They have arrived! The great excitement of the sardine run and beaten the cold away and has most of KZN in a joyous state.

Ray’s tip – This is the time of year that you need to have all your gear ready at all times. You need to be able to get a call and then shoot to the spot ASAP. This makes organisation key! Do not pack everything you have in to a bag and hope for the best. Take the time to make proper traces and have everything setup in a manner that is easy to get to and functional. Check all your tackle before you get to the beach to avoid the disappointment of not being able to fish while the run is in full swing.


The big seas have limited the number of fishing days this past week. Once the gap opened up though the guys made the most of it and landed some good fish.

North – The north coast has continued to produce good catches when the guys have managed to launch. The couta, tuna and snoek have made up the bulk of the gamefish catches while the geelbek have been the main bottom fish caught. Live bait has worked extremely well for the couta and tuna with fillet baits producing the best snoek catches. A pink or pearl flasher has been the ticket to getting more bites. The most productive spot along the north coast has been the launch from Zinkwazi. Other hot spots include Mtunzini and Tinley Manor.

Central – The Durban section of KZN has also suffered with the big seas, but the harbour launch has made getting out a lot easier. The bottom fishing has been very kind to the charter and recreational boats. There have been some good hauls of mixed bottoms along with some geelbek and daga smashes. The game fishing has also been prosperous off Durban with some lovely tuna being taken on both live bait and poppers. Getting a tuna to take on a popper is an extremely exciting way to catch these fish and is highly recommended. There have been couta on the shallower marks and a live bait has produced good results, but the bigger fish have been taken on bigger dead baits. Make sure you up the wire strength between the hooks and that you are using the appropriate hooks for the bait you are pulling.

South – The south coast has been a bit quiet with all the sardine action around. There have been some good tuna caught on popper as well as trolling lures or live bait. Purple has been the favourite colour of the tuna down south. Bait has been fairly easy to get so make sure you take care of the bait you are keeping to avoid having trouble when bait is scarce. The bottom fishing has been a brilliant mix of snapper, daga and geelbek. Fishing multiple hook traces allows you to target a few different species on each drop. Circle hooks have shown their worth in most facets but in bottom fishing most of all. They are particularly handy when you have a new angler on the boat. No need to worry about when to strike, just wind.

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.

Rock and surf:

There is something for everyone. From those looking for shad to the guys wanting to target the deep sea giants. The sardines have brought them all.

North – With sardine action down south there has not been much news from the north.  The bigger seas have also made fishing a bit tricky on the more exposed beaches. Those that have fished up north have mainly been fishing in the Cape Vidal area along the reefs and ledges. These areas fish very well, even in a big sea. Edibles are the main target there but some good inedibles are always hooked. A 4/0 – 6/0 Mustad circle hook is the most useful size for most of the reef fish as they generally have large mouths for their size. Fish softer squid and prawn baits and you can bait the hook like normal, but a dingle dangle does allow you to get more creative with the baiting.

Central – Sardines! What more is there to say? The first shoals of the sardine run of 2021 have been netted at Ushaka and with the colder weather around; we should be seeing a lot more action. The Durban coast has not seen the most hectic action in comparison to the south. That being said, there have been consistent catches of shad, garrick and grey sharks on most days. The shad have been full up on most of the beaches but Umgeni mouth and the beachfront have been the two prime spots. The garrick have all been taken on live bait with only a handful on lures so far this season. A live, legal shad has been the most productive bait for these gentlemen gamefish. The grey sharks have been there for those looking for a stronger pull. All of the beaches have produced greys in the night. Fleshy baits and deep water is recommended.

South – The primary shoals have already made it to Durban so any day now we could see the first of the big shoals. In terms of the fishing, there have been no massive fireworks yet but some good sharks have been landed. Most of these have been grey sharks. If you are wanting to chase the sards, make sure you are well prepared. Start at a central point but always be ready to move. Toti is a great starting point for those from further north, Scotties and Pennington for those further south. Keep your eyes open and you back ready.


The freshwater fishing has been good for all facets. The bass are starting to slow down but the trout and carp are making up for the deficit.

Bass – The bass are in winter mode. The colder temperatures and cold fronts moving through making fishing a bit tricky, but not impossible. The cold generally drives the fish in to the deeper water we’re the temperature is more consistent. The fish respond better to finesse tactics in the cold or a pure reaction bite. The three top methods in my opinion are Ned rigs, dropshot and jerkbaits. All three methods can produce a bite even when the fish are not in the mood to feed. Slow down and focus on fishing the methods properly and covering the area you are fishing thoroughly. All of the KZN dams are still producing good catches so chose you’re favourite and get on the water.

Carp – The specimen anglers have been showing off some lovely fish. The colder temperatures make preparations before your trips extremely important. Make sure that you have enough gear to keep you warm. You don’t want to have to cut a trip short because you got cold. The more coastal dams are still producing a lot of the smaller carp for those looking to do some conventional angling. The sweet fruity flavours will always produce a pull when the smaller guys are around. The dams further inland are the ones to look at if you are after a new personal best. You might not get as many fish but the size of the fish will astound you. Focus on setting up a good feeding area and having good quality hook bait.

Trout – The icy grip of winter has made the trout happy. Other than the occasional dip in feeding due to major pressure drops, the fishing has been very good for the past few weeks. The rivers are flowing nicely in to the Stillwater’s so the inlets are great spots to start a day’s fishing. Alternately, start in the shallows and work your way in to the deeper water. Surface action is minimal at this time of year so keep your dry flies at the ready but don’t get your hopes to far up. The main method for this time of year will be to use streamers of varying sizes. If all else fails, use a smaller nymph pattern or bloodworm and fish this slowly along the bottom.

News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “So we reported the BEST news last week – some light rain and snow – but as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for!  With the TOPS Kamberg Trout Festival looming, the cold snap early in the week was just what the doctor ordered, but for it to continue AND kick into high gear with howling wind to boot right to the end of the week and start of the KTF was just uncalled for!  But so it goes in the land of events, and fish we must…

The combination of pre- and post-frontal conditions certainly had an effect on the fish, and they were scarce to say the least.  As is always the case however, there were some larger specimens with suicidal tendencies … over the 4 fishing sessions, the biggest fish clocked ticked over from late 50cm over the 1st two sessions, then striking the 60cm / 23.5 inch mark in the 3rd session … but it ain’t over till the Fat Lady sings and the tape was stretched further o a cracking 62cm / 24.5 inches in the final session.

While the shocking weather has settled somewhat, current reports indicate that the fish are still somewhat “iffy”.  We live in hope that the weather will continue to stay stable for the Boston Trout Festival which takes place next week 17-19 June.  That weekend also sees the start of the TOPS Corporate Challenge which runs June through August.

Note that the trout streams are now closed for 3 months “spawning period” from 1 June – 31 August.  We are already looking forward to the 1st of September Opening Day.

There are still bucketmouths being reported from Albert Falls Dam, while Midmar has been quiet.

There have been some good reports of winter scaly (Natal Yellowfish) recently.  The fish have retreated to the lower stretches of the rivers, with nymph fishing being the primary tactic to target these “freshwater bonefish”.

Last week’s rain had Midmar overflowing again, but that has subsided to just shy of 99.5%.  Albert Falls is sitting over half at 55%, Spring Grove also just shy of 99.5%, Mearns down to 75% and Wagondrift (on the Bushman’s River) still at FSL of 100%”. Thanks Jan. Tight lines and screaming reels.

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