The 2020 Dorado Season is OPEN!
It’s Dorado time again! And the instinctive attraction these fish have for the brown water plume that forms out of the Umzimkulu River mouth when the rains start-up in the wet season, makes for real fun fishing times.
Luckily these rare water conditions also attract marlin and sailfish. Many a billfish have been taken along this wonderfully distinct line between deep brown of the river and the almost purple-blue Agulhas Current. Baitfish congregate along the length of the line and catching live bait while dragging normal baits is the go-to system for us on the Niteshift. (The Niteshift is a purpose built gamefisher that we run out of Port Shepstone whenever the river mouth allows. She is available for charter, but only when the conditions are right).
When we don’t have live bait, we drop one or two really big baits down a bit deeper on MYDO Baitswimmer rigs. Then we slow skip another bait or two on the top way out back. And depending on crew, we also intersperse these primary targets with a few sardines on nylon traces. Sometimes with a float to keep it near the surface where dorado like to hunt and hang out.
The dorado hunt in packs. And there is nothing more exhilarating than spotting a shoal coming down the line when sitting on the fly-bridge. Their sleek appearance is bolstered by the way they swim in formation and ready to mercilessly rain our down fire on any errant or careless baitfish.
Dorado jump on well-presented lures. Dropshots are favourites for dorado with their realistic swimming motion and soft texture. Dorado will also jump on a flashy spoon. And will never pass by a slow chugging popper of any size. Spinning off the front of the boat whilst on a slow troll is in fact the most important job of all. What this does…is increase your overtall range around the boat by far. Each cast, maybe 20 or 30 metres to port or starboard, will get the attention of any fish in that area. The fish might then even chase your lure and into the spread the fish finds itself. Surrounded with tasty looking offerings and already excited into hunting mode by the lively lure from the front.
In fact, best results are definitely always achieved when two or even three lures are flying off the front non-stop. Making your entire effort into a fish-attracting scene. NB. Any experienced angler knows not to throw in front of the moving boat, but to cast at a good 45 degrees forward and out. This means that if you have a problem, the lure will not go back and near propellors or the spread.
Some video we shot when we got our first dorado on Wednesday morning…
Some more action shot the very next day with our pro angler and guest at the Umzimklulu Marina, Shaun Begg. Shaun has just recetly, with his team from North West Cebtral, won the South African National Feeder Championships. SO he certainly knew what he was doing when he hooked up to his very first dorado.
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Shaun made the trip down to the KZN South Coast specifically to increase the number of saltwater species on his bucket list of fish. And aside from this lekker dorado and a wonderful weather morning out at sea, a whole lot more target list species were to come his way.
For those that have not been down this way, the Umzimkulu River hits the Indian Ocean and the Agulhas Current at the lively Sandspit, and The Block. These two hotspots are world-renowned for surf fishing. Gamefish. Inedibles. Edibles. And SHARKS!
That swim up the river during the rains, to give birth to 12 or 13 pups. The pups are born like mammals! They pop out in perfect shape and are ready to hunt and eat right away. On Saturday we had this big momma navigating her way up against the strong brown water, where she surely will pop her pops and go back out to sea again. The pups stay in the river system until they are about 1.5 to 2m long. At which point thet head out the estuary waters and out to sea, to find the reef system they will now call home. Zambezi sharks are not known to travel far distances from where they were born.
Another trophy and highly sought after fish that also does not mind water with less salt in, is the formidable and violent striking Rock Salmon.
This is the fish that most anglers come to visit us for. And Shaun was no different as we started out on that campaign. Which will be the next story…
Come and join us down here in Port Shepstone. The dorado and billfish spell on at the moment has really only just begun and so we have a good two or three months to enjoy the great water conditions and fishing. The water has been right up at 26 degrees, and the river has been even warmer! We are hoping for more rain as usual, to keep the river flowing and pumping that ever-important alkaline brown water out there to balance the ever-rising acidity levels of the sea.
And presenting us with all these species that rely on this brown water for survival. Perch love it. Rockies too. Big catfish also get swept down to us by the swift-running river. AND. The most important trophy fish of all – The infamous Oxe Eye Tarpon.! This wily and elusive fish makes it’s annual appearance with the brown water too. This angry animal comes down with the brown water, to the salt, where they spawn. And feed. They take a lure or a fly readily when you can find them!
So stay in touch via http://umzimkulu.co.za.
Post prepped by The Sardine News at http://thesardine.co.za.