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23 Oct 2020

FishEagle: Shad poachers pillage fish stocks

Sealice (North Coast Courier) Picture: Freshly caught at Salmon Bay on Monday morning, Courtney Tait and Conor Roebuck show off their 8.26 kg and 8.24 kg Bonitos.

Anglers both on the North and South Coasts continue to ignore the ban on catching shad. The ban is in place over October and November because this is the spawning period for these species and, before the ban was introduced, there was a steady decline in the numbers and size of shad. Shad were in danger of being wiped out, making it necessary to preserve the species.

When the ban was imposed, some people took to poaching and many arrests followed. Wildlife protection officers did a great job of patrolling beaches and slowly but surely, shad stocks improved because the fish were allowed to spawn and return to Cape waters.

Courtney Tait with her 8.26kg Bonito, caught at Salmon Bay on Monday morning.

There is now little patrolling of the beaches and the slaughter of the shad has revived once again.

Owing to unfavourable sea conditions, more and more anglers have been fishing the bay with good results. Anglers fishing at night have caught some nice sized shoal salmon and a few big grunter. It can be very rewarding fishing with light tackle in the bay as a variety of fish are caught throughout the year, but the water is polluted and the fish caught there are contaminated.

In the past, the north and south piers were popular, especially during weekends and it used to be great just watching the ships entering and leaving the harbour with one’s line in the water.

The north easterly is slowly but surely bringing the hot, humid weather and this means that anglers can soon expect to have some tremendous battles with big summer flatfish.

There have been a few small skates and lesser sand sharks caught but the larger rays and sandies are being caught up north. Mtunzini and Amatikulu are worth visiting. A couple of nice rock salmon have been caught at Amatikulu plus a couple of big stumpies. At Mtunzini there have been a few big grunter as well as some shoal salmon that have come out along with a few big rays.

Anglers fishing the rocky areas struggled a bit last week mainly because of the rough water conditions but some of the gullies are now becoming sanded up, hampering fishing. The odd copper bream was caught last week but the signs are that the fantastic run is nearing an end.

Stone bream and the occasional big blacktail can still be found in the gullies and one angler in the rocky La Mercy area managed to land 2 small-fish stumpies plus a spotted rockcod of 3 kg last Thursday. He said fishing the rocky area had been hard work and he had lost some tackle, but he was happy with his catch.

Off-shore anglers did not get much sea-time last week owing to the weather. But those lucky enough to be able to launch managed a few nice fish.

Live bait is plentiful, but anglers trying to catch baitfish have found that shad are still a problem and many a live bait trace has been destroyed.

A couple of big yellowfin tuna weighing over 20 kg were caught by anglers trolling live mackerel plus a couple of nice dorado were caught beyond the dirty water line.

It was mainly at the weekend that off-shore anglers managed some quality fishing time at sea, with Sunday being the best day of all. It will not be long now before the first billfish is reported, but in the meantime guys fishing aboard the smaller craft are sticking to the in-shore waters which are still showing signs of recent rivers flooding into the sea.