Monthly Spearfishing Report June 2004

Monthly Report – June 2004

Weather and Sea Conditions

A typical June with mild winds for the most part and some good diving conditions. The visibility on the middle south coast has been good on a number of days and this area has been the most consistent for diveable water. The fronts passing through the Cape were mostly small, and just the odd surfy day experienced along the KwaZulu-Natal coast due to these fronts. This changed towards the end of the month with the first of the big winter fronts passing over the country and some big surf was sent our way. This big front together with the 17-degree sea temperatures in the south, hurried the sardines on their way, and some netting took place along the middle and lower south coast. Plenty of shark and gamefish activity reported but the sea was too churned up for diving.

Plenty of Rockcod

The spotted or catface rockcod have moved onto the inshore reefs and some nice fish in the 6 to 7kg range have been boated. There are a lot of bronze bream about aswell but they are mostly around the 11/2kg mark. Most of the gamefish are with the sardines further south and only the odd cuda (king mackerel) and snoek (queen mackerel) are being seen. Ski fishermen are still boating the odd big cuda from the Tongaat stretch so this area could be worth a look if it is diveable. The garrick have put in an appearance and some good bags have come out on the south coast with Ifafa Point being an especially good spot to hunt them. The action has been very hit or miss with the fish there one day and gone the next. Darrell Hattingh lost a big cuda whilst diving for garrick off Sea Park and Graham Carlisle bagged a 30kg prodigal on the lower south coast, so with this type of action possible in the shallows, it is always worth getting in this time of year.

Cape Vidal

There were a lot of fish shot in the Winter Gamefish competition held here recently with some nice snoek making up most of the catches. Divers that stayed after the competition report plenty of big snoek action up at Leven Point. There is a very inquisitive tiger shark bothering spearos on the shallow ledge so take care when diving here. Cape Vidal will really turn on when the return gamefish start to pass through this area on their journey north. Late July and the first two weeks in August are normally very good times and if you can get some leave this is definitely worth a try.

Education Needed

Recently a Port Shepstone magistrate, Karen Scheepers, sentenced two men to 18-month jail terms for the illegal possession of 20 east coast rock lobsters. No option of a fine was given and they were given 6 months for each of the offences. Namely, possession of 12 undersize, no permit and possession during the closed season. KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife welcomed the harsh sentences saying that this would send a clear warning to poachers that their crimes are being treated in the same light as other serious offences. I wonder what serious offences they are referring to and how you can justify a jail term with no option of a fine in a case like this. These guys are obviously at subsistence level and need to be educated rather than sent to rot in jail with real criminals.

Pietermaritzburg Underwater Club Rock Lobster Competition

The competition was held over the weekend 12/13 June in excellent conditions, light northeasterly winds, clean water and calm seas for the most part. All of the diving took place on the south coast with the weigh-in being held at the Happy Wanderers Caravan Park. Good bags of rock lobster were weighed-in with most contestants managing to catch their legal quota of eight per day. There were not many fish landed during the competition despite the good conditions and no gamefish were brought to the weigh-in. The main prize of the biggest rock lobster went to Greg Bissert for a monster of 1.30kg. Prize for the heaviest bag over the two days went to John Little. The prize giving will be on the 31 July where 150+ lobster will be roasted over the coals and served up to the public together with a traditional Indian fish curry. This all takes place at the clubhouse in Pietermaritzburg and anyone wanting tickets to the dinner can contact Dave Coetzee on 0836506517.

Sardine Run

Unless the water