Monthly Spearfishing Report January 2004

January 2004

Monthly Report – January 2004

Conditions

The inshore conditions have been more stable as far as shore diving is concerned with a lot less rainfall at the start of the month. However, there was quite a lot of rain towards the end of the month, so inshore conditions might not be so good in February, especially if some rivers start to flow. The settled weather during most of the month made for a number of good diving days, with plenty of gamefish landed. The hot steamy summer is upon us with a vengeance and daytime temps are mostly around the thirties. The north coast from Umhlanga to Tinley Manor has been diveable on a number of days, as has the Aliwal Shoal area despite the pollution from Saiccor spoiling conditions more often than not.

Fish wise

Salt Rock has come alive when conditions are right and some divers have beached with good bags of cuda. This spot is definitely worth a dive and you need to be there early or miss the action. Some days the cuda run off the reef out over the sand and it is worthwhile trying both options to find where the fish are. Some reef fish being taken on the Sheffield stretch. Umdloti has had plenty of action with Queen and king mackerel (natal snoek and cuda) plus some tuna and kingfish. The reef fish have moved onto the inshore reefs in this area and there are plenty about on the 60 foot + reefs. Number one reef off Durban has had a lot of fish on it with some big shoals of longfin yellowtail (tropicals) up to 12kg to be found. On spring tides this spot needs to be dived on the high tide as the harbour entrance acts as a funnel and lots of dirty water is sucked out from the harbour over this area. Most of the cuda are shoal size but there is the odd big fish about as a fishing-ski recently caught one of 32kg off La Mercy. Plenty of Zambezi sharks on number one that are fairly aggressive in the deep water so take care.

Mozambique News

Dave Coetzee with a black marlin taken off Barra lighthouse, MozambiqueI was up in Mozambique for the first ten days of the month and the weather was very settled. However, the water temperature was off a degree or two and this made the fish scarce. One of the spearos diving with me, Dave Coetzee, managed to land a black marlin around 40kgs. We saw some big wahoo, 30kgs plus, out on the deep pinnacles but they were unapproachable. Still plenty of kingfish about with fulvies in the 10 to 12kg bracket making for exciting diving plus plenty of golden kingfish.

Cape News

January saw some good yellowtail come out from Cape Point, the biggest being 21.5kg. The geelbek were also plentiful. Struisbaai had sporadic runs with the yellowtail there one day and gone the next. The biggest landed was one of 23kg shot on the wreck of the Pioneer by James Lawson Smith.

Fuel Drum Fiasco

Some boating clubs are insisting that boats using their launch site must have the red fuel containers, even though there is no law as yet regarding this. You can apparently still use the old type of container that most boaters use provided that it has the word petrol container imprinted on the outside somewhere. Looks like someone has seen a way to line his pocket at the expense of the boating community.

Cape Vidal

The cuda run at Cape Vidal is in full swing with plenty of shoal-sized cuda to be found on both the shallow and deeper ledges. Some bigger fish are also coming out and with settled weather conditions of late, this popular spot is definitely worth a visit. The odd tiger shark being seen, so take care.

Sodwana Bay

Gamefish being taken in this area as well, though the potato bass are becoming a real menace on some of the reefs. Some of the bigger fish are aggressively snatching the speared fish right out of the spearfishermans hands. Not a pleasant experience. If you encounter an aggressive fish you will have to dive over the sand away from the reef if you aim to land anything.

Aliwal Shoal

Wahoo are being seen around the northeast pinnacle but they are pretty sharp and not many are being landed. Some big ignoblis kingfish coming out and late afternoons are the best time to hunt these fish on the Shoal. Not many cuda about as yet but hopefully this will change any day now. The scuba divers are sighting big shoals of kob on the wreck of the produce, so this should be worth a dive if the current allows.

Natal Trials

Trials 17 January 2004- Gyula Plagani, Jaco Blignaut, Richard Rumble with some size weighersTrials to pick the Natal spearfishing teams that will dive the Nationals being held in Stilbaai from the 13 to 17 March, took place on the 17 January. They were dived off Umdloti in excellent conditions with good viz, 8m+, and a light south north current. The full results of the trial are posted elsewhere on the site. The next trial takes place on the 31 January.

Rock Lobster Bust

Bartica Café at the Gateway shopping centre, an Italian seafood restaurant, was recently bust by the KwaZulu-Natal wildlife marine unit. They were found in possession of 57 east coast rock lobster, some of which were under size. As the east coast rock lobster is not for sale, the owner was fined R25000.

General Knowledge

Here are two items of interest for the inquisitive types. Palm trees are not indigenous to Mozambique but were brought in by early traders. It is thought that the type found there now possibly comes from the Bahamas. Casuarinas pines that are found along the KwaZulu-Natal coast and are a common sight in Mozambique have a defense mechanism to stop other plants growing near them. The pine needles on these trees have a very high acid content and make the ground where they drop mostly unusable to other plants. They are aliens and were introduced from Australia.

Safe diving,
John.