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.
With a real mix of weather to start the year off, we have seen a mix of success in all facets.
Top tip. With the holidays over, we are back to having less time to fish. This means making sure we make the most of the time we get to on or next to the water. Best way to do this is to keep an eye on the weather forecast, make sure your tackle is ready to go (not broken or missing) and that you have everything you need to enjoy the time you have.
There have been some amazing fish caught in the offshore facet recently. The water is starting to clear…
North – The north coast has seen a lot of gamefish action in the form of dorado and couta. There have been some good sailfish and small marlin caught in the past week. These majestic fish are extremely hard fighters and require some effort to put back properly. Spend the extra few minutes reviving the fish next to your ski and they can swim off to be caught by another fourtunate angler.
The further north you can go the better your chances of getting good numbers. Live bait has been king but those able to troll at faster speeds have seen very good results with the high-speed lipped lures. Purples and pinks have been the top colours.
Central – The central coast has not seen as much action as people are still weary of the contaminated water situation off Durban as well as the brown river water.
Those that have been fishing have been focussing on the deeper water and have seen good results in the bottom fishing and gamefish scene. Dorado should start making more of an appearance soon so get your tackle ready.
South – The south coast has not had much reporting sent in. There have been summer fish caught but the fishing has been slow and mainly linked to the water temperature. The warm water has put the fish off, so the fishing has been best in the cooler waters. Grey sharks and brown skates have been the most common catches with mackerel and redeye baits being the best.
Rock and surf:
The fishing has been very focussed on the big inedibles and for this most anglers have travelled north.
North – The north coast has seen the most of the inedible action with the areas around Richards Bay seeing the most activity. There have been some big diamonds and a good number of sharks hooked along the far north. All these fish can be targeted using an FMJ trace and a 9/0-10/0 circle hook. Big fleshy baits with a lot of smell is the way to go. In terms of wire for the FMJ, 150lb Fishmate carbon-coated steel is more than enough for 99.9% of the fish you are likely to hook.
Central – The Durban coast has seen some good fishing with most of the action coming from the basin area. The basin is roughly from the beach in front of Addington Hospital all the way to the north pier. This calm area can be fished in almost any sea and holds a lot of fish. The greys have been around this area with some bigger specimens being landed. The rest of the catches have been flatfish of various species. 9/0 circle hooks will be the best general purpose hook for the job.
South – The south coast has seen very good edible fishing. The garrick anglers have done very well along the Toti section with a few fish being caught. Some anglers have managed to catch these fish on artificials but the live baits have been more successful. The time of the garrick is all but gone so if you haven’t caught your one yet, the time is running out.
The rest of the fishing on the south coast has been around scratching. Anglers have managed good numbers of bronze bream and a few other species. Pink prawn and chokka is all you need.
The rains have filled most of the dams. The rivers are still flowing strong but are definitely fishable.
Bass – The bass have turned fully to summer mode with moving baits producing the best results. The best bassing has been at Alberts over the last week with most reports saying the fish have fought harder than usual.
The patterns have changed each day so make sure to try a few patterns and don’t be afraid to fish the same area with two or three different lures. Midmar has also seen some decent fishing as well as Hazlemere.
Carp – The carp fishing has been consistent for the past few weeks. The smaller fish have kept most of the anglers busy in the dams. Albert Falls has been fishing well for the carp guys with the new water levels opening up more fishing area. The flooded grass is a honey hole for the carp to feed in so placing your bait near these areas is always a good idea.
The specimen anglers have been fishing a lot of private waters with good success. Those fishing the public waters have reported success from both Nagle and Inanda. Boilies have been the bait of choice for the bigger fish with a bed of mixed particles proving to be a great attraction.
Trout – The warmer waters have moved in so please take as much care as you can to get the fish back quickly.
The rivers are running full but there are fish in the clearer areas. Flies with a bit more weight and sparser ties are the best to get to the bottom of the river. Make the most of the weather before we hit the oppressing heat of February.
The stillwaters are producing fish but the deeper, cooler areas are the place to focus.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “We complained about the rain – too much water they said! – and asked for “decent” weather … but now it’s been cooking for over a week, and the cry is back to rain to cool things down. On the upside, there is some rain in the current forecast starting this weekend, and then more early next week … till then, it’s a case of win some, lose some I guess!
One of the positives coming out of the hot spell, is Sterkfontein – so as with last week’s report, let’s start with the yellows. In short, Sterkfontein is ON FIRE currently. Almost every angler with an interest in yellows is either up there currently, or making a plan to head north very shortly. Fish are taking a variety of flies … the ubiquitous Good Dr’s Beetle is still the first port of call for many Sterkies anglers, but if they are “beetled out” and refusing the beetle, other dries like hoppers, and smaller like the F-Fly and Klinkhamer are a good call. Guide David Weaver reports that his most successful fly at present is a Parachute Hopper in brown, while small (#16) dries is a firm favourite with guide Mark Yelland, and guide Jeremy Rochester is having success with the hopper. If the fish aren’t taking dries (swirls under the fly, looking but no commitment), try a dropper rig with a Zak, GRHE, PTN nymph. And just a word of caution : with the hot weather, the yellows are reported in full spawn mode … please avoid areas where fish are spawning, and do not wade in the shallows where the eggs might be … this is the future of the fishery.
Sticking with the yellows, there was a report of a Natal Scaly caught by a Natal Fly Fishers Club angler fishing one of the NFFC beats on The Bushman’s River. That’s pretty high up for the scaly’s to be at this time of year – but we can definitely put it down to the warm weather. The Bushman’s River is currently sitting at 20/21 deg.C, great for the scaly’s but not so much for the trout. Fish are rising for the dry, but very lethargically, and more often than not, simply swimming alongside the dry before peeling off back to the bottom. Even a dropper nymph rig yielded no interest – the fish swam right past the nymph and still came for the dry! Go figure
Prior to the heat spell, with water temp still sitting around 17-18degC, there were some excellent browns reported from other NFFC beats – good numbers and a range of sizes, with the biggest fish reported pulling the tape to the 16 inch / 40cm mark.
With the stillwaters dirty and on the warm side (surface temps reported range from 21-23degC, and probably more now), fishing has been a bit slow … and non-existent in the heat spell of late. There were a few reports from anglers that were out before the major heat, and some great fish made it to the net. Good numbers of fish in the 17-19 inch / 43-48cm bracket, with the biggest report in the 21-23 inch / 53-58cm!
The current water temps will however curtail and thoughts of trout for the time being I am afraid.
With water temps sitting where they are, even the bass anglers are taking strain … reports are noting surface water temps from 29degC and up … even up to 33degC! Anglers are doing best early morning and late afternoon, midday is just too much even for the bass. Fishing has been “quiet” … apparently … as once again we have interference / radio silence due to the “Heaviest Bag” competition with many anglers are keeping their catches under wraps. If fishing from the banks, frog, fluke and jerkbait lures are your go to.
The MLF / Major League Fishing event calendar has been released – there are 3 dates with Alberts Falls as the venue … these are 28 January, 25 March and 27 May … so get your entries in. Of interest to the comp anglers is that the KZN Division of the SA Bass Angling Association will be implementing the Keepnet app for competitions, and promoting catch and release”. Thanks Jan.
Tight lines and screaming reels.
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