They are on their way! The biggest news this week is the imminent arrival of the silver mass, the sardines. The fishing has been great all around, but it is about to get a lot better.

Top tip:

Sardines! Keep an eye on social media and don’t spread false news and only follow reliable sources of information.

This time of the year, is always an exciting one, with everyone waiting for the arrival of the sardines.

Get ready guys and girls! Any day now we will see the sardines washing up on our shores.

Offshore:

Finally, the bait is starting to make an appearance. There have been plenty of gamefish caught along with some epic bottom fish.

North – The north coast has seen a good mix of both bottom fish as well as good gamefish. The snoek has been around in the early mornings around most of the river mouths. Trolling a fillet bait just as the sun is coming up is a great way of targeting these beautiful gamefish.

The bottom fish have started on the deeper pinnacles and reefs. Mostly geelbek and daga have been coming out. Live baits have been the most effective for these bigger fish while the smaller reds have favoured squid baits.

Central – The Durban coast has seen a good run of geelbek this past week with some big daga mixed in. The choice of the bait for the geelbek has been live mackerel or live shad. Getting the bait has been the most difficult task but it does seem like the bait is starting to become more abundant.

The gamefish scene off Durban has been dominated by the tuna this past week. The couta and snoek have been around but have played second fiddle to the big tuna.

South – The south coast has seen some good fishing on Aliwal Shoal with tuna, wahoo and a mix of other gamefish making an appearance on the catch reports. Trolling lipped lures in purple colours have done very well as well as higher-speed skirted lures. Tuna have also been around at most of the depths with live bait, poppers and trolled lures working for them.

Rock and Surf:

The sea has calmed down a bit and with it the fishing has started to pick up. From garrick to shad, there is something for everyone at the moment.

North – The north coast has seen plenty of grey sharks being caught at most of the spots. Zinkwazi has been particularly productive with some anglers landing double digits in a single outing. These fish can get fussy so make sure you don’t go too heavy on your traces. Also, make sure to add floatation into your bait to get your bait off the bottom. Chokka and a fishy bait mix is deadly.

The north coast has also seen plenty of fish being caught on lure. This is a game of multiple casts so put in the time to see the results.

Central – The central coast has also seen some good fish being caught on lures. There are fish for all levels and interests. The shad have been full up around the piers and are always keen to eat a drifted sardine or spoon. The snoek has been scarce as well as the garrick, but they are there, you just need to target them. The kingfish have also been there but mainly as a bycatch.

On the bait side of things, the main catches have been pompano, grunter, shad and kob.

South: The garrick are starting to make an appearance on the south coast with live baits proving to be the best target method. Please make sure the baits you are using are above the legal-size limit.

The south coast has seen a lot of shad on the south coast with drift baits proving to be the best bet. The reefs, gullies and ledges are also fishing well on the south coast with the bronze bream coming on the bite in the last week.

Freshwater:

The freshwater fishing has seen some good catches this past week. With waters cleaning up and fun to be had in each facet, it’s time to get to the water.

Bass – Ned rigs have fished particularly well over the past few weeks. With the unstable weather, the fish have been on the shy side and this finesse approach seldom fails to catch a good couple of fish. The ned rig is basically a smaller soft plastic bait rigged on a jighead. It is ideal that the soft plastic be buoyant so that it stands up straight off the bottom. This rig is fished either very slowly on the bottom with plenty of pauses for the ultimate finesse, or it is fished with short hops to attract fish from further away.

Carp – Conventional angling has been very productive in all of the KZN carp waters. Albert Falls has been the pick of the venues for the conventional anglers as the fish have been feeding very well in the shallower areas of the dam. Garlic has been the most reported flavour with floaties out-fishing mielies. The numbers have been a bit low, but the sizes are making up for that.

The specimen anglers have been doing very well at Inanda. Hinged rigs have made the most of any bite. Tigernuts and pop-ups have been the most successful baits reported. Adding some colour to the hook bait has also increased the success rate.

Trout – The Stillwater season is going very well. Those in the float tubes are out-fishing those from the banks. The float tube allows you to get to places that the bank anglers cannot access. The streamers are fishing well on sinking lines. The generic “bugger” style flies have been the most successful as they are easy to cast, easy to fish and they catch fish almost anywhere.

With the cooler weather and cold water, make sure you have your correct clothing to keep you comfortable.

News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “Last week I mentioned that Facebook was reminding me of impending snow … seems like those reminders might just have been a week early, as there is a massive frontal system moving up the country at present that looks set to dump some snow up on high.  While the weather is iffy as I type this, the forecast for the weekend still looks OK with a smiling sun face, but that just means that night time temperatures will be sub-zero after the clouds clear… so that will mean for some cold morning starts!

