Well, that was one very chilly week!
There was not a lot of fishing done in the freezing conditions but those that ventured out did manage some decent results. Guys, 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.
Top tip. Layering. This is something you have probably heard your significant other talk about. The key to being ready for a long fishing day in winter is a good number of layers. This means you will be comfortable all day long. The warmer jackets and longs can be taken off if the sun gets too hot and can be put back on later when the evening draws near.
Tuna, snoek, bottom fish and garrick have been on the menu. So there is something for everyone, you just need to get out there.
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 into 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.
South – The shallower areas down south have produced a couple of couta and some nice snoek. The fillet baits have been the pick of the bunch for the snoek while a larger live bait has been a killer for the couta.
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 rock and surf fishing has seen a mix of edibles mainly. The inedibles caught have been with the smaller pockets of sardines or up north.
North – The north coast has seen the bulk of the inedible catches. The usual spots like Tugela and Mtunzini have been the places to go if you are looking for something to test your drag. Remember that these spots should be fished in a group as there have been incidents in the past. Bloody baits like mackerel and bonito have been the most successful.
There have been some good edibles around most of the north coast. Look for some protected bays and gullies for the best results.
Central – The central coast has seen a bit of edible action. There have been a few garrick taken at Blue Lagoon on live bait. These are highly pressured fish so please consider releasing your catch. The beaches along the central coast have also seen some good stumpies and kob being caught. Chokka, prawn and sardines have been the best choices. The shad have been around in the early mornings.
South – The south coast has been a bream fishing hotspot for the last few weeks. These fish move a lot so put the time in and walk along the desired area and look for signs of these fish. Pink prawn has been the most successful bait for these fish. If you haven’t tried it yet, give circle hooks a go for the bream. They do not come out once hooked and you will not get stuck as much as you do with J-hooks.
The rains and cold have made some dams muddy and unfishable but the general situation on the freshwater front has been one of good fishing but cold weather.
Bass – This cold snap has slowed the bass down and fishing for them needs to be slowed down as well. Look at techniques that allow you to get to the deeper water where the bass are holding. Also, baits that will make the bass eat.
Shaking a dropshot worm in a bass’ face will eventually make him eat it. Slowly dragging a jig along the floor will also get some attention.
Carp – The carp fishing has been quiet with no reports coming in. Winter is a time of big fish for all the facets, but the specimen anglers generally do well.
The cold can be debilitating so make sure you prepare yourself properly before your trip. Use stronger scents in your mixes and focus on keeping your feeding spot well stocked.
Trout – The weather has been interesting up in the hills this past week. A few days have been completely blown out by the wind and other days the line has frozen in the guides with the cold. All this, and there have still been some fantastic fish caught. Bigger streamer patterns like leeches have worked well in most venues. A touch of orange like a collar or bead will do you well. Remember to vary the retrieve and depth to find what the fish want. Most importantly, stay warm!
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “Soooo … the naysayers were correct! How was that for a rather about turn in the weather as we are supposedly headed for summer…? I am happy to report however, that from those intrepid anglers that made it out there, the fish don’t seem to care and some great fish have come to hand. As they say, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. On the other hand, the onlookers are going “Wish I was there…” but then move a bit closer to the heater and say “mmmm, never mind…!”.
My trip down south of the North Eastern Cape unfortunately didn’t involve throwing a line as the weather up on top was still upside down from the heavy snow of the week before … snow drifts apparently 8-10ft deep, an icy road up and especially the 60-80km/h howling wind was not conducive to throwing a fly. Never mind the fact that Loch Ness was partially frozen over. The run went well, and I am happy to report that I have no.2 in the bag … roll on next year for no.3 and my hattrick.
While the weather Grundy’s are grumbling at the recent somewhat Antarctic conditions in The Midlands currently, the positive aspect of the snow is the melt that will be feeding the rivers, keeping the flow up and preventing the “down to bare bones” conditions usually experienced by a rainless winter. Just a little over 7 weeks to the reopening of the rivers … but hey, who’s counting?
While the trout streams remain closed for the time being, some anglers have been giving the odd scaly / Natal Yellowfish a hard time. Some good fishing has been reported from the upper Tugela with plenty fish in the 20-30cm / 8-12 inch bracket keeping the anglers happy, with a smattering of bigger fish in the 40-50cm / 16-20 inch bracket. A black jig bugger / tadpole imitation was the “go to” solution.
There were some intrepid anglers in the Natal Fly Fishers Club ranks that made it out over the past week, in the pre-frontal and then full-frontal conditions. One report showed a water temperature down to single figure – and I am sure that chill will cause another degree or so drop. Apart from a couple smaller fish reported in the 11-13 inch / 28-33cm range, most of the fish were in the upper end of the tape measure in the 17-19 inch / 43-48cm and 19-21 inch / 48-53cm bracket. The private waters have also been producing well – it’s been a great winter season so far with good fish all round. The producing patterns have been minnow, dragon and damsel fly patterns.
This month’s meeting of the Natal Fly Dressers Society had NFDS Chair Jan Korrubel demonstrating midge patterns – commonly overlooked by the “bugger chucker’s”, as small as they are, midges are THE staple food item for most freshwater species. if tying your own fly is of interest, pop into the Kingfisher-PMB and chat to Jan about getting into fly tying.
The next events on the calendar are Leg3 of the TOPS Corporate Challenge that takes place at the end of the month, followed by the Kamberg Outdoor Challenge mid-August.
Last week’s pre-frontal conditions had the bass on the bite with some good fish in the 2kg+ range being reported from Albert Falls Dam, with olive soft plastics doing the work. There are a couple events coming up next month, starting with the new Bass Warehouse Tournament Trail mid-August on Alberts, followed by Albert Falls Bass Tournament at the end of August. No reports from Midmar Dam of late”. thanks Jan.
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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