Coast KZN

23 Apr 2024

FishEagle: Anglers return to the seas as game fish season hits full stride

Sealice (North Coast Courier) Picture: Keagan Loader caught this 20 kg couta on Saturday off Westbrook on a crystal minno lure. He was fishing for snoek and was surprised to hook this sizeable couta.

Decent weather and sea conditions have at last allowed anglers to get back to business. The offshore game fish season is in full swing, with those participating in the various club competitions and the recent Durban Ski Boat Club’s inter-club shoot-out weighing in a fair number of game fish. The largest catch was a barracouta weighing 15 kg but apparently there were larger fish lost to sharks. Included in catches were dorado, queenfish and Natal snoek.

Sharks are unfortunately still taking a huge toll hitting hooked fish and there have been hard-luck stories on every outing. The sea water is cooling with the temperature at the weekend reading 22 to 23 degrees, but it seems as if the sharks will continue to be a problem for some time yet.

Once the swell had subsided, anglers were able to put to sea and fish their favourite bottom reefs that have been producing good catches this year. The usual big rockcod and red fish species continued to keep anglers interested. Geelbek salmon and at times shoal salmon have also been found in some areas. As long as the weather remains fine, anglers will be able to spend some quality time at sea, and the inshore reefs will produce sizeable rubber lips, lantern bream and moff grunter in some areas. Trap sticks will produce the odd big couta.

Before the onset of the unfishable seas, the in between season did produce a few fish for the rock and surf anglers but there were no fireworks along the coastline.

The local beaches are normally quiet at this time of the year with the odd pompano and wave garrick in the shorebreak and a few copper bream in the rocky gullies. At present there are a fair number of stumpnose being caught, many of them weighing between 1-2 kg.It seems as if sardine baits are the way to go for the stumpies but this species will go for a variety of baits, including crab, chokka, baby squid and prawns.
Shad remain scarce with just a few small ones being caught along the coast but these have been few and far between.

With the sea water cooling nicely, the green shad shoals should begin to move up the coast, although it is still a bit early. But who knows, it could happen and this will certainly spark things up along the upper South Coast for a start.

At present small salmon are making up some catches and they are recorded over a wide area, but don’t expect anything hectic.The area stretching from Glenashley to the Durban basin is producing some decent catches. Some nice salmon were caught at Glenashley, with some shad and grunter at the Umgeni mouth.

In the Durban basin, a few diamond rays have been recorded at night and released. Anglers waiting for the shad to arrive should do their best to stock up on bait. Because of the number of bonito to be found in local waters, acquiring a stock of bonito fillets for bait is recommended. At times I have found that mixed grill baits consisting of sardine and bonito seem to produce more pulls, even when the fishing is quiet.