With the cold snap at the beginning of the week, it has been difficult to convince most people to get up early and throw a bait/lure. Luckily, the fishing has been hot enough to make the cold bearable!
Top tip: “What colour lure was that caught on?” Colour is often the last thing on the list of importance when it comes to lures. Retrieve speed, retrieve depth, size of lure and then colour. If your lure is not in the right place, going the right speed and a similar size to the fish being targeted by the predators, it can be a perfect replica, but it is not going to get a bite. Try to focus more on the retrieve speed and the depth you are fishing and you will definitely get more bites.
The offshore fishing has been a bit slow this past week. Most of the guys have been making trips down far south for the bigger bottom fish but local waters have had fish.
North – The north coast has seen most of the “popular spots” busy with launches. There is a reason for this. The snoek are still around in good numbers. Some of the spots have fished better in the deeper spots than normal, so don’t be afraid to paddle or drive a bit further out with your fillet baits/lures. Always fun when a couta or tuna jumps on that snoek tackle…
The bottom fishing has also been very good but as mentioned above, most have travelled down south to target the bigger fish.
Central – The Durban coast has been busy. The bigger seas have made people wary of most other launches, so Durban has seen a bit of traffic.
The shallow reefs around the beachfront have seen some light tackle action for the guys but most of the better fish have been targeted out deep. The tuna are around in patches. Live bait on a 6/0 circle and some fluorocarbon leader and you are set.
South – The south coast and particularly the lower south have been the main target areas for those after the bottom giants. 10–11-inch KP reels, strong rods and 100lb+ braid are the weapons taken to these battles, often it is not enough…
If you have a weak point in your tackle, these fish will find it. Make sure you and your tackle are ready for a fight. Poenskop, copper steenbras, yellowtail and amberjack to name a few. They all like a live bait on the bottom and they will all make you rethink your life choices.
Rock and surf:
The fishing from the shore has been focused on live baits and garrick. Please remember that this is a species on the brink of disappearing so consider letting them go…
North – The north coast has seen a lot of bigger kob caught on lure. The photos on social media do not tell you about the hours of fruitless throwing and retrieving so do not get disheartened if you don’t get a bite first throw.
When fishing the paddletails, make sure to keep them close to the bottom and with an occasional contact with the bottom. You will lose lures so be prepared for it.
Central – The central coast has seen garrick action around the Blue Lagoon area. This spot has also accounted for some decent kingfish on live bait as well. The resident grey sharks have kept the guys busy who want to target something with a bit more oomph. Any fleshy bait combined with some chokka will quickly get the sharks’ attention.
Those throwing lures will do well with smaller spoons around the river mouth for the abundant kingies. Those who enjoy throwing can target the snoek and garrick off the front of the pier. This is a game of many, many casts so don’t give up.
South – The south coast has had a decent run of garrick in the past few weeks. These fish have been taken on stick baits and bucktails with the odd one or two on plug. When targeting these fish (and most other predators) keep your eyes open as they will tell you where they are. Look for anxious baitfish or splashes and you will find the right spot. Also, travel light as you will have to move.
On the bait side of things, the scratching has been decent but there have not been any fireworks down south.
The fishing has been good in most of the freshwater facets. There has been something for everyone so get out there and catch some fish!
Bass – Midmar has been the king of the castle for the last week. There have been some amazing fish caught, both in number and size. Fishing the deeper areas in Midmar can be very rewarding with a good fish finder being essential to a successful day. The structure in these deep areas are what you need to fish. Look for trenches, ridges, bumps and rock piles. Fish these areas with crankbaits, California rigs, heavy jigs or for a more finesse approach, the dropshot rig. Albert Falls has been the runner up for decent fishing with some good fish being landed. There has not been a set pattern so try to figure it out on the day by systematically working through your lure selection.
Carp – The carp fishing has been good in most of the KZN dams. The fishing has been fairly consistent over the past few weeks with the weather patterns being the main factor determining a trips’ success. Try to plan your trips to coincide with the days leading up to a front for the best results. There have been good numbers of fish reported from most of the local anglers and floaties in banana flavour have been the resounding favourite.
