Monthly Spearfishing Report April 2003

April 2003

Weather and Diving conditions

Great weather this time of year in KwaZulu-Natal. The high humidity of the summer months is gone, replaced by mornings that have a bite to them and warm sunny days. Diving wise the month got off to a good start with fairly settled conditions and plenty of diveable water about. Salt Rock and North together with far South being clean on a number of days. Plenty of lobster to be found but not that many fish being taken. Cold water on the bottom once again being the villain.

Big Storm

The storm on the night of the 13th meant discoloured water pouring into the sea from storm water drains and rivers and put an end to the good inshore conditions. The Easter weekend was a right off with poor inshore visibility and Aliwal suffering the same fate with 10-15m viz and a south – north current. The four days of north-easterlies did not help. The weather had settled down by the 2nd holiday weekend of the month and there was diveable water to be found on both the North and South coasts with the big surf also dropping off.

Fish Action

The odd king mackerel(cuda) coming out on the North coast together with some queen mackerel(snoek), otherwise things have been quiet. There are normally some big cuda lurking about during this period with Salt Rock, Stud, Mtwalume and Hibberdene always worth a dive. I have not heard of any big fish coming out so perhaps the best is still to come. The far South area has been diveable but cold water on the bottom has meant few fish being taken. Towards the end of the month some warm clean water moved into this area and good catches of bottoms were made.

Aliwal Shoal

Aliwal has been producing some good fish when the current is right, North to South. Some sailfish being seen with cuda, tunny, queenfish and kingfish making up catches. Wahoo still being boated and with May being one of the peak months for these fish out at Aliwal, the action should start to pick up.

Garrick Run

The early garrick have arrived with some being taken on the South coast. The main run starts in June/July for spearfishermen. This is the time when you can expect to find them in shoals, hunting the backline on rocky points at first light. Anglers on the South Pier have been catching the odd small Shad already, Shad traditionally being the bait of choice for these hard fighting fish and one of the Garricks favorite foods. When you come across a shoal of Shad whilst diving it is always a good idea to see how the fish are behaving. If they are agitated, chances are that some type of big gamefish is harassing them and it could be worth your while hanging about a bit.

Sodwana Bay and Cape Vidal

No news from these spots, but worth a visit just to have certain diveable conditions. It is always exciting to dive these locations, as you never know what you might encounter. The Wahoo Winter Gamefish Competition to be held on the 17th May at Cape Vidal is already attracting a lot of response from spearos. With a host of great prizes to be won, good diving and the comradeship of a 100 or so spearfishermen. It is one spearfishing competition not to miss. See you there.

News from the Cape

The winter conditions have arrived in the Cape with cold green water being the order of the day. There are still some yellowtail being taken on the Struis Banks and some big white steenbras landed in this area up to 14kg. Some big red stumpnose making up catches as well. The divers trying for tuna off Cape Point have been getting some longfin tuna but none of the big boys around as yet.

Mozambique News

I was up at Inhambane for the whole of March and conditions were very poor. A cyclone in the channel off Vilankulo caused strong winds and heavy rain to wreak havoc in the area. The sea was wild, a jumble of huge waves and crashing white water. A trawler sought shelter in the normally protected bay off Barra before things got too bad. It was anchored out there for 2 days on a coral reef that l know. It moved just in time before the storm peaked. I went and had a look when things had calmed down and the chain from the anchor had caused a lot of damage to the coral. I later saw the boat tied up in the harbor at Inhambane. Reports from further North at Inhassoro are that a lot of dead turtles are washing up on the beaches, courtesy of the long-liners operating in the area. The traffic police are out in force with their radar gun speed traps so take care when you are driving in Mozambique.

Zimbabwe Spearfishing Records

Below are listed some of the Zimbabwe spearfishing records correct as at 1 February 2002.

  Species Weight Caught by Date
1 African Mottled Eel 6.515kg D.Cloete 11/4/82
2 Eastern Bottlenose 8.250kg D.Willis 12/9/72
3 Cornish Jack 10.645kg W.Clelland 20/08/70
4 Tigerfish 12.715 J.K.Jakubowicz 12/11/95
5 Nkupe 7.000kg E.Houston 27/10/78
6 Chessa 6.38 J.K.Jakubowicz 3/4/88
7 Manyame Labeo 3.599kg M.Bredenkamp 12/2/69
8 Purple Labeo 7.000kg T.Van Der Merwe 20/08/75
9 Redeye Labeo 1.200kg R.P.Ward 28/10/88
10 Vundu 45.650kg T.Botha 20/10/81
11 Sharptooth Catfish 10.400kg D.Smith 26/06/82
12 Electric Catfish 6.580kg J.K.Jakubowicz 25/06/89
13 Brown Squeaker 0.900kg C.R.Horsley 27/10/77
14 Greenhead Bream 2.400kg R.gates 22/10/79
15 Kariba Bream 3.000kg M.Bredenkamp 15/09/72
16 Purpleface Largemouth 0.550kg D.Kenmuir 17/06/77
17 Green Happy 1.350kg J.D.Harper 20/12/79
18 Redbreast Tilapia 1.700kg D.Van Rooyen 3/9/83
19 Rainbow Happy 1.450kg J.K.Jakubowicz 16/03/89
36 Mozambique Bream 3.010kg F.Myburgh 9/11/02
50 Nile Bream 6.365kg R.P.Ward 9/11/02

What to Expect for May

This is the month when you can encounter some of the shoals of big cuda heading south for the sardine feast. Salt Rock is always worth a dive as is Stud and the Hibberdene stretch if conditions allow. The big fronts that pass through the Cape during this period make for surfy conditions along the KwaZulu-Natal coast. Aliwal Shoal is a good bet for wahoo in the northeast pinnacle area. Hopefully no big late falls of rain to put a spanner in the works. Safe diving, John.