Monthly Spearfishing Report July 2009

Conditions

The month started off very settled with good diving conditions along most of the Natal coast. This trend continued for much of the month with small westerly fronts coming up from the Cape but no major winter fronts sweeping across the country as yet. Good visibility of 6 to 8 meters along the entire Natal coastline. Inshore surface water temperatures hovering about the 20c mark all along the Natal coast which does not bode well for the sardine run. Cold weather settling in over much of the country with black frost reported in some of the colder areas with night-time temperatures dropping below 0c.

Fish-Wise

Some very good conditions but few gamefish being landed or seen and not a lot of reef fish about either. With sardine shoals passing further out to sea could be that a lot of the gamefish are following these shoals and hence the no show in what seemed to be perfect conditions. Gary Mann landing some geelbek on the Bluff with the south pier working well when fish are about.

Freedivers Gamefish Open

Very good conditions on July 4 when this competition was dived with the lower south coast having excellent seas all the way down to Port Edward. Visibility was a good 6 to 8 meters with very calm seas but as is the case most times when conditions seem perfect the fish had other ideas. Considering guys dived as far apart as Cape Vidal to Port Edward and with over one hundred entrants not many fish were landed. Only one small garrick weighed-in and a couple of nice cuda with Dave Coetzees winning fish of 16kg being the largest gamefish taken. Some guys had a good catch of natal snoek taken off the Umhlanga area and then the odd kingfish made up the gamefish side of things. A fine 30kg kob or daga salmon was the pick of the bottom fish with most divers not weighing-in any fish. The prizes were excellent with first prize being worth over R18000.00 and some great prices further down the line for those guys lucky enough to have landed gamefish. Hard-luck story must belong to Bruce Hickey who lost his gun on a big cuda whilst shore diving off Tongaat.

Sardine Run News

Not much to report apart from the no show of the sardines along the Natal coast. The water temperatures are still above the 18c mark with much of the natal coast experiencing water temps of 20c and above which is too warm for the sardines. Some action towards the end of the month in the Scottburgh/Greenpoint area and further south off Hibberdene but with a big swell running not sure if any sardines were netted. There is no action off Waterfall Bluff so these might be the scraps with the main shoals having disappeared out to sea.

Boat Launching Restrictions

The rules state that if you are a recognized launch your facilities must be open to all boat users. Unfortunately a number of launches are not abiding by these rules and are making it impossible for non members to launch. Park Rynie Ski-boat club use the council owned slip as their launch site. They have a lease for it from the council. Their R200.00 launch fees are way over the top and if you are a first time user you need to pay a further R50.00 municipal fee. Some launches are permanently locked unless you happen to be a member with a key which is illegal but without any action from the water police or other relevant authority things are set to remain the same. As was the case when a commercial fisherman took one of the Cape municipalities to court over launch restrictions and won which opened up all the previously closed launches around the country, the same might have to happen again.

Deep Diving

Trevor Hutton’s attempt at shooting a fish at sixty meters depth was successful. The dive took place off Durban, South Africa on the 22 July 2009 and the full story can be here.

Safe diving, John.