Coast KZN

23 Jun 2021

#FishEagle: Cold weather brings sardines

(North Coast Courier: Sealice) Picture: Chenique Slier Photography. Recent sardines hauls at a number of South Coast beaches.

Chilly mornings with warmer afternoons were the name of the game last week, with winds light to moderate and ocean conditions near-perfect for anglers and netters alike. Netters searched for the best places to cast their nets as shoals of sardines were spotted on the South Coast, heading north. However, fish were deep out and netters were left disappointed.

At some 23 degrees Celsius, waters were a bit too warm for these cold water fish. Netters met some action on Wednesday morning down at Port Edward again.

Sardines keep coming in with recent hauls taken at a number of South Coast beaches.
Photo: Chenique Slier Photography

News quickly spread as netters brought in full nets of sardines at Port Shepstone and from then onward, it became hectic work. A huge shoal about 12 kms long was reported moving up the Transkei coastline, accompanied by thousands of dolphins, numerous big sharks and the usual Cape gannets diving for their share of the feast.

Although it was during the working week, big crowds gathered where sardines were being netted with netters even giving away sardines when their baskets were full to the brim. I saw people advertising sardines at R1 each but unfortunately, in the Kelso area, sardines were found having been dumped in the bush. What a waste!

Sardines keep coming in with recent hauls taken at a number of South Coast beaches.
Photo: Chenique Slier Photography

I am sure that after last week the market must now be saturated and really netting should be put on hold because a lot of fish will become spoiled and be useless for anything.

Anglers fishing in the vicinity of sardines had some hectic fishing as well, with several big sharks being caught along with edible fish such as barracouta, GT kingfish, prodigal son, garrick and plenty of shad. There have been some big shad caught down south, but the majority of the fish are weighing around or just above the one kilogram mark.

Some of the larger game fish caught was through the jig and drop method, which always works well. Some nice fish were caught on spoon as well, and the anglers targeting the big sharks were hampered at times by crowds at the water’s edge.

Sardines have been passing by locally in the deep water, plus there have been many shoals of baitfish that have been mistakenly identified as Natal sardines. A net was brought ashore at Addington Beach and the catch turned out to be a mixture of small, undersized shad, red eye sardines, maasbanker and a few Natal sardines.

The popular shad angling spots have now suddenly become crowded with many a rod having been dusted down.

Blue Lagoon is still fishing well, producing shad and garrick. But it is best to stay away from this area and the Durban North beaches have produced shad at times.

Umhlanga has also now come alive. Plenty of shad are now being caught there, most on the small side but there have been some legal sized fish also, and a few really nice garrick have come on the bite. Local popular shad angling spots, Tongaat, Ballito and Salt Rock, should also begin to produce some nice bag catches pretty soon, and no doubt the garrick anglers should start having some productive fishing at Chaka’s High Rock.

The rocky gullies are now yielding a few copper bream again, and those with cray tail bait have been doing quite well.

With the sea and surf conditions being kind to anglers at present, the angling beaches have been busy – especially during weekend. Anglers must be aware and on the lookout for the criminal element that always rears its head when fishing becomes productive.

Anglers fishing at night down south have been rewarded with some nice kob and the odd big stumpnose. Anglers have been fishing in groups for safety and don’t leave vehicles in dark areas as break-ins and theft of cars has increased.

Most of the popular South Coast angling beaches now have informal car guards, but this does not always guarantee that one’s vehicle is safe.