Flyfishing report: Saltwater - Upper South Coast

Date of Report: Monday, 30th May 2022
Name: Martin Smuts
Phone: 078 9620111

I am sure that we are all aware of the severe weather, the heavy rains and flooding that was experienced in Kwazulu Natal over the past two months. Our prayers are for those who themselves and their families were severely affected by the rains and the resulting floods.

These past rains have been the heaviest that I have experienced here in Durban and from the sounds of things, it has been decades since the area last experienced such rain. The continuous downpour led to our river systems becoming severely flooded, and the river mouths being properly flushed out of years of accumulated silt. So much so was this flushing out, that most if not all of our river mouths and estuaries have been re-formed and re-shaped, taking on a completely new look and feel. If our local river mouths are anything to go by, then the rest of the river mouths throughout the province should look just as promising.

 The closest river mouth to where I live, is the Umgeni. Before the rains the mouth was a narrow channel (very difficult to fish in a fast-flowing spring tide). The deep water was on the pier side and becoming shallower towards north bank (the opposite side). Now, after the rains it looks quite different, the first thing you notice is that the mouth is a lot wider, where there was sand before, there is now water and where there was shallow water before, there is now sand. The depth is difficult to determine at the moment due to the clarity of the water being very low. Basically, it looks very promising from a fishing perspective. The water is still very dirty, so no fly fishing for now but as time passes, the clarity improves and we spend more time on the water, I am sure we will be into some good fishing in this area over the next couple of months. (see photos below)

The Illovo River mouth just south of Durban has also seen some re-shaping and now offers a lovely wide, deep piece of water, likely to hold some seriously good fish. The guys who frequent these waters have fished the area since the rains and tell with much enthusiasm of the amazing looking water and the potential for fantastic fishing this coming winter. A Garrick of roughly 3 kg's was caught on live bait, right at the Illovo mouth so it does looks as though the guys are going to be in for some good fishing.

No reports of fly caught fish in the harbour recently, which is likely due to less fly-fishing pressure as opposed to no fish. The reports on the conventional tackle side of things talk of very good fishing. Both in the harbour and just outside, at the harbour entrance, both north and south pier. Although it does seem as though it is mostly the guys on boats who have been into the fish. As for shore-based fishing, I heard of some very good fishing, about three weeks back, it was over a couple of nights around Virginia Beach, with a good few Kob and some big Shad coming out on bait and artificials.

With the really severe storm barely a month ago, we have been faced with more heavy rains less than two weeks ago. Not as much as before, but still enough to get the water proper chocolate in colour. So, it'll be another couple of days before things clear up and we are able to get back down to the water. Overall, it appears the heavy rains have had positive effect on our local fishing grounds, and it looks as though we have good winter season to look forward to. Tight lines.


Perch caught on a Green Mamba by Roger Gurr at the Illovo mouth.


The Umgeni River mouth before the rains.


The Umgeni River mouth after the rains.