National Spearfishing Championships -  Sodwana Bay 2008

History

Nationals was last held at this same venue in 1977. In those days it was not a gamefish only area and competitors were allowed two fish per species both reef fish and gamefish. As you can imagine quite a lot of fish were brought to the weigh-in.

Controversy at Nationals 2008

The rules for the weighing of fish at this years Nationals were as follows. The minimum weight was 3kg gutted and gilled with the maximum weight being 10kg. Unfortunately the spearfishing controlling body decided to change the bottom weight to 2kg which meant a lot of small kingfish paid the price. The 3kg bottom weight was later put back in place by the host union but only after two days of diving. It was most unfortunate that this happened as not only did it upset the host province but it allowed spearos to shoot the small kingfish that are an easy target.

Biggest fish Nationals 2008, Andrew Henwood 35.5kg wahoowinning Nationals team 2008, Alan Fraser, Gyula Plaganyi, Brent Borslap

Conditions

The conditions were excellent with four days of diving taking place with calm seas and good visibility for the whole of the championships. Visibility was a good 20m plus with the surface sea temperature being 24c+ but colder water deeper down. Unfortunately very little current on all four days which influenced how you hunted for your fish.

Fish

Fish were hard to come by with the lack of current making for a scarcity of the usual gamefish but allowing divers to spear on some of the deeper reefs. The 40m+ reefs were diveable under these conditions with few sharks about and the good visibility helping in the equation. On these deep spots the shoaling reef fish come up to about 28m and then the kaakap and kingies are a little bit deeper. It will be interesting to dive these spots when you are allowed flashers and chumming. We found one spot while scouting that went from 42m straight down to 100m, a 60m wall. This type of spearing is very exciting as you can bump into all sorts on these deep spots.

Winning Teams

The winning teams were once again mostly the top spearos with Gyula Plaganyi, Alan Fraser and Brent Borslap taking the team event diving for Southern Kwazulu Natal ‘A’ team. Gyula and Alan are both Springbok spearfishermen and proved their worth in the difficult to find fish conditions.

You had the odd whiner saying that it was not a true reflection on the top spearos being a gamefish only competition, but I think the results speak for themselves.

Safe diving, John.