FISHING REPORT 02 April ’21

March has come and gone and the fishing has been almost as hot as the weather. The offshore guys are landing crocodiles while the rock and surf guys wrestle with sharks!

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.

Ray’s tip: 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.

Offshore:

The offshore fishing has been fire for the last few weeks. The couta have been the main species coming out with some crocodiles mixed in between the smaller specimens.

North – The north coast has seen the bulk of the couta catches with anywhere north of the Bluff providing the best success rates. The smaller couta (under 5kgs) have not been fussy at all with their choice of bait. As long as it has some shine to it and they can fit it in their mouth. Smaller mackerel have been hard to come by so using sardines and Japanese mackerel have produced good results. Remember with couta that it is safer for everyone onboard to put it straight in to the fish hatch to avoid getting your toes bitten. Stay away from the sharp end.

Central – The deeper waters have seen some good tuna on live bait 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 a down-rigged bait while the tuna have favoured something closer to the surface. The big couta have also favoured a walla-walla rigged down with about a 6oz sinker. Try your hand at catching some of these shiny baitfish in the evenings and get them in to the freezer ASAP. If the tuna are your sole target then a circle hook will be the best way to rig the live bait. If are wanting to multi-target then a standard wire rig will be the best way to prevent being bitten off.

South – The south has also had a good run of baitfish this past week. Most of the bait balls have been mackerel and redeye but the occasional bonito school has been around. Much like the areas further north, dorado and tuna have been the main targets. Those that have put the effort in for the couta have managed the odd fish but all in all the season has not been great and you are better off heading north if you need a couta. The tuna have been keen to feed on most baits down south. Purple and black lures have seemed to get a quicker bite but. Look at the range of Kingfisher Rattler range of lipped lures and the Chugger skirted lures.

Rock and surf:

The rock and surf fishing has been a bit slow but the bites that have come have been monsters. The key has been to look for cooler water temperatures and hope for the bigger fish by using fresh bait.

North – The north coast has produced a good number of raggies around the Tugela area. The areas further north have produced some diamonds but we have not had a proper diamond smash this year…The sandies and honeycombs have been the other two species that have frequented the reports from the north. These fish are best targeted using bigger baits with a fresh bonito head and some cutlets putting a good number of fish on to the beach. There have been edibles up north but the fishing has been tough with the later hours in the day producing the best results. Chokka has been the pick of the baits. Make sure you keep mobile and move if you don’t get bite.

Central – The Durban beachfront has been active. The piers and beaches in-between have seen a lot of smaller shad during the early mornings while the night has seen some stumpies on cracker and prawn baits. The beachfront has produced some grey sharks in the evenings but the bite has been scarce with shad making up the bulk of the catches. The shad have been on the small side so please stick to your size limit and bag limit. The grey sharks and odd flatfish have favoured a meaty bait with mackerel or red eye sardine.

South – The south coast has been quiet but the fish are there. The beaches south of Toti have seen plenty of inedible action in the form of sandies and honeycombs. Mackerel and redeye sardine mixes are the preferred bait for both species although a fresh shad head is hard to beat. Those wanting to fish for the pan or just for edibles will be best sorted fishing the gullies and ledges. The bronze bream are still around in decent numbers and it has been a bumper year for these fish. Please remember to only keep your limit of two if you intend to take some fish home. These fish are prawn-eating machines so make sure to take a packet or two of decent prawns with and some spare sinkers as you are fishing in rocky terrain.

News just in from Nic, Mtunzini Fishing Shop. “Apparently the river fished well over the weekend with lots of river snapper been caught at various spots on both live bait and Lures. This morning we were chatting in the shop and we were talking about how effective big glassies are as live bait but the problem is it seems they have vanished, we used to get big shoals of them and the kids used to catch them with Kiddie nets or we would trap them as we know they tend to be “top swimmers” we wonder if they have been killed off in the gill nets.

Four diamonds were landed at the Banks of the weekend and some nice size rockcod were caught just south of the Banks one was 69cm I think. I took myself to St Lucia for a few days fishing and caught four species of which 1 was a surge wrasse and the other a ladder wrasse a grey grunter  and a nice blacktail, which makes a change from spinners, milkies and snapper kob that are the main fish been caught here at the moment. I also got a hiding from a big shark that still pulled line out on full lock as fast as it wanted to and then my line snapped a hiding given and well deserved. I slide a whole baby chokka with a sard stuffed inside, my 2nd pick up with the same bait was probably a baby overzealous milky and he took half the bait off without the hooks setting.

