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1000s of Cape Gannets dive-bombing in Qora, Deep Transkei

15 May 2024 Sardine Report 1000s of Cape Gannets in Qora

1000s of Cape Gannets dive-bombing in Qora, Deep Transkei

1000s of Cape Gannets dive-bombing in Qora, Deep Transkei: the iconic and beautifully choreographed gannet population descends on the sardine run first. Every time. These are our main indicators. That along with the cetaceans, sharks, fish and other marine mega-fauna, make up all the predators that are chasing after the sardines each year.

When all these guys come together, you are guaranteed a front-row seat at The Greatest Shoal on Earth.

CLICK HERE for the Sardine Run 2024 Sightings Map Page.

Enjoy the report and thank you Kevin in Qora, deep Transkei…

More about Gannets

Cape gannets (Morus capensis) possess several remarkable features that set them apart:

  1. Colonial Nesting: These seabirds breed in large colonies, often on remote islands or rocky cliffs. Their communal nesting behaviour is a spectacle to behold.
  2. Distinct Appearance: Cape gannets have striking plumage, with snowy white bodies, black wingtips, and a golden-yellow crown. Their eyes are surrounded by a distinctive blue ring.
  3. Precise Diving Skills: When hunting for sardines, they perform spectacular plunges from great heights, folding their wings and torpedoing into the water. Their streamlined bodies and keen eyesight aid in precise targeting.
  4. Monogamous Pairs: Cape gannets form monogamous pairs during the breeding season. They engage in elaborate courtship displays, reinforcing their bond through synchronized head movements and calls.
  5. Diet: Their diet consists of small fish, especially sardines and anchovies. They rely on the annual sardine run off the South African coast for abundant food.
  6. Conservation Concerns: Unfortunately, Cape gannets face threats such as overfishing, pollution, and habitat disturbance. Conservation efforts are crucial to protect these magnificent birds.

In summary, Cape gannets combine elegance, precision, and ecological significance, making them a celebrated and vital part of South Africa’s marine ecosystem.

Cape gannets are attentive parents, and their chick-rearing process involves several key steps:

  1. Nesting Sites: Cape gannets breed in large colonies on rocky cliffs or remote islands. They choose nesting sites carefully to avoid predators and ensure proximity to food-rich waters.
  2. Courtship and Pair Bonding: During the breeding season, male and female gannets engage in courtship displays. They perform synchronized head movements and calls to strengthen their pair bond.
  3. Egg Laying: After courtship, the female lays a single egg. Both parents take turns incubating the egg, which typically lasts around 44 days.
  4. Incubation Shifts: The parents alternate incubation duties. While one incubates, the other forages for food. Their precise shifts ensure constant warmth for the developing chick.
  5. Hatching and Chick Care: Once the egg hatches, the chick emerges. It is initially covered in soft down feathers. The parents feed the chick regurgitated fish, providing essential nutrients.
  6. Growth and Development: Over the next few weeks, the chick grows rapidly. It develops waterproof feathers and gains strength. The parents continue to feed it until it becomes independent.
  7. Fledging: Around 90 days after hatching, the chick is ready to fledge. It takes its first flight, leaving the nest. The parents continue to provide food during this transition.
  8. Post-Fledging Period: After fledging, young gannets spend several years at sea, honing their fishing skills. Eventually, they return to the colony to breed, continuing the cycle.

In summary, Cape gannets exhibit dedicated parenting, ensuring the survival and success of their chicks in the challenging marine environment. ?? :

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December 2023 Fishing Report for KZN in VIDEO

Garrick in December down at Plettenberg Bay. Kaie Else the happy angler...

December 2023 Fishing Report for KZN

December 2023 Fishing Report for KZN: shad, shad, and more shad! Which also means garrick, kob and all kinds of big gamefish in the surf zone.

Shad Season is OPEN

And, you can get fishing licenses online! This is big news in a country whose post office is a derelict shell of what it was 20 years ago. The post office stopped paying rent to its many satellite offices that were filling their vital role. And so where could you buy a fishing license? And then you’d go to the beach to have some dummy enforcing fishing licenses that you can’t even get?!


“Wherever the shad are biting during the day – that’s where the kob will be at night” – Louis Posthumous

It’s been a helluva year for catching big kob in the surf zone. Some are released. Some just aren’t. If you have a huge refrigerator and a huge family, then great, start the endless job of processing that big fish. It will turn you off catching another one for sure.

Rather just release those breeding fish. At about 8 or 9 years old, the kob, scientifically known as Argyrosomus japonicus, reaches sexual maturity. This is equal to about a 8 or 9 kg fish. So a 20kg fish, theoretically 20 years old, has had 10 seasons to throw some kob parties in the Umtamvuna. A 40kg fish (they get bigger!), will have had 30 seasons of breeding.

Upon these many revelations, the law was changed. And as such, tries to protect the big breeders. The thinking is that, at smaller sizes, these fish shoal in numbers. So to harvest a small percentage of these bigger numbers, would be a lot less detrimental than allowing the slaughter of the less populous breeding stock.

Let the big ones go!


If the shad and other bait are prevalent, then the garrick will stick around. They do not like dirty water (unlike the kob). Sometimes the water stays clean through December and January in some KZN places. And there are still garrick coming out at Vidal and St. Lucia, way north. That have to traverse us on their way home to the Cape.

Again, it’s the shad that are the main attraction and oftentimes you will be catching shad in the shore break and the next thing the garrick come in and destroy the whole show. Spectacular to see garrick smashing like this.

But down south in the clean water…garrick are out and about and looking for a fight! Kathryn Els show us how…yesterday!

Katie Else with December 2023 Garrick down Plett way…


The current hasn’t really kicked in yet. But there are fish about. There is a dorado fishing competition on down south at the moment. Boats are allowed to launch up and down. With the goings-on held down in Ramsgate. A very well-run event.


These widespread fish do follow seasons and patterns like most fish. But they are the ones most likely to just pitch up out of nowhere. Fuklk of surprises, but they definitely are here for the same reasons that the dorado are here. The halocline with it;s structural characteristics. And the shoals and shaols of mackerel, shad, maasbanker and red-eyes that also like this place this time of the year.

King Mackerel

No fireworks as of yet but give those spearos a patch of clean water and they will find out for sure if the couta have pitched up for this same baitball party. Last year and the year before, November produced some crocodiles. This year so far has been quiet.

Catch the first couta of the season, send the pics and story to me, and you will get R500 to spend in the MYDO store.

If you feel like targeting these trophies, get in touch and we can arrange species specific holidays for you. For this coming up season, stay with us at The Umzimkulu Marina where Umzimkulu Adrenalin can get you out to the couta.

Check out our MYDO YouTube Channel right HERE.

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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!

More at and

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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  
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