FISHING REPORT 16 April ’21 April 15, 2021 by The Kingfisher The fourth month of 2021 and the fishing is still going very well. Giant couta offshore, plenty of edibles from the shore and heaps of freshwater action! Ray’s tip. Ending a fishing trip early because you are hungry or unable to continue a fight because you cramped up is never fun. Both of these can be avoided by simply packing yourself some food when you go for a throw. Make sure you pack the right stuff though. Junk food will give you an immediate high/spike but will drop you like a brick. Pack some snack packs for easy feasting even with bait hands. Also a banana or two is a great way to help with muscle cramp. It is coming to the end of the big fish season in terms of summer, but the sardine season is just around the corner. Get your tackle ready early! Offshore: The couta have been the main attraction offshore with some proper crocodiles being landed along most of the KZN coast. The bait is starting to make an appearance as well so stock up your freezers and catch a croc. North – The north has seen plenty of action this past week. Umdloti, Westbrook and Umhlanga have been the pick of the launches. Starting in the shallows with a couple of fillet baits for snoek has produced some good fish in the early mornings. Lipped lures and fillets have produced fish but the fillets have landed the bigger boys. Those venturing in to the deeper water will do well trolling lipped lures to the spot and then switching to slower trolling of live and dead bait. The lipped lures are mostly there for the tuna but you do occasionally get a surprise that jumps on. The slower trolling is best done around reefs and changes in depth. Look at trolling your baits at different depths to ensure covering all the likely areas. Central – The couta have been the main focus along KZN but there has been some good tuna action to keep the ski boat guys busy. Throwing poppers for the tuna has been the most successful method this past week. Seeing a 20kg+ tuna engulf a surface lure is enough to get anyone’s heart racing. If you haven’t done it before, get yourself some poppers and head to your favourite hunting grounds. For the couta, trolling live baits slowly around the drop-offs and reefs has been the most consistent method. If you can’t get your hands on some live bait, do not look past a good quality dead bait or even a decent sardine. There have been plenty of good size couta caught this past week on dead bait. South – The south coast has produced a mixed bag of results over the past couple of weeks. Some anglers have done very well catching plenty of bait, tuna, dorado and some nice couta. The bait has been scarce lately so make sure you make the most of the bait you catch by putting it in to an ice slurry ASAP and freezing it properly once at home. The tuna have been very hungry down south and fishing around the bait schools with a trap stick can be deadly. This method can produce many species. The bottom fishermen have had a good run in the far south with plenty of big fish being hooked and most landed. Rock and surf: The beaches and bricks have been producing some good catches. The early risers can still get their quota of shad in the morning and the night owls can get in to some drag testing beasts. North – This is the area to focus if you are looking for the bigger inedibles. The north coast has and always will be the place to go target the bigger fish of the skate or toothy kind. For those who enjoy a chiropractor visit, there have been plenty of big sandies around the upper north coast. These brutes can quickly break inferior tackle so make sure you have checked all your connections and that you are not taking any shortcuts with your terminal gear. Those who are up for a real fight have been swimming some of the skates they have been hooking and these have been gobbled up by the packs of zambies. These are the UFC fighters of the shark world as they keep pulling throughout the fight. The upper north coast has seen plenty of edibles on the ledges and sandbanks. Stumpies, lemonfish, speckled snapper and various kingies are but a sample of the variety available. Most baits are accepted but prawn, chokka and redeye sardines are the pick of the baits to pack. Circle hooks are a real advantage in this rocky terrain and will stop your hooks from snagging in the abundant reef. Central – The Durban coastline has been producing a large amount of shad from the piers and at the Umgeni mouth. The fish have been largely undersized but a few decent specimens have been landed in between. Japanese mackerel and sardine have been the two most successful baits for the shad. There have been plenty of other edibles around for the guys to target. The basin area and the deeper water at Blue Lagoon have been the only two spots producing any consistent inedible bites. Focus on fishing in the early mornings and late afternoons to maximise your chance at a bite. South – The south coast has been fishing very well over the past few weeks. The scratching fish have been loose and many anglers have been enjoying their fishing a lot more since going back to scratching. This form of fishing is best done