Coast KZN

01 Oct 2021

#FishEagle: Pollution restricts fishing

(North Coast Courier: Sealice) Picture: Matthew Hill recently caught his first surf catch, a beautiful Zebra fish which was returned to the ocean. The 4-year-old fisherman caught his fish at Salmon Bay using sardine bait.

When not dealing with heavy seas, dirty waters and large swell, anglers last week had to down their fishing rods after eThekwini metro gave notice of high E. coli levels at Durban.

First light on Saturday morning saw favorable conditions with a fairly small surf and calm seas. Recent rains were heavy in places at times, causing rivers to flood into the sea and dirty waters from the Umgeni River.

Northern beaches remain closed and toward the end of the week eThekwini officials closed Durban beaches after tests revealed high concentrations of E. coli in the Umgeni River, which flooded out to sea with north easterly winds dispersing the dirty water along Durban’s beachfront. Just a couple of weeks ago surfers became ill after being in the water.

Surf anglers targeting shad are frustrated because the season will close at month end. Presently, shad anglers are severely restricted as to where they can fish for their favorite species. On Wednesday afternoon I was watching garrick chasing shad and the shad that I saw were all weighing over 2 kg.

Some anglers are now ignoring the ban and fish at first light. I am not sure whether the fish caught in the closed areas will be safe to eat, but there will always be those that will take a chance. Many rock and surf anglers have now migrated to the Bluff beaches and further south.

There have been some nice sized edible fish caught from the Bluff and upper South Coast beaches recently, including big shad, garrick, brusher, stumpies and decent sized copper bream and other species normally found around the rocks. The beaches have become even more crowded, with extra anglers, and this has caused frayed tempers at times.

A few monster shad weighing around 5 to  7 kgs were caught down south. These have mostly been caught on live baits cast out for garrick and daga salmon during the late afternoon.

It has been encouraging to hear of the number of salmon caught this season. They have been scarce in recent years with offshore guys catching daga and shoal salmon. Big grunter has also been on the bite, mainly at night, in the river mouth areas and it is unfortunate that curfew is still in effect.

It is the time of year to visit northern areas like Mapelane and St Lucia to target grunter as they are now starting to gather for the spawning season. St Lucia can be busy around this time of year, so it is best to book accommodation early.

Anglers fishing among the rocks are still catching some big copper bream and last week a bronzie of 3 kg was caught by an angler fishing in the La Mercy area. Prawn and crayfish are still the preferred bait and anglers fishing the rocky gullies have hooked and landed some nice stumpnose as well.

At the weekend weather and sea conditions were ideal for fishing for copper bream and other species like big blacktail and lantern bream. Rocky Ballito and Salt Rock areas could be the places to fish this week, plus Sheffield Beach could be productive.

Offshore anglers able to launch last week had some big seas to contend with as well as the winds. Bottom fishing has produced some big rockcod, geelbek and daga salmon, including soldiers and slinger, all nicely sized. Conditions only returned to normal on Saturday morning, perfect for guys targeting garrick along backline.

Water temperatures are still a bit low, but will soon change and this could bring dorado again.

Surf-ski anglers are still having a problem with shad when targeting garrick or snoek along backline.