Turtle in the Umzimkulu News too, he was upside down in the river?!

Umzimkulu News Nov’19

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Umzimkulu News Nov’ 19

Umzimkulu News: Well it’s been a busy time down on the river, as summer has unfolded. Bringing with it the rain. Which brings the fish!

Jason-Heyne-from-MasterWatermen-with-early-season-couta makes the Umzimkulu News
Jason Heyne from MasterWatermen with early-season couta makes the Umzimkulu News

This theory is supported and backed up by Jason of MasterWatermen, who just this week shot his first ‘couta of the season. Jason reckons that the brown water stimulates the ocean radically, as horse mackerel and all sorts of bait converge.

Chuck in a few late pockets of sardines and you really have a good recipe for summer gamefish in Natal waters right now.

Umzimkulu News:  Fishing Report

Jarrid Gallagher with his lekka lekka 6kg Dorado also makes the Umzimkulu News
Jarrid Gallagher with his lekka lekka 6kg Dorado also makes the Umzimkulu News

Well as you can see from pic, the dorado have also come to the party. Jarrid look’s stoked with his 6kg model. These fish also come running when the river’s break through bringing down with them all that delicious brown water.

Some gas bottle sized tuna have been spotted on the backline, with one of 27kg’s reported so far.

And we know the couta are here because of Jason’s fish above.

And that nice-looking yellowtail at Orange Rocks in the gallery proves that these formidable guys are also around.

The river mouth is open so it’s all lining for a great fishing season.

Upside down turtle?!

Yip, found in the river, lying on it’s back? So, the kids simply righted the rather big animal. And it just swam off fine.

We get plenty of turtles in the river, adding to the wildlife you can encounter in the rich estuary zone. Fish eagles. Otters. All the birds. Even sharks! We have been bumping into more and more free-swimming sharks in the river. And anglers catch and release them every now and then, whilst fishing for kob or rock salmon.


But the biggest news of the year must be Moo Fraser and family, discovering and diving with a genuine coelacanth, in 67m off Pumula somewhere?!

It’s very surprising then, that nobody fishing that area has hooked a coelacanth?! This is the exact waters where those huge copper steenbras and amberjack come from. Maybe the coelacanth are way too developed to take a live bait with huge visible hooks hanging out of it.

Thank you for taking the time to read the Umzimkulu News roundup for November 2019. Get in touch if you would like to plan a fishing holiday for the family or group of friends.

Post by The Sardine News

Late season rock salmon fishing waters of the mighty Umzimkulu River

Late season rock salmon on the Umzimkulu

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Late season rock salmon on the Umzimkulu

Late season rock salmon: Usually, we target and catch rock salmon down on the Umzimkulu River estuary, in winter times. In the clear water. 

But, another late season rock salmon was caught recently from the marina! The angler’s name was AJ Koortzen. He is from Durban. And caught his awesome rock salmon on a little fish head. Good fight. Great experience. The fish went a good 3kg’s or so. 

AJ Koortsen and his lekker Rock Salmon
AJ Koortsen and his lekker Rock Salmon

Those icy cold winter evenings on the water can test your endurance and patience. But, if you sit it out long enough, you almost always get your reward. It’s mainly night time fishing we do. Out on the good ship Umzimkulu, our licensed 28 ft river cruiser. Or from the bank right out front of the lodge.

Live bait is first prize and luckily there are all sorts on offer. Sometimes we catch huge prawns, of all varieties. Grunter jump on a well-presented prawn live-bait. In fact, all the fish in that river do. Here is a quick list of the fish you can catch in the mighty Umzimkulu;

  • rock salmon
  • grunter
  • GT
  • big eye kingfish
  • blacktip kingfish
  • oxe-eye tarpon
  • zambezi shark
  • flagtail
  • shad
  • perch
  • square tailed kob
  • daga salmon
  • snapper salmon

We don’t even list the inedibles, but there are plenty too.

All the above fish will jump on a live-bait. But. They also take a well presented and placed lure. The advent of plastics brought about new zest as we started catching on these versatile and fun artificials.

Kob love them. Rock salmon too. All the kingfish. Shad obliterate them.

