Coast KZN

16 May 2023

FishEagle: Lower temperatures needed for sardine move

Sealice (North Coast Courier) Picture: Chenique Slier Photography IMAGE USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES: Sardines coming in with hauls taken at a number of South Coast beaches during 2021

Last Monday’s rainy and chilly conditions could be an early indication of what we can expect this winter. So far the weather has been pretty mild, and although there have been a few windy periods the days have mostly remained calm and chilly in the mornings and early evenings. Anglers have been able to put in some quality fishing time, although the offshore guys have been hampered by big swells on some days.

There was news late last week of sardines spotted off Port Alfred but the water temperature remains between 24 and 25 degrees. A dramatic drop in water temperature is necessary before we can expect sardines to move into the KZN coastline but it is early days yet.

Several big shad in the 4 kg bracket were caught along the coastline last week along with several smaller fish. This is unusual because there is still no news on the small green shad appearing in KZN waters. Local rock and surf anglers found some productive fishing, especially with shad.

Other edibles have included nice stumpies and plenty small salmon or kob. It seems salmon will continue into the winter which is their proper time as these fish feed along the entire coastline.

The rock and surf guys continue to catch some nice bronze bream in some areas but at other areas that did produce a good haul of bronzies the fish caught were on the small side.

Other species on the bite last week were small grey sharks in some areas.

As usual for this time of year, rock and surf anglers look south to see what is happening and the situation did improve a bit last week. A couple of big shad were caught at Palm Beach with smaller fish hooked in the Margate area. Big blacktail are also now coming on the bite. There was news of a big brusher being caught (the venue being kept secret), plus some salmon coming out.

The upper South Coast produced some shad in the 4-5 kg category, a couple of pompano and, best of all, the garrick seem to have arrived.

At the weekend the water temperature did drop somewhat and if the water does become colder the fishing could improve dramatically down south.

Although big swells were encountered at sea last week some excellent game fish were caught, with couta over 25 kg making up some catches. Surf ski anglers accounted for a few of the big couta. There were some snoek as well but where they were caught was not divulged.

As with the weather, angling from the rocks and surf has been slowly changing but things have become a bit unpredictable. For many many years the shad run was very predictable and all anglers knew that during the winter months the small green shad infested local waters with blue shad moving up the coast from down south during August to November. That was the closed season of course.

Copper bream were only targeted by experienced anglers in the past but over the last

Small salmon or kob also used to arrive during the winter months but seem to be feeding all year around in recent times.

The way rock and surf anglers fish the beaches these days has also changed significantly over the years. In the past it used to be anglers using scarborough reels, then the Penn Yankee type reels became popular, and now most anglers use the fixed spool or coffee grinder reels. There are many different type of lures to choose from these days whereas in the past we used to manufacture our own lures, mainly spoons.