The winter chill is in the air and the edible fish are on the bite. With some amazing fishing happening all around, now is the time to get to the water and catch some fish.
Top tip: Wintertime is a great time to put away the heavier tackle and fish for the finer edibles that we are blessed with on the KZN coast. This means more finesse and a bit more focus on bait presentation. This means taking a little more time in making the bait and using more tricks in your arsenal to try and tempt the more discerning edibles to bite. Things like using thinner cotton when tying up your baits can make a huge difference. Adding foam to your bait to add some movement and body can also really help. Most importantly, learn where your target likes to feed and what it likes to eat. This will greatly improve your chances of catching your dream fish. Have a look at our YouTube channel to stay up to date with all our new video releases and to brush up on your traces and baits https://www.youtube.com/c/TheKingfisherFishing
The offshore fishing has not been easy, but it has been extremely rewarding for those putting in the time.
North – The north coast has seen the bulk of the better gamefish being caught. The sharks have taken their “fair” share, but some very impressive fish have been landed. There have been a large number of bigger kingfish around this last week. These hard-fighting gamefish are great fun to catch and release. Unfortunately, they fight similarly to a shark so make sure you are certain you hooked a taxman before you break him off. Bigger mackerel and bonito are your best live baits for these gangsters.
Central – The central coast has also seen some good fish on the boats and skis. The big kingfish have been around on most of the reefs/wrecks.
The couta have been scarce but the ones that have been landed have been very respectable. The live bait has started to make more of an appearance so make sure you get some before heading off to your fishing spot. The tuna has also been on the menu off the Durban coast. The deeper waters have seen some very impressive specimens landed and some even bigger fish lost.
South – The south coast has not reported much for the last week. The launch at Umkomaas has been drastically changed after the floods with the north bank completely removed. Let us hope that the bigger seas predicted don’t damage the infrastructure further.
The south coast has seen some snoek on the shallower areas with plenty of baitfish around to bring the predators in. Throwing a spoon around has been the quickest and fastest way to target gamefish around these shoals.
Rock and surf:
The rock and surf fishing has shifted towards the winter edible season on the central and southern coast while the north coast clings to the last of the summer inedibles.
North – This past week saw some impressive fish caught up north. Most anglers fished for the last of the summer inedibles. There were some decent sandies and honeycombs caught and a few fish unable to be stopped. While targeting these fish, a few lucky anglers managed some massive giant kingfish. These fish are incredible and deserve a safe release (after some brag photos). Specifically targeting these big kingfish is difficult so well done to those that managed to land these beasts.
The north coast is the last spot to effectively target those big summer inedibles, so if you are after long runs and screaming drags then to the north you should go.
Central – The Durban beachfront has remained a bad idea to fish with the extremely high E. coli numbers. Please be safe out there…
The Blue Lagoon area is still fishing well with multiple species being caught this past week. The kob and grunter have been the main targets while the stumpies and shad have played second fiddle. The beaches to the north have fished very well with big shoals of mullet keeping the kob fed and the imminent arrival of the garrick on everyone’s mind.
South – The south coast has seen some amazing edible fishing with most of the river mouths being a great place to target the kob. The floods scoured out most of the river mouths down south. The new mouths are currently very deep and have seen a massive influx of kob into the rivers hunting the local mullet populations. These fish can be targeted using chokka, sardine or live bait. Those looking for the bigger fish will be best suited to the live bait option. Find a deep hole near the river mouth and slide or throw your live bait there. Bait and wait…
The freshwater fishing has picked up with the dams clearing up nicely. The bass fishing is still great, the trout Stillwater season is firing and the carp are going into winter mode.
Bass – The bass fishing has been very good in both the coastal and inland dams. The coastal waters have started to clean up but have still fished fairly well even in the dirty water. Darker colours and vibration have been the key to getting bites. Worms or swimbaits with ribs and moving tails have produced some good bites.
The inland waters have been a lot clearer and have fished well in both the deeper structure as well as the flooded areas. Lipless cranks have done well in both situations with ripping through the grass working in the shallows while yo-yoing it in the deeper water working well.
Carp – The carp fishing has picked up for the specimen anglers with big fish being landed at private venues. The larger public dams have been slow, but the size of the fish is worth the effort. Midmar and Albert Falls are the places to visit with both dams producing the goods.
In terms of the conventional angling, the smaller dams have all fished well with large numbers of smaller fish making up the catches.
Trout – The Stillwaters have been getting better and better with most of the midlands are seeing some decent fish. Most of these waters are best fished from a float tube so make sure yours is ready for action with no leaks (before going on your trip).
Streamers and egg patterns are the flavour at the moment so make sure your box is packed and ready for action.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “The fantastic autumnal weather continues … BUT, it appears that there is some wet stuff on it’s way later this week / start of the weekend. Current forecasts have around 25mm, so while it’s not a huge lot, certainly enough to put a damper on things (pun intended 😊 ).
The cooler weather has certainly impacted water temperatures, and fishing has slowed in certain sectors … most notably bass … while the trout fishing appears to be just starting to take off…
Re reports coming in from the Natal Fly Fishers Club indicate there have been a good number of anglers out on the Stillwaters making hay while the sun shines and taking advantage of the current good weather spell … with a good spread of fish up to 48cm / 19 inches noted. Have also received a few reports from the private waters, and these are also producing well. All bodes well for the Stillwater event season which kicks off in just 2 weeks’ time. As for the working flies – while most anglers are playing their cards close to the chest as usual, the shopping anglers have to let their secrets out and I have seen a few “interesting” requests … these have been on the larger, fluffier side, indicating that fish are still on to targeting larger prey as the waters are cooling before it hits single figures deep into winter.
Water temperatures are still on the moderate to cool side, lower teens – but on the occurrence of a sudden (really) cold snap (usually around the 1st frosts), some side effects can be noted … one of these being an inversion of the water. This occurs when the surface layers are cooled suddenly (compared to the water at greater depth), becomes dense and heavy, and the upper water layer drops to the bottom of the dam. This can have the effect to stirring up the bottom causing the water to go dirty and dark. Not serious for the fish, but more so for the angler as it’s rather off putting to be fishing in dirty water … much more fun to be had with the crystal winter waters where sight fishing comes into its own.
Conversely, the rivers haven’t seen that much action of late – probably due to the fact that the lower reaches are still high, and anglers (myself included) are loath to “waste fishing time” travelling. The upper reaches however, are looking absolutely superb … your reporter can attest to this having recently spent a day on the upper Little Tugela in iNjisuthi Reserve in the Central ‘Berg area … 1wt and dry fly, with fish on almost every cast, what more does one need?
The bass action appears to have slowed down – no reports from Albert Falls, but word is that Midmar is still fishing OK. With both dams still sitting at full supply level (FSL) at present, a great way to fish the margins with flooded vegetation is with a Swim Jig.
Had an interesting request for a 9wt fly rod recently where the angler was targeting barbel (aka The Whiskered Mermaid) with fly. Having had a small one of approx. 1m on the end of a 5wt rod before, I said rather him than me…!” Thanks Jan.
Tight lines and screaming reels
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