November is here already! The month of winds and sales… The fishing has been good on all fronts with most facets seeing good results in the weather gaps.

Top tip: Fish light to get the bite.

Often we fish far too heavy for our intended target species. There are exceptions where you want to go heavier and this is often the case when fish health trumps enjoying the fight. Sometimes scaling down a line class or two can not only increase your chance of catching a fish, it can also greatly improve your enjoyment. So whether you are fishing for bass, trout or sharks, consider fishing a bit lighter to get the bite.

Offshore:

The weather has affected the seas quite a bit with the strong winds making life on the sea very unpleasant. The gaps are few and far between so make the most of them.

North:

The north coast has been fishing well with most spots producing fish. There have been a few dorado making it through already so be prepared for a banger dorrie season. The inshore areas are loaded with the smaller snoek. There have been plenty of the 1-3kg class snoek around. These are great fun on the lighter tackle and, unlike their bigger siblings, these smaller individuals are keen to jump on a lure or bait.

The backline area has also had plenty of Garrick. These have been taken on livebait rigged on appropriate size circle hooks.

Central:

Much like the previous week, guys have been avoiding the Durban area or at least fishing much farther offshore than normal. These deeper areas have seen some bigger tuna and a mix of other gamefish. Trolling higher-speed lipped lures and skirted kona-style lures has been the best way to cover water and target multiple species. Darker colours with a bit of contrast have been the most productive.

South:

The south coast has seen a mix of bottomfish and gamefish. There have been some good Garrick caught by the guys pulling livebaits on the backline. The sardine pockets have been around but not all have had gamefish with them. Keep moving between the shoals until you find some action.

The bottom fishing has seen reds, rockcod and geelbek all mixed. The bigger the bait the more likely you are to attract the bigger fish.

Rock and surf:

The rock and surf is much like the offshore with few gaps but fishing in them is worth it. Edibles and inedibles are around so get your rod and go for a throw.

North:

The north coast has seen the bulk of the inedible catches. The usual spots like Tugela and Mtunzini have been the places to go if you are looking for something to test your drag. Remember that these spots should be fished in a group as there have been incidents in the past. Bloody baits like mackerel and bonito have been the most successful.
There have been some good edibles around most of the north coast. Look for some protected bays and gullies for the best results.

Central:

The central coast has seen a bit of edible action. There have been a few garrick taken at Blue Lagoon on livebait. These are highly-pressured fish so please consider releasing your catch. The beaches along the central coast have also seen some good stumpies and kob being caught. Chokka, prawn and sardines have been the best choices. The shad have been around in the early mornings but please remember that the season is still closed so release any shad caught.

South:

The rocky areas have seen some big brusher hooked this past week. Most of the fish have been hooked on “muscleman” crabs. Please make sure you have a licence to collect or be in possession of these.

The lower south coast has seen a lot of kob, garrick and bronze bream. All of these have been covered in length so choose your preferred target and go for a drive down south.

Freshwater:

The freshwater scene has been hit by the rains with the rivers coming down in brown floods. The dams are still fishable with plenty of fish to catch.

Bass:

The bass fishing has been amazing these past few weeks with everyday seeing better fishing. The fish in some dams are going into spawn already with plenty of bedding marks on them. Please look after these fish as they are looking after the future stock.

Albert falls has been producing good fish with plenty of methods for catching decent bags. The king of the techniques has been fishing a weightless fluke. Darker colours have done very well with tilapia imitations getting the bass fired up. Remember to fish this method very slowly and allow plenty of time for the lure to sink. Hazlemere has also seen good fishing with most anglers catching a good number of fish every day.  Midmar Dam is reportedly still fishing well.

Further afield : the SABAA Team Nationals will be taking place next at Spionkop Dam.  KZN has some 17 teams representing, with an estimated total 70 boats partaking!  Word is that it looks like it’s going to be a tough 2 days fishing as the water is brown from the rains.

Carp:

The carp fishing has started to pick up in the last week. The colder weather will slow them down a bit so do not expect fireworks during the cold fronts. Perseverance is the key during the slower fishing times as the fish will still feed, you just need to convince them to eat.

