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…
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…
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.
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…
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.
Margate Pier Commercials? Recently we received a particularly disturbing letter from a concerned angler, in the Margate area.
“To Whom it concerns This is a concern to our environment, the Margate pier has become a fishing criminal hot spot. The people fishing there do not have any idea of how they are ruining the fish food chain. Some of the fish are becoming extinct but the people are not able to understand that, they have 10 to 15 rods out with live bait they are catching 5 to 6 garirck a day. Not 1 person is considerate enough to put 1 or 2 back into the ocean. The same people are there every day. What is being done with all this fish that is being caught ? Some people are going home with more than their limit in plain sight. Where are the daff people? Fights are being put up if you not in a certain group that is there, overfishing space. Is that not a place for the public to fish? Why is it only that 1 fishing group there they have taken over the pier and if you not in their team they cause unnecessary problems or fights to make you leave. I wish for something to be done about this cause this is absolutely ridiculous.” From: Mr Concerned
It’s a great relief when people out there take notice and do something about it. like Mr. Concerned here.
The result is that our friends at DAFF, will receive this too, and will act on it. However, DAFF would not know what was going on, if Mr. Concerned hadn’t sent in his letter. The limited resources and weird working restrictions placed on DAFF means that they are spread far and wide. And need all the help they can get.
Poachers are ruthless, especially since they may just be making cold cash with their activities. However. The selling of fish in this country is illegal. Unless you have a permit. No recreational anglers are allowed to sell fish. This is to protect the resource. To conserve for generations to come. Yes, all those little babies being born right now. They deserve a shot at a garrick too.
Unfortunately, our favourite jailbird and his cronies had not only a damaging effect on our country’s reputation and economy whilst they were on pillage duty. But also the environment. The firing of Ezimvelo happened under this fool’s watch. And the results have been devastating.
A new, lawless culture was essentially put into effect…
The wetlands at Sodwana Bay, being planted with bananas?! Upsetting the balance in an important and fragile ecosystem that is a coastal wetland. In such a beautiful place?! This place was supposed to be under Ezimvelos care. Even the resort has gone to the dogs.
There are gill nets in EVERY estuary and it’s only up to concerned locals to take them out. Often at the risk of harm or violence.
The Kwazulu Natal Sharks Board still kills marine wildlife for a living, and is paid for with taxpayer money (ok not so relevant but it feels right to mention anywhere I can)
Public projects are steamrolled forward by politicians chasing trains with no public consultation or environmental consideration
Sand is mined from delicate ecosystems rampantly, illegally, leaving scars all over the beautiful ‘Kei, for example.
You can literally catch as many shad as you want these days. Nobody is coming to check. Firstly there is no Ezimvelo, only a skelton staff of DAFF personnel. You don’t even need a license anymore. And even if you want one, the post offices down on the coast here, ARE ALL CLOSED due to non-payment of rent and contracts.
This list has literally no end these days…
The reasons why
It was in 2016 that a totally functional and effective Ezimvelo was sidelined. Political pressure from subsistence fishermen in the KZN North Coast area began holding too much water. There were toi-tois in Mtubatuba. And Ezimvelo were summarily fired. For doing their job too well. The ball sloppily handed to a totally untrained and inefficient DAFF. Putting them in embarrassing situations as they grappled with their newfound task. They arrested the wrong people. They didn’t even know the fish species and the limits.
But they have since risen to this daunting challenge. And we as anglers, now have a role to play. In this mission left to us by the soon to be doomed ANC. DAFF need to be assisted, not ridiculed, as they move forwards with their objectives. The onus lies squarely on us the anglers, to help enforce the rules, that will put our kids into nice fish. And so we have the DAFF contact details available for your right at the bottom of this post. To report suspicious activities.
If you do this, like Mr.Concerned above, the DAFF dudes WILL pitch up. You may not see them, they work in plain clothes a lot.
But, they will be there.
What happened to Ezimvelo?
And in a totally predictable twist of fate, the entire Ezimvelo board has been summarily sacked. The board that took over Ezimvelo in 2016 or so (they were still tasked with many responsibilities in the KZN wetlands and parks, and some helped themselves to the huge budget – in the form of fencing contracts and the usual like) really pulled it through their proverbial bums. Since the new administration of this country has started examining the worms old jailbird let out, it’s been ugly.
