The month of June is running away (well done Comrades runners). The freshwater fishing has picked up in the berg and the sards are finally here!
Handling inedibles. With all the big sharks about to be landed in the sardine fever, a few handling errors can easily be made while landing or releasing these beasties.
With sharks, the danger is all at the front. A few basic guidelines to follow: Never put your hand in a shark’s mouth. Removing hooks should be done with a T-bar if they are deep or pliers if they are shallow. Do not pull large sharks far from the water. This will put a lot of strain on the body (yours and the shark’s).
With rays/skates there are a few tips to follow: Much like the sharks you do not want to pull the rays far from the water. Ideally keep them in the wash zone. Keep your fingers far from the spiracles. Handle them by their mouth. Use a glove if you are scared. When pulling them, keep your body low to avoid stressing their spine. Never flip them on their back or lift them for photos.
The offshore has been a good mix of gamefish and bottoms. Let’s hope the sardines bring with them more gamefish and some exciting action.
North – The north coast has been the most productive section of coast. There have been plenty of fish coming out on the skis and boats. The couta have been around and the guys with the friskiest live baits have been the successful ones. Make getting some decent live baits your number one priority once launched and then look for the spots to fish. If you are having trouble hooking the live baits add some bits of sardine on to the hooks for some extra attraction. Use a heavier sinker than you think you need to avoid the dreaded tangles.
Central – The central section of the KZN coast has produced a lot of bottom fish and gamefish for the boating crowd. The tuna have been the main gamefish coming out and they have not been that picky when it comes to bait. Over the past week, there have been tuna caught on trolled lures, poppers and live bait. Use whichever method you prefer and look for the action (birds or fish busting).
The bottom fishing has seen a lot of geelbek, daga and rockcod being landed. The sharks have taken their tax and beating them has required some heavy tackle.
South – The south coast has already seen some sardine action. There has not been much in the line of gamefish with them but there have been some good yellowtail hooked on the bottom. These strong fish require heavy tackle and a strong back, be prepared!
The harbour has been fishing very well over the last couple of weeks. The grunter have been playing ball and some amazing catches have been made. Fishing as light as possible is the answer to better results. Not only will you get more bites, but you will also enjoy the fight a lot more.
The lure anglers have managed some good catches of kingies and flathead. Smaller jerkbaits and paddletails have been the most productive lures.
Rock and Surf:
As you have all seen, the sardines are here! This is fantastic news and we can only hope the run brings with it a ton of fantastic catches.
North – The north coast has been producing a lot of edibles over the past few weeks. The ledges and gullies along most of the north coast are the best spots to try. There have been a large number of rockcod caught, catface and yellowbelly. These fish love hiding in their homes during the day but will come out to feed at night. The structure you are fishing will require stout tackle and circle hooks to avoid getting stuck. Bait varies from person to person but chokka is the best all-around choice.
Central – The central coast has seen a good mix of species in the last few weeks. The basin area continues to produce inedibles and is the place to go if you want to target these fish. Mackerel and redeye sardines have been the pick of the baits. The Umgeni River mouth has been producing some lovely garrick and is definitely the place to go if you are wanting to target these fish. Live bait is the best choice, with lure anglers struggling to get a bite between the bait anglers’ lines.
South – Much like the central coast, there have been garrick at all the major spots along the south coast. This is great news! Remember that these fish get hammered every year by guys keeping too many fish, so please release as make as possible.
Garrick are best targeted with a live bait fished close to the shore. Live bait type is not the most important part, but location is. Use a circle hook through the top lip of the baitfish or bridled through the eyes and you will quickly see more solid hookups. 6/0 Mustad tuna circle is the hook of choice.
This with the presence of the sardines means the south coast is about to get very busy!
There is spawning activity in most of the trout stillwaters which is heart-stopping music. The bass are still feeding well and the carp are helping warm up the cold days.
Bass – The bass haven’t been told that winter is almost here.
The bass fishing is going extremely well in all of the KZN dams. Hazlemere and Inanda dam are the two most productive venues being reported. Those with a boat are definitely more likely to get stuck into the bigger fish but do not be disheartened if you are stuck on the bank. Try to focus your efforts away from the busiest areas as the bigger fish tend to shy away from busy spots.
