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Pongola Game Reserve Fishing Report
|Water Clarity:||0% River Stretch * Main Dam – Clean in certain areas|
|Fishing Area:||River Stretch and entrance to main dam|
|Average Size:||1-1, 5 kg|
|Avg. / half day:||Difficult as fishing sporadic|
|Artificial Lure:||Red spinners mainly (5g Dam Efzett)|
|Bait:||Tiger Fillet, Sardine and Chicken Breast|
|Biggest Fish:||6,1kg tiger fish – Tony Talbot – Main Dam|
|Skipper of the month:||Dumisani – conventional|
Jozini is filling up! I have not seen the dam this high since 2000 when it filled up. At the moment it’s about over 80 % and clearly still rising. Unfortunately the river and most of the dam is dirty though the wind seems to assist cleaning it up in the main dam. A lot of debris came down too, which could pose a problem with damaging propellers, so keep a look out!
Otherwise we had a great January’s fishing. The water was clear and warm, with plenty of afternoon thunderstorms. We had the van Rensburg’s from Venda here for 12 days, and they had success with all methods of catching tigers. The red 5g Efzett seemed to prove best, with a lot of tigers in the 2 kg range coming out. A few bigger tigers were lost too, one around 5 kg was well talked about around the bar. The sneaker motor proved vital in his success, and once the fish were located, it was just a case of re-fishing the same areas daily.
Tiger fillet is still working extremely well. Remember it works well when drifting or the cast and retrieve method. It does not work as well on the bottom as sardine does. Again work it off the Hydrilla beds. I remember catching about 16 fish in a matter of an hour, great fun and a higher hook-up rate. Spinners tend to get stuck in the weed a lot, though they work well fished in a similar manner.
Grant Macquet, regular Nkwazi client, also did extremely well on live bait fishing just off the beds. Unfortunately his live bait only lasted him the day and not the three days he expected. These were fished without corks. I did have some dead kurpers for him, which seemed to work just as well. I am busy getting stocks up for the March – May frenzy, so give me a call when coming up next and I will see if I can supply.
Unfortunately we did not have as many fly fishing clients this month, although I did quite a bit myself, and it was great. I recall losing a beauty (4 kg) on the second jump, and losing another one when the hook snapped. Again fishing intermediate line and clouser minnows. I was fortunate to have some flies left by Cliff Rochester last year and they seem to be exactly what the tigers are after. If you recall, his wife Tarryn, caught that 6 kg in December on the same pattern. If interested in purchasing his flies, you can get hold of him on 082 872 3744. Alternatively I want to get a selection at the lodge which one can purchase when staying with us.
Otherwise, that’s all for now. I think February is going to be a bit of a challenge with the water. We are going to try a couple of different methods and see if we can turn the fishing around in the dirty water. Will let you know next month.
Gill nets are becoming a major problem again. This month we removed three nets opposite and around the KZN campsite. These nets are set about a foot under the water, mainly in the shallows around the Hydrilla. In most cases they get wrapped around the propeller or are sometimes visible by the presence of dead fish floating. Please contact us if any are found or any unusual activities or boats are seen while fishing. These nets stretch up to 600 m long and are obviously not target specific, meaning birds, terrapins even hippos are getting caught up in them. At the moment we are trying to get as much evidence of their severity and location. Unfortunately the last case was thrown out of court and all the boats were returned to the “owners”. Please don’t try and get involved but rather contact us.
This brings me to a new boat launch fees. It is been implemented to prevent the above from occurring and so we have a more visible law enforcement body. It will also fund more research projects that are currently underway. The daily launch fee will be a R100 a day, payable at the KZN gate or the lodge where you are staying. We are still waiting for the invoice books and final date of commencement, but it should be in the near future. I will keep you updated on this issue.
In the last couple of months a couple of projects have been funded or are underway. From now on I will give you a quick explanation of the project, who is running it, and a contact number if you are interested in assisting during your stay. Currently we have the following projects running:
1. Crocodile Research
2. Hydrilla Research
3. Black Rhino Monitoring Research
4. Tiger Research
5. Swazi “Big Six” Project
I will start next with a bit of background information and quick idea how the project is been implemented, and who to contact.
I would also like to say cheers to Jacques, skipper and guide at Nkwazi Lodge, and welcome to Willard who seems to have the tiger fever already!