The heat has been oppressive, but the sea has been producing some proper fish.
Top tip. Keeping your fluid levels up is vitally important, especially if you plan on tackling the summer giants in the heat of KZN. Make sure to keep a good amount of water with you and a decent electrolyte mix for the very intense days.
The offshore fishing has been wild. The gamefish have been keeping the reels screaming while the bottoms have kept the sticks bent.
North – The north coast has seen some brilliant gamefish action. The snoek have been around in good numbers. Most of the usual spots have been performing. If you don’t know where these spots are, look for the full parking lots…
Trolling small lipped lures or fillet baits are your best options. The couta have been a bit scarce with most of the catches being made by the “old sea dogs”. This shows the importance of experience.
Central – The central coast is firing with snoek action. The areas just north of Durban have been producing good numbers and sizes of these fish. Lures have been the most effective way to catch them.
The tuna and dorado have been around on the colour lines and the wrecks/reefs. Fishing with live bait has been the key for these.
South – The south coast has seen good bottom fishing this past week. The amberjack and yellowtail are still around on the deep pinnacles. These beasts require very strong tackle and an experienced hand. 8-9ft bottom sticks, a 10inch KP and 100lb Daiwa J braid is a good mix for targeting these (and most other) bottoms.
The gamefish have been around Aliwal with reports of tuna, wahoo, dorado and billfish all coming in. Most of the catches have been on high-speed trolling.
Rock and surf:
The heat of January has been beating down. The flatfish have been taking no prisoners along the north coast so make sure you are ready before you throw your bait.
North – The north has been on fire, with fish and temperatures. If you are planning a trip to target the fish up north please read this week’s top tip.
The banks and surrounds have been producing some fish. The diamonds have been a bit scarce which has given other species a chance to make it on to the reports. There have been some good hammerheads and other sharks on the reports. Mackerel has been the pick of the baits.
Central – The Durban region has seen decent fishing despite the dirtier water.
The basin has seen the most of the catches with smaller diamonds and grey sharks making up the bulk. These fish do not require the heavy tackle so take your medium setup and go have some fun. Mackerel and redeye baits with a bit of floatation have been working the best. Bait is scarce at the moment so make sure to look after what you have and buy what you can.
South – The south coast has not reported much in the past few weeks.
The areas around Scottburgh have been the most productive. The grey sharks have kept the inedible anglers happy, but the bigger fish have been absent. The warmer water is probably to blame.
The edible side of things has been better with a myriad of species being caught. Prawn and chokka have made targeting all the different species possible.
The dams and rivers have dropped down a bit after the massive rains we had. The fishing is starting to pick up, but so is the summer heat…
Bass – The bass are in a summer mood with the best fishing happening in the early morning and evening. The topwater bite has been wild. The weedier dams have done well with hollow body frogs while the more open water systems have seen success with propeller baits and walk-the-dog style baits.
The heat of the day makes the fishing go a bit quiet and while it is better to take a break in the shade, you can still catch fish. Switch to deeper water. Throwing deep diving cranks is the best bet.
Carp – The carp fishing has been quiet. There have been plenty of smaller fish from the private dams and estates, but the big fish have not been reported.
On the smaller venue side of things, the estates in KZN have all been producing fish. These dams are normally pretty well stocked so you can have plenty of fun in a morning or afternoon. A simple light rod and basic trace with a mielie pip will get you a bite.
Trout – The rivers have been producing fish, even with the high flow rate. The necessity of tungsten as a source of weight has been very apparent recently. Upping the size of the bead on your selected fly or adding split shot to your leader will get the fly down. Just be careful when casting as heavy flies love to hit and break tips of fly rods…
The stillwaters have been relatively quiet as the heat and dirty water has put most people off. Those that have tried have had mixed results.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “So after the spell of “decent weather”, we finally have a break … happy to be looking forward to a wee spell of reduced temperatures. While the “decent weather” was great for getting you tan levels up, and maybe a dose of heatstroke, it’s not good for fish I am afraid. Some species clearly do better in the warmer conditions, but for the most part, the (very) warm surface water holds much less oxygen and when fighting a fish for an extended period of time, mortality rates skyrocket if practicing Catch and Release.
Based on weather conditions, the Natal Fly Fishers Club closed ALL their stillwaters with immediate effect this last week. The waters sub-committee reported that nearly all the stillwaters have surpassed 22 deg.C surface temperature, which – as mentioned above – puts fish into a critical situation. The NFFC will continue to monitor the conditions on a weekly basis, and will reopen waters when temperatures have reduced significantly for an extended period.
Prior to the water closure, there had been a single return from the NFFC, which reported a few fish in the 13-17 inch / 33-43 cm bracket. But just the single return, which shows that anglers are savvy to the effect of water temperature on the fish…
So, what about the current cooler conditions as of NOW? : word from the NFFC is that daily (air) temperatures have been 30 deg.C and more for the last 2 weeks, and night time temperatures are not reducing significantly enough to make any real impact on the water temperatures. While there are some cooler temps, and even some rain in the forecast over the next week / 10 days or so, it’s still a waiting game.
The benefit of the warm (hot!) rainless dry spell is that water levels have been dropping, good for the river anglers who after the heavy rains previously, were looking at taking up white water rafting as opposed to fishing! But as with the stillwaters, the daytime temperatures affect even the moving water, and the rivers are running hot at 20/21 deg.C … a NFFC return from one of the river beats in the Dargle Valley noted a water temp of 25 deg.C. Poached fish anyone?
As mentioned last week, current water temps will curtail any thoughts of trout for the time being, so apart from trekking down to the coast, let’s see what other possibilities there are to get your line wet in The Midlands…
Bass – the 1st port of call for the warm water anglers. While reports of fish are still being kept on the lowdown (rolls eyes), word pops up every now and again … local angler Tyron McGarry fishing the banks at Albert Falls reported tough fishing last weekend but managed a couple good ‘uns and even a hungry carp that picked up the fluke he was fishing! Midmar is also still reportedly fishing well. From the socials, frogs is a hot topic right now, with every angler having their own favourite – bottom line is that they all work, choose the one that tickles your fancy and fish it … you will catch. And nothing beats a topwater bite.
As mentioned last week, the Major League Fishing (MLF) events kicks off this weekend at Albert Falls Dam. The event is not an invitational, so it’s open to everyone – get in if you want a part of the action.
Coming up fast is the 19th edition of the very popular New Hanover Prep Bass Fishing Competition that takes place on 11 March. Entries are open, and you can enter online – see the socials for link.
2nd warm water fish (or group of fish) on the list are the cyprinids, which include carp and yellowfish – and we have a couple of choices. Word from the water is that both Midmar and Albert Falls are fishing well for carp – Midmar producing numbers of mainly younger fish, while Alberts fewer fish, but bigger. A popular fish with both the fly and conventional anglers. Rivers are still on the full side in the lower beats, but are dropping, and there have been some excellent scaly reported recently – fish in the upper 50cm bracket and a couple over 60cm. These guys will put a proper bend in your stick.
And then there are the Small- and Largemouth Yellowfish of Sterkfontein. “Sterkies” is considered to be a world-class dry fly fishery, and recent reports telling that it is on fire at present. Not too far, you can be on the water in a little over 2hrs from PMB”. Thanks Jan.
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. Tight lines and screaming reels.
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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