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07 Nov 2023

FishEagle: Spare the rod to protect the shad

Sealice (North Coast Courier) Picture: Image used for illustrative purposes. Source: https://pixabay.com/users/chiec_dep-18183306

Shad were caught from some local angling spots last week, but unfortunately not many were returned to the water. The problem of catching and keeping shad during the closed spawning season in October and November is spread along the entire coastline. Suddenly there is a need to have shad on the menu and a ready market is created.

Shad is a non-commercial species which means anglers may not sell their catches. But this seems to only spur on some anglers to catch as many fish as they can, therefore depleting the breeding stock – the reason for the ban in the first place.

It was another grey beginning for anglers last week with a south-westerly wind during the first two days bringing more rain. There was also a large swell reaching up to four metres out at sea, but the surf readings were relatively small. Not really good fishing weather.

On Friday a big north-easterly wind was gusting at gale force, but at first light on Saturday morning the weather was good, although the sea remained unsettled. The rest of the weekend’s weather was pretty favourable. The local rocky outcrops produced some catches again with copper bream the main target.  The water conditions were not the greatest but the bronzies enjoy the rough water. Stumpies and the odd brusher were also on the bite but these fish were caught over a wide area stretching from La Mercy in the south to Tinley Manor in the north. It seems to be another great season for copper bream but the rough surf has meant experienced anglers only reaped rewards with hard work.

The ginger beer coloured water in some areas is ideal for salmon or kob on the hunt, and one or two big daga salmon were caught again last week. The local river mouth areas are the best areas to try for salmon. The popular Sandspit at Umtentweni in the Port Shepstone area continues to produce big daga salmon at night. Other popular upper South Coast kob fishing areas have also produced some good catches.

With the sea water warming a little, the summer flatfish seem to be coming on the bite slowly. Already there has been a few big rays plus the odd “sandie” that have provided some anglers with excellent sport. Grey sharks seem to be increasing in numbers as well. They are great fun to catch and the best time to fish is the late afternoon periods when the sharks move inshore to feed. November is the ideal time to try for grey sharks and most baits will ensure a pull. Usually a wire trace is needed.

The big swell at sea kept most ski boat anglers shore bound but a few launched to try their luck on the bottom reefs. The rough sea conditions made fishing difficult but there were a few daga salmon plus rock cod and the inevitable red fish species caught, although not many in numbers.