#FishEagle: Winter fish move along the north coast

Winter is setting in and it won’t be long before the early morning sun does little to warm the anglers, forcing them to change tactics to adapt to the winter fish.

Fishermen are already turning their attention south, waiting to hear news of sardine activity.

The Shark’s Board flew along the coast last Thursday to see if the rumors were true.

Reports indicated that dirty water had been found all along the coast in the Transkei, making it difficult to detect shoals.

In east London, large groups of birds were seen sitting in the water, but no sardine activity. Only small schools of baitfish have been spotted.

Despite cleanup efforts, Durban’s beaches remain covered in debris but the waters continue to clear whenever southerly winds blow. It cannot yet be classified as clean, with high levels of E. coli detected.

Last week, rock and surf anglers found fairly clean water at several fishing spots. A few shad have been caught at first light, but the fishermen are reluctant to say where.

The shad seem to be a little difficult lately, but anglers using red eye sardine and Japanese mackerel are enjoying the most productive fishing. This time of year attracts anglers who set out on the rocks in search of copper bream and other species.

Water temperatures were around 3 degrees Celsius above historic levels on Sunday morning, meaning anglers fishing on rocky outcrops could struggle to catch a catch.

However, Kingfish has been bitten recently, weighing an average of six to 10 pounds and guaranteeing a good fight.

Night anglers have caught schooling salmon, grunts and occasionally large stumps, but they are reminded to be vigilant when fishing at night.

The baby squid has proven to be a productive bait for schooling salmon, while the grunter seems to prefer sea lice or shrimp baits. Stumpies enjoy a variety of baits, but lately there have been many peckers that remove net baits in seconds, hence the preference for squid or whole crab.

With the water temperature remaining high, offshore anglers can still expect to catch a big croc-sized couta. These prefer live bait.

Surf-ski anglers will find decent snoek along the bleached water line, especially at Selection Beach and Umdloti. Couta seems to have a preference for deeper, cleaner water and anglers using traps have been rewarded with the occasional fine sea bream.

Although the ocean is slowly clearing up, anglers will still need to seek clean waters when big game fishing.

With an apparent rush of daga and geelbek salmon at night at sea, it may be best to book a charter.


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About Edward Fries

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