Monthly Spearfishing Report July 2006

Monthly Report – July 2006

Weather Conditions

What you would expect for this time of year along the Natal coast, day temperatures in the mid twenties Celsius and not too much wind. Sea temperatures are mostly around the 20 degree mark Celsius and water visibility is what we call clean green not getting much above 10m. You will be wearing a jersey at night along the coast and where I stay in Botha’s Hill, 40km inland, you are wearing a jersey for most of the day especially if you are out of the sun. This temperature difference is due to the rise in elevation with Botha’s Hill sitting at an elevation of 2500 feet above sea level. Swell about for much of the month despite the settled weather conditions.

Fishwise

With the non-arrival so far of the sardines, most of the action is probably out deep or in the Transkei and most of the gamefish action will be centred where the sardines are. Quite a number of whales sighted off-shore on the lower south coast and these could be following sardine shoals out deep. Shad are being caught in numbers on the south coast with most fish on the small side. Some daga salmon have been shot on the north coast and spearos that know the location of good caves should be on the hunt for these exciting fish. The wreck of the Funtao off Umhlanga also attracts daga salmon and is worth a look if you are in the area. Some big cuda have also been caught here lately. With the non-arrival of the sardines along the natal coast it will be interesting to see how the gamefish action is concentrated. Early morning hunters should be on the look out for the shoals of garrick that have already started to migrate up along the coast, with Andrew Nell’s 18kg fish taken on the Bluff worthy of mention. The Umdloti/Tongaat stretch is producing some natal snoek with some big cuda coming out aswell. Salt Rock is producing some big cuda with Tiffanies stalwart Chris Coates bagging an 18kg cuda there recently. Seems to be an early brusher (cracker) run with fishermen catching them on the south coast so rocky points should be worth a dive.  

Sardine Run

With the water temperatures still hovering about the 20 degree Celsius mark on the lower south coast there is the possibility that the sardine run could be a non-event this year as happened in 2003. That year the sardines got as far as Waterfall Bluff on the Transkei coast before disappearing into the deep as the sea temperatures never really dropped below 20 degrees Celsius on the Natal coast in 2003. Looks like we could be in for the same conditions again this year with the sea temperatures never dropping low enough to suit the sardine migration onto the Natal coast.

Mozambique News

The road north from Maputo is now good all the way to Inhambane and makes the road trip quicker and a lot less risky minus all the pot holes. Lots of fish in the Barra area with the 8km pinnacles working very well for cuda and kaakap with a reverse thermo-cline with very warm water at 18m and cooler water on top.

Pietermaritzburg Underwater Club Rock Lobster Competition

This annual competition took place on the weekend 22/23 July 06. It is a two day comp with bags from both days counting for the final result. Saturday’s conditions were average with 4-5m visibility along much of the coast but with a strong inshore current making things awkward for the 13 divers who managed to weigh-in bags. Sunday saw big surf move in on the lower south coast and the comp was postponed for the next Sunday. The first prize is for the biggest lobster with a host of other prizes including biggest bag, biggest intact and largest gamefish and reef fish. The competitor’s catches over the two days are donated to the club with the prize giving dinner featuring the rock lobster as the main course. Tickets for this scrumptious feast are only R85 a head with the dinner scheduled for the 19 August. Results so far are: Jaison Duncan-largest lobster 1.19kg, John Little-biggest bag 6.37kg.

Great White Shark harassing Surf-Ski Fishermen

Reports from three surf-ski fishermen fishing in the Amanzimtoti area is of a large great white shark nuzzling their canoes and generally showing great interest in them. All three fishermen beat a hasty retreat to the beach none the worse for the experience but will probably be reluctant to paddle over the horizon any time soon. This is not the type of shark you want to meet on a shore dive and hopefully he has moved on as it would be strange for any shark to be resident in an area without any stable food source which is the case for the Amanzimtoti area.

Safe diving, John.