Two months in and 2024 is treating us fisherfolk pretty well. Plenty of fish being caught and some decent conditions.

Top tip: 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/lure. 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. 

Offshore:

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. 

North The north coast has seen some very good tuna fishing around the Ballito to Salt Rock area. Live bait has been the most successful way of targeting these fish. Drifting slowly around the bait marks with a live bait 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.

Central 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. 

South The south coast, especially Aliwal should get the first of the dorado so make a plan to run out to the deeper water for these colourful gamefish.

The south coast has been getting a lot of bottom fish attention for those looking to catch the coppers and poenskop. Please respect these fish and release all of them if possible.

 Rock and surf:

The shore angling has been good on both the edible and inedible front. The big seas have scoured out some sanded areas so we hope this will improve the fishing. 

North The north coast has been the true mix of edibles and inedibles. Blythedale and Zinkwazi have been the two most productive spots along the north coast. These spots have seen edibles and inedibles in most conditions. 

On the edible side, chokka and prawn have been the best baits mentioned while the bigger shad have preferred sardines. There have also been plenty of spadefish around which love a white bait. Fishing has been best around rocks and particularly in bays that form some protection from the seas. 

The inedibles have favoured mackerel and redeye as a bait. There have been some good sandies landed as well as some big flatfish. The sea has been a bit warm, but the northeast winds should help drop the temperature. 

Central The central coast has seen mostly edibles from the reports but there have been some inedibles scattered in the mix. 

The shad have been around even though the season is a bit late. The stumpies and smaller kob have been around in good numbers. These fish will both eat a neat chokka bait on a longer hook snood (promotes a more natural presentation). 

The inedibles have mainly been of the grey shark kind. For these fish, floatation is vitally important as well as a bit of attraction in the form of glow. Use a mix of chokka and a meaty bait to target these fish as well as most other species. 

South The south coast has seen some very good kingfish hooked by the anglers throwing bigger spoons and plugs. There have been both GT’s as well as blacktip kingies. These are very hard fighting fish that require full use of your pulling power and drag as they will try to cut you off. 

The gullies and ledges are still a great place to target the edibles on both chokka and prawn baits. Most bream species are around at the moment as well as a host of surprises waiting in the foamy white water. 

In the gaps between the bigger seas, the deeper points have been fishable. These spots have produced some big fish as well as some big hidings. 

Freshwater:

The bass and carp fishing are picking up with the heat of summer putting the fish in a mood. Faster bites and warmer weather, what more can you ask for?

Bass The bass fishing has been picking up fast. Most of the dams in and around Durban have seen big fish. It seems the spawn is starting early with fish already displaying spawning behavior and marks.

Remember to return any spawning fish quickly to resume the continuation of these amazing species. If you are fishing in an area that might have spawning fish in, be persistent and try to annoy the fish enough that it attacks your lure.

Lures with a lot of movement and rattles are a good choice to get the bass in a foul mood.

Carp The carp fishing has been good in most of the KZN dams. 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 very good or very bad. 

Trout The trout fishing is still a major attraction as both the Stillwaters and rivers have been producing fish. If you prefer throwing bigger flies and hooking bigger fish, then head to the larger Stillwaters. If you prefer delicate presentations and stealth, then the rivers are for you. 

There are so many freshwater species in SA that do not get enough attention from the angling fraternities. The two main species at the moment are the Natal scaly and the tigerfish. Jozini has been fishing very well in the last few weeks and is still a fantastic venue to visit to catch tigers in SA. The scalies are found in most of our rivers with the Umzimkulu and Umkomaas holding the bigger fish.

News in from Jan Korrubel, The Kingfisher in PMB. “With the weather being rather up and down – changing from tree-buckling winds to water-sucking heat at the drop of a hat – the only constant is that they seem to be playing each other off and cancelling out.  In combination with the current cooler spell – the forecast for the week ahead has temps up to the mid-20’s and a spit and spot here and there – it appears that autumn might be closer than we think! 

The upside is that water temperatures have been rather tame for this time of year, compared to the last years, where the Natal Fly Fishers Club have had to close the lower altitude waters as surface tamps exceeded the mid-20’s for fear of cooking fish as they were brought up through the baking surface water.  The NFFC will of course continue to monitor the waters week for week.  There is usually a downside to any upside, and here it appears to be the spells of good/decent fishing weather haven’t coincided with the weekend – a common enough problem that coined a phrase : What comes after 2 days of bad weather? a Monday…

That being said, there are a handful of returns from the NFFC stillwater anglers, and some pretty decent fish reported – rainbow trout in the 13-15 inch / 33-38cm through to the 17-19 inch / 43-48cm class.  There has even been a stillwater brown trout or two reported, a prize in anyone’s books.  The returns also indicate that good numbers of yearlings are coming to hand (these fish that were stocked in October 2022) … testament to the NFFC stocking policies w.r.t. timing and water temperatures at the time of stocking.

As we start approaching winter, the stillwater Festival dates are starting to make themselves known ; viz. Kamberg Trout Festival, Boston Fly Fishing Festival, and the TOPS Corporate Challenge – keep any eye on the various social platforms and get your name in as these a very popular and quickly at capacity.

This year will also see a first for The Midlands fly fishing community : a pure ladies event held by local group of ardent lady fly anglers, Women in Waders.  Dates for the KZN Ladies Fly Fishing Festival are 11-14 July – bookings are open, so lady anglers come to the fore and come and throw a line in the premier stillwaters that The Midlands has to offer.

With the rivers fining off after the previous big rains, a fair number of anglers taking advantage of the good fishable conditions, and a good number of fish in the 10-15 inch / 25-40cm bracket.  Good rainfall and subsequent weather also makes for good growing conditions, and the NFFC keeps an eye on the river clogging wattle growth.

The bass anglers appear to back on the back burner once again – local angler Alistair Moores-Pitt reported a good day last week with some “skinny but big” bass at Albert Falls, otherwise just a few murmurs of fish from the bank anglers.  Midmar also appears to have gone on the quiet, although word from the water is that it is still fishing reasonably well.

The good run of weather and fishing continues at Sterkfontein Dam, reports Jeremy Rochester of Escape Fly Fishing … no better place in South Africa to spend a couple of days with a fly rod in hand, sight fishing with terrestrial patterns”.  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.

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.

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The KZN Angler News audio fishing report is South Africa’s first fishing podcast series that focuses on the latest fishing reports of the East Coast. This report is free and available on all major Podcast platforms including Apple Pods, Google Pods, Spotify and Deezer as well as SA’s most popular Facebook Pages. https://ansapodcast.buzzsprout.com

Please send any info about fishing or fish caught in your area to mike.pereira@kingfisher.co.za

Categories: Reports

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