We made it into the first quarter of 2023! So far so good and the fishing has been oh so good…

Top tip. With all the dorries around at the moment this is the perfect time to discuss the best handling methods once you land one. Dorado can be a real handful on the boat or ski. Your best bet is to get the fish in to the hatch as soon as possible. Once in the hatch, cut the trace as close to the mouth as possible and close the hatch. Do not sit and fiddle trying to get hooks out. This will either waste time while the rest of the school swim away or will see a hook thrashed into your hand. The dorado is a fast growing fish so it is much more sustainable than many other species. This being said, you do not need 10.


Giant tuna, dorado, couta and a lot of billfish! What else could we want?!

North – The north has seen a lot of snoek action at all the usual haunts. The paddlers have done very well with their silent approach. Fillet baits have done well to locate the snoek but once found, a switch to spinning with a small spoon has been much more effective.

The sharks have been very active on the north coast spots with taxation being particularly high at Umdloti. I’d you find yourself losing fish to the sharks, your best bet is to move off that spot. You are not going to be able to pull the fish faster than the shark can swim.

Central – The Durban section of KZN has seen a lot of happy anglers recently. The dorado have kept most of the anglers happy enough but those looking for more action have found it! The marlin have been full up. A lot of smaller marlin have been landed this past week. These are a fantastic introduction into big game fishing. One of the most overlooked aspects of marlin fishing is the role of the skipper. He/she needs to keep the boat positioned in such a manner that there is always tension on the line and that the marlin is never swimming towards the boat.

South – The south coast has seen the early arrival of the couta with some good size fish already appearing. Most of the fish have been further north but the crocodiles are still a few months off.

Fishing the colour lines caused by all the rain has been the most successful method for targeting the snoek and dorado (two different depths) down south. Trolling fillet baits on the shallow lines has been the downfall of many snoek while the deeper water lines have been loaded with dorado.

Rock and surf:

The inedibles are giving a good account of themselves. The kingfish have been around in good numbers with most being taken on lures.

The upper reaches of KZN have been a bit quiet for the summer but the days that have produced fish have seen good hauls of raggies with a splash of diamonds in between. The raggies have mainly come out at Tugela with bigger head baits getting the best results.

The rest of the north coast has been hit or miss with some spots producing amazing action and others that are seemingly perfect, not seeing fish. Your best bet is to line up the conditions as best as possible and go check out the spot you want to fish on a low tide to see the banks. Wait for three or so days of northeast wind to blow and ideally a small sea. Look for a spot where you can fish into the deeper water either over the sandbank or between two banks.

Central – The central coast has been cooking! The basin area had a phenomenal day this week with an amazing assortment of fish being landed including a sandy well over two meters!

Fresh bait has continued to make the biggest difference. Get your hands on the best quality bait that you can, to make sure you make the most of your fishing trip. For most of the fish coming out, a simple fmj-style nylon trace with a short bite section of around 100lb wire will be perfect. This trace with a 9/0 circle hook is perfectly set for most of the bigger inedibles you are likely to come across.

The edibles have been on the quieter side but some big stumpies and pompano have made it on to social media recently. Octopus legs, chokka, crabs and prawns have been the most used baits for the edibles this past week.

South – The south coast is still producing very good numbers of bronze bream. The rocky ledges and gullies along the south coast have seen many species being landed but the stone bream and bronze bream have made up the bulk of the catches. Pink prawn and cracker are the two must have baits for these two species. Light tackle will not only get you more bites, but it will also see you have a lot more fun.

The shad are still in full force down south with plenty of happy anglers in the mornings. Drift sardine baits have been the most productive method to target these fish but a spoon is close behind.


The freshwater fishing continues to impress as we move in to the third month of 2023. The bass are destroying topwater’s, the trout are fighting hard and the carp are in the mood to eat.

Bass – The bass fishing has been epic! The top water blow-ups on the frogs has made many a knee weak. Seeing a 2kg+ bass erupt out of the water with the single-minded need to kill your frog is something that stays in your mind.

Inanda and Albert Falls are the two most successful spots for the boat anglers. The benefit of being able to cover a lot of water means these bigger systems are better fished with a boat.

Senko style baits have been deadly over the past week (and since their original launch). These “do nothing” baits have a subtle wiggle on the way down and present a large food item to the bass. They are a must have in your box. Those that prefer a more visual bite will do well with walking style topwater’s for the more open areas and frogs for the vegetation. Both of these lure types allow you to fish the selected areas effectively and are both extremely exciting to fish as the blow-ups are phenomenal!

