Fishing Trip to Charters Creek

At the end of June beginning of July 2014 we had a family holiday at Makakatana, my mission was to do some fishing, bait, lure and Fly fishing. It has been many years since I have been to St Lucia Lake for some fishing and a lot has changed. We arrived and the weather was very warm. We had already been in Durban for the week so it was not a shock to the system. Just hard to imagine being in shorts and t-shirts after the freezing cold in JHB. There is a short road down to the lake edge from the house, this comes out in the Makakatana bay. We are not allowed any more to launch from this place but I can also see why. With the lake not having water for many years the grass had grown and the wind had blown the sand up between the point of the bay and Mitchell’s Island. With the water coming back this is now just full of reeds and grass. So it has formed a barrier to get access to the main lake from Makakatana bay. It would be a very interesting place to explore with a fishing SUP. I do worry about the crocodiles, I think you might also get into trouble.

The fishing was very relaxed. You are not allowed on the lake at night. The gate opens at charters at 6 am and closes 6pm. Gone are the days of night fishing for the big salmon. You are also not allowed to keep the salmon. It is catch and release for salmon. You are allowed to keep other species as long as you stick to bag limits and catch sizes. So we got to the charters creek launch site just after 9 and finished fishing between 12am and 1pm every day. It costs you R10 to launch the boat and often we where the only people to launch the boat. The gate entrance is run by SANParks EKZNwildlife inside iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The gate entrance is very run down with big holes in the thatch. You are no longer allowed to stay at Charters Creek or Eastern shores. Very sad to see this once amazing part of the lake going to ruin. The office where you could get bait and curious is all locked up and the thatch is also full of holes and the stuff inside covered in dust. The launch site is still in good shape with toilets. The jetty is still there and a great place to fish if you don’t have a boat. I believe there was a big crocodile that would stay behind the fish cleaning spot and it sound like the one that was there from many years ago. It has been relocated. Lets see how long it takes for him to come back.

The North Easter wind blew the whole time we where there and the water temp was 18 degrees. I would love to come back in the warmer months. The lake is very alive with fish, birds and animals, the seagulls still come and see if they can get some scraps from you. I also managed to get the fish eagle to come and take a nondi that I had thrown out for it. We saw buffalo at the lake edge grazing.

I made up a hand-line for the kids as this is fun and quick way to see what is biting. It could be some live bait for a big salmon. The kids and myself managed to catch some glassies. They where the biggest glassies I have ever seen. I also had some chum out the side of the boat and I could see lots of swirls out the back of the boat. It was very exciting to see so much life and action in the water. I did try throw a fly but had no takes. Due to the wind blowing non stop the water was not very clean. You still need to look for the water that is not chocolate but rather a weak tea colour with a drop of milk, maybe earl grey. We fished on anchor as I do not enjoy drifting, I have been told and shown that drifting works very well. My lines get so twisted I don’t want to even go there. There is a spot just South of the launch site that has some scattered rocks. There is a pole marking the rocks, we anchored around this spot just not to close, as the rocks will keep cutting you off. We did get hocked up a few times on the rocks and I had to replace some traces. We managed to catch a few size grunter for the braai. They where very yummy. The kids had lots of fun catching nondies. On one trip my dad took us up to Fanieseiland which is about a 14km boat ride. My son enjoyed it a lot as he just wants to go fast in the boat. It is surreal to see fanieseiland as it also was once an awesome campsite and huts for people to stay in. There is a hut on stilts in the water abandon and run down, I could live there. The Campsite is right on the waters edge and I can just imagine the fishing would be awesome and lots of fun. We did not catch anything size here but again lots of action in the water with the chum. I did manage to catch a mullet on light tackle that my dad put out live. He had no luck and we let it go when we finished fishing.

Cuba in front of a Spotted Grunter about to get cleaned for the braai

We did do a trip to eastern shores and found some clean water in the sand. We had lots of action here but all undersize grunter. The wind was screaming and made it very uncomfortable for fishing. I did do some drop shot and popper fishing but had no luck. The handline was snapped off, I can only thing it was a grunter as we where in very shallow water and we did have a lot of hook ups of them. I did see a big garfish make a jump at the back of the boat in the chum.

Very sad heart to see the run down places but I assume it is a park and they want to make it go back to nature. I think it would be a good idea to just break the places down, then let them slowly decay.

In closing I am very excited to see that the lake is full of water and it has lots of fish in it. I feel in summer it will be a awesome fishing destination. I am sure the fly and lure fishing will be lots of fun then.

One thought on “Fishing Trip to Charters Creek”

  1. I lived at Kwambo in childhood days , even when sanparks were not in existence. My father was avid fisherman and enormous salmon was commonplace catch. Those were the days of Chris Pretorious at Fanies and Roelf Steenkamp at Charters, names I`ll never forget. Much fishing was done at Mapelane and with a boat one could go virtually anywhere, some to their peril especially at night. People just could not grasp the hazards of those waters as well as the weather. Those were good times with plenty of prawns and mullet as bait. Deepest sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives through hippo , crock and shark attacks, they are fondly remembered. Please protect almighty Gods creation it is part of our heritage. God Bless.

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