The Elusive Crocodile Cuda by Tim Theunissen

Tim Theunissen with his 25kg CudaThere is one board fish that has been eluding me for many years. After 15 years, my luck has finally turned!

After the Freedivers comp on Saturday we were all feeling a bit tired, so Craig Heslop and myself headed down to Hibberdene for a shore dive. The sea was flat with a dark blue line in the deep. We swam off just south of the Children's home and hit the blue warm water in about 60ft. We swam out deeper and found the current screaming north - south. After a short while into our drift I heard Craig calling. He drifted onto a nice shoal of about 20 cuda and spined a big one. It came off a bit later as his barb didn't set.

10 mins later I had a pair of crocs come gliding onto my flasher. I lined up on the biggest (estimated around 25-30kg) and squeezed the trigger. I was real close up and then I had a slight jam/ delay on my trigger mech. The muzzle lifted ever so slightly and I shot high. Cursing, I new with such a big fish the spear would come out. It did, nicely bent too!

I spent the next 20 mins cursing myself and hoped we'd bump into some more crocs. By now we were south of Hibberdene, past the bathing area. I went down onto some sand just off a patch of reef. As I kicked off the bottom to go back up again, I noticed a single cuda cruising along the bottom. I went back down and shot it a solid shot. I estimated him to be around 17kg. After it took off I thought maybe not... After a while I brought him in and noticed he was a lot bigger than I thought. It weighed in at 25kg. The spell has finally been broken. Maybe it will take another 15 years to shoot another 25kg + cuda!

We came out just north of Umzumbe and hitched our way back (with the cuda) back to Hibberdene. We bumped into Nick McCLurg, recharged on some energy bars and water and swam out again off the Children’s Home. The west had picked up a bit, but the viz was still crystal out in the deep. As soon as I I reached the 15m mark I bumped into a shoal of about 10 big cuda. I lined up on another one over 20kg but he spooked with the rest of the shoal, so I never took a shot. That was the last we saw of the cuda yesterday.

There are some big cuda around, I think a sign that the shoal cuda have yet to come. I've had a lucky season so far, with some nice cuda being landed. 22kg off Sheffield, 21.5kg last Monday off Hibbies in 40ft and now this one. I think that is my luck out for the rest of the season!!

Happy Hunting, Tim.