Monthly Spearfishing Report August 2006

Monthly Report – August 2006

Conditions

Strong north easterly winds and rough seas generally spoiling conditions along the natal coast for much of the month. This type of weather was normal for August fifteen years back when it was considered one of the windiest months along the natal coast. Some big blows coming up from the Cape in the form of south westerly fronts adding to the unsettled weather and causing very cold weather in the hinterland.

Fish wise

Shore fishermen having a very good winter season with plenty of action up and down the natal coast. This bodes well for spearfishermen with some species targeted by both fishermen and spearfishermen. Not too much spearing done this month owing to the unfavourable sea conditions but shore diving targeting points and the inshore reefs probably the better option. Lots of east coast rock lobster on the 30 to 40 foot reefs and nice to take a bag home for a braai.

Cape Vidal

The place to be if you are into big cuda with some serious action up at Leven Point with Brett Dickson’s 31kg monster a real class fish. Unfortunately the weather in this area has been very unsettled making for rough seas and marginal diving conditions. The big cuda are running on the deep ledge and are about ten foot off the bottom. They did not seem too interested in flashers and spending as much time down as possible was the best tactic even though the bad viz made it pretty spooky. No shark action to speak of but the thought was often there in the bad viz.

Spear Problems

I wonder how many spearos have lost class fish that should have been boated if not for some spear defect. When you are shooting reef fish spear defects are not as evident as when taking max range shots on big gamefish and losing a big fish hurts a lot more than your average reefie. I suppose the lessons are simple such as putting new spears on before going away on a gamefish hunting outing. If you are missing or losing fish for some unobvious reason it is better to use another gun or change the spear rather than try to work out what is wrong.

Mozambique News

Barry Skinstad, a local spearfisherman based in the Ponta do Ouro area of southern Mozambique for many years, reports that the offshore pinnacles are full of sharks. This could mean that the foreign long liners who have been raping the seas along the unpatrolled Mozambique coast for many years now have had to move off with the increased vigilance of the South African authorities in this area. Hopefully this is the case. The visibility has been very poor for much of this period along this stretch of coast and a number of spearos holidaying in the area have been disappointed.

Shark Attacks

In South Africa shark attacks have averaged 6 per year over the past 40 years along our coast with 8% of the attacks being fatalities. The stats show surfers experiencing a higher incidence of attacks than spearfishermen which is interesting considering that surfers only venture as far as the backline. Shark nets are effective in making bathing beaches safe against shark attack but one needs to weigh-up the negative effect that they have on the environment. Drumlines are probably more environmentally friendly than shark nets where baited hooks are set on anchored drums to catch large sharks but also present a conservation issue.

BuoyWeather.com right on the Button

This was the weather info I was using on a recent trip to Vidal and it definitely lead us to a good days diving that might not have happened otherwise. The weather was very suspect with strong winds and rough seas. Buoyweather predicted a single days break in the weather and despite a difficult launch it was decided to go with their forecast as they had predicted the other days spot-on. The day was perfect and we returned at sunset in a calm sea. The next morning the west was up and the sea had turned to ugly once again. Buoyweather’s virtual buoys are situated quite a distance from the shore and sometimes this has a role to play in the forecast for those divers using it close to shore.

Safe diving, John.