FISHING REPORT 14 January ’22

The weather has not been playing the game but the fishing has still been on top form. From the bass to the billfish, there is something for everyone to catch.

Top tip – Billfish and dorado, these are two of the most prized offshore targets along the KZN coast. Dorado are easier to target most of the time but the billfish can be targeted doing much the same.

Trolling skirted lures along the deeper drop offs and the colour lines is a great way to target both. Look at using medium to large skirted lures with a good smoke trail and or good movement. Colour is often a personal choice when it comes to lures but a combination of colours in your spread will quickly reveal the flavour of the day.

Live baits are very happily accepted by both as well. A circle hook, bridled to a live bait and trolled slowly in a likely area on a good quality fluorocarbon line will put you in with a good chance of both species (and tuna).

Offshore:

The offshore fishing has been difficult in the shallows with all the dirty water, so most have ventured further offshore. The fishing has been very productive!

North – The north coast has seen a lot of action in the form of tuna, dorado, couta and snoek. The snoek have been feeding well on the inshore colour lines off most of the river mouths. This is true of the whole KZN coast. The couta have been feeding very shallow but have favoured a down rigged bait, so pack some sinker to get the bait in to the zone. Dead baits have done very well with the help of the Pulsator banana chin weight. Drifting the deeper reefs and drop-offs has produced both dorado and tuna. There have been some very big tuna around so don’t go too light on the traces and tackle. Salt Rock and Westbrook have been the two most successful spots for the paddlers while Vidal and Mtunzini have done well for the boaters.

Central – The Durban offshore scene has been very productive for the charter and recreational boats. Mostly tuna and dorado have been on the catch reports. Live bait and trolled skirted lures have been the name of the game. Fishing for bottoms with a live bait out on a balloon is a great way of covering all bases. Use a 6/0 circle hook on a length of fluorocarbon. Keep the balloon about 5-10m above the bait to keep the fish in the strike zone.

There have been couta off the bluff on the 27m mark but the dirtier water has made for difficult conditions close inshore.

South – The south coast has seen some good fishing at the Shoal. There have been some very big dorado caught along with some good tuna and wahoo. Live baits have been the most successful of the baits for the wahoo although some decent fish have been taken on trolled lures (skirted or lipped). Remember to up the size of the wire on your traces as the wahoo have a knack of going through most wires with their razor teeth.

There have been snoek around the river mouths down south so if you favour some lighter tackle action, there is plenty of fishing to be had.

Rock and surf:

The shore based fishing is kicking off with the arrival of more summer weather patterns. Keep an eye out for the northeast winds and a fairly calm sea.

North – The north coast has seen a lot of good flatfish and sharks. The areas around Richard’s Bay have produced most of the better catches.

Sandies and honeycombs have been the main prizes that the guys have been after.  A 9/0-10/0 circle hook on a thick nylon trace will be perfect for both species. Most anglers choose an FMJ trace as this allows you to target more than just the toothless flatfish.

The black fin and zambezi sharks have been the main shark species being caught along the north coast. The dirty water from all the rains has brought these bigger sharks in from the deep.

Central – The central coast has seen a lot of both edibles and inedibles. The evenings have been the most productive for the edibles with small kob, shad and stumpies being the main species caught. Smaller chokka baits and sardine are the top performers for these species.

The inedibles have fed most of the day and night with a preference for meatier baits. Try a mackerel head with some cutlets wrapped around the outside. This on an FMJ trace with an 8/0-10/0 circle hook will work for most species. For the edibles a smaller hook between a 4/0-6/0 will be a better choice.

South – The south coast has been quiet in terms of reporting but the lower south has produced a lot of kob. Live mullet and chokka/sardine combo baits have been the most productive. These fish require medium tackle. Sliding baits will require nylon but as you do not require the longest cast, throwing your live bait will work perfectly.

The drone anglers have done well down south with some very big sharks and rays being landed. Remember to tackle up appropriately for these fish and be ready for a long fight.

Freshwater:

The freshwater fishing has been bass central and for good reason. The carp anglers have been quiet and the trout anglers have been busy.

