Kwelera River Rats :TIPS ON ESTURINE ANGLING EAST COAST – the follow up article no.2

Posted on: April 4, 2018, in Adventure & Fun, News


Kwelera River Rats

will be fighting to preserve the Kwelera Estuary for future generations


EAST COAST – the follow up article no.2

Compiled by John L M Brown

ESTUARIES are the meeting places of the rivers and the sea, and are characterised by the interaction between the two. Conditions in an estuary are always changing, and this instability or variability is one of the most important features of estuaries.

The salinity of estuarine water varies depending on the tide and the strength of the inflowing river. In addition, a river also brings silt and nutrients to the estuary in varying quantities, depending on conditions in the catchment (drainage basin) of the river concerned.


Tides have a big influence as to how successful you will be on your outing. There is a high tide and a low tide about six hours apart. Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and are also influenced by the position of the moon in relation to the earth. You will usually hear the term’s spring and neap tides used. When a spring tide occurs the high and low tide mark will far exceed that of a neap tide. Spring tides take place every two weeks with new/dark moon and a full moon. In the East Cape a spring tide high will always be in the early morning and again in the afternoon. Neap tides take place on the half moon and at this stage the push of the tide will be at its weakest. The tide does not get as high or as low as it does on a spring tide. The tide may take up to six to eight hours to change as the gravitational pull from the moon is at its weakest. Check your tide table every day, as there are often large jumps in time as to when a tide is low or high, i.e. Monday low at 06:28. Tuesday low at 07:55.  Your local tackle shop should carry a tide table for you or check the local newspaper. Be sure of your location and the time period allowed for variance as to where tides are given.

Areas to fish:

You would be able to fish almost any part of an estuary, but when you are there you will want to identify the spots which will potentially produce the most fish. Certain areas are best to fish in certain tides and are as follows.


Rip is caused by the movement of water, either wave action or tidal flow. It is a line of water created when fast moving water comes up against slow moving water. The surface water becomes uneven and rough. Baitfish are often present as the turbulent water carries nutrients on which they feed, following bait fish are the predators, always a good area to target.

Drop Off

Drop offs are commonly found way back from the mouth of the estuary, however a drop off occurs at any spot where shallow water drops off into deeper water.

These are partly or totally exposed at a low tide. Baitfish congregate in the shallows as they are protected from the predatory fish. As the tide pushes (comes in) the baitfish are flushed into the deeper water off the sand or mud bar and this would be the area to target fish .Do not stand right on the edge but a few metres back as the fish patrol on the edges and they are likely to spook and move off.


Keep your eyes open as you travel down the river for a funnel like effect. This happens when there is shallow water on either side of a deeper channel. The water will move a little quicker here and is always a good spot to try your luck.

 Mud Bank

Deep-water mud banks can be very productive. You will see mud on the banks of the estuary and these will sometimes go right down into deeper water. Fish love to feed on the prawns in the mud. Predatory fish feed on the smaller baitfish which are feeding on the prawns.

 Creeks / Small inlets

A creek can be a real hot spot to fish if the timing is correct. We have found that a creek produces the most fish as the tide starts to flow out. Again the baitfish are flushed out into the deeper water where the predatory fish are waiting. The action could last for only 20 minutes so it is important to be in the right place at the right time.


Pools normally occur near the upper reaches of an estuary. These are normally only fished on the high tide as there is then enough water for fish to hunt. Pools are normally not that big and you will soon find out if there are any predatory fish present. Again the bite will only last for a short period of time and only 1 or 2 fish will be landed in this area. The nice thing about fishing a pool is that you will not have to cast away for hours as your window period for catching fish is short.

 Out Crops

Rocky outcrops that stick out in an estuary at low tide is another good spot to try as the tide comes in and again as it goes out. Predatory fish are often hanging around the edges to pick up a quick meal.

 Unlikely Spots

If you know an area has been fished heavily for a period don’t disregard less likely areas, fish will move into these areas and be less weary of objects being thrown at them. Often a second rate area will produce a trophy fish.


 There are a wide variety of fish to be caught in our estuaries. We cover some of the common ones found in the East Cape estuaries. Fish swim with currents and we often find new species appearing at certain times of the year. Skipjack, Leervis, Kob, Shad, Spotted Grunter, River Snapper, Yellowtail Kingfish, Giant Kingfish, Large mouth Queen fish, Pickhandle Barracuda, River Perch, Sand Shark, Mullet and Oxeye Tarpon. Each fish has distinguishing characteristics and these fish must all be identified by sight. A GUIDE TO THE COMMON SEA FISHES OF SOUTHERN AFRICA by Rudi van der Elst is an ideal book to use as a reference as it has all the photographs and information that you will need. Study the info, as certain fish will need to be handled in a different way to A Skipjack can be lifted by a hand in its mouth but a Shad not. Also certain fish have very sharp scutes around the tail region and gloves are needed to handle them.


Areena Resort, Kwelera River, Kwelera, East London, South Africa

EMAIL: Ph 0732727851

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