We have made it through the first month of 2023 with very little drama and quite a lot of fish being caught. The year is looking good!
Top tip. We all would love to fish more than we do, therefore maximizing our time spent fishing is of vital importance. Storage and organisation is often overlooked (to that person’s detriment). There is not much more frustrating than trying to find something in a box when the fish are biting. The best way to keep everything neat and tidy is to allocate boxes to swivels, hooks and traces. This allows you to organise them at home and then pack according to the area you are fishing and the targeted species. For example, I have a box of sliding traces that will obviously not get packed when I’m going scratching. This keeps the clutter minimal and the box much lighter to carry.
With all the warm water, the fishing has been a bit slow. Luckily the pockets of colder water have held a lot of couta which the skis have taken full advantage of.
North – The area from Umhlanga north has been the most productive section of coast for the offshore anglers. The sheer variety of species and the number of bites one can get make the trip up north worth it.
Sodwana and Vidal are both fishing very well with very few anglers coming back disappointed. There have been quite a few billfish around, so if long fights and jumping giants is your things…better get all the tackle ready for work.
The more conventional tactics have been producing plenty of gamefish up north. Tuna have continued to be the main catches but the presence of dorado has made for some variety in the hatch. There have been couta in the colder water spots along the coast with Umdloti producing the best.
Central – The Durban area has been fairly kind to the Skiboat anglers. Tuna have been the main catch for the gamefish guys. These have mainly been caught on live bait, but a few anglers have landed some big specimens on poppers. Seeing a 20kg+ tuna engulf a surface lure is enough to get anyone’s heart racing. If you haven’t done it before, get yourself some poppers and head to your favourite hunting grounds.
The bottom fishermen have landing some decent fish with the prize catch at the moment being a big cracker. With the copper steembras season closed, these are the next in the line. Remember these species are slow growing and deserve to be put back after you enjoy the fight. Heavy tackle, strong hooks and proper knots are the order of the day.
South – The south has been mainly reporting bottom fish catches over the past few weeks. There have been a lot of protea bream, rubberlips and rockcod on the closer inshore reefs. The ideal setup for these reefs will be a 8 or 9 inch KP reel with either braid (80lb or so) or nylon (0.75mm+). This on a decent rod with good flex and around 8ft in length will be the perfect weapon for this type of fishing.
The south has also seen its fair share of tuna. Most of the tuna catches have been while trolling lures while moving between spots, but some have been hooked on the trap stick while catching bottoms or bait.
Rock and surf:
The summer heat has been vicious. The conditions have lined up beautifully for the flatfish and sharks which most rock and surf anglers took advantage of this past week.
North – The north coast has been the place to go hunt your next personal best inedible. From the Umgeni River to the Mozambique border. The deepwater points and the beaches with broken sandbanks are your best choice for inedibles. The broken sandbanks allow the bigger fish passage through to the shallower areas to feed. Look for breaks in the waves and rip currents. These areas are hotspots for summer inedible action. The banks have produced a diamond smash for the first time in a long while. Anglers reported double figures of diamonds in a single session.
Central – The central coast has seen some decent fishing, but the fishing has been patchy.
The summer fish have been around at Eastmoor, Blue Lagoon and the Promenade beaches. Get your hands on the freshest bait possible and look for the deeper holes along the beach. The Basin area has produced a lot of grey sharks and smaller flatfish. The occasional giant thorntail has also made for exciting fishing!
South – The Toti area has seen some giants hooked over the past two weeks. Most of these have been thorntails and honeycombs and the fights have been long and arduous. Chokka has been the most productive bait for these big flatties and finding a gap in the back bank to get your bait through is key. Once again, please make sure that you and your tackle are up to the fight before hooking the fish.
The gullies and ledges along the south coast have been producing some good edibles for the scratchers. Bronze bream and stumpies have been the main catches.
The freshwater scene has seen a lot of good fish recently. The carp and bass fishing are going well for all the anglers involved while the trout fishing has dipped a bit, but still produces some surprise catches.
Bass – New personal best! This has cropped up in more social media posts and reports lately. The summer heat and abundance of food drives the bass in to a feeding frenzy.
Albert Falls has been the most productive venue for the past few weeks with numerous reports of big fish and large numbers of fish caught. As a shallower dam, it warms up quite quickly and can jumpstart the summer action. Fish the shallower sections in the morning with a noisy topwater and shift offshore for the midday bite. Midmar, Inanda and the ever-popular Hazlemere have also produced some great catches this past week so if you can’t make the trip to Albert Falls, don’t feel like you are missing out.
