The couta have been keeping the offshore anglers very happy. The shore has been a little slower but there are still plenty of fish to be caught, get fishing!
Top tip. Floats and foam can be the difference between catching and holding pole. Adding floatation to your bait can do many things to the presentation. Coloured floats can add that bit of attraction that the fish need to find the bait in turbulent water. Low-density foam adds body without adding too much lift which is great for flatfish baits. High-density foam adds plenty of buoyancy as well as amplification for rattles in the bait. This has made kob fishing much easier. Foam can also have a glow in the dark additive which makes it important for nighttime fishing. When the fishing is quiet or you are struggling for a bite while others are catching, add some foam and see if the added body/movement doesn’t bring you some luck.
The couta have been keeping the ski and boat anglers busy with most guys putting in a concerted effort to land a crocodile.
North – The north coast has seen most of the couta action. The smaller fish have made up the bulk of the catches. Rigging your baits at different depths has made it easy to find the depth the fish are feeding at. Rig one bait close to the surface (with only a bait swimmer) and rig the other bait with a 4oz sinker up the line. In deeper water, this can be switched out for heavier weight.
Umdloti has been producing very consistent results, but the shark tax has been very high…
Heavier tackle can help you get the fish in quicker, but this is sometimes not enough. If the sharks are taxing you, it is better to move.
Central – The boats launching from Durban have seen some mixed results. The main targets have been tuna and couta. Most of the couta have been on the smaller side but some crocodiles have made it on to the decks. For these shoal couta, a sardine is a deadly bait. As long as they are good quality and have some shine, the darts will chow them. The bigger couta are a lot more discerning and require a fresh bait and excellent bait presentation.
The baitfish are starting to make an appearance which is fantastic news! There have been shoals of red eye sardine and bonito around.
South – The south coast has had much the same results as the central coast with all the effort going in to targeting couta. The couta have been shallower than further north as well as being a bit bigger. These bigger fish prefer a larger bait so make sure to try a walla-walla, shad or bonito. The occasional tuna has also jumped on the same baits in the shallows.
The exception has been the guys heading out to the shoal. There have been some beastly wahoo hooked on Aliwal but a lot of these have got the better of the anglers that were not prepared. For these bigger-toothed speed torpedoes, make sure you use thicker wire and a silky drag. The wahoo have mainly been hooked on live bonito so make sure you have your daisy chains and live bonito rigs ready to go.
Rock and Surf:
The shore angling has been an edible-focussed week. There have been fish-a-plenty if you try hard enough.
North – The north coast has seen a couple of garrick for the guys fishing live bait. Targeting the areas of slightly deeper water close to a river mouth are your best bet for these fantastic gamefish. The tackle does not need to be too heavy as a garrick is one of the cleanest fighters you will ever hook. The north coast has also seen some very good shad coming out. This bodes well for the upcoming shad competition and we look forward to seeing your giant shad getting weighed in!
On the inedible front, there have been a couple of diamonds around, but the main fish caught have been blackfins and grey sharks. Mackerel has been the bait of choice for all of these. Targeting both of the sharks mentioned sometimes necessitates a decent cast so make sure you have the correct braid and sinker weight for your rod to maximise the distance of your bait.
Central – The beaches in and around Durban have seen some decent fishing this past week. The cape stumpies (silvers) have been keeping the light tackle guys very happy with hours of fun to be had. This is a great species to target for newcomers or younger anglers. They fight hard for their size and are not very fussy with baits. Make a Christmas tree trace with a size 2 or so Mustad Ringer Chinu and you are in the game. The shad have been scarce in the Durban area for some reason… Your best bet is still the Pier at Blue Lagoon though. Keep an eye on the action in the early mornings and evenings. Lots of cars in the car park is generally a giveaway of some action.
South – The upper south coast has seen plenty of shad action around the main spots. Scotties point, Inyoni rocks and Winkelspruit are the three top produces at the moment and should be your first areas to check if you are planning a trip this weekend. The garrick have been coming out but the bites have been few and far between. To try and be as “lucky” as possible, look at scaling down your leader and hook snoot to be as invisible as possible. Also check your live bait frequently to make sure you have a feisty offering in the water when the garrick comes past.
The lower south coast has not been treating the fishermen well these past few weeks. The fishing has been slow and the bites have been hard to come by. Hopefully this is a sign of the sardines making their way up the coast. It is almost that time of year…
The freshwater scene is getting busier as the weeks go by and more of the venues open up. The trout are feeding well, keeping the midlands anglers happy. The bass are fussy but are there to be caught. The carp are waiting for you to send a mielie bomb their way…
Carp – The carp reports have been a bit sparse. This is based on many venues being closed to overnight fishing. The venues that have allowed this have seen some decent fishing, even on the coldest days. The stronger scents have been producing the bites on both conventional and specimen fronts. The conventional anglers have reported good fishing while using the garlic, tcp and gumtree. These have been the top three flavours/scents reported from most of the venues. The winter water is generally a lot cleaner than in summer. This means a fluorescein dye will greatly increase the attractiveness of your bait. Green and red are the two most popular. Adding some of the powder in to your mielie bomb will put up a smoke cloud leading the fish straight to your bait.
