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Video: Protea Reef in The Sardine Run 2020

Emperor Bream by Johan Wessels at Umzimkulu Marina

Protea Reef in The Sardine Run 2020

Protea Reef in The Sardine Run 2020: Well it’s been a fantastic few days as we had the very well fishing-centered Johan Wessels, of the Fishing Pro Shop in Pretoria, visiting us down here at the Umzimkulu Marina, in Port Shepstone.


His first day was spent catching GTs, shad and sardines – a whole lot of fun in an around the Umzimkulu Estuary Mouth. Trolling and casting lures all day long as we cruised the mighty Umzimkulu aboard our huge river cruiser boat.

Sardine Run 2020: Baby GT by Johan Wessels in the Umzimkulu River Port Shepstone
Another Baby GT by Johan Wessels in the Umzimkulu River Port Shepstone

Using tiny little hard baits an dropshots, even a spoon, will keep you busy for hours as you troll the channels and spin into the banks and ledges along the way.

The shad were so plentiful in amongst the shoals of sardines it was too easy. The garrick were there but they were full of sardines and just being plain lazy. There were sharks in the shorebreak too!

All-in-all, it has been a bumper sardine run which looks to continue as we expect a few more cold fronts to come along an do their part.

Tropical Yellowtail

His second day was a lot more serious as we took to the ocean in the late afternoon and fished into the evening. We were hoping for the elusive geelbek salmon but had to settle for some good rockcod and reef fish instead. But the highlight of this trip, was as we were sounding around looking for showings, Johan dropped his special Gomoku Slow Roller jig to the bottom an went vas straight away! He caught and released three shiny new baby tropical yellowtail in about ten minutes. Until a really big one said emphatically NO, to his 10lb ultra-light tackle.

Protea Reef

Sardine run 2020: Johan Wessels releases another Tropical Yellowtail on the Niteshift
Johan Wessels releases another Tropical Yellowtail on the Niteshift

Then, with Johan’s return to the Big Smoke looming, we spent his last day fishing hard. From very early, we launched out of the Umzimkulu Mouth at first light, and got to our beloved Protea Reef in no time flat on the Niteshift with her new 60hp high thrust outboards. It wasn’t minutes before Johan got his first of two yellowfin tuna. The he got us a bonnie, which was spooked by something big and flashy. Marlin! Since the sharks were all on the backline chasing sardines and bumping into eachother in the shorebreaks – we though maybe. But. Those huge trebles – meant for screaming couta or wahoo, were no good for the flashy fish, an the bonito survived the strike!

In fact, he survived right until we decided rather to use him as chum, as some really huge yellowfin (for our area) broke the surface wildly a hundred metres away. What a spectacle to see those gas bottle size YFT bouncing around on the surface like that! But, without hardly any current for a change, our baits did produce more reef fish, that took our chum baits meant for those huge tunas.

Luckily at least some of this action-packed day was recorded an we managed to scrape this cool 6 minute compilation, including a double-angle of the return through the surf launch.

The Umzimkulu Marina is OPEN for business. Regulations and guidelines apply. But we are stoked to report the sardine run this year is really on with loads of fun an excitement available on tap at literally any beach down here right now!

Possibilities are endless

We will get you and keep you in on the action, we can even take you out to sea to get right in the middle of the chaos! Bring your snorkeling equipment if you have the nerve! Its an amazing experience and the predators really are not interested in divers at all during this festive time underwater.

We have the river cruiser for fishing and cruising the estuary with. The valley is dotted with wildlife all over the place including the fish eagles, otters, turtle and even the odd zambezi shark! We fish for gamefish like kingfish (of which there are plenty right now) grunter, rock salmon, garrick and kob but along the way we are often surprised with perch, flagtail and all-sorts of good bait looking fishies.

Then we have the Niteshift, a 22 ft cat with two 60hp Yamaha four-stroked designed explicitly to handle the river mouth launch here at the Umzimkulu River. This boat is also rigged for night fishing which we love to do. We catch all sorts at night too but mainly we spend most of the time searching for those super-tasty geelbek salmon, which love the sardine run too! They are here at the moment, we have had a few successful outings but the stupid lockdown kept us at bay for the most part, these least few months.

And then last but not least, we have on premises at the Umzimkulu Marina, the MYDO fishing lures factory! Upstairs in the main boat house, we have all that it takes to produce baitswimmers, stripbaitswimmers, livebaitswimmers, luck shots, daisies and SS Spoons. Its a lot fun spending time up in the factory, where we have a collection of tackle stemming back from the seventies, for you to marvel at and draw inspiration from. We can make up lures exactly as you need them, for you and your mates. Or bring your boat and we can outfit the whole lot with the MYDO Fishing System, which featured in the video above.

Get in touch via many ways including Sean on or +27793269671 WhatsApp.

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Post prepped by The Sardine News for the Umzimkulu Marina.

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