Sardine Run 2020
The sardine run always represents thousands of sardines migrating up from the coast of Port Elizabeth through the Transkei up in too the South Coast of South Africa to Durban in the north of KZN. With frequent cold fronts hitting the coast colder water rushes up the coast where by the Sardines comes in close to the side where they are being netted and in this it creates a once in a year opportunity where big sharks and various edibles species comes with them to entertain Anglers young and old.
This year’s sardines run been one of the best sardines runs ever recorder in the history of the run with massive shoals of sardines stretching kilometres on the coast. With all the action we could not pass the opportunity of making a quick trip down to the coast experience the run and targeting the beasts of the ocean.
Day 1 we headed to Umdoni point and were met with decent conditions and sunny skies. Sea was a bit up but none the less we proceeded to drop some baits with the drones 250 to 300m out. First couple of hours was quiet but as we proceeded to pack up Marius went tight screaming line of the reel and into the deep the fish. From the beginning the fight was a not familiar and we all wondered was it a hammerhead shark maybe a small dusky grey shark. The fight lasted for about 20 to 25 minutes where we were amazed, stunned and over exited to see that in was a yellowfin tuna of about +- 20kg a first for all of us to see from the side. The rest of the days were not productive and we decided to head on home and prepare for the following mornings early start.
Day 2 we headed back out to Umdoni point for the morning fishing. Conditions were really good with lots of sardines shoals spotted off shore and lots of action all over. One of the small pockets of sardines moved to within casting distance weir we ran to the front and spinning for a good half an hour with no results seeing bonito and Garrick chasing the fish through the waves. We then decided to get the big outfits ready and prepared to drop baits with the drone to get into the area where the shoals was patrolling. I flew the first bait out to about 300m off shore, I would reckon it took about 3 to 4 minutes and Matthew were tight with a proper fish taking a good of amount of line. We got the fish under control and started moving to a safe area weir we could land the fish safely. After about an hour’s fight and almost 2 kilometres from weir we hooked the fish was in the gutter and we manage to grab the fish. It’s was a stunning Blackfin shark of 90kilos first for Matthew form the side and s solid fish top open his account. The rest of the day was un productive with the wind turning to a strong westerly wind and in this the sea got on its head and made condition very difficult to fish in.
Day 3 started with us back at Umdoni for the morning, tried dropping one bait but current was just too strong and we could not fish for the rest of the morning. During the day conditions started improving with a now North easterly wind blowing and sea conditions started to change back to normal. The sardines started showing just of Pennington with shoals getting smashed to pieces by a variety of sharks and yellowfin tunas al enjoying a meal. We headed out again in the afternoon to Umdoni point as there were sardine activity in the area, the rest of the guys went to Kelso were we saw most of the action. Our first drop of Umdoni point was an almost instant on with the drone not even making it back to the rocks. The fish took some line and we started moving to the bay on the left hand side weir we could land the fish safely. A small blackfin of 60kgs was landed and returned safely. During the fight we got a call from the guys and Keslo saying that they also went on with a very good fish that took over 400m on its first run and they needed headlamps as it was starting to get dark. We packed up and rushed of excited to see shat species it could be. We got to the beach, with full moon we could see Eduan fighting up the beach with the fish still going strong. We all suggested that it could be a very big grey shark as they are mostly common in the sardine run and comes it good numbers. While Eduan was fighting with the shark the second rod went off and it was chaos with Marius tussling the second fish taking a good amount of line .After more than a hour the fish was close and gave Eduan a good run for his money up and down the gutter. Phillip and Eugene manage to get the tail rope around the fish as it came over with a big wave and we manage to land to everybody’s surprise a big Zambezi shark weighing in at 170kgs first for Eduan as well and a new Pb. The second fish was giving a good account of himself and after about 30 to 40 minutes it was close. I big wave picked up and the guys tried to crab what was a second Zambezi shark of about estimated 45-50kgs and as they wanted to crab it a second wave came and the braid parted under the pressure and the fish went back safely without a picture for the angler to remember it by.
Day 4 and last morning saw us split up into 2 groups again with myself and Phillip heading to Omdoni point and the rest of the guys to Kelso. We proceeded to drop baits early as we needed to head back home. Our first 2 drops went in without any hassles. Phillip got the first pull with fish being erratic taking line and swimming in at a pace with Phillip barely keeping up and screaming of again. We were almost certain this was another yellowfin tuna as it did not act like a shark in its fighting behaviour. To our amazement we were greeted by the site of a second tuna from the rocks in less than 3 days insane achievement in its self. We got another call from the guys at Kelso saying they into a massive fish again and we quickly packed up a headed that way. While we were heading there we got a call that they were netting just left of the house we were staying at, could this be the opportunity we were looking for the whole weekend?? While on our way to weir the fish was being netted we got a call to say that they landed the fish a monster Dusky Grey shark of 261kgs, what a way to end the trip on a high. We manage to make our way to the netters and were greeted with one net on the beach and more fish in the gutter sadly now sharks or edibles with them.
On this trip we managed to get 2 x Yellowfin Tunas of +-20kgs each, 2x Blackfins sharks, 2 Zambezi sharks and the monster Dusky grey shark.
When targeting these fish edible or non edible in the sardine run make sure you have the right tackle as you don’t want to end up with hundreds of meters of line/braid in the water as your outfit were not up to standard.
Thanks to all the guys in making this trip a memorable one and let’s hope to see more action in the upcoming years.
Come and speak to myself Thinus (Centurion branch) or Kobie (Montana branch) to get setup with the right gear for sharks or spinning in the Sardine run.