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Surf fishing during the sardine run

Surf fishing during the Sardine Run

Surf fishing during the sardine run

This is a rundown through a list the game fish species we are lucky enough to encounter – during the annual sardine run. Here in KZN, South Africa.


It starts with the shad. These guys smash into those poor little sardines like piranhas. And a shad smaller than a sard will still eat a sardine. Those teeth!

Shad readily jump on a spoon or any artificial, when it’s like this.

This video featuring the Fishing Pro Shop‘s Johan Wessels – shows exactly how surf fishing for shad is very easily done…

Sardines and shad in the shorebreak! Shop safely online at The Fishing Pro Shop.


The kob have actually already been here quite some time now. Many covert catches are made under the cover of darkness. And in the uncomfortable cold of the chilly winter offshore winds.

Check this mosnter tagged and released a little later in the season,last year! By Gerrard Powell and ably assisted by his mates who carefully put that huge fish back in the water. With a tag well-insertedby Mr. AntNel.


Our endemic and highly threatened Garrick population is also going to be here shortly. They are here to breed and in this vulnerable state, can be easily overfished.

Bag limit is two per man. For a reason.

This is an old video, that captures the surf fishing vibe down on the Sandspit on National Garrick Day…

Check out the MYDO range of spoons for surf fishing

But get a live mullet or shad swimming in the channel between the mid-break and the shore break, and you will get your Garrick.

Throw a big old ice cream plug over the same channel 200 or 300 times you also could be in the game. Also for…

Let ’em go!


The GTs are here! Already a few have shown their ugly faces around the social shark nets recently in amongst the sardine action. There are many species to choose from including the also release-worthy blacktip, greenspot and blue models.

If Shimano is your thing -> Fishing Pro Shop online.


Some people actually want to catch sharks! But mainly anglers hook them by mistake. Luckily they all are let go these days. The shark nets have done the shark population more than enough damage already.

It’s true, we hardly ever get sharks around the backline anymore. Luckily in sardine season, ALL the remaining ones come to visit. And we can see these beautiful and majestic animals swimming by in the wild.

Sharks in the Shorebreak…

Sharks in the Shorebreak!

Umzimkulu Adrenalin

We are ready to take you out there! Stationed down on the Umzimkulu River in Port Shepstone. With direct access to the ocean, Umzimkulu Adrenalin will put you right in amongst it all.

We have accommodation at the Umzimkulu Marina. Spillers House too. And we have an Egyptian Halaal restaurant downstairs. With a tented dining area right on the edge of the water. The MYDO Factory shop is in here too!

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Sardine Update 21 June 2022

Sardine Update 21 June 2022

Sardine Update 21 June 2022

Sardine Update 21 June 2022: another beautiful KZN south coast winter day! And the sardines just keep coming! Net after net. Day after day. And it’s only just begun.

Presumably, the foul ocean conditions that were holding them back, have given way, and the sardines jumped at the chance to head north. Without doubt, these are just the first shoals. The ‘pilot shoals’ as they are affectionately known.

This is The Sardine News on YouTube yesterday…some fun stuff for you to check out…and stay up to speed with.

Sardine Update 20 June 2022

Visit our channel over there. Like and subscribe. And you will see a little sardine dinner bell too. Hit that!


Are not usually with these first appearances. Except for shad obviously! Who absolutely annihilate these cute little shoals. The predators normally come in the second wave of sardines. The bigger shoals. And it’s the sharks that are first most times.

And they are definitely here right now – check the video above! They would have been waiting here a while already. They certainly don’t mind the dirty water either.

So far this week already, we’ve had killer whales (more affectionately known as Orcas), chasing some poor little dolphins all over the place. Humpbacks were here already a month ago. A few seals have beached for a break at some beaches too. Gannets, terns and all sorts of feathered sardine hunters are earnestly patrolling north and south.

The entire marine food chain is here.

Including the garrick. Nobody caught any yet really. I only saw one pic so far. But make no mistake, they are here.

