Monthly Spearfishing Report February 2006

Monthly Report – February 2006

Conditions

Overcast conditions for much of the month with plenty of rain falling over most of the country with some heavy falls causing flooding and road closures. Still fair water about after any westerly blow and some excellent conditions experienced on both the north and south coast during the month.

Fishwise

Plenty of gamefish being taken on the north coast and out at Aliwal Shoal. A possible new South African record ignoblis kingfish shot on the inside edge of Aliwal Shoal by Emil Pirzenthal. The fish weighed 56kg. Big natal snoek being taken at Selection and Umhlanga lighthouse. Salt Rock working well for cuda with some good sized fish being taken up to 20kg. Spearo hassled here by a white that showed great interest in the six cuda that he had on his float. Lots of bottom fish on the south coast reefs with the Hibberdene area working well. Still some big kob (daga salmon) about on the deep wrecks with some nice fish coming off The Nebo.

Cape Vidal

Cape Vidal was working well at the beginning of the month with plenty of small cuda about on the deep ledge at Leven Point. Some shoals of snoek were passing on the shallow ledge with these mostly 6kg fish a lot bigger than the dart cuda. It is a pity that there is no size limit on cuda and snoek as these juvenile fish need to grow bigger before they are taken.

Dolphin Problem

Some dolphins along the Natal coast have learnt that there are easy takings if they hang around fishing boats or spearfishermen in the water. I encountered this problem off Umdloti about ten years back with one big female dolphin in particular being very persistent in taking your catch. She would swim past in the pod showing no interest in your fish and then double back and become very aggressive until she successfully had her fish. There was always a smaller dolphin shadowing her on these raiding expeditions. This past trip to Vidal was a real eye opener with the dolphins taking anything that was shot if they were in the vicinity, bending spears and ruining barbs in the process. Once they located you they just circled until something was shot and we soon learnt to get on the boat and move as soon as the dolphins arrived. Plenty of sharks about but they stood no chance when it came to competing with the dolphins and you were actually relieved when that shadowy form materialized into a shark instead of a dolphin. Some great opportunities for amazing video footage with the dolphins down with you when you are lining up on a fish and if you take the shot you know what will happen.

Natal Midlands National Trials

Natal Midlands held their 2nd trial on 18 February to pick teams to go to Nationals that are being held in Port Elizabeth from the 2 to 6 April 2006. The area dived was Hibberdene with a choppy sea making for a difficult launch. Visibility was good with reef being seen in 70 foot and lots of reef fish about. A strong north-south current made it impossible to stay on a spot and drifts were done over two hotspots in 65 foot. Lots of fish but a scratch to find the 10 species needed to get your ten weighers. Due to a late start the competition was shortened to four and a half hours as opposed to the normal time of 6 hours.

 Results as follows:

1. John Little

20.31 points

100%

2. Dave Coetzee

11.48 points

56%

3. Craig Burmeister

9.62 Points

47%

4. Greg Bissett

8.10 points

40%

5. Danie van Huysstun

0 points

Did not dive

Aliwal Shoal

Aliwal Shoal has been working very well especially in the late afternoon when the ignoblis kingfish are hunting for their evening meal. Some great fish landed with a number shot over the 30kg mark. Mark van Agterberg recently shot a pending South African record dorado out at Aliwal with the fish weighing 22.65kg. Cuda still being taken but not as thick as before with better sized fish about.

Umdloti Ski-Boat Club

This property right next to the beach and the main bathing area has always been a prime spot for development, and the club has survived by the fact that there is a servitude running right through the middle of the property. This has put a couple of developers off and thwarted a few more at the ninth hour. But the most recent planned development seems to have surmounted this hurdle and the boards are up advertising the development at five million rand a spot. The launch will still exist but parking will be at a premium. With the closure of the Tongaat launch at Westbrook, Durban Ski-Boat’s future looking decidedly shaky and pirating at Tinley Manor no longer an option, things are definitely tightening up for the ski-boat fraternity. 

Nationals 2006

Nationals are scheduled for the 2 -6 April in Port Elizabeth, with most Provinces selection of teams already finalized. They have been experiencing warm water here with the odd yellowtail kingfish and kaakap shot, these being unusual fish for this area. Water temps can be as low as 12/13 degrees in April if thermoclines move in, so most divers will probably need 5mm wetsuits for Nationals. Visibility is a bit iffy during April with a lot depending on what happens with the thermoclines. Will have a full report on Nationals up on the site by the end of April.

Safe diving, John.