Captain Matt Wainwright on the Umzimkulu

Captain Matt Wainwright on the Umzimkulu – “It’s my favourite place to fish away from home!”

Matt Wainwright down on the water at the Umzimkulu Marina with a fresh kob
Matt Wainwright down on the water at the Umzimkulu Marina with a fresh kob

Matt Wainwright has been coming down the south coast to Port Shepstone from his home waters off Durban, for quite some time now. He used to just fish with us on the Niteshift, but soon he was towing his own little super fun and totally cool duck around with him. All over the place and to the Umzimkulu Marina in particular.
We had some amazingly fun launches on that ultralight boat with a powerful 40hp behind it. Full speed boogie band through the waves and back again. And we caught some lovely fish together.
But now Matt has upgraded and sports a real well-built and thought out cat. It’s in the 16ft class boat size and once again, is super well powered. Acceleration out of the hole is what is needed the most in surf launching, and that is exactly what Matt has got plenty of.
This last weekend Matt brought his guests back down to the Umzimkulu, where they were lucky enough to get right in on some long-awaited bottom fishing action. Just before the sardines make their appearance, all sorts of fish start to gather along the KZN coastline in ambush formations.
It is kob (daga salmon), that are making the news right now. Very susceptible to over-fishing, we need to protect these fish. By sticking to our bag limits. And kind of keeping the mission a secret – just don’t tell the other boats, let them work it out for themselves. If you help other people onto these vulnerable fish, the damage is done and cannot be undone.
Other fish that get extra active in this exciting time of the year, down deep, are black musselcracker.

A real honour to get a fantastic fish like this black musselcracker.
A real honour to get a fantastic fish like this black musselcracker.

As you can see, Matt’s guest Ziets got himself one over the weekend down at the Umzimkulu Marina.. A cracker of about 20kgs. Delectable. And endemic. Slow growing. Luckily they can really fight back and many get away. Once again, really vulnerable.
The Geelbek have been slow for many years now. They used to come in huge numbers, but fleets of ski-boats would descend on them, in their spawning mode. Huge catches were made. All of us did it. But the damage is done, that’s for sure. Even to catch just two of these delicious fighters these days would be a luck!

Dejan has also joined the Niteshift as crew and is loving it
Dejan has also joined the Niteshift as crew and is loving it. Here he is super stoked with his two geelbek salmon a few weekends back.

But it is the dusky kob that is hurting the most. These guys look just like daga salmon, but are smaller and very slow growing. Hardly any of these fish get over 1000mm, which is almost their sexual maturation size, before being caught. Very rare now, it is thought that if fishing for dusky kob was banned, it would take 40 years to restore the population.
But ok, enjoy the sardine season and let’s hope for a good showing. The red hot pokers have started to fire up with that gorgeous red colour and the waves are starting too, with the desirously warm offshore winds.

Roosta with his catch of the day! Hope he ain’t paddling around with lot in tow?!?


In the meantime, if you would like to join us, and Captain Matt Wainwright at the Umzimkulu Marina, drop us a line on umzimkuklu@gmail.com or WhatsApp +27 79 326 9671. We can fish for kob outside, we can load surfboards on board and catch the low tide somewhere with nobody anywhere, we can fish the estuary at night for rock salmon, and we have the world famous Sandspit Beach for night time and lure fishing.

The very same weekend, Matt’s other guest was more into catching kob on lures, and being right at the Sandspit he rigged up took the delightful walk along that amazing beach. And look what he got!


And then another one!

Dallas with a groovy little kob at the SandSpit in Port Shepstone
Dallas with a groovy little kob at the SandSpit in Port Shepstone

More about the Umzimkulu Marina right here.

Catch winter kob or dagas on Mydo Luck Shots, available here.

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