FOSAF FLYFISHING REPORTS - Saltwater - Kosi

Date of Report: Monday, 19th March 2018
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Name: Scotty Kyle
Email: rkyle@iafrica.com

No two years at Kosi Bay are the same or often even vaguely similar. This year there have been some truly amazing fish caught in unexpected places while some places that have produced for years have been very quiet. In the ocean which for years has been fairly consistent, at least at places like Kosi Mouth, this year the smallish kingfish have been almost absent. There have been a few very small Bigeye and greenspot kingfish but the shoals of medium sized fish that seem to have been around for years are mostly not there. The shoals to big greenspot kingfish are indeed still there but each year they become ever more difficult to catch. It seems they know all the artificial lures and, unless you come up with something new, they are very difficult to catch. They are still able to be caught on live bait, but they are ever more sneaky and seem to feed mostly very early mornings and late evenings, even after dark.  Species like bastard mullet, that used to be common north of Kosi Mouth, seem to have almost disappeared possibly due to illegal beach seine netting in the gullies.

The rest of the shore has been inconsistent. The fishing has not been bad but feeding fish often seem few and far between and it is necessary to cover as much area as possible to stumble on feeding fish. The weather seems to have been particularly challenging in terms of swell and sidewash much of the time recently but whether this is due to climate change or is “normal” is unclear. It is amazing how when nothing seems to be taking the fly some swimmers tell us of the amazing huge spotted pompano just behind the backline. The fish seem to be there but, all too often, are just not being caught.

The fish are definitely learning about lures but there is also a lot of attrition of small and juvenile fish by local “subsistence” anglers.  I recently walked along the beach behind three of these anglers and caught very little and tagged what I did catch. When they turned and came past me I saw each had several juveniles of my target species dragging in the sand behind them. If only we could convince people to release the juveniles it would have to improve fishing for all of us.

All this season there have been relatively few GT’s to be seen in the shore breaks and not many have been caught. Similarly, bluefin and greenspot kingfish have not been common and even Bigeye kingfish have been scarce most of the time. Despite this many people have had great sport/success along the beaches this year and it is only after Easter that things really begin to cool down, metaphorically and physically.

In the lakes this really has been a mixed season and continues to be so. In all three lakes amazing fish have been caught including GT’s of over 30 kilograms and rock salmon of up to 10 kilograms. Most of the largest fish have been in Lake Three but good fish have also been caught in the other lakes. Few have been caught on bait while most were caught on artificial lure and some nice ones on fly. At times there have been shoals of really good fish in the shallows while at other times blind casting along weed and reed beds has been productive. There are currently many more weed beds than usual in Lake Three and it seems the big predators are patrolling these areas much of the time and then they sometimes aggregate into shoals and go on the prowl. 

Often there are good times and bad times to fish but this season has been strange in that respect as well. Early morning and evening are always better but good catches have also been made at other times and even in the heat of the day. If you do find a shoal of GT’s it can contain anything from 8 kilograms to over thirty, so be prepared for a fight and a dirty fight. If you hook a fish at the edge of a weedbed be assured that if it is a GT it will immediately take you long and far into the weeds.

We have managed to tag quite a few of these excellent fish so far this year and it is very worrying the high proportion that have already been killed by local fishers and poachers. We have had very few returns so far from recreational anglers.

It will not be long before the fishing calms down again this year so a final fling at Kosi Bay is a must!

Editors note: Sadly, this will be the last of Scotty’s excellent reports as he now retires to Maritzburg.

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Fighting a large fish in Lake 3