Flyfishing report: Saltwater - Upper South Coast

Date of Report: Monday, 5th December 2022
Name: Martin Smuts
Phone: 078 9620111

Summer is in full swing here on the Upper South Coast. The sun rises very early and by mid-morning the temperatures are scorching, this is then usually followed by some cloud cover and an evening thunderstorm. These conditions remind me of past summers, chasing Wave Garrick (aka Large-spot Pompano) in the surf zone with a seven weight, while the sun scorches down on me. The water rushing past my legs as I wade about in the rolling white water gives me constant relief from the heat, while the fine mist from the surf cools my face and upper body.

This has not been the case this year. Unfortunately for us who live in and around Durban City, we have been facing an ongoing “issue” of sewage mismanagement. A few months ago, when exactly I can’t even remember but I knew the problem was serious when videos started circulating, videos of dead fish on the banks of the Umgeni River, right at the river mouth. Thankfully that seemed to be the last of it, the dead fish that is, as the water quality levels have been under scrutiny since, or at least the reports there of have been. Let me rather not get into that on this platform, there are plenty other articles that one can find concerning the water quality along Durban beach fronts. This has no doubt been a deterrent to many fishermen, especially the fly fishermen wishing to wade out into the water. At this point I reckon its best to do a bit of research for oneself of the area you wish to fish. If possible, take a drive to the water and see for yourself or speak to someone who has, what is the public activity like, what do the local fishing clubs say and then you can thus make an informed decision.

On a brighter note, while spending a couple of days on a vessel docked at Maydon Wharf at Durban Harbour, I had panoramic views of the water from center bank all the way to the mangroves and beyond. The water looked really promising, recent rains have brought in dead tree stumps that have washed up and scattered about on the sand banks toward the silt canal. The drop-offs were also clearly defined and visible from my elevated position. The water clarity was that olive colour that I so favour when fishing the harbour, although the water clarity can change from day to day, especially with how often it has been raining recently. For those who have boats or who wish to and are willing to fish from the side, it looks as though there should be some good fishing to be had. Clouser minnows in Chartreuse over white or Black over red and shrimp flies in Olive are my go-to patterns when fishing the harbour.

The other alternative to fishing our local waters, is to fish a little further away from Durban. That is exactly what Chris Rothman and Peter Lehman decided to do. After a few changes, due to heavy rainfall in other areas, the destination was decided on and Kosi Mouth it was. The guys reported lots of Wave Garrick and Bastard Mullet being caught as well as a few Kingfish of various species. All in all, a successful summer surf fishing season. Until next time guys, make it happen.


Chris Rothman with a Bigeye Kingfish.