Species: Natal Stumpnose

Other Names: Stumpie, Yellowfin bream, Sea bream, Stompnues

Identification 

  • This fish has an oval body shape with a distinct dorsal fin. 
  • The head is slightly blunt, appearing Stump – hence its common name. 
  • It appears silvery grey with golden stripes; however the stripes are an illusion caused by the golden centre of each of its scales giving it an impression of having longitudinal lines. 
  • The fins are all yellow in color fading as the fish matures.
  • Stumpies grows to around 80cm length, but average around 40cm. 

About  

A very striking fish, named Natal Stumpnose because of its concentration in natal waters along with its blunt snout. A sought after fish which makes excellent eating as well as having the reputation of being an incredibly strong fighter. Reproduction takes place during winter in close proximity to river mouths. Juveniles seek shelter in these estuaries for the first period of their lives.

Where to Find 

Found along the entire east coast however, very few specimens have been encountered further south of Knysna. The largest concentration of this fish in South Africa is around KZN. Large numbers are also present on the Mozambique coast. This fish tends to enjoy shallow reef and sandy bays, along with deeper ledges and sand banks.

Best angling times

Best angling times for this species is generally in late winter through spring and appear to increase in numbers into the summer months as huge shoals tend to congregate at this time of the year. Targeting this fish at night seems to give the best results, usually the tide plays a role and generally best catches will coincide with 2 hours of the push and drop of the high tide in the dark.

Recommended Water Structure 

Best places to target this fish would be around rocky outcrops, submerged reefs as well as in the working water off ledges, also common along sandy beaches specifically on working sand banks especially if there is a little scattered rock in the water. Shallow sandy bays are also a must try. Estuaries also produce good catches but these tend to be juvenile fish. Warm water around 21 to 23 degrees seems to be when these fish are most active. Ledges with working banks on the outside would be a strong recommendation. 

Recommended Baits 

A very wide variety of baits work well, crayfish tail, prawns, langoustine, chokka, mussels, sea lice, red bait, red eye sardine heads, even mackerel heads, along with baby squid, octopus leg and bay squid offer the best results, to narrow it down slightly, when specifically targeting stumpies, octopus leg, sea lice, crayfish tail and chokka combined with pink prawn would be my top choices.

Recommended Tackle 

Best tackle for stumpies would be a medium to light outfit, mainline need not be too heavy so, 45 mm would suffice in nylon or 30lb braid if using braid, your leader needs to be strong with good abrasion resistance as one would usually be targeting these fish around rocks. Hooks need to be fairly strong as this fish can open weaker hooks with its molar filled mouth.

The Fight  

These fish are strong fighters and generally grab hold of your bait and speed off almost pulling the rod out of your hands, characteristics of the fight would be the strong head nodding and the erratic movement as the fish darts back and forth as it dives and dashes around the rocks or sandbanks.

Recommended Traces

Recommended traces would be simple, one for around the rocks and another for on the beach, around the rocks, 70mm to 75mm hook snoot around 600 to 700mm would be ideal, hook sizes between 4/0 and 6/0 with a no 5 power swivel. On the beach the same trace can be used however the leader and hook snoot thickness can be between 57mm and 60mm. The sinker line for both would be slightly longer than the hook snoot, this facilitates casting as it balances out stopping it from swinging in the air during the cast. 

Angling restrictions

These fish are often present in huge shoals ranging from small undersized fish to larger mature fish. Care should be taken as there are size and bag restrictions in place to ensure that this species is not over exploited. Bag limit is 5 per person per day with the size limit being 250mm. 

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