Coast KZN

24 Jun 2022

#FishEagle: Sardines hit the shorelines

(Sealice: North Coast Courier) Picture: Stephen Herbst. Big hauls of sardines were landed at Margate on Saturday.

Despite rough seas brought on by a cold front last week, netters set out on Friday to bring to shore a haul of sardines at Margate, the first catch of the sardine run. Temperatures dropped with the arrival of the cold front on Tuesday last week, a day after shoals of silver fish were seen in the upper Transkei area.

On Thursday, shoals were reported close inshore from Port Edward through to Marina Beach. Nets could not be cast on Thursday but by Friday afternoon netters struck silver gold.

This year was no different from past years with the asking price for a crate of sardines initially going for as much as R1 500. By the time netters had brought ashore the first haul, shoals of sardines were reported at Uvongo.

Perfect weather greeted sardine hunters on Saturday, with Pennington proving to be the place to go. The price had already then dropped to R1 000 per crate. Beaches were crowded with spectators and it seemed as if the price of petrol was no problem at all with everyone trying to get their hands on sardines of their own. The price continued to drop as more nets were brought ashore, with crates going for about R800 on Sunday.

Sardines were netted up the coast as far as Winkelspruit, not far from Durban.

Surf anglers reported hooking big sharks and some tremendous battles were fought, but there was no mention of game fish or kob being caught.

Sardines will definitely be in Durban waters this week but whether they move close inshore is another story.

Crowds of anglers congregated at Blue Lagoon last week as small shad came on the bite. Some had ‘runners’ who removed bags of the fish from the pier as anglers continued fishing. A lot of fish were caught last week but none were returned to the water even though most were undersized.

Blue Lagoon is one of those areas where regulars fish from the beach or pier and frown upon newcomers. Local anglers will now wipe off the cobwebs from their shad tackle gear but may have to be patient a little longer. That said, there was news of copper bream being caught.

Anglers should watch the water closely for signs of sardines and be ready to cast their lines in areas where fish pass close by as there is always the chance of landing a nice garrick or salmon, or even a big shark to stretch the arms.

Offshore anglers have had some large hauls of geelbek salmon recently. Most fishing for geelbek has been at night on South Coast reefs.

When night fishing was first given the green light years ago, some offshore anglers were against the ski boats fishing at night. It seems as if they were right considering how the daga salmon has become an endangered species. If geelbek salmon continues to be fished in huge numbers the way it is, this species too could land on the endangered list.