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07 Aug 2020

#FishEagle: Sardines need to move along!

Sealice: (North Coast Courier) Picture: Kevin Tait successfully landed this 5.5kg snoek off Tinley Manor at the weekend.

Sardines continued to be netted around Durban last week, including at Snake Park Beach on Saturday.

The lingering sardines are making for terribly slow sport for rock and surf anglers, putting noses out of joint across Durban and the North Coast. There are too many bait-fish in the water at present so there is no reason for fish to move into the surf zone in search of food. It is time for the sardines to  disappear. They have overstayed their welcome.

The green shad fishing season has been a bit of a flop in local waters and now the larger blue shad are beginning to arrive. But if sardines remain for any length of time, anglers will surely find that catches will remain disappointing. Many local anglers prefer to fish the rocky outcrops for copper bream because there is more chance of returning home with fresh fish.

I noticed at the weekend that there were very few anglers fishing sandy areas for shad or garrick. Some nice sized garrick have been caught at Richards Bay recently but locally they remain scarce and I am sure that it is because of the abundance of food close inshore.

Even the guys spinning from the deep water spots for snoek have found fishing really tough.

There are still a fair number of kob being caught down south, and during the week I visited a couple of the local kob angling spots but, did not hear of any fish being landed.

Offshore anglers fishing the backline from Umdloti in the north to the Umgeni mouth in the south, found that there were still plenty of snoek last week. However, the guys found that catching snoek proved to be more difficult than originally expected and this was because snoek realise that they are being hunted. Many of the anglers became frustrated but there was not too much that they could do because shad were too thick on the backline. Apparently, snoek caught were a bit smaller than normal.

Ballito fisherman Kevin Tait was fishing offshore near Blythedale and said fishing was dead quiet. Despite this, he hooked 11 snoek, but only landed 5 of which 2 fell back into the water.

“But 3 snoek a day keeps ‘mommy’ happy and, in the end, a happy wife is a happy life,” joked Tait.

Another offshore angler told me last week that they had been fishing on the bottom of the Bluff and had recorded some nice catches of reds plus a few decent rock-cod. He said that even though the water was warm, sea barbel proved to be a real nuisance and once they had caught a couple fish on a reef, they had to move because sharks had started moving in.

During the week they had seen several small pockets of sardines passing by, but there were no birds or anything accompanying them.

He had heard of several big garrick having been caught in the Bluff area. Local offshore anglers have also recorded a few nice fish caught on the bottom reefs as well. Along with the usual reds and rock-cod, there have been a few daga salmon off Umdloti. Geelbek salmon were on the bite and while there were a couple of nice catches, sharks again became a bit of a problem.

After Sunday’s north easterly wind, I think that the surf anglers are going to find shad back on the bite and fishing could be quite comfortable because the crowds have stayed away.