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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.

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

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Shimano Curado XG reviewed by Divan Coetzee

Divan Coetzee has no qualms with the Shimano Curado XG

Shimano Curado XG reviewed by Divan Coetzee

By: Divan Coetzee

Divan Coetzee gets to grips with the popular Shimano Curado XG. With its wider spool for more capacity and versatility. Take it anywhere!

‘I’ve never been a fan of any 200 size baitcaster, the logic behind my disdain is simple. Personally, I have very little use for a 200 size spool, the exception being larger paddletails and swimbaits, that’s where it ends for me. Allow me explain… a 200 spool has a width of approximately 27mm, the average 150 spool measures about 23mm. If you think that 4mm doesn’t make that much of a difference, you are very wrong! It has a profound effect on casting, particularly lighter baits. If the line guide sits in either corner of the frame during a cast, due to the spool width, the line comes off the reel at oblique angles which causes unnecessary and unanticipated friction, which results in an overwind on an otherwise perfect cast, hence the fact that I’ve only used them for heavier applications.

Johan has been asking me to do a review for sometime now, I’ve been putting it off for awhile whilst waiting for an opportunity to put it to work. The idea was to actually catch a few good ones, and not just cast baits all day. The Mrs and I headed off to some private water East of Middelburg, I took only the one setup to force myself to fish the reel all day without the temptation of my other setups.

The XG model has a ratio of 8.5:1 and has a line pickup of 91cm – its fast! Generally, reels with high ratios typically lack torque, but the micro module gear seems to alleviate the issue, to the point that I’d be happy to use the 7 ratio for cranking. The XG only kicks out 11lbs of drag, it’s still sufficient though.

The venue we fished offers a 2kg average, so I spooled up with 17lb fluoro, not conducive to good casting, but I wasn’t going to make easy for the reel to pass the review. It would most certainly perform better with a thinner diameter fluorocarbon or even braid. That being said, it would be silly to spool 12lb on 200 model. That’s what the 150’s and 70’s are for. I left the VBS braking system and external cast control on 50% as per factory setting, and just played around with the spool tension knob relative to the bait I was casting. The reel had no problem casting spinnerbaits, jigs and chatterbaits, it did not enjoy the lighter stuff at all… perhaps with some fiddling it could be better, but not to the point where it would be able to substitute 150’s.

The torque ratio caught me off guard, I did not expect the reel to be a winch, but I pulled several 2kg plus fish to the point that I felt sorry for them. This reel is a well engineered machine, every Shimano fan should have one! They come in 3 different ratios along with the DC model.’

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Thank you Divan for penning up this cool and informative review all about the Shimano Curado XG. We are looking forward to more of this really good stuff. – Johan

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