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First Sards of 2024!

First Sardines Report of the Season Team MYDO 2024

First Sardines of 2024!!

First Sardines of 2024! Yes, we are all about the sardines here at The Sardine News. And when there are no sardines, we fill in the gaps with salty news from all along our magnificent seaboard.

Enjoy the video…and a lot more to follow…

Today we start in Mozambique where the good weather has just kicked in. The fishing is great. The water is warm and clear. And there have been non-stop waves since we arrived a week ago. It’s been challenging getting this report out here in Moz but it came together ok I think.

Kevin in Qora reports that his ocean is alive and well. And is hosting the migrating humpback whales already! They are on their merry way north and we might start seeing them all along the coastline soon.

The Bear of Master Watermen reports good fishing and good conditions in and around the greater Durban area. Lots of couta up north and some big ones at that.

Then we head to Morgans Bay where we have had a solid sighting of sardines being hammered to pieces. By dolphins, birds and gamefish. Very exciting and exactly what we have been waiting for!

A quick surf report by Brucifire in Jeffreys Bay leads us to Team MYDOs first couta of the season. Way down here off Port Shepstone on the KZN South Coast. It was taken on a MYDO swimming a walla-walla.

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1 For 12 on Kingfish in the Umzimkulu

Greenspot Kingfish by Christopher

1 For 12 on Kingfish in the Umzimkulu

1 For 12 on Kingfish in the Umzimkulu: Well, I lost count at about 12 strikes! There may have been 15. And yes, we only got one! And a little baby at that. Christopher finally got a baby little greenspot kingfish out of the water on the big pink plug on his trusty carp rod.

Ashlin, Krish, Cuan and I all took a hiding to nowhere. These four guys’ lives have been ruined by this day. In fact, I was joking in this video in fact, that these guys would surely be back this weekend. BUT, they live in Benoni and Springs.

And guess what!?

They have booked for Saturday morning all over again! Now that is commitment. And, it is the level of commitment required to get your mug shot taken next to a bad-mooded baby GT. Or a greenspot. Or a blacktip. Or a perch. Or a rock salmon. Or a koblet…

It’s all on at the moment.

The full story appears on the Umzimkulu Adrenalin website right HERE. Where you can get in touch and make a booking.

Enjoy the picture show…


We also need to consider very seriously, that last year this time, and the year before, were flooding! And so to have the estuary in such fine shape – the reason the fish are here too – we need to take full advantage of the good times!



In this video we do learn that you cannot take a knife to a gunfight. Team Christopher are gonna load their best bass kit with 30lb braid when they get to Joburg. In preparation for Operation Revenge on the Kingfish of the Umzimkulu.

This is what we recommend here on The Sardine News…

Get in touch with Sean on +27793269671 or


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Websites – surf reports and conservation – never miss a single sardine – news from down deep – will get you out there – girls only – right on the river

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Fishing News March 2024 featuring Mattski vs Blacktip Kingfish plus #Vilankulos #NorthCoast #SouthCoast

Fishing News by The Sardine Ides of March 2024

Fishing News March 2024 featuring Mattski vs Blacktip Kingfish plus #Vilankulos #Northcoast #SouthCoast

Fishing News March 2024 featuring Mattski vs Blacktip Kingfish : Matt Wainright pushed his custom estuary killing machine out off the jetty and started drifting away as he prepared for a gamefish session in the Umzimkulu. He hadn’t even turned his camera on and the kingfish just came up all around him. Right in front of the guests staying at the Umzimkulu Marina lodge. His first two got away, but for the third, he was ready – Insta 360 camera and all.

First cast

Once Matt had upped his leader and tied on another plastic prawn, with the camera rolling, his very first cast produced the BANG he was ready for this time. Alas, it was a small fish, and after dodging the net once or twice, and clearly jumping right of the net once too, Matt brought it aboard for a lecture. And set it free.


The next fish, was slightly upriver from the jetty, and once again, in full view of the growing crowd. Matt had cheerleaders!

But this fish was proper. And it took a full 10 minutes to be finally sent to detention for a minute or two. Get given it’s lecture about taking things with hooks on, and set free to avoid lures from now on.

Although we sped up up some sections, it was a long fight. And so, we decided to read the news during the epic battle. Vilankulos. Natal North Coast. Port Edward. Port Shepstone where we are at the moment…

Enjoy the picture show…and the Fishing News…Ides of March 2024…

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Rock Salmon: how far upriver do they swim?

Rock Salmon - how far upriver do they swim?

Rock Salmon: how far upriver do they swim?

Rock Salmon: how far upriver do they swim?: In this quick study, we get a few numbers wrong…but you get the picture at the end.

