Into the hottest month we go. February means hot days, sharks, rays and gamefish.
Top tip: Summer is here! The summer heat is starting to make air conditioning a necessity and the northeast wind is starting to blow more consistently. The north coast is where you want to be at this time of year. Make sure you have all your traces made up. Service your reels and make sure they are spooled with the best quality braid you can afford. Preparation goes a very long way when it comes to fishing and can be the difference between a good day fishing and a miserable day at the beach.
The sea has been a bit bumpy with the more prevalent northeast wind but there are more and more summer fish being landed every day…
North – The north coast is seeing quite a lot of summer fish in the catch reports. Dorado have been the main target for the early summer gamefish but most of the anglers have returned with tuna in the hatch. Trolling lipped lures has been the most productive method this past week. Lipped lures with a purple or pink colour are the most successful lures for both tuna and dorado.
Tinley Manor has been a very productive spot this week with plenty of successful reports coming from there.
Central – The Durban coast has seen a bit of action this past week with both gamefish and bottom fish making it on to the catch reports. The bottom fish have been favouring a bigger live bait on the bottom. Something like a smaller slinger or tjor-tjor flapped or left whole is a deadly bait for the poenskop and coppers.
The gamefish have been feeding on the big bait balls that have been around. Trolling lures around these shoals is an effective way of covering a lot of water looking for feeding fish.
South – The south coast has seen some very good tuna fishing in the shallows and out deep. A live mackerel has been the most successful live bait to troll slowly. A 6/0 size circle hook like the Mustad Tuna circle is the best fit for most baitfish you are likely to use.
The bottom fishing down south has been very good. The shallower reefs have mainly produced rockcod of various species while the deeper reefs/pinnacles have been better for multiple species.
Rock and surf:
The heat and the northeast wind makes the inedible anglers weak at the knees… The big fish have been around and many have seen their backing knots already!
North – The areas around Richard’s Bay, Tugela and Ballito have been the most productive. There have been hammerheads off the deeper points during the day and the night has seen grey sharks at the same points. Fleshy fish baits with floatation in the bait are key at targeting these sharks. These same areas have also produced sandies and other flatfish so do not attempt to target these fish with lighter tackle as you need to be able to pull the fish to a suitable landing spot.
The rocky gullies have been very productive for the smaller rock species which are great fun for the light tackle.
Central – The central coast has seen a great week of bigger inedible fish with the basin producing some amazing action. The fishing has been very good with the northeast wind blowing consistently for a few days. Much like the north, a fleshy fish bait is going to be the best way to target multiple species at the same time. If you are not after sharks, then it is best to leave the wire off and fish straight nylon. If you are wanting to land anything that bites, then you are best suited to using a FMJ wire trace made of 90-150lb wire (the latest Fishmate 49 strand trace wire is the way to go) and a 9/0-12/0 circle hook.
South – The south coast has been fairly quiet on the summer fish front. The odd diamond ray has been landed with a handful of grey sharks being hooked off the points in the evenings but that is about it.
The ledges and rocky gullies have been very productive for the bronze bream and the brusher are still around in full force. The bream have favored a pink prawn bait with an orange float.
The freshwater fishing has been good for most facets. The bass fishing has been the highlight of the groups, but the trout and carp guys have done well this year.
Bass – All the dams in KZN have been fishing fairly well with decent specimens being landed from most venues. Fishing slower and more methodical has been reported as the most successful way to target the bigger fish. Dropshots have worked very well in the deeper water especially when targeting structure in the deep. Small minnow imitations or straight-tail worms have been the best plastics to use. The fishing is starting to pick up so keep an eye on your favourite venue as the spawn is just around the corner.
Midmar Dam is a great dam to work with your electronics as there are many hidden spots offshore that can hold giants.
Carp – The carp fishing has been a bit slow. There has not been much reported over the last week. The specimen anglers have been traveling to get decent bites while the conventional anglers have done well at dams like Midmar and Albert Falls. Sweet flavours are still doing well with banana and honey proving to be the best options.
