Coast KZN

14 Jun 2022

#FishEagle: Where, oh where are the sardines?

(North Coast Courier: Sealice) Picture: Chenique Slier Photography. South coast beaches scored many hauls of sardines last year.

While it could have been the first pocket of sardines spotted this season, it could also have been a pocket of red eyes – one thing is for sure though, excitement continues to grow as the first sardines could arrive any day on the South Coast now. Tell-tale signs of sardines, like netters, birds and sharks were not visible in the vicinity of Port Edward.

Surf angling has really picked up since shad started being caught down South Coast way last Wednesday. Fishermen say where they saw shad feeding, the fish were of a decent size around 400 mm. Most of the lower South Coast beaches produced fish, and Cape Yellowtail were smashing into the bait shoals driving them closer to the shore. Garrick were also caught.

Unfortunately, greedy crowds of anglers soon arrived to catch as many as they could – but that’s no surprise given the cost of food these days. Well-fished areas were Port Edward up to Scottburgh but I think as baitfish shoals move north most of the other South Coast beaches will start to produce fish.

The problem now remains dirty water which is taking time to clear. There are some beaches with clear water, so be sure to keep an eye on these.

Local anglers are sure to be happy with improved conditions, especially given sunny weather and little to no wind. But be patient a little longer and shad will come on the bite at first light.

I’m sure there will be other edible species, too, especially in the rocky gullies – copper bream will be target number one, but so too would lantern bream, stone bream, stumpies and possibly even pompano.

Those who prefer fishing in the dark, your game is shoal salmon which have been feeding and quite a number of these fish have been caught so far this year.

River mouths could have some nice grunter as well as the inevitable shark.

Long-range weather reports are not bad, so expect some profitable fishing. Surf-ski anglers will also be a lot happier with sea conditions – keep an eye on some big snoek like the bus of a snoek caught at Stud Rock during the week, along with a nice couta.

Anglers fishing near Durban are hoping for some early garrick along the backline and live bait will be easily found.

Anglers fishing out deep should expect some large reef fish on the bite, like the large Yellowbelly Rock Cod of 15 kg. Weather should be favourable for those keen on fishing out deep.

Expect the Sharks Board to possibly start lifting some nets along the South Coast this week in anticipation of sardines. Be careful of sardines being sold alongside the road at the moment, these are actually frozen sardines that have been left to thaw. The Sharks Board’s next flight to East London to inspect for sardines was scheduled for today, so hopefully they will have more news for us soon.

Meanwhile, authorities will certainly soon have their hands full at Durban beaches as they try to remove anglers once shad start to arrive.

Durban beaches have been closed following the discovery of high levels of E. coli in the water.