And just like that the month of May has come and gone. The mornings are colder and darker but there are still plenty of fish in the sea.
Top tip: Slippery when wet! Rocks can be incredibly dangerous to fish off of. One slip and you can find yourself in a lot of trouble. Therefore, wearing the right shoe when you are on the rocks is of paramount importance. Luckily, when it comes to what shoe to wear, the answer is simple. All you need is a pair of cut-down gumboots. Shova fisherman’s boots are the right fishing boots to buy. You can purchase purpose-built gumboots with studs and fancy linings, but the truth is that the normal gumboot from a reputable protection wear store will do the job perfectly. Remember to always drill holes in the boot to allow water to drain out and rather go too big than too small. A gumboot that is full of water and not easy to kick off is like a pair of lead shoes if you get washed off the rocks. Remember, be safe and fish smart.
The sea has been a bit grumpy along the KZN coast recently but seems to be settling down a bit.
North – The north side of KZN has not seen much of a change over the last week. The bottom fishing has been kind to both the charter and recreational guys. The main catches have been focussed around mixed reds and rockcod. Pota squid is ideal for all the bottom fishing needs. Closer to Durban there has been a lot of tuna action, but the bigger sea has put many off, remember to be safe out there.
Central – The section along the Durban coast has seen a lot of action over last week. Mainly due to the easier launch options available, but also for the fish species on the menu.
There have been a pile of tuna for all those who have ventured off the central coast. Most methods have proved effective, but a live bait has produced the bigger fish. There have also been some much-anticipated couta finally being added to the hatches. A live bait is essential for these early fish, as well as a wire trace.
South – Snoek, couta, marlin and tuna. These are a few of the species coming in off the south coast. The tuna are about as abundant as they are further north and the same methods work just as well in the south. The marlin was hooked and landed while targeting tuna around Aliwal. A live mozzie on a circle hook did the damage. The snoek have been around all the river mouths and can be targeted using small spoons, Strike Pro Magic Minnows or fillet baits.
Rock and Surf:
The KZN rock and surf scene is starting to feel the winter chill a bit. The action is becoming a bit patchy for the inedibles and some of the classic winter edibles are starting to show face.
North – The north coast has been very kind to the artificial lure anglers over the last week. There have been kingies, snoek and garrick as the main catches coming out. The key with spinning is to put the time in and to keep at it. You need to stick to your guns and fish for your target. Having too many lure choices will leave you spending more time changing lures than actually fishing. Garrick love a plug, kingies love a soft plastic and snoek love a small spoon like the Kingfisher Anchovy spoons, this is a good guideline.
Central – The central coast has been the only fishable spot in the bigger seas. Unfortunately, this has not resulted in large catches. The shad have been a big nuisance as they have been around in great number but have all, but a few been undersize. There have been some good blacktail and stumpies caught on the piers. These fish have fallen for cracker shrimp fished in the deeper water. There have been some bigger inedibles caught. Mainly grey sharks and a few rays.
South – The south has seen the best edible fishing along the coast. There have been garrick at most of the usual spots. These fish have all gone for the large number of live baits in the area. The lure anglers have tried but the bait guys have been far more successful. There have also been some good kob snatched at night on chokka and live baits. The scratching guys have also had a good run of fish in the gullies and rocks. Baardman, kob, bronze bream and stonebream have been the top performers. In the deeper water you can fish a double hook trace, but the shallower water will mean you have to fish a single hook. Bait wise you will need chokka, prawns and cracker shrimp.
The freshwater fishing does not drop off in winter, it merely changes its focus. The fly fisherman make their move to the Berg, the specimen carp anglers’ dust off their tents and the bass guys look for their dropshot rigs.
Bass – The bass have been feisty! The fish of all sizes have been aggressively eating most baits, but the soft plastics have produced the bigger fish. All of our KZN venues hold big fish and all of them are fishing well at the moment. Do not be fooled by Hazlemere, it has some giants!
Natural colours such as watermelon seed and green pumpkin are always a good choice if you are uncertain of the venue. Fish lighter weights to start and weightless if possible. The heavier the weight the more it restricts the action of the plastic. On that note, straight-tail worms can often produce better results than the ones with large curly tails. The subtle vibration caused by the lobe on the straight tail can drive bass mad. Do not be afraid to scale down…
Carp – The carp fishing has not changed much in the past couple of weeks. The fishing has been good on both specimen and conventional fronts with consistent catches. The sweeter flavours have been producing the best results, which is usually the norm for the warmer months. Inanda continues to be the best dam for the specimen anglers. Fishing accurately is essential at this venue. If you are 10m out, you may as well be fishing a different dam. Create a feeding area and fish your lines next to and in front of the feeding spot. For your feed, mix the particles so the carp feed freely.
