Sardine Fever

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Sardine Fever

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June is here, and with it comes an unusual chill to this fabulous southern coast of KZN; however, the winter season also sees the start of some of the best winter angling our country has to offer.

The shad that normally start biting in late April tend to be in full swing by now. With them come game fish like garrick, big kob, yellowtail and kingfish. Large sharks and rays also appear, all to feed on the tasty shad but, more importantly, to lie in wait for the millions of sardines that migrate up this coast at this time of the year.

As the currents change and a cold-water corridor opens up along the Transkei through to Kwa-Zulu Natal, these little fish congregate and run the gauntlet, facing a myriad predators and huge winter swells to complete the cycle of life. For those anglers who have never experienced the frenetic angling action that the silver shoal brings, I would personally recommend getting down to the south during this time.

The chances of getting big edibles like king mackerel, yellowtail, garrick, prodigal son and even tuna are quite good if the conditions are right.

Those wishing to pit their skills against any one of the multitude of shark and backbreaking ray species that follow this phenomenon – you are also sure to have a go at beating your personal best . Remember to bring spare line to this party because many anglers get stripped here at this time of year.

Port Edward is in fact where the sardine first come really close to shore; Trafalgar, Southbroom, Ramsgate, Margate, Shelley Beach, Port Shepstone, Pumula, Hibberedene, Mtwalume, Bazley, Pennington, Kelso, Rocky Bay, Scottburgh, Widenham, Umkomaas, Winklespruit and Toti are all spots in this area where the sardines are netted or have beached in previous years. Your best bet at being where the action will be is to call the yearly sardine hotline or tune in to the local radio station, East Coast Radio, which has regular sardine updates.

For those planning a fishing holiday at this time of year: make sure that you have enough spoons to spin for edibles in the run, as well as an outfit to target the edibles and a heavier outfit to do battle with the bigger sharks and rays. Also make or buy a few jigs and drop traces and make sure you have a good coolbox to keep those fresh sards for bait.

This area of Kwa-Zulu Natal is an awesome getaway during winter, with a far milder climate than the higher-lying areas and, with its top-quality winter angling, where would you rather be?