Winter is here! The cold weather and winter swell has arrived. The fishing has continued on all fronts with some decent fish being caught.
Top tip: The switch to warmer gear is imperative for winter. Much like sun protection in the summer, you need to make sure you prepare for the inclement weather during your winter sessions. Not having something to keep you warm can result in a miserable fisherman and more than likely an early departure. Look at a decent light-weight jacket along with a beanie. These should keep you more than warm enough in KZN.
The winter swell has started and has made launching in some spots a little sketchy. Remember that the bigger swells generally have bigger breaks between the sets so just be patient and don’t rush.
North – The north coast has been producing a lot of good size snoek and couta. Anglers have been filling hatches on most launches. Fillet baits have proved deadly in the early mornings and have claimed their fair share of couta as well. The importance of tying proper knots and using quality tackle is never more apparent than when you hook a bigger fish on light tackle.
Umdloti continues to produce good results while the further north you go, the better the fishing becomes.
Central – The Durban coast has seen a lot more traffic with the easier launch sites getting plenty of attention in the bigger seas.
The fishing along the Durban coast has seen the main focus on couta for the recreational angler while the charter boats have gone straight for the bottom fish. The couta have preferred a decent quality dead bait trolled slowly in twenty to twenty seven meters of water. The bottom fish are less selective with their tastes and will eat most baits as long as you can get down to them.
South – The start of the spotting season has started and most anglers can’t help but stare out at the sea in the hope of seeing a shoal of sardines.
The south coast has been much the same as the central coast with the split in targeting going more towards bottom fish but still seeing some good couta being landed. These couta generally like a bigger bait this time of year so make sure you try trolling a walla-walla, bonito or shad.
Rock and Surf:
The winter weather has slowed the inedible fishing down quite drastically, but the edibles have started to fill the catch reports.
North – The giant tripletails are still being caught up north and some truly magnificent specimens have been landed. These fish should be on everyone’s bucket list if not for their unique looks, then for their fighting ability. These are pretty rare fish to catch so please consider releasing them unharmed.
The rest of the north has seen a mix of smaller inedibles and a bundle of edible species caught on both bait and lures.
Central – The Durban coast is still holding good numbers of small to medium inedibles and is a great place to take new anglers or those that struggle to fish in the areas that require a long cast. Smaller baits with lots of smell and a 6/0 circle hook will do most of the work for you. Grey sharks and blue rays are your main species coming out.
South – The south coast anglers have not sent much in lately. It is getting to sardine season so keep your eyes and ears open in the upcoming weeks for news of the silver flood coming to KZN.
The edible fishing has been decent on the upper south coast with everything from kob to garrick and shad being taken. Live baits have been working for the predators while chokka and sardine mixes have worked for everything else.
The winter weather is pretty much here and the need for a beanie and jacket is paramount in the early mornings. Fishing has been good with some big fish being landed in each facet.
Bass – The bass fishing has not changed much since last week and all the tips from then still apply. Remember the cold does not stop the bass from feeding but it can make them sluggish. Slow down your presentations and focus on your line when your lures are dropping to the bottom as the bites can be very subtle.
Albert Falls has been fishing very well over the past few weeks. Most techniques have been working despite the colder conditions.
Carp – The carp fishing has not seen much reporting in the last week. Please send us your catches so we can keep the report current and accurate.
This time of year sees the fish sunning themselves in the morning in the shallower water and then shifting to the deeper spots if the sun gets too hot. Luckily the weather is stabilising a bit and we should see more consistent fishing in the next few weeks. Stick to the banana, garlic and honey flavours and you should come right with a carp or seven.
Trout – Cold weather and cooling down water. These are all good for trout and trout spawning. This time of year is always a great time to target some big, hefty fish. The males are generally fired up so will aggressively eat a fly. The females can be a bit more tricky. This is a great time of year to stalk the fish in the shallows where they are looking to spawn. Focus on shallow bays with open areas and a change in bottom structure. Use a fly with some orange and go catch some giants.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “We are into the thick of winter – well, the calendar says so, but the weather isn’t exactly suitable for a snowman … yet. Kamberg did get pretty frosty this past weekend, and with a frontal system sneaking by, it seems that many anglers “bled” a bit this past weekend. There were of course some stupid fish about that got themselves caught by the “online scam” that is fly fishing, so let’s where and what…
We can skip quickly over the trout rivers, save to mention a reminder that the trout streams are CLOSED for the next 3 months till opening day 1 September … so now we wait. If your need for a moving water fix is getting too much, there are however other species that are still on the available fishing list; these being carp and scaly’s, and bass of course. One report from the uMngeni this week mentioned a 10kg carp coming to hand on a 5wt(!) fly rod after an hour long tussle! While the scaly fishing slows down in winter, the fish that come to hand tend to be bigger than the more prolific summer run, so well worthwhile getting out there and dredging some flies. Popular patterns are nymphs in natural livery; e.g. GRHE in standard and black, PTN, and a variety of bead head jig flies.
In the main, this being predominantly stillwater trout season, The Midlands has seen a number of events kicking off the season. Most recently, last weekend saw the Kamberg Trout Festival taking place on the many and varied waters of the Kamberg Valley, most of which are unavailable to the fly fishing public throughout the year, making the KTF a very popular annual event. As mentioned, the weather had a fair say in the weekend’s proceedings, and with the stealthy approach of a frontal system, pressure dropped and the fishing at the KTF wasn’t exactly fireworks … but is usually the case, there are “lucky” anglers and some “not so lucky” … yours truly fell into the latter class this time around, almost to the point of drawing a blank for the entire event as I blanked the first three sessions and was of a mind to sit out the fourth and keep my record clean and unblemished by a fish! Fortunately, the sight of my team members on the water had me follow suit, and with the weather gods loosening their grip on the pressure scale, I managed to get stuck into some fine and feisty Kamberg specimens, salvaging name and reputation in the process. A big sigh of relief I can tell you.
For those anglers falling on the “lucky” side of the spectrum, there were good numbers of fish in the 40-50cm / 15-19 inch and 50-60cm / 19-23 inch classes recorded, and of course there were a few pulling the tape over the 60cm mark. The biggest fish of the event came in at 68cm / 26.7 inches, weighing in at 3.8kg – congrats to Michael Kollmorgen
As for the social aspect, the KTF is a well-known institution of Midlands Fly Fishing and it was great to mingle again with like-minded old friends and new … so suffice it to say that we are already booked for next year!
The water temperature was 13degrees, so not that cold as yet, and weed dredged up was still green. Of course there are a variety of patterns that provided fish, but for the most part, olive is the colour. Some bright colours also accounted for fish : hotspot bead head, Pancora tails, and also White Death.
The Natal Fly Fishers Club anglers also took a bit of a brow beating this weekend, with just a handful of reports coming in. With the pressure back on the rise, the latter half of the weekend yielded better returns, with more and bigger fish coming to hand. Word from other waters however is that Sunday was a cracker day … so go figure. The only way to be certain is to have a line in the water…
After the previous reports of big fish being around, seems like the weather also put a slow on the bass fishing. There were however still some good bass reported from a “cold Albert Falls” this past weekend. A reminder on top tip for winter bass : downsize your equipment and switch to light spinning outfits and line weight; and slow your retrieves right down … as slow as possible. Two other techniques that are attracting some attention and to try for winter Shakey Head Rig and Drop-shotting.
Even though the fishing has slowed down, Neels Potgieter reports that there are still cracker carps to be had on fly on the surface at Albert Falls Dam. Not so sure about the 10kg tackle buster reported from the river earlier, one of these bruisers is still on my bucket list”. 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.
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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