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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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The Bonefish of Mozambique

Jimmy Bonefish regularly catches these world record potential bonefish in summertime

The Bonefish of Mozambique

The bonefish of Mozambique – well Inhambane in this case. Often this time of year (Summer), whilst working the shallow waters between Tofo and Tofinho, big silver fish can be seen lolling about the surface. Their silver backs are exposed as they dart this way and that, seemingly on the feed. But cast after cast and all you might get out of them is a look. Dropshots don’t work, nor do spoons or plugs. I am sure they will take a well-presented fillet bait, but they won’t touch a rapala or even a daisy chain.
Right behind the Tofo headland is where the shoals of huge bonefish swim...
Right behind the Tofo headland, is where these shoals of huge bonefish swim…
Some local subsistence fishermen know where and how to catch the smaller ones. Right in the surf zone, in the white waters below the cliffs, with bait won off the rocks at low tide.
But Jimmy, our fishing champion, based on the point at Tofinho…knows how to catch the big ones.
He has taken 5 in an evening…on squid bait!? And the size? Average 6 or 7 kilos!
Even Jimmy’s clients (he is a great rock ‘n surf fishing guide), have taken 2 or 3 in a session, using this method.
Highly acclaimed as a prizefighter, bonefish are extensively hunted on the flats of the Florida Keys in the USA. It’s one of the biggest sport fishing industries there is. And all on fly.
Saltwater fly fishing grew enormously as a result of these fiesty and fussy game fish.
Permit (pompano to us) and tarpon frequent the same waters as bonefish and many fishing guides and charters take their clients fishing for these acclaimed fish, all over the South.
But. In the USA,  they hardly get half the size of the behemoths hanging out on the backline off Tofo and surrounds.
IGFA, the International Game Fishing Association, is the custodian organization for world and regional fishing records. And the all tackle world record bonefish is recorded as being caught in Zululand, South Africa, by Brian Bachelor in 1962. 8.6kgs.
When the bonefish come through here, they are really active. They seem to feed on tiny surface fish and organisms on the backline and the edge of the surf zone, with their otherwise suggesting down facing tiny mouths. In the USA they are fished on the flats on an incoming tide, where they feed on the sand bottom and in and about seagrass fields.
If you are super keen to get onto whipping a few flys about the back line, between Tofo and Tofinho points, and if you can handle a 9 weight, give us a buzz on
It might be an even better plan…to bring a 12 weight rig too, as kingfish, sailfish, tuna, king mackerel and queen fish also patrol the shallows behind the long, shallow ledge just off the Tofo headland.
And 8.6kgs is an easy target.
Jimmy says he has caught many 9kg bonefish! And bigger!


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So you wanna catch a kingfish on fly?

JP Bartholomew with his noteworthy Giant Kingfish taken on the KZN North Coast on fly!

So you wanna catch a kingfish on fly?

A kingfish on fly.

Even a small one will knock your socks off. Their dogged fighting style transmits back through the fly line direct to your hand and fingers as you battle with the one to one ratio. Luckily the soft fly rod allows the kingfish to fight back a bit, and usually, they are not as tired when you finally get to release time. Gentle on the fish, fly fishing is true sport.

But you best tackle up for the GT. And for keeping pace with JP Bartholomew. Your most direct access to your dream fish.

JP works the KZN north coast for his ultimate nemesis – these GT’s. And along the way, he catches everything else. Including the ever elusive bonefish, the seasonal garrick, huge shad, all the species of available kingfish, pompano, queenfish, mackerel – all on artificials.

JP has recently joined The Sardine team of guides and operators, and his services – available from GT Adventures, can be read all about, right here.

GT has long been a contributing author to The Sardine News. You can read all about just some of his fishing antics at the following posts…

There are many more where those came from, and there will be many more to follow.

If you want to get out their and right into the thick of it, go fishing with JP for a few days.

To get in touch, click over to GT Adventures enquiry form, by clicking here. GT Adventures






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Fish Eagle 0 Fish 1: tight game down on the Umzimkulu

The Fish Eagles of the Umzimkulu wake lodge guests at the Umzimkulu Marina, each morning. Don't worry though, they start at a reasonable hour - fishing time!

Fish Eagle 0 Fish 1

Our two resident fish eagles, a pair that have been living and breeding here on the lower Umzimkulu River, for decades it feels, were circling over head. The colours of the afternoon showing no sign of the impending cold front. The sun was out. The river had swelled magnificently since the mouth started closing.

And there were fish about. As I edged along the bouncy noisy floating jetty at the Umzimkulu Marina, a bunch of mullet were startled by something 50 m down towards the mouth. The blue-tailed guys were jumping for joy (according to science), and there were kingfish-like smashes going on, sporadically, all over. The perfectly calm water making it so much easier to see fish and movement.

Then one of my favourite things – a turtle! It popped his head up down where those mullet were having a panic from before. I cast one near him, kingfish and all sorts tag turtles when they hunting, but remembering a turtle ate my lure twice before in this river, I quickly cranked away.

Enjoying the scene, cast after cast, things looking good for putting in some real fishing time. And I really am looking for a garrick, to round off my winter estuary season.

And there came the fish eagle. Locked on target. Heading for the grunter bank in the middle, a hundred metres in front of me. Picking up speed and lowering trajectory he came in like a missile. Swooping in, the flaps came on and the the highly adapted landing gear came out.

Bang! Splash! Chaos!

The fish eagle literally came to a dead halt. Whaaaaat. We have twice seen the fish eagles here kill huge otters. And eat them all day right in front of us on Dead Man’s Island. So this was unbelievable!

As much as the eagles wings were flapping like crazy – the huge bird went right under for a second. But it came back up and the battle waged on. It looked like the fish eagle was still in the game at one point. The birds wings took for a moment, and I saw the huge back of whatever it was on the bottom end, being dragged up and out of the water. Huge, like 10kgs or so. But then a violent twist and huge splashing brought the eagle tumbling back down into the water.

The eagle came back up thrashing. And then it just let go!

Fish Eagle 0 Fish 1

The fish eagle then flew off into the sun, and found a rad spot on a huge tree. And let out a huge fish eagle cry. But it sounded like laughter. And when it’s partner joined in with a chorus – it also sounded very high spirited – like – “Hey man how big was that fish dude!” Whaaahaaahaaahaaa…

True fish eagles! Having a blast down on the river in the afternoon.


Come and join us down at the Umzimkulu River…get in touch on or check out our river fishing packages at the following link:

Umzimkulu Estuary Fishing



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Four Fish Trading in Nelspruit stock The Mydo

Four Fish Trading in Nelspruit for all your fishing tackle requirements

Four Fish Trading in Nelspruit stock The Mydo

Years of experience and connections in the fishing business, have led to the opening of Four Fish Trading in Nelspruit. Open for a few months now, the store is jam-packed with stock, including The Mydo range of fishing lures. Read all about them right here (, and pop in to Mohamed to get your own.

Rock and Surf, Deep Sea, Estuary, Freshwater…it’s all covered at Four Fish Trading. With a comprehensive range in each genre.

Four Fish Trading in Nelspruit
Four Fish Trading in Nelspruit

Being right on the route to Mozambique makes Four Fish a convenient stop for tackle on the way to your favourite fishing spot.

Check out their Facebook page here…

And like them to follow news and catches and all sorts fishing…

A happy Four Fish Trading customer
A happy Four Fish Trading customer