Coast KZN

04 Aug 2021

#FishEagle: Blue shad come on the bite

(North Coast Courier: Sealice)

It certainly was cold last week around first light, however the days warmed up nicely with light to moderate north easterly winds. Sea and surf conditions remained good with sea water being pretty clean, and fishing conditions for rock, surf and off-shore anglers remaining favorable throughout the week.

Last week I checked several of the popular shad angling beaches around first light but saw very little caught. Anglers said fishing had been quiet and the guys were basically catching what they called ‘rats and mice’.

The only spot which produced was Blue Lagoon, with some shad weighing up to 2 kgs.

Last Friday morning, anglers at Eastmore at Umhlanga Rocks suddenly found shad on the bite, and for a while there was some fast action. This could mean that the blue shad are now arriving, plus the chemical pollution has now dispersed, as have the sardines.

The small green shad run was disappointing this year even though it was reported by off-shore anglers that they were a real nuisance on the in-shore reefs.

The blue shad arrived at the lower beginning of August which has always been recognised as the start of the shad run along the lower North Coast beaches. The word is now out that shad are feeding, and crowds will now be at the popular fishing spots on a daily basis.

There has been a bit of a crowd fishing in front of the hotel north of the Tongaat River Mouth, which used to be called Machaortwa. This area is well known to produce a variety of edible fish that include shad, garrick, salmon and big stumpies. Unfortunately it is now a bit of a walk along the beach to reach this excellent fishing spot, but it is worth it.

Boulder Bay at Ballito is another excellent angling spot to catch shad; then there are the Salt Rock and Sheffield beaches as well.

The rocky gullies have been producing a few copper bream, the odd rockcod, lantern bream or cave bass and some nice sized blacktail. Copper bream are targeted at this time and in recent years there have been some excellent catches everywhere there are a few rocks. Fishing for this species can be costly if anglers continue to lose tackle, but there are the regular copper bream anglers know the safe fishing spots.

Lantern bream is a beautiful table fish and this species can be caught on similar baits used to catch copper bream.

Off-shore anglers on the backline have found snoek still feeding during the early mornings. Many have been caught using fresh fillet baits plus small spoons. But sometimes these fish become fussy and leave all baits and spoons alone, especially when they are feeding on sprats.

This is when fishing for snoek becomes really frustrating, and it is better to catch a few live baits and try for garrick. There have been a few garrick caught so far this season and the backline of the Umgeni Mouth seems to be producing some nice fish this year.

Anglers who prefer to fish on the bottom are probably heaving a sigh of relief now that the sardines have disappeared and fishing can get back to normal.

Anglers have been catching some decent sized soldiers and slinger, rockcod, plus some daga and geelbek salmon. Some reefs have produced a few big cracker as well on live baits, but unfortunately sharks have also been a bit of a problem. On the closer reefs, the guys are also catching a few nice fish but here the barbel can be a problem.

Anglers fishing at night are reminded that curfew is from 10 pm to 4 am, and everyone must be in their homes. Some anglers have been taking a chance down south, ignoring the curfew. It really is not worth taking a chance and possibly being arrested.