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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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Sharks vs People Sardine Report 23 June 2021

Sharks vs People Sardine Report 23 June 2021 Yip!

Sharks vs People Sardine Report 23 June 2021: It’s all happening. The sharks are leading the assault with the dolphins and tuna and other feasting gamefish backing them up. People in a distant 10th spot. This is happening daily literally up and down the KZN South Coast – right now.

Click HERE for our interactive Sardine Run 2021 Map.

Sharks vs People!

The theme of this video are the sharks and land sharks. The sharks in the clear blue waters are clearly visible and it’s quite easy to stay the hell out of their way. But the land sharks hide in the bushes and as soon as your sardine fever takes over your senses, they strike. Hence the warning by Darrell Hattingh contained within.

Main shoals

And the sardine news just gets better and better. Real cold water and billions of sardines are being reported from our sardine spies in Coffee Bay. This means we may just be in for the very start of the 2021 sardine run!

Team Vees and Moonlight are you guys ready!?


Oh yes there are plenty of gamefish! In our previous report we document a shoal of yellowfin tuna getting caught in a sardine net. They were all released! Kudos! So imagine hooking one of those guys on your favourite spinning outfit and a MYDO SS Spoon.

Matt Defillipi’s garrick also featuring in our last report, is one of the biggest seen this year so far. Although the spearos are just getting back into the water after all that brown and green, they too are now slamming the snoek and garrick. Guest Greg Hill at the Umzimkulu Marina, swam out yesterday and bagged himself a beautiful Natal Snoek.

Sharks vs People Greg Hill sneaks a lovely natal snoek from the Zambies
Sharks vs People Greg Hill sneaks a lovely natal snoek from the Zambies

But ok, it’s the most perfect day so far so let’s see what happens.

See you on the beach!

And thank you to Fabian, Adam, Naren, Ash, Shaun and the many others sending us the action right from the beach as it happens! A FREE MYDO SS Spoon to each of you! Buzz me on to claim your lure!

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All Systems Go for 2021 Ballito Pro Presented By O’Neill

Dylan Lightfoot 2021 Ballito Pro by Ryan Janssens
All Systems Go for 2021 Ballito Pro Presented By O’Neill 7TH – 18TH JULY 2021


Men – 2021 Ballito Pro Pres. By O’Neill ( WSL – QS5000)
Women – Ballito Pro Pres. By O’Neill ( WSL – QS1000)
Juniors – O’Neill SS Smth Shapes Rookie Rippers
Pro Juniors (WSL – JQS1000 Men and Women)
55th O’Neill Ballito South African Surfing Championships

The Ballito Pro Presented By O’Neill, the world’s longest-running professional surfing event, will become the premier event for South Africa and the African continent on the World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA) calendar for 2021, showcasing the best Men, Women and Juniors surfing at Willard Beach in KwaDukuza from 7-18 July 2021. Within the ambit of the current global pandemic, the 52nd edition of the Ballito Pro Pres. By O’Neill will be a Qualifying Series (QS) 5,000 rated event. Athletes from all over the African continent are expected to participate including Morocco, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, Covid-19 travel restrictions dependent.

The 96-strong entry field provides local WSL Africa members with coveted ranking points, in addition to earning well-deserved prize money. This world-class competition will have a notable impact on the QS rankings and presents an opportunity for the top five South Africans to qualify for the Challenger Series campaign in 2022. The Ballito Pro Pres. By O’Neill will retain its high season and favourable surf conditions within the South African school holiday period of July 2021. Competitors in the Ballito Women’s Pro pres. By O’Neill QS1,000 will be awarded prize money and points on the WSL Africa regional rankings. Surfers in the U18 Division of the O’Neill SS Smth Shapes Rookie Junior Pro (JQS1,000) will be striving for the prestigious WSL title. These surfers will aim for a strong start to the season as a good result could see them competing in the WSL World Junior Championships at the end of 2021. The U12 to U16 surfers will compete in the event as part of the SA Surf Tour and will earn prize money and ratings points for their efforts.

“As the KwaDukuza Municipality we are very pleased to implement one of our key Tourism Recovery element by supporting the retention of Ballito Pro presented by our partners O’Neill. The adopted 2020 KwaDukuza Socio-Economic Recovery Plan identified the retention of this event in the new normal, as the launching pad for our digital destination marketing strategy focusing in attracting domestic and international tourism. The livestreaming of this event local and international will contribute immensely in reminding and keeping KwaDukuza Tourism Brand in the mind of would be tourist.