Mr. Paul Dutton, who resigned from Ezimvelo, in objection to the boards dodgy practises a while back, had this to say…
Retired game ranger and former manager of Ndumo Game Reserve Paul Dutton said the firing of the board was “good news” as its performance had been “disgusting”.
“They have kept conservation in the doldrums and didn’t go out of their way to raise money to keep the reserves going. I am not surprised they fired the board, it should have been done years ago. I am very glad they have fired the board but they must select a good board,” he said.
So that’s what happened to Ezimvelo. They were so damned good at their job not even 5 years ago They knew every poacher and their operations. At every beach. By name. And address!
Nowadays, well without whistleblowers, it’s a free-for-all.
And you can’t even expect below average service at any of their resorts anymore.
DAFF Contact Details
There are a few things to consider, before becoming the Snowden of fishing conservation. Firstly, you should not ever take a picture or video, of someone conducting a crime, and post it. Unbelievably, the law protects the criminal in this case. And if the deed was posted publicly, they can use this to get off with!
Secondly, the DAFF guys are spread thin. Please do not call and call for anything and everything. In fact, rather, as Mr. Concerned did, send the information with as much detail as possible, to us here at The Sardine News. You see, we are allowed to publish the material as news, and we can protect our sources. Once we publish, the DAFF guys will move in and do their thing. And the material can then be entered as evidence.
Just recently, a mob of cast-netters teamed up and combed the St. Mikes estuary flatsticks. They started at the beach and herded every fish up into the extreme shallows. Where they were easy pickings. The problem? These guys were only after mullet. And they killed hundreds of other less suitable little fish for live-bait. The information came into us, we sent it to the DAFF HQ, it was then forwarded to the local agent. Who was there in minutes. He confronted the netters, who all had licenses (there were over 13 of these idiots working together). Since they were doing nothing technical illegal, he warned them not to net like this. Told them to not top kill fish unnecessarily. And that was that.
At least they were stopped!
Once again, a big thank you to Mr. Concerned. Whos’ actions will have the direct results of DAFF and their binoculars. Watching Margate Pier closely.
And a message to ALL politicians out there – stay out of government-owned and run entities. They are NOT yours. They are OURS!
Unbelievably, the remains of what could have been a 6 foot long barbel, washed up next door to the Umzimkulu Marina, just last week. The mouth was closed, but the action in the river certainly wasn’t. The guys fishing at Spillers down the way, reported hearing, but not seeing, huge attacks out off the wharf. We have been seeing a free jumping Zambezi up and down the river for months now. And many bust ups have been reported.
Judging by the size and shape of the bite marks, and the incisions made by shark teeth, this was a hefty shark. Zambezi for sure. It’s not the acrobatic jumping Zambezi we have been seeing around. He is only about two metres. This one looks huge.
There have been so many shark sightings and encounters in the Umzimkulu, since the sand miners pumped out all the sand. Right from the deep corner under the Fish Eagles roost, all the way up past the bridge and further, is deeeeeep water! Some places 8 metres or so. The average depth has also increased and the Umzimkiulu offers more draft in the channels than the Umzimvubu (Port St Johns) nowadays.
It’s not only the sharks that have taken advantage of this recently restored river, a brace of outsized garrick were spotted terrorising mullet recently at the slipway at the Umzimkulu Marina. Many lovely kob have been coming out, in the deep channels, on live mullet. Weight your bait and bang! Some of the rock salmon we have hooked lately have been merciless. Straight into the rocks.
But the story of the season definitely goes to the unknown angler who pulled in this beast. He weighed in with the biggest kob recorded in the Kulu ever. A whopping 42 kgs’s. He promises to release the next one. But this one he got on 6kg line and a light stick, which tired the big fish out.
To come fishing in The Umzimkulu, get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can put a package together for you.
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.
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.
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Jason Heyne checks in with the good news that the winter gamefish are upon us. Winter gamefish action means big fish, so be on the lookout for your trophy daga salmon or couta. – Xona
Besides the weekend the diving conditions this week have been below average. Big daga salmon are around with big winter couta making an arrival. There was some sardine netting this week but nothing like last week. Saturday a light north wind blows switching to a moderate south West late in the day and the swell runs at 1.2m. Sunday a moderate south West blows with a 2m swell running. So Saturday is go day for a dive. As always dive safe and straight spears