At the Umzimkulu Marina, we make our own powerful and high-performance jigheads. Using technology from the aerospace industry, the late but legendary Brian Davey devised a lure that made a dead bait appear swimming like a live bait. This tech was adapted to the dropshot fishing sensation and work perfectly. These lures make the plastic bait swim and veer and jump and splash, all just by variating your retrieve and rod tip action.

The MYDO factory is upstairs in the boathouse, ask to take a look when you are there.

You can read all about the MYDO Luck Shot at the following link…

MYDO Luck Shot

You can place an order online, and pay by EFT. Delivery takes a few days to a week sometimes more. We use the Post Office, or there is a PostNet option, for reliability and convenience.

If you want to spend some time fishing the Umzimkulu, looking for those late season rock salmon, the river is still crystal clean

Guest angler Dejan and his powerful rock salmon caught at 3am in the mouth area of the Umzimkulu River
Guest angler Dejan and his powerful rock salmon caught at 3am in the mouth area of the Umzimkulu River
The Umzimkulu Shark Report Winter 2017

Umzimkulu Shark Report September 2017

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Umzimkulu Shark Report September 2017

It’s been a great year for the sharks of The Umzimkulu – starting right back in February, with the rains. For hours, and day after day, the the brown water literally poured out of the mouth, huge Zambezi moms could be seen making their way tentatively under the bridge and up into the river. Three at a time on one afternoon. Having only really seen this at Tugela and Port St. Johns before, this was a real stoker.

These huge mommas head way up river, to give birth. To 12 or 13 young eager pups that swim away from their mother immediately at birth. These guys go straight into feeding mode – highly developed instinct being their only teacher. They grow like most bigger fish do, at about 5 to 7kgs per year. Which means that the cute little Zambezi we caught 4 years ago – would be cruising at about 30kg’s. Chris Leppan (the south coast one), got one at about that size last year, which he also released in perfect health. It ate a live bait.

Then at the end of a charter on the river, it was after golden hour (the second one, we have figured there are two down on the river), I was peering into the overcast afternoon, back over the lines, when all of a sardine, here comes a shark, clean out of the water! He looked at least a metre and a half! And he fully breached! With a gentle spin, and splash! Back into the water. I yelled, “Did you see THAT?!”. But no-one else did. Only me. As usual.

But I was avenged the very next day. We had the Farinha clan aboard, about 12 of them, and were fishing for kingfish and rock salmon, trolling the deep spots, underneath the Ghost House. When SPLASH! A huge sound, right next to the boat. This time I missed it, but everyone on the boat exclaimed, “SHARK!”. By now every one of us were looking forward and here it come again! It’s full body length out of the water. A mean looking Zambezi on his way the 2metre mark. Maybe 50kg’s or a bit more. Then he breached a third time. With his trademark slow spin. It most definitely was an interaction with us. It sure felt that he wanting us to acknowledge him or something.

So we told the story back at the Umzimkulu Marina that afternoon, and found out that the very same shark (or his twin), has been spotted doing this pirouette leap, up and down the river mouth area. Some guy was driving over the low level bridge and a Umzimkulu shark leapt out of the water right next to him!

And to round off this Umzimkulu shark report. Earlier in the year, when the river was still flowing, I went down to The Block to check the launch. Over and away from me on the other side of the river mouth – the fishing famous Sandspit, some idiot had let his kids swim, albeit in the shallows. They were knee deep, when in between me and them, a zambezi came clear out of the water, doing the very same pirouette!

Same guy? Maybe? Let’s just hope it stays away from the shark nets, when it finally matures sexually, and leaves the safe haven of the Umzimkulu River. Slim chance.

Hook up on Facebook at…https://web.facebook.com/UmzimkuluMarina/

Report by The Sardine News

Really good kingfish in the Umzimkulu lately

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Really good kingfish in the Umzimkulu lately

There has been some Really good kingfish in the Umzimkulu lately, in amongst kob, shad, rock salmon and some huge grunter!

We have a great run and overall our charter trips on the river in the past two weeks, have released over 20 estuarine gamefish.

