Posts Tagged Angling

Pomatomus Saltatrix | The Shad or Elf

The Shad (species: Pomatomus saltatrix – Lineaus), also known in South Africa as Elf, in Australia as Tailor and the USA as Bluefish, is a member of the order Perciformes and family Pomatomidae, and is a popular angling and food fish especially in KwaZulu Natal where people of Indian origin find it extremely desirable…

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Shad Run Madness

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Shad fishing South Coast style… (Image from

The Seasons are Changing So Must the Fishing

Mid May and winter is around the corner. We have already seen the change in fish being caught in the area. The species common in summer have become fewer in number while winter fish hasn’t really started yet.

Fewer elf have been seen lately. These tasty bait fish are most prevalent in Mossel Bay during summer, but come the winter months and the drop in sea temperature sees these fish begin their annual migration up the East Coast to the spawning grounds off KZN, and to face the gauntlet of Natal’s ‘shad-run’.

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Arrived at Sodwana

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Sodwana Bay - Seen from Lighthouse path

We got here at last. After leaving the Kingfisher in Durban, we got on to the northbound highway, determined to get to our ultimate destination with no further delays.

A Good Road North

The N2 national road from Durban to Hluhluwe is a pleasure to drive on. Although it carries a fair amount of traffic, the surface is in better condition than many of the other main arterial routes in South Africa, is double-carriage for a good part of the way, and the toll sections are reasonably priced.

On another occasion I may have been tempted to stop off at Tugela Mouth or Mazeppa Bay, but we suddenly realised nearly a week had gone by. For a change we arrived at the campground, run by Conservation Services (the old Natal Parks Board) while it was still light, and the office was open so we could book in. Late arrivals can still check in, paying a deposit to the rangers at the gate, but then must call in to the office first thing the next day to sign the register.

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Rocky Bay, Bait and Heading On

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The Beach at Rocky Bay - KZN

Good intentions lost out to fishing. Plans to be in Durban by shop opening time got way-laid by the desire to wet a line in the morning. Overnight stop at Rocky Bay, south of Durban found us camped within  50 footsteps of the shore, so the call of the fish was just too powerful to ignore.

Rocky Bay has not Produced Much Fish

That’s what the local early morning anglers had to say. For several years this spot has been un-productive. Theories abound why this previous hot-spot has been so quiet in recent years. Some say the sandbank running along the coast is keeping the fish away from the shore, others say the sandbank will keep the feeding shoals in-shore. Offshore fisherman are catching, so there are fish in the area.

The sandbank theory makes sense to me – It can clearly be seen extending a long way along this part of the coastline, and is very shallow. Waves build up on the bank and break, before continuing to the beach.

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Wild Coast to KZN

photo of port st johns umzimvubu river

Port St Johns on the Umzimvubu River

Leaving Mazeppa we took N2 National Road as far as Umtata, then veered back towards the coast and Port St Johns. This scanic route winds it’s way through the rural part of the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal, along some really poor roads. It’s worth it though, this is maginificent landscape – anyone with a suitable vehicle and the time really should travel this region.

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Deep Water Mazeppa

photo of deep water at Mazeppa Bay

Access to deep water for shore anglers at Mazeppa

Deep water is only  a short cast from the rocks when fishing Mazeppa Bay in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Whether an angler is looking for large sharks and rays, or a deep water edible species, Mazeppa Bay can be very productive at times.

Fishing Mazeppa – Day 2

Day two at Mazeppa began with a nice early start – the wind had changed direction to North East during the afternoon of day one, becoming so severe by late afternoon we decided to break from fishing and do some sightseeing instead. By 2.30 AM no-one had much interest in sleeping any longer. During the night the wind had dropped off completely, so off we headed to the ledges, determined to get baits in the water as soon as possible.

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On to Mazeppa Bay

photo of sea at mazeppa bay south africa

Mazeppa Bay, our first destination on the rugged Wild Coast. Mazeppa Bay is well-known for shore-based angling for big sharks. Sharp drop-offs from land to ocean result in deep water access close inshore, with the big sharks and rays coming within reach of cast-bait angling methods.

Mazeppa Bay Deep Water Fishing Spots

There are 3 popular deep water fishing spots around Mazeppa Bay; The Island, Boiling Pot and Shark Point. With a name like “Shark Point” what else could we expect to find except sharks. Situated just North of Mazeppa Bay village Shark Point has provided many anglers lot’s of battles with sharks over 100kg…

One of the species on my expedition list is the Zambezi shark (AKA the Bull shark). Zambezi’s get big – several hundred kilos and come very close inshore. Zambezi’s are probably responsible for most non-fatal  shark attack injuries in South African waters. They range from the tropical east coast to the Eastern Cape (in summer when the water is warmer). I haven’t before landed this species, so the Zambezi is high on my list of desireable fish to catch.

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Next Stop Kowie

kowie beach

One of the beaches at Port Alfred

Port Alfred on the Kowire River became the first real stop-over on our journey North. A pleasant town at the mouth of the Kowie River in the Eastern Cape, Port Alfred has magnificent clean beaches, good fishing (yes, fishing) and a wide choice of places to stay over.

Blaaukrans, J-Bay and PE

Leaving Vic Bay, we travelled the Garden Route north-east, by-passing Storms River (it’s a marine reserve so no fishing) and heading for Port Elizabeth. I really wanted to take the old road – through the Blaaukrans Pass, bu no way – the road is still closed to all but a handful of residents, so had to stay on the boring N2 highway, over the concrete bridge. I wonder if that road through the pass will ever get repaired and re-opened…

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Victoria Bay

victoria bay

Victoria Bay, South Africa

One of the worst kept secrets on the Garden Route, Victoria Bay grew in recent years from a small quiet holiday resort to a small hamlet with a handful of semi-permanent residents. Originally there was only a camping ground, and later a small shop that opened during holidays and weekends. Victoria Bay in those days was a haven for surfers, and occasionally fishermen.

Vic Bay – First Stop

Victoria Bay is ony a short distance from Mossel Bay, so it may seem strange to make this the first stop on our journey North. However, it’s been some time since last I dropped a line in the water here, and after a late departure Jen and I decided to overnight here, do a bit of night and early morning fishing before continuing our expedition.

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Do You Want a New Saltwater Angling Magazine

Please vote – multiple choice answers are permitted – choose whether you would like to be able to buy the magazine from a store, or to subscribe (Or both if you would like both options) and tell me where you live (AND FISH)

Here it is, one of my options for a new career.

Please help me to establish the potential for a new career related to my favourite occupation, FISHING by taking this survey.

Voting on this survey is totally anonymous. No personal details are collected. I will not be able to send you e-mail because your personal information is not required.

This survey is purely to provide me with an indication of the desirability of a new magazine to replace ESA Magazine (Read my post What happened to ESA Magazine).


Ray the Fisherman

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