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10 Sep 2021

Closed beaches push anglers to find new hunting grounds

(North Coast Courier: Sealice)

This year, the start of spring is a strange time because many beaches remain closed due to the chemical spill in July.

September was always remembered as shad time when I was a young boy and we used to spend as much time as could fishing. Then came the ban on catching shad between the months of September through to November’s end because shad were placed on the endangered list – so no fishing during spawning season. These days the shad season closes at the end of September, because shad stock have recovered somewhat but this year it could be touch and go as to whether anglers will have the opportunity while many of the favourite beaches remain closed.

The dedicated shad anglers had to make a plan and fish in the areas which would normally be foreign to them. Most of the productive spots have so far been down south, which is normal for this time of the year. But there have been some nice catches recorded closer to home.

The Umgeni Mouth has been the pick of the north Durban fishing spots but, the area has been crowded as expected. Last weekend anglers fishing the Glenashley beaches cashed in with shad. The beachfront piers have produced shad at night but not everyone can travel to these areas.

There are some traditional productive areas that local anglers could try, namely north of Salt Rock, Tinley Manor and the Umvoti River mouth at Blythedale Beach. A couple of really nice fish have been caught this past week at Tinley Manor, including a nice stumpie of some 3 kg and a big copper bream weighing in at 3.4 kg caught by an angler fishing for shad.

Anglers have always been surprised by some of the fish they have landed when not expected and, the same was for copper bream landed on a shad trace with a sardine bait.

At present the best option for many rock and surf anglers is to fish the rocky areas where a few decent fish have been caught. But on Friday morning after the north easterly wind from the day before, sea and surf conditions were not looking great at all. It is the beginning of the windy season along the lower North Coast and time for the north easterly winds. This means anglers now have to watch sea conditions closely before committing to a fishing trip.

Copper bream have been the main target for rock anglers but there have been other species such as a couple of spade fish, the usual stone bream and a few big blacktail plus the odd lantern bream.

Offshore anglers have to really be wary because north easterly winds create unpredictable conditions and fishing too close inshore can be really dangerous.

Along the backline, anglers can find snoek in some areas and at the river mouths there should be big garrick on the bite. Anglers have found snoek at La Mercy, Umdloti and the backline areas from Umhlanga Rock to the Umgeni Mouth, but shad have been a bit of a problem at times snapping up all the fillet baits set for snoek. One surf ski angler told me last week that he had caught 3 shad one morning, all weighing in the region of 2 kg while casting a Clarke spoon.

Normally, at this time of the year offshore anglers opt for fishing the deep bottom reefs for rockcod, red fish and at times big musselcracker and salmon species such as geelbek and daga salmon.

The long-range weather report for this week is not great with rain forecast for the first part of the week then, after that, north easterly winds have been forecast.

Fishing from a boat at anchor during a north easterly blow can be pretty comfortable but, it is when the anchor is pulled and stowed that one realises how bad the sea has become and the ride back home is normally a very wet one.