Dustin van Biljon showing who's who at Fishin's Cool, down on The Umzimkulu River. Another baby giant kingfish on the Mydo Luck Shot #1
Dustin van Biljon showing who’s who at Fishin’s Cool, down on The Umzimkulu River. Another baby giant kingfish on the Mydo Luck Shot #1

The fish are readily taking our little Mydos, and two old rapalas, from the eighties. These benchmark old lures are black on top, a bit of gold and leading to silver/white bellies. We straightened the older hooks twice in one afternoon – the fish screamed off so fast that even with hardly any drag the hooks failed. The Mydos have been the #1 Luck Shots, with either a firetiger paddletail about 4 inches only, or clear/white split tails same size. These lures are rigged with 3/0 to 5/0 Mustad Kendall Round or O’Shaugnessy singles. Strong and reliable. And easy to remove for quick releasing fish with minimal damage.

There are many ways for you to get fishing with us on The Umzimkulu. The easiest is to come stay a few days. You get half-price boat excursions as a guest. And you can fish from the bank or jetties all day and night. It’s where we caught a bunch of grunter on Friday night.

Or take us up on a guided sport fishing estuary and surf package. Where we use the boats to get ourselves into all sorts of fishing opportunities. Loading the boat with coolers boxes and even a braai, keeps us on the water for ages! Parking the boat under the Umzimkulu bridge means you can fish the estuary side and cast into the surf from the famed Sandspit. And you don’t have to carry a thing! Perfectly safe too. Cars parked at the lodge is secure way off street parking.

More packages and fishing experiences on http://thesardine.co.za

Fishing School at The Umzimkulu Marina July 2017

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Fishing School at The Umzimkulu Marina July 2017

There is a real cool option for this July 2017 school holidays- Fishing School at The Umzimkulu Marina!

Due to popular demand, the fun and well attended Fishing School down at the river in Port Shepstone is ON!

Starting early, drop the junior anglers at the Umzimkulu Marina – and thereafter they are our story! Collect at 3pm. Extra hours available on request.

The Umzimkulu River is a beautiful piece of water, safe and calm. Our boat is 26ft long and completely stable. The skipper (Sean Lange this year), is a qualified lifeguard, and is assisted by a second mate.

We supply:

  • tackle and bait (bring your own rod – bass size)
  • tutoring and guidance (safety, tides and weather, baiting up, casting, fishing with lures)
  • cooldrinks (fruit smoothies)
  • lunch (hotdogs)
  • certificate of estuary boat fishing competence (after 5 complete days)
  • lifejackets (if you have your own bring it along)

The day costs R150 per person. We run from Monday to Friday, if you take the week, you can pay R600, giving you R150 discount (R120 per day).

It’s chilly in the mornings and sunny in the daytime – hats and jerseys, and spare clothing pls.

We have a maximum limit of chaos set at 10 kids per day, so get in touch on umzimkulu@gmail.com, or call Sean on +2779 326 9671 to make a booking. Or fill out this form for lightning quick response;

Click on over to The Sardine News at http://thesardine.co.za to see more about the current fishing conditions. Or here for our last good catch, a lovely Giant Kingfish taken on a lure just before sunset.

A GT and four spotted grunter released in one evening at The Umzimkulu Marina

Catching and releasing GT’s and Spotted Grunter in the afternoon

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Catching and releasing GT’s and Spotted Grunter in the afternoon

The Umzimkulu is in pristine shape right now, slightly smelly in some places, but the fish seem to dig it. The water is however crystal clean, even at low tide. These huge tides are a great opportunity to see it at low tide, and fish it all at high tide.

This trip, read all about it below, gave us two species. A GT and 4 Spotted Grunter. All of which were released healthily back into the river, except for one lovely fish that went home for the currying pot.


Umzimkulu GT in the evening

It’s also the beginning (both have kicked off), of the sardine run, and the shad bite. Both fish are scattered up and down the KZN and Transkei coasts, getting hammered mercilessly by anglers and marine predators alike.

It seems the DAFF ous have absolutely no chance against the hoards. At least Ezimvelo had a few tricks up their sleeves, from their decades in experience in marine law enforcement. These new guys are absolutely hopeless. It’s open season at many places. And most of the shad are still undersized. But they are still being taken. Stashed in bags in cars. And driven home unhindered.

Out in the ocean it’s birds and dolphins criss-crossing and up and down the coast non-stop. Whales rejoicing out back. The ski-boaters are getting the odd daga salmon in amongst good hauls of reds. Garrick anglers are waiting impatiently for National Garrick Day. The night time is the right time to target the grunter and kob at river mouths, I am SURE that many fish being caught are NOT being reported. Never on Facey, that’s for sure.

