Sardines! This has been the most exciting news going around the fishing circles. Mother Nature was a bit cruel this time and sent us a glimpse of the sards before giving us floods and big seas. We will just need to wait patiently…are we there yet?

Ray’s tip: It is that time of year again. The sardines are in KZN waters so get ready for what could be another bumper year! If you are going after the big fish, please make sure that you and your tackle are ready for long fights and reel-emptying runs. These are giant sharks that need to be fought hard and landed safely. Get yourself a good de hooker and a good pair of side-cutters. These two will help you release the fish quicker. The de-hooker to get the hook out quicker and safer. The side-cutter to cut the cable if you can’t get to the hook. Let’s hold thumbs the weather settles and gives us a gap to get in on the sardine action.


Big seas have been the issue of late. The fishing has been good but safety should always be the first priority

North – The section of KZN north of Ballito has been very productive for the guys targeting croc couta. Bigger baits have produced the bigger fish so make sure to get some decent mackerel, bonito and walla-walla in your bait box. Use the best hooks and terminal tackle. The last thing you want is to lose a new personal best because you saved R3.00 on some budget trebles. These bigger fish are also not stupid so make the extra effort to rig your baits properly and make sure they swim and don’t spin. The north has also seen some good early morning snoek fishing around the river mouths. Fillet baits have been the most successful method but smaller lipped lures have been a very close second.

Central – The Durban coast has also seen some good snoek catches. The Umgeni mouth has produced some amazing fishing with most boats hooking their quota. Much like the north, fillets have been the top producer with smaller lipped lures just behind. Durban had also produced some good bottom fishing, big tuna hauls and some bigger couta. The presence of bait has really helped to keep the bigger predators close. Remember to use the trap stick while catching bait. Putting out a livey on a balloon can account for some epic catches while you fill your live well. The geelbek are here.

South – The south coast has seen some good bottom fishing. There have been a good mix of species caught with some big soldiers and kob making up the bulk. Squid and sardines have been the most successful bait. The bigger rockcod and kob have favoured a live bait like a mackerel or mozzie. The sharks have been a bit less taxing which is great. The south coast has also seen some good tuna action this past week with some tanks coming to the gaff. Trolling lures has been the most successful method for targeting by these fish with the darker colours producing the best catch rates. Those wanting to move faster between spots should troll skirted lures.

Rock and surf:

The rock and surf scene had a splash of excitement amongst the big seas with the sardines making an appearance. Let’s hold thumbs for a good run.

North – The north coast has still been producing fish. The edible fishing has been amazing these past few weeks with the upper north coast seeing some brilliant fish. Queenfish, kingfish, jobfish and a host of other strong reef fish have all been reported. The spinning with artificial lures has been very productive over the reefs. Those preferring a bait and wait approach have seen a good number of fish as well. Remember that these reef fish are slow growing and need to be put back. There have been some inedibles caught with most of them being the odd grey shark and some bigger flatfish.

Central – The Durban coast has seen some good fishing for the grey sharks along most of the beaches at night. Try get your hands on the freshest bait possible and get your bait in to the deeper water behind the bank. The trace is a simple ground bait trace with a short bite section of 90lb Fish Mate coated wire and a 6/0 Mustad circle hook. There have also been some brilliant edibles caught along the Durban coast. The garrick and snoek have been around the Umgeni mouth in the early mornings. The garrick have all been caught on live baits while the snoek require a long cast and a fast retrieve.

South – The sardines made a brief appearance along the lower south coast. Unfortunately the big seas and flowing rivers have pushed the fish out deep but we can hope that the weather and sea calms. A couple of crates were netted. There are a couple of approaches to fishing in the sardines. Those after the big sharks are best suited to chasing the shoals and putting a fresh bunch of sards in front of your shark of choice. Those looking for edibles can either spin in the vicinity of the sardines or use the jig and drop method. Either way, when the chaos starts, please be considerate of the other beach users and your fellow fishermen. There is plenty of beach.


The freshwater fishing has been hot, even in this cold weather. The big carp and trout are out while the bigger bass are getting a bit picky.

Bass – The colder weather has pushed the bass in to a bit of a picky feeding mood. This means either switching to finesse tactics or getting them to attack on reaction. Finesse means scaling down and fishing slower. This can be deadly all year round but it is particularly effective in the cold. Look at techniques like the ned rig and dropshot. When it comes to finesse fishing, give yourself the best chance at landing your fish by using quality gear. Fluorocarbon is your friend for this fishing. Hazlemere dam continues to produce good catches for both the bank and boat anglers. The river section has held a bit of warmer water which has in turn kept the big fish there.  Dams further inland are starting to go in to winter mode so prepare yourself for slower fishing.

Carp – The specimen season is here. The big carp are making themselves seen on social media. The colder weather makes life a bit more tricky for us anglers but as long as you prepare properly, the fishing is worth a bit of cold. Inanda has seen most of the bigger fish over the past week. There have been a few barbel around so if you want to avoid these, stay away from the fishy scents for your hook baits. As always, Inanda is about accuracy. If you do not keep your casting/dropping accurate and close to your feeding spot, you are wasting your time.  Midmar and Albert Falls are also fishing well this past week with both specimen and conventional anglers doing quite well. A whole mix of flavours have been reported as successful this past week so make sure you try a couple mixes before giving up.

Trout – The trout are moving around and feeding well. The only thing hampering the fishing are the fronts moving through. If you are unlucky with the weather, slow down and focus on any signs the fish give you. When the weather lines up, the fishing is fantastic. The fish are still carrying a lot of weight so your personal best is waiting. Bigger streamer patterns are a personal preference and generally produce the bigger fish (and strong takes).


News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “The BEST news – some more light rain was had this week, and it brought with it some decent snow, which should serve to accelerate the dip in The Midlands water temperatures started by last week’s cold snap.  This should – finally – kick the trout into high gear feed mode.

This week saw the closure of the trout streams for the annual 3 month “spawning period” from 1 June – 31 August.  As mentioned, not necessarily for spawning per se, but simply time to keep anglers out of the rivers in order for the fry (alevins) to develop and grow.  We are already looking forward to the 1st of September Opening Day… J

The closure of the rivers signals the start of The Midlands Stillwater trout season proper – this weekend see’s the Kamberg Trout Festival kicking off the party.  Hope my waders are waterproof as the water temps take a dive, and that the fish are in full feed mode as I have certainly tied enough flies!  While in the best condition we have had for some years, some of The Midlands dams have seen a slow start, so hopefully this cold spell will switch the fish on … full report to follow next week!

Following on from this weekend’s Kamberg Festival, the Boston-Dargle Festival as well as the start of the 4-part TOPS Corporate Challenge takes place mid-month.

Reports from the bass anglers is that there are still some big fish around in Albert Falls Dam, as well as good numbers of smaller fish, with a wide range of lures (from crankbaits to dropshot) bringing fish.  Midmar reports have been up and down.

On the yellowfish front, anglers are gearing up for some winter river fishing for scaly.  The fish will have retreated to the lower stretches of the rivers, with nymph fishing being the primary tactic”. Thanks Jan.

Tight lines and screaming reels.

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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.

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