Coast KZN

30 Apr 2021

#Fisheagle:Sards are growing day by day

(North Coast Courier: Sealice) Picture: Hooking It Ocean Adventures recently took Rhys, John, Oliver and Stuart Wilson on a fishing trip out at sea off Salmon Bay where they managed to catch this beautiful 20kg yellowfin tuna. Holding the tuna is Phillip de Robillard of Hooking It charters.

One of the best sardine seasons is being predicted for the first time in years as eyes remain glued to massive shoals off East London as the tiny silver fish approach KwaZulu-Natal’s coastline. A close eye has been kept on sardines for some time now since they were first observed building in numbers off Port Elizabeth, with last year’s run being one of the best in years. The run seemed to never end with pockets of fish suddenly appearing along the upper South Coast unexpectedly, something which seems could be repeated this year. Netters had a great season but towards the end they had to virtually almost give the fish away as the market was flooded and nobody wanted sardines anymore.

Shad anglers blamed sardines for the late arrival of shad and many thought that there would not be a shad run because of the availability of baitfish along the backline. Seine netters were still bringing in nets containing pockets of sardines during September which was almost unheard of.

This past week was one to be forgotten by rock and surf anglers because of adverse surf conditions. The rough surf was moderating slowly as the week passed by but another front arriving late on Friday put paid any chance of fishing on Saturday morning. Rain was falling at first light on Saturday morning, plus the sea was looking really ugly from the southerly wind.

I could see a nasty swell close in shore as well, and that meant that the in-shore game fish anglers would stay off the water as well.

Rough surf of last week could be a blessing in disguise beginning the process of clearing the sandbanks that have built up through the summer months. Some of the popular angling beaches were really shallow at low tide and were fishable only during high tide. Anglers who fish the rocky outcrops, say some of their favourite gullies were sanded up and even some of their popular rocky areas were unfishable.

Anglers fishing with light tackle continued to catch small shad last week, mostly at uShaka Beach at first light. Fish were really small and should have been returned to the water but, we all know that this does not happen these days.

The surf is a lot calmer in this area and those fishing after dark caught their share of small dusky sharks along with small skates.

The Umgeni mouth has been busy but there has been little of note caught because of rough seas.

Before the bad weather set in, game fish anglers on the South Coast had some really hectic fishing, catching couta plus a fair amount of big snoek with the odd big wahoo stretching an angler’s arms. Pockets of baitfish were seen in many areas and on the fringes of these baitfish there were big yellowfin tuna feeding.

Anglers fishing deeper out at sea also caught their share of bottom fish and there were some memorable fish boated.

Water temperatures remain high so when the swell subsides, off-shore anglers will be into game fish again. Plus, there are plenty of baitfish close in-shore as well, so anglers will not be short of fresh bait.

It certainly seems as if the winter weather has arrived early although there is still a month of the autumn season ahead.