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Latest on the sardine run

4 July 2012 broke with a flurry of activity on Durban beachfront as numerous shoals of sardines made an appearance from just behind the surf zone to about 500m offshore.

Info from Mike Anderson-Reade, Head of Operations at KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board

Unfortunately, most of the seine netters were searching for sardines on the south coast at the time and it took about 2 hours before they arrived in mass. At one stage seven netting boats were out on the water off Durban’s Golden Mile. However, by mid-morning the warm moderate berg wind made it impossible to spot the shoals.

Most of the netters returned to the beach by midday due to these conditions. A strong south-westerly wind was expected in the afternoon and should have moved on by Thursday morning.

Judging by the number of shoals of fish that were seen off Durban on Wednesday, there is a strong possibility that seine netters will try and net in the Durban beachfront and northern beach areas on Thursday, weather conditions permitting.

Although there appears to be minimal predator activity accompanying these shoals, nets have been removed from the most northern beaches on the Durban beachfront as a precautionary measure.

Bathing remains open from Suncoast Casino beach to uShaka inclusive. Sharks Board staff will continue to monitor this rapidly changing situation on a daily basis and remove and replace the shark safety gear as required.

The south coast was fairly quiet today with the exception of a few small pockets of sardines in the Ramsgate area. Shark safety gear is out of the water on the Hibiscus coast at this time, however, staff will continue to monitor these areas and reinstate gear as soon as the activity permits.

For more information, visit www.shark.co.za

On 2 July 2012…

Reports were received on Saturday 30 June 2012 from various reliable sources that small pockets of sardines had been spotted at Red Sands on the Eastern Cape Coast just to the south of the Wild Coast Sun Casino.

Shark safety gear on the lower south coast was removed with the exception of the gear at San Lameer, Margate , St Michaels, Umzumbe and Hibberdene. The gear at these selected beaches was left intact to provide a spread of safe bathing for visitors to the lower south coast.

On the morning of 2 July, reports were received of small shoals of sardines at various locations on the lower south coast. An observation flight was undertaken to confirm these. Seine netters managed to net sardines at Hibberdene and the first net produced 280 baskets of sardines (each basket contains between 28 and 30 dozen sardines).

Hibberdene netters enjoying the action, 2 July 2012

The second net was very small and only 10 baskets of sardine were netted.  The shoals of sardines are very small and are moving quickly northwards. There are no signs of any predators accompanying these small shoals. Five seine net boats were seen at Mtwalume however at the time of writing no further netting had taken place. Unfortunately, the moderate south westerly wind makes it very difficult for the netters to spot the shoals

Hopefully netting will continue once the wind has abated and conditions calm over the next few days.

Shark safety gear has been removed from Hibberdene and Umzumbe and bathers are requested to chat to the lifeguards regarding the status of bathing when visiting beaches south of Hibberdene. The KZNSB will continue to monitor the activity on a daily basis.

Previously, on 13 June 2012…

Varying numbers of Cape gannets were reported along the lower south coast on Monday morning. KZNSB staff were sent to various locations between Hibberdene and Port Edward to confirm these reports. We suspect that the majority of these birds have arrived off KZN due to the strong south westerly winds that were experienced with the frontal system on Sunday evening.

Gannets do not roost on land away from their breeding islands and, therefore, either sit out strong wind periods sitting on the sea surface or occasionally remain on the wing. They can drift many kilometres with the wind, depending on wind strength and velocity.

All shark safety gear that was remaining in the water on the lower south coast was serviced by the KZNSB at first light on Monday and there were no captures. Further reports of sardine-associated activity were received during the early afternoon and the KZNSB dispatched the aircraft in an attempt to confirm the presence or otherwise of sardines.

From the aerial observations of the gannet activity, it appeared that there may have been some small shoals on the lower south coast between Umtentweni and the Wild Coast Casino. KZNSB craft were dispatched to sea at about 15h00 to remove the remaining shark safety gear as a precautionary measure to avoid any unnecessary captures. This was concluded with no captures at about 16h45.

On 12 June, reports of three small pockets of sardines between Port Edward and Leisure Bay were received. Commercial sardine seine netters rushed to the area and spent most of the morning watching for further signs of fish. Unfortunately there is a strong 1.5m swell in the area which prevented any of the netters launching to confirm the presence of sardines.

The KZNSB will undertake the next aerial observation flight on Thursday this week.

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4 Responses to Latest on the sardine run

  1. nicole June 18, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Hi,

    Been in durban since Nov 2011. Can’t understand why no good fishing along the coastline from ballito area to durban.

    I either get told the waters too dirty, too clean, . What is the cause of fishing not been good in Durban on the shores.

    Plse let us know

    thanks
    Nicole

    • Hayley Dennyson June 19, 2012 at 10:33 am #

      Hi Nicole

      It seems that it’s a matter of knowing where and when to fish… Please see extracts for The Kingfisher fishing report, June the 8th and the 15th from www.kingfisher.co.za.

      8th June: Salt Rock / Ballito – This area seems to have woken up in the winter months. There are a few Grey Sharks for both throw bait and slide bait anglers. These caught mainly in the late afternoon into early evening time periods. For the guys who love spinning with artificial lures and bullet spoons there have been Snoek caught off most of the points, predominately early morning – just after sunrise. These spoons must be thrown a long distance and retrieved with a fast action. For traditional “tackle” anglers, there are some Kingfish and Stumpies in the gullies. There are also Garrick in the area as well, and a Spear-fisherman was lucky enough to shoot 2 over the weekend.

      Umhloti / Umhlanga – Grey Sharks have been coming out – although sporadically on the low tide. Fresh Mackeral either as cutlets or Mackeral head baits are producing better bites. Small Shad have also started to appear, which means there could be some Garrick too. The reef area has produced a few Stumpies and a number of lost traces.

      Durban – The new pier near the Casino as well as the old Snake Park pier have had a large number of small Red Fish and juvenile Black tail as well as some small Grunter – these fish can be fantastic to target on light tackle. The beachfront area being protected, especially from a Southwest wind, and keeping in mind the big waves predicted for the weekend – might be a good spot for the die-hard anglers.

      15th June: Salt Rock/Ballito– This area saw some Bonefish on smaller baits especially Prawn or Lango-tail. These feisty fighters can be very rewarding especially on light tackle while using 1.0 to 3.0 sized hooks. A few Kingfish, mainly Black tip or Yellow spot were the main species, caught on either Drop shot or traditional baits. In the early evening just before dark – Kingfish have also been targeted on Glow-in-the-Dark Spoons.

      Blythedale – Steve Rouland successfully landed a beautiful Ridgeback Grey Shark of 63 kilos on Friday night. This is really a nice size Grey Shark for this area. Well done, Steve.

      Umhloti/Umhlanga – The Umhlanga Lighthouse area has yielded a few Grey Sharks in the +/- 20 kg range. These fish were mainly caught on Mackeral slide-baits or Mackeral head and cutlet combos.
      Durban North – Some lucky Anglers able to put in an early morning session and managed to get a live Shad (over 30cm’s) have been rewarded with Garrick. Although these fish are not plentiful this trend should continue.

      Durban – The Durban Beachfront has produced a mixed bag. Some Black tail, Shad of various sizes, small Kingfish and Karanteen are all up for grabs. The high tide being the best platform to fish off, as this allows deeper water and when it is outgoing the fish will feed more readily.

  2. Kevin July 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Hi

    We live in Tinley Manor Beach just North of Salt Rock. What are the chances of seeing the Sardine run coming past us, and when will this possibly occur.

    Kevin

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