Coast KZN

25 Oct 2019

FishEagle: Shad poaching is out of control

Sealice Freelancer (North Coast Courier) Picture: (Stock Image: Source

Another windy beginning to the week on Monday as expected and anglers had to utilize the early morning period at first light when the weather was at its best. Unfortunately the day before’s the south westerly wind had unsettled the surf and the early morning anglers found fish hard to come by. A fresh to strong north easterly wind was pumping by mid-morning and that was the end of the day’s fishing.

After the north easterly, the fish were back on the bite at first light on Tuesday morning but the anglers using spoon found that the fish were only interested in taking baits. Apparently a lot of shad were landed that morning then another fresh south westerly wind began to push through even before the mid-morning period and this spelled the end of the day’s fishing.

On Wednesday morning good surf fishing conditions greeted the anglers but it turned out that the fish were off the bite and the fishing was poor with most anglers leaving the beach empty handed. The wind switched back to the north east but the wind was light to moderate the entire day.

The weather was warm and calm at first light on Thursday morning and anglers found that the shad were back on the bite. A friend of mine was fishing at an Umhlanga beach that morning and because there was a crowd fishing basically in one area, he decided to have a throw a short distance from the crowd.

He hooked and landed a shad which he returned straight away to the water then returned to his tackle box to prepare another bait. When he turned to face the sea again after baiting up, he found that there were now six anglers fishing at the spot where he caught the shad. My friend walked down to the water to cast out his line and the six anglers made it as difficult as possible for him to cast out his line.

This is a problem at many of the beaches where the shad are feeding at present because just about everyone is poaching the fish and some of the anglers are trying to catch as many shad as they can and the supposed closed season is totally ignored. My friends that fish mainly at night for the stumpies and grunter said that they had been down to the beach on two occasions last week but had caught nothing because they could not fish their usual fishing spots.

The reason being that there was a group of anglers already on the beach and when my friends began to walk along to their usual fishing spot, they saw that they were being followed so decided not to walk any further and give away where they had been catching the grunter.

Every angler who has been fishing for a long time says that the poaching of shad during the closed season is now out of control. This has alwasy been a problem but the Ezemvelo wildlife people did keep quite good control and anglers were scared of being caught in possession of illegal fish. This season plus the shad run of last year saw anglers fishing and catching shad as if it was the norm.

The local regular anglers who fish throughout the year say that the illegal shad anglers give them a bad name as they basically only fish when the shad are running then they disappear once the shad are gone. Everyone is now fed up with all the poaching, gill nets and other illegal activities seen on a daily basis.

On Friday morning one angler was fishing all by himself in the Genazzano area. He was fishing among the rocks, trying a variety of baits with little luck, and he eventually decided to try a mixed grill of mussels and ghost crab. After casting into the water he waited about 20 minutes then he went on with a decent sized fish. He managed to keep the fish out of the stones and after a battle lasting 15 minutes, landed a very nice brusher weighing just over 5kg.

The angler told me that he had been fishing there regularly but had only caught a few small stone bream and blacktail but had also lost a couple of big fish when they swam into the rocks. He also said this was the first brusher he had caught during the time that he had been fishing and he was really chuffed.

The weekend weather was really favourable for anglers and the sea and surf conditions were great as well.  Unfortunately excepting for the shad, there has been little else on the bite. Many anglers have been trying for the stumpies in the dark with little luck but one has to be patient and persevere as much as possible to reap the rewards these days.