Top tip: there are no rules in fishing.
There are laws that we have to follow but there are no rules that say a fish will only eat a single type of bait. Experiment and try to figure out what you prefer. Fishing is both frustrating and relaxing but you will get out what you put in. Listen to the common ideas and then adapt them to suit your style of fishing.
The offshore fishing has been fantastic this past week. There have been plenty of fish caught and a lot of methods that have been productive.
The north coast has seen some very good tuna fishing around the Ballito to Salt Rock area. Livebait has been the most successful way of targeting these fish. Drifting slowly around the bait marks with a livebait rigged without a weight and one on a downrigger has seen the most consistent results. If you are looking for the most exciting results then throwing a popper in to the dolphins (or any surface action) will see explosive results.
Much like the north, the tuna have been around the central coast. Guys continue having great success with the surface lures and the poppers have been the winner. Splash and profile have been the most important factors when choosing the poppers. Colour has come down to personal preference.
Trolling lures off Durban has also been producing results with a mix of species being landed and a few dorado making it to the boat.
The south coast has not reported much in the line of catches. The backline areas along the south coast have seen some good Garrick and snoek being caught. Using live baits and a slow troll is certain to catch the attention of the garrick. This paired with throwing a lure like a spoon in to the backline and rapidly retrieving it back can see you with a few surprises in your hatch.
Rock and Surf:
The scratching has dominated this past week but a few early inedibles are starting to make an appearance along the coast.
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.
The central coast has also seen some good fish being caught on lures. There are fish for all levels and interests. The shad have been full up around the piers and are always keen to eat a drifted sardine or spoon. The snoek have been scarce as well as the garrick but they are there, you just need to target them. The kingfish have also been there but mainly as a bycatch. On the bait side of things, the main catches have been pompano, grunter, shad and kob.
The south coast has been much the same as the central. A lot of anglers have been putting in the hours throwing a selection of lures. Garrick, snoek and kingfish have been the main species caught. Not much can excite an angler as much as a plug being smashed on the surface by a big fish! The rockier areas down south have fished pretty well with some decent fish being caught while scratching. Prawn has been king for the smaller fish while sardine belly baits have done very well for the rockcod and bigger predators.
The freshwater fishing facets have had something for everyone. The bass have been the main focus with plenty of good fish reported.
The bass fishing is picking up as more waters switch to the spawn. The fish in Alberts have almost all started spawning but the other dams are a bit behind. The best basing has been at Alberts over the last week with most reports saying the fish have fought harder than usual.
The patterns have changed each day so make sure to try a few patterns and don’t be afraid to fish the same area with two or three different lures. Midmar has also seen some decent fishing as well as Hazlemere.
The carp fishing has been consistent for the past few weeks. The smaller fish have kept most of the anglers busy in the dams. Albert falls has been fishing well for the carp guys with the new water levels opening up more fishing area. The flooded grass is a honey hole for the carp to feed in so placing your bait near these areas is always a good idea.
The specimen anglers have been fishing a lot of private waters with good success. Those fishing the public waters have reported success from both nagle and Inanda. Boilies have been the bait of choice for the bigger fish with a bed of mixed particles proving to be a great attraction.
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!
Herewith this week’s report from Jan, the Kingfisher in PMB – “With the weather playing silly buggers – couple days blistering hot, then icy cold – I am happy to report that the fish are still out there … as they will be! … but more importantly, happy to play along. With fewer returns coming in this from the Natal Fly Fishers Club this week, I can only presume that anglers are put off by the weather … this past weekend’s chill for example. But for those that had a date with the water and went out regardless were well rewarded … and why is that you ask? Top Tip for this week : watch the atmospheric pressure. Where, you might ask? Barometer is an obvious choice, or the Norwegian Weather Wizards on their YR.no phone app … or better yet, one of the newer outdoor watches (e.g. Garmin can show pressure for the last 48hr, very useful). If none of these are available, wind is a great indicator of a change in pressure – the stronger the wind, the greater the change in pressure, and usually fish don’t like that (it’s also no fun to fish in a howling gale). The calmer the conditions, the more stable the pressure. So while the weather wasn’t exactly high summer, and the pressure dipped in early half of last weekend, the latter half saw the pressure rising very nicely, and the fish were happy to oblige.
Coming out of winter, the wait is now on for rain … returns from the Natal Fishers Club anglers report that our rivers are very low and clear, and note that where flow is slow, the bottom covered in “rock snot” … slippery stuff at the best of time, and those anglers not watching their step will end up upside down sooner than later. With the slow water, fish are not restricting themselves to a lie, but rather milling about, reports well-known Midlands anglers and author, Andrew Fowler, after spending a day on one of the NFFC Bushman’s River beats. He also notes that in the low water, fish are also not where you might expect them to be, and spooked a good few. From the NFFC returns : water temperature is sitting between 11 and 13deg.C, and fish to hand were split pretty much 50:50 between the 9-11 inch / 23-28cm and 11-13 inch / 28-33cm classes. Fish are plentiful, and hungry. The crystal conditions dictated that small nymphs was the way to go, with some fish taken on dry later on in the day. Note that some of the NFFC River Beats are still closed at the request of the Riparian Owner while the we wait for the rains.
After a bit of recent lull, there were some excellent fish reported from the NFFC stillwaters over the last week! Good numbers of fish in the 12-16 inch / 30-40cm bracket, with a good showing of fish in the 16-20 inch / 40-50cm bracket, a handful in the 20-23 inch / 50-60cm backet, and an almost equal handful pulling the tape over 23 inches / 60cm. No flies mentioned in the reports unfortunately, but a solid bet would be your summer fare of woolly buggers, dragons and damsels, and minnow patterns. I remain surprised at the number of anglers that contain themselves to fishing a single fly … fish two … at least! Bottom line (pun intended) when fishing a tandem rig is that the two flies not be the same … change shape, size and colour for your second offering to maximise your chances of getting that nibble.
If stillwater is your game, keep an eye on the NFFC socials for notice of their Stillwater Clinic scheduled for next month.
With water temperatures below the 20deg.C mark, the bass anglers are sitting with pre-spawn conditions in both Albert Falls and Midmar. Dam levels are also dropping … Albert Falls now sitting just below 95% and Midmar at 82% full supply. No reports on the socials, and word from the water is that fishing is slow. Top Tip(s) from Michael here at KF-PMB : fish on / to rock piles, as this is where the water will be warmest and fish congregate … and with the fishing being on the slow, fish a variety of lures to get the bite; soft and hard plastics, Senko, chatter and reaction baits.
The scaly anglers are out in force, and some good fish are coming to hand. The NFFC has a beat on the Umkomaas River which is proving to be a regular provider of fish. Good numbers of fish in the 9-11 inch / 23-28cm and 11-13 inch / 28-33 cm classes, and then some crackers in the 17-19 inch / 43-48cm and 21-23 inch / 53-58cm brackets – these guys at the upper of the scale will put a good bend in your stick!
Local Midlands angler, and International Guide, Trevor Sithole was on the Tugela recently and reported some excellent fishing. Top flies for these water-based 4×4’s are natural nymphs; e.g. GRHE, PTN, Zak and GUN, along with jig-style tadpole patterns in black and brown”.
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