FISHING REPORT 26 March ’21

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.

The fishing has been very good for both the shore and boat anglers this past week. With the conditions starting to settle a bit, the fish have started to become a bit more predictable.

Ray’s tip: The summer heat is here and with the warmer weather comes the summer fish. Protection from the summer heat is something which is very often overlooked when the prospect of big fish is in the air. For all of your summer adventures please make sure that you take the appropriate steps to keep yourself safe. This means taking enough water along for the trip and a little extra for when the fight goes on longer than expected. Having a decent hat and buff to cover your head, face and neck. Make sure that you wear light weight, UV protective clothing to keep everything covered. Last but not least, shoes! The sand gets very hot by midday so take a pair to walk back to the car with.

Offshore:

The couta have been on the bite for a few weeks now and the excitement is palpable at the early morning launches…The average size has been a bit on the small side but there are some better fish mixed in.

North – The north coast has seen the bigger of the couta with the average size being north of the 10kg mark. The most successful method has been trolling live or dead baits slowly over likely looking areas. Make sure that you run your baits at different depths to find where the fish are feeding, after which you can fish that depth with all your baits. Try using either a glow bead or a skirt in front of your bait to attract the fish to your bait. There are very good pre made traces from Salt Water traces; they are available in a sizes small, medium and large with a bead, skirt or duster. The north coast has been snoek central. The areas around Tinley Manor and Umdloti have been the two main hotspots. Trolling a combination of a single fillet bait on one rod and a small lipped lure on the other rod just behind the backline at first light will give you the best chance of hooking in to one or seven of these beautiful fish.

Central – The couta have been on the smaller side around Durban but some fish close to the 20kg mark have been landed. The area south of the harbour entrance has been the most productive of the spots. Around the 20-30m depth mark has been reported as the most productive. Trolling a dead mackerel or sardine with a 4-6oz downrigger weight has put the results on the board. Make sure that your bait is not spinning while being trolled and that the hooks match the bait size. If you can get your hands on a live bait, you are 99.9% guaranteed a bite. The Durban coast continues to produce good hauls of bottom fish. Geelbek and daga make up the bulk of the catches but the mix includes soldiers, rockcod and slinger. The switch to circle hooks has helped a lot of anglers increase their hook up and landing rates. If you haven’t tried them yet, now is the time!

South – The south coast has seen a lot of bottom fish action over the last few weeks. The rockcod have been very greedy ad always and they have jumped on most baits dropped down to the. The tuna have been the only reliable gamefish to target down south with the rest of the bunch being hit or miss. The tuna have been taken on everything from small live baits to large skirted Kona’s. Aliwal has been producing some amazing action with plenty of different gamefish reported from both the commercial and recreational anglers. Lipped trolling lures have been the most productive with the deeper diving Kingfisher Rattlers in pink and purple producing all the pulls.

Rock and Surf:

The rock and surf fishing has been a mix of shad (big and small) and some better inedibles including Zambezi sharks, diamond rays and the odd giant sandshark. Fresh bait has made a big difference in the speed of the bite so try your best.

North – The north coast points and deeper beaches have seen some good fish landed and a handful of giants lost. The drone anglers are getting a lot of fish at most spots along the north coast. Please respect the other anglers in terms of space. The deep water points along the north coast have all been productive on the pushing tide. A fresh mackerel bait on a good throw off one of these points will put you in with the best chance of opening your summer account with a nice sandy or honeycomb.

Central – The Durban coast has been dominated by brown skates and grey sharks for the inedible anglers while the shad and brusher have kept the edible anglers happy. The shad have been wild but they are on the smaller side. Please stick to your limit of 4 per person per day and do not keep fish that are smaller than the 30cm legal size. Sardine has been the pick of the baits for these fish and a sensitive rod to detect the bites as the shad have been feeding shyly. The evening incoming tide has been the most productive for the inedibles. A smaller redeye or mackerel bait has allowed a further cast. This has made the difference on most evenings. The edibles have been loving a chokka strip with pink prawn or cracker on the back. This is a very versatile bait for most species.

South – The longer beaches on the south coast as well as the deep water points have done very well for the drone anglers. Any of the fleshy fish baits such as mackerel, yellowtail or bonito have produced bites. The ideal drop has been between 200 and 300 meters. Make sure you and your tackle is up for what follows before you put a 1kg bait out…The rocky gullies have produced some good catches for the scratching guys. Bronze bream have been the main catches in these areas. Pink prawn has been the most productive of the baits.

Harbour:

The Durban Harbour has been producing some amazing fish over the past few weeks. Springer, oxeye tarpon, big grunter and a host of kingfish species have all been landed. The artificial/lure anglers have been doing very well with surface lures. Small poppers have accounted for many different species and they are also great fun to fish. A slower pop-pause retrieve has seen the most successful results. The bait anglers have also seen good success fishing in the evenings with most nights seeing a grunter or two over the 3kg mark.

News just in from Nic, Mtunzini Fishing Shop. “Two uncommon species were caught over the weekend in fact both were on Monday, Chris got a river gobi and Louis a conger eel. Pickhandles are still in the lagoon and are readily taking artificial baits. River snapper are seemingly elusive however river bream are feeding like mad and are making the bulk of catches together with small grunter.

Flat fish fishing is blowing hot and cold during the last week with days when not are caught at all. Saturday was the most active day when honeys, browns and duckbills were caught together with some small sandies. Neil had a good session on Saturday by bagging a stumpy, his first. The banks produced the most flat fish on Saturday but earlier in the week the odd diamond was caught, these fish seem to have given us a miss this year. Young Rudi not been able to get fish here headed for the south coast and got a sergeant major, after driving all the way for that, me thinks we will see him fishing local waters over the weekend.

