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.
Garrick and brusher have been the main headliners this past week. The first glimpses of summer are here but the weather needs to behave.
Top tip: Handling rays. With summer on our doorstep and lots of rays being landed in the near future, a few handling errors can easily be made while landing or releasing these beasties.
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.
With the big seas and wild weather this past week, there has not been much chance to get the boats out. That being said, those that braved the more bearable days did do very well.
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 brute force.
South – With the bigger seas hitting the south coast particularly hard, there have not been any reports sent in from that side of the world…
Harbour – 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 flatheads. Smaller jerk baits and paddle tails have been the most productive lures.
Rock and Surf:
Garrick and brusher, need we say more. Both of these species are under threat so enjoy the fight and consider letting them see tomorrow.
North – The north coast has seen some early season summer fish with a few rays making their way on to the catch reports. There have also been a large amount of kob being caught on various methods. The most productive way of targeting these sluggish predators is a paddle tail. Make sure to keep your lure close to the bottom and keep a slow, steady retrieve.
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.
There have been a few brusher around so make sure you are ready for these bruisers with good tackle and proper knots.
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.
The freshwater scene has been dominated by the mighty natal scaly and some proper bass this past week or so.
Bass – 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. Buzz baits 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 – Conventional angling has been very productive in all of the KZN carp waters. Albert Falls has been the pick of the venues for the conventional anglers as the fish have been feeding very well in the shallower areas of the dam. Honey has been the most reported flavour with floaties out fishing mielies.
The specimen anglers have been doing very well at Inanda. Hinged rigs have made the most of any bite. Tiger nuts and pop-ups have been the most successful baits reported. Adding some colour to the hook bait has also increased the success rate.
Trout – 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.
For those looking to go after the scalies, jig nymphs and nymphing lines will see with a chance in most rivers. Location is more important than colour.
News in from Jan Korrubel, The Kingfisher in PMB – “While this past weekend had anglers reporting “all 4 seasons” over last weekend up here in The Midlands … AND we grumbled last week about the weather playing “silly buggers” … but as a (former) Capie, I can assure you that I would rather be up here than down south in The Mother City, especially over the last week or so! That sure was some weather that moved up over the country, and they got the brunt of it while we just had a light touch. On the upside, a wee sprinkling of rain (and some rolling of thunder) is promise that the summer rains are on their approach path, hopefully landing soon. The weekends 10-15mm reported from The Midlands at least served to settle the dust … now we just need a proper shower to give the rivers a push.
As noted last week, the rivers are low and clear – and combined with the partly arctic conditions of last week – no doubt kept many anglers off the rivers. There were a few intrepid members of the Natal Fly Fishers Club that made it, and as the saying goes : Who Dares, Wins … and had some bacon to show. The bigger fish were elusive, but a range of fish across the 5-13 inch / 13-33cm bracket were brought to hand. Nymphs was the name of the game – PTN and GRHE – with the inclement weather, no mention of dry flies at this time.
Again, those (few) stillwater anglers that ventured out found the bacon .. those that weren’t blown off the water that is, as noted in one of the returns! One return noted a couple of smaller fish in the 5-7 inch / 13-18cm bracket that found their way into the net … great to see that the fingerlings from the winter stocking programme are taking an interest in the offerings of feather and fluff. This was followed by some bigger fish : one in 17-19 inch / 43-48cm backet, and a tank that fell into the 21-23 inch / 53-58cm bracket. Water temperature was reported at 17deg.C … still nice and cool for the stillwaters.
Apart from the NFFC waters, the private waters also produced over the weekend. Regular visitor to The Midlands, Louise Steenekamp, fishing with local guide Jeremy Rochester of Escape Fly Fishing, had a cracker 63cm / 25 inch rainbow hen put a serious bend in her rod! Well Done Louise … pretty sure we will be seeing you in these parts sooner than later again.
On the bass front, with nothing showing up in the socials, Albert Falls appears to be having a dry spell … while word from Midmar is that the fishing is still on the up. A variety of lures are getting interest from the fish in Midmar – from weightless worms, to chatterbaits to crankbaits – any fast-moving baits, and not confined to any specific colour(s).
With reports coming in fast and furious, the scaly anglers are at out in force. The long weekend saw both the Umkomaas and Tugela systems providing some good fish. Locally, the Lions River is running low as Spring Grove Dam appears not to be pumping at present, so the fish are restricted to the deeper pools currently.
News from further afield is that our KZN Fly Fishing Association (KZNFFA) Junior anglers had a great weekend away in Dundee on the Buffalo River. All the Juniors managed to bring fish to the net with some nice sized fish being caught … great practice for the youngsters going to the 2023 South African Fly Fishing Association (SAFFA) Youth Nationals to be held in Douglas (Northern Cape) at the end of the month”. Thanks Jan.
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