The fourth month of 2023 and the fishing is still going well. Up north giant couta offshore, plenty of edibles from the shore and heaps of freshwater action!
The couta have been the main attraction offshore with some proper crocodiles being landed along the KZN north coast. The bait is starting to make an appearance as well so stock up your freezers and catch a croc.
North – The north has seen plenty of action this past week. Umdloti and Westbrook have been the pick of the launches. Starting in the shallows with a couple of fillet baits for snoek has produced some good fish in the early mornings. Lipped lures and fillets have produced fish, but the fillets have landed the bigger boys. Those venturing into the deeper water will do well trolling lipped lures to the spot and then switching to slower trolling of live and dead bait. The lipped lures are mostly there for the tuna, but you do occasionally get a surprise that jumps on. The slower trolling is best done around reefs and changes in depth. Look at trolling your baits at different depths to ensure covering all the likely areas.
Central – There has been some good tuna action to keep the ski boat guys busy. Throwing poppers for the tuna has been the most successful method this past week. 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. For the few couta, trolling live baits slowly around the drop-offs and reefs has been the most consistent method. If you can’t get your hands on some live bait, do not look past a good quality dead bait or even a decent sardine. There have been plenty of good size couta caught this past week on dead bait.
South – The south coast has produced a mixed bag of results over the past couple of weeks. Some anglers have done very well catching plenty of bait, tuna and dorado. The bait has been scarce lately so make sure you make the most of the bait you catch by putting it in to an ice slurry ASAP and freezing it properly once at home. The tuna have been very hungry down south and fishing around the bait schools with a trap stick can be deadly. This method can produce many species. The bottom fishermen have had a good run in the far south with plenty of big fish being hooked and most landed.
Rock and Surf:
The shore anglers have reported mixed results of edibles and inedibles. The gullies are doing well for scratching and the points are throwing some bigger fish, pick your preference.
North – Those looking for some decent edibles along the lines of speckled snapper, stumpnose and kingfish should aim for the reef/ledges in the far north. The areas around Kosi and Sodwana are the most productive for these fish during summer. The water is generally crystal clear here so you should fish the more turbulent waters or the darker hours of the day (dusk and dawn). In terms of baits, you can focus on using prawn, chokka and fleshy fish baits. These areas can produce some very big inedibles as well so do not fish too light in the bricks. The honeycombs and sandies enjoy the rockier areas so target these spots with a FMJ trace, a 10/0 Maruto circle hook and a juicy fish bait. The open beaches along the north coast have produced some bigger inedibles as well with the deep drop-offs behind the sandbanks being the place to fish. Mackerel and bonito baits are the choice of most inedibles anglers and for good reason.
Central – There have been a mix of edibles along the Durban beachfront. Smaller chokka and prawn baits have worked for most of the edibles with the exception of the shad that have favoured sardines as always. The area along the Addington hospital beach has produced a lot of fish in the mornings and evenings. The point at Blue Lagoon has produced a lot of fish on most days. We have heard that the kob have been feeding well along the north bank so a well-placed cast on to the north bank will produce a quick bite.
South – Scratching has been the main method of catching fish along the south coast as most of the bigger fish have been very sparse. Some honeycombs have been landed but the fishing has been slow. The scratching on the other hand has been wild! The stumpies and bronze bream have been keeping the guys very busy. Most of the gullies and ledges along the lower south coast have seen big schools of bream. These fish are great fun on the lighter tackle so get your spinning rod and reel and you will be set for a morning of fun in the sun.
The freshwater scene has been dominated mainly by the bass anglers and the trout guys. The carp specimen season is almost here so I expect the weighting to change in terms of reports…
Trout – A lot of stocking has taken place so most of the venues in KZN will be fun to fish with the lighter tackle. Look at fishing a 3wt rod with a floating line and some woolly buggers. A stocky on this light tackle will bring a smile to your face. Those looking for bigger fish will do well with bigger streamers and articulated flies in the deeper water. Stick to natural forage colours but if the fish are being fussy, try a bright colour to get a reaction bite. The rivers are sitting quite full the recent rains. Dry flies like Elkhair caddis patterns and smaller nymphs fished together are a great way to fish a river or stream. Focus on following the fly’s drift with the rod tip and you will have a better strike rate.
