Monthly Spearfishing Report April 2004

Monthly Report - April 2004

Winter Preview

The early morning spearos on 1 April were met by winter like conditions on the north coast, greenish water and a meaty swell running, a preview of things to come. April used to be the start of the good diving months here in KwaZulu-Natal and heralds the approach of the winter season. May through to end of July were also excellent months but with changing weather patterns, these months are not as settled wind wise as they used to be and diving conditions have become a bit of a lottery. There are either more fronts passing through the Cape or they are bigger than they used to be and the effects are being felt along the East coast with more northeasterly winds together with westerly fronts reaching this part of the coast more often than in the past. The Agulhas current, an extension of the warm Mozambique current, no longer gets pushed inshore as much as it did in the eighties, and perhaps the strong westerly winds in the Cape have been making the West Wind Drift current, a cold water current, have more effect along our coast than in the past. This would explain all the cold water that seems to be forever lurking about out deep.

Compare these Prices

Cash slip This cash sale slip from the Trident Dive shop, that closed its doors many years back, shows how prices have risen since 1985. Today a speargun will set you back over R1000.00, quite a leap from the R89.50 of 20 years ago, but not too bad considering the time frame. Foam floats that were R14.00 now go for R160.00 and float line has gone from 25c per metre to R1.50 per metre. We are still pretty lucky here though when you compare some of the foreign manufacturers prices that you can find on the Internet, and twenty years is not exactly a blink of an eye.

Great Barrier Reef

Fishing will be banned from a third of the Great Barrier Reef from July after Australia's parliament passed a law making the World Heritage site the most protected reef system on earth. The plan expands no-fishing zones that currently cover 4.6 percent of the Great Barrier Reef Park to 33.3 percent of its area and tightens restrictions on shipping through the delicate ecosystem. The Great Barrier Reef stretches over more than 345 000 square kilometres and includes 2900 coral reefs, 900 islands and 1500 fish species. It is Australia's number one tourist destination, attracting a million visitors a year. Scientists have warned that the reef is under increasing threat from coral bleaching (linked to global warming), pollution from shipping, over-fishing and damage caused by chemical run-off from coastal agriculture.

New World Record

David Mullins of Auckland expects to hold the striped marlin free-diving spearfishing world record after landing a 156.6kg fish, 22kg heavier than the previous record a New Zealander set in 1997. David speared the marlin whilst diving for snapper on Good Friday at South East Bay on the remote Three Kings Islands, 64km northwest of Cape Reinga.

Conditions and Catches

The big surf that was present for much of the month made shore diving unpleasant with lots of churn and some difficult swims. The north easterly winds have also been up to speed on a number of days, influenced by the fronts passing through the Cape, and have added to the unsettled conditions. Fair bags of cuda being taken on the odd day by boat divers off Jex, with Salties also producing some cuda. Mtwalume on the south coast has produced some good-sized cuda, with some big fish coming out in the angling competition held there over the Easter period. The lower south coast has mostly been undiveable with lots of discoloured water about. The Athlone/Warners stretch has had some good water on occasion but not many gamefish about in otherwise excellent conditions. A few garrick have been landed on the south coast with the main run only starting in June/July.

Aliwal Shoal

Aliwal Shoal has come to life with the wahoo about on most days when suitable conditions are found. Most fish are in the 10 to 15kg range with the occasional bigger fish to be found. A number of sailfish landed during the month with the odd cuda coming out. The ignoblis have headed south and few if any are being seen. This spot is definitely worth a dive if you can get a boat ride with early mornings the best before all the scuba boats arrive. The odd big tiger shark lurking about looking for a feed and with the feeding of these sharks that takes place out there, some of them might get too familiar.

Mozambique News

There are reports of plenty cuda to be had in southern Mozambique with the promise of some big gamefish about in the warm clear seas. Most of the fish are shoal size with the odd bigger fish about up to 16kg. April, May, June are normally very settled months wind wise in this area and provide ideal conditions for spearfishing.

Beware of Thiefs by Chris Hardy

Wanted to warn the public again about shore diving and leaving car-keys etc in the car. I met Dean Lailvaux at La Mercy last Thursday in search of some bugs and cuda. After leaving my keys in Dean's car we swam out at about 6:15. I was quite relieved when I saw that two other cars had arrived and people were fishing on the beach. This relief was short lived. We saw that my car was gone at about 7:30 We raced in to find no broken glass and Dean's car still locked... minus his cellphone and my car keys. Luckily the car's anti-hijack kicked in and it was recovered just down the road, but the inconvenience of replacing driving licenses etc is still there. While driving back from the police station we noticed that the car park was in perfect view from the freeway and we could quite easily have been watched. Unfortunately divers are the easiest targets, as we can’t hide our intentions of diving and once we’re 500m out to sea there is little we can do to stop a break-in or car theft. Unfortunately I don't have any suggestions to solving this problem other than taking your own car guard (but we know how reliable this can be). LaMercy is a great spot to dive, but can turn out to be an expensive dive.

News from Port Elizabeth

Dirty water with the best viz around 2m has made for undiveable conditions for much of the month with only the odd garrick being speared by the diehards at the harbour wall. The geelbek fishing is starting to pick up and the first tuna are being caught 30 to 40 miles out so things can only get better.

Safe diving, John.