Sardine Report for 2019 by The Sardine News

First sardine report for 2019

First sardine report for 2019.

Officially, the sardine run has begun. 10 Nets were taken over the weekend – at Amanzimtoti. And another down a bit further at Glenmore.

The Sardine News
The Sardine News

Yesterday the long-awaited South Westerly came busting through, after an incredible surfing morning, up and down the south coast of KZN. Whales were jumping out the back. Shoals of baitfish spread out all over. The sun was shining beautifully. Avid sardine hunters everywhere.

The expected cold front arrived timeously. One of the conditions normally required.

And the main shoal of sardines is on the way! And it’s quite big relative to years gone before.

It’s reported to be moving through the Transkei right now with Offshore Africa, our eyes in the waters off of Port St. Johns down the wild coast, having a field day with the first smaller shoals.

You can learn more about their high-level adrenalin inducing sardine run experiences right here…


It’s all about sharks right now with many anglers having recently taken up the sport. Big baits, big tackle and big struggles. They all get released but mostly not with tags in them. Hopefully this will change soon. We have a shark tagging program running in conjunction with Africa Underwater and the Oceanographic Research Institute guys. So anybody who would like to get involved, please get in touch with me on The information gleaned from tagging is vital for our understanding of the marine animals we are to look after now.

Gamefish action has been characteristically slow. The garrick are the main players with some beautiful 10kg class kob competing for attention. Catch them on paddletails.

Two spearos swam out whilst we were surfing on Sunday. They spent 4 hours out there until one guy came back with a bent spear and broken gun. A yellowtail had destroyed his equipment. BUT! He had a 25kg king mackerel on his stringer. He jumped in his car and went south with the current direction to look for his mate?! Hardcore! These guys deserve the trophy fish they shoot. It requires so much commitment, physical, and mental effort to attain the levels required to get fish like that.


Prices this year are higher than last year, but the netters have been very friendly to the public and the beaches are lots of fun right now. You can expect to pay about R40 per kilogram.

Casualties so far are mounting with the out-sized swell marching through right now. Two netters have flipped their boats, with a hospital visit for some crew members. The action is only going to hot up so please be careful everybody.

So this first sardine report for 2019 will be followed by more confirmed news about the location and attitude of the elusive main shoals.

As of now, this wind might warm the water too much, and we will have to go through another cycle of conditions to line up the right stars again. Quite a few stars have to line up for the sardines to land up on the beach each time.

These are a list of conditions that will make things for favourable for sardines to come right in and within reach…

Conditions for sardines to come in close:

  • Colder water

    18 degrees or so would be great. Brought about by east winds. Like the ones we had last week. However, today was in the low 20s.

  • Cold front

    Often this encourages the sardines shallower. Big winds like what we had today.

  • High tides

    Generally they come in closer at high tide, getting trapped as the tide goes out. Spring tides amplify the effect, like they are right now

That is all we have for you for now, but stay close and we will inform you as we go. We will be out early in the morning each day and will report any action right here

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This report was sponsored by the Fishing Pro Shop in Pretoria, MYDO Lures in Port Shepstone and The Umzimkulu Marina, also in Port Shepstone.

Raggies Fishing Tackle in Ramsgate on the KZN South Coast, SA

Raggies Fishing Tackle in Ramsgate and KZN South Coast fishing synopsis

Raggies Fishing Tackle in Ramsgate and KZN South Coast fishing synopsis

There is a great new fishing tackle shop just off the main drag in Ramsgate, on the KZN South Coast. Raggies! Owner Roy is always there, and willing to help with your fishing requirements. He is fishing mad too, but knows that fishing is much better at night and early morning, so he doesn’t mind making traces and helping customers all day long! Great plan!

Check out some of the hot spots on the beaches right there, a short walk from Roy’s shop!

And a quick fishing synposis from the lower south coast of Natal…for the coming October.

The KZN south coast has some of the best rock and surf fishing territory available. Endless points and river mouths. Beautiful bays. Estuaries. Gullies. And right now is the right time!

You can always find something to catch – karanteen and blacktail can be found all over the place – so much fun! You might even hook a nice bronze bream or even a brusher if you’re not careful. It’s brusher season right now – and they come right into the gullies and beaches. A superb fighter and extremely difficult to catch. Very tasty!

It is also garrick season and they have been coming out slow but consistently. National Garrick Day will soon be upon us. This event coincides with their spawning habits, and they are all too vulnerable in this spent and hungry state. These fish are our breeding stock and should all be chucked back. Garrick survive a fight readily.

