Spearfishing Nationals- April 2007

Scouting

The area chosen for the 2007 Nationals was the Plettenberg bay-Sedgefield stretch of coast. It is an amazing area to dive with big pinnacles rising from deep water to within a few meters of the surface and plenty of fish life. Though the weather was relatively settled, some low pressure areas far south sent big swells into the area for much of the Nationals period and this trashed the water especially on the Sedgefield Banks and the spring tides did not help either. Most teams scouted both areas with some teams spending more time scouting the Banks. We dived this area in the 1991 Nationals and had the same problem with the Sedgefield Banks being undiveable and the second day was dived at Cape St Francis in that year.

Day One Almost

1 May saw all the teams making an early start from Sedgefield for the launch at Plettenberg Beach control. All the boats were sitting off Grootebank blinder by 08:00 but with a big swell running it did not look very promising and this was soon confirmed when the scout boat declared the conditions undiveable.

Day One

The Midlands A team had the unenviable task of  scouting the natures valley area again the next day but luckily conditions were a lot better. Water temperatures of 17 centigrade with 5m visibility on the bottom and a manageable swell. This was phoned through to the teams waiting at Sedgefield and a long wait ensued for all the boats to once again assemble off the Grootebank blinder. The competition was eventually started at 11:00 but by then a large swell had moved in on the low tide and conditions had deteriorated. There followed six hours of hard diving in marginal viz and a strong surge on any of the shallower reefs.

Final Results

The weigh-in continued to well past 21:00 with the top divers managing to weigh 6 or 7 weighers and most divers battling to get four fish. A rest day followed and then once again the Midlands A team volunteered to check the conditions for the second and last day on the Sedgefield Banks. Three areas were checked and all had very poor viz with a very big swell churning up any of the shallower sections and it was decided that the conditions were unsafe. So the results from the first day were the final results.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed the Nationals as it is a great area to dive and the spots scouted that showed a lot of fish will be worth visiting at some stage in the future. It is also a beautiful area to visit and is a world away from what we have in Natal so that was also enjoyable. That one fish that you should have shot and did not will haunt you for the next couple of months and hopefully next time you will not make the same mistake. If you are battling so is everyone so keep calm and do not rush all over the ocean chasing fish. Nationals is great and is the one area where you can pit your spearfishing skills against the best in the country and that in itself is a privilege worth fighting for.