with lighter tackle as the fish are generally smaller but require some accurate casting and lighter lines. The gullies and ledges have produced stone bream, bronze bream, lanterns, kob and stumpies to name a few. All these species enjoy crustacean baits so make sure you have some quality pink prawn in your box and finish it off with some cracker or sealice. Freshwater: The freshwater fishing has been superb! The carp fishing is doing well for specimen and conventional anglers while the bass guys are slaying personal bests every day! Bass – The summer bassing has been very kind to all those chasing the bucket mouths. All the KZN dams have fished well this season with Albert Falls producing the bigger fish and Hazlemere producing more numbers (per angler). Alberts has seen some giant bass caught in the last few weeks with some fish pushing the 6kg barrier! The variety of successful techniques is too long to list here but most of your standard methods will produce fish. Lipless cranks have been particularly deadly along with a variety of soft plastics. Carp – The carp side has been much the same as the bass. There have been plenty of hungry fish around. Albert Falls has been the pick of the venues for the conventional anglers with almost no anglers reporting a blank trip so far. Make sure you have some sweeter flavours in your box to entice the smaller fish to your spot. Tutti frutti is a top pick at the moment and should be in every box. Mix the concentrate in with your feed but remember that it is a concentrate so add small amounts. If you can get your hands on hempseed or molasses, add these to your feeding area to keep the fish there. The specimen anglers have slowed down but the action is still there. Tigernuts are still the favourite bait for the bigger specimens. With the smaller fish being more prevalent, make sure to add plenty of smaller particles to keep the fish feeding for a long time. Trout – The bigger Stillwater venues have continued to produce big fish even in to the current hot weather. The key has been to go deep with a decent sinking line and some flies with plenty of movement built in. Streamers with marabou or zonker will give you the best results as they move with the even the smallest twitch of the fly line. Colour has not been that critical but olives and blacks have been the most productive. Fish the areas of deeper water such as old river beds or drop-offs. These deeper waters are not only cooler but they also hold more oxygen and do not fluctuate as much as the shallows in terms of temperatures. News from our Jan from the Kingfisher in PMB – With the Topsy Turvy weather at the moment – nice autumnal bite one day followed by near 40deg blistering heat the next! – seems to be affecting the fishing just as much with a super-hot bite the one day and then the fish turning “cold as ice” and flipping the fin the next. Such is the angler’s life, and keeps us coming back for more … if it was predictable, it would soon get boring… The better days have however been more than the off days, the rains have backed away, rivers are fining off and Stillwater’s are cooling nicely. We are heading into what by all accounts should be a cracking season … time to dust off the gear and get out there! The rivers and streams will starting to show their true potential, with crystal clear waters and trout feeding up for the spawn and cold waters ahead. My preference is for the upper stretches, textured water with a dry fly on ultra-light gear, but the deeper, slower runs lower down will hold monsters that need some dredging with subsurface tactics … the choice is yours! There have been some good reports from The Midlands Stillwater’s – with the dropping water temperatures, fish will be feeding up for the (much) colder water ahead, as well as going through their nuptial rituals … for the most part, trout don’t spawn in a Stillwater, but they still go through the motions, so one will start finding them close to the edges as they look for suitable spawning areas. Exciting fishing as you can now sight cast to cruising fish… Last weekend saw Round 2 of the Joey’s Towing Tournament Trail on Albert Falls Dam … from the “hot bite” reported by KF-PMB staffer Michael Dickason the weekend before, things were on the slow for a very hot (weather-wise) comp weekend (isn’t it always…?). Congrats to Team Mnembe with the heaviest bag of 17.22kg out of 39 boats to take the win, also recorded the 2 heaviest fish at 2.98 and 3.34kg in the process. The KZN Small Craft Bass League also kicked off this last week, with the event being held at Mearns Dam – Durban angler Jonni Wills took the win with a bag of 134cm total length. The famed Smallmouth Yellows of Sterkfontein are also giving a last show – visiting angler Warren Koch from Johannesburg had a field day last week, he reports an excellent day sight fishing with dry fly. After a dearth of reports on the local Natal Yellowfish, a report received this week that there has been some excellent fishing on the lower Bushman’s River. Good to hear that scaly’s are still around, so get in while you can before they disappear for the winter. 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