Trout – The rains have made fishing incredibly difficult with faster currents and a lot of brown water.
It is sometimes a better idea to give the fishing a break and rather spend time with the family or prepare your tackle for the coming trips.
News in from Jan Korrubel, The Kingfisher in PMB – “The spell of drier weather continues with a run of sun, and as indicated last week, this made well for the rivers upstream … the higher beats became a bit more user friendly, and even released a few fish to the happy anglers that made the pilgrimage up the mountain. It was also a case of hit and miss however and reports also showed some outings that had to be abandoned in favour of a still water when rivers came down as a result of a storm passing over. There was a report from the Mooi River area this past weekend of some 100mm falling in the space 20min, resulting in some localised flooding. Rainfall figures since then have reported anything from single figures to mid-20’s, so best to try and get an idea of the weather before heading out.
Returns were received from the Natal Fly Fishers Club for the Mooi and Bushman’s Rivers. Both reports mentioned high and coloured water, but good numbers of fish, albeit at the lower end of the tape in size. As seems to be the case in high water, the bigger fish tend to “disappear”, most probably hugging the bottom or lurking beneath protected undercuts. The smaller fish, perhaps due to limited parking spaces available, are easily found gadding about the bottom when you can get the flies down to them. The brown trout that made it to the net(s) were reported in the 3-5 inch / 7.5-12.5cm and 7-9 inch / 18-23cm ranges on the Bushman’s River. Slightly better fish came to the net on The Mooi, with fish falling into the 9-11 inch / 23-28cm and 11-13 inch / 28-33cm brackets. Water conditions notwithstanding, sounds like some fun was had. The rains have a positive effect on water temperatures, a report mentioned 13 degrees to start, 16 degrees later on in the day. February is generally considered to be the start of the prime river season as the rivers start to tap off, so watch this space…
A handful of returns from the NFFC Stillwater anglers also showed some fish. One of the returns had a 50:50 split in the number of rainbow trout in the 9-11 inch / 23-28cm and 11-13 inch / 28-33cm brackets. The other returns noted fish predominantly in the 11-13 inch / 28-33cm range, with a single fish reported in the 19-21 inch / 48-53cm bracket … this coming from the angler that got pushed off the river by the Weather Gods … definitely a case of “all’s well that ends well”. No mention of water temperatures, but previous reports had temps of 20 degrees and over. Once again, a request for anglers to be aware of water temperatures, especially if practising C&R.
Last weekend’s Bass Warehouse TTT KZN event held on Albert Falls had most anglers scratching … only 117 fish caught by 29 teams / 58 anglers averages out to 2 fish per angler across the board. Of course, the Top10 teams all weighed in their 5 fish, and the Top 10 individual anglers getting 4/5 fish each, which no doubt meant that there were quite a few blanks. Best bag came in at 9.23kg (Team BassWarehouse), and the best single fish (David Watson) weighting in at 2.83kg. Kudos to all the anglers getting out and getting it done.
The “flat spot” in the Albert Falls bass fishing mentioned in last week’s report,
appears to be still on the go. Plenty reasons being thrown around on the socials from “low pressure combined with hot temps and northerly winds, resulting in lockjaw everywhere”. Other theories relate to when Albert Falls filled for the first time a couple years back – it is suspected that this had an effect on the bass, changing fish habitat and habits. Spawn apparently came to end some 3 months ago, but fish coming out are skinnier now than post-spawn, and yet they are supposed to be fattening up for winter. Water temperature is also reported to be 4-6 degrees warmer on the whole – temps are reported to be sitting at 29-30 degrees at present, while records indicate temps of 24-26 degrees for this time of year.
Midmar is reported still to be fishing well, with good numbers of fish in the 2-4kg coming to hand. Also, plenty of carp being caught.
The good run of weather has had Sterkfontein Dam on fire this past week. Guide Jeremy Rochester of Escape FlyFishing reports some excellent sight fishing … casting to cruising fish with dry fly on this world-class water. February through March are said to be some of the best time – time to look north and head on up if a “gold bar” is on your wish list”. 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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