|Date of Report: Tuesday, 23rd May 2017|
|Name: Scotty Kyle
There is no escaping the fact that this last season has been, overall, the worst on record at Kosi Bay.
There were flashes of brilliance with some amazing GT’s and also some enormous seapike but, generally, the fishing was very poor indeed in the lakes and ocean. Catch rates were low and some species, such as rock salmon, that have been abundant recently have declined markedly.
Throughout the season catches were at best erratic and many times nothing at all was caught. Right at the moment with seriously declining temperatures the situation is really not good.
Despite this last week I saw a spotted pompano of 58 cm, tagged and released, and this is by far the largest of this species I have seen. There are still some excellent fish around but between their learning more and more about anglers and particularly artificial lures and flies they are just very difficult to catch.
In the lakes we know there are too many fish being killed and that the top reason is illegal netting. We have now been given the tags of over 40% of the fish we tagged in the lakes this season and, bearing in mind fish mortality, tag loss, under reporting etc it is very likely that well over 50% of the fish must have been killed by people before they got anywhere near spawning. Steps are being taken to increase effort against netting but it is not easy in these financially strapped times.
In the ocean there are recent indications that boats are coming in and targeting fish in the protected areas and steps are also being taken to try and deal with these. We are working closely with the Mozambicans to deal with skiboats that come from Ponta and poach off Kosi Mouth and elsewhere. You can help by sending me any information that includes a boat name and ID along with locality and date information at firstname.lastname@example.org. If they launched at Ponta we can have them caught and severely dealt with.
With bigger boats we can call in the Sarah Baardman, a ship with excellent capacity, to catch and prosecute them. Our consciences are clear and fly fishers generally have an excellent reputation for treating fish carefully and releasing them alive. People who fish for food have a legitimate reason to kill fish but those who do so for profit or commercially have no place in protected areas and need to be dealt with harshly.
Fishing is still the mainstay of tourism in this area and needs to be protected but you can be some of our eyes and ears.
The area is still ecologically intact, it is still as beautiful as ever and, given a chance, fish populations can recover and even survive considerable pressure and mortality.
Right at the moment there are large numbers of young spotted grunter entering the lakes and shortly the kingfishes, seapike and rock salmon should be doing the same.
In the same way as catches declined last year they could climb again this year.
The shad are due to arrive, alongwith the whales, in about two week’s time. Let’s hope this is a good season for them and that they bring in good numbers of predators including that massive GT that we have always wanted to catch!
Photo by Brandon Stonefield