Coast KZN

29 Oct 2021

FishEagle: Anglers cast lines despite spill

(North Coast Courier: Sealice) Picture: Brandon Grant (left) shows off the whopping 18kg musselcracker he caught off Ballito. Helping him to hold up the fish last Saturday is Cameron Bartholomew.

Fishermen continue to cast their lines despite the official closure of beaches between the Umgeni mouth and Salt Rock, also recording some great catches. Anglers and other beachgoers are probably going to wait some time before the northern beaches reopen. Results of tests which were done have been sent to the government for study and I would guess that the go-ahead to reopen beaches will only be given during December. Hopefully in time for Christmas holidays.

Early morning shad anglers visited their favourite fishing spots every day last week and shad were caught even though the season is supposed to be closed. Along with the shad there have been a few garrick caught, too. One angler landed a really nice garrick at Glenashley Beach during the week.

Barend Nienaber shows off this 16 kg kob he caught earlier this month at Ballito.

Several anglers said they had not seen any fishery officers or any other form of authority while fishing from the beaches.

Night anglers have recorded some excellent catches of grunter. It is the right time of the year as they are now spawning.

Friends of mine have ventured back onto the beaches at night, travelling in groups of four. On 2 outings they have been rewarded with four big grunter, plus a nice stumpie of 6 kilos. Anglers have been using a variety of baits which include shell bait, sealice, chokka and ginger shrimp. A big stumpie was caught on a whole crab cast out in the hope of catching a brusher.

Up north early summer season flatfish are on the bite, especially when the north easterly wind has been around. A few skates and average size sanding have made up most bags, but there has been the odd big shark caught, too.

Mtunzini seems to be popular. Locals not wanting to travel so far could do worse than have a look at Tinley Manor and try the deep water rocky outcrops, targeting snoek. Fishing for snoek can be frustrating but when these fish are feeding, pulls come quick and fast. Anglers should remember that snoek have soft jaws so, it is not a good idea to force a hooked fish.

Fishing the many gullies at Tinley Manor could produce copper bream and other species.

Offshore game fish season is fast on the way and already dorado and tuna have been boated. November is normally considered the time that marlin arrive off Durban.

As always, it was stiff competition in the build up to who would catch the first billfish of the season.

Bonito have been seen in large shoals out deep, and although most anglers are fishing bottom reefs, all have their ears glued to news of the couta arriving. Hopefully these fish will arrive in numbers, just like last year.

There are a few anglers persevering the backline areas for garrick, but unfortunately some of the live baits have been eaten by shad. However, there have been several nice garrick boated and for those looking to catch garrick, the river mouth areas are the best bet, as too is the stretch from Umhlanga Rocks to Blue Lagoon.

Water temperatures are still a bit cool, with Saturday seeing water temperatures of 21.7 degrees Celsius recorded. This however, should suit bottom anglers who target salmon.