Coast KZN

26 Nov 2021

FishEagle: Garrick remain a firm favourite

(North Coast Courier: Sealice) Picture: Bradley Douglas shows off this beautiful 7kg Natal snoek, caught off Zimbali last Saturday

Garrick continue to be the fish of choice this season. This week was no different, with ideal surf conditions for targeting the species. Most garrick were caught on bait, but it was encouraging to note the catches on spoon. While there has been no shortage of bait, anglers have had to be patient when targeting garrick.

Guys who enjoy fishing from the rocks were blessed with excellent surf conditions last week and the usual fish found among the rocks – copper bream seem to have gone quiet, but there have been plenty of blacktail and stone bream.

Garrick were nationally listed as vulnerable in the 2018 National Biodiversity Assessment.

This species is rated as a no-sale species within South Africa, and only recreational fishers with a permit may catch them following a minimum size (> 70 cm TL) and a daily bag limit (2 pp/pd).

Recreational anglers are not allowed to sell their catches.

I believe that a couple of big stumpies were also caught in the rocky areas. One angler who hooked a big stumpie said he had his hook straightened and was not really set up to give a decent fight and land a decent stumpnose.

I saw a few karrenteen caught last week around La Mercy. These days one celebrates when these fish are around.

Offshore anglers are now gearing up for the game fish season and there have been rumours of a couple of barracouta caught out deep in the area off the Bluff, but I feel that it is still a bit too early, but then, one could be wrong.

Dorado and yellowfin tuna have also been caught and plenty of shoals of bonito have been on the move.

At present, the best area for anglers looking for game fish is Cape Vidal, where a number of sailfish have been caught recently. There have also been reports of double ups and a couple of treble hook-ups. Along with billfish, there have been plenty of big tuna and barracouta, dorado and a few wahoo and snoek, too.

Anglers fishing the local waters have caught dorado and plenty of tuna recently, but the main emphasis has been on fishing the bottom reefs. Charter skippers have found plenty of people looking to fish the morning out deep, catching reef fish.

Upper South Coast waters have been busy and catches have included rock cod, red fish such as soldiers and slinger, plus daga and geelbek salmon on the deeper reefs. At times, shoal salmon have been found and some decent catches of salmon in the 6kg range have been boated.

While Durban anglers have been targeting dorado and yellowfin tuna, I believe there has been some billfish action.

A few anglers have also managed some garrick and snoek off the backline. Normally, at this time of year, fishing for gamefish can be a bit slow in local waters, but plenty of action can be found on the local reefs.

Moff grunter can normally be caught by anglers fishing the Ballito ledges, with the deeper reefs off Ballito normally producing daga and shoal salmon, plus the usual suspects found on the bottom reefs. Unfortunately, with the strong winds, currents may spoil fishing on some reefs and sharks normally begin to gather along the lower North Coast at this time of year.

Ocean temperatures are slowly rising and soon the rock and surf anglers will be able to target the summer flatfish along the coastline. Already a big eagle ray was landed and released at a South Coast beach, and this could mean that this year could be a good summer fishing season.

Hopefully, the beaches will be declared open to anglers soon, although this has not deterred locals who have been fishing every morning at first light, even when strong winds were pushing. These fishermen have been catching shad on a pretty regular basis from some of the popular angling spots. Blue Lagoon and Glenashley have proved to be the preferred shad angling areas and some decent sized fish have been landed.