Monthly Spearfishing Report January 2003

January 2003

Summer Gamefish Run

The water is warm along most of the KwaZulu-Natal coastline, averaging 25c if you have diveable water. This warm water heralds the start of our summer gamefish run and it looks set to be a good one from early reports received. Ski-boats off Tugela report large numbers of shoal sized cuda. A micro light flying over this area reported large shoals of queen mackerel(snoek), so prospects are good.

Vidal and Sodwana

No reports from Cape Vidal, but this area should be worth a visit. Sodwana Bay has a lot of shoal cuda with kingfish and kaakap plentiful. This is a very good time for this part of the coast with generally settled weather and lots of action fish wise. Expect to see cuda, snoek, wahoo, kaakap, tuna, kingfish and sailfish with lots of shark activity aswell.

North coast Cooking

Salt Rock has been producing some fair sized cuda up to 15kgs with lots of small shark activity to keep you interested. Early mornings, and late afternoons just before dark are the best times to find the action. The Umdloti stretch has also been worth a dive with divers reporting cuda action. The snoek are around but not in any great numbers with the odd shoal of 3-4kg fish being seen. The large 8-9kg fish seem to be scarce. A lot of reef fish on the deeper reefs with some big sharks lurking about, so take care. Clint Nevin and Nick McClurg sighted a great white shark whilst diving a 90 foot reef on the Tongaat stretch recently.

South Coast Quiet

The South Coast inshore reefs have been quiet with most of the gamefish action on the North Coast, at this stage. Rainfall figures are down for the period but some of the larger rivers are out making for undiveable water close to the mouths and where the current pushes the dirty water.

Aliwal Shoal

Aliwal Shoal has had some good water with a fair amount of gamefish action. Ant Dunne lost a sailfish here recently and there have been a lot of wahoo and dorado in the northeast pinnacle area. Divers are seeing plenty but few are being landed.

Saiccor Polluting the Sea

The effluent pumped out by Saiccor directly into the sea in this area is once again affecting the visibility on many days both on the Shoal and surrounding reefs and is polluting the sea. Those responsible will one day wake up to the reality that this type of irresponsible behavior towards the environment, for what ever reason, is not acceptable practice regardless of whether a government is foolish enough to allow this type of practice or not. At the end of the day, we are all accountable for our own actions and the excuse of not knowing better no longer holds true.

Mozambique News

Mozambique has had an excellent gamefish run this season with some very big cuda coming out along with the many other types of fish found in these waters. I was up at Barra recently where the visibility was excellent, too clean in fact, where some large cuda were seen but were to wary for a diver to get near enough to place a shot. A lot of kingfish activity with the golden kingfish being especially abundant. These fish are very strong and tow you about if you hold onto your line. Local filming buff, Graeme Duane, has recently completed a spearfishing video on Mozambique and we will soon have a preview of it on the site. Something to look forward to.

Cape News

The yellowtail are still coming out on the 5 mile banks at Struisbaai. Fish are ranging from 5-12kg. Water conditions have been good. The tuna have disappeared off Cape Point with boats going 50 miles out and finding no fish. The water is apparently too warm at 23c with the fish preferring the 18-19c range. The Stilbaai to Plett area has been diveable but few decent fish are being taken. Cape Town itself has had some dirty water hanging about making for unpleasant conditions. Still some tail in the bay.

Bad Publicity

The recent shooting and subsequent washing up on the beach of a large brindle bass is bad news for spearing. The fish washed up on the beach in the Pennington area with two spears in it. These fish are banned to capture from all types of fishing. They are territorial and as such are fairly easy to approach. It takes no skill to shoot one of these fish but the aftermath of such irresponsible behavior is huge . Every spearo basher has the opportunity to get out his soap box and has a field day. All past gripes, true or not, are regurgitated for public consumption and on it goes. It is a sorry sight to see and one can understand the anger that such an action generates. But to tar all spearos with the same brush is ludicrous.

Rape of the Ocean

Talking of rape of the ocean, as one well known spearo basher put it in the newspaper article appearing in a local newspaper, concerning the shooting of a brindle bass. Whilst in Mozambique recently, on a very wild and windy night with rough seas, the trawlers lights could be seen on the 12km pinnacles going about their business despite the very trying conditions. One wonders what damage these trawlers must do to the area with their environmental unfriendly means of fishing, let alone the thousands of tons of fish that they must catch during the year plus any by-catch that will be thrown back dead into the sea.

African Adventure

The recent pictures of some large dogtooth coming out in the north of Mozambique, illustrates what amazing diving opportunities we have here if one is prepared to travel locally a bit. You do not have to spend huge money travelling overseas to find class fish, when we have them right on our doorstep.

What to Expect for February

Judging from the cancellation of past `cuda classics`, run by Wahoo dive club during the month of February. This month can be poor for diving, especially if you are a shore diver. A lot depends on the amount of rain that we get both on the coast and inland. Aliwal Shoal can be very good this month with a lot of gamefish action when warm blue water moves in. Safe diving, John.