Monthly Spearfishing Report December 2009

Conditions

A lot of westerly fronts coming up from the Cape which has resulted in a lot of rain for the southern coastal areas of natal and most rivers are flowing strongly. Despite the southerly blows the current has been predominantly north south which is good for gamefish action. The inshore seas on the south coast are mostly chocolate brown but there has been some very clean water out on the deeper reefs such as Aliwal and Protea. The large amounts of river water seem to be affecting the bottom water temps and despite very clean water out deep there are very few fish to be had when the bottom water is cold. The Natal north coast fairing slightly better with less rivers and some spearos getting in some good dives north of Tinley Manor. The sea temperatures measuring around 24 celsius if not affected by river water.

Fishwise

The warmer seas should herald the start of the annual gamefish run along the Natal coast. The cuda have not arrived in any numbers as yet and a key date in the eighties and early nineties was mid to late January for the shoals to start to arrive. A lot of queen mackerel on the north coast stretching all the way from Umhlanga to north of Tinley Manor with some big fish in the shoals.  The large amounts of river water could be affecting the salinity of the seemingly perfect seas out deep and this could be chasing away all the good sized bottom fish as deep Scottburgh has a lots less fish than normal. The odd cuda being caught by paddle-ski fishermen and still some wahoo about out deep. Ski-boat fishermen getting good sized dorado on the deep water fads off the natal coast.

Shark Attack

The third fatal shark attack at Second beach, Port St John’s over the past twelve months happened on the 21 December when a life guard was snatched from his knee board. The water was discoloured and the type of shark involved in the attack has not been determined.

Shark Feeders

While out on deep Scottburgh recently we went up to one of the shark bait buckets. They are anchored by large red and yellow buoys and are set about twenty feet down. The water was very clean and we could see a number of sharks milling around the bucket. As we came round for another look we had five big sharks approach the back of the boat with their dorsal fins out of the water. They came to within a meter of the boat and then turned away. I find it hard to believe the licensed operators feeding the sharks cannot see that what they are doing is wrong. Enticing wild creatures with the promise of food is banned in most countries as it invariably leads to the death of the creature. They loose their fear of man and become dangerous to the public at large. This is no different and is sure to end in tears for both the sharks and divers.

Aida World Ranking 2009

Here are the AIDA free diving records for 2009.

andrew henwood with a 22kg ignoblis. the bite marks are from a shark bite dec 2009Ignoblis Kingfish

The attached picture shows a 22kg ignoblis shot by Andrew Henwood off Umdloti river mouth. It can be clearly seen that this fish was the survivor of a shark attack with deep lacerations on both sides of the body. This fish was in very good condition with no sign that the attack was affecting it in anyway and the wounds were completely healed. They must have very strong immune systems to be able to combat infection and all the other woes that come with a wound of this size. I have often seen ignoblis swimming with Zambezi sharks so this guy must have made a mistake to end up on the menu.

Towing Blues

There are a number of restrictions with regard to towing that are seemingly now being enforced. As per the back of your license you need at least an EB classification to be able to tow a boat. Weight restrictions are also coming under the spotlight with regard to brakes and the size of the towing vehicle. This is something to consider as insurance will not pay out should you have an accident whilst towing without the necessary braking requirements as per the regulations. This applies to both the trailer and the size of the vehicle being used where the GVM of the trailer must not exceed the tare weight of the towing vehicle.

Guy and I would like to wish all our readers a happy and healthy 2010.

Safe diving, John.