But it’s the kob that has everyone up early and late at night at the moment. And the waters around Ramsgate are perfect for these shallow water ambushers. Coming in real close they can often be hooked on a shad trace. And when they are really feeding, will take anything! But most times these careful fish won’t feed in the daytime at all. We get all sorts of “kob” here. And different species of salmon that look just the same. All sizes from the koblets just making size restrictions, to the big mommas. Also here to breed. And also vulnerable. Check the catch restrictions on these beautiful fish…

Kob caught from a boat at sea [Cape Agulhas to Umtamvuna River]Argyrosomus spp.50 cm5 but may only land or be in possession of one kob > 110cm per day
Kob caught from a boat at sea [The Province of Kwazulu-Natal]Argyrosomus spp.40 cm5 but may only land or be in possession of one kob > 110cm per day
Kob caught in estuaries & from the shore [East of Cape Agulhas only]Argyrosomus spp.60 cm1
Kob [West of Cape Agulhas only]Argyrosomus spp.50 cm5

Shad can still be found in their favourite spots up and down the coast right now. They have been plentiful this season. Got to keep an eye out for the skelms who take more than they should. Call DAFF. Their details are available here;

When the sea gets on it’s head down on the KZN South Coast, the still functioning estuaries of the Mtamvuna, Mpenjati, Umzimkulu…to name three bigger ones, are all the fun. Many fish seek shelter from huge waves and bad surf conditions by sneaking into the rivers. Live bait can be easy enough to come by, and a 4 inch mullet on a circle hook puts you in the game for garrick, kob, rock salmon, perch, flagtail, kingfish (all sorts)…which you can then easily release.

Pop in to Raggies Fishing Tackle in Ramsgate – for advice on fishing this zone, or equipment you may need.

Get in touch on their Facebook Group…

Darrell Hattingh with his hard earned bus Garrick shot down on the KZN South Coast

Darrell Hattingh Garrick on KZN South Coast

Darrell Hattingh Garrick on KZN South Coast

Paradise conditions being experienced down on the KZN South Coast. Its that beautiful time of our year again. The wind calms down. The sun comes up earlier. The water stays clean.

And the Garrick are here!

As noted by Darrell Hattingh who never misses out. Living smack bang in the middle of the action on the KZN south coast, Darrell has been biding his time this year, waiting for that bus Garrick to swim around the corner.

KZN South Coast: Darrell Hattingh gets his handful of garrick each year. Spends many hours in the water on the hunt for them, you got put in the hard yards to get a fish like this bomber.

KZN South Coast: Darrell Hattingh gets his handful of garrick each year. Spends many hours in the water on the hunt for them, you got put in the hard yards to get a fish like this bomber.


And here it is! Not sure of the exact weight but it sure looks 20 to me. The season has been characteristic of bigger Garrick. Some absolute beauts have been coming out on rod and reel too.


Its almost National Garrick Day, but we got to take care of the Garrick at this their most vulnerable time. Just don’t allow anyone around you to take the piss and take too many. Even though the bag limit allows two Garrick, one is more than enough.

There are now more photos doing the round’s on Facebook, of the senseless slaughter that goes on in the Transkei. This time two idiots were photographed posing with a whole shoal of baby Garrick.

Once again, get in touch with Daff, and report any of this activity.

Like us on Facebook, or join our mailing list, to stay in tune and up-to-date on all things fishing, surfing and diving along the coastline of Southern Africa.


Scholtz Sardine Run Talk at Crocworld

Scholtz sardine run talk at Crocworld on 12 August



Scholtz sardine run talk at Crocworld on 12 August

Local scuba diving operator Pieter Scholtz from Crystal Divers will deliver a talk titled the “greatest Shoal on Earth” focusing on this year’s sardine run at Crocworld Conservation Centre on Saturday 12 August.

“The talk will be a highlight of this year’s program and is regarding a topic which affects all of the locals living along the coast in one way or another. It is going to be fantastic to get insight into the journey of these little silver fish,” commented Crocworld Conservation Centre spokesperson Martin Rodrigues.

The sardine run of southern Africa occurs from May through July when millions of sardines – or more specifically the Southern African pilchard Sardinops sagax – spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank and move northward along the east coast of South Africa. Their sheer numbers create a feeding frenzy along the coastline. The run, containing millions of individual sardines, occurs when a current of cold water heads north from the Agulhas Bank up to Mozambique where it then leaves the coastline and goes further east into the Indian Ocean.

Scholtz’s talk will end with a multi-media presentation showcasing some of the highlights of the recent Sardine Run.

Tickets for the talk will cost R75 per adult and R35 for pensioners. Registration and welcoming will begin from 8:30am and the talk will commence at 9:00am. Tickets will entitle guests to complimentary teas and coffees, as well as access to the Crocworld Conservation Centre’s vast grounds and Izinyoni Indigenous Nursery. Lunch can be purchased from the onsite Le Rendez-Vous restaurant.

