Monthly Spearfishing Report January 2006

Monthly Report – January 2006

Conditions

The westerly fronts coming up from the Cape have tapered off a bit with the Cape having strong south easters for much of this period. Some heavy falls of rain along the KZN coast and inland have caused some of the rivers along this section of coast to flow into the sea with the resultant brown inshore water associated with this. Wind wise still a lot more unsettled than is normal for this time of year but still some good days spearing had during the month. The area from ballito northwards coming clean on a number of days, despite the rainy weather.

Fishwise

Plenty of cuda action along the Natal coast with spearos getting some good bags of these gamefish with the favoured spots such as Salt Rock, Umdloti and the Bluff working well when conditions were right. Stud Rock came alive once or twice with good bags of gamefish taken with some spearos managing good catches. Lots of bottom fish about on the deeper reefs with some good catches taken. Some hairy stories of spearos being given the once over by inquisitive Zambezi sharks doing the rounds, but whether they were on the menu is up for debate.

Blue-Bottles

The north-easterlies have been bringing in some thick concentrations of blue-bottles all along the coast. These mysterious creatures can really pack a serious sting when they are in the mood and can be extremely dangerous if you are allergic to their sting. I remember diving a Natal trial on the Bluff during the eighties when one unfortunate contestant swallowed one through his snorkel. The chap immediately experienced breathing problems but luckily one of the other boats had anti-histamines on-board and this managed to ease the divers discomfort greatly. You need a good hood that covers most of your forehead and cheeks when the blue bottles are thick otherwise you are going to get stung badly. Putting Vaseline on the exposed parts of your face can also help a lot. Always check your snorkel mouth-piece on your way up from the bottom before you put it into your mouth. Some people react more to their stings than others and this perhaps has something to do with the acidity of your skin.

Aliwal Shoal

The cuda were fairly thick on the Shoal mid-month, with the fishermen getting fair bags. Spearos managed ones and twos but the viz was not that good and the shark activity was heavy, making for awkward spearing conditions. The fish are mostly small, in the 4 to 6kg range. Definitely worth the trip though with the good run continuing to the end of the month and some fishermen really hammering it.

Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay

Both these gamefish spots have come to life with good catches reported. Seven mile at Sodwana has been working well for a variety of gamefish and all the northern reefs should provide exciting spearing. Good sized cuda taken from Leven Point during the month so should be worth a visit when conditions are right.

Australian Shark Deaths

Since 2000 there have been ten fatal shark attacks in Australia. Sarah Wiley was the latest victim, attacked in the waters off North Stradbroke Island on the East Coast.

Natal Trials

Natal Trials was dived on Deep Scottburgh on Saturday and had good conditions despite a forecasted strong NE which didn’t materialize. Results as follows:

  1. Gyula 45.12 points 100%
  2. Angelo 36.18 points 80.2%
  3. John Girzda 34.2 points 75.8%
  4. Craig Heslop 33.2 points 73.6%
  5. Graeme Carlisle 29.11 points 64.5%

It was disappointing to see such a poor turnout and hopefully the remaining two trials will see more competitors pitching. Part of the reason for the lower numbers this year is that Pietermaritzburg has split to form its own province called Natal Midlands which normally accounted for a boat load of trialists.

Natal Midlands Trials

Natal Midlands held their first trial of the season and their first trial ever as a spearfishing union on the 28 January 2006. The trial was dived off Umdloti with 5 contestants taking part. Poor conditions made for a difficult 6 hour dive scratching for fish with cold water and a big swell churning up the bottom. Only pinnacles that rose above the yellow muck on the bottom held any chance of a fish being seen let alone speared as the fish were very skittish.

Results

  1. John Little 17.5 points 100%
  2. Greg Bisset 14.1 points 80.6%
  3. Craig Burmeister 8.4 points 48.0%
  4. Dave Coetzee 6.2 points 35.4%
  5. Danie van Huysstun 5.0 points 28.6%

Ear Problems

A constant source of frustration to a lot of divers is the problem of equalization of the inner ear pressure when descending on a dive. Divers who suffer from this problem try anything to sort it out with some of the medicines on offer doing more harm than good. A good homoeopathic medicine on offer is euphorbium compositum nasal spray. Use it the night before and morning that you are going to dive to help get rid of mucus in your passages.

Safe diving, John.