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Pongola Game Reserve Fishing Report
|Temp (Gorge):||24+ degrees|
|Temp (River):||20-22 degrees|
|Water Clarity:||River stretch: 100% Main Dam: 100%|
|Fishing Area:||Opp Nkwazi Lodge, Houseboat, Hydrilla Flats, camp site, up to bridge|
|Artificial Lure:||Rapalas trawled between 4-7m (white variations colors), red spinners with fillet|
|Bait:||Live Bait, sardine, barbell fillet, and chicken liver/hearts|
|Fly Fishing:||3 kg fly – ( ) Deceivers and Poppers|
|Biggest Fish:||5, 5 kg Lynda Johnson, 5kg Robbie Bezuidenhout – 4, 5kg Peter Latter|
|Skipper of the month:||Sunnyboy|
Well …. Well, fishing has definitely slowed down this last month, though we have had our fair share of big ones coming out. A lot of patience and beer seems to be the answer at this time of the year. Well done to Lynda with her 5,5kg, showing her husband up and a lot of men. Ha ha
On the good side, the weather is absolutely amazing once the morning chill has gone. Beautiful days, no wind and mirror conditions. We have been promoting afternoon fishing more than morning sessions, though after 8 am, we have had our fare share of success too.
May was also quiet occupancy wise so not as many fishing clients as normal, i.e., shorter fishing report. As mentioned in the previous report, one needs to change methods continuously and I think instead of sitting it out for hours, try finding the fish. Either drift the banks using the wind or start up and stop every 20 m or so. Personally think a day searching will give you better success in the end. Vary your depths as well, the old countdown method works best. I remember Charles Norman saying to me – Chris, 8 casts per area at different depth intervals and move on boy!
Peter Latter and angling buddy, Clive stayed at Mvubu Lodge with me last week. They had experienced some great fishing in the Zambezi a couple of months ago, but wanted to catch some home grown tigers again. The first afternoon produced a fish of about 2 kg's and a couple of small one s on fly. They were mainly using artificials – rubber minnows with a fantastic life like action. These where getting really chomped up, but were working well. They were using a sneaker motor, doing exactly as above. Anyway, after a bottle of wine or two at supper, they decided early morning was worth a bash. They left at 07h00 and where back at 10:30 for brunch. Peter had the biggest smile, and rightfully so. He caught a 4, 5 kg on a spinner with tiger fillet. Well done. I will agree with anyone who catches a tiger over 4 kg on an artificial or fly; it’s really amazing and definitely feels like a better fight. Unfortunately Clive’s house was broken into, so they had to go, but winter in Jozini is definitely better fishing artificials.
We have had some great success with live bait too in the last month. Set onto a cork on drop off’s or against weed banks seems definitely to be producing better results. It’s slowly initially, but once the tigers realize there is food around, it definitely livens up. Robby got his big tiger this way in False Croc Bay, and lost some nice fish with the Blom family too. Trawling live bait is slow, but one knows a big one is eminent with this method. Don’t pack up your rods to early in the late afternoon as some of my best results are just as it gets dark.
Sardine and other baits are still working, but really slow. They are also nibbling a lot (incl. big ones) but once the hook is set, then the fight starts. I tried fishing with sardine the other evening and definitely had better hook ups with a tight drag compared to letting the fish run. Really tested the rod with the bigger fish, but least was the 2 sec run, stop, run stop. Never really quiet knew when to strike.
Going out to check for gill nets recently, we have noticed tigers in big schools sunning themselves on points and bays. They spook quickly, but with some careful casting and correct lure choice, great fun. They tend to be very territorial around these spots and if the wind doesn’t shift direction you can count on strikes every time you visit these sunning areas.
On the fly side, I have had some great fun again. I am using my 5 weight at moment throwing real small bait fish imitations and deceivers just off the weed banks. Floating and intermediate lines have been my preference due to trying to work the shallower, warmer water. Again try and work parallel with the bank or at angles, as the tigers pick up the fly and move to deeper water making it really difficult to set the hook. Colors vary, but if the fly is thrown in front of the fish- Bang. They are not following for long distances, literally only the first two meters and then loose interest. As the fly hits the water, work quick and hard, and if no interest just roll cast it into the next spot.
Finally the barbells are out in numbers, and are cruising the surface literally the whole day. Chris’s feather duster fly and poppers are catching the occasional one, just need to crack the secret again. Sight fishing for any fish is great, and there is nothing wrong with good long runs by Mr. Buthelezi Bass. Watch out for reeds and any structure as they love to hang you up in these.
Guys, that’s about it for the next 2 months. I am off on annual leave and will do the next report in beginning of August. Trout and shad beware; my sons and I are coming!!!!!
Big catches for the month: R= released
1. Lynda Johnson (Inyathi) – 5,5kg – sardine – 600m N of Nkwazi Lodge – S.Boy – R.
2. Robbie B, (Nkwazi skipper) – 5 kg – live bait – river, E of croc bay – Blom's – R.
3. Peter Latter – 4, 5 kg (Mvubu) – spinner with fillet – houseboat – R.
4. Kemp Landman (Mpalane) – 4, 2 kg – live bait – opp. House boats – R
5. Dumi – (Nkwazi skipper) – 4kg – live bait - just off Nkwazi jetty – R.
6. Chris – 3, 5 kg – live bait – Nkwazi bend - R.
7. Unknown guests – 3, 5 kg – sardine - bridge - S.Boy – R.
8. Barry Badenhorst – 3 kg – sardine – Shayamoya – R.
9, Jetro – (Nkwazi skipper) – 3 kg – trawling rapalas – R.
10. Seco Tools –2, 8 kg (Mpalane) – sardine – jetty – R.
Again –“Please release your tiger’s guys”
Basic list of what to bring follows:
1. Any bass rod – 6 to 7 ft ideal, rigged with coffee grinder or centre pin reel.
2. Line strength – 8 -14 lb. Braid also good if have fished with it before.
3. Hooks – chemically sharpened from 2/0 – 5/0 ( Mustad, Bass hooks, circular – best quality )
4. Steel trace – made up traces (35 cm) or roll of Stealth wire which you can make up own.
5. Bogo grip – or good set of pliers to take hook out.
6. Floats – to suspend bait
7. Ghost cotton to secure your bait
8. Leader line – 40 cm of thicker line as shock tippet (fluorocarbon not a must).
9. Sardines or any bait mentioned above
10. Sun cream/hat.
11. Competency certificate/ skippers ticket any other paper work needed.
1. Anything from 5 -9 wght rod.
2. Intermediate and sinking line.
3. Leader line – definitely 8kg plus (take off the old trout tapered leaders).
4. Flies – selection of Clouser minnows/zonkers/whistler patterns. Bring couple of trout flies too.
5. Steel trace – No 1 piano wire ideal.
6. Bogo grip – long nose pliers.
7. Gloves for stripping – unless you have some calloused hands.
8. Sunglasses and hat – safety issues.
P.S. Remember to enter the Tiger Bonanza this year. Contact Ina on 034 413 2256. The competition is really improving and the amount of fish released is improving every year. Dates are the long weekend at end of September.
GPS Co ordinates:
Mvubu: 27 22’ 09.26” S by 31 50’ 42.16 E
Mpalane: 27 23’17.89” S by 31 53’ 20.21 E
Nkwazi: 27 22’ 46.58” S by 31 53’54.92 E