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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!

Predators

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.

Gallery

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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Sardines caught off Port Edward!

Sardines caught off Port Edward!

Sardines caught off Port Edward!

Sardines caught off Port Edward!: officially confirmed catching of 10 sardines!

Report in from Sardine Spy in Port Edward: “Fished yesterday Sean, got 10 sards in amongst the redeyes. With some lovey bottom fish too”

So there they are – the first 10 sardines in KZN this sardine run 2022!

This mornings report

This was today’s AM sardine report, as updated on the Sardine Sightings Map 2022

15 June 2022: sea conditions coming right too!

“Big south swell arrived last night. SW wind pumping today. Some small shoals evident out deep. I think the conditions are right for shoal movement over the next few days.” – Qhora Mouth Sardine Spy

Sardines like rough seas and big winds – for travelling. Especially big SW winds. When the swells jack up – the water aerates with all that surface interaction with the atmosphere. Maybe they even surf a few of those swells to fight against the current? Either way, this is ALL very good news as the perfect sardine conditions requirements are being checked off one by one.

  • water below 19 degrees – cold water is moving up the east coast, just as we need it to
  • clean water – the current has kicked into full gear and is sweeping the poison soup away
  • rough seas – always precede the shoals

Many trigger-happy posters are claiming sardines close by. But once again, not a single sardine has been caught yet.

The dive charter operations in the Transkei have kicked off operations recently and finally, we might get some close-ups from them.

Finally

So well spell has been broken and you can definitely start doing sardine patrols down to the lower south coast reaches.

When you come down this way, and you feel like something completely different to eat, join us at The Port Captain for an Egyptian eating experience. And if you are after fun accommodation right on the water – The Umzimkulu Marina and Spillers House are open for business. And Umzimkulu Adrenalin can get you right out there!

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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…

Sardines

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.

Shad

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 umzimkulu@gmail.com 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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21 July Sardine Report 2019

21 July Sardine Report 2019

It’s been another cracking sardine season for the sardine run operators down in the Transkei and Natal. These guys have encountered bait balls daily and have been getting some spectacular video material, which we will get to see soon enough.

To make sure we are on top of things, we headed south on sardine patrol, and have the following to report.

July Sardine Report 2019

Port St Johns

Arriving in Port St Johns, we could already feel the buzz. The Umzimvubu was looking delightfully clean and there were boats everywhere. Anglers anchored in the channels, we saw one guy boat a 12kg class Garrick and a little Kob. Sardine safari boats moored at the line of jetties, all prepared for the mornings adventures.

We visited Offshore Africa down on the river, who run sardine run trips for two months through the season. Rob Nettleton and Debbie Smith (The Shark Lady), the operators, live in Port St. Johns and are consummate professionals in what they do. They chuck you right in with the sardines and sharks!

Chatting to Richie O’Connell who leads one of the boats, “You don’t even need a baitball to find and swim with sharks. They’re everywhere!”.

Rob showed me some of this year’s footage, the cameras are dressed up with much better and wider lenses making it possible to really capture all that is going on down there. Stay posted for this material when it comes out, it is truly work of underwater art.

Through the three days we spent scouring the views around Port St. Johns, we saw lots birds running south still. Some just sitting on the water too full to fly. And the odd dive bomber as sporadic shoals moved through under the surface. But the sardine spotters travelled north and south and every day out they have jumped in with sardines. Rob was on day 33!

Mpande

Great views and nice swells greeted us here. But again, we never saw any real hot action from the shore. Lots of birds. Oil slicks from previous sorties. Crystal clear water. Very fishy looking.

21 July Sardine Report 2019
21 July Sardine Report 2019

Coffee Bay

We stayed at the pretty Coffee Shack where they installed us in the King’s House. A delightful cottage overlooking the entire bay flanked by the Sugarloaf and the Mbomvu point. Four delicious shad for breakfast.

The action was absolutely wild!

