Monthly Spearfishing Report July 2003

Monthly Report for July 2003

Settled Seas

July has turned out to be the most settled month wind and sea wise so far this year. The visibility for much of the month was diveable along the whole coast. Sea temperatures hardly dropped below 20c and together with the warm balmy days, you could not find a better place to be than on the KwaZulu-Natal coast.

Fish Action

The June report was written a couple of days before the end of the month owing to the fact that I was on my way to Mozambique over this period. Aliwal Shoal really cooked on this weekend (28, 29) with the wahoo putting on a show of numbers like never before. Andy Norton and crew had a field day and their story together with Ant Dunne’s on a big marlin that he shot are worth reading elsewhere on the site. Julys settled conditions have been ideal for diving and plenty of spearos have been trying their luck. Good bags of bottoms have been coming out on the south coast with plenty of rockcod and rubber lips making up the bulk of catches. The odd big garrick is being landed on this stretch and Umzumbe point together with Ifafa should be worth a look. The north coast reefs have also been producing some good bags of bottoms if you know where to dive. The sea belle stretch has been providing the ski-fishermen with some big cuda but not many being taken by divers. Some big kob have been shot and the wrecks and pipelines should be worth a look together with any big caves or drop-offs that you might know. Kings rock at Rocky Bay has already produced some good fish with some garrick being taken here as well. There are quite a lot of shad around but they are mostly undersize. Andy Norton found some sardines off Pennington on a shore dive with plenty of action including big snoek, cuda and some aggressive sharks. Do not know the final tally but things were hectic for awhile. Warren Bennett shot a big sailfish just past the backline at Sezela before he had unwound his full line and had the buoy ripped from his grasp. The result was that he is now minus his speargun and float. There is a chance that some diver might find this gear and would like to return it to the rightful owner. If this should happen just put a notice up on the message board.

News from the Port Elizabeth Area

Divers in this area report warmer than normal sea conditions and lots of gamefish action. There has been a big run of atlantic bonito with literally thousands of fish in some of the big shoals that went through the area. The South African record for this fish was broken a number of times with Mark Jackson ending up with the largest of 4.5kg for the season. The geelbek run has produced some nice fish with some brusher (silver steenbras) also making up catches.

Mozambique Cooking

I was up at Inhambane for the first week of July and things were really cooking fish wise. The reef off the point at Barra lighthouse was alive with game fish. The cuda were running at 50 foot and you had to be down to see them. They were not interested in flashers but dropping pieces of bait worked well. There were some big wahoo cruising around but they were too clever for us. Managed to finally land my first sailfish that was delicious on the braai that night. The viz was 8 to 10m and the water was a chilly 20c. There was a lot of rain, unusual for this time of year, which was causing the water to green up. When applying for a visa to visit Mozambique you now need a confirmation of your booking in that country to get the visa. A hassle but without it you will not get a visa.

Sardines???

By the middle of the month the main shoal of sardines was spread out from Port St Johns to as far north as Waterfall bluff on the Transkei coast, still some 50km south of the KwaZulu-Natal border at the Mtamvuna River. The front that went through on the weekend of 19/20 hurried the sardines on and some netting took place on the KwaZulu-Natal coast as far up as Ifafa with plenty of shark activity reported by the Sharks Board. There are records of a late sardine run that took place towards the end of July but it looks like the sardine run could be over for the year apart from some isolated pockets. Port St Johns is probably named after a Portuguese vessel, the San Joa that was wrecked off the Transkei coast in 1552.

Cape News

Not much happening here now that the water has turned cold and some rough seas have been keeping divers shore bound. The tuna have gone until the water warms up again in November. The odd yellowtail is coming out but otherwise it has been a quiet month.

Cape Vidal

August is the month to go to Cape Vidal with plenty of gamefish action. At this time of year you can expect snoek (queen mackerel), cuda (king mackerel), wahoo and sailfish. This is probably the best month for this spot with some of the cuda passing through well over the 20kg mark that makes for exciting diving. It will be interesting to see whether the late sardine run has any effect as to what happens here.

Useful Hints

If you are into seafood, here are some useful hints in the preparation of mussels. Leaving mussels in a bucket of seawater over night to which you have added a tablespoonful of mealiemeal fattens them up and ensures they are nice and flushed out. When you cook the mussels make sure that they face down in the pot so that when they open the fluid can drain out. Only have ½ an inch of water in the cooking pot and as soon as it boils over the mussels are cooked. Try pickling the cooked mussels by adding pickled onions and vinegar from a bottle, black peppercorns and some peri-peri sauce to taste. Together with water biscuits they make good snacks for sundowners.

Diving Etiquette

I come from a trout fishing background and was shown to always give plenty of room to the chap who was there before you. I wonder how a shore angler feels when he is on the point first and then has a boatload of divers drop in on him. If the tables were turned how would you feel in this situation.

Safe diving - John.