FISHING REPORT 23 April ’21

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April flew past like a joke… the fishing was anything but funny. We saw some brilliant offshore gamefish, giant sharks and some tasty edibles.

Ray’s tip: When it comes to any fishing trip be it out on a boat or to a distant area, safety should be the first thing to consider. If you are going to be far from medical help, make sure you have a first aid kit with you. A good set of side cutters to cut hooks that found their way in to an extremity. A full charged cellphone to be able to call for help if need be. Remember there will always be another day to go fish.

Offshore:

The offshore fishing has been going very well for all the boats/vessels. The couta are still around with a couple of crocs making it to the boat.

North – The north coast has been throwing some spicy launches at the more shore break dominant launch sites. Guys always be careful and don’t launch if you have hesitations. 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. The couta are around for the guys who like to see how fast line can disappear off a reel. These fish like to feed a little deeper so down rig your bait with a 4-8oz sinker and look at using slightly larger baits (mackerel, bonnies and walla-walla). Skirts contrasting the bait work well in the dirtier water but in the clear water you are best suited to use a pearl or UV skirt.

Central – The central coast has been producing some tuna and couta as the main fish coming out. The tuna have been smashing poppers and live baits. Put out a trap stick while fishing for bait. Rig a live bait under a balloon and wait for the pop! The couta have preferred a bigger dead bait like a bonito or a walla-walla. Rig these down in the deeper water and listen for the scream of the ratchet. Make sure your drags are smooth and your lines are in good nick. The bait is starting to come back so make sure you stock up and get your freezers filled.

South – The south coast has seen a lot of bottom fish action over the last few weeks. The rockcods have been very greedy ad always and they have jumped on most baits dropped down. 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. The live bait is making more of an appearance down south so head there if you are needing to fill the freezers. There have been couta down south in the shallower waters so if it is crocs you are after, head down south.

Rock and surf:

The rock and surf fishing is currently in a bit of a slower period. The edible fish are starting to pick up with the colder months coming while the inedible are starting to slow down.

North – The north coast has seen most of the inedible action. This along with some good size stumpies and kingfish being landed. The edibles have mainly been caught on chokka and prawn baits while the sharks and rays have happily accepted any fleshy fish bait. Seola has seen a lot of kob over the past few months. Chokka and sardine baits have been the most successful for these smaller kob. The cleaner the water, the whiter the bait. The inedibles have preferred bigger fleshy baits. There have been some raggies around so consider a wire trace. The diamonds and other flatfish have been scarce but those that have put the effort in have walked away with a decent summer account.

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. This type of fishing is best done with lighter tackle such as you spinning tackle. A Daiwa BG 10ft6 spinning rod with a Daiwa BG 3000 Spinning reel spooled with 10lb Daiwa J-Braid will certainty do the job. The basin area in front of Ushaka has seen many grey sharks, thorntails, honeycombs, brown skates and many unlanded beasts. Fleshy fish baits such as mackerel head and cutlets or bonito are your best chance at success. Circle hooks are the best hook for these flatfish. The fleshy mouth and the way they eat means a circle sets in the corner every time!

South – The south coast of KZN has held some cooler water this past week and has seen some better fish landed. The beaches around Toti have been very productive. Sandies and honeycombs have been the main inedibles caught. Mackerel and redeye sardine has been the most consistent producer. These fleshy baits once again fished on a 9/0 Mustad Tuna circle and an all nylon trace has been the ticket. There have been shad around in the early mornings but they have mostly been too small. These fish are a lot of fun on the ultra light tackle, give it a go. The far south has produced a mix of both edibles and inedibles. Bronze bream have been the main edibles targeted while the inedibles have mainly been flatfish.