The KwaDukuza Municipality calls all our private sector partners and our tourism establishments to embraces the 2021 Pro Ballito event which will be delivered strictly in line with the COVID 19 Health and Safety Protocols, whilst ensuring that it remains one of the top 5 KZN prime sports tourism event. We thank our sponsors and partners who continue to provide their support and resources to making this event a successful event for the region and the whole country. We look forward to hosting the prestigious 55th Surfing South Africa Championships for the first time in KwaDukuza and wish welcome all districts to our region for this completion.” – Mayor of KwaDukuza. “On behalf of O’Neill, we are extremely proud and honoured to be involved in the Ballito Pro again this year. It has been an extremely tough two years for all competitive surfers and I am very excited to see such a prestigious and integral event on the South African Surfing calendar go ahead once again. I would also like to extend a huge thank you to the KwaDukuza Municipality for their continued support of the Ballito Pro and surfing in South Africa.” – Brand Director Paul Canning (Sector Group). “With the disappointment of no events in 2020 behind us, we are excited to be able to host a world class event like the Ballito Pro Pres. By O’Neill.

South Africa’s young surfers are hungry to make an impact on the QS and a good result at this prestigious event could catapult you into the big league. We look forward to another spectacular event. Our sincere thanks and praise to the KwaDukuza Municipality, the sponsors and all the residents of Ballito for welcoming us back to their wonderful town and magnificent beaches.” – WSL Africa Regional Manager Colin Fitch. This year will also welcome the South African Surfing Championships, being hosted on the shores of Ballito for the first time in history. Ninety-six South African men and women representing eight Districts will compete for the prestigious Men’s and Women’s titles and the historic Presidents Cup at the O’Neill Ballito 55th South African Surfing Championships. The annual competition is the longest running surfing tournament in South Africa and Africa, and one of the longest running National Championships in the world. First held in 1965 at Kommetjie in Cape Town, the contest attracted a handful of surfers from Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. It was won by Natal, with the iconic Durban surfer George Thompson clinching the first of his four National titles.

As surfing in South Africa grew, more surfers and teams participated in the SA Championships, hosted by different venues each year. The event included an Open division for Men and Women, as well as a Junior and Masters Division. Up until 2001, the KZN team dominated the SA Championship, winning the Presidents Cup 30 times with Western Province winning it on six occasions. In 2002 Border/Buffalo City won the Presidents Cup for the first time and repeated this feat seven times, and they are the current defending champions. Since 2002 KZN/eThekweni have won the Presidents Cup five more times with WP/Cape Town and EP/Nelson Mandela Bay each winning it twice. KZN/Ugu have only tasted victory once. The South African Surfing Championships has been held in Durban, Cape Town, East London, Jeffreys Bay, Seal Point, St Michaels on Sea, Victoria Bay, Mossel Bay, Trafalgar and Richards Bay.

2021 will see this event for the first time on the shores of Ballito, KwaDukuza. Heather Clark of Ugu Surfriders is the overall individual South African title holder with eight National titles and Greg Emslie of Buffalo City holds the record in the Men’s Division with five National titles. Most of South Africa’s top surfers have won at least one South African Championship title. The most notable exceptions are 1977 ASP world Champion and five time Gunston 500 winner Shaun Tomson and 1978 ISA World Champion Ant Brodowicz. This year’s event will feature eight District teams, six men and four women, featuring a total of 96 competitors. These surfers would have competed in a series of trials within their Districts in order to be selected to represent their District at the national level. The Western Cape Districts are Cape Town Surfriders, Cape Winelands Surfriders and Eden Surfriders. Nelson Mandela Bay Surfriders and Buffalo City Surfriders will represent the Eastern Cape and the KZN Province will feature host district Ilembe Surfriders as well as eThekweni Surfriders and Ugu Surfriders. “Surfing South Africa is stoked to be associated with the Ballito Pro in the form of our annual South African Surfing Championships.

The 55th edition of this iconic event is particularly important as it determines the South African Men and Women’s Champions and decides which District will take home the coveted Presidents Cup. Surfing South Africa is proud that despite the tough year the World and South Africa has endured, we are able to celebrate our 55th National Championship in Ballito for the first time. We are grateful to the KwaDukuza Municipality for putting their faith in us and we are confident that the athletes who have been competing in selection trials in order to be included in their District teams will embrace the opportunity to sample Ballito’s famous surf.” Robin de Kock – General Manager, Surfing South Africa.

