Coast KZN

04 Apr 2019

Fish Eagle: Hoping the pompano will arrive

Erica Abrahams (North Coast Courier)

This past week has seen some reasonably settled weather which is what we normally expect at this time of the year. The winds are still fairly strong at times as the anglers fishing in the Umhlanga competition found out, and this resulted in difficult fishing conditions especially those aboard the smaller fishing craft.

During the weekend, the offshore anglers were keen to launch again and were greeted by excellent weather conditions at first light on Saturday morning. The calm weather lasted until around 9am, then the wind began to pump a bit and this made the sea really bumpy and uncomfortable for offshore fishing.

But the guys who launched early did manage a couple of hours of quite pleasant sea conditions before the wind was on the water but as the Umhlanga offshore angling competition prize winners will say, sometimes it does pay to sit out the uncomfortable sea conditions.

Early on Sunday morning, the sea looked windswept and not really inviting and it was unsurprising to see that nobody had decided to launch and the wind was back on the water by 9am. Anyway by lunchtime it was really pumping. This could only have meant that those that did launch on Saturday morning, did not do all that well and pushing an early Sunday morning launch was not worth all the trouble and cost involved.

Word is that the game fish anglers fishing down south have recorded some decent catches recently which included big tuna, a few wahoo, sizeable barracouta and even the odd big kingfish taken by the surf ski anglers fishing just off the backline.

The South Coast deep sea fishing grounds always begin to produce the goods from this time of the year up through until July when the sardines are expected.

Many local offshore anglers have been asking for a number of years now, what is wrong with the local reefs that used to produce plenty of fish in past years and where one could almost guarantee that the first of the barracouta would arrive by the middle of December.

The popular launch sites were a hive of activity in the dark during the early morning periods of the weekends and it was not unusual to see two or three craft already at the water’s edge at that time. One had to make sure of being at the beach really early because otherwise, it was a case of waiting in the queue for a chance to launch. During that period the latecomers to the beach would find that by the time that they had launched and reached the fishing grounds, some crews had three or four fish in their hatches. Unfortunately, those days are long gone and today’s game fish anglers are finding it hard work trying to catch couta and the yellowfin tuna seem to be the majority of the game fish that are caught these days.

Many anglers believe that the barracouta do not have a chance to migrate south because they are caught by foreign fishing boats operating north of our borders and the gamefish such as the barracouta, wahoo and even the Dorado could be on the endangered species list in the not too distant future. There is no sense of conservation these days and a good example is right on our doorstep in the Tugela River and other estuaries where catching juvenile fish is all the rage. The local rock and surf anglers are also somewhat feeling the pinch these days because of the sins of past generations of anglers. An example of this are the karanteen which are very few and far between these days and another is the pinkies which I have not seen in a long time.

Although surf anglers are catching a few fish up north at times, the local fishing spots are producing virtually nothing at all and sometimes one does not see anglers fishing at the popular venues for days on end. One can only hope though that the pompano do arrive this year but the sea does not look too encouraging and the water needs to calm a little and clean up because these fish do not like rough seas or dirty water.

The Easter weekend will soon be here and hopefully, anglers will be able to record four days of fishing and they will be able to say that they did catch a couple of decent fish.