I can see clearly now the rain has gone…
With all the rain in the recent past, it is nice to see the sun out. With the rain comes colour in the water, floating debris and faster growing grass that needs to be mowed before you can go fishing!
Top tip: I will get straight to the point! If you are fishing with blunt hooks, you need to sharpen up. Enough of the puns.
A sharp hook is one of the most important pieces of kit that you need in your bag. Hooks can be sharpened with a sharpening stone or a hook hone (file). Test the sharpened point on your nail. If it slides, then it is not sharp enough. Once you have sharpened the points use a permanent marker to put a coating on the newly sharpened point. We do this because the sharpening process removes the anti-corrosion layer on the hook.
The rains have pushed some lovely structure and colour in o the sea. This has been great for dorado and snoek in the Durban area.
North – North of Umhlanga the fishing skis have been doing some damage. Snoek, tuna and couta have been the main hatch-fillers. The snoek have been feeding very well after the recent rains. The flush of dirty water not only creates a brilliant hunting area for these predators but it also flushes the smaller estuarine baitfish in to the sea. The snoek love feeding on the glassies that inhabit all of the KZN estuaries. Fillet baits have been the ticket for most of the snoek action but spinning with small spoons on the backline has been the most fun.
Central – The Durban coast has produced some good catches of snoek at Blue Lagoon, tuna at most of the bait spots, dorado at the shops and a host of bottom fish at secret locations.
The tuna have favoured a live bait over all the other methods. Drifting over the bait marks with a live bait slowly kicking along is a great way to target these speedsters. A circle hook is a great way of rigging a live bait and allows the bait to stay alive longer if you bridle it. While drifting, you can either catch more bait or you can throw lures like poppers, jigs or stick baits. The dorado have been out deep but their numbers should start increasing soon. Look around the big container ships or any floating debris when looking for these fish. Toss a live bait or lure in the vicinity and hold tight.
South – The south coast has also seen a few dorado out in the deeper water. Most of these have been caught trolling higher speed lipped lures and skirted lures. This generally requires heavier tackle so the fight is not as much fun.
The shallower areas have produced a couple of couta but overall they have been very scarce this season.
The bottom fishing continues to produce really good quality catches with some bomber rockcod being brought up from the depths. The geelbek and daga are still keeping the commercial guys busy while the charters target the closer reefs. Please stick to your limits no matter how wild the fishing is…
Rock and surf:
The heat of summer have made the days very long on the beaches, but the fishing rewards have been worth the wait (and sunburn)…
North – The hot north has been just that, hot! The fishing has been good and the sunburns even better… please remember your hat!
The beaches up north that allow wading on to banks for a further throw are starting to produce bigger hauls of flatfish. Durnford is starting to see good numbers of diamonds, so make sure to watch the weather and head there when the conditions line up. The deep water points are producing a lot of grey sharks in the evenings. A decent throw and fleshy baits are needed. You do not need heavy tackle for these fish, medium will do just fine.
Central – The beachfront has seen its fair share of both edibles and inedibles.
The Piers have been the place to go if you are wanting an edible. Prawn and cracker baits have been the most successful. The main species have been stumpnose and grunter. When the conditions allow, a longer trace with lighter hook snoots allow a lot more movement of the bait which will get you more bites.
The inedibles have been limited to grey sharks, small sandies, blue skates and the odd diamond ray. Smaller baits have allowed for better casting distance while the bigger baits have survived the peckers longer, so the choice is yours.
South – The coast south has been very productive for the shore anglers. The bronze bream have been feeding very well around the rockier areas. A nice juicy prawn bait on a 20lb hook snoot will generally get their attention. Make sure you fish as close to the rocks as possible as the bream like to stick to the bricks. This method of fishing is also multi-targeted as you can catch multiple species while looking for bream.
The freshwater fishing has been good one all fronts. The trout are still fighting hard, the carp are vacuuming up any bait they find and the bass are eager to attack something that looks edible.
Bass – The bass are feisty! Rattles and vibrations have been a key feature in the most successful lures over the last while.
Baits with blades are ideal when one needs some flash and vibration. Blades jigs and spinnerbaits are both great lures to throw at this time of year. The blades jigs produce more of a reaction bite whereas the spinnerbaits will target the fish feeding on the fodder fish. Colour wise is up to the individual but natural or white are the best in my opinion.
On the very hot days, you will be better suited targeting the deeper areas where the bass will seek cooler water temperatures and more oxygenated water. These areas are suited to most soft plastic methods as well as deep cranking.
Carp – The specimen fishing might be a little quiet, but the conventional anglers are more than making up for it with the number of fish they are catching.
