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KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021 – the water is cleaning up!

KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021: Jonno and his Croc - officially the first couta of the 2021 Season

KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021 – the water is cleaning up!

KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021: It’s been a helluva end to any form of drought in this country after this rainy season!

And the plumes of stormwater runoff and erosion laden water have been extending for many miles up and down the KZN Natal coastline. And straight to sea. Luckily, this is a natural event that has been occurring since whenever and is vital to the balancing out od the oceans acidity levels. The runoff water carrying all that good stuff, is alkaline enough to do this vital job, every wet season each year.


The Sardine crew are the Umzimkulu Marina at the moment. And this is hard work, trying to catch gamefish, in such opaque water. Mostly by far, it is not pollution, but a pigment in the water, that comes from the mountains in the main catchment area. Its the same pigment that gives the Orange River its name. The two rivers start in the same area up top of the mountains somewhere. One goes south, one goes west. Same colour!

KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021

The water is also flowing strong and sometimes it is difficult making headway, after strong rains! And it takes a good week or so, to slow down.

However, this onslaught of freshwater doesn’t affect the bait much. Prawns and mullet can still be netted easily enough. And we did catch this very nice perch. On a live prawn. In the Umzimkulu. It was healthily released by Marco and his two kids, aboard Sick Day. In the brown, up at the big hole. Check the dense brown flowing water behind Marco jnr.

Eels and barbels, and of course huge mangrove crabs, love this water. Some eels are a metre long!

As do turtles! They swim right up into the estuaries to rid themselves of fresh water intolerant parasites. We have been seeing a bunch since we have gone stealth mode with electrics. And a no-wake zone has been re-established to stop the all-too-often collisions with marine animals using the estuary.

The following three rock salmon were hard won in extreme conditions. Way down south, in secret locations! These guys fish all night when they go. Putting in many, many hours. Being beaten by many, many, large, large fish. Until finally it all comes together like these three trophy fish. ALL released to fight another day. These fish have just about reached sexual maturity. After some more time in the estuary, they will get restless, and head on out to sea. To the deep blue up north. To meet up and spawn with the rest of them.

Rock n Surf

All about the brown water again. But, wherever its blue, the spearos have been getting out there and klapping it. So we know that the fish are there, and also just have to follow the blue water, like the spearos do – all their lives.

KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021
Tough conditions!

Difficult to work in these conditions. But the fish ARE there and we just have to work harder, and use smellier or more lively baits!

Other than a few giant kob being caught in secret that I know about, and a few garrick, it has been tough.

I saw a photo of an African Pompano caught off the piers at Durban.

Shad very sporadic and inconsistent.


Dorado. Couta. Tuna. Yellowtail. And marlin!

Along the edge of the brown plume, a distinct line forms, and this attracts a lot of attention. There are boats having a fine time up and down this coastline, when weather permits. Every few days only! The winds have been busting all out all season. Along with the rain. Lightning. And thunder!

An amazing catch…

These two couta were actually taken on the 27th of November, in 2020! Making them the first two fish of the 2021 season by far! I wonder if anyone will ever catch another one (or two) before this date next year. I think we should offer a prize each year! And then I’ll try my best to win it myself ha ha. But with such good anglers on the water these days, it could be anyone’s next year (or this year still!).


Well when you can dive down to 50m holding your breath, then you deserve every fish you shoot. This is Master Don Solomon and his mate Stephen Fraiser with some well-earned fish. These were all very recent when diving very deep to escape the brown has been an only option. Do NOT try this at home! Thank you to The Bear from The Master Matermen and Top Man, for the images.

KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021


So ok, we have just gotten through the worst of the brown water blues, and are flying through January as fast as possible, so we can then get through February, and into the good times. Sometimes it cleans up before, and then floods again, over and over. But by March it is plain sailing.

Get in touch with Sean on if you need assistance planning for your next fishing holiday. Come and join us here for a relaxing time. The whole family loves it at the Umzimkulu Marina, where are based for schmockdown.

By Sean Lange

Post by The Sardine News for The Fishing Pro Shop. Webwork by TLC for your Business.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel after watching it right here…

Please don’t forget to sign up to our up and coming weekly newsletter. And thank you to all those anglers who already have, and are waiting patiently for our first edition!

Coming soon!

And that’s all folks for the KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021!