Frans fishing on Gawie’s boat got his first couta and a drift bait using a sardine, they also got a nice hammer head and some bottoms. Although quite a few boats went out I believe two other boats got game fish, one been Hillbilly and the other was Meriman on his jet ski, he boated a nice snoek behind the wreck. This week fishing conditions are looking good and Stephan and Peet went out today while we are all working”. Thanks Nic.

Freshwater:

The freshwater scene has been very bass-focused over the past few weeks but the carp and trout are still there for those who persist.

Bass – The bass fishing has been phenomenal over the past few months. Since the spawn the fish have been feeding very well in all of the KZN waters and the action has only slowed down in brief windows after the bigger storms that have pushed through. Midmar has produced some excellent fish for both the boat and bank anglers. A weightless fluke in black or junebug has been the most successful bait reported. Remember with the weightless flukes you need to fish a lighter line and allow the fluke to sink. Alternately you can fish them with a very erratic twitchy retrieve and make them pop in and out of the surface layer. Albert Falls has been producing some real pigs. Reaction baits such as jerkbaits and chatterbaits have produced the bigger fish but most methods have produced good results. Hazlemere has been a real surprise venue as even with the very low water, there have been some extremely good quality fish caught. Fish over 4kgs have been landed! Weightless soft plastics such as senko style baits have produced the better fish although the spinnerbaits in chartreuse and white have got the numbers. Inanda has fished very well for the boat guys but the bank anglers have struggled with the weeds.

Carp – The carp are greedy at the moment with the summer heat putting them in to feeding mode. The warmer weather makes the carp a bit more active with the catch numbers revealing a rise in the smaller fish. This time of year is the time for the conventional anglers. You can go to most of the KZN venues and fill your keep net in a short amount of time. The sweeter the flavour the quicker the bite. Look at flavours like banana and honey and add a bit of molasses in to your feed mix. Inanda has been the pick of the KZN venues with both specimen and conventional anglers producing good catches. Banana floaties or mielies with an Egg yellow mielie bomb mix has produced a lot of success for the anglers shopping at the Durban Kingfisher branch. Of the other KZN dams, most of them have produced good catches before the storms have pushed through.

Trout – The trout fishing is still on a high. The winds are pushing the fish around a bit so shift around to find the feeding fish either at the end the wind is pushing towards or the opposite side of the water you are fishing. The same patterns are still producing fish with streamers being the most universal method used of late. The dry fly anglers are also getting a lot of fish in the morning and evening rises. Generic dry flies such as DDDs and Elkhair caddis flies have been the most successful patterns reported. The streams and rivers are a bit low but the rains have lifted the levels a bit. High-stick nymphing has become a deadly method for trout and is something you need to try if you haven’t already.

News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “With a good nip in the air of late, it FINALLY seems like summer is being edged out and autumn is in the ‘hood.  This is good news for the trout waters, that have been (and still are in some cases) on the warm (20 deg.C +), so the cooler night temps will greatly assist on bringing the waters down as well.

Last week’s rainfall pushed the rivers up a bit, and brought some colour to the lower stretches, but the upper reaches are currently clear and looking sublime.  If I can have a teeny tiny whinge : the flow is still just a tad up for delicate dry fly work … my para-RAB Emerger was spending as much time under water as it was on top … switching to a larger Foam Hopper greatly assisted the float and made the fly that much more visible in the white water runs.  I managed to raise 15 / 16 fish to the dry, so all in all a good day was had.  Water temperature was a constant 15 degrees all day, and will start dropping soon, which will get the fish moving up as the spawn commences.

With this last long weekend, The Midlands was host to a number of our provincial competition anglers who are practising for National Trials here in KZN in a months’ time … this was their last practice, so our waters are now closed to them.

We can expect Stillwater reports to start coming in again shortly at the Natal Fly Fishers Club have just opened their waters again with a view to the upcoming flurry of holidays.  Anglers are cautioned that the water temperatures are still on the high side (hovering around 20-21 degrees) so to take extra care if practicing Catch & Release … a stronger leader / tippet will assist in getting the fishing in quicker for a snappy photo op and sent on its way again.  Stillwater favourites at this time are the ubiquitous Black (aka Speedcop) Woolly Bugger as well as in olive livery, along with dragon / damselfly and minnow patterns as the fish will be feeding up for the winter.

Reports from Albert Falls Dam is that there lots of small(er) fish about – and plenty baitfish which is making the fishing a bit difficult as the bass are eating the “real” food!  Midmar Dam is still reporting good numbers of fish.  A range of lures … baby bass flukes, spinner baits, topwater frogs and lipless cranks … are doing the damage.

With weather on the calm, Sterkfontein Dam is looking like glass.  Guide Mark Yelland recently reported a solid 62cm / 24inches “slab of gold” taken on a #18 ant pattern and 6X tippet – heart thumping to say the least!  Apart from the ants, small hoppers and midge patterns are producing at the moment.  If Sterkfontein is on your radar, then now is the time to get there … season will be shutting down (very) shortly as the waters cool.  Access still remains problematical however with the SAN Parks area being closed off as a COVID camp, and Qwantani Resort only allowing residential anglers.

With the waters coloured in the lower stretches, no news incoming from the local scaly (Natal Yellowfish) anglers, nor the carp anglers”. Thanks Jan.

 

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 or fish caught in your area to mike.pereira@kingfisher.co.za

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