The festive season is almost upon us and the summer fish are starting to make a big appearance on the catch reports.
Top tip: Bucktail jigs are one of the most versatile lures that you can own. They come in a variety of sizes from 1/16th on an ounce all the way up to 6oz (and more). Bucktails are essentially a lead head (hook with a sinker moulded to it) with some bucktail tied to the shank. They come in a variety of colours and all of them produce fish. For the surf and offshore, chartreuse/white, all white and pink/white are the three best colours. The key to success is allowing the bucktail to bounce up and down on the retrieve. Cast the lure out, allow it to sink and then work it back with a jigging action. The pace of the retrieve can be varied until you get a bite.
The offshore fishing has been a bit bumpy with the winds we have had recently. This being said, the fishing has been very good!
North – The north coast has seen couta, snoek, dorado, kingfish, sailies and tuna to name the main culprits. Live bait has been the key to most of the gamefish captures. This can make for a difficult day if you can’t catch the livies. If this is the case, then rather spend your time with good quality dead bait in the water. Spend the time to make sure you are presenting the bait as naturally as possible.
The upper north coast to Sodwana has been the zone to fish with few launches being fruitless.
Central – The central coast has also been very productive. The river mouths have done very well for the snoek anglers. These fish can be frustrating but as long as you fish light and make sure your lures/baits are swimming straight you should fool a few. Going slightly deeper to the wrecks and reefs has seen anglers get some couta. Purple flashers as well as chartreuse have been the most reported colours.
The deeper drop-offs have produced some good-sized tuna lately for those trolling skirted lures and high-speed lipped lures. If you see any floating structure in the water, take a few minutes to fish around it. This debris can often hold dorado.
South – The south coast has seen snoek around the Umkomaas river mouth. The colour lines and rips are the places to focus. Try trolling a fillet bait as well as a smaller lipped lure around these areas.
The couta have been quiet on the south coast with most anglers rather making the trip out to the shoal to focus on the tuna, wahoo and dorado. These have mainly been taken on lures with bright skirted lures and purple lipped lures doing most of the damage.
Rock and surf:
The summer fish are here and the fishing has been good when the weather allows. There have been edibles and drag-peeling inedibles.
North – The north coast has seen a lot of fish even though the fish have been patchy. Try to fish and move to find the fish. Bloody and fleshy baits are the way to go. The banks have produced diamonds recently, but you need to find them.
Most of the north coast has seen good fishing off the points with sandies and honeycombs being the main bigger fish being caught. There have also been plenty of grey sharks on the lighter tackle. There has been an influx in reports of pompano being caught recently so get your sea lice and smaller prawn/chokka baits out.
Central – The central coast has been busy with plenty of anglers making the most of the good weather days. The Blue Lagoon pier has been the best of the spots for both inedibles and edibles.
This spot has produced some decent blackfin sharks this past week as well as some proper size flatfish. Mackerel and shad are the post successful baits at this spot. Make your baits as aerodynamic as possible as a decent throw is often essential to getting the better bites.
On the edible side of things, this spot has seen a good number of grunter, stumpies, and pompano. A general-purpose ground trace will do well for all of these species, but the baits will vary. Make sure you have sardines, prawns and chokka in your box to allow you to target multiple species.
South – The south coast has been fairly quiet although the big seas have made for a lot of scratching opportunities. The south coast is blessed with a lot of gullies, bays and protected spots that can even be fished in a big sea. Look for these areas and you will be surprised how shallow a big fish can go.
These areas are best fished with a double circle hook trace. Look at using a 2/0 as the top hook and a 4/0 on the bottom snood. If you want a single bait for everything, then chokka it is.
There have been a lot of kob around, so they are there if you want to target them. Please release the smaller specimens.
The freshwater fishing has been good on all fronts with fish being caught in all facets.
Bass – The bass in most venues have been feeding very aggressively. Taking advantage of this, most anglers have fished either topwater or faster moving baits. The benefit of the topwater is seeing the fish come up and smash the lure, there are also some topwater lures that are extremely resistant to getting stuck.
Midmar and Albert Falls have both been producing some giants these past few weeks. A variety of methods have been successful in the bigger dams so make sure you stick to your guns and find the fish. Don’t be afraid to move.