Bass – The bass fishing has been extremely good in all of the venues. From the big dams to the smaller day visit lakes. Soft plastics have been the most productive mainly due to the ease of use and the multitude of colours and shapes available. Green pumpkin and watermelon seed are the two colours that you need to have in your box. The green pumpkin colour works fantastically in the dirtier water as it provides a better silhouette while watermelon seed is great in the cleaner water as a more natural colour. A curly tail worm and a fluke type bait is all you need in the box. Also, fishing weightless where possible will produce more bites.

The surface bites have also been very good in most venues. Get your hands on some poppers, frogs and buzzbaits to cover all your bases.

Carp – The carp have been a bit quiet lately with hardly any reports coming in. With the end of the holidays, the dams will quieten done and the fish will feed more freely.

Albert Falls has done well for the conventional and specimen anglers. Banana continues to be the most successful flavour reported. Specimen anglers have done well with particles and a good mix of sizes is great for your feeding area. This keeps the carp interested and makes them less wary of your hook bait.

The conventional anglers will do well to regularly check their baits as the smaller fish will quickly clean up an area. Try using a tougher hook bait that the fish will not pull off easily. A mielie will be the best option.

Trout – The trout fishing has been mainly focussed on the rivers but the Stillwater’s are still producing some incredible fish. Bigger streamers and sinking lines are the order of the day as the fish tend to seek the comfort of deeper water in the heat of summer. Cary your retrieves and the amount of time you allow the fly to sink as this will tell you what the fish want on the day.

The streams and rivers are all fishing well. The recent rains have made it tough but the higher altitude streams will be clean already. Use heavier flies if the flow is too strong or move to a deeper spot where the flow will be slower.

News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “The upstairs sprinkler system continues unabated … as noted in a recent report : “We are getting our normal summer rains, but with the La Niña, it is all enhanced.”  La Niña is the warm; wet little sister of El Niño which gave us the hot drought conditions from 2015. As is usually the case, it’s boom or bust, and for some anglers making it out there, there have been booms, and for other caught on the weather maelstrom, it’s been a bust.  So with this 2nd report of ’22, we can safely say that there is a lotta watta out there!

Last time I mentioned that the waters have benefitted immensely from the recent rains – reporting that Albert Falls (the largest dam in KZN) was at 60% of capacity … we can now report that Albert’s is currently at 78%, with a great expectation that if the rains continue, it will reach full capacity this season!  Of note however, is that Msinsi Holdings have advised that with the fast rising of the waters on Albert’s, previous dry areas where trees have populated are now submerged, and issued a safety hazard warning to boat users to be aware when fishing these flooded areas.

That being said, the bass anglers are already jumping (or rather … fishing) in glee with some great catches being reported.  Local angler Kirk van Reeuwyk reports “one of the best days yet” targeting shoals of actively feeding fish.  As is the case when fish are in proper feed mode, a wide range of lures were successful from spinners to hard baits and soft plastics.

The storms in The Midlands have kept many of the trout anglers off the water – some of those venturing out have called it quits after only a short outing when chased off the water in fast approaching weather while waving a lightning conductor about…!  Stillwater temperatures are still on the high side, hovering around the 20deg.C. mark, and while some numbers have been reported, it would appear from reports that the big(ger) fish are in hiding.  The usual suspects remain popular when dam fishing : woolly buggers in black or olive livery, and the larger patterns like Mrs. Simpson and baitfish.

Recent rains have not been limited to the “lower” Midlands as previously reported, with reports mentioning fast and dirty water.  With this in mind, the Natal Fly Dressers Society (NFDS) held its 1st meeting for the year this week, with local angler Leevashin Ramnaryian demonstrating the super-effective THE GUN pattern.  Lee provided some excellent insights into tying (and fishing) what looks like a simple pattern.  Meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday monthly, and for anyone interested in fly tying, pop into The Kingfisher PMB and chat to Jan (NFDS Chair).

Sterkfontein Dam, at 101% FSL is fishing well – reports this week indicate that smaller flies (e.g. #16 hopper) have been on the menu, with bank anglers targeting fish in the flooded margins”. Thanks Jan.

 

 

Tight lines and screaming reels

 

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