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02 Oct 2020

FishEagle: Summer flat fish season looms

Sealice: (North Coast Courier) Picture: Ballito Ski Boat Club member and local, Graham Ludwig on Sunday landed a lovely yellowfin tuna weighing in at 21.74kg, a splendid catch. The catch forms part of the ski boat club's monthly competition.

Heritage Day saw off-shore anglers out in force, owing to excellent launch conditions early that morning, with favourable weather reports for the day. Anglers out at sea reported seeing shoals of bonito with others reporting catches of yellow-fin tuna. It is still early days, but anglers are hoping for another bumper of a dorado season, just like last year.

The time for dorado to arrive is not far off now.

The billfish should also arrive soon out in the deep water but, at present, the gamefish anglers are concentrating on are garrick and snoek.

Anglers fishing bottom reefs have had some nice catches when sea conditions were favourable, and I believe there have been a few monster catches of rockcod along with a couple of nice cracker, plus the usual reds such as soldiers, slinger and the occasional Scotsman and Englishman.

Anglers fishing for live bait on the in-shore reefs said shad were real pests, often destroying live bait traces and lures. Most have opted to fish deeper reefs for live bait than fish for daga salmon. At this time of the year there is always plenty of baitfish available in the form of mackerel and mossies and, if they are lucky, red eye sardines at the nets, but there of course remains the problem of shad.

Shad anglers found fish to be ‘going dilly’ on a couple of days last week, but mostly it was a case of more anglers on the beach than fish caught. There were a couple of big shad caught last week at Blue Lagoon. Westbrook also produced a nice catch.

Anglers have little time left to catch shad legally as the season will close at midnight on Wednesday. The season has been a bit disappointing on the North Coast as fish arrived late. This is probably the result of the abundance of baitfish such as sardines, which seemed to hang around forever this year.

Some anglers will no doubt ignore the rules but I would not recommend being caught in possession of shad by authorities.

Garrick have become entrenched along the entire coastline and, a couple of nice sized fish were caught by surf anglers fishing with live bait. There are some excellent fishing spots locally, namely Ballito, Chaka’s Rock and Salt Rock if you happen to be casting a line for garrick. My favourite spot was always in front of the hotel at Zimbali, which is a bit of a walk.

Surf anglers should not have much of a problem finding live bait for garrick because of plenty of small fish in the surf at present.

A number of shoal and daga salmon have been caught by surf anglers at night at some of the recognised kob angling spots. Salmon will take a variety of baits offered, but the best still remains nice live karranteen, pinkie or small mullet.

The South Coast has been really productive with salmon this year, but a few really nice fish have also been caught along the North Coast.

There’s always the danger of a sizeable shark picking up live bait set for kob, but a wire trace is not recommended when fishing for kob because they are known to drop a bait if they feel that all is not right.

All eyes are slowly being focused on what is happening north with summer flat fish, and it seems the season has already begun with several big rays and sand sharks being caught. Hot, humid days are the best times to fish for these big hard fighting fish and, a few small rays were caught by anglers fishing for shad locally.

If an angler happens to catch one of these harmless summer fish then remember to return them unharmed back to the water.