This is a post from my mom. She wrote it in an email as a response to people asking about Kosi Bay fishing. When I start on the subject of Kosi Bay I find it difficult ‘to land the plane!’. I was introduced to fishing while camping at the Kosi Estuary at the age of 7 years old. I became hooked! I turn 67 in January. Fishing and camping over the years introduced us to wonderful friends and people. Lantz was first introduced to Kosi during my pregnancy with him! Lantz and his sisters loved the annual trips to Kosi and had no problem being on the boat with us day and night. You never felt afraid on the boat while being with Mike, regardless of how rough the lake was or how dark the night. He got us around confidently and safely. We have had wonderful adventures!
I am not sure if we can lead you to catching ‘the beast’. I have no problem sharing our techniques that we have used over the years. Fishing is all about luck and it being your day. Being in the right place at the right time helps hugely!!
I am passionate about only keeping enough for the table and releasing thereafter. It pains me to find out later that somebody that I have shared a spot with lands up ‘murdering’ the fish and bragging about it. Sadly this has happened!
Fish that has lingered in the deep freeze never tastes the same as fresh fish. Besides which it is all about the challenge and the sport. If we kill all the fish off how are the children of the future going to experience this wonderful sport. Sorry if I appear to be nagging here!
Sadly Mike and I are not able to fish as keenly as we used to years ago. Mike, Lantz’s Dad is suffering from an inherited disease, Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. This has damaged his lungs and his heart very badly. We are fortunate that he was never a smoker and that he was a very strong, fit man. He was given 6 months to live 14 years ago. He is turning 73 next year and even though he is on oxygen, mostly 24 hours now, we are going to be at Kosi again in January 2016, from the 4th to the 17th. Our children insisted on taking us this last January, even though I was nursing a broken leg thanks to our Great Dane and me not seeing her coming! Mike and I spent our days, sitting on camp site 1, gazing at the lake and reading. We could not have wished for a better place to sit! We cherish our memories and were grateful for the privilege of being at Kosi once more. This January we are introducing friends, approximately 10 years younger than Mike, to our way of camping at Kosi. They are newly retired and are game to learn and have plenty of energy levels to help look after Mike.
I am attaching photos of the lakes which I have taken off google earth. It is worth looking it up on the internet, if you have not already done so. It helps you understand the lake system and where the deep holes and channels are which is invariably where the fish feed. In years gone by we learnt some of these from my Dad and others we found by accident. We marked them by looking at the land around us. When we eventually invested in a fish finder and a GPS we were fascinated to see how accurate we had been in finding the holes and channels.
Over the years the introduction of more fish kraals around the channel entrance and illegal length gill nets, reduced some of the lucrative fishing spots to no fish or very few. The slash and burn along the major water ways leading into the lake have also played a huge part in changing the lake’s echo system. It breaks our hearts!! I cannot deny that many a camper did as much damage by bringing in bags and bags of undersized fish. They are the reason for fishermen getting a bad name.
Kosi Bay fishing
Please forgive the preamble. Now to where you might find the beast!
I have marked the google earth maps. The map I drew up many years ago has faded and is not that easy to read. The fishing spots are still pretty much the same but far less fish now. Sadly Scotty Kyle is the man responsible for allowing the nets into Kosi. He once came to thank me for releasing a nice size King Fish which I had caught off camp site 1. His fish monitoring staff member saw it happen and told him. I mentioned that I regretted the day he arrived at Kosi bay due to him introducing the nets. He confessed that he was to blame for this.
You might like to stretch your budget on your next trip and hire Ewan Kyle, Scotty’s son, to take you on a fishing trip. See other email that I will send you. It would be nice to see a keen fisherman, with passion, at work.
Thomassen, that wrote the article that I am sending you, wrote a book together with his friend, ‘Fishing myself single’. It is a lovely easy read that might interest you. We know his parents well. His sister wrote a book on Kruger, also a lovely easy read.
Back to Kosi Bay fishing.
Early morning, and approximately from 4.00pm into the night are, in our opinion still the best times to be fishing. We had a saying, ‘Live bait 4.30pm. When they stop feeding it means Sea Pike and Kingfish are around. 7.00 -7.30pm was Rock Salmon time’! Rock Salmon, when feeding would eat anything.
The spots I have marked in the 2nd Lake near the channel entrances and on the East side, used to be our main Rock Salmon spots.
My 40lb Kingfish was caught by the entrance of the channel into the 2nd Lake from the 3rd Lake. Numerous Kingfish, Sea Pike and Rock Salmon were caught here. Sadly when we arrived there a few years ago it was to find a fish kraal had been built there. The hippos love this spot!
