Plan the ultimate winter holiday at KZN South Coast’s fishing hotspot, Rocky Bay.

While many people are having to bundle up indoors as winter approaches, the KZN South Coast’s subtropical climate means that holidaymakers can enjoy sunny skies and seaside adventures throughout the year. And, with the annual Sardine Run about to get underway, those looking to experience a once-in-a-lifetime fishing experience should get in on the action with Rocky Bay Resort’s ‘Winter Warmer Special’.

“The Sardine Run is, without a doubt, one of the most incredible ocean spectacles for anglers, as well as those looking to enjoy sightings of these beautiful ocean animals really close to shore,” said Annien Koulountis, Resorts Manager at Rocky Bay Resorts. “We’re so fortunate to have an on-site fishing charter run by the incredibly experienced Lloyd Pellew and his team. They’re on hand to charter a boat for a really memorable day of fishing.”

Lloyd Pellew from Albacore Fishing Charters explained that, while fishing is great all year, the winter months, with the beautifully still, sunny days, are truly special – particularly when the Sardine Run is in action!

“From the beginning of June to end of July we have the annual Sardine run which is really a must for everyone to witness,” said Pellew, who was born and raised in Rocky Bay and boasts more than five decades of fishing experience. “There are shoals and shoals of these silver fish moving up the coast, accompanied by hundreds of dolphins and birds.”

Pellew said that the Sardine Run also attracts local seine netters who drop their nets and haul in tons of sardines for local dishes: “Rocky Bay is one of the best netting locations, and it’s great to see people of all ages wading into the water in an attempt to catch the fish.”

Great fishing opportunities and options

Commenting on the fishing at this time, he said both shore and deep-sea fishing are great, with shad caught from the pier. Deep sea fishing can be done on one of the seven charter boats available, or from personal recreational vessels at the Park Rynie Skiboat Club, which is a recognised ski boat launch site. 

“Fishing offshore on a boat, you can catch game fish as well as bottom fish all year around,” explained Pellew, who has been skippering for 40 years. “The game fish we target from Rocky Bay are yellowfin tuna, dorado, wahoo, sailfish and the occasional marlin. We catch couta [king mackerel] from December until the end of July. Then there are shoal couta from December until May, with trophy fish in these winter months. That’s because the bigger fish are attracted to the Sardine Run!”

In terms of bottom fishing, Pellew said musselcracker, rockcod, Englishman, soldiers, troll soldiers, slinger, albacore and geelbek are all available. Those who prefer shore fishing are in for a treat as the area has a number of incredible bays and gullies, including the pier at Rocky Bay. Anglers can try hook shad, stumpnose, bronze bream, karinteen and blacktail.

Spearfishing, too, is very popular at Rocky Bay, both offshore and inshore for those looking to catch couta, snoek, salmon and albacore. Those looking to get up close to the fish without a rod can try snorkelling in Rocky Bay, which is considered one of the best snorkelling areas on the KZN South Coast.

Lloyd Pellew and his wife, Pauline, have been running Albacore Charters for years, with their son, Ryan, who has been deep sea fishing since the age of four. The cost is R5 000 to charter a boat for a maximum of six anglers, all tackle and bait supplied, or R950 per person for the seven-hour game or bottom fishing expedition. All guests keep their catches, but everyone must have a fishing permit which is available from the Post Office.

Rocky Bay Resorts is running its incredible Winter Warmer Special to give holidaymakers the best deal this winter. This is a 20% discount off all their ocean-view log cabins, with the special running until the end of July. Book now at https://enquiries.rockybay.co.za/.

To find out more about Rocky Bay fishing, snorkelling, camping, and more, visit www.rockybay.co.za or like the @RockyBayResorts Facebook page. To book accommodation at the Rocky Bay Resorts log cabins or Caravan Park, call 039 976 0336.

(Image credit: Rocky Bay Resorts)