Angling conditions were constantly changing last week and anglers managed just a limited amount of time at the water’s edge. On Monday the early morning anglers found a large pounding surf that resulted in no fishing at all but by Tuesday morning the surf had moderated enough and anglers found the shad on the bite again. As the week progressed the conditions deteriorated again and there was an increase in the swell which resulted in large surf again and at the weekend there was windy and wet weather that kept anglers away from the beaches.
A friend of mine was walking along an Umhlanga Rocks beach during the week when he stood on something buried in the sand. After a bit of digging he discovered three shad that had obviously been buried and forgotten by an angler. Unfortunately the fish had been buried for some while so were spoiled and not fit for consumption. Rotting buried fish are often discovered at this time of year. What a waste, but poaching has almost become a norm during the shad run.
Friends fishing at first light during the week cast their lures and hooked shad on almost every cast. On Tuesday morning one friend landed and returned five shad to the water. He said other anglers using metal spoons tried in vain, cast after cast, but his plastic lure worked every time and most of the shad that he had hooked were really decent sized fish. Apparently anglers fishing with bait became quite frustrated as their bites were far and few between whereas my friend had pull after pull and even duffed several fish. The other comment that he made was that the beach was beginning to smell rather badly proving that the shad anglers are not cleaning up their bait scraps. All anglers should be coached from an early age to clean up the area before leaving the beach as we had to do.
Garrick catches seem to have tailed off a bit but one angler fishing for shad at a Durban North beach on Tuesday morning hooked and landed a garrick weighing 13kg (using a top bung trace and sardine bait). The garrick should remain in local waters for at least another month and the fish caught should all be larger specimens. The best time for the garrick is at low water but anglers should be prepared to be patient and a live bait is almost a must at this time of the year.
Several anglers fishing with live baits have recently hooked big sharks and some have had their traces bitten off after a short struggle. But one should expect this as the sharks normally become more numerous during this part of the year as do the summer flatfish that will also take live baits in the water. Anglers fishing the rocky areas up north have managed to land several spotted rockcod weighing up to 2kg and there have been a few lantern bream caught as well but unfortunately anglers have had to struggle a bit because of the rough surf conditions resulting in several nice sized fish being lost among the rocks. Closer to home, the odd copper bream has been caught but again, fishing has been a bit of a struggle.
I believe that the offshore angling up north has improved with a number of game and bottom fish being caught but sea time has been limited because of the sea and weather conditions. Cape Vidal being one of the productive areas where couta, dorado, sailfish and even a few big wahoo have all been boated. Vidal has always been a productive fishing area but one has to put up with the wind that seems to push just about every day. Another area that will become busy soon is Sodwana Bay where anglers are beginning to gather for the billfish season. Already a couple of big sailies and marlin have been caught and released so this year could become an excellent season.
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