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Sardines at Scottburgh

Sardines at Scottburgh

Sardines at Scottburgh

For the second day in a row, there are loads of sardines being netted at Scottburgh main beach, down in southern KZN.

The beaches close by too. Pennington and Rocky Bay have seen plenty action too. Sharks in the shorebreak! Huge lazy sharks swimming slowly along scraping their stomaches on the sand they are so full.

This is our most recent official report, as put out by OJ Communications and UGU Tourism, and is illustrated beautifully by images from the air.

Click on the above link for a full sardine report.

This excerpt from the report above explains the perspectives that were achieved by Noel McDonogh from WOW Flight School…

“We’ve had great weather today with spectacular visibility in all directions,” said Noel McDonogh, pilot at World of Wings Flight School, who has been busy taking magnificent aerial shots of the Sardine Run activity. “We’ve spotted sardine shoals off Scottburgh’s Back Beach with many sharks trailing the fish, and whales breaching between Clansthal and Aliwal Shoal. There have been bull sharks, more than 3 metres in length, spotted among the fish; and a southern right whale seen just one kilometre off the Scottburgh beachfront.”

Right, so, there are more sardines at Scottburgh, being netted, right as I write this!

And the other beaches that have had sardine traffic through this year already, or are hotspots proven from seasons gone by are;

  • Port Edward
  • Ramsgate and Ski-boat Bay
  • Margate
  • St. Michaels
  • The SandSpit
  • Banana Beach/Pumula/Umzumbe
  • Pennington/Rocky Bay/Scotties
  • Umgababa

These spots all have easy access for netters and the public too.

We will keep reporting on the sardines at Scottburgh and surrounds. This is just the very start of the sardine run 2020 and it would be a great time to hit the coast right now!

Bring your shad stuff, and a bigger outfit for your live mullet or shad as the garrick and kob and other gamefish join the sharks and inedibles as they herd shoal after shoal away from the main body of sardines, into the shorebreak. Where we can get at them!

We are Facebook right here, we run a YouTube channel here. Post by The Sardine News for the Fishing Pro Shop.

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Sardines! It’s on – the Sardine Run 2020 has started

Sardine Run 2020 (c) Justin Klusener

Sardines! It’s on – the Sardine Run 2020 has started

Sardines! Sardines!

Up and down the KZN South Coast the cry can be heard reverberating down through the river valleys and out onto the beaches. Thank Goodness the Level 3 Lockdown status came about on the very same day the sardines hit the beaches. And the bottle stores opened!

It’s like a public holiday down on the coast right now!

People are trying their best to stay within the confusing set of rules as laid out by government. Some are allowed to fish. Others are not. The stories keep changing too. And the Gazette is actually a Gazelle as we all try catch up with it as it tears away further each day in fright. Speeches and convoluted statements will have to do for now. And most of them turn out to be fake.

Who do we believe?!

But ok, we are chasing sardines, and in amongst the excited shoals are the sharks and other monsters we are all so entralled with.

The smart people in charge of attracting tourism to the KZN South Coast have jumped ahead and produced the first Sardine Report of 2020. They have teamed up with the formidable crew at OJ Communications and camera legend Justin Klusener – to bring you all the fantastic news – that the Sardine Run 2020 – is well started, and looks to be a cracker. One haul was reported in at 1000 crates!? This is unverified but entirely possible.

At R1500 per crate, somebody is making money right now. But same as last year and the years before, by the time it’s September and the last shoals are still pouring through, the sardine become basically free. The most profit any of us can have right now is getting in amongst it and fighting those sharks off for a few baskets full of your very own sardines.

To admire, eat or use as bait.

The first Sardine Report 2020 is at this link…

Follow the link above for news from UGU Tourism.

And a gallery by the man on the scene Justin Klusener…

We are on Facebook at HTTP://

We run a bunch of video channels too, on YouTube – right here is a saltwater list that is going to be growing flat out over the next short while…

We have a jam-packed bass fishing action channel too at that is also growing all the time. If you have any cool videos you might like to contribute, please get in touch via our Contact page.

Post by The Sardine News for The Fishing Pro Shop.

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New Shimano Stella is out!


New Shimano Stella is out!

The new Shimano Stella is out and available from the Fishing Pro Shop.