Shoals of sardines were being driven to the surface. Mainly it was dolphins but we also saw sharks breaching and some outsized yellowfin tuna. The gannets were raining down like bombs. And this was just the first shoal. They just kept coming through sporadically throughout the entire day. The huge waves, well ok 2 to 3m, were kind of keeping the action on the backline and only one occasion did they come right into the white water where they were obliterated.

Mdumbi

When we came over the hill, the vista was unexpected. Waves were reeling down the point, the sand was connecting across the entire bay! There were a bunch of guys on it but the waves were plentiful and everyone was mellow.

There were birds diving and some dolphins were hunting but the water never smelled fishy and the surf continued even better the next day. When a fabulous Berg wind kicked mid-morning and painted the prettiest surfing picture I have seen for a while. Then the huge west that is currently blowing a gale at about 40 knots hit hard and so we moved on to the other side of the river to Freedom O’ Clock to catch up a bit.

And we got to throw a little video together quick…

Get in touch via umzimkulu@gmail.com if you would like to join us for The Sardine Run next year.

Catch us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/thesardine.co.za/

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Kob slaughter at PSJ

Kob slaughter at PSJ

As the Moka Pot finally starts to bleed rich black coffee this early morning, to the sound of the cold front – the driving rain, the wind through the trees – I reflect on my last fishing experience. Spending time down in our beloved Port St. Johns is always too short. Driving into town and driving out seems the same trip. Lost somewhere in the middle are the layers of imagery, sounds and scents that come out of PSJ each time. Lucky for cameras!

Beelining for the point, rods already ready with leaders and even lures tied days before, is how it always starts. Heart in mouth as the ocean comes into view alongside another favourite carpark. But no crowds this time. No traffic jam. Nobody. Looking up towards Cape Hermes and into the corner, a few fishermen are dotted along the usual spots. Looking quite active. But not in a frenzy for sure.

The frenzy is hard to describe. Kob frenzy. This what happened to me once upon a time…two years ago this time…


I grabbed a coffee with Brucifire, after breakfast, at the Jungle Monkey. I was going fishing anyway, but was super excited this crisp and clear Wild Coast morning. As I collected my fishing thoughts and things, owner Mike came up the ramp.

“I am just gonna go and catch a fish quick ok”.

Mike chuckled. Bruce cheered him on with a laugh too. I had been there a week with no results!

Bruce elected to stay. He was entertaining, and being entertained, by two genuine Ethiopian Rasta priests, that happened to be passing through.

The adrenalin, came like this. I have seen plenty sharks, casually lolling on the surface. But never a kob. Never mind a huge one. And so when I jumped from the car at favourite carpark, shouldered in pass the spectators to get a better look – there they were. But my brain could only process that these fins and fish were zambezis.

“Hey howz those sharks man!”

The guy next to me goes…

“Nooit bru, dey kob.”

From that second and onwards, is all a blur. I do remember every thought leaving my head, as the adrenalin surged. Time stopped. The world stopped. I managed to get back to my car to my favourite rod at that time, a 20lb braid packed Okuma Ceymar with a red and black Sensation Adventure 9 footer. I flew off the cliff down to the players area and found a spot. I let that Mydo SS Spoon fly right over the estuary – and then didn’t know what to do. Crank it? No ways. Slow on the sand? Ok. The fish had shown themselves to me, and I was gonna get one. But not with that spoon. It just made no sense in this scene. So after my second nerve wracking slow retrieve, I clambered back up the cliff to my trusty old VW mobile tackle box, and grabbed the biggest plastic and jig head I could find fastest. The plastic was a good 9 inches, split tail, and in light pink. Huge. The jig head was an easy choice – my very own Mydo Luck Shot, but this time in 2 ounce configuration, with a solid 9/0 hook – that stuck out from the plastic a good 20mm. The plastic sits way further back on the hook with a Mydo jig head, a huge advantage over regular jig heads. The hook was super sharp. And for extra effect, I placed a Mydo Bill plate, in shiny stainless steel, over the jig head. This adds more flash and action, and in as much as this all sounds like a Mydo ad, this is how I did it ok!

My first cast.