Anyways, I am home (Sean) for two weeks and am available for fishing on the river or the sandspit, DAY AND NIGHT…get in touch on umzimkulu@gmail.com or WhatsApp +27 79 326 9671 to chat.

Fishing packages available at http://thesardine.co.za/



Posted Leave a commentPosted in Fishing Report, Ocean Charters


How about this for a musselcracker! With Uncle Skomolo himself hoisting it for a photo.

Musselcracker by Brian Lange
Musselcracker by Brian Lange

We don’t often catch these magnificent and tasty fish – this one would last us for ages! Cooked any way you like, the flesh is sweet and oily.

They are kind of vulnerable as they are resident, and endemic to our coastline. And easy to catch, they live in any reef system from the shore to 60 metres or more. And when you pull one up from the deep, it’s very difficult to get the fish back down for a successful release. But on a quiet day, with the right bait and right tackle, you can get your bottom fish of a lifetime in the form of a big black steenbras, as they are also known. Skomolo is another name for these mean fighting and angry looking fish. And Poenskop?! Latin name  Cymatoceps nasutus.

You are only allowed one of these fish per day, and it must be half a metre in length. But even one a day would be too many. It should be one per month or something more meaningful.

In the meantime, don’t miss out on our next fish braai – there might even be some musselcracker on the menu!

And a few scenes taken down at The Umzimkulu Marina…

Get in touch for your next fishing adventure – umzimkulu@gmail.com, and let’s put a package together for you…


Spearos also encountering big Couta now

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Spearos also reporting outsized king mackeral Jason Heyne checks in and also reports that the king mackeral they have been encountering underwater are all way above average. And more exciting news is that the Garrick have turned up in KZN waters in reasonable numbers – Xona The diving conditions this week have been average. Garrick…

via Spearos also reporting outsized king mackeral — thesardine.co.za

Stealth Couta Catch

Another great couta season on the KZN South Coast

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Another great couta season on the KZN South Coast

Well it’s turned out to be another bumper big couta season again this year. Starting in about Feb/March, and running through to August and even September, really big couta congregate down here on the south coast of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa – presumably to spawn – but that is a tough fact to verify?!

Check this shot featured from a recent surf ski event staged by Umgeni Kayak Fishing Club recently…their post is below…


And check the results of their competition…

Image may contain: text

More pics from the event here…


And then a gallery of recent large couta taken on the south coast of KZN.


Guest angler Dejan and his powerful rock salmon caught at 3am in the mouth area of the Umzimkulu River

It’s Rock Salmon time

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Rock Salmon time

It’s definitely rock salmon time down here on the Umzimkulu River estuary system in Port Shepstone. The water has cleaned up great, and the winter chill is setting in. Exactlky what the rockies want…

Rock salmon time
It’s rock salmon time

The low level bridge, with all its features, holds many species but the meanest are undoubtedly the rock salmon. Some guys have been braving the traffic and have been having big fun spin casting off the bridge.

We can get there and fish much safer by boat. Our big 26ft cruiser is a great fishing platforming you can bring as much gear as you want. Rates vary,  but a Base fee of R50 per person per hour works best for all. There are some cool package deals available too…click here for more.

It’s not only rock salmon this time of year either. The big-eye kingfish have been plentiful, and small kobbies in the 5kg range have been taken inside the river and off the beach regularly. The zambezi sharks keep us on our toes…and it’s very close to garrick time too. They love terrorising the mullet in the estuary in the clean water of winter time.

We fish live bait that we catch at the slipway, and artificials – soft baits and hard baits – Mydo Lures are manufactured in a small factory behind the lodge…designed especially for the fish we get here. And we always have a sardine head out somewhere – a truly reliable all round bait.

We have 4 self-catering chalets that sleep between two and five. Nicely appointed and kitchens well equipped. Braai places and safe off street parking. We can sleep a total of eighteen and we do allow the venue to be booked out completely. Great place for birthdays and celebrations.

Get to us via…




Sean on umzimkulu@gmail.com or +27 79 326 9671

You can see a lot more rock salmon fishing and read all about these mean fish by following the following link: