With the colder weather creeping in, the choice to go fishing early in the morning has been a difficult one… Luckily there have been plenty of fish to motivate for the leap out of bed.
The deeper reefs have seen some good couta and tuna on live baits. Down rigged baits have been the most successful.
Top tip. Adding floats to your trace can drastically increase your success rate. Not only do floats give the bait a more natural presentation but they also add attraction in the form of colour. Common colours that work for certain species are as follows: Orange is a fantastic colour for scratching fish and in particular bronze bream, glow in the dark works very well for kob, red and white floats work extremely well for shad. The KZN coast has seen plenty of fish so get out there and get the drags screaming.
The bigger seas have made for “interesting” days on the water. Nobody likes a wet launch in the morning so take care and do not rush to launch.
North – The north coast has been throwing some spicy launches at the more shore break dominant launch sites. Guys always be careful and do not launch if you have hesitations.
The north coast has been seeing a lot of snoek in the mornings. The fish have been on the deeper side with some proper size specimens being boasted. The fillets have out fished most lures with spoons performing when the bait balls show up. With regards to the spoons, make sure to use a spoon as small as possible while still having enough weight to cast.
Central – The central coast has seen much the same as the north. The tuna have been the most consistent of the target species with most trips seeing a few hooked. Trolling lures at speed has been the most productive way to cover water but slowly drifting around the bait spots with a live bait out is the best way to target the bigger fish.
The central coast has also seen a lot of bottom fishing with kob and geelbek being the main species. Chokka and sardine have been the pick of the baits.
South – The south coast has seen a lot of bottom fish action over the last few weeks. The rockcod have been very greedy and always and they have jumped on most baits dropped down to the. The tuna have been the only reliable gamefish to target down south with the rest of the bunch being hit or miss. The tuna have been taken on everything from small live baits to large, skirted Kona’s. Lockdown has made some of us a bit unfit so it is time to put out a lipped lure and put some kilometers of trolling under the belt.
Rock and Surf:
The edible fishing has been fantastic with some good kob and stumpies being landed.
North – Snoek, kingies and the last of the summer bruisers.
Spinning along the north coast has accounted for some very good fish recently. Throwing spoons at first light and into the morning off deeper points and bays like Christmas Bay will produce kingies, snoek and some surprises. Distance is very important so make sure your tackle is balanced and your technique is good.
The far north has seen the last of the summer flatfish/sharks. The beaches along the Zululand coast have seen some big raggies as well as a few honeycombs and sandies. Big fleshy baits and a throw into the deeper water is required.
Central – Stumpies, shad and snoek have been on the menu for the past week. The fishing along the beachfront and off the piers has been good. Cracker shrimp and prawn have been the best baits with chokka falling slightly behind. Remember you can fish these baits directly on to your circle hook as they are soft and will not hinder the function of the circle.
The shad have been active in the early mornings with some good specimens being taken on live bait intended for the soon to arrive garrick.
South – The south coast has seen a spike in kob catches around the Toti to Umkomaas area. Chokka and live baits have been the best for these fish. Remember with your chokka baits that floatation and movement are very important as well as some noise from a rattle in the foam.
The rest of the south coast has seen good scratching for species like stumpies using prawn baits. There have been a lot of fish caught, with most of them between 1-5kgs. On the inedible side, there are still some grumpy honeycombs hanging around so persevere if you are after a late season flatfish.
The time for trout is now! The bass have slowed down but there are still plenty of fish to be caught.
Bass – Slow down. This is the best tip for those fishing in the colder winter months. The bass are still there and they still need to eat, they are just not interested in racing after lures for the chance of a meal. The fish in winter need to be tempted a bit more and need to be convinced that spending that energy will be worth it. Fishing in the deeper water will generally produce some good fish as well as the shallows in the early morning.
Midmar continues to be the pick of the KZN venues if you are after a big fish. Alberts is fishing well but it has been difficult fishing.
Carp – The carp fishing has been good in most of the KZN dams. There have been good numbers of fish reported from most of the local anglers and floaties in banana flavour have been the resounding favourite.
