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24 Jul 2020

#FishEagle: Sardines reach Durban!

Sealice Freelancer (North Coast Courier) Picture: Local photographer Barry Bowditch captured this stunning sunrise from The Boulders recently where fishermen can be seen preparing their gear for an early morning angling session. Camera details: Canon 5D Mk 4, 100-400mm lens, focal length 140mm, F6.3, ISO 2000, shutter speed 1/640.

Last Thursday afternoon small pockets of sardines were sighted moving north off Merebank.  On Friday morning small pockets were again spotted moving north, this time between Hibberdene and the Bluff. Some of the pockets were said to be close inshore and on Saturday, more pockets were sighted at Port Edward.

Finally on Monday, sardines arrived at Suncoast beach in Durban, so it seems the sardine run is not quite over yet. The problem with all these small pockets of sardines is that they have a magnetic tendency to draw marine life with them as they pass by. Sometimes anglers on the beach have a few minutes of excitement as a few fish move inshore temporarily, then quickly disappear again.

Offshore anglers have found plenty of snoek off Durban and some nice catches have been recorded near backline. Anglers a little north have found larger fish, some up to 10kgs.

During the week I saw some big splashes of game fish feeding quite close inshore off Beach Bums. Deep sea anglers fishing on the bottom have been recording some nice catches, especially down south.

There have been several nice musselcracker recorded, plus a couple of big Scotsman, Englishmen and the usual different rock-cod species. Offshore anglers reported patches of sardines along the South Coast but fishing has been pretty constant when sea conditions have allowed. The sea remains pretty warm.

A couple of weeks ago anglers at Umhlanga and Eastmore caught a few shad, hence the big crowd fishing the area every morning. Unfortunately, shad have been a little scarce since then and catches have dropped off with just a couple of small fish being caught at first light. It has been the same at just about all of the local shad angling spots.

Most of the local action has been taking place in the rocky areas where the winter fish have been on the bite. Copper bream have been the main target but I believe that a couple of outsized blacktail have been caught as well. The usual stone bream and at times there have been some lantern bream caught.

Stud rock at Tongaat has been a popular spot this past week. A number of nice garrick were caught at a few spots last week and anglers at Umkomaas have landed some nice kob and grunter during night-time fishing. This area becomes very crowded during the early mornings when shad anglers arrive.

A couple of decent shad have been landed at Amatikulu, including one of 3.5 kgs.

Sardines spread out along the South Coast could have an influence on fishing this coming week, but that depends on weather and sea conditions. We could yet see sardines very close inshore this week.