Of late the best spot has proved to be all around the hole in the 3rd lake (Big lake) on the north, north west and north east side. I have marked the map. We have never been fans of catching only bream and grunter. We mainly fish in the Big lake and over the years the Big Lake has rewarded us with more fish in comparison to those that have fished in the other lakes. Towards the entrance to the channel, north west of the hole, you would catch Sea pike. North side of hole would be Kingfish. North and North east of hole would be Rock salmon.
Parked with Pouter as bait, dead or alive, was successful. You keep your eyes peeled for shoals of kingfish swimming past. You must cast a lure when you see them. This worked well January 2014. January 2015 saw less fish come out. Lures and whole fish were more successful than other baits. The weather plays a huge part dictating just when the Kingfish feed. It has something to do with the barometric pressure dropping just before a storm or change in the weather. I suspect you already know all this!
The fish-finder can pick up the shoals of Rock salmon or you look for the terns.
When you find the shoal you cast your lures. Hannes, our camping neighbor, caught 8 in 2 hours mid day the one day. That was when he lost his best lure. I will send you a photo of the lures he was using. He released most of his Rock Salmon.
When you see shoals of Rock salmon feeding do not speed into them. Patience is the name of the game. Rather park and allow the wind to drift you over the shoal. You drop or cast your lures and reel in over the shoal. Seeing these huge fish slapping the water with their red tails is very exciting! Big-eye Kingfish also tend to shoal and feed on the shoals of tiny fish/sprats?
You can also troll around the edge of the hole, just in the deep, to find the Rock salmon. At the same time keep your eyes peeled for the shoals of kingfish feeding. If a Rock salmon takes your lure while you are trolling try to stick in the area and cast your lures.
Kingfish do also feed in the middle of the day. Wherever you are parked make sure you longline with a live or dead pouter and not only prawns and cracker shrimps. If you loose your thick nylon trace after a nice run, then change to steel wire, or similar, as it is then Sea Pike feeding. I am terrified of a nylon trace and tend to use nylon coated steel wire or one of the modern trace wires. Remember these traces have to be at least a metre long so that the kingfish can’t cut if off with their tails. Sea Pike also tend to grab at the swivel while you are fighting another pike.
Rattler lures are cheaper than Halcos and Rapalas. Rattler Deep Diver was the favorite. The lure that the fishing shop said was the best to use was L25. The one that looks a bit like the one that our friend found good is B24. I might be wrong with the numbers. Make sure than can dive below 3m. I would also recommend a red and white and also a purple for overcast days. The list can grow very quickly and creates a lot of confusion!! Don’t be afraid of big lures. We found they worked better than the little one.
I suspect that when you hit a shoal of Kings or Rock salmon they will take anything.
We own a family cottage at Makakatana in the iSimangaliso Western Shore park. If you google ‘Makakatana’ the Lodge is NOT us. In January 2014, when there was water back in the lakes, my brother Louis was out fishing with his sons and saw a similar action with fish feeding near Charters Creek. The only thing they had, besides prawns and sardines which were not being touched, were black worm lures. They casted these worms into the shoal and could not go wrong. Jason said it was as though the lures landing on the salmon were irritating them and they were just snapping at them!
When the South wind churns up the lake a good spot to fish is along the north edge of the big lake near the hole. In the teeth of the wind. There is a constant current running in the big lake. You will notice when you are parked on the west side of the hole in the north, that your bait that you have casted towards the shallow side, tends to drift across the shallow section, eastwards with the current. We normally park just off the deep and cast lines into the deep and towards the shallow side. Sometimes you have more luck fishing with no sinker and a nice size pouter. Other times the guy with a huge sinker that does not want his bait to drift hits the jackpot.
We suspect the rough water pounds the small fish, stunning them. They then tend to drift around in the shallow, now murky water, making them easy targets for the big fish which sneak out of the deep hole and grab them.
Don’t hesitate to learn from the ‘gillies’ that are fishing, or selling cracker shrimp at the channel entrance of the big lake. You might also like to ask at the gate for a guy by the name of Wiseman. He is a rough looking chap but is a good fisherman. I think he also likes to drink. He will show you where to long line on the east side of the big lake, near the Casuarinas.
We wish you TIGHT LINES! Fishing is all about luck, but I am a great believer in PASSION and homework! Sometimes this is more fun and if you do catch fish it is a bonus!
I would love to hear more about your trip when it is done and dusted. Please post them in the comments below. Enjoy every moment of this amazing place while you can.
PS: The Rattler lure photos are what our neighbor was having a lot of luck on. We noticed people with yellow lures were also having a lot of luck. We found the Rainbow colored Halco worked best in Mozambique but have not yet tried it at Kosi. Trolling with Red and white feathers or spoons was fashionable many years ago and then the fashion changed! A red and white lure is always a good color to have in your collection.