A Sailie, a Zambie and a bag of Cuda by Tim Sluiscremer

Reverse Current and Plenty of Sharks

Tim SluiscremerLast Friday I was diving deep Scottburgh with Joe Mulder and Garet Staats. The vis was good, 20m, but the current was reversed. Not good for the shoal, but we have some marks a little way off that have been known to produce the odd cuda in those conditions. Not much on the first few drifts, but I bumped into a good sized tiger shark which came up suddenly. Fortunately he moved on without incident. Joe got off the board first, a cuda of around 10kg. Then another before long. Garet and I were yet to strike. There was a blacktip buzzing around but he never got a look in on our fish. A cuda came in while Garet and I were in the water and I got a shot in as it was swimming away from me. Mid-body and at an angle but a bit high. With the sharks around I wanted to hold it so I asked Garret to put a second shot.

A Fluke

When he did there was a loud clang and suddenly my line went slack. His spear was still holding so I hurried to reload my gun only to realize why my spear had pulled. He had shot directly down the shaft of my spear and had hit the barb off. I could see the cuda shaking hard and the other spear hanging by the barb. Fortunately Joe was on it and the boat was right there. I called for my reel gun and dived, getting in a kill shot just as the spear was pulling out. Boat 3, sharks 0. My standard gun is a 1300 (2x 16mm and a 7.5mm spear), but I didn't have a spare spear, so I carried on with my 1200 Tuna with the same set up. A little shorter but still full of power. We carried on diving and Joe managed another cuda (all our fish in the 9-12kg range).

Wahoo and Sailfish

Garret was yet to get off the mark when he dropped a wahoo. It had come right up to the boat while I was picking them up at the end of the drift and Garet had to reload his gun to make the shot as it was swimming away. Unlucky. On the next drift he saw a saily but it was spooked by the boat. After that he managed a cuda and Joe one more. Next up I was in the water with Garret again. The vis had dropped a little but was still good, a bit murky on the bottom though. Suddenly out of the murk a streamlined shape arose. At first I thought it was a croc cuda then I saw the bill. Saily. He came straight in on the flasher and I dived to meet him. As he turned I placed the shot behind the head a little above the lateral line. Not a kill shot but a good holding one. And he took of like Subaru at a street race. Cavitating until the traction control kicked in and then gone. I surfaced to see my buoy skipping off into the distance and the fish tail-walking ahead of it. Then he dived and I jumped into the boat with Joe to give chase. A few hundred metres away and I managed to get back into the water and onto the buoy line. I swam in for a bit and dived with my reel gun to place a kill shot. I lined up my shot but as I was squeezing the trigger the fish did his drag racing trick again and my shot fell low and too far back. At least I had 2 spears in so I could put some pressure on it.

A Pack of Zambezi Sharks

I looked down then and realised that I wasn't the reason for the new turn of pace. Directly below me was a pack of zambies. I could make out three and my imagination conjured up a couple more in the murk below. But the one sitting not 10m under me needed no imagining. He was a bus. Almost as long as my boat and about half as wide. Looking very intentional with a hunched back and his pec's were pointing.

And all I had in hand was a three foot aluminum tube with reel on it. Line pouring off the reel and again my float came flying past my head. Suddenly the sailfish was second priority. I popped up and called loudly for the boat. (Joe tells me I was screaming like a school girl but I'm sure in the excitement he misheard my tone of voice). With all this shark activity I wanted to get the fish into the boat quick-sharp and also by now we had moved away from where Garret was. So, from the boat I pulled the fish up as hard as possible and held it up for Joe to put a kill shot in. Usually I don't hold with fighting fish off the boat but with so many excitable zambezi sharks in the water and the vis not great, it would have been childish to play chicken with them.

Aggressive Sailfish

I was holding the lines while Joe went to make the coup de grace, but the saily had one last flurry in him and turned to charge him down, pushing him back into the boat! He managed to get a shot in and we got the fish into the boat before losing any of it to the sharks. Boat 6, sharks 0. Thanks Joe. Garret managed a cuda in the end, but a pity about the wahoo. Joe got a bag of cuda and I got my first sailfish, 37kg. And the sharks got none.