Jozini, a small town in North Eastern KwaZulu-Natal on the main route to Mozambique, is synonymous with the dam of the same name – the Jozini or Pongolapoort Dam. This huge dam, on the Pongola River, provides a rather dramatic doorway into Maputaland and the river supports a massive population of fish, hippos and crocodiles as well as the people who live in the area.
The Jozini Dam lies in between the majestic Ubombo and Lebombo mountains on the Elephant Coast and covers over 16 000 ha. It was originally designed to irrigate over 80 000 ha of farm land supporting products such as sugarcane, rice, coffee and various sub-tropical fruits. Many have compared it to Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe and it is fast becoming the mecca of many wild game seekers as farmers convert vast tracts of land around the dam back to their virgin bush in the bid to realise a dream to return this area to its former wild life kingdom.
Lake Jozini, as the dam is now called, has become very popular as a Tiger fishing destination and because the dam borders with the Pongola Nature Reserve and Game Reserve, you can view wildlife from your boat and glow-flies light up the early evening shoreline, transforming the water into an incandescent array of fairy lights.
The main attraction in this area is the return of the elephant. But there are vast numbers of other game to be viewed, including: buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, kudu, bushbuck, duiker, steenbok, hyena, cheetah, wild dog, serval cat, warthog and even the occasional sighting of leopard, which roam the Lebombo mountains.
The dam’s muddy plains and reed banks are home to a vast array of birdlife, over 350 different species, including the whistling duck, yellow billed storks, Egyptian geese, herons, kingfishers and several fish eagles.
Tiger fishing Tips at Jozini Dam
Tiger fishing in Jozini has been a continuous learning experience from the first days where I spent days on Jozini Dam with poor results. Where to begin looking for Tiger fish in Jozini, and with what bait and tackle to use? As with any kind of fishing, in the beginning it was very frustrating, but then with time I got some tips and I learned some tiger fishing techniques which work consistently. I discuss different tiger fishing tips and techniques in more detail in the ‘Jozini Tiger fishing Techniques’ section of the site, but here are some basic tiger fishing tips and tricks I have learned, and that you will learn yourself, if you spend time tiger fishing at Jozini Dam.
A list of Jozini Tiger fishing Tips:
- Explore the whole of Jozini Dam, from the gorge to the northern tip of the dam and create your own fishing map, so that you know which areas are best to fish under different wind conditions.
- Weather conditions will always determine how and where you can fish on Jozini Dam, so get accurate weather forecasts for the Jozini area.
- There is always the option to launch at either the northern or southern part of Jozini. Don’t let a short drive prevent you from getting to the best fishing spots at Jozini.
- Take high spf sunscreen and a hat.
- Summer rains bring in dirty water in the spring and summer. During this time, the clearest water can be found in the southern tip of Jozini dam.
- Winds from the north make the water along the western shore very dirty. The water clears slowly when the wind dies or when the wind changes and blows from a southerly direction.
- Tiger fish prefer warmer water in the winter, so avoid areas of upwelling of cold water. Tiger fishing in Jozini is slightly slower in the winter, but we catch good size Tiger fish all year round at Jozini. Don’t believe those who tell you that you don’t catch Tiger fish in the winter!
- A good Jozini tiger fishing tip is to remember that Tigerfish do not mind discolored water. If you are struggling to find fish, try to fish in a dirty patch of water. You will read that Tiger fishing is best in clear water, but also bear in mind that hunting in clear water is difficult for Tiger fish, and off-coloured water makes hunting easier. This is why one often finds large numbers of Tiger fish concentrated in areas of dirty water.
- Wind creates strong currents in the Jozini Dam. Look for places where the fish can get out of the current. Good places to find Tiger fish hiding behind points along the southern shore. The bay at the Fish Eagle campsite is a good example of a sheltered bay. The water currents in Jozini also play a role in the transport of dirty water.
- Remove all the split rings from new tiger fishing lures and replace with strong ones. When a tiger fish jumps and shakes its head, the shaking lure causes those small split rings pull open without any excessive line tension. Also remember that when a Tiger fish is speeding off at 70-80 km/h, just the drag of the bow of line in the water is enough to pull rings and break line even with zero tension from the rod end.
- Replace all treble hooks with single hooks. Flattening the barbs on the hooks makes a clean release of your tiger fish much easier.
- Steel wire and nylon coated trace should always be in good condition and tiger fishing traces must be at least 50kg breaking strain. Replace wire traces with kinks immediately!
- Use braid only if you are well accustomed to fishing with braid. Braid plus a stiff rod offers little shock absorption, often resulting in mysterious braid breaks and hooks pulling out of the soft membranes in the inside of the Tiger fish’s mouth. A good tigerfishing tip for anybody fishing with braid is to keep your fingers well out of the way when a tiger fish attacks your bait and charges off. Braid works well to tie your bait onto your hook! 10kg nylon or braid is a good strength.
- Always use fluorocarbon leader when fishing with braid line. Clear line will do, but fluorocarbon is best.
Credit: Tiger Fishing Tips – jozinitigerfishing.org