The fishing has been as good as the weather, bright skies and tight lines all around. So, whether you are at the dam or on the sea, there is plenty of fishing to be had.

Top tip. We don’t want to talk about it, but winter is coming and that means cold nights and dark mornings. Make sure you are ready for the cold with plenty of layers and a good beanie. There is not much worse than getting cold while fishing. It can ruin a day very quickly. With this on mind, get yourself ready in advance and make sure your fishing bag has some warming goods inside. For those looking for a present idea, a flask or travel mug is a great fishing flavoured gift for the upcoming winter.

Offshore:

The offshore fishing has been very good over the past month. There have been some giant couta and tuna landed and some big billfish seen. Get out there and hear your drag scream.

North – The north coast has seen some amazing fishing. The couta has been the main attraction with a few fish crossing the 30kg mark already. This is early season so we can expect to see quite a few more. Make sure you have some quality bigger baits like live shad, bonito and some walla walla. Also remember that you are targeting bigger fish so make sure your tackle is up to the task. This means stronger line, quality hooks and good knots.

The north coast has also seen some really good tuna this past week. Most of these have been on live bait but some bombers have come out on poppers. Have a look at the new colour on the Halco rooster poppers!

Central – The Durban coast has seen much the same as the north. There has been some snoek around the harbour entrance as well as the Umgeni River mouth. Fillets have been the most productive method mentioned.

The bait is starting to become more available so make sure you have some bait jigs rigged and ready. Remember to add small pieces of bait on to the hooks if you are struggling to get a nibble. Squid works well as it is tough and stays on for longer while fleshy baits like sardine have more drawing power.

South – The south coast has had a lot of colour in the water which makes for a lot of colour lines to fish along for snoek in the shallows. Troll along these lines and try to slowly zig zag in and out of the dirtier water. This line of colour forms a barrier that baitfish congregate along. This is prime area for gamefish to hunt along.

The south coast has also seen some couta but the numbers have been low. This will pick up as we move closer to the sardine season.

There has been big tuna down south on Aliwal as well as other pelagics. Make sure your tackle is ready for those big wahoo or billfish that you are likely to hook.

Rock and surf:

The rock and surf fishing has been very good over the past week. The weekend saw plenty of flatfish even though the bite window was short.

North – The north coast saw plenty of fish this past week. The conditions have been a bit iffy, but the fishing has made up for it. The windows of good conditions have been small so make sure you jump at every opportunity you get to throw a bait.

On the edible side of things, there have been good catches of stumpies, kob and spadefish along the north coast. These fish all like a chokka bait so make sure you have plenty in your box if you are after them.

The inedibles have preferred mackerel baits. There have been bites after the northeast winds but do not be deterred if there has not been more than two days of wind. The patterns of the fish have been a bit strange.

Central – The Durban beaches have actually fished extremely well over the past few months. There have been more inedibles than edibles but there has still been something for everyone to catch.

The evenings have mainly seen grey sharks and diamond rays for those throwing bigger baits. The bays have had some good stumpies in as well for those fishing with prawns or crackers. The days have mainly seen shad and pompano being caught along the beaches and piers. Sardine has been king for the shad while the pompano has favoured prawns, sea lice and crackers. They can be finicky so err on the side of light tackle.

South – The south coast has been a bit hit and miss. Some of the points have been firing and on the same day, the point just down the beach sees no fish.

The deeper points have seen some good fish landed over the past week with sandies, honeycombs and brown skates being landed. Fleshy baits and a good throw have been essential to get a bait in to the deep water past the bank. Work on making your baits aerodynamic and practice good casting techniques to get the distance you need.

Freshwater:

The dams, rivers and ponds have done well for all the freshwater anglers. The fish have been obliging with very few fishermen having unsuccessful days.

