Sodwana bay Trip - basie Ackermann

Cuda Scarce

A group of us went up to Sodwana Bay the last week of March in the hope of shooting some nice size cuda. Any cuda, for that matter. Here on the South Coast cuda have been like hen’s teeth. That is a lie – hen’s teeth can still be found.

Good Conditions

The weather was a bit off, mostly south easterlies, but the conditions made up for it – 25-30m viz, north-south current, and 27 degrees water. Being on a 22ft Boston Whaler, we made the long run to Elusive twice. Beautiful conditions, and some fish about, but all of them runts, average cuda 4kg, with some kaakap and Sangora in the 3 kg range. Craig lost a Wahoo of about 12 kg’s, and I saw a small Sailie jump, but that was it as far as big fish went. We got some bigger cuda at Hotspot and Canyon, with the biggest 9kg. Rather disappointing, but we still had some enjoyable diving.

Memorable Trip

Two things actually made this trip memorable – both bad, in a sense.

The first was the utterly piggish, gluttonous, annoying, parasitic, free loading Potato Bass – the scourge of any spearo. We lost fish left right and centre, if not from them taking it straight off our spears (and bending them), then from us fighting the fish so hard, that they tear out, and the bloody bass wins anyway. If you didn’t spine a fish and subdue it underwater, then that was that. Even your buddy diving down on it had no impact. 9 Mile Reef has always had this problem, and together with the local blacktip shark population, it is to be expected to lose some fish there. But the I’m-too-lazy-to-hunt-my-own-food-and-would-rather-steal-someone-else’s syndrome has moved right up to their cousins at Elusive. No matter where you are, you are forever followed by 3-4 bass.

Dangerous Fish

The second event was a reminder of what a Sea pike is capable of. I recall Darrell being noshed recently at Sodwana, well it seems like the pike are getting agro up there.

Alistair Louw had just speared a 6 kg specimen, a good shot just behind the head, but not a kill shot, whilst diving the outside edge just off Breaking Waters. A friendly bass was in attendance, trying to get yet another free meal, and obviously the pike started stressing a bit. The result was it went straight for it’s attacker – Alistair in this case – who had nothing to defend himself with, as his gun was trailing behind the fish.

Pike Attack

He tried kicking him off, and got nabbed on the left shin. We thought it was just a scratch, as it wasn’t bleeding much, until we took the wetsuit off – right to the bone, a jagged 6 cm long gash, pumping blood. We aborted the diving and got him back to Sodwana for medical attention. 8 outer stitches, and 4 internal ones and R500.00 later they found a tooth fragment inside, and when we checked the jaws of the culprit, one of its front upper teeth was snapped off. Scary thought if he had been bitten anywhere more meaty. Imagine the damage. Needless to say we didn’t shoot any other pike this trip.

Safe diving -
Basie Ackermann