Carp – The KZN dams have been producing some proper catches over the past few weeks. The conventional guys have landed some decent numbers in most of the dams with the odd bigger fish pushing close to or over the 10kg mark. Honey and banana have been fishing very well in both Albert Falls and Inanda while strawberry and garlic have produced for the guys fishing in Midmar. The specimen anglers have been flaunting some great catches from Inanda and Nagle, with the Shongweni syndicate also proving their mettle. Boilies have been the pick of the reported baits with tigers a close second. Flavour has not been as important as setting a good feeding area, so worry more about fishing the area you are baiting properly than what the guy next to you is catching on.
If you are looking at starting out in either the specimen or conventional carp fishing scene, have a look at the Daiwa and Poseidon range of carp rods that are available at all Kingfisher branches as well as any decent tackle store.
Trout – The water temperatures have been very high and the safety of the fish is of utmost importance. Consider limiting your fishing until the temperatures drop a bit.
If you do intend to fish, make sure to keep the fish in the water and get them back asap. Take a few extra minutes to revive the fish.
The scalies are still keeping the fly fishermen happy with some beautiful fish being taken in the rivers. The increased flow requires a heavier fly but the fishing has been wild. Those who prefer to travel will be happy to know that Sterkfontein Dam is fishing very well.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “Last week’s rains brought the heatwave to an end, and some rain it was … the storm that pulled over The Midlands on the weekend dropped up to 60mm in places. Since then, it seems that summer – as we know it – is back on track, with hot, clear days and a late afternoon / evening thunderstorm. The recent storms have been dropping between 20-30mm at a time, and with the water table still in good shape, the rivers are getting a good feed from the runoff. It seemed that rivers were dropping in the heatwave, and the water coming over Midmar was slowing, but it’s come back and there is a good push coming over the wall again. All bodes well for a fantastic autumnal season as soon as the weather up’s and down’s calm down…
Stillwater anglers of the Natal Fly Fishers Club were pretty excited by the recent cooler weather and the rains, but as indicated by the Committee, bear in mind that it takes a good number of cool weather days (and nights) before stillwater will be cool enough to reopening the waters. Of note is that the NFFC waters were closed till mid-March last year … so there is going to be a wait still while the NFFC monitors for now.
The trout river beats managed by the NFFC remain open however. Reports indicate that the recent rains have had an ameliorating effect on water temperatures in the upper beats. One report from an ardent local angler (no names mentioned to protect the innocent!) made a proper pig of himself recently reporting no less than 14 fish of between 7-13 inches / 18-33cm … all on the dry fly … from one of the very upper beats. He noted that water temperature was 17deg.C to start, but did rise to 20deg later in the heat of the day, and he sensibly called it quits. There also a couple of reports from some of the lowers beats noting water temperatures of 20deg to start and fishing slow at best with only 1 or 2 fish reported. So if you are headed out to the river, plan an early trip to take advantage of the lower temps (water and air) and fish till mid or late morning. It is also highly recommended that anglers carry a thermometer – as accurate temperature reports from the waters are very useful for management purposes.
We reported last week on the MLF (Major League Fishing) event that took place Albert Falls Dam this past weekend – the fishing was really tough, with very few fish coming out … some anglers even hitting the dreaded blank for the event! The big fish were in hiding, and with a scorcher of a day, water temperature reached 30deg.C! 24 boats fished the event … congrats to 1st place winners Martin De Kock and Teun Schuss with 8,830 points. So, while the weather was “decent” enough, the dam switched off as a result of the barometric pressure being right down. Any ardent angler will tell you that when the pressure is down … lockjaw is the result. By comparison, Midmar is still reportedly fishing well.
This weekend Saturday 4 February see’s the first event in the Joey’s Towing Tournament Trail season to be held on Albert Falls Dam – we wish all anglers Tight Lines and look forward to the results.
Also mentioned last week is the 19th edition of the very popular New Hanover Prep Bass Fishing Competition coming up next month, 11 March. Entries are open, and you can enter online – see the social media pages for the link.
Good number of anglers are heading north to Sterkfontein Dam, which by all reports, is still firing on all cylinders. Popular with the dry fly anglers, flies of choice are the Good Dr’s Beetle (purple still the predominant colour of choice), with hoppers right up there in the firm favorites.
Scaly anglers are also reporting some fish under difficult conditions of high and dirty water in the lower reaches of the rivers. Weighted nymphs and jig buggers are the popular flies at present”. Thanks Jan.
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. Tight lines and screaming reels.
The KZN Angler News audio fishing report is South Africa’s first fishing podcast series that focuses on the latest fishing reports of the East Coast, it delivers true and accurate content from the provinces most prominent anglers on a weekly basis on various facets of angling. This report is free and available on all major Podcast platforms including Apple Pods, Google Pods, Spotify and Deezer as well as SA’s most popular Facebook Pages.
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