Monthly Spearfishing Report February 2008

Conditions

Brian Clark in Springbok GearSome unsettled sea conditions mid-month courtesy of a weather system off Madagascar that had big surf pounding the Mozambican and Natal coasts. Wind-wise not too bad with no major blows but very hot and sticky and sea temperatures in the high twenties centigrade along the Natal coast.

Fish-wise

The cuda action seems to have tapered off a bit with only the odd fish being taken on the north coast but the fishermen are nailing the cuda north of Tinley Manor with some boats landing 30+ cuda. The queen mackerel or natal snoek are thick along the Umgeni - Tongaat stretch with ski anglers having a field day. Most of the fish are small but spearos report some big fish in the shoals so definitely worth a dive if conditions allow. The Bluff has had some cuda and queenfish action but the sharks are very active in the warm water with big Zambezi sharks providing lots of action.

Mozambican News

Was up at Barra – Inhambane for two weeks mid-month with the weather gods favouring us as we arrived on the tail-end of a system and left as the weather turned ugly again. Sea temperatures 29 centigrade making the wearing of 3mm suits a real mission in the warm water. Visibility very good on the deep pinnacles with top to bottom in 27m making for perfect diving conditions. Mosquito’s thick this time of year and a real pest when they are hanging about in such numbers. One of the guys on the trip managing to land a 70kg black marlin on a reel gun and this when the line came off the reel as it was not tied on properly. This area is very tide dependent with even the 12km pinnacles and further out having a lot less current on the slack tide as opposed to when the tide is running. Must have something to do with the size of the bay which is massive and the huge movement of water.

Dangerous Weapon

It is possible that spearguns might be re-classed as dangerous weapons and this will carry a lot of baggage both for the manufacturer and the end user should it happen. Statistically they are probably a lot safer than a pair of scissors or a fork but unfortunately foolishness might prevail. Might mean that you buy a speargun un-assembled or the manufacturers could have a headache on their hands.

Mozambique Road Report

The EN1 heading north up the coast from Maputo is now very good road all the way to Xai-Xai. You then have about 100kms of very poor road that is very badly pot-holed and then the good road kicks in again as far as the turn-off to Inhambane. The turn-off section to Inhambane town also has some bad pot-holed sections and then the road to Barra and Tofu is poor. Further north from Maxixe the road is very poor with lots of pot-holed stretches and deviations where they are repairing the road.

Poaching Rampant

A commercial fishing boat licensed to catch sharks was recently found with tons of red steenbras on-board. The red steenbras is a protected fish and is deemed to be a highly threatened species by MCM. This fish has long been a target of commercial fishermen and has been fished to the point where the survival of the species is at stake, hence the protection it is afforded. Scientists estimate that the illegal catch constituted a combined growth age of over 700 years.

Brian Clark

One of the first Springbok spearfishermen, Brian Clark, has passed away. Brian  captained the first Springbok spearfishing team to  the world champs in Cuba in the early 60s. He died on Friday, 8 February 2008. Our condolences go to his family and friends.

Freedivers and Dive Factory

Freedivers and the Dive Factory are both speargun manufacturers based in Durban, South Africa. Shane Breedt owns Freedivers and Rob Allen and Jeremy Williams own the Dive Factory. Both companies are extremely generous when it comes to sponsorship of the many spearfishing competitions that take place annually in South Africa and both should be applauded for their support of the sport.

Safe diving, John.