Carp – The carp fishing has been good for both specimen and conventional anglers. The conventional anglers have been hitting the numbers hard. The keepnets have been bulging. On that note, please make sure to empty your keepnets frequently and place them in water that is deep enough as well as cool.

Inanda Dam has produced some real quality specimens over the last while. The weed has been a problem but can be overcome with a bit of work in terms of raking. Once again accuracy in terms of your baiting and casting/dropping remains the most important factor when fishing Inanda.

Trout – The midlands have remained cool enough that the trout fishing is still going very well. The bigger dams are fishing better at the moment as their size gives the fish plenty of place to go to feel safe. The presence of deeper water is also a great help in the warmer summer weather. Now is the time for a sinking line to get those streamers down to the fish as quickly as possible. Make sure to vary your retrieves as a speed up or slowdown could be the difference between a smile or frown at the end of the day.

Summer is generally the season to switch to the more green and olive colours. Make sure you have plenty of zonkers and woolly buggers in black and olive. Summer also brings with it a myriad of different insect hatches so keep your eyes trained on the surface for any feeding fish.

News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “Did anyone notice my slightly purple face this past week…?  Seems like holding my breath has indeed helped, and <fingers crossed> that I am not jeopardizing the current state by saying anything as we are having a great run of weather at the moment … long may it last. The rains have eased as hoped, and apart from a spit and spot, there is nothing untoward in the forecast … somebody send the Viking Weather Gods a Bells please.  Water a cooling, the stillwaters are open, rivers are fining off and getting clearer by the day … it’s setting up to be a great Autumn’s fishing.

With the Natal Fly Fishers Club (NFFC) having JUST reopened their stillwaters at the time of the previous report, it was too early for any returns to have made it to press … a week later, and there have been a number of anglers bolting out of the retraining gates and onto the waters.  Water temps are still reported to be in the upper teens, and a bit discoloured on some of the waters with strong inflows.  A good number of fish have been reported in the 12-15 inch / 30-38cm bracket, a few more of between 15-20 inches / 38-50cm, and a couple in the 20-23 inch / 50-60cm group, and then a cracker of 61cm / 24 inches.  Now that’s a great way to celebrate the re-opening of the waters.  The successful anglers playing their cards close to their chest, so no flies mentioned in the reports of course, but with the waters cooling now, fish will be looking for feed up … so buggers, dragons and damsels, and my personal favourite, minnows, should be high on the menu.

With the rivers starting to fine off, there have been some excellent fish reported.  Wading still a bit “challenging” in some places as noted in one of the returns, but clear for the most part.  While there were some fish reported in the 9-11 inch / 23-28cm bracket, the bulk of the fish reported were in the 12-15 inch / 30-38cm class.  Great fish that will have given quite a rev on the lighter stream tackle.  Weighted nymphs required to get down to the fish in the heavier sections, with not much interest in the dry fly … yet that is … this will pick up as the rivers continue to drop and clear.  My time will come…

Making good use of the weather, the bass anglers are also out in force, and all of a sudden, the socials are full of fish.  And not small fish either, the bucketmouths are on the loose.  Good numbers of fish in the 1-2kg and 2kg+ classes, from both boat and shore at Albert Falls.  Dams still full and brimming, so there is plenty flooded structure and margins.  With fishing moving in cover, topwater frogs are a great option.  From a recent report : switching between a buzzing frog and a hollow body as the day progresses is a good way to keep catching fish on a frog all day … anything with a bright belly right now when bass are feeding on bait.

This weekend sees the very popular New Hanover Prep Bass Comp taking place on Saturday – Michael is out getting in some last minute practice and is reporting that the REACTION series of plastics are working well.  So, if you see him on the water, give him a shout to get the inside track and what he is catching on!

As reported last week, the lower sections of the rivers, especially those below confluences, are still running high and coloured and the Natal Yellowfish (scaly) fishing is on the back burner for the moment.  This will pick up as the waters drop and clear, and although the yellows are less on the bite in the cooler months, the fish tend to be on the larger end of the scale with 5o-60cm / 20-24 inch fish not uncommon.  Can’t wait…

With the better, clearer weather, Sterkfontein Dam is starting to pick up again – seeing some coming in on the reports”. Thanks Jan.

Tight lines and screaming reels.


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Categories: Reports