The specimen anglers have not reported much this past week so one can assume either the fishing is particularly good or very bad.
Trout – The trout fishing is still going well with most anglers going for the stream and river option as opposed to the Stillwaters. The streams and rivers have been flowing well and the fishing is only getting better. A dry and dropper rig is the way to go when scouting a new section of water.
The Stillwaters are fishing well with some surprisingly big fish still being caught. The higher altitude you can go, the better.
Herewith this week’s report from Jan, the Kingfisher in PMB – “We are now 2 weeks into the Trout Rivers season and judging by the returns coming in from the Natal Fishers Club anglers, there are some happy anglers about. I, for one, would have been on my favourite trout stream on Opening Day 1 September, had I not been a tad further north and on an ever so slightly larger river system … I hasten to note that I did throw a fly on said river, but unfortunately came up empty handed while a friend did manage to open his account for the trip; can I call it a shared fish?
Reports are that the rivers were crystal clear and (rather) low, so while it seems that somebody forgot to close the fridge / freezer door earlier this week, that little of snow up on high will help just a bit. Returns show that primary river of choice for the NFFC anglers has been The Bushman’s River, with the Umgeni and Mooi Rivers not far behind. Water temperatures are pretty optimal sitting at between 13-15deg.C. With some anglers making the most of their return to the river and fishing the 1st couple of days of the season straight … most fish have been in 9-11 inch / 23-28cm range, but there has been a good showing of fish in the 11-13 inch / 28-33cm and 13-15 inch / 33-38cm brackets. At the top end of the tape measure, some excellent early season fish have been reported in the 17-19 inch / 43-48cm bracket from both The Umgeni and Bushman’s systems. While the flies of choice have been primarily nymphs, there has been word of dry fly getting taken as well. Happy days.
There are still a good number of anglers that prefer still over running water, as there is this perceived level of “technical skill” thought to be required to tackle a river (pun intended). Apart from lighter gear (1-3wt rods preferred over the 5-6wt’s used for stillwater), not at all true – I find river fishing easier than stillwater … come and chat to Jan in Kingfisher-PMB for some inside tips and tricks. I am now also champing at the bit to get myself out onto a trout stream – let’s hope that happens sooner than later – but first I need to get stuck into my river fly box that has been neglected this year for the wee tour north.
As the weather settled after the challenging fishing of August, there have been an equal number of returns from the stillwater anglers, and a similar equality in the size ranges of fish caught. Water temperatures are sitting around the 13deg. mark. Biggest stillwater fish reported were in the 17-19 inch / 43-48cm bracket. Successful flies have been a mixed bag from the larger woolly buggers, zonker and leech patterns, down to chironomids and emergers. Top Tip : start fishing with what you are familiar and confident with … if nothing doing, you have some time to re-evaluate your choice and change.
Last weekend saw the NFFC holding a “Scaly Clinic” at Nyala Pans on the Umkomaas River. Word from the anglers was that it was a very successful event, with all anglers coming away with something new in their arsenal to tackle these “freshwater bonefish”. Next month will see the NFFC offering a Stillwater Clinic … watch the NFFC Socials for confirmation of date and booking. The NFFC have also confirmed that there will a (trout) River Clinic following the Stillwater Clinic.
On the bass front, anglers are reporting that the fish are moving up into spawn – both Albert Falls and Midmar are producing some excellent fish. Soft Plastics and Rattle Baits are currently top of the menu. Word from the water is that Nagle Dam has been producing some excellent fish in the 4-5kg bracket. Local angler Tyron McGarry had a good day on the water at Alberts on his pontoon boat – with reports of “flat dogs” about, not sure that I would be dipping my ankles! – fish were averaging in the 1-2kg bracket, with the biggest fish pulling the scale to 2.5kg. Michael at Kingfisher-PMB also reported on a good day out at Midmar recently – come and chat to him for the inside track on catching bucket mouths”. Thanks Jan.
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