North or South?

Durban’s main beaches must surely be on the itinerary for the current wave of pilot shoals. Although the really big shoals are still lumbering through the Transkei Wild Coast.

Luckily all conditions are met. The water is chilly at 19 degrees celsius or so. The ocean is lumpy with swell but well-useable. The only deterrent is the remaining and quite persistent poison soup water inshore. Still hanging about from the flood and sewage runoff recently. Although some places are definitely showing signs of clarity – just not enough to jump in yet.


If you do come sardine hunting down the lower south coast of KZN in South Africa, pop in at the Umzimkulu Adrenalin building. Right in Port Shepstone down on the Umzimkulu River. Where you can eat at our Egyptian Restaurant. Stay over at the Umzimkulu Marina.

And we can take you out to the action.

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SKZN Fishing Report 22 May 2022

SKZN Fishing Report 22 May 2022

SKZN Fishing Report 22 May 2022

SKZN Fishing Report 22 May 2022: the sea finally returned back to a normal state down here in Southern KwaZulu Natal. Only after weeks and weeks of that ugly poison soup brown water being hemmed in close to the shore – did the current return last week.

With vengeance.

The water shot back up to 23.8 Celsius (from 19) and was full-up with ‘couta lights (bio-luminescent plankton that signifies the presence of hunting couta). When this current kicks, it really kicks. At about 4 knots offshore, makes things tricky for navigation and fuel consumption. But this is the gamefish water. Purple ink.

Unfortunately, more mud is on its way so we can just hope that the current is strong enough. Mhloti is out of bounds BTW. More flood destruction as another little cut off low hit Durban last night. Out of the blue!

Croc couta at Hibberdene

But a croc’ ‘couta came out this past week! Featured image. By local kayak angler Shaun Simpson. Off Hibberdene. Really nice fish looks like 25kgs or so, maybe more?

Hibberdene does clean up faster than most places down here since there are not any major river mouths north of the place. And those pinnacles and backline rock formations are exactly the turf that the couta like to hunt in. Many, many outsized couta have come from these reefs.

Including these two monsters, taken along while back, in June, 2007. When the sardines had just arrived that season. From the rocks!!!

You can read all about that incredible day right here…

Back to the present…


There are NO sardines yet. Don’t believe anything you read in the mainstream media. And watch out for false sardine news on the social shark nets too. It’s unbelievable how stories grow and get completely out of control as the Dunning -Krueger effect kicks in.

As The Sardine News (marketing for Umzimkulu Adrenalin), we have sardine spies stationed up and down the entire coastline. Make sure to be a part of this community to never miss a single sardine this year and every year to come. Since 1987, we have been doing this. Back then we were a printed tabloid!

Anyway, sardines don’t do brown water so we are gonna have to wait until the current takes it all away.


The shad have most definitely arrived. But we have only been catching them out deep. Away from the poison soup. Some magnificent chases out there along the backline reefs too. Things are getting back to normal. And the shad will come in close with the effect of the current’s long overdue return.

Rock Salmon

Ian Logie cracked the first decent fish of the Umzimkulu Estuary winter season. The water clears up and these fish are available on artificial. Or live bait. As what felled this guy, down in the mouth area.

Fishing report 20 May 2022 featuring Ian Logie again!
Ian Logie strikes again! 4.5kgs.

There has been a big Zambezi Shark terrorising everybody at night time here. ALso spotted during daylight hours, this aggressive fish has been making huge splashing noises as he chases the plentiful perch, mullet and whatever other fish, that have come back him into the estuary recently.

The other estuaries that still function, like Mpenjati and Mtamvuna, are also going to be hot as the dry season sets in.

Get in touch if you would like some of this action!

Sean on +27793269671 or to arrange some fishing. Or check the menu above.

