Coast KZN

09 Nov 2021

Beaches reopen, but ‘no’ to fishing

(North Coast Courier: Sealice) Picture: Bianca Ihlenfeldt of Sheffield Beach shows off her 8.3kg wahoo, caught during the St Lucia Ladies Fishing Competition on November 6. She finished 9th overall.

Beaches from the Umgeni Mouth to Salt Rock are back in business after being partially reopened last week, but angling and harvesting remains off limits.

I first began fishing as a small boy, accompanying my father from the early 50s, but this is the first time in all these years that anglers have been notified that no angling is allowed. The art of shore angling along this coastline has been handed down from generation to generation and now suddenly no fishing is allowed!

I decided to check out a few of the angling beaches after hearing that beaches would only reopen to bathers and found that there were still a few guys ignoring the ban, but the number of anglers was definitely far less. One morning angler told me he and a few friends had opted to check the bay until beaches reopened again. In several spots they saw raw sewage in the water so decided that fishing the bay was not for them, even though they had heard some nice fish had recently been caught.

Options are to travel up north where summer flatfish are now becoming the targets of choice and salmon at Tugela Mouth. Known grunter angling spots are also a good choice during this year’s spawning season. The problem is that with last week’s fuel price increase, a lot of thinking has to go into any plans for a fishing trip up north. To travel in a group, share the costs and spend 3 or 4 days in one of the better spots is probably the best option.

Another option is to just fish the Bluff and Upper South Coast beaches where there has been some productive fishing lately. Along with the shad, there have been some garrick, kob in some areas plus brusher and copper bream in the rocky gullies. A few big stumpies have also been caught mainly in the dark along with a few grunter. Further down South Coast way the early mornings have produced some really nice fish.

Guys spinning from the deep water points have managed a few snoek at times. Some monster shad have been caught at Margate, including daga salmon at the sandpit and river mouths, which have produced garrick and grunter, too.

Some big copper bream have also been caught. In some areas anglers targeting copper bream have hooked into big brusher and a few have been landed but most have been lost among the rocks.

Offshore anglers are now gearing up for the game fish season and already there have been some decent fish boated. The big yellowfin tuna head the list at present but dorado are becoming more plentiful and there has been news of barracouta on the bite up north.

At present, the annual Sodwana Billfish Tournament is to take place and already the guys who have tried Cape Vidal have done well at times. There have been a couple of sailfish caught at Cape Vidal, as well as couta, snoek and dorado, but the wind has been a problem at times.

Offshore anglers fishing the backline have managed a few garrick but it seems as if the interest in fishing for garrick is waning a bit. Anglers are focusing on snoek but have been hassled by shad and small sharks nailing their baits. I can remember when anglers used to catch tons of small sharks at this time of the year, both offshore and from the beach.

Anglers targeting the bottom reefs have had mixed results mainly because of adverse weather and sea conditions. Charter skippers who have been taking out anglers to fish the bottom reefs have returned with some really nice rockcod, a variety of red fish and a number of salmon. It has not been easy fishing the deep sea reefs recently, and launching through the surf has been a bit of an adventure for some.