The specimen anglers have seen good results from the fishy flavours and by adding oils into their feeding mix. This has led to some barbel catches but it is part of the territory.
Bass – The settled conditions over the past week has made finding the fish and figuring out the feeding pattern a lot more easy than weeks before. The bass are not at their heaviest but there have still been some solid fish landed this past week. All of the usual venues have produced good fish with Hazlemere, Inanda and Albert Falls being the pick of the venues. There has been a lack of maintenance at most of these venues but we will not go down that road. The shallower grass beds are a great place to break the blob for the day as the smaller fish are full up there harassing the tilapia. Look at throwing smaller weedless plastics or ripping some lipless cranks through the sparser grass. You might get a surprise from one of the bigger fish hunting the small bass…
For the bigger fish, you are best suited targeting structure. The colder it gets the deeper and closer they go. Isolated trees, underwater stumps, riverbeds or humps are all great places to go pitch some creature baits. get your baits into the heart of the structure and watch your line for subtle bites on the way down.
Trout – The midlands have been cold! This has not put the trout off, on the other hand the fishing has been rather good. Most of the trips up to the many stillwaters in trout country have yielded success for even the newcomers to the art of fly fishing.
Some of the venues have still reported good catches on orange-coloured flies so make sure you do have something in orange to use if nothing is working. The stockies have been feeding fairly heavily on bulkier flies with a black woolly bugger continuing to come out tops. The flexibility of this pattern in terms of retrieves is phenomenal! The larger fish have been a bit more selective with more realistic baitfish patterns producing some good results.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “ After last weekend’s brief spit and a spot of the wet stuff, the weather has held up nicely this past week … but with the clear skies at night, yikes it has suddenly got chilly in the mornings … those early morning winter starts to go fishing are going require some strong coffee and a big promise of fish! Let’s hope they get the memo and we can look forward to a cracker of a winter season.
The Natal Fly Fishers Club anglers have been on the water this week, with some great returns from both the river and stillwater anglers. Less than 2 weeks to go for the river anglers before official season closure, and the winter stillwater season takes over completely for the next 3 months. So “min dae” if you want to sort out your river fix before the withdrawal symptoms start kicking in. For the stillwater anglers, the season kicks off with a bang with the first three weekends in June taken up by the Kamberg Trout Festival, Leg 1 of the TOPS Corporate Challenge, followed by the Boston Fly Fishing Festival. Yours truly is fishing the 1st and 3rd of these events, but as said, those chilly morning starts and frozen rod eyes are going to be something else…
The Scaly (Natal Yellowfish) anglers are also making the most of the rivers before it gets too cold, and some excellent fish are coming to hand.
The stillwater anglers are not slouching either, and the bulk of the fish reported have been in the upper 30cm to early 40cm, that is 13/17-inch, bracket. But as is usually the case, there have been some whales reported, through the 50cm class to just shy of 60cm, that is 20–24-inch class. Looking forward to reporting on a few of those from the upcoming events. Dams are all nice and full, and most are clear, and with the recent temperature drop, fish are in a feeding frenzy before the bugs go to sleep. Flies of choice are still on the larger end of the spectrum with buggers, dragons and minnows your Go To patterns.
The bass appear to have gone on the quiet – that, or the guys that are still catching are not ‘fessing up! No news from Alberts Falls Dam, but word from Midmar is that there are still fish to be had. With the waters cooling, especially along the edges and shallow margins now, so a #TopTip seen recently is to head to deeper water, where the water temperatures will remain more constant. Baitfish will also head for these areas as the underwater vegetation will also stick around longer and afford them some cover … and the predators will follow the food. #TopTip no.2 is Fish Slow – generic across pretty much all freshwater species, fish in in cooler / cold water will move slower … imitation if the name of the game, so follow suit with your lures. Popular currently are soft plastics and paddle tails, weighted to get to the bottom in deeper water.
In other reports, carp are still on the surface at Albert Falls Dam – but might be somewhat picky as there is plenty midge around and the fish are just slurping them off the surface. So no specific flies or lures, just get it in front of them and hope that it ends up in their path and in the gob as they hoover along the surface. Early mornings best, as they tend to be less line shy – as the light gets up, they can get spooky and spook one, you spook the shoal”. Thanks Jan.
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 a store in 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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