The smaller dams have seen good success on top waters in the form of hollow body frogs and buzz baits as well as weightless flukes. The top waters have been working very well in the early mornings as well as the evenings while the weightless plastics produce fish during the day.
Carp – The carp fishing has been limited to conventional catches as no specimen catches have been reported recently.
The conventional anglers have done very well adding a bit of fluorescein into their bombs. This can be in the form of a powder mixed in to the mielie bomb or as a spray/gel added on before casting. These additives are extremely effective in both clean and dirty water and can be flavoured or unflavoured.
The sweet and fruity baits have done very well with mielies being reported as the best bait most frequently. There have been a lot of smaller fish, but these are great fun as they can keep you busy for an entire session.
Trout – The trout fishing has continued on a high and even the hotter weather can’t dampen the fishing. With the hot days we are currently experiencing, try to fish early in the day and then again in the afternoon. The middle of the day is best left out as the excessive heat can lead to fish death.
With all the rain we have had recently, the inlets into the dams will be flowing well. These are great places to fish in most dams. Start your day of fishing around the inlet and then work your way around the dam. If the day is very warm, then focus on the deeper areas of the dam where the fish will seek the comfort of the depths.
In the rivers, with the increased flow, you will need heavier flies to get down to the strike zone. Try using flies with tungsten beads.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “With the recent heat spell, summer is definitely making itself felt … fantastically clear hot days (most mornings that is), ending with a late afternoon thunderstorm. There is certainly enough water around – rivers are high, and dams are brimming … and if the long-term forecasts are anything to go by, there is still lot more to come as it seems that La Nina will be making her 3rd appearance, at least for the 1st quarter of next year. Get the boats ready, it’s gonna be a wet one!
Here’s a quick roundup of the dam levels : Midmar 98.2%, Albert Falls 95.4%, Spring Grove and Mearns both overflowing at 101% and 115% respectively! Wagondrift on The Bushman’s river also overflowing at 102%.
While we have lots of water, the heat spell is however starting to make things cook and water temperatures are up – both river and stillwater anglers are reporting temps around 20 deg.C – so we are on the warm end of the spectrum already.
As indicated by the overflow on Spring Grove and Mearns Dam, both on the Mooi River, there has been plenty rain over the last week in the Kamberg Valley, the source of The Mooi River. So no reports from the river anglers for this stretch of water, as it is no doubt bank-2-bank and dirty.
Only 2 reports from river anglers of the Natal Fly Fishers club : one from The Bushman’s river beats noted that the river was bank-2-bank, flowing strongly and dark with colour – and no fish to notch up; while the second from the Umgeni River gives us some hope for anglers prepared to head upstream in search of less flow and cleaner water … only a single fish was reported in the 13-15 inch / 33-38cm bracket, but as they say : a fish is a fish!
In summary then, my feel would be to head upstream as far as possible in search of better water – smaller fish maybe, but good clean fun to be had as opposed to battling with strong, dirty flow lower down and coming away empty handed.
The stillwaters have also take a knock with the rains : from all the input, waters are not a clean as one would hope, and with the weather chopping and changing gear like it was last week, making it difficult to get out in a decent gap in the weather. There is however a handful of reports of intrepid anglers finding those gaps, and some really good fish have been reported in the 17-21 inch / 43-53cm bracket. Just shows the old adage to hold true : the fly must be in the water if you want a chance to catch a fish! No mention of successful flies unfortunately, but with water holding colour, large dark flies should be on your Go-To list.
As mentioned last week, the NFFC is holding a River Clinic over the last weekend of this month (that is next weekend 25-27 November) – I believe that there still a few places left, so give the NFFC a shout if you are keen to get in on the moving water action. (pun intended).
No word from the scaly anglers as the chocolate milkshake mentioned previously is still in full flow…
A dearth of news and reports seems to indicate that the bass fishing has taken a back seat of late … unless anglers are playing their cards close to their chest! Which I suspect is actually the case with a certain competition that is going on currently… <nudge><nudge><wink><wink> say no more! As we know, summer is prime bass season and for there to be no, and I mean zip / zero / nada / niks / no reports to be coming in, there is definitely something fishy going on! All we can say is Good Luck to those anglers … and let’s see the results when they do make the light of day…” Thanks Jan.
Tight lines and screaming reels.
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