bream (one weighed 1.75kg) have been landed. River snapper between 2-3kg with one about 4.5kg were notable catches together with kob and lots of javelin grunter, The kob were not making size but who cares it is still fun catching fish, the water is not as dirty as we would expect after all the rain.

Surf fishing has been slow with some edibles been caught but the big fish remain elusive and that is not for the lack of trying, on Saturday we fished old ramp and even I managed a little fish it was a shad making size but because it was hooked through the tongue on a circle hook of all things it was quickly converted to bait. Neil got a small kob and then the water ran away so we packed up Elsewhere it was much the same however when the tied came in on Saturday afternoon the sea changed for the worse with Sunday fishing the Main Beach seemed the best option as I believe Red Boom was unplayable so I imagine the banks not to be much fun either. Looking into the week the sea starts settling today and we think we will have a good fishing weekend coming up.

Some boats managed to get out on Saturday morning while some turned back, there was a very big backline making launching very easy, chatting to Willie who on his maiden voyage on his new boat was one of those that turned back and he felt the guys thought he  was not up to it, I said to him only he knows his limitations and rather bring yourself and crew back safe than pushing yourself and coming unstuck and hurting all, no skipper in their right mind will tell you, you are not up to it, Little boats are not easy to get out in big swell and experience will tell you that so guys don’t feel pressured to go after all know body knows your limitations. No Fine skippered by young Louis was one of the few boats to get out and they headed for High Point and boated 2 nice couta while the other 2 boats stayed in local waters went hunting around the Gerries area were not so fortunate so settled for some bottom fishing. Young Shaun skippering Legal Duck put his crew onto some very nice size morph grunter which we have not seen for some time. Gert who is leaving us to move to George had his last outing and managed to get out and also caught a few bottoms but was probably disappointed in not getting at least one couta. Jannie on his jet ski was on his way back to the slipway when he spotted some tuna and he set off in hot pursuit and managed to catch one of about 12kg, as they say nothing is over till the fat lady sings. Let us see what next weekend brings”. Thanks Nic.

Rock and surf:

The inedibles are giving a good account of themselves. The kingfish have been around in good numbers.

North – When the conditions line up, the north has been wild. From Umhlanga to Richard’s Bay and beyond, the fishing for the big boys has been exceptionally good. The so called wrong conditions have reduced the bites, but the fishing has not stopped. Any larger fish bait has been the best bet to draw the fish in and get their attention. Mackerel and bonito/sarda are your best baits when it comes to inedibles up north. Remember that you need to fish for these fish with the correct tackle (fairly heavy) to get them out. The diamonds can be landed on light tackle but this is not possible if there is any kind of crowd. Fishing light in the crowd is a recipe for disaster, either tangles or cut-offs. FMJ traces are not necessary for the diamonds but the wire does give you two benefits. The wire means the sharks will not bite you off and the wire gives you added abrasion resistance (more than one fish on the trace).

Central – The central section of KZN has been producing some very good catches of late. The beaches in the Durban area have seen a couple of very decent sandies landed. Most of the bigger fish landed over the past week have fallen for droned baits but some impressive catches have been made by those who choose to throw their baits. The grey sharks are full up on the beachfront so if you are wanting to get a bit of action, take your lighter setup and some mackerel to the beach for an evening throw. The bites have come just after the west has hit so stay and wait after the west starts to puff. The drone boys have landed some giant sharks and some big flatfish. These have obviously been caught outside of the illegal flying zone (Blue Lagoon to North Pier).

South – The south coast has seen a lot of bronze bream action this past week. These shy fish are a lot of fun target on the light tackle. Rods ranging from 8ft to 14ft matched with the appropriate reel will be perfect. Go as light as the area will allow as these fish can be very skittish and therefore put off by thick lines and big hooks. Your trace needs to be a bit longer than usual to provide a bit of movement and you need to use a round, orange float. This float attracts the bream and allows them to hone in on the bait from far away. One of the best tips for bronze bream is to make a fairly large prawn bait. The bulkier baits produce a quicker and harder bite.

Freshwater:

The freshwater fishing continues to impress as we move in to the second month of 2021. The bass are destroying topwaters, the trout are fighting hard and the carp are in the mood to eat.