More fun apps/websites:

Umzimkulu Marina – self-catering in Port Shepstone

Spillers House – BnB and Backpackers right on the Umzimkulu River

The Sardine News – never miss a single sardine

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100lb kob tagged and released by Gerrard Powell in Port Edward


100lb kob tagged and released by Gerrard Powell in Port Edward

100lb kob tagged and released by Gerrard Powell in Port Edward this very morning (6 November 2021): Imagine this. You wake up nice and early. Get your two little daughters in the car with you. Down to the rocks in the idyllic Port Edward, KZN, South Africa – to meet Mr. Ant Nel, fellow angler. And who was your teacher at the very school you went to, just a minute walk down the beach.

You set out to get a few casts in between watching out for the girls, and next thing, after a HUGE episode, you are in the water, disbelievingly setting free your kob of a lifetime.

All 100lbs of it!

With a tag in it! Stuck in by no other than Mr. Ant Nel.

Now that’s teachin’!

Chances of Survival

As we all know very well, these fish are our breeding stock. And this guy or gal had a great chance of surviving. He or she was well-rested. Well handled mostly (hand in gills can be debatable but in this case looks ok – horizontal dragging, no real gravity pulling, slippery rocks).

And one thing is for sure, it sure has far more chance of survival in the water, than out.


I don’t think any self-respecting sport angler would be seen dead in a photo – with a fish like this – dead.

The chances for survival for this fish are real. I am sure hoping that it’s swimming around with its mates right again. Telling them not to go near anything that looks like a paddletail!


The tag might tell…

And that’s the point. If you (un)luck into one of these breeding fish, you just need to treat it so well and get it back in the water asap, as these guys did. Luckily Ant Nel was there and he keeps his tagging kit in his back pocket. Which really saved the day. Letting a fish go without a tag in it, doesn’t make too much sense to most. The tag really validates the release.

Kudos Mr. Nel! Still teachin’!

Rightio, this post has a sponsor…

Fish on the River – Web App (PWA)

This post was sponsored by the fabulous Fish on the River seafood restaurant, in Port Shepstone – you can try their really cool brand-new PWA (Progressive Web App) that installs on your phone but is actually only a website. So, hardly any space is required at all!

Click right here – > here and allow the install and notifications to go ahead. If you are not prompted, just use the browser menu and ‘Add to Homescreen’. It even has limited offline functionality so you can read the news whilst in the queues.

And when you connect again, the app will check for latest events, specials or menu items – and let you know with notification to your phone!

If you would like your own PWA. For your own business, get in touch with Sean on and let’s get you installed.

The Sardine News is powered by TLC for your Business, PWA specialists.

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Bucktails vs The Law

The Umzimkulu Special bucktail by Dirty Prawn

Bucktails vs The Law

Bucktails vs The Law: “Sean, Sean, please man, we need your assistance. We’ve been arrested for jigging with bucktails! Fishing down here in PSJ!”, came the call.


And so I sprang into action. Called up my dear DAFF contact Bongani, and asked him about it all. Bongani pulled out of the Mtata traffic he was in at that moment, and we discussed the situation. Over the following piece of legislation.

The law!

While there is literally zero chance of misinterpreting the intent of section (c) – its application to real-life normal fishing methods and styles is alarmingly loose.

Back to the victims

And so I called up the two dudes with the R2500 fines in their back pockets. And asked them how hard they were jigging. The response was kind of really vague as he started comparing his “medium” jigging style, to the guys on the boats out at sea. Who jig like crazy, he claimed.

Blame mentality for justification

But ok, I’ve been picking up on a new environmentally destructive mentality all over recently. It goes like this…

“But the trawlers take everything…”. Or, “Have you seen those netters in the Cape…”. Or. “The deep-sea ous catch it all anyway…”. “The spearos shoot them”. And so on…

All kinds of blame is used to justify catching 10 shad, or 5 brushers. And with The Parks Board, nee Ezimvelo, gone and stripped of its guts and morals by corruption under Zuma. And DAFF totally untrained and unready to take on the sophisticated networks of poachers that exist now – it’s a literal free-for-all as the ocean gets looted every day. And people just look on and say nothing. And do nothing. And worse still, use one of the claims above, to become an ocean looter too.