The stillwater trout season picked up a gear with the TOPS Corporate Challenge taking place on the waters of The Midlands surrounding Nottingham Road last weekend. The TCC, like the Kamberg Trout Festival reported on last week, is also in its 20’s … this being the coming of age 21st year.

It is said that the TCC is not about catching fish … so arriving on opening night of Leg 1 of the TCC at the start of a new series for the year, coupled with peaked enthusiasm to tackle the trophy trout that The Midlands has to offer, requires some restraint so as not to go too large on the first night … Good Luck with that as they say, but ‘nuff said, I think we’ll just leave it there for this report!

The upside of not fishing is that one could all simply laze beside the waters soaking in the winter sun and partaking in some of the richly supplied liquids … BUT the reality is far simpler : if you don’t fish … and catch … you have no chance to reach the Finals and come back and do it all over again!

So fish we did!  Overall, a total of 320 fish made it to the tape measure over the 4 sessions, with some absolute crackers inbetween.  The yardstick for a GOOD sized trout sits at 50cm … and head count on the final evening had all anglers that caught a 50cm+ fish stand up … and at a conservative guess, all but 10 of the 60 anglers on this leg were upstanding!  If you are lucky enough to broach the 55cm mark, you move into that 7lb category, which for most casual anglers is a memorable catch indeed. But if you’re lucky enough to land a whale that eclipses the 60cm mark, you’re in trophy territory proper … we had to sit down as the measure went up, and when it reached the 60cm, there were 3 anglers still standing who had caught fish of 60, 61cm and the winning fish of 62cm.

In summary, I am happy to report that the team of four with yours truly managed to catch 10% of the 320 fish between us, taking a creditable 3rd place and missing 2nd place by a mere point!  As the top 5 teams go through to the TCC Finals, this earned us a place to do it all over again in the 1st week in August…

This weekend sees the Boston Fly Fishing Festival taking place on the waters on the upper Dargle Valley and around Boston – here’s hoping that the weather system flies over and away, and that fish are up to play.  Report to follow next week.

Before anyone asks what patterns were most successful over the events so far, let me just say that while it’s pretty much wide open and right across the range, there is a leaning towards some brighter colours as we have come to expect for winter trout.  Many anglers have their “confidence” patterns, and if the fly is in the water, it has a chance … if it is out of the water, no chance!  Personally, I tend to favour the more natural patterns, and they produced for me : Papa Roach Dragonfly pattern in olive or black livery, and an olive “Crystal Minnow” that is fast becoming my top fly.

For the flytiers reading this – the “Crystal Minnow” was one of two patterns ably demonstrated by local fly angler Scott Brown at last night’s meeting of the Natal Fly Dressers Society.  Meetings take place every 2nd Tuesday of the month … stop by Kingfisher-PMB and chat to Jan for more info and meeting schedule.

The stillwaters of the Natal Fly Fishers Club have also been producing some good quality fish – good numbers in the 40-49cm / 15-19 inches range, and then also in the 50-59 / 19-23 inches range.  ‘Tis the season to be fishing as they say!

With the waters cooling rapidly now, the bass fishing is quietening down somewhat, although there still some big ones around. Fish are to be found where there is moving water, and also on rockpiles.  Preferred method currently is a Senko worm, slow on the bottom.  And don’t neglect your finesse gear and methods including Shaky Head, drop shot, underpin – slow rolled … and jigs

Report from Midmar is that there are lost of “dinks” (i.e. small fish) along the edges, but hey, a fish is a fish as they say and if you ain’t out there you ain’t catching!

The dirty, high water has been a big setback for the start of the winter Natal Yellowfish (aka Scaly) season, but as the rains have tapped off, some of the are coming clean at last.  Local angler Ewan Kyle reported that he fished the Tugela River at Zingela River and Safari Company (out beyond Weenen) last week – he reports 50cm visibility an although the fishing still a bit slow, “bites to be had with a bit of effort”. Lots of small fish which is somewhat surprising as they normally switch off in cold water, but he managed a couple of 50cm+ fish.  Playing his cards close to his chest, he reports that they were taking a “variety of flies”.

Now that we are well into winter, good news is that dam levels are still up, with almost all the dams in the Umngeni system still sitting at 100%+.  Midmar is still coming over the wall, although that has slowed to basically a wet wall which I suspect will stop by next report”. Thanks Jan.

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Categories: Fishing Reports