|Date of Report: Sunday, 8th March 2020|
|Name: Martin Smuts
Phone: 078 9620111
Some places have a reputation of being over-fished, especially in and around highly populated areas. The harbour here in Durban can be considered such a place, especially by those fishing the fly from easily accessible areas, like the sand banks in front of Wilsons Wharf or the Maritime museum on a low tide. These areas, being easily accessible, are subjected to constant fishing pressure on almost a daily basis. Fishermen from all walks of life, from families with kids being introduced to fishing to seasoned fellas who brave the incoming tide until they almost have to swim back to the parking lot. On the high tide the accessible areas are even fewer, most will have fisherman set up for the long haul, while the favored rocky points will be first to be and remain occupied.
The above description is often enough of a deterrent to many a fly fisherman and bait fisherman alike, especially to those who’s last outing or two resulted in a blank. There are also those who will tell you that the harbour is dead, the fish are full of oil or there are only mullet in the harbour. These “fishermen” usually haven’t cast a line in the harbour in the last ten years or more, let alone caught a fish. This all leads to a place being labeled as over-fished and not worth the effort. Yet this is not always the case, as one or two fish can make a world of difference and besides how will you know if you don’t give it a go.
This past month I fished the harbour on two occasions, once on my own and another with a mate. On both occasions it was on a low tide, on the sand banks in front of Wilsons Wharf and midday. Yes, as usual there were many a fellow fisherman enjoying the day out on the water doing our best to get a bend in the rod. I have recently been taking a spinning rod with me in case the wind picks up, as it so often does. On this occasion after alternating between dropshot and fly for about an hour and a half, my 4 Inch Goldfish paddle tail found that solid resistance that I had been looking for, I honestly thought I had false-hooked a mullet as there were plenty about, yet to my pleasant surprise I landed a healthy little GT. I immediately swopped dropshot for fly and with in four or five casts I was into another little GT on a #2 Chartreuse Clouser minnow. A week or two later and fishing with my mate Lindsay, he had a very good pull on a #2 Salty Bugger, the fish managed to pull a couple meters of line and put a lekker bend in his 9 weight only for the line to go slack soon after and return with no fly at the end. With our excitement we had all sorts of guesses as to what it could have been. Confirmation came in the last couple of casts in the same area with the Goldfish paddle tail. The take was strong, the rod bent and immediately line was taken off the reel. The fish moved very fast and at one point I thought it was lost as it ran towards me. A few short minutes later a decent size pickhandle barracuda was landed.
So yes, the fishing can be tough but if you put in the time and change your tactics slightly there are fish to be caught. Mind you, getting out on fishing kayak or boat will put you in water that is under a lot less fishing pressure and the number of catches and variety of species proves it. Until next time tight lines.