The topwater bite is still on especially on the warmer days. Buzzbaits and frogs have been the most likely to get you a big bite. Later in the day, weightless soft plastics are the ticket to a good day.
Carp – The carp fishing is getting better for the specimen anglers while the conventional guys start to drop off the number of fish but gain in the average size.
The colder waters and chilly mornings make the fishing a bit more difficult, but the rewards are worth the earlier wake up. Inanda continues to top the list of productive venues for both specimen and conventional anglers. Successful flavour reports have been a real mixed bag of traditional summer sweet flavours and strong winter flavours. I would suggest a mix of fruity and pungent. Something like a banana and garlic or berries and menthol.
Trout – The trout fishing continues to produce some amazing catches each week. The stillwaters are seeing the bigger fish with most of the dams seeing spawning activity.
Woolly buggers and the likes have been the most successful flies reported. The darker colours have been the most popular. Try fishing a dark brown or black woolly bugger slowly along the bottom with an erratic hand twist retrieve. For most of the dams in the Midlands, an intermediate line will be more than sufficient to get the fly in to the strike zone. The deeper lakes require a type 3 or 4 sinking line. With all sinking lines, you do not need as much emphasis on tapered leaders and delicate presentations. A level leader is exactly what is needed. The faster the sink rate of the line, the shorter the leader needs to be.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “As mentioned last week, according to the calendar we are just about in mid-winter … the Winter Solstice and shortest day on 21 June is less than 10 days away … but apart from a couple frosty mornings, it really hasn’t been THAT cold. Last weekend’s snow forecast/warnings turned out to be pretty much smoke and mirrors, and the current forecast from the Norwegians has it fine and dandy … warmer and more stable than this time last year, so all bodes well for the Boston Fly Fishing Festival this weekend. <fingers crossed> that the fish get the memo this time…
The stillwaters of The Midlands have been the focus of attention of late, as the trout streams are closed for the next while. Water temperatures are now in the lower teens, and most waters are clean at around 2m visibility. Reports indicate that the green dam weed of 2 weeks ago has started to drop off and fish have moved in close to the banks, indicating that nuptial activities are probably front and center in that fishy brain. So be on the lookout for activity in the shallows and choose your quarry – sight fishing at its best. With weed receding resulting in loss of habitat for prey, smaller items have come to the forefront of the menu – e.g., San Juan Worm, and nymph patterns – that is not to say to the total exclusion of dragon and damselfly patterns, and also minnows. As water temperatures drop further, and fish move into “proper spawn” at water temperatures of 10degC and below, brighter colours and “egg patterns” are a firm favourite.
There have been some great fish reported over the last week : a PB of 64cm for local lady fly angler Felicity Riley, and 66cm for well-known Midlands angler, Grevin Price – that’s a solid slab of trout of over 24 inches each! … Congrats to both anglers.
As mentioned above, it’s the Boston Fly Fishing Festival this weekend so here’s hoping that couple of those slabs find themselves attracted to my fly! Look out for the report next week!
This week also the start of the 17th annual Fly-Fishing Film Tour (F3T) in South Africa – CT earlier in the week and Durban on Wednesday night – if you are a fly angler, and weren’t there, you missed out! A top-notch selection of international short films that went a long way to add some stoke to the upcoming fishing!
If you missed this one, don’t fear … 19 July sees the International Fly-Fishing Film Festival (IF4) also land in Durban with another great selection of films – save the date!
There are reports of some excellent bass coming out of both Albert Falls and Midmar Dams. Kirk van Reeuwyk reported a tank largemouth of 4.36kg at last weekend’s Skins event on Albert Falls, and word from the water is there are a good few other 4/5kg fish around. Tiaan Odendaal recently reported a good size Smallmouth from Midmar Dam. Now having only having a 12” specimen to hand previously, that’s another checkbox that I would like to tick on fly. Light Spinning and Dropshot seem to be getting a fair amount of attention for winter bass … Michael from Kingfisher-PMB however says that there are a number of techniques that are working currently – come in and have a chat for the inside track!
The carp are still around at Albert Falls – Justin Griffin reports having great fun with these tackle bruisers on fly. Small dry flies is his recommendation, as the carp are feeding on midges on the surface”. 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.
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