The Eastern Cape winters can be some of the harshest along the coast of Southern Africa with cold front cells moving up further North during this period they brush our coast line more often than in the Summer months and bring Gail force South Westerly winds, swells upto 6 meters and a severe drop in ocean temperatures with estuaries often having an average of 12C to 14C during the peak winter period.
Although years ago the average estuary angler would merely just service and pack ones tackle away during these cooler months most anglers now fish harder during winter as often the colder water brings better fishing and by far some of the largest local estuary species are present.
The estuaries like Gamtoos and Sundays have good showings of dusky cob of which can be caught spinning and trolling. Tidal phases play a massive roll in the feeding habits of the dusky and when the right conditions present itself it can be game on with a short window period producing great fishing.
When targeting these fish in deeper water I often take 2 to 3 outfits with me to cover all the lure sizes making sure the lures can get to the optimum depths at the right speed.
Fishing 1/4oz to 1/2oz jigs I would use a 6.6ft to 7ft fast action rod. My 2 piece 6.6ft crucial does this job perfectly matched with a 2500 sustain and 15lbs Sufix 832 performance braid.
My medium outfit would cover the 1/2oz to 3/4oz jigs and plastics range from the 5inch to 7inch sizes. For this I use the 2 piece bassterra 7ft rod. Matched with a Sahara 4000 or similar make reel its an outfit that can land any sized estuary fish with the capability to fish lighter lures as well. The reel I spool with 20lbs Sufix Pro 8 braid and with fishing mixed coral to red bait structure if one does get snagged you often will be able to remove the lure with the heavier braid.
My heavier outfit consists of my Terez Wax Wing which is fitted with Fuji K series guides allowing braid to flow through the guide easily in tough windy conditions. Seated to it is my Shimano Socorro 5000SW spooled with Sufix 832 braid which any angler knows who has fished it is remarkably strong braid.This outfit is used when the wind and tide is rather strong and fished with 7 to 8 inch plastics on 3/4 oz to 1oz jigs.
Its crucial that when big fish are around to be able to present a lure to them in the right area where they would be holding and for the lure to drop into the zone through the current correctly and this outfit does that and once a hook up happens the fast action allows a good hook set and plenty of back bone allows the hook to set through any hard facial bone.
Even a 20kg plus fish with the right drag tension will be landed with in 10 to 15 minutes and larger fish who would demand more attention one can turn and lift fish towards the boat to he netted.
Best of luck with the winter fishing and be prepared for a good fish every cast.
Written by Chris Schoultz