Monthly Spearfishing Report April 2007

Monthly Report – April 2007

Conditions

The month started off with calm weather and settling seas after the big storms experienced in March that reeked havoc along much of the eastern coast of South Africa. The inshore areas took some time to clean up with the middle south coast in the Hibberdene area one of the first inshore areas to come clean. Unfortunately strong winds together with big surf and rainy weather spoilt conditions for much of the Easter weekend but Friday saw clean water and lots of action along the south coast before the wind picked up in the afternoon. The unsettled weather continued for much of the month with another cut-off low way out in the Indian ocean off South Africa causing big surf all along the Eastern sea-board.

Fish-wise

A lot of cuda taken by spearos and fishermen out on Aliwal Shoal at the beginning of the month. Most fish were shoal size but there was a report of a fishing boat landing a 30kg fish. A lot of shark activity accompanied the shoals of gamefish and on some days you had big Zambezi sharks with you as soon as you got off the boat. These sharks are very aggressive when in this frame of mind and you have to keep your wits about you when diving under these conditions. Good bags of bottom fish taken along the lower south coast with top to bottom visibility for much of this stretch. Possible that the huge seas upset the fish in these areas as the reefs were not as fishy as is normally the case after having not been dived for such a long period of time owing to dirty inshore seas. A lot of rock movement with loose rocks moved by the massive waves out in 50-60 foot of water in the Shelly area. Some 20kg+ cuda taken in the Hibberdene area at the beginning of the month and the fishing competitions had numbers of cuda brought to the weigh-ins over the Easter weekend despite the rough seas. Two fishing boats flipped in the Hibberdene area and a dive boat went over at Rocky Bay during the Easter period. A lot of grunter being caught in the St Lucia estuary and some big tuna weighed-in during the Richards Bay fishing Bonanza.

Storm Surf out at Aliwal shoal

Some of the more dare-devil scuba boat skippers managed to launch when the surf was still huge and ventured out to Aliwal shoal. The surf was so big that the northeast pinnacle was being dragged clear of water when the big waves sucked back before breaking. When you are out to sea traveling behind backline you can see the damage that has been done to the coast with all the rocky stretches of coast completely cleared of beach sand. Hear that the beach at Hole-in-the-Wall is also just rocks at this stage but hopefully the sand will be dumped back there soon by the waves as it would be impossible to launch if there is no beach.

PMB Underwater Club R15000 Gamefish Challenge

Entries are rolling in for this unique spearfishing competition and with entries limited to only sixty divers, you snooze you loose. With a first prize of R15000 cash to the highest points scorer and the competition structured so that a luck fish is unlikely to win, all the ingredients are there for the competition of the year.

Cape Vidal

The bay is very sanded up and it is only possible to launch on the high tide and then the beaching can be a mission if the sea is up as there is no protection from the reef that shelters the bay under normal conditions. Best to check with the boating officer before you plan a trip up there. Lots of exposed rocks in the launching area which is another hazard to avoid. Reports are that things have gone quiet but still plenty of sharks up at Leven Point so should be plenty of action if the right conditions are found.

Yellowfin Tuna

Big yellowfin tuna were caught in numbers during the Richards Bay fishing Bonanza with some fish close to a 100kgs. The tuna off Cape point are focused in an area by the trawlers and this is where the tuna are caught and speared. The tuna are also present off Durban but the trick is to find them and keep them there. Protea Banks off Shelly Beach holds lots of tuna in the season but sharks are a big problem for both fishermen and divers with few fish landed of any size. Still lots of exploring to do for adventurous spearos right in our own backyard.

Russian teams for Nationals

Two Russian spearfishing teams will be taking part in the National Spearfishing Championships scheduled for 29 April to 5 May in the Knysna area. This is good news for spearfishing in South Africa as it adds an international flavour to the event and the Russians are widely traveled so are sure to spread the word about our hospitality and diving. Hopefully we can encourage more international teams to take part and by so doing promote our country and the fantastic spearfishing that we enjoy here.

Safe diving, John.