Bass – The bass fishing has been amazing! Those of you that enjoy an explosive strike, now is your time to shine! The summer time is a great time to get out the top water frogs and throw them in to the nasty structure. The heat of summer gets them feeding ferociously and they will attack most fast moving lures. The old adage holds true, “bright sky, bright fly (lure)”. In the clear conditions, a more natural colour such as watermelon-red or watermelon seed is a great way to get a bite. In the earlier hours of the day and the evenings, a faster plan of attack can prove deadly. When the heat gets too much for you and the fish, head to deeper water or in to the shade. The deeper water will be cooler and will hold more oxygen. These areas can be most effectively fished with a soft plastic of sorts, ideally something a bit more finesse like a straight-tail worm on a dropshot rig.

Carp – The conventional carp anglers have been kept very busy over the past few weeks. The sound of alarms has been ringing out over most dams. The smaller carp have been full up in all the dams and these are the fish responsible for the hectic action. The specimen anglers have been trying to keep away from these fish as they are after the parents. If you are wanting to avoid the smaller fish, try upping the size of your bait as the small fish will not be able to get the bait in to their mouths. Try fishing with tigernuts or boilies for the best results. Also remember that these fish a ferocious feeders and can clean out a bait area quite quickly, so make sure to replenish your baiting area frequently. Also try to add more particles in to the mix as this creates a blanket of finer particles that will take a lot longer for the fish to clear out. Stick to the sweeter flavours and you should be having some fantastic action at any of the local waters.

Trout – As the heat of summer intensifies, the trout start to sulk in to the depths to get away from the warmer water. This does not mean that they will not feed; it just means that you need to look for them where they are hiding. Find the cooler water. Cooler water has more oxygen and is more comfortable for the fish to be in. The best way to get down to the fish is to use a sinking line and a shorter leader. The sink speed of the line determines how deep it can efficiently fish at and the time it will take to get there. The shorter leader keeps the fly at the same depth as the line so as to avoid the line running deep and the fly sitting 9 feet above it. This time of year is best done with heavier tackle as you will land the fish a lot quicker and thus limit the stress put on the fish in the heat. The summer heat is not ideal for the fish in the dams and once the water is too warm, it is best to fish elsewhere as the fish will most likely be killed by the fight. The rivers are all still fishing well with the trout and scalies feeding eagerly on our feathered offerings. Keep your patterns simple and make sure you have versions with and without flash.

News from our Jan from the Kingfisher in PMB –“With last week’s BIG rains, the push over Midmar that was starting to slow, came back to full force … nice to see as this will be feeding the ever-ailing Albert Falls.  Otherwise, for the main part, The Midlands waters are still very much in limbo with water temperatures still up, and of course river flows in abundance…  That being said, we shouldn’t complain about the rain… (Unless it affects our fishing of course! J)

The Natal Fly Fishers Club (NFFC) Stillwater’s are still closed for angling, and probably for the next couple weeks, most of February at least.  Some private waters might be fishing, and if so, recommendations are “deep and slow” to find the fish in the cooler water on the bottom.  A tandem rig with a large lead fly (e.g. baitfish and dragon / damselfly pattern) with a small “sweetie” as a trailer (e.g. PTN / Zak / GRHE nymph or even a White Death) will give a fish a choice to snack on and hopefully tempt one out of the warm water induced torpor.  Also, if practicing C&R, “tippet up” to get the fish up and away as quickly as possible – an extended fight in the warm surface waters will result in a sure mortality.

The rivers are still very much on the up side, and yours truly is (im) patiently biding time … probably only later this month.

Even the bass are on the slow – at last weekend’s FLW “Cast for Cash”, only 2 boats managed to weigh in 5 fish.  Only 1 report of a 3kg fish coming from a bank angler, otherwise all other reports indicate that the fishing has been tough.  Under the recent Level 3 COVID regulations, Midmar has been closed to fishing, swimming and boating … this reporter is not yet aware that this changed with Monday’s relaxation of the regulations.

Sterkfontein has also been rather iffy of late – stormy conditions with high winds and pelting rain makes for difficult fishing at the best of times. Also no reports of the usual summer shoals of spawning fish.  Those anglers that he put in the time have reported some good fish in-between the weather … flies of choice have been the ubiquitous Good Dr’s Beetle, hoppers in various guises, and Klinkhamer dries.

As mentioned, with the rivers in full bore, dam levels are on the up … current dam levels are as follows: Midmar just shy of 101% and overflowing nicely, Albert Falls now the highest it’s been for some time at just over 42%, Spring Grove just shy of 74%, and Mearns also overflowing at 110%.  Wagondrift on the Bushman’s River is also overflowing at 102%.” 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.

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Please send any info about fishing or fish caught in your area to mike.pereira@kingfisher.co.za

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