The winter chill is heavy in the air! The weather might be cold, but the fishing is hot.
Top tip: Now is the time to be ready to jump and go at any minute. Make sure your tackle is rigged and ready for the calibre of fish you are likely to encounter with the sardines. This means making sure the line is in good condition on your reels as well as the rods and reels being in fishable condition. Get your reels serviced and make sure all the guides on your rod are 100%. Tight lines and let’s hope this run continues for a few weeks.
Offshore the fishing has been a mix of bottom fishing when the gamefish go quiet and chaos when the drags start screaming.
North – The north coast has been fishing very well from Umdloti all the way to Sodwana. The closer inshore reefs have seen some amazing couta caught, mostly on live bait. Down rigging your live bait has been key to getting the bigger bites. Try and fish one bait close to the bottom and another slightly higher in the water column. The general rule is to start fishing closer to the surface and move deeper as the day goes on. The bottom fishing has been a bit slow on the north coast but some smaller reds and daga have been caught.
Central – The Durban waters have also seen good couta around the Bluff mainly but the main attraction has been the tuna. The Durban coast has seen more launches due to the ease of the harbour and Vetch’s beach. These two sites make it possible for boats to launch in most sea conditions. The tuna have been of giant proportions with quite a few going over the 40kg mark!
Live bait and poppers have been the two main methods reported for these big fish. Mackerel have been scarce but have also been the most successful live bait around. For the poppers, the darker colours have been hit the hardest. Make sure that you upgrade your leaders for these bigger fish and use your tackle properly to pull these fish.
South – The south coast has seen some good fishing on Aliwal Shoal with tuna, wahoo and a mix of other gamefish making an appearance on the catch reports. Trolling lipped lures in purple colours have done very well as well as higher-speed skirted lures. Tuna have also been around at most of the depths with live bait, poppers and trolled lures working for them.
Rock and Surf:
The rains have put an abrupt stop to the sardine’s movement north. The fish have more than likely pushed out in to the deep, but we will have to wait and see…
North – The north coast has seen plenty of grey sharks being caught at most of the spots. Zinkwazi has been particularly productive with some anglers landing double digits in a single outing. These fish can get fussy so make sure you don’t go too heavy on your traces. Also, make sure to add floatation into your bait to get your bait off the bottom. Chokka and a fishy bait mix is deadly.
The north coast has also seen plenty of fish being caught on lure. This is a game of multiple casts so put in the time to see the results.
Central – 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.
South – The garrick are starting to make an appearance on the south coast with live baits proving to be the best target method. Please make sure the baits you are using are above the legal-size limit.
The south coast has seen a lot of shad on the south coast with drift baits proving to be the best bet. The reefs, gullies and ledges are also fishing well on the south coast with the bronze bream coming on the bite in the last week.
The dams and rivers have been fishing very well for most of the facets. The trout and scalies have kept the fly fisherman happy while the bass and carp keep the lure and baits guys busy.
Bass – The bass fishing has been on a high with some amazing fish being caught in the last few weeks. The methods reported have varied from place to place but the faster moving search baits have been producing some good bites recently.
With crankbait fishing, remember that the cranks need to touch the bottom, so make sure their maximum depth is deeper than the depth you are fishing.
Midmar and Nagle have been producing some fantastic bass fishing with those putting in the time on these venues bringing home full live wells. Spinnerbaits have been the best reported searching bait. In clean water, use the standard willow blades in silver with a white or chartreuse/white skirt. In the dirtier water, change the blades for Colorado blades in gold or orange with a chartreuse skirt. These little changes can make all the difference. Carp – 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.
Trout – The cold weather has made the trout very happy. Most venues have reported strong spawning patterns and the presence of orange on your fly is definitely advised.
Egg patterns and minnows are the flies of choice and will often elicit a violent/aggressive take so be ready. Use slightly stronger tippets to avoid disappointment. Those wanting to fish for something different will do well targeting the Natal scalies in the rivers. This time of year they are generally in the deeper pools so look for the areas of deeper water.
News from our Jan, The Kingfisher in PMB – “We reported recently that the weather was meant to take a dive after the Solstice, when technically we are on the way to summer – happy to report that up here in The Midlands, we seem to have escaped the ravages of the frontal systems coming up from the deep south. The closest we come to it is if there is a snowfall up top of The ‘ Berg and Lesotho, and we get a rush of fridge air come barreling down the mountain. But that’s pretty much all we can say for winter in The Midlands … so far that is. This weekend sees me headed down south to the Eastern Cape for a wee mountain stroll, and hopefully getting to throw a line in probably the best high altitude body of trout water in the country – Loch Ness, at Tiffendell above the village of Rhodes. After last week’s snowfall, conditions are apparently still somewhat frosty up top … so <fingers crossed> that the road up is passable…
With it being past the Solstice, I see the socials are already “warming up” (pun intended) towards the river season – note that the trout river season is currently closed and only reopens on 1 September … a little less than 2 months away, but who’s counting? Note that if you are in dire need to fish some moving water, smallmouth bass and scalies (Natal Yellowfish) are game on. Winter scalies can be some of the best you will get, fewer maybe … but the fish will almost certainly be on the larger end of the scale.
The stillwater trout fishing is going great guns, with good numbers of fish being reported across the Natal Fly Fishers Club waters. Water temperatures are still in double figures, hovering in the 10-12deg range – cool enough to keep the fish hungry and feeding. Also not cold enough to put the “fish food” to sleep, and anglers are reporting success with dragonfly and minnow patterns. Smallest (and least) fish reported have been in the 11-13 inch / 28-33cm range, with a jump to good numbers of fish in the 15-17 inch / 38-43cm bracket. There have also been a solid showing of fish in the 20+ inch / 50+cm range, with the largest fishing reported at between 25-25 inches / 58-63cm. Some really good fish out there, so guys – time to get out there and fling that fly.
This coming Tuesday will be the July meet of the Natal Fly Dressers Society – if tying your own fly is of interest, pop into the Kingfisher-PMB and chat to Jan about the popular extension of the fly fishing game.
The next events on the calendar are Leg3 of the TOPS Corporate Challenge that takes place at the end of the month, followed by the Kamberg Outdoor Challenge mid-August.
Apart from a report seen from Midmar Dam, where Rudi Herrmann from HB Fishing had an excellent day on the water using a variety of lures (soft and hard plastics) … the bass anglers are still playing a tight closed game with no news to be had off the socials. While there is still much discussion on lures and methods – and even a “show-and-tell your bass thumb” thread … no accompanying fish images … and you know what they say : no picture, no proof! Word from the water also says that Midmar is fishing well on the carp front, with some excellent fish of 10+kg coming to hand on both “pap gooi” and “specimen” type angling
So while Midmar is fishing well, Albert Falls is apparently on the quiet, especially on the bass. There are reports however of plenty carp on the surface, so should make for a good outing for the fly guys.
There is already talk of the spawn that should start next month and hit a high in September and October, so we can expect that news and reports will take off then.
The Kingfisher would like to give a HUGE Thank You to all our customers that came through for our annual Birthday Sale – we were flat-out busy and trust that everybody is getting to put their new tackle to good use already!
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.
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.
For all your angling needs, (freshwater or saltwater) visit The Kingfisher’s new store at the Tiffany’s Shopping Centre in Salt Rock or give them a shout on 032 307 0041.
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