The Ballito Pro Pres. By O’Neill 2021 will continue to host developmental surf contests and invitational showcases, not only celebrating the legacy of the sport, but to create a platform and opportunities for all communities within our region and country as a whole. The surfing competitions will be supported by a tailor-made festival programme within the Ballito and KwaDukuza region presenting the region’s best experiences and entertainment programme featuring music, arts, recreational activities and hospitality within the beautiful natural environment of the North Coast.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ballito Pro pres. by O’Neill 2021 event will adhere strictly to related government guidelines and restrictions. For more information, visit: Website: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Youtube: Snapchat: Username – TheBallitoPro High resolution image is available upon request.
2021 Ballito Pro
Image from 2019 of O’Neill surfer Dylan Lightfoot. Credit: WSL/Ryan Janssens

About Surfing South Africa

Surfing South Africa is the official National Federation for surfing in South Africa. SSA is a member of the South African Confederation of Sport and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and is recognised as the governing body by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.

Surfing South Africa is responsible for the development of the sport, the hosting of National tournaments, the sanctioning of International events and the selection of National teams in all the disciplines that are part of SSA.

SSA is one of the 146 members of the International Surfing Association (ISA), the World governing body for the sport.

About the WSL

Established in 1976, the World Surf League (WSL) is the home of the world’s best surfing.

A global sports, media and entertainment company, the WSL oversees international tours and competitions, a studios division creating over 500+ hours of live and on-demand content, and via affiliate WaveCo, the home of the world’s largest high performance, human-made wave. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, the WSL has regional offices in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and EMEA.

The WSL annually crowns the men’s and women’s surfing World Champions. The global Tours and Competition division oversees and operates more than 180 global contests each year across the Championship Tour, the development tiers, including the Challenger, Qualifying and Junior Series, as well as longboard and big wave properties.

Launched in 2019, WSL Studios is an independent producer of unscripted television projects, including documentaries and series, which provide unprecedented access to athletes, events, and locations around the world. WSL events and content are distributed on linear television in over 743M+ homes worldwide and across digital and social media platforms around the world, including

WaveCo includes the Surf Ranch Lemoore facility and the utilizing and licensing of the Kelly Slater Wave System.

The WSL is dedicated to changing the world through the inspirational power of surfing by creating authentic events, experiences, and storytelling to inspire a growing, global community to live with purpose, originality, and stoke.

For more information, please visit

Issued on behalf of: The 2021 Ballito Pro Presented By O’Neill Disseminated by:
Olivia Jones Communications  
The Sardine News runs a FREE YouTube Channel that you can subscribe to right here!

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DAFF removes illegal drive-by fish market at Hibberdene quickly and effectively

DAFF Contact Details

DAFF removes illegal drive-by fish market at Hibberdene quickly and effectively

It never took a day. Following procedure, we called the Senior Marine Inspector for DAFF, Mr. Bongani Pitoyi, to alert DAFF of the illegal (and dangerous) highway fish market in Hibberdene. There were literally a hundred of these poachers. Scattered all around the N2 and R102 interchange. Bunches of crayfish. And none of the shad were looking legal sized at all.

We had made a late call to Bongani, we were on our way home after a long day of sardine patrol. And so the very next morning we set out, nice on early, back on our beat. They were gone! None left. We verified this the next day. And the next.

But if we had not called Bongani up, they would still have been there. And this is the thing. DAFF are really understaffed. Spread thinly over hundreds of kilometres of coastline zones. They cannot afford, or do not have the means, to be everywhere at once. Even Ezimvelo could’nt do that.

But we can. In our individual capacities, all armed with cellphone cameras – we can form the network required for DAFF to do it’s job effectively.

In Umkomaas, the good guys there that patrol the Umkomaas Estuary system and surrounding rivers, (Emil Pirzenthal and George Snodey are ring leaders), work with DAFF and the police to continually fight the war on nets going on there right now. Nets are somehow getting down the KZN coast and wreaking untold havoc on our already maimed estuaries. Without these guys being activists, thousands upon thousands more fish would have been killed. For the angler in you, the Oxe-Eye Tarpon, a coveted and rare catch for any sportfisher, were discovered in the nets. Some were rescued, many not. But get on down to the Umkomaas with your fly-rod, and keep an eye out for suspicious activity at the same time.