Albert Falls has been the venue for the conventional anglers. Well packed mielie bombs allow you to cast that little bit further and often produce a quicker bite. Floaties in sweet and fruity flavours will be the pick of the baits. If all else fails, add some earthworms to the mix…
Trout – The trout fishing has continued to produce good fish for all those venturing to the colder Berg. The snow has not put the guys (and girls) off and the trout have loved the colder water. The odd patch of warmth has seen a few hatches, but these have been short and sweet. The damselflies are around and fishing a thin, mobile nymph pattern in the weed margins should snare you a good fish or seven. Fishing deeper with a minnow or dragonfly nymph imitation will produce the bigger fish but the bites might be further apart.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB “The weather has been a little bit up and down this past week – warmed up again after the chill of last week, but then a late frontal system brought a spit and a spot of the drippy stuff (between 5-10mm reported in The Midlands area) and also some more snow up top, although mainly in Lesotho. Weather is looking good for the weekend so far – so <fingers crossed> that it stays that way as it’s the Kamberg Trout Festival the weekend, and yours truly will be out flogging the waters … last year a massive front came through a day before the Festival and make conditions somewhat difficult on the first day to say the very least…
Of note is that trout river season officially closed this week – so there have been a few hardy anglers trying to get their last minute fix before a 3month drought till the season reopens on 1 September. The last outings reported by the Natal Fly Fishers Club anglers took place on the Mooi river and yielded some fish in the 11-13 inch / 27-33cm class … no better way to end the season. Being a river angler first and foremost, I am ashamed to report that I have had only a single outing on our local streams – and that was Opening day last year! After that, with the weather / rain that came and blew the rivers out, followed by year end and year start … and as for this year, who knows where’s it gone? I shall be sure to rectify that next season…
With the stillwater season officially taking over this week, the first of the winter events took place last weekend; these being the Hastings Exclusive and Leg1 of the TOPS Corporate Challenge. The weather didn’t exactly play ball, but there was a small window of opportunity over the 1st session where most anglers got themselves on the board, after which the weather went pretty pear-shaped with high winds and a drop in pressure. No figures from the Hastings event, but a total of 230 fish were recorded at the TOPS event, with a third of those measuring 50cm and over, and 6 fish coming in at over 60cm!, the biggest of which pulled the tape to 64cm / 25 inches for angler Denzil Ulyate, annual return visitor to his former home waters – Congrats! As can be expected from these events, every angler has their favourite fly, so no clear pattern in the wide variety of flies that took fish.
It appears that the weekend weather kept most of the recreational anglers indoors, as the returns from the NFFC stillwaters and show only a sprinkling of fish around the 15 inch / 40cm mark. But judging from the results of the TOPS event, there are clearly some great fish about, so here’s hoping the weather plays ball and we can look forward to a bit of serious arm-wrestling this weekend.
The big bass were out and about before the weekend weather, and local angler Alistair Moores-Pitt got stuck in, landing a 15.1kg bag, with the biggest fish coming in at 4.43kg – Well Done Ali! The week was practice week for the Major League Fishing (MLF) Cast-for-Cash event that took place on Albert Falls this past weekend. Weather notwithstanding, local team Kirk van Reeuwyk and Tiaan Odendaal took the win with a bag of 13.6kg – Congrats guys! Certainly seems that the fish are out there, and as mentioned recently, sometimes the winter fishing is better than the summer fishing!
Herewith a couple more tips for the winter : downsize your equipment and switch to light spinning outfits and line weight; try finesse rigs and slow your retrieves right down … as slow as possible. As far as lures go : plastic, any plastic … but as mentioned, drag it slowly. Lure colour depends on water colour : dark for dirty, and light/natural for clean water. Logic will also tell you to use lures that mimic the bait that’s present in the dam; for e.g., if redbreast tilapia are present, then throw some lures with red incorporated. If you are stuck for one lure : soft plastic worms have probably accounted for more bass than any other style of lure.
Word from the water is that Midmar continues to produce, stay in the shallows where the water is slightly warmer. The carp anglers are also getting some good action at Midmar. Tight lines and screaming reels.
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.
For all your angling needs, (freshwater or saltwater) pop in and see The Kingfisher’s new store at the Tiffany’s Shopping Centre in Salt Rock or give them a shout on 032 307 0041.
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