Coast KZN

29 Jan 2021

FishEagle: The Taxman claims his share

(North Coast Courier)- Sealice Picture: Avid young fisherman, 8-year-old MG Jooste cannot get enough of his rod and reel, but up until a recent trip down from Hartbeespoort had not caught a salt water fish. This all changed last week Wednesday when he visited Granny's Pool at Clarke Bay, leaving with a very respectable stumpie weighing about 3.6 kgs!

Sharks have left fishermen no other choice but to search for new off-shore angling spots, with the sharp-toothed apex predators congregating in off-shore fishing grounds.

Sharks love dirty water and recent rains have brought copious amounts of it out to sea, affecting areas from Durban up to Westbrook Beach. While winds have helped in dispersing the dirty waters, the opening of the La Mercy lagoon soon saw dead fresh water fish wash up on beaches north of the area.

Come early Saturday, cyclone Eloise made landfall at Beira, leaving northern Madagascar drenched with over 90 cm of rain over a 36-hour period.

The northern beaches will receive a lot of rain, as well. Some rough seas with a big swell will probably move down the coastline.

It was 37 years ago that cyclone Demoina struck the South African coastline, causing a tremendous amount of damage that took several years to rectify.

Much of the week saw near-perfect weather conditions for anglers, specifically off-shore. Wednesday however saw a fresh south-westerly wind whoosh in, with the evening’s rain helping to ensure relatively decent early morning surf launches. Although I saw a number of fishing craft at sea during the week, I did expect there to be more anglers fishing considering the recent good game catches.

Several anglers who returned to the beach from off-shore angling shared about their nice gamefish catches, but a number had fallen victim to sharks congregating at fishing grounds.

There were a few really nice snoek, caught just off the backline. One or two couta, as well as a couple of big yellowfin tuna and several dorado. Most of the anglers said they had either seen fish lost to sharks, or they themselves had had shark problems.

Game fish season, however, continues to produce nice sized fish, plus more billfish than normal, especially the sailfish. Bottom anglers fishing the deeper reefs have also been recording some decent catches on just about every launch.

Not everyone has been fortunate enough to enjoy weekday fishing, though, but I have seen some happy faces displaying quality red fish such as Englishmen and soldiers, as well as a couple of outsized rockcod and there seems to be plenty of rockies around.  Some of these guys have also had their problems with sharks taking fish and destroying tackle. This has forced anglers to move to different areas.

Early morning surf anglers have found small shad on the bite, though most were undersized. But that does not seem to bother some anglers.

Small pompano have been on the bite and, anglers have had some decent hauls.

On Thursday morning I was watching four anglers at Glenashley. Three nice mullet plus a stumpie of around 2.5 kgs were caught. They said they had lost tackle to sharks at first light.

Anglers fishing the rocky areas had mixed fortunes last week with some areas producing a few fish while other popular areas were dead.  Stone bream, blacktail, some small stumpies and a couple of spadefish made up catch bags and, one veteran angler said he felt the surf was a bit too calm for fishing the gullies.

Anglers have caught a few big sandies locally with most caught from the sandy beaches. With the days being hot and humid, anglers can expect the summer flatfish to continue to be in good supply.