Albert Falls is the current favourite of the KZN venues for the conventional anglers. Banana and honey continue to produce the goods. Accurate fishing has been the best way to secure consistent bites as the fish are not having to find the bait each time. This means doing your best to feed one area and to cast as close to it as possible on each recast.
The specimen angling has been the most consistent at Inanda, but most anglers have preferred to fish private waters. Particles have been the preferred feed of choice with tigernuts doing the bulk of the heavy lifting.
Trout – The trout fishing has still been worth it in most of the midlands. The fish are still feeding well even in the warmer conditions. With the winds blowing more consistently, the best place to fish has been either at the head or tail of the dam. Fishing a terrestrial pattern at the tail (where the wind is blowing to) of the dam can provide some very good surface action. Fishing smaller buzzers and nymphs on longer leaders at the head (where the wind is coming from) of the dam can save a day when more aggressive methods are not producing.
Those who prefer a little more action while fishing will be best suited targeting the deeper water with a streamer and a type 3 sinking line. Dredging the deeper channels can often produce the biggest fish in the dam. Remember to keep your eyes open for insect activity and match the hatch if possible.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB:
“The weather continues to iffy games – dare I say that it appears as if Sir Summer is desperately trying to hold onto its turf, throwing heatwaves in-between the storms, while Madame Winter is trying to gain ground, albeit inch-by-inch … the mornings are definitely darker and cooler than just a few weeks ago and one’s crib is getting velcro strips…
There is BIG water all over the country, and it seems that there may still be more to come … Tropical Cyclone Freddy has just landed on Madagascar and will cross the Mozambique Channel onto Africa shortly, and indications are that the northern provinces will see some effects. So while Freddy is in the north, more locally, the rains do SEEM to be tapering off a bit … <fingers crossed> that this indeed the case and the Midlands anglers can start looking forward to some respite from the current mud and high flows.
Conditions notwithstanding, there are always a few hardy (some would say foolhardy) anglers trying to get their fix, but with the rivers and streams pretty much bank-to-bank high, a return from a Natal Fly Fishers Club (NFFC) angler came back with the following 1-liner : “chocolate … river running like a runaway train” …. So perhaps foolhardy is the correct version after all!
It’s not all doom and gloom however, and news from the KZN Fly Fishing Association (KZNFFA) is that the last 2 weekends have seen their Senior, then Junior and Master squads all take on the river (and some Stillwater with the Seniors), and under somewhat “difficult” conditions, reports include fish! Congrats to all the anglers for making the best of it!
As reported last week, plenty of the drippy stuff, but with the alternate heatwaves, overall temperatures have not heat abated, and the NFFC trout stillwaters remain closed for the time being – the waters sub-Committee has their finger on the pulse while we wait for a decent spell of cooler weather and will press the green button when water have decreased.
For those NFFC anglers desperate for a Stillwater fix, there are bass dams available to book – often frowned upon by the trout anglers, bass are great quarry on the fly, with even the “teenage” fish giving a good account of themselves and light tackle.
This month’s meeting of the Natal Fly Dressers Society took place this week after being moved forward a week. Local angler Callum Holley demonstrated the Flexo Crab, having just returned from Farquhar Island, Seychelles where the island guides gave their stamp of approval on his crab pattern. A fun evening with some great inside tip heard from Callum. If strapping feathers and fluff – and in this case, some synthetics – is of interest, come and chat to Jan at Kingfisher-PMB for meeting info and schedule.
Word from the bass fraternity is that there have been some good fish coming to hand recently … but as the usually the case, when the pressure is on at an event, the fish run shy. Event 2 of the SA Bass Angling Association (SABAA) KZN Senior Division took place on Albert Falls Dam last weekend – 43 anglers took part in the event … fishing was tough with some 69 fish being caught. Of the Top 10 anglers, 7 came away with a full 5-fish bag, and the biggest fish of the event coming in 4.63kg. Congrats to all the anglers who slogged it out.
The next local event is the Major League Fishing (MLF) “Cast-for-Cash” which takes place on Midmar Dam on 25 February – we look forward to hearing results next week. Event coming up shortly are : the Joey’s Tournament Trail on the 4March up at Woodstock Dam, and the very popular New Hanover Prep Bass competition 11 March (register online at www.newhanover.co.za or on the day at the event).
On the yellowfish front : with the rivers in spate and coloured up, the scaly (Natal Yellowfish) anglers are battling, with only a few reports of fish here and there taken on weighted nymph rigs. With the inclement weather patterns of late, after weeks of firing, Sterkfontein Dam has been “Tough, Tough, Tough…” to quote guide David Weaver … even to the point where he suggest that if you are planning a trip to Sterkies … don’t. Just yet that is. So the wait is on – once again – for conditions to improve for these great species”. 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 their new store in the 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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