Bass – The bass spring season has been phenomenal! All of our KZN dams have produced fish over 4kgs. Target method has varied from person to person so do not get bogged down with needing a specific lure. Rather focus on fishing the lure you have at the right depth and speed. The bass are looking for a decent meal. Try a jig or bulkier soft plastic creature bait. If your fish are still a bit sluggish then a switch to reaction baits will get you a few fish. Try bladed jigs and jerkbaits. All of the venues have produced big fish, but Albert Falls is definitely the pick of the week. The topwater frog bite is still producing some big fish so do not fear to put one on and throw it in to the thick cover.
Carp – The KZN dams are all fishing well for the specimen and conventional anglers. The fish have been on the smaller side but there have been plenty of fish to make up for the size deficit. Albert Falls has been the pick of the dams for those doing either or both facets. Fruity flavours are still producing the bites but as the colder weather comes in, the stronger flavours such as garlic and gumtree will be a better bet as they last longer and the scent spreads further. The specimen season is almost here so it is a good time to stock up on baits and tackle to avoid being left in the lurch. Particle preparations and trace tying are the two most important pre-season activities that you need to be doing.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “Apart from a middle-of-the-night storm that gave The Midlands a fair sprinkling on the weekend, the weather has been settled which is evidently pleasing the fish, as the fishing is definitely on the up over the last week. Some great reports on all fronts, anglers out in force over the long weekend, so let’s get to nitty gritty to see what’s on the end the line!
Word coming from the running waters is that the rivers have fined off significantly, and are nothing short of SUPERB. The Midlands hosts the Top 3 wild spawn brown trout rivers in the country – Umngeni, Mooi and Bushman’s – with some prime stretches under the auspices of the Natal Fly Fishers Club, so look no further if you want to add a wild brown to your list. With the slower, cleaner water, the dry fishing is taking off. Good numbers of fish reported in the 8-12 inch / 20-30cm bracket, along with a fair sprinkling of fish in the 12-16 inch / 30-40cm range, and a cracker 17-19 inch / 43-48cm reported from The Bushman’s. Six weeks till river season closes guys, so now is the time to get out there.
With water temperatures around the 19degC mark and visibility around 1m or so, some good numbers of fish coming to the net from the NFFC stillwaters. Good numbers of fish around the 12 inch / 30cm mark, with some mid-range fish falling in the 12-16 inch / 30-40cm and 16-19 inch / 40-50cm classes, and a couple over the 20 inch / 52cm mark. Some lucky anglers reported having seen their backing already, so there be monsters out there. As mentioned previously, flies of choice have been of the larger variety, minnows, buggers, taddy’s and minky’s in olive and black still the firm favourites.
A reminder that the winter fly fishing events are fast approaching – the 3 main events in the calendar being the Kamberg Trout Festival, Boston Fly Fishing Festival and, Corporate Challenge – places are filling fast, so best get your name on the list.
With an eye on the approaching winter stillwater season, this month’s meeting of the Natal Fly Dressers Society had Jan Korrubel demonstrating a 2-tone variation of Randall Kaufman’s famous “Lake Dragon” pattern … making the body of the fly by weaving two different coloured materials, thereby creating a more natural bi-coloured fly. A fun evening was had with the tiers getting to grips with “knitting” a fly! Any fly anglers interested in the art of fly tying, pop into the Kingfisher-PMB and chat to Jan.
The bass have also been on the show at Albert Falls Dam – chatterbaits, jerkbaits and spook’s were doing the business, resulting in many a happy angler over the recent long weekend. Taking to the water after the holiday rush, local angler Tim Probert found “the one” that had escaped the weekend pressure, successfully bringing a 5kg bucketmouth to the net – magnificent fish, Congrats Tim!
There’s plenty other action to be had with anglers also targeting carp, tilapia and barbel at Alberts. Midmar also fishing well.
While considered to get rather late in the season, Sterkfontein provided some yellowfish action for the holiday anglers. Guide Jeremy Rochester reported a cracking weekend, with the fish being “quite selective but willing to eat the fly” and “blown away by the quantity of fish up feeding on massive ant hatches” making for excellent sight fishing”. 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.
For the best in tackle and advice, pop into any of the seven Kingfisher stores, they are open 8am-5pm Mon-Fri, 8am-1pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
The Kingfisher has opened their new store in the Tiffany’s Shopping Centre in Salt Rock. For all your angling needs, (freshwater or saltwater) pop in and see them or give them a shout on 032 307 0041.
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