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Pongola Game Reserve Fishing Report
|Temp (Gorge):||Gorge – 16 degrees|
|Temp (River):||River: 16 -18 degrees|
|Water Clarity:||River Stretch - 100 % Main Dam - 100 %.|
|Water Level:||74 %|
|Fishing Area:||That is the question?? Hydrilla banks and entrance to gorge|
|Artificial Lure:||Rapalas trawled in top 3 m of water (variety of colors)|
|Fly Fishing:||1 kg fly – baby tiger imitation (blue/red/pink with black spots)|
|Biggest Fish:||5, 5 kg by Francois van Heerden|
|Skipper of the month:||Sunnyboy|
Hi guys!Hi guys!
Been off for 3 weeks catching those wily trout in really cold country with my sons, so quiet happy to be back in the “warm country”. I wish the tigers were as happy too, but think with the cold fronts and snow in KZN higher lying areas they were not as happy to see me.
Winter fishing has been quiet tough, though if the weather was right, some guys have been quiet successful. I was chatting to Kemp Landman today and he showed me a beast of a fish that came out in the gorge about 3 weeks ago. Hopefully the photo has been posted on the site, as it’s a real beauty. As we deduce, the bigger tigers definitely move in the main dam during our winter months were there is not as diverse changes in water temperature as there would be in the river. Never the less, Kemp said that they dropped another 3 similar sizes and got snapped up at least 5 times. They were trawling medium running rapalas at about 1500rpm, up and down the cliff faces in water between 6- 15 m, and the fish were sitting about ¾‘s of the way up. The fish were in real good condition.
I have been doing quiet a few boat cruises recently and have obviously been trawling a variety of rapalas, just testing depths and colors and have dropped the occasional fish, but nothing spectacular. But what is interesting is the amount of smaller tigers I have been seeing cruising in the real shallows especially around the Hydrilla banks. The tigers are everywhere, just sunning themselves in the top 30 cm of water and slowly moving off when the boat cruises past. I have seen a couple in the 2-3kg range as well, which is when I knew I had to get out.
So out I went yesterday afternoon with my fly rod, and even though it was not a strike after every 3 casts, I landed 3 and dropped a couple in an hour or so. The strikes came from the first 2 or 3 strips very close to any structure and as soon as the fly was past the structure the fish stopped following, were often they will take the fly close to the boat. The water clarity is unbelievable and often mirror conditions, which to me means long line fishing (get as must distance away from the boat) as they spook very quickly. I unfortunately did not get a chance to use any floating line and poppers, but I am sure they will be deadly in and around the weed banks and beds.
If we put this into conventional fishing, I would suggest exactly the same, spinners, rapalas and top water lures. Cover as much water as possible instead of sitting it out with bait. Trawl along the weed banks and any structure and take way points.
While away there were a couple of fishing trips and even though most fish caught were barbell on bait, some tigers in the 1, 5 kg range were also caught trawling rapalas. Unfortunately a number of terrapin were caught too, so it was not completely fruitless. Think just to cold to expect the tigers to be feeding off the bottom.
The lodges are filling up quickly and from this weekend (5th Aug) we are extremely busy, so hopefully will have a great report on fish landed and lost and techniques that are proving to work. All I can suggest is cover water try those artificials that have been gathering dust and if possible try and arrange some live bait. I think this will be the most successful on the bait side of things.
We have started a live bait project but with the water temperatures so cold, it will take a while for them to start breeding. Until next month.
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.
P.S. If anyone has some photos of tigers caught here, please email Marietjie them at email@example.com.