Freshwater fishing resumes due to influx of summer rains

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The fresh water fishing was excellent.

Bass are enjoying the influx of summer rain, carp are playing, trout are still feeding even on the hottest days and Sterkfontein season is upon us.

Bass fishing is growing in popularity in KwaZulu-Natal and many new anglers are realizing how much fun it is to catch bass. There are plenty of places around and asking your local tackle shop will often find new places right on your doorstep.

Fishing in surface water gave amazing results in all KZN dams. Hollow-bodied frogs are fantastic, especially in weed dams.

These virtually weed-free baits allow you to fish in the wildest areas and not get stuck. Remember to use a good quality braid of at least 50 lbs in weedy waters. In bass water, Albert Falls has recently produced some good fish around 2.5kg.

Michael from the store spent a few days on Midmar last week and reported that although there was nothing to write home about the size, we had a lot of fun with the little fish, and he reports that there are has a ton around . The carp fishing around KZN was great last week. The warmer weather resulted in heavy weed growth and the carp took advantage of the new grazing opportunities.

Fruity and sweet was the way to go and just in case, throw some garlic in the can in case the cold front knocks the fish down. On the trout side, calm waters always fish well, with high altitude lakes producing the best results.

Remember that these fish are heat sensitive so be sure to retrieve them quickly if the water is a bit warm. This will allow us to limit the number of unnecessary deaths.

On the river side, the good rains — which makes fishermen wet (unhappy) — have seen the fishermen disappear.

After visiting Dargle last weekend to survey the Umgeni River for a clinic/guiding session this week, I can confirm most of the rivers are unplayable. The water is dirty and high…at least in the lower to mid sections.

We heard there was clean water higher up earlier in the week, but I suspect this week’s rainfall probably ended any prospect there.

I would say the same for the middle reaches of the Mooi River, even though it has just been reopened after reaching an acceptable level of flow. No word or report from the Bushmans river, which is undoubtedly telling in itself. The dates for the river clinic hosted by the Natal Fly Fishers Club are set for the last weekend of the month (November 25-27). The clinic will be based in the central Midlands, close to the Mooi River for fishing.

On calm waters, there is nothing ventured, nothing won. With fish over 50cm/19.5in reported, these intrepid anglers were definitely on the winning side.

Surprisingly after the rains, the water temperatures are rather warm, with one fisherman reporting 20C and ‘took care not to pull the fish out of the water, to facilitate quick release’.

As mentioned last week, wet lines (i.e. intermediate and full) are the order of the day as the fish will be on the bottom looking for a cooler source of water.

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With the Sterkfontein season underway, this week’s meeting of the Natal Fly Dressers Society allowed visiting tyer Gerhard Goosen to demonstrate one of his hopper designs.

The fly is a recent development of Gerhard’s vice and did not yet have a name. Club members quickly dubbed it “The Proper Hopper” due to its realistic properties.

Meanwhile, Complete Fly Fisherman magazine hosts an annual Sterkies weekend, and it happened this past weekend. Although the angling was difficult, there were solid gold bars brought to the net. In order to catch Sterkies at their best, watch the weather and look for a few consecutive days of sunshine and warm weather – this will keep the fish active and feeding. On the salt side, offshore facets are in the news.

There were a lot of competitions and incredible catches. Beyond the northern border, the Paindane competition saw incredible fishing. The OET has also just taken place with good billfish catches.

Most of the North Shore had good fishing with the Garrick keeping most guys busy. The section from Salmon Bay to the mouth of the Tongaat River was the most productive. With the recent rains, a lot of dirty water is pumped into the sea.

Try to fish along the edges for the best results.

The Central Coast has seen a little more action this week, with most people venturing out as the sewage situation improves a bit.

Tuna remains the constant target, with most trips registering good results. In very good news, the sea breams are there and ready to be tasted. Trolling skirted lures are the best way to cover the ground and target summer fish.

Throwing the skipbait into the spread can often convince them to bite and latch on.

The south coast didn’t have much to report… With the competitions to the north, most anglers spent time along the north coast. The shoal has seen very good fishing with good conditions allowing access to even the smallest vessels. The dorado and tuna have been there with the odd big wahoo hanging around. Pinks and purples were the most productive colors. Rock and surf fishing has officially turned into summer mode.

Guys, respect the fish you catch! It’s not worth hurting/mutilating a fish just to get a better picture.

Be sure to keep your flatfish flat on the ground and not lift or flip them. Please. The North Coast has seen a lot of good deeds on both edible and inedible fronts.

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The key was to make the most of the weather conditions and variations. Look to fish just before the westerly wind and you should see better results.

Beaches and points along the north coast have started to see good sands and flatfish with meaty baits producing the best results. The areas around Sodwana and Cape Vidal were the go-to places.

The central coast always fishes well with good flatfish and landed gray sharks. The Garricks are still there, with live mules producing the goods most mornings. The basin area always fishes well and is a great place to take young anglers to give them a shot at their first inedible.

Smaller baits will allow you to cast farther, so try a red-eyed head with cutlets instead of a mackerel. The south coast saw some of the inedible fish of the summer, but most of the fish caught/reported in the south are edible. The gilthead seabream is still at the top of the list, with most of the coast showing good results. Both prawns and red prawns work, so try combining the two.

Garrick and kingfish feed around river mouths and have broken surface water plugs. Be sure to fish in the early hours of the day to maximize your opportunities. Please send any information on fishing or fish caught in your area to [email protected]

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