Monthly Spearfishing Report June 2002

JUNE 2002

It is easy to make a mistake when judging the water visibility at this time of year. Cold green water moves in along our coast during the winter months. This greenish water normally has fair visibility of 10m or so and is nice for diving in. From the shore it does not look very inviting and it is easy to mis-read conditions.

A good Sardine Run

The sardine run this season has been very good. Sardines have reached as far north as Salt Rock and with some big shoals still reported far south, the run is set to continue for some time. Most years, the run peters out by the time it reaches the Durban beaches. The reason for this is probably the higher sea temperatures on the north coast are not suitable for the sardines and they head off into deeper water. This year the sea temperature is uniform along most of the coast and must be to the sardines liking and has allowed them to travel up the north coast. 26 permits were issued this year for the netting of sardines. With basket prices starting at R200 and dropping to R30, most netters have had a good start to the run. The market is flooded at the moment, hence the low price.

Spearfishing wise, the run has not yet lived up to expectations with no big king mackerel being landed by divers. There has been some hectic queen mackerel action in the Pennington area and along the Tongaat stretch. Some divers have managed to beach with their bag limits. The action has been very isolated. Divers at Umdoni point seeing loads of fish while a kilometer further south at Sezela, the divers have seen nothing. Lots of shark activity with the sardines on the lower south coast. This season, a BBC film crew member was bitten on the arm by a copper shark. Apparently he was just about to get on the boat when he became part of a bait ball. In the feeding frenzy that followed the shark unwittingly bit him on the arm and immediately let go. He was flown to the Margate hospital where they were able to save his arm from any permanent damage. This year the Natal Sharks Board together with SwiftSMS have teamed up to provide up-to-date info about the sardines via sms to cell phone users. To register complete the form on the Sharks Board website http://www.shark.co.za. The cost is R50.

Some good action for Spearfishermen

The geelbek run has been good this season with many divers already landing 4 or 5 of these fish. On the 23 June the nets off one of the Durban beaches was entangled with a lot of these fish. The Sharks Board boat made quite a haul with divers in the area picking up the odd fish from the bottom. Pity the nets are not lifted earlier to prevent this type of incident from happening.

The garrick run is starting to liven up with divers off the Cutting beaching with 3`s and 4`s of these fish recently. Some good sized grunter around aswell. There has been an unusually high concentration of bronze bream on the inshore reefs, more than l have seen before. This is good as it points to low fishing pressure on this fish. Unfortunately most of these fish are spawning so it is important to stick to the bag limit of 5 fish per person.

Catch of the month

Catch of the month goes to Jacu Blignaut for his 14 and 15kg pig nose grunter (white steenbras) that he shot on successive downs off Umzumbe. These fish do not travel much further north than the Hibberdene area and along our coast they are normally found in big shoals in 60 foot plus. They are quite a sight to see when a large shoal approaches you as you are lying on the bottom. You only get them in the winter months along the Kwazulu Natal coast.

The yacht that sank in the channel next to south pier recently had steering problems. The 45 foot yacht was returning to Durban after an aborted attempt to sail to Richards Bay in the teeth of a howling north easter. As it approached the channel, the hydraulics on the steering failed and it was blown into south pier where it was holed and eventually sank.

Misbehaving Spearos

Some South African spearos have been mis-behaving whilst on holiday in Mozambique. Shooting as much fish as possible and then selling their catch in the local fish market. This is really short term thinking and could lead to the banning of spearfishing for holiday makers in this country. Once the law has been made it is very hard to get it changed. This type of foolish behaviour could ruin it for everyone. Remember, wherever you are diving, your actions are indicitive of all divers. So think carefully before doing something stupid. These guys paid for their silliness by having their boat and vehicle confiscated and will be extremely lucky to see either again.

Lets hope the good conditions of June continue into July as there is a lot of exciting diving to be had. Save diving, john.