Back to Jigging with Bucktails

Yes well if you gonna jerk up hard with apparent or seeming intent at jigging something in the body, you gonna get busted. This is the price it seems we have to pay, to have the law enforceable. I am sorry for the seemingly innocent dudes who got busted. But maybe in the future, legislation allowing certain lures to be jigged hard across estuary channels teeming with breeding fish will be passed.

But for now, it’s definitely possibly maybe illegal.

I was an illegal jigger

True confession. I was an illegal jigger! Yip. For absolute real. This is the story…

Brucifire and I were staying at Jungle Monkey. This was a long time ago. 2015 to be exact. I was in PSJ with Bruce making a movie about surfing 2nd beach. Which we did, made our point, and got out. But man did we get in trouble for that.

But ok, I woke up at that beautiful backpackers, joined Bruce for a coffee in the lookout. And watched the sun climb through the clouds. The tide was gonna turn soon and it was an idyllic morning.

Something weird was abuzz too. Something in the air, the atmosphere. It was all electric.

“Bruce, I’m just gonna go catch a fish quick, ok?”. Bruce grumbled something encouraging through his coffee-stained morning beard. And I trundled down to the beach. As I pulled up, there was quite a scene going on. I jumped out and looked out over the water towards Agate, and there I saw them.

“Zambies!”, I exclaimed.

“Nay Bru, kob!”, he corrected me in the local PSJ tongue.

I nearly had a heart attack. I’ve never seen it since. Those huge fish were lolling and rolling over each other, as they spawned. In front of my innocently bleeding eyes. I went into that mental state of flow, but it never worked at all. I first put on the wrong spoon. Then clambered back up and changed to a 2 Oz MYDO LuckShot Jighead and a 7 inch plastic jerktail. Pink?! Crashed back down the bank and started at a spot where I was kind of on my own. I saw a guy in the distance lose an honest 20kg garrick right at the bricks. Split ring broke right at the gaff! Fish were everywhere this crazy memorable day. Adrenalin pulsing.

And then it was me. A solid thump. Something really big. And I was vas. For the very first time in all the years, I have tried to get a big fish from the shore, finally, I was in the game. And an hour and a half later, the gaff went in. And the hook fell out.

I had hooked the fish under the chin. Not in the mouth.

I had illegally jigged the fish.

But it was totally by accident I tell ya!

Luckily, the 20lb light tackle had served its purpose and the hook stayed in without its barb helping once, for the entire 90 minutes. That fish was my first, and most certainly will be my last big kob.

You only need to catch one of these magnificent fish - in your whole life!
The TWO wise men -according to Brucifire! Visiting priests from Ethiopia to PSJ were mightily impressed. And took a photo op! You only need to catch ONE of these magnificent fish – in your whole life!

But ok, this all I had to process, before being able to resolve in my head, the fact…that jigging up hard and with seeming or apparent intent, is illegal.

No matter what lure you have tied on.


The two victims that initiated this story, took legal advice. Which was to contact the public prosecutor before the court date, and try to explain the situation.

However, the fines were totally invalid.

They had a court place that doesn’t even exist. There was no public prosecutor to contact. No information on the fines. The actual fining was invalid too. On video taken during the incident, many requests were made for the identities of the arresting officers. One of whom gave a first name, the other flatly denied. It was a $%^$% show and would never have held up in court. Even if there was one.

All the while, the real jiggers, were hiding in the bush laughing their heads off.

And the minute the DAFF dudes left, they were back at it.


Watch this video for some alternate ways of working estuary lures. Bucktails included. Pay special attention to the extremely gentle nature of any rod tip actions during fishing with these lures.

Gently. Is the key. To an estuary.

These days that’s by law!

The Sardine News and the Master Watermen are powered by TLC for your Business. E-commerce pros.

Just in case you’re not aware of who Brucifire is…