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Pongola Game Reserve Fishing Report
|Temp (Gorge):||20 -22°|
|Temp (River):||17 – 20°|
|Water Clarity:||100 % River Stretch * Main Dam – 100 %|
|Fishing Area:||River Stretch and entrance to main dam|
|Average Size:||500g – 3,5kg|
|Artificial Lure:||Spoons 3g – 10g, 3 g Effzett spinners (red/ silver)|
|Bait:||Live Bait, sardine|
|Fly Fishing:||4.3 kg – Mavungana Fly fishing|
|Biggest Fish:||4, 5 kg tiger fish – David Bell Group|
|Skipper of the month:||Jetro|
Yes Yes Yes, its finally happening. We have had a great August though its still needs to pick up a bit. The weather is still playing a hell of a role in the fishing, but in no time the water temperature should be over 20 degrees. Unfortunately an odd cold front or two has caught us this month; otherwise we would have really been lucky. Saying that quiet a couple of fish in the 3- 4, 5 kg category have come out. Remember big fish time is on its way.
The water temperature has been fluctuating between 16 and 20 degrees, and this has really been hampering our fishing. We have had some wonderful summer days and I m sure by mid September we will be in the twenties, remember above 23 degrees and things really get interesting.
We have been fortunate to have some old clients who have done extremely well. Live bait seems to be top at the moment, with the majority of the bigger fish been taken on them. I must add that the fisherman have brought their own live bait. I am still struggling as usual to get enough to supply Nkwazi Lodge and Mpalane and still have not found anyone reliable enough to give out their number. The majority of the fish are caught free swimming and not on cork, obviously has to do with the thermo cline. The ideal water depth seems to be around 4 – 6 m though the shallows are working too.
Sardine is also starting to work, but one needs to keep working it so it does not sit on the bottom too long, still too cold down there. I have had success on whole sardines, though the smaller bite sizes are still better. Remember I want that 10 kg! I have tried sardine on cork at about 2/3 rds of the way down and have not been as successful as thought I would be.
Chicken strips seem to be working better than sardine, but again needs to be constantly retrieved. The action in the water is so life like that they can’t resist it. I have not started fishing with all the other baits, but soon anything will be working.
On the art lure side fishing has been really productive, with a lot of fish in the 2, 5 kg range coming out. Again working the shallows and mid water range. Remember to replace the treble hooks with single hooks and a bit of bait tied on really helps too. Colors don’t really seem to matter, though red still the most wanted. We have also been doing well on trawling rapalas/halcos etc. The red/white combination, silver, gold and fire tiger colors are probably best to use. Ideal trawling speed is about 2500 rpm. Remember not to trawl in straight line the whole time, vary your direction and sometimes work a pattern e.g. figure of 8. Trawling has really helped us out when fishing quiet. I was speaking to Bramson from Shayamanzi, and he said the gorge is also fishing well on trawling. Colors seem to be similar though did mention orange probably working best for him. He is concentrating against the cliff faces late afternoon, and says the fishing is really only coming on hour an hour before dark. Fish around the 2 – 3 kg mark as seeming to be coming out quiet regularly.
On the fly side, start fly fishing!! No disrespect to the bait and art lure fisherman, but your butts is getting kicked. I cannot remember a day this month when the fly fisherman have not caught more and bigger. I am not going to get too much into it but if you have a fly rod at home and can cast a reasonable distance, bring it down with you. We were fortunate enough to have Jonathan Boulton from Mavungana Fly fishing down with us for about two weeks. He trained up Simphiwe, Dumi and Bonga again, and has really helped them to understand and appreciate fly fishing. The majority of the time Jonathan uses 300g sinking line, though I know he eventually started experimenting with intermediate line too. It\\\'s still my favorite line especially when fishing over the Hydrilla beds. Black and olive, black, olive and grey definitely were preferred colors with the reds, oranges etc working too. Think most important thing is to make sure you have chemically sharpened hooks and a variety of sizes too (No 1 – 2/0). Vary the retrieve, but faster is definitely better. Remember don’t strike, just carry on retrieving when you get knocked and inevitably the fish will hook itself. Keep rod tip down and pressure on. 8/9 weight rods normally will do the rest. We fished all depths of water but the 2- 4 m range is ideal. Drop offs are really important too, so fish them well trying all the depths.
On the where to fish place, I will say anywhere, but just check water temperature as a degree or two definitely makes the difference at the moment. I am going to be a bit vague on precise places as the competition is coming up soon and don’t want to quiet give all the hot spots away ( heard really catching good fish in the gorge area – ha ha).
As you most probably know spawning season is upon us and its quiet evident by the missing scales you will find on the tigers back. Please where possible release these big females. Fred Bezuidenhout is still doing fantastic mounts, so if you do decide to get one mounted give him a call first as he has quiet a couple fish ready to sell. His number is 073 323 9448.
We are finally getting some results with the gill netting. Kemp and I went out with the SAPS one evening and managed to confiscate a boat and 5 nets. On another occasion the SAPS confiscated another 4 boats and some arrests were made. I definitely seems like we will be getting a permanent water wing for the dam. Unfortunately everything needs to get controlled and hopefully a solution will be found to allow restricted netting , otherwise the way things are going, we won’t have any fish left in the next decade or two.
If any is interested in some keen fly fishing guides, speak to Marietjie or myself and were possible we will see if they are available. Simphiwe, Dumi, Bonga and David have all had training.