“All the new stellas are now available in SA, we will have the range in store end of next week…

Pricing to follow on web by Wednesday and also huge specials on previous models.” – Divan Coetzee

Check out the following video by Shimano, featuring some epic material with monster bluefin tuna underwater and on the end of the line. There are many shots in the video that highlight that one super smooth attribute the Shimano Stella SW series has – that super smooth and over strong drag. Not once does the drag stick, and you can notice tiny increments of line being pulled at the exact right moments. The drag really takes things up another level helping compensate for those unruly seas and jerky skippers we sometimes have to deal with when chasing trophy gamefish.

Versatility is the name of the game at this level as you might need to cast a hundred metres to a boiling tuna, or drop a 6 ounce jig to the depths as you guage for that dogtooth that you just know is down there.

And, you can even take a Shimano Stella to the ultimate gunfight – a showdown with a billfish. Marlin included. The truth us, that these reels are so over-geared and over-engineered, that they can take punishment that was unimaginable before.

Like the blistering first run of an angry blue marlin. For rea…the guys over at FishBazaruto took a Shimano Stella or two to the Cape Verde blue marlin bite a few seasons back. Renowned billfish angler Carl Jankowitz went ahead with his bait and switch technique which worked flawlessly as they dropped back in complete confidence with the wide-open spool. Then all Carl had to do was close the bail and settle in for the fight of his life! A blue marlin on a coffee grinder! Full story can be read right here…

But mainly, you are going to invest in a Shimano Stella for those bad-mannered GTs, amberjack, and tuna. Like the doggie. The bluefin. The big-eye. The yellowfin. When these fish get over the 50kg mark, it would be best, if you were touting a Shimano Stella. And don’t forget those yellowtail down Hibberdene way!

We are Facebook at HTTP://

We run a bunch of video channels too, on YouTube – right here is a saltwater list that is going to be growing flat out over the next short while…

We have a jam-packed bass fishing action channel too at that is also growing all the time. If you have any cool videos you might like to contribute, please get in touch via our Contact page.

Post by The Sardine News for The Fishing Pro Shop.

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This is what happens when your freshly gaffed dorado misses the hatch!

Dorado water off Port Shepstone KZN

This is what happens when your freshly gaffed dorado misses the hatch!

Pro angler Shaun Begg features in this video of his dorado almost getting clean away!

Dorado! Magnificent in character. So keen to smash your live bait to into pieces and devour it. All lit up. High speed. Agility. Strength. The strike is explosive always resulting in an ‘aerobatic’ dance that only a dorado can perform. Cartwheels. Tailwalks. 180s and 360s. Lightning changes of direction.

A real challenge no matter who you are!

And so this beautiful Thursday morning dawned still and colourful. Clouds were pink and orange. A super keen Shaun had driven down from Johannesburg yesterday, and was at the gate dead on 4h30 bells.

Shaun was here for his first dorado. And things were on his side. Yesterday we caught two fish. On live red-eye sardines. That video is taking a little bit of time, but will follow shortly. Dorado are really funny feeders, and demonstrate some weird quirks, as they did yesterday.

The day before

We had gotten ourselves a live mackerel each. It took ages to find the little guys dodging around our usual reefs. We also had a mozzie or two, and a pinkie. I had caught two razorbellies in the estuary a few days ago and they had been waiting patiently in the freezer, just for this chance. So the spread was well populated when my Dad nabbed a good sized and frisky red-eye sardine, as we were slow trolling along the well-formed water line.


As the live sardine hit the water, we got our first dorado of the morning. There were only the two of us so the video really comes out dodge. Then twenty minutes later, Pop got another one. Which I rigged in seconds and seconds later I was vas again. Again the video is really abstract, with only the two of us out there. Camera person required!

Shaun’s dorado

After another fun-filled launch, we (Sean, Shaun and Brian), headed back to the bait spots. Where we found bait. A lot of bait this time. We loaded about 20 mozzies, one shad, a few pinkies and not one mackerel?!

But it sure was enough to go on, and soon the Niteshift was heading north to the start of our patrol. The water was 26 degrees again, but it had that Cape Town green tint to it, and was filled with sediment and things. Not really couta water, like it had been the day before.

Anyway, we got a strike straight away, and typically enough, the fish bit through the nylon leader meant for dorado. Does happen a lot when you use nylon to target dorado specifically, and then a toothy comes along and bites you clean off. And so we rigged again and headed back along south with the current. Towards Port Shepstone, where the fish were the day before.

Luckily the fish were hanging around and soon Shaun was fighting his first dorado. Which typically tail walked and jumped all over the other lines! Which were quickly sorted out and Shaun and the dorado squared off lekker at the front of the boat. For a good fight.