Freshwater:

The freshwater scene has been dominated mainly by the bass anglers and the trout guys. The carp specimen season is almost here so I expect the weighting to change in terms of reports…

Bass – The bass spring season has been phenomenal! All of our KZN dams have produced fish over 4kgs. Some venues have pushed beyond that with fish over 5kgs and some unconfirmed 6kg beasts. Target method has varied from person to person so do not get bogged down with needing a specific lure. Rather focus on fishing the lure you have at the right depth and speed. The bass are looking for a decent meal. Try a jig or bulkier soft plastic creature bait. If your fish are still a bit sluggish then a switch to reaction baits will get you a few fish. Try bladed jigs and jerkbaits. All of the venues have produced big fish but Albert Falls is definitely the pick of the week. The topwater frog bite is still producing some big fish so do not fear to put on the Kermit and throw it in to the thick cover.

Carp – The specimen season is almost here so it is a good time to stock up on baits and tackle to avoid being left in the lurch. Particle preparations and trace tying are the two most important pre-season activities that you need to be doing. The KZN dams are all fishing well for the specimen and conventional anglers. The fish have been on the smaller side but there have been plenty of fish to make up for the size deficit. Albert Falls has been the pick of the dams for those doing either or both facets. Fruity flavours are still producing the bites but as the colder weather comes in, the stronger flavours such as garlic and gumtree will be a better bet as they last longer and the scent spreads further.

Trout – The trout fishing has not lost any vigour with the ending of summer. A lot of stocking has taken place so most of the venues in KZN will be fun to fish with the lighter tackle. Look at fishing a 3wt rod with a floating line and some woolly buggers. A stocky on this light tackle will bring a smile to your face. Those looking for bigger fish will do well with bigger streamers and articulated flies in the deeper water. Stick to natural forage colours but if the fish are being fussy, try a bright colour to get a reaction bite. The rivers are sitting quite full the recent rains. Dry flies like Elkhair caddis patterns and smaller nymphs fished together are a great way to fish a river or stream. Focus on following the fly’s drift with the rod tip and you will have a better strike rate.

Jan from The Kingfisher in PMB sent in this report – “After a few attempts, it finally seems that the weather is into a settling pattern – there has been some light rain, but nothing to mess with the waters of the Midlands.  Up top of The ‘Berg however, that means cold and there is a light snow forecast for the Sani top area this weekend … the first and hopefully a sign that we will get a “proper” winter this year with some good snow.

By all accounts, the rivers are firing at present.  Don’t be in too much of a hurry to get to the water early, water temps are right down (near single figures) till mid-late morning and the fish are still in “Club Duvet” and couldn’t be less interested!  As the water warms however, it’s a different story and Game On!  Crystal clear waters and fish rising to the dry fly … you can’t ask for better.

Please note that we are pretty much in spawning time, and if you see a pool with a number of fish swimming about erratically, please avoid it as they undergo their nuptials to provide us with the next generation.  Be mindful of these areas and don’t wade through them as these redds – areas of gravel and good flow-through of water (usually towards the tail of a pool) are where a female trout will cut her nest and deposit eggs – she then waits for a male trout to fertilize them, then she covers the eggs with loose gravel, and they both swim away leaving the eggs sheltered.

Stillwater temperatures are dropping nicely as well – reports are in the mid-to lower teens – perfect for the fish to be feeding up for the coming cold water of winter.  As mentioned, you will start finding fish in the shallows as they look for shale/gravel, and the clear waters will provide some exciting sight fishing to cruising fish…  Larger flies are still currently on the menu at present :  woolly buggers in black and olive, dragon and damselfly patterns – fished in tandem with an attractor (e.g. White Death or “Egg Pattern”) or a nymph (e.g. Zak, GRHE, PTN) will provide the goods…

As the waters cool, the bass season will start to wind up – no reports from Albert Falls or Midmar at present!

Ditto for the yellowfish, but there have been some surprising (late!) reports from the lower Bushman’s River, and closer to home, Michael Dickason of the Kingfisher-PMB reported that he got taken to the cleaners by a “proper” scaly on the Umgeni last weekend.  Getting late for them to be around however.

As we now head into the dry winter season, dam levels are the best they have been for a while;  Midmar is still at 100%, but the overflow is slowing down, Albert Falls at 55%, Spring Grove 97% (Inchbrakie Falls are inundated at present),  Mearns Dam now under FSL at 92%, and Wagondrift Dam on The Bushman’s River still at 100%” 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.

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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