This is the point. We are everywhere, all the time.

Just as Apple iPhones all have built in barometers, and can feed weather data back to a server for processing in real time – we can feed back poacher data to DAFF. They can then direct resources to the particular problem, as they did in Hibberdene, and sort the problem out.

Complaining and whining about how many shad were destroyed this year, carried off the beach in buckets, is not going to help.

If you witness such a travesty, call the team at DAFF!

DAFF Contact Details

  •  The DAFF vessel operating in our area – The Ruth First, is usually off the Transkei. Their number is 079 773 6514 and Inspector Teyise is on board right now. These are the crew to report suspicious fishing vessel activity to
  • Our contact, Senior Marine Conservation Inspector Mr. Bongani Pitoyi is on 071 765 2533, and is extremely helpful and effective on all matters big and small
  • Another number you can call is Deputy Director Mr Moshani on 076 780 5049

Read about Trawler Watch here.

As a tailend, we would just like to highlight the fact that not one person has called in a suspicious trawler, since Robbie van Wijk nailed one off Mdumbi two whole months ago. Perhaps the presence of the Ruth First and the Sarah Baardman has actually kept the foreign plunderers away. And that is why we are getting sardines through this year, all the way to Durban? Thanks to Robbie! Our devout and deep undercover sardine spy way down in Mdumbi. And DAFF of course.

Could be.

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27 July Sardine Report: Sardines are still moving north

27 July Sardine Report from Ifafa Beach on the KZN Lower South Coast

27 July Sardine Report: Sardines are still moving north

Spending some time on the beat between Scottburgh and Sheppy was an eye opener. Although we never encountered any solid shoals of sardines, we did encounter plenty action and tell-tale signs.

Off Ifafa, the gamefish were boiling on the backline. And whilst we were checking it all out, a brace of huge couta left the water one after the other, in gigantic parabolas. An amazing spectacle to anyone who has seen them breach like this. The story goes that when they can be seen so high in the air – 20 metres sometimes – the are hugging the bottom and hunting up into the light, which silhouettes prey perfectly against the surface. When they spot their target, they accelerate upwards off the bottom to huge speeds – slicing their hapless victims into pieces as their super sharp teeth do the work. And flying clear up towards space at blistering speed. Somehow the couta always get the parabola perfect and level their bodies out at the top of their inverted dive through the sky. And then disappear back into the blue with barely a splash.

Then it was the whales’ turn to perform. It’s odd to note that at this time of the year, many whales are just sitting tight, and not moving north or south. And this is what we did see. Whales swimming in circles, and staying in the same place for ages.

Then the birds turned on their act. Gannets and Terns wheeling and diving. Coming up every time with a wriggling sardine. The sardines were there, visible, but scattered all over the place – as if the predators were wreaking havoc with them and sending them into disarray.

And then unbelievably, we came across a DAFF vehicle, with two inspectors. Who duly requested our fishing licenses. We had a nice chat, and pledged our co-operation and assistance in the new job they have taken from the highly effective Ezimvelo. They are admittedly out of their depths, and have made some of the most basic mistakes and errors already – making it even more difficult to build beach credibility. We reassured them we would be there to help.

And so we headed south again, only to come across a fully fledged freshly poached seafood market – right on the highway. Drive-by shad and crayfish by the dozen! The Hibberdene interchange must have had 30 individuals on the hussle for ignorants to buy their illegal wares. And so we have sent DAFF a photo as evidence, and now to see how they handle this situation.

High speed drive by photograph taken just shy of the Hibberdene offramp coming from Durban,
High speed drive by photograph taken just shy of the Hibberdene off ramp coming from Durban – shad and crayfish for sale all over the area.

Remember to please report any suspicious activity to the newly ordained DAFF people.


  •  079 773 6514 for Inspector Teyise who is at sea most times, on trawler patrol
  • Senior Marine Conservation Inspector Mr. Bongani Pitoyi is on 071 765 2533, and is extremely helpful.
  • Deputy Director Mr Moshani on 076 780 5049

Read about trawler watch here.

The 2017 Sardine Report was brought to you by Pelagic Fishing Gear distributed online and in Pretoria by


Sardine and Shad Report 2017 sponsored by Pelagic available at
Sardine and Shad Report 2017 sponsored by Pelagic available at