Late January saltwater fishing forecast for the South Coast of KZN
January is a fantastic time for gamefishing along the KZN South Coast. The ‘couta will have started moving down to us again – hopefully we will catch even a portion of the huge fish taken on ski-boats last year – most notably down south of Port Edward, in the Transkei. The beginning of the season is normally characterised by shoal ‘couta, or “darts”. These fish used to come through in huge shoals, but last year, there were literally no “darts” caught anywhere. Most of the fish were huge! This can be a worry as it seems that over the past few decades, the “darts” have petered right off. It could be that we have missed a few generations due to over fishing elsewhere in the Indian Ocean, but either way, we have to watch our ‘couta fishery very carefully, or it will dissappear.
Natal Snoek (Queen Mackeral) also favour this time of the year on the KZN South Coast – they can actually be caught year round in our waters – but from now until winter, we can hope to encounter them in shoals and on the feed. Queen mackeral generally enjoy the same conditions as ‘couta. They are easily caught on small feathers and spoons, and when they are on, they are on!
Then our favourite summer gamefish – the delicious dorado, just love the brown/blue water line/seam created as the Mozambique current forces the lighter near-fresh water against the coastline. They hunt in shoals or pairs up and down this line, and like the snoek, when they decide it’s time to feed, they will smash anything that moves. Just a sardine, a skirt and a single hook is all you need to get a taste of “The Chicken of the Sea”.
And then chasing their favourite food, the dorado, are the billfish. January is certainly billfish time for us down here…big blues and blacks pop up all over the place – cruising and hunting in the warm water conditions. Striped marlin and sailfish swim in shoals this time of the year – last year we encountered a shoal of about 20 Striped Marlin – right off the Umzimkulu River Bridge. Put a live bonito in the water this time of the year and you will not have very long to wait!
Garrick will still be around but mainly more spread out and sporadic, having done their chaotic breeding thing late last year. The odd Kob might still surprise an late night night fisherman, and the geelbek are also known to move into the shallows at night time.
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