Fruity and sweet flavours have started out-performing all the stronger scents. Look at the caramel and banana scents in your baits of choice. Also make sure to pack enough warm clothes to keep yourself comfortable in the colder nights.

Trout:

The stillwaters are seeing some good results (still). The deeper dams are working well on the warmer days as the trout seek a bit of comfort in the deeper, cooler water. The fronts have made fishing a bit up and down but the fish have been keen to eat. Streamers and minnow patterns are still the most productive way to target the bigger fish but nymphs have been more consistent on the difficult days. So much for the “summer cycle” of weather reported last week – this week sure has had the summer rains, but temperatures have been much more winter-like!  Seems like it’s kept most anglers indoors, but that juts means more water and fish for those that have been getting out…The best part of the rains is that rivers are now moving (some more than others), and stillwater temperatures have dropped to more comfortable levels for trout – i.e. below 20deg.C.

Reports indicate that the bulk of the rainfall was primarily on the eastern side of The Midlands, and rivers in the area currently on the heavy side, or still blown out.  One of the fishing returns from the Natal Fly Fishers Club reports “good flow … a bit of colour to the water” for the Mooi River.  No reports from the Umngeni River in the Dargle Valley, but I suspect strong flows and more than “a bit” of colour there.

Interestingly, the western side of greater The Midlands might have gone unscathed from the major rain, as a return from The Bushman’s River makes no mention of high or dirty water, and a good number of fish recorded.  There are anglers on the water as we speak … too late for this report … but will tap for news on the status of the river and the fishing ASAP when they are back in comms.

On the stillwater side – as mentioned, water temperatures are back down to below the 20deg “hot line”, and fish are feeding.  Weather notwithstanding, the NFFC held a very successful Stillwater Clinic this past weekend, and some great fish were reported by the anglers.  Hosted by the NFFC, the clinic featured presentations from well-known local angler and guide, Jeremy Rochester of Escape Flyfishing, and featured fly tying demonstrations from members of the Committee, Andrew Beach (GRHE) and George Harris (PTN).

Centered at Nottingham Road, attendees were taken to local waters managed by the NFFC, and some excellent fish in the 48-54cm / 18-21 inch bracket were caught on the recommended stillwater patterns : GRHE, PTN and Damselfly Nymph.  A dragonfly nymph produced a tank of a fish that pulled the tape to 58cm, just shy of 23 inches … a new PB for that angler, Congrats!  Fish were aggressive, and feeding well, and a number of snap off’s were reported – a fisherman’s take it might be, but there is always something bigger out there!

As the summer days make their return, and daytime temperatures get back up, the “hot line” of 20deg will also make a comeback, it is probably best to get out early and fish till late morning before the heat of the day.

Two Clinic’s down, and now for the hattrick – notice of a River Clinic has just been released by the NFFC, so check the social media for details if this tickles your fancy.

The flies tied at the Clinic garnered a lot of interest – so if this aspect of fly fishing is one that you would like to tackle (pun intended), this month’s meeting of the Natal Fly Dresser’s Society takes place next week Tuesday.  With Sterkfontein season fast approaching, visiting angler Gerhard Goosen will be demonstrating one of his famous “Sterkies Hopper” patterns … he will be on his way back from the dam, so fishing info will be HOT. Come and chat to Jan at Kingfisher-PMB for more info.

The scaley (Natal Yellowfish) waters have taken a backseat as a result of the recent rains – reports from the Tugela and Umkomaas Rivers make mention of chocolate milkshake.  ‘nuff said.

With summer holidays fast approaching – a quick word on water safety, especially for those boating and double especially for those taking kids out for a spin. A recent report noted “don’t think it can’t happen to you” when their boat started taking water, and life jackets were still stashed in the hold.  Luckily nothing serious transpired, and a nearby boat rescued the swimming anglers who hadn’t had time to get to the jackets and get them on…

Tight lines and screaming reels

The Kingfisher

The KZN Angler News audio fishing report is South Africa’s first fishing podcast series that focuses on the latest fishing reports of the East Coast, it delivers true and accurate content from the provinces most prominent anglers on a weekly basis on various facets of angling. This report is free and available on all major Podcast platforms including Apple Pods, Google Pods, Spotify and Deezer as well as SA’s most popular Facebook Pages.

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Categories: Reports