Bass – Hyacinth…this plant has become a real issue in most of the KZN waters and although the bass love the extra cover it creates, the fishability of the venue drastically decreases. This is very apparent at Inanda where this plant has choked vast areas of the dam and rendered them unfishable. Let’s hope something is done about it before it’s too late…

The bass fishing on the whole has been very good across KZN. Most of the dams and ponds have seen fish over 2kgs regularly and some much bigger than that. Moving baits have produced the best results with spinnerbaits and bladed jigs showing their worth this past week. Remember that these are very adaptable lures and you can change the action and profile by adding a trailer of your choice. Lighter colours have done well with the always popular white/chartreuse being a winner.

For the boat anglers, Midmar and Albert falls are the pick of the venues while the bank-based guys will do better at Hazlemere and Nagle.

Carp – The carp fishing has been great for the conventional anglers. Sweet flavoured baits and a spray of almond on your mielie bomb will keep your drag running and keepnet full on most of the bigger dams. The farm dams and ponds have also produced some good fish this past week with the fruity scents as well as bread seeing the best results.

The specimen anglers have been quiet over the past few months. There have been some good fish coming out, but the patterns have been difficult to predict and the guarantee of success has been missing. Nonetheless, Nagle has been the “secret” venue for those looking for a quieter place to catch a big fish. Although there is plenty of submerged weed so make sure you have a boat to be able to go fetch the fish if it gets stuck. Boilies have been the most successful of the specimen baits.

 

Trout – The trout fishing is picking up as we move closer to the cold months of winter.

The big Stillwaters have been producing some monsters. Dark streamers with plenty of movement in their tail. Look at woolly buggers in dark brown or black with a little bit of flash. Too much flash is a big warning sign for fish so don’t be afraid to cut some flash out of the fly. Make sure to fish your fly closer to the bottom on a short leader and good quality sinking line. Always buy good quality fly lines as a cheap line will cause you a lot of irritation and frustration.

The rivers are still producing some beautiful fish although most have been smaller. There is something amazing about deceiving a river fish to take your fly. Dry flies and smaller nymphs will see you catching your fair share of fish from most of the KZN rivers.

News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “As last reported, morning temps are definitely on the downward slope – low tens with good moisture currently … I suspect (hope|) that we are in for a proper winter, and am anticipating some good snow this year… <fingers crossed>

The rains are tapping off, witnessed by the decline in the overflow of Midmar Dam – only a percentage point, but noticeable.  That being said, all the dams of The Midlands remain at over 100% FSL … very good news as we enter the dry spell of winter.

With many of the Midlands trout waters just dipping below the 20degC mark, last week the Natal Fly Fishers Club (NFFC) reopened its waters.  The anglers have been out in force and some excellent fish in the 4-5lb / 2kg mark have been reported. The ubiquitous woolly bugger (in either olive of black livery) has been the fly of choice.  The winter stillwater anglers now await the water temperature to drop to the “magical” 16degC mark when the fish will start feeding up properly for the winter.

The rivers are also starting to fine off, and both the brown trout and yellowfish (Natal Scaly) anglers are getting some time on their favourite moving waters. While there is still some rain in the forecast, conditions will only improve over the next couple weeks as we get closer to winter, and we can expect some excellent autumnal river fishing as the rivers are in the best possible condition.

For the bass anglers, Albert Falls Dam is still proving to very tough, and word is that the fish will take (quite) some time to adapt to the new water levels.  Midmar is fishing better, and there was a recent report that noted a catch of a Smallmouth Bass … while there have been previous reports, they appear to be a “once in a blue moon” catch.  A pumpkin green Senko was the perpetrator!

For the Sterkfontein yellowfish anglers – the spawning season is all but over, and the fishing has been tough for the past couple of weeks (there are fish to be seen), but they are just not feeding.  Termite hatches should still be going on at present, but guide David Weaver reports that “Even the Amur Falcons have left.  They normally stick around to carbo-load on termites before their long non-stop flight back to the Indian Sub-continent … but they are nowhere to be seen.  The Cosmos is also in full flower, which traditionally, also marks the end of the season.”  In summary … “Time to dry your fly boxes, clean your lines, oil your reels, loosen your drags and dream of next summer.”

Tight lines and screaming reels

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Categories: Fishing Reports