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Rock Salmon Time at the Umzimkulu Marina

What a weekend at the Umzimkulu Marina!

What a weekend at the Umzimkulu Marina!

What a weekend at the Umzimkulu Marina with an almost full house of eager angling guests. Number One featured the fishing girls from Durban. Well-versed in the fishing here in the estuary. Number Two carried Clinton and family. Local anglers who even brought their own little boat (and more about that later). In Number Four we had Neale and family all the way down here from the mountains. He also brought his his own little ski-vee which he and his two daughters spent all day out there on.


The shoals of baby kingfish marauding up and down the clear water of the Umzimkulu are still accounted for. There are also baby garrick in amongst the packs of high-speed terrorisers. They just pop up and you need to be on the ball. It is sight-fishing at it’s most exciting. These fish are so fast!

There are blacktip and greenspot kingfish. And Geets in amongst them. The biggest are about 3 kgs but we have hooked some absolute busses which you can see giving us a hiding to nowhere right HERE.


Also using the river for the development phase of their lives, there are plenty tiny little kob swimming around too. Easy to catch on pieces of sardine or something. And tough little guys too – they release just fine. We catch so many that sometimes one gets injured beyond recovery so he comes home for dinner.

All the fishing we do here in this estuary is catch and release…with the odd common-sense exception.

Rock Salmon

Like this tasty rock salmon right here. Neale and his daughters released 20 or more fish before finally deciding to keep this one for the pan. It is completely reasonable, at these numbers, to keep a fish like this now and then. At this size, they are quite plentiful. But as they get bigger and towards breeding size, they are thinned out. Those are the fish that need protection. The ones that are breeding, or are about to breed.

Rock salmon aka Mangrove Jack (Aus) are also known in Latin as Argenticulus Lutjanos. They reach sexual maturity at about 5 years old. About 3 or 4 kilograms. Half a metre. They can live to 50!

These fish are not actually threatened globally. But if you catch all of them out of your estuary, then they will be gone from your estuary. This is what happens each year in most estuaries in KZN. Selfish anglers just catch them all. The rivers then open again and are flushed out completely in the wet season with the floods. They then stay open a while and function just like a proper estuary.

This is when the fish enter the estuaries. Kingfish. Garrick. Grunter. And rock salmon…

The pelagics swim in and out the mouth as they hunt. But the rock salmon – he stays put. The river mouth closes as the flood pulse backs off. Now these rock salmon are stuck, voluntarily it would seem, in the estuary (technically a lagoon now that it is shut off from the tide pulse and the ocean).

Their diet consists 90% of crustaceans. Crabs and prawns are plentiful all the way upriver (this is if the ANC’s uncontrolled bowel movement ie sewage flow hasn’t already filled the closed estuary and started the eutrophication process in which case all the prawns and fish will die through asphyxiation).

Rock salmon can handle freshwater. You can read this next article about how far rock salmon will swim upstream, against a raging river totally brown and swirling, right HERE.

This is a gallery of rock salmon released in the Umzimkulu over some time…

This fish by Clinton, at night down here at the jetty, was thrown back for being too small…

Rock Salmon at the Umzimkulu Marina jetty in Port Shepstone
Rock Salmon at the Umzimkulu Marina jetty in Port Shepstone

Many estuaries that have been flushed recently and stayed open, have rock salmon in them now. However it is a very limited supply. A small river can only handle a few fish. So if you catch them out (rock salmon are super easy to catch), then there will be none left until next year. Simple maths.

Kavi caught and release another beautiful estuarine species too that same night - the perch!
Kavi caught and release another beautiful estuarine species too that same night – the perch!

Prawns n things

With the extraordinarily good water conditions the River Prawns are still around. But it does seem that with all the traffic up and down the jetty over the weekend, they have taken refuge elsewhere. In all the hundreds of throws with the cast net, Neale only managed a few prawnies. Amongst the mullet, strepies, glassies, bream etc…

These little strepies aka thorn fish are a great way to teach kids to be tough. Here Simone (Clinton’s wife) catches yet another one. Clinton will be doing the unhooking! These fish are mean!

You can learn all about the River Prawns we get in the Umzimkulu right HERE.

Transkei News

Meanwhile, Matt Wainright has stolen off to the Transkei and check what he has been up to…

And its Matt Wainright again this time on the kob hunt deep in the Transkei
And its Matt Wainright again this time on the kob hunt deep in the Transkei

You can watch a few of Matt’s epic Insta 360 videos shot right here on the Umzimkulu on this page…

There are more Matt videos available in the blog…this was from two weekends ago.

Rescue Ready Award

Special mention this weekend report goes to Jo in Number One as she grabbed a kayak one morning, and sped off to the assistance of Clinton and Roy’s main crew – a little Jack Russel. Who finally panicked when the boat’s steering jammed and could only go round and round in circles! It all ended very well…

River Cruises

So much fun in the clean and clear conditions. Many turtles making the most of the perfect careening conditions. We are about to move into the good times weather wise so book your trip by getting in touch using the WhatsApp button on this page or contact Sean on or +27793269671 anytime.

And if you want to come fishing do the same!

Affiliated YouTube Channels

Websites – surf reports and conservation – never miss a single sardine – for grander marlin – news from down deep – will get you out there – girls only – right on the river

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