To avoid disappointment, tickets for the talk must be reserved in advance. For bookings, contact Crocworld Conservation Centre on 039 976 1103 or email crocworld. Account Details: Crocworld (Crookes Brothers Limited) Banking Details: FNB, Branch: Scottburgh, Branch Code: 220227, Account Number: 53640119111. Please e-mail proof of payment to crocworld

(Image: Supplied by Pieter Scholtz)







Issued on behalf of:

Martin Rodrigues

General Manager: Crocworld Conservation Centre

Disseminated by:

Olivia Jones Communications

For more information please contact:

Olivia Jones Communications

Cell: 083 653 1720

Email: media

 Scholtz Sardine Run Talk at Crocworld



Dustan van Biljon having a blast with some estuary spinning in KZN Natal

Mydo vs Rapala vs Fly

Mydo vs Rapala vs Fly

I found this beautiful old balsa Rapala, handmade three decades ago, in our lockup in Mozambique. Stashing it in my bag (in it’s box still), I dragged it all over on my work travels, until finally, I got to the KZN South Coast, for the winter estuary season. It was here, that I had in mind, for that Rapala.

Since we make the Mydo Luck Shots here upstairs in the old boathouse at The Umzimkulu Marina, I always fish with other lures too, to act as benchmarks. And this lure turned out to be a real hot performance benchmark!

The first charter I had for July, Yousef,  caught his kingfish after only a hundred metres of fishing! On the Rapala! It was a good fighting sized baby GT, spirited as only one hook held him by the top of his head. Making for some serious negotiating. Luckily that skin on top there is tough as hell, and the fish came to the boat eventually. Still throwing a tantrum! But we soon had the photos and him back in the water. That was the only kingfish on that trip. The rest of the evening we targeted spotted grunter successfully. Even taking a nice big one back to be curry for Yousef, my guest.

The next trip was with Neill Campbell, who got to the rod on two amazing strikes in a row. Both on the Rapala! Both times the fish took enough line to create enough drag to straighten the ancient, but very sharp hooks. I was feeling rather bleak about the Luck Shots not going away. The Rapala was the furthest out, and the closest to the mangroves too…but so we persevered. In fact, Neill was so amped, he went back home and searched his garage for a very similair Rapala he had had for decades too – this one a bit smaller, and it swam even shallower. But with that same lazy classic action that made Rapalas so cool in the first place. Both were duly rigged with new 4X super sharp and powerful hooks. They hamper the swimming action slightly, but we had learnt our lesson!

So now we had two Rapalas of the right colour and swimming motion. And two Mydos. One tiny #1 with a milky split tail on a 3/0. And the other with a 7 inch split tail with a 5/0. The spread was working wonderfully and looking perfect. The next charter were three clued up dudes from Johannesburg. They booked an early morning trip. They casted and casted. I trolled and trolled. Nothing. Nothing at all. The tide was outgoing. Timing is everything.

Then The Roosta took a cruise, two stoked families also down on holiday. He took the first old Rapala, and put it back a bit. Next thing he was vas! So he called up on a young kid on the boat, and coached him in on his first Rock Salmon. Check the stoke on this kids face!

When I got back on the boat with my next guests – Sean van Tonder and his son, we only managed one baby kingfish on a fly…another species though – a tough littleblack tip kingy this time. We got some fun video…

My next guests were commercial diver guys on leave and really in the mood to fish. I reset the Hawaain Diamond spread I was using, putting the tiny drop shot on the port side in my new out-rigger style holder – putting that lure way out the side. Then I put the next Mydo, and the two Rapalas making up the starboard points. It was amazing as the little Mydo, now in the right position, just never stopped getting all the strikes. And the Mydo next to it. A little fire-tiger paddle-tail model. Fish after fish. And nothing on the Rapalas!

And so the benchmarks met their match.

It really has more to do with where you set your lures, and where you fish them, than which particular lures to use. As soon as I put the Luck Shot out the side, it was the closest to the mangroves. And then the next one way back but also within fish sight from the mangroves, where they ambush from. These two lures got hammered and the plastics replaced a number of times.

And then when Andrew van Biljon and Matt Wainwright rocked in to get in on the action, they had an absolute blast flicking and trolling the little Mydos, all over the river. Andrew’s kids Dustin and Tristan having ALL the fun!

You can watch how to fish the #1 Mydo Luck Shot on this video…

You can buy the lures online or find a tackle shop that stocks Mydo here…

To come fishing, contact Sean on