The entire KZN coastline comes alive during the warmer months, offering various opportunities to target on ultra/light tackle with soft or hard lures, and as winter approaches other species also add to the fun.
Often confused with dropshot fishing for bass, it’s now a common term used by coastal anglers, although it differs in rig mechanics. The technique is simple and all you need is a light spinning setup in the 5’6” – 8’0” range (paired with a 10- 40 size reel, braid with a fluorocarbon leader) and a soft plastic rigged on a jig head on the business end. The beauty of drop shot fishing is you can use these setups from the side or from a boat, in harbours, estuaries, piers, shore break and in rocky gullies along our entire coastline. A bonus is the entire family can enjoy this facet young and old, hooking into some decent size fish on light gear is exhilarating and addictive.
WHERE TO FISH
Most saltwater predators you’ll be targeting relate to structure such drop offs, rock walls, sand bars and flats. Fan cast around any good-looking spots working your lure on the bottom as this increases your odds as the fish tend to hold around drop-offs ambushing bait as it moves past. When fishing from the beach search for gullies, current breaks, rocky banks or sand banks close to shore. When fishing around break walls / rock gullies look out for any man made structure that can be potential ambush points near drops or that have white working water next to clear water and work your lure between the two.
WHEN TO FISH
Prime times are generally an hour or two before a low tide, fishing into the turn or first and last light but one can enjoy catches no matter the time or day.
GREAT SPOTS TO TRY IN KZN
Durban to North Coast
- RHB pier
- Durban Harbour and Steel bridge
- Tinely Manor
- Sheffield Ballito
- La Mercy
Durban to South Coast
- Blue Lagoon
- Harbour Bluff
- Park Reynie
- Bazely Head
- Several estuaries as well along the coast
Size of baits (3 to 4 inch)
There are generally two types of soft plastic lures that deliver regular results a paddle tail and a jerk minnow with a split tail. Work the jerk minnow with fast twitching action to get it to dart erratically, while the paddle tail requires a slower constant retrieve to deliver results.
We tend to use lighter/clearer colours in clear water sunny sky conditions such as your famous river prawn, chrystella, pearl, olive pearl and so forth. In dirty coloured waters we move to your full or brighter coloured soft plastics such glow, hot orange, chartreuse, red mullet etc.
Jig Heads (1/16oz -1/4oz)
Depending on the wash/current/tackle used/wind one will alternate between weights.
Always remember the lighter the jig heads the more natural the bait moves and more bites it triggers. A local favourite is the Eagle Claw range of ball head jigs. They come in 2 variants a finesse for ultra-light anglers and a heavier gauge version in the saltwater range.
There are two main retrieves that deliver results: A twitch and pause retrieve with your rod tip down when fishing the bait on the bottom and keeping your rod tip up when fishing off the bottom. Depending on the area you’re targeting you might find fish respond to either one so be sure to switch things up. A great strategy is to alternate the speed of your retrieve after every 5 casts to see where the fish are and at what speed they prefer the bait moving at. The whole idea is trying to mimic the natural movement of a fleeing or injured baitfish. Note the slower the retrieve the lower the lure will be in the water column and vice versa. NB: On your larger sized paddle tails the lure does the work for you with its tail action.
Rods (5.6ft to 8ft rods)
These technique specific rods enables one to cast lighter lures and get the most action from the lure. Having a soft tip with a higher back bone and being well balanced and light is a plus factor.
Check out these ranges:
Okuma: Serrano, SX Lite, Recon, Recon Inshore, Matrix, LRF, Tactical, Hitch Hiker,
Sensation: Powerplus Finesse
Reels (Size 10 – 40)
Okuma: ITX, Ceymar, Epixor, Blue Diamond, Jaw
Reels that are lightweight are easy on the wrists especially during long sessions and a smooth drag is a must when fishing ultra/light to help reduce hook pulls. These reels are Salt friendly but be sure to rinse them as your tackle will get wet from occasional splashing.
Braided line (3 Strand and 8 strand, 10 to 15lb)
Braid is a must as it has near zero stretch, which enables one to feel every bite and hook set with ease, its also much thinner than monofilament enabling you to fill more line onto your reels but with higher breaking strains. The benefits of braid include improved casting distance especially with lighter lures or when fishing in strong wind.
For the ultra-light enthusiast the Boss Braid finesse, is a 3-strand option that enables you to get more braid on smaller 10 – 20 sized reels. For general fishing use an 8 strand braid with a good coating such as Boss Braid Slick, its Teflon coasting reduces water absorption, increases knot strength and reduces the overall friction on your guides.
Leader (Fluorocarbon, 10 to 15lb)
Over the years Fluorocarbon has grown in popularity and it offers distinct advantages such as a higher sink rate/density vs mono/braid, higher abrasion resistance and is nearly invisible in water when used as a leader in conjunction with braid.
Always spray off and wipe your tackle after every use, general servicing/maintenance will increase the longevity of your reels as well. Storage of your rods during transit/storage should be in a case to prevent them getting knocked on any hard surface.
Try and handle the fish with wet hands, fish friendly mat or a plastic lip grip clamp if releasing.