I first threw the rig into the deep channel to start with. I just wanted to get my swimming action right. On my second twitch off the sand, my rod went double. I love this outfit as it put on enough brakes to set the hook with the huge 9/0, but maintained enough tension through the famous kob head shake – by being so nice and soft in the front part. The little Okuma was filled with braid, and the fluorocarbon leader very carefully tied back in Port Shepstone already. Figure of eight system as described here.

It was a huge battle. And the kob showed itself quite soon into the fight. A magnificent performance right on the surface, in front of a riveted crowd up top. A guy was fighting a garrick alongside me and we had to switch places many times. My fish loved to drag me all the way up the slippery and loose rocks. To the top, and then all the way back down to the mouth. A pushing tide. Anglers everywhere. So much fun!

But it was a really difficult time for the fish too. Being on 20lb meant my rod had to do all the work. The leader was tied short too. I don’t like my knots in my rod eyes for exact situations like this – where a longer leader would have had knots being damaged each time the fish got close. But I was determined as this would do wonders for the Mydo PRO campaign. I ducked and dived and pulled and pushed my way up and down that strip for 45 minutes before I had him close.

A few of the local pros had gathered around me, and were being wonderful hosts, hauling me across the treacherous terrain when I needed it. The guy next to me eventually lost his garrick – a monster of over 25, I saw it a number of times. The split ring on his lure failed. Man was this guy broken. The kob had by now disappeared and nobody was throwing anymore. It was just me and this kob left.

And so It came to the gaff, which I never even saw. I had given up on a healthy release, especially with the shark factor here, but when that fish came close, a gaff flew past me at lightning speed and bang into the fish. And as the guy dragged the fish up the rocks, the hook fell out! It had been a solid hour of battle.

And so it came to be, that I hauled this kob up the cliff, and never set it free. The light tackle was the problem. But I fish light – so many more strikes. So much more fun. The penalty is this. Big fish get worked too much, and if you release them, they die. I should have had 50lb braid for sure.

I should have had 50lb braid for sure. I have been fishing heavy (40lb), in PSJ since this fish.


Which brings me to today’s story, and what has been on my mind.

This…

A pile of kob in PSJ lately. These fish are in their breeding cycle and spawn in our estuaries. They are extremely vulnerable and need protection, not exploitation, at this particular time.
A pile of kob in PSJ lately. These fish are in their breeding cycle and spawn in our estuaries. They are extremely vulnerable and need protection, not exploitation, at this particular time.

Kob are subject to whims to feed which come from above, or the stars, or the moon. They just go dilly. Sometimes they congregate to spawn, and enter a feeding frenzy just thereafter to replace energy used. I was lucky enough to have had invested enough time casting from those very same rocks, to get the timing right for one of these magical moments.

And when I loaded the fish, which once again goes down at 25, because that was the limit of the scale we could find, one of the locals said to me…

“Hey stash that fish or you can’t take another one…”

I was taken aback. I told him that no way would I take another one?! What for? But as reality set back in, I had to think that this guy, who has been here and caught these kob his whole life, feeds his kids this way. Me and the locals have had long conversations about this, shoulder to shoulder, casting lures until we convinced ourselves to save it for the next session. They all get a few. And they are worth a packet. R1000 a fish easy. He reckons he gets 5 to 10 a year. Some of his mates get more than that. All on lures. Subsistence? Could be? Borderline.

And now we have these two guys, being photographed with far too many kob, all at once. You are only allowed one big one and smaller one really. These guys had the whole family. The smallest looks about 10. And the biggest look 25 or more. Story so far is that these guys had a military-style operation going, with trailers with tanks of livebait. Motorcades of 4×4’s. All the best kit. Not subsistence.

The pics were shot about a week ago. And has already been doing the rounds on the internet as most if you will have seen. These are the breeding stock of our kob population smack bang in the most vulnerable time in their lifecycle. Breeding time.

DAFF have the pics and have asked for assistance in this matter. They need to know how many anglers were involved. Where and when this was. They have a marine inspector on it right now. He is in PSJ, where the community is assisting him. In the meantime, mail any information to umzimkulu@gmail.com so we can pass it on.