Monthly Spearfishing Report August 2002

MONTHLY REPORT – AUGUST

Heavy Rains Spoil conditions

August has been fairly settled wind wise but the heavy rains in July are still having an adverse affect on the inshore conditions. Some heavy falls of rain in August to boot, have ensured that shore divers have had little joy this month. The Ifafa/Umzumbe stretch came clean toward the end of the month with 4 to 5m visibility. Some garrick were taken on the points together with the odd grunter. The deeper reef off Umzumbe point has had some pignose grunter with some rock salmon taken too. The water has been fairly cold in this area and there has not been that many fish about. The north coast has not been diveable. Tim Theunissen lost his spear to a large kob on river mouth reef off Ifafa on Sunday 25th. This fish was seen floating behind back line by a shore angler the next morning whom managed to foul hook the fish and drag it in. The kob was 18kg and the fisherman swapped the spear for a couple of beers. Not a bad day at the office and only your auntie would believe a story like this.

Boat Divers have better Luck

Aliwal and Deep Scottburgh have had some good 20m visibility with some good fish being taken by the boat divers. Strong currents have made for difficult diving conditions but at least the good viz helps matters. Not that many kob being shot although most days you can hear them on the wrecks.

Cape Vidal Cooks

Cape Vidal has been cooking with lots of gamefish activity. The early morning action has been thick with lots of cuda running on the deep ledge. Things go quiet by 0800 so you need to launch as early as possible to get the action. It is light enough to launch by 0550 with a 40 minute run up to Leven. The fish come on again in the late afternoon if you are prepared to wait it out. There are a lot of reef fish about with some big potatoes after your fish on the shallow reef if you are not careful.

Sardine Activity

There was still the odd pocket of sardines around at the beginning of the month. Some were spotted off Hibberdene and Sezela but could not be dived due to bad viz. A boat angler off Umkomaas river mouth bagged seven ignoblis kingfish whilst fishing a small pocket of sardines. The late pockets of sardines are always a good bet for gamefish activity and should always be investigated if conditions allow. That was probably the end of a very good run. Not that many big cuda shot this year. Could this mean something or is it just coincidence. All round it was a poor cuda run this year so maybe that has something to do with it.

Springbok Trials Results

The results of the trials that were dived on the 18/19 August are as follows:

  1. Gyula Plagani
  2. Jaco Blignaut
  3. Gary Hazel
  4. Anthony Dunne
  5. Ryan Bermester
  6. John Girdza.

Ant Dunne will be giving us a full write-up together with some pictures that we will put up as soon as we receive them. The Springbok selectors, namely Tommy Botha, Anton Bosman and Gyula Plagani will now pick a team from these results. Still no news on the World Champs invite but we will keep you posted on the latest developments.

Eco- Friendly Spearfishing

Not only do spearfishermen have no by-catch, they are restricted by a number of factors from diving every day along the Kwazulu Natal coast and along much of the South African coast. The only areas that are consistently diveable are the Zululand beaches that are gamefish only areas where the resident reef fish are protected by law. These periods such as happened for most of the month of August, when the inshore reefs became undiveable for most of the month. Allow the reefs to replenish themselves. These periods of no spearfishing act like closed seasons and ensure that spearfishing pressure is naturally regulated.

Deep Scottburgh Still provides good Catches for Spearfishermen

Deep Scottburgh is a case in point. Spearfishermen still enjoy very good catches in this area after 20+ years of spearfishing here. On the first day of the springbok trials Gyula Plagani managed 33 weighers even with the 2 fish per species restrictions. All the other contestants were weighing in 20+ fish. Very good catches. Unfortunately the undiveable conditions do not affect the ski-boaters who can fish the inshore reefs most days of the year. This continual pressure is reflected in their catches where inshore areas such as Deep Scottburgh are basically fished out of their targeted species. Now where divers are limited by depth to the offshore reefs that act as feeder reefs for the inshore reefs. Fishermen have no such restrictions and once the inshore reefs are not productive they move out to the deeper reefs and catch their targeted species there. This stops any re-supply of the inshore reefs. No1 reef off Durban was so named by fishermen in the 40`s because it was so rich in fish. Well today ski-boaters mostly only target gamefish there as the reef fish species were fished out long ago. For spearfishermen it is still a good place to dive with plenty of reef fish available that are targeted by spearos. It is only the ski-boaters targeted species that are missing.

What to Look Forward to in September

The silver steenbras or brusher should be arriving in force this month. Good spots are Umzumbe Point, Rocky bay and the Bluff. They are white water fish and you need to dive the points to find them. Find a likely spot where there is some other fish activity such as stone bream and then wedge yourself into a crack just outside the white water. If they are in the vicinity they should dart out and have a look to see what you are. You need a strong rubber to punch through the scales and thick bodies. Last year was a very poor run of these fish. The giant yellowtail or Cape yellowtail should also start to arrive in September. Safe diving, john