Action while trawling a bonnie for cuta got taken by a 20kg GT and gave him gears for about 30min before getting it to the boat and after carefully removing the hooks he released it to live another day, so at least they had “Action”. Joerie on Frigate went to the Gerries area and was luckier there as they boated eight couta although most were small they managed three good size fish with the biggest at 16kg”. Thanks Nic.

Freshwater:

The carp and tilapia have been keeping the bank anglers happy, the bass are exploding on surface lures and the trout are feeding on the summer fodder.

Bass – Surface or topwater fishing has been extremely productive recently. The warmer summer weather and post-front fishing has made for some amazing surface action. This type of fishing can be done in any sort of cover from the thickest weeds to open water. In the thicker structure where snagging is an issue, the hollow body frog is your answer. In the sparser cover such as grass, the buzzbait comes in to its own. Open water is the home of the poppers and walking baits. Poppers allow you to fish more static while the walking baits let you cover more water. Hazlemere continues to produce some amazing fish for a dam of its size. Multiple fish over the 3kg mark have been landed recently by the bank anglers. It is the pick of the KZN venues if you are stuck on the shore. Inanda has been the best for the boat anglers.

Carp – The carp fishing has been on fire for the last couple of weeks. The fruity flavours continue to produce fantastic results with bank anglers having to empty the keep net before the end of the session. The specimen anglers have been reporting slower catches with long periods between catching bigger fish. The small fish on the other hand have been a bit of a nuisance. Using bigger baits will stop the smaller fish from picking up the bait. The conventional anglers on the other hand have been having a ball with the numbers. Albert Falls and Inanda are both fishing very well.

Trout – The trout fishing has been very good in both the Stillwater’s and streams. The rains have raised the stream levels and the fishing has benefited from that. The increased flow rate means fishing slightly heavier flies to stay in the strike zone. Dry flies will work very well in the slower sections of the rivers and most of the generic dries will do well. In the Stillwater’s, the streamers and larger imitations have produced the biggest results. The paparoach has been the best of the dragonfly nymph imitations while sinkers have been the best fish imitations.

News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB. “Just as we thought the weather is finally in an Autumn settling pattern, along comes another thumper – 25-40mm recorded across The Midlands on Saturday afternoon / evening, pretty much wiping out any thoughts of fishing.  Midmar Dam, which had slowed to a mere trickle over the wall, is now back on a full throttle rush of white water coming over the top.

Saturday’s storm put paid to any thoughts of trout fishing in The Midlands – both rivers and stillwaters were a raging, muddy mess.  Doesn’t look like it’s over yet either, as the Norwegian Weather Gods at YR.NO have some falling water in their forecast for this weekend, through to early next week… L

Albert Falls Dam has come up a lot, and fast, but as it started to settle last week, along came Saturday’s storm … when the water rises too quickly, the fish don’t like it.  As we move into Autumn, the fish will feed up for the winter; reports are that there’s a lot of bait fish in the water currently, so fish are feeding in the shallows in the mornings and move off a bit deeper during the day.  As with most fishing, it’s case of “you either find them or you don’t” – good enough reason to spend (more) time on the water, practice and find where those fish are holding…

Albert Falls, the traditional home of lunker bucket mouths, will host the second round of the Joey’s Towing Bass Angling Tournament Trail on 10 April … replacing Midmar Dam, which was originally scheduled as the venue after Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife rejected the application to hold the event at Midmar due to the ongoing COVID concerns.

As the Sterkfontein season draws to a close, guide David Weaver reports “It certainly has been a weird season…”.  With the weather being up and down, every outing has been completely different …  and finally, some classic summer weather with gentle westerlies with a 3 ‘o’ clock thunderstorm, followed by an ant hatch and good afternoon fishing.  So, it’s so difficult to predict where the fish are going to be, but on occasion, the fish were feeding with proper intent.

Water is still being pumped in from Driekloof/Tugela, so reports indicate that the top end of the dam is very dirty.  Heading up to Driekloof, the water turns a milky green as you go past Wildebeest Island.  This makes fishing somewhat easier, as the fish cannot see you that easily, and do not spook with the same frequency as they do in the otherwise crystal clear water in the rest of the dam.  David suggests using dark flies, and land them on the water with a plop.

With the currently rushing coloured waters 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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