Monthly Spearfishing Report April 2005

Monthly Report – April 2005

New Fish Regulations

The new fish regulations came into being on the 6 April with the 10 fish per license holder per day rule back in force for recreational anglers and that includes spearfishermen. Some changes to the catch numbers allowed on some species but the 10 fish limit is the big change that will affect most spearos. It is quite obvious to me that Sea Fisheries needs to put more thought into the allocation of quotas on heavily fished species such as the geelbek. Most spearos will be lucky to shoot any geelbek in a season and only those recreational anglers that are wanna be commercials make the effort to night fish for this species. The recreational quotas are dropped to 2 per person per day that will have no effect on helping the stock when commercials are allowed unlimited numbers. To add to the sad tale, only spawning fish congregate in huge shoals that allows the fleet of commercials to daily bring in the tons of geelbek as happens on the Natal coast during the geelbek run.

New Format needed for Nationals

With the 10 fish per day rule back, the organizers of Nationals need to have a re-think as to how the Nationals is run. If you are diving Nationals and need to stay within the quota you will probably be continually upgrading your catch. An example is you have now shot your 10 fish quota and there is still 2 hours left. What to do, head for the weigh-in or try and get some better weighers. The temptation would be to try for bigger fish in the remaining time and discard any smaller fish. To take temptation away there should be a neutral observer on each boat taking part and spearos competing would have to plan better to optimize their catches.

Lazuras Banks

I was out on the Banks again during April but unfortunately the weather did not play ball. We motored there during the night having left Pemba at 17:00 hours arriving on the Banks around 04:00. The wind was already blowing a good 20 knots and only increased during the day with a 30 knot wind whistling through by the time nightfall came. The next morning the sea was on its head and the decision was taken by the skipper to up anchor and head for the islands. The irony is that the weather changed totally during the next day and thereafter there was hardly any wind. Lazuras trips are totally dependant on the weather and you can only hope for fair winds. With the Banks rising sharply from very deep water and the currents ripping through, a current/wind battle can really make for dangerous seas.

Freedivers Top Ten Competition

This televised competition sponsored and organized by Shane Breedt of Freedivers goes a long way in promoting good perceptions in a generally bad perceived sport, when it comes to the general public’s opinion of spearfishing. There are apparently more shows in the pipeline and if this one was anything to go by, the others should also be worth watching. Well done Shane.

April Conditions

The month started off badly with rough seas and poor visibility and this continued for much of the month. Both the Natal trials were cancelled due to poor conditions and the cuda classic was dived in marginal sea conditions. Cold water has moved in along some stretches of the coast and we could be in for an early winter if fish spawning is anything to go by. Towards the end of the month conditions improved with diveable water up and down the coast with the lower south coast having some very good water.

Fish Wise

Plenty of snoek being landed at Ifafa but they are mostly small fish. The bronze bream are already in roe and this could be an indication of an early winter. The cuda run this year has been very thin with only the odd good day happening mostly on the north coast. Good bottoms being taken on Deep Scottburgh with some class fish coming out with lots of tiger sharks making for dangerous conditions.

Wahoo Diving Club Cuda Classic

The Cuda Classic was hosted by Wahoo Diving Club mid April with no cuda being brought to the weigh-in. First place went to Jules Plagani with a 6kg yellowtail kingfish with Chris West managing second place with a tropical yellowtail. Chris also managed the biggest bag together with the biggest bottom. The competition was sponsored by Lizzard wetsuits, Rob Allen and Freedivers.

Wahoo Diving Club Winter Gamefish Competition

The Winter Gamefish Competition is scheduled for the weekend 23 July with once again the Wahoo Club pulling out all the stops to make for a fun filled weekend. Entrants are limited to 120 divers and with full quotas in preceding years, it is worth registering early. We will have the entry form up on the site soon.

Safe diving, John.