This day, we were doing some 3D work at the very top of the Umzimkulu Estuary. We were on the St. Helens Rock stretch, and were returning to base after a few hours of scanning.

In the video I said 10 kms. Then 13 kms. But when I measured accurately, the fish was caught at about 9.7 kms upriver. That said, a fish can still swim a long way further. Right up to the steep rapids at the corner to the cement factory. Another 5 km more.

Flowing river

The river was flowing. It had been in full flood just before this trip. And now it was backing off just enough for us to scan. But trailering the boat was a challenge in the current. On my third and last attempt, as I killed the motors, here goes local subsistence fisherman Sandile, vas with a big fish.

Who could it be now?

On handline, I thought it must be a big carp. Sandile gets them quite often right here where he fishes plenty. Takes them to town and sells them in the rank. But this was no carp. As it came out of the water the unmistakable sheen of a rock salmon reflected in the sun. This was a good fish too, maybe even 3kgs or so.

How far?

I measured 10 km if you followed the river channel. But it could be slightly less. Either way…

  • the river was flowing with floodwater
  • the water was brown and fresh as can be
  • the fish took a live bait in that current and in that murk


Umzimkulu Adrenalin is standing by to take you hunting for these formidable fish. Use the big old WhatsApp button floating about somewhere or contact Sean on +27793269671 or on

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The post Rock Salmon: how far upriver do they swim? appeared first on the Umzimkulu Adrenalin website.

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The two most effective estuary baits by far

Best two estuary baits for the Umzimkulu River

The two most effective estuary baits by far

The two most effective estuary baits by far: live baits are sure to be the most fun on any estuary excursion. BUT. You got to catch ’em first! This article focuses on the two most effective ways of fishing in an estuary, with dead bait.

Recently I was teaching a guide some tricks in the Umzimkulu. The dude had caught himself a live mullet. And a live prawn. So he had one on each side of the fallen tree we were fishing against the steep bank. After a few minutes, something felt off. We needed that sardine head out there. Took me less than a few seconds, and the sard head was in position.

It wasn’t enough time for that sardine to defrost – and the rod went in the way that only a rock salmon knows how!

Bulelani’s first rock salmon release

The Sardine Head

Break a sardine in the middle. So that it’s guts hang out a bit. You are gonna use the tail section to make pencil baits in the next paragraph. But that sardine head – well, that’s the way to catch rock salmon. Just insert a 3/0 hook through the lips, bottom through to top. The sardine head needs to swing freely on the hook.

How it works is – that almost immediately, the smallies start. They chip away at the oftentimes frozen bait, creating a could of commotion and odour down there. This then attracts more smallies and before too long it’s a veritable bait ball down there.

Then out of the gloom come these big guys. To see what this commotion is all about. And it doesn’t take long for one of the gang to see your sardine head lying there and break the party up for good.

When you fish a sardine head, put your drag right up. Rock salmon don’t bite first. They are snappers and simply inhale and swallow anything that moves close to them. They lie perfectly still in ambush waiting for some hapless prawn to walk past. Bang! These are the explosions we hear at night time.

The Pencil Bait

This is something you learn the hard way. But when you get it right, can increase your hookup and catch ratio in estuaries, remarkably. Aside from the rock salmon, perch, shad and malabar, most other estuary fish, are highly timid eaters.

And the most difficult fish to hook by far, are grunter. Tiny mouths. Fussy nibblers. The best way to target grunter anywhere is with cracker shrimp. BUT. And it’s a big BUT, they are just so hard to find and catch.

So the pencil bait then…is your next best option. For the shy guys like – Koblets. Blacktail. Zebras. Grunter.

How? Fillet your sardine tail into 4 loins. Grab hold of a prawn tail. And some squid. Anything you got really. Take a thin stick (or a pencil), and start to arrange all this lekka bait you got, along its length. Small sharp hook on one end. A slightly heavier leader is totally advisable for pencil baits. Start to cotton as you go. Just keep adding strips of bait and cotton, making the bait as long as possible. When you have a juicy-looking pencil bait – remove the stick (or pencil) by sliding it out. Tension up with a little more cotton and off you go.

When a grunter comes along, and he is hungry, he will peck at your pencil bait. You will feel these baits and you cannot strike. Let ’em eat. Soon enough he will work out that if he grabs the one end, he can get that bait down. You might feel this happening. And then when it’s all right down, he will swim off to look for more food.

This is when you strike!

You gonna need to have long-nosed pliers with you when fishing with pencil baits. Or use a circle hook.


All you need to be dangerous in a KZN or Eastern Cape estuary, are two rods, and a few sardines. If you had a cast net you would be even more lethal. But that’s the point of this story. You don’t need live bait if you fish with these two estuary baits as presented here today for you.

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