The gaff went in and the fish seemed calm and subdued when all hell broke loose. The wily fish had flipped over and gotten itself clean off the gaff and was now dorado wild on the deck! I got tail smacked once properly before I was able to literally sit on the fish, grab it, and get it into the opening in the hatch! That fish almost jumped clean out of the boat!

The tides at the moment meant we couldn’t really stay out too much longer or risk touching sand on the way back in through the surf zone. And so we packed up and returned to base. Where Shaun was to start up a whole new chapter of fishing. This time we were focusing on the estuary, and the monsters that lurk therein.

Shaun had quite a few species on his target list for saltwater. He has literally caught all the freshwater challenges on offer. Even fishing abroad for catfish and other exotic looking fighters. And so the notorious rock salmon and the inimitable Zambezi shark made it onto our priority fish list for the next few days.

Stand by for that chapter!

Post by The Sardine News. Stay up-to-date with the fishing conditions and seasons on Check out for more information and pics and vids of the Umzimkulu Marina down in Port Shepstone. Port Shepstone is only a half a days drive from Pretoria so we get many anglers coming in on Friday, and leaving back for work on Monday morning real early, getting into JHB before lunchtime.

A fantastic weekend away that the family will really enjoy too. Blue flag beaches. Shopping malls. Banks. Restaurants. Even a golf course…is a few minutes drive across the river bridge.

And fishing are options are all over and exciting. Shad and karanteen at Grannies Pool in Umtentweni. Gamefish out deep-sea. Kob and garrick off the Sandspit. Grunter, perch and rock salmon in the estuary. Catfish and tarpon up near the new bridge. Or just enjoy fishing right out the front of your chalet.

Get in touch with me, Sean, on or WhatsApp +27793269671. Or. Chat to Johan in store at The Fishing Pro Shop

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Summer gamefish are almost here

Summer gamefish season dorado

Summer gamefish are almost here!

The KZN Natal summer gamefish season is almost upon us. And after a reasonable sardine season, and plenty baitfish about right now, we’re looking forward to the annual visit of wahoo, king mackerel, dorado and billfish. And other suspects.

Early adopters of the warm summer conditions are the dorado and billfish. It is actually smack bang in the middle of the big black marlin season right now. Although sailfish and blue marlin will also be popping up all over, it’s mainly about the big blacks. The big mommas. 1000 pounds is the magical mark. Every attempt is made to release these fish by true conservation minded sport anglers. Even though the commercial fleet is catching and NOT releasing, we need the information gathered from the tagging programs urgently.
The magnificent and angry striped marlin usually come only in February or later. These exciting billfish swim together hunting in shoals?! Beware the double or triple header!

As soon as the rains hit Natal, and hard enough to bring the ever-important brown water down the rivers and into the ocean, where it’s alkalinity helps balance the acidity of the sea, the dorado arrive. It’s like clockwork, as soon as that clear line between the brown and the deep blue forms, it’s on. Especially after or during a stiff southwester. The same conditions that bring the sailfish and marlin. It’s quite a spectacle from up high on the cabin roof, looking down as shoals of dorado swim past and into the spread, annihilating everything in their path.

Still later into summer, and actually almost into winter, come the ‘couta. We used to get the first fish in November. Now they have moved their visit way to after New Year. Sometimes they only pitch as late as April. Their spawning season here, bringing the huge crocodile couta that the KZN coast is famous for. Some of over 50kg’s have been taken over the recent years. This is most certainly the breeding stock of these prized fish, and the amount of ‘sport’ fishing events through the season targeting these fish, is really worrying. All these events should be, could be, run in the name of conservation and sport, rather than killing fish for prize money.

Summer gamefish season is coming up: In February 2015, Roger Davidson put out a live bonito whilst fishing on his jet ski off Hibberdene, and this is what happened. The couta went 45kgs gutted.
Summer gamefish season is coming up: In February 2015, Roger Davidson put out a live bonito whilst fishing on his jet ski off Hibberdene, and this is what happened. The couta went 45kgs gutted.

The baitfish like shad and mackerel can be found marauding around the inshore reefs all up and down this fish rich coastline. They move around all the time so as long as you are in the right area, they will find you.
Chuck one of these precious items on a decent live bait trace, set the drag to about 2kg’s, and wait for that sound!

Post by The Sardine News