Coast KZN

30 Mar 2019

Fish Eagle: Dirty water weed woes make fishing difficult

Sealice Freelancer (North Coast Courier)

Although the tropical cyclone that moved over Mozambique recently had virtually no effect on the local weather there was massive damage caused in Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe by the huge amounts of rain that fell during and after the storm.

All it needed was a small change in course to the south then the local weather could have been a whole lot different with massive amounts of rain falling along the local coastline creating floods over a wide area.

The weather last week could be an example of what is to come this winter and there was a little of everything. Days with very little wind plus days with strong winds and also at the end of the working week everyone awoke to an overcast sky with rain that was heavy at times.

But the weather at dawn on Saturday was perfect for the Umhlanga deep sea angling competition. There was some wind from mid-morning onward but mostly just a moderate breeze but the real problem for anglers was to find where clean water could be found inshore.

Most anglers would have opted to fish the deeper water where conditions were more favourable to find the game fish. I was hoping to be able to spend some time at Umhlanga watching what fish were weighed in but unfortunately, it did not work out that way. The north easterly wind was on the water early on Sunday morning and by 9am the wind was pretty fresh and it could not have been much fun being on the water aboard a fishing craft.

A considerable amount of fresh water has entered the sea so far this year causing large patches of dirty water that many anglers try to stay away from but it is not the dirty water that is the real problem for the surf anglers. When there is a fairy heavy flood of water, tons of river weeds and other debris tends to be washed into the sea and it is these weeds that cause much frustration. On many occasions, anglers would travel to the beach, spend time checking the water which seems okay and only when they cast their lines do they realise that there are masses of weeds floating just below the surface of the water.

One of my angling friends had exactly that experience last week and he said that his line had become full of weeds within seconds. So he decided to call in at a couple of the popular angling spots to check whether the water was cleaner only to find out that the weeds were a problem over a wide area. I contacted a couple of friends up north to find out whether they were having the same problems and they said certain areas were affected but many other popular angling spots were quite okay for fishing.

Apparently, the odd very nice sized kob and stumpie have been caught recently along with the inevitable summer flatfish but anglers have said the surf has not always been favourable for fishing and the winds have been really strong at times. In some areas, the strong north easterly winds have built up strong sandbanks that are situated right on most anglers casting range.

My favourite time of the year for fishing in the surf is fast approaching and this is the month of April. During this part of the year there are several different edible species to be found and these are pompano that can be caught normally during the mid-morning period. Small kob that feeds early in the evenings and before first light in the mornings, big stumpies that normally feed in the dark and they can be caught by anglers using a variety of baits but my favourite being live ghost crab and just recently there has been a couple of big brushers caught locally by anglers fishing the rocky areas. The Easter long weekend falls during the month of April and is a great time to spend offshore fishing for the gamefish and the big rock cod and soldiers found on the reefs.