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Pongola Game Reserve Fishing Report
|Temp (River):||16-19 degrees|
|Water Clarity:||River stretch: 80% Main Dam: 100%|
|Fishing Area:||Entrance to main dam, pump station, Hydrilla banks, Kzn Campsite|
|Average Size:||500g - 3kg|
|Artificial Lure:||spinners & spoons - all sizes and colors, soft plastics, rapalas|
|Bait:||Fillet - retrieved, Live bait - sardine - not working to well|
|Fly Fishing:||2,5kg - pink/white & blue/white Clousers - poppers|
|Biggest Fish:||3,5 kg - Phakamisa Group - trolling - 5kg - Kaylim Rippon - live bait.|
|Skipper of the month:||Jetro|
Well, the days are beautiful, the silhouette‘s amazing, morning mist really impressive, hardly a breathe of wind (most of the time), its just the tigers that are not playing the game.
It’s been a tough month fishing wise, though their have been some days that we are still talking about, but in general it’s a lot of hit and miss. Trolling and spinning seems to be producing some fish, and the only fish over 3 kg’s, besides from Kaylim’s 5 kg on live bait, have come from trolling either up and down the Hydrilla banks or along the old river course. Unfortunately we have had weekly cold front’s passing through which does not do any good for the fishing.
We have been promoting the afternoon fishing more than the morning so that the water can at least heat up a bit on the surface a little. The big trick for me is so find any bay that’s been receiving sunshine the whole day and now wind. One can actually see them basking themselves in the top meter of water. Just remember to approach slowly and fish quietly. This is exactly how my son, Kaylim, caught his personnel best of just over 5 kg's. It was an amazing fight with three quick successive jumps – a run to the boat – and that’s when Kaylim said, “its not as big as you said Dad….” and that’s when the real fight started. I can’t recall how many times it went around the boat, but just to see the strain building up on his face was priceless. Anyway, finally she came up to the boat – and that when Kay realized that his dad’s estimations were better than his. We weighed it on both mine and his scale , with both just going over 5 kg’s. The greatest part was when he said “hurry dad – we have to release it ! Well done my boy, catching up to dad.
On the following weekend my friends ( Mark and Jay) arrived for a winter fish – or attempted fish. The beers were cold, the sardines very economical and the live bait, well just having fun. Anyway after a couple of attempts on bait, out came the fly rod and that made the day for Jimmy(80 year old Scot) – who at least saw and felt what a tiger was about. Besides from some barbell in the river and a couple of strikes we decided to go to the gorge for an adventure. Anyway we trolled, tried sardine, live bait, set baits to 20 30,40 meters and did not have much luck. We had a couple of runs on sardine but mainly got hung up. The trip itself was worth the while, and funny enough the next weekend, Kemp Landman’s friend managed to land a 5,3 kg trolling and a couple of smaller one’s. Where is the question?
In general the fishing is tough and trolling is the norm if wanting to get a chance at getting a bigger tiger. The skippers have been successful with pink, white with a red line on the belly and some really bright multi colored art lure’s. As mentioned the old river course starting in front of Nkwazi to the campsite is the preferred area, though in and around the Hydrilla banks with small floating shallow runners, is also worth trying. Spinners and spoons with some fillet on are also the best method as one is covering quiet a bit of water. Sardine on the bottom has been very quiet. If you have any floatant to get the bait off the bottom is also worth a bash and live bait “doba doba” style still a must.
The barbell are in schooling mode at the moment and everyday we see them cruising the top water from Nkwazi Lodge. There are days when you need to use binoculars to see whether they are croc’s or barbell ( 6 foot long). I gave Des Morkel a call as I was writing the report and he suggested trying some black zonkers and anything with a lot of movement. So off I went with my 5 weight, intermediate line and 2 x leader. Wow, what an afternoon – I finally landed 3 , with biggest around 4 kg’s, but what fun. I had some hook up’s and before I knew it was in my backing, and rather than loose the line, tightened up and snap- but who can’t resist throwing a fly at a 8 kg barbell….. to be continued.
Finally beware of shallow banks, submerged trees close to other visible trees in water and hippo’s, whose space is also getting smaller. If you are unfamiliar with the dam rather come in slowly towards your fishing spots and open up your engines in the middle of river or open dam. We have put up some orange buoys in and around Nkwazi/Mpalane stretch so please watch out for these as the indicate water less than a meter deep.
“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. If anyone has some photos of tigers caught here, please email Marietjie them at email@example.com.
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