The specimen anglers have not reported much this past week so one can assume either the fishing is very good or very bad.
Trout – The time is now! If you have not made a trip up to the berg yet, now is the time. The fishing has been very good in most of the bigger stillwaters. The winter chill will help get the fish fired up and ready to spawn. Remember that if you are looking for the spawning fish, approach the shallow areas as stealthily as you can. The shallow rocky flats are the places to go. Big fish will be in very shallow water and will be very skittish. Caution and subtlety are your best friends here. Egg patterns, blob flies, smaller nymphs and San Juan worms all work exceptionally well in these circumstances. These fish can be a lot of fun but make sure to get them back safely. Tight lines.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “After the droves of anglers that were out and about over the Easter long weekend, last weekend’s weather threw a spanner in the works, with very few returns or news off the water as a result! With the first snows reported, it seems like winter has finally got its foot in the door and will be popping through properly any moment now…
With only 2 returns each received, there were slim pickings for the anglers of the Natal Fly Fishers Club. No doubt the spell of weather put the fish down for the stillwater anglers, where only a handful of stockies were reported. Fishing prior to the system that came over mid-weekend, the river anglers were more successful, with some good fish reported from the Mooi River. Of note was a 15-17 inch / 38-43cm brown trout taken by local angler Sean Rogers, with wife Pru notching up her first couple of wild river browns … all on dry fly! Well Done guys – that a great day’s fishing. Sean notes that the fish that he caught was a solid male, with a well developed kype, indicating that nuptial season is well under way. With the snows up top, I am sure that water temperatures will drop quickly now, and with only 3 weeks left in the river season, best to get out now before the fish simply disappear.
The Underberg Himeville Trout Fishing Club recently hosted another of their annual Autumn “Rivers in May Fly Fishing Festival” – fishing the local waters in Underberg, participants in teams of two get to fish 4 different beats on private waters over the 2 days. Reports tell that there is no shortage of fish in these waters, with everyone getting more than a few fish! Put this one on the calendar for me next year!
The Kokstad Flyfishing Club’s 24th annual stillwater festival was also held over the weekend of 28th to 30th April 2023 – of note is that over 700 fish found their way into the anglers nets, with the Top 5 fish reported from the event were all over the magical 23 inches / 60cm mark … the smallest of the 5 pulling the tape to 65cm / 25 inches and the largest to 27 inches / 69cm! Some absolute cracking fish, once again showing why the dams of “EG” are revered in trout fishing circles.
Sticking with the fly anglers, this month’s meeting of the Natal Fly Dressers Society saw local tying guru Wayne Stegen demo a recently developed Dragonfly pattern of his own design. The meeting was very well attended, as when Wayne offers to open his fly box, the tyers come running out from the woodwork! Any fly anglers that that would like to start tying their own flies, or attend meetings, stop by the Kingfisher-PMB and chat to Jan.
While the bite was definitely slower this past weekend compared to the Easter weekend, the Scaly (Natal Yellowfish) anglers still found some good fish on The Mooi River before the weather system affected the state of play. Euro-nymphing with weighted flies was the name of the game, with natural coloured nymphs doing the business. Top flies are gold and copper beadhead jig patterns, tied in both nymph and bugger styles.
Albert Falls Dam played along very nicely last weekend, as competitors in the Joey’s Towing Tournament Trail enjoyed a good day out on the dam … the Top 2 teams both weighing bags north of 14 kg! Interestingly, neither of these bags contained the biggest fish of the day, which pulled the scale to 4.5kg – congrats to Tim Probert! 2nd spot went to a fish of 4.1 kg. Sounds like a great day on the water.
As usual, Midmar Dam is reported still fishing well across a number of species.
And as we head into winter, dam levels are looking real good still : Albert Falls (99.7%), Midmar Dam (96.8%), Spring Grove Dam (97.1%), Mearns Dam still overflowing (103.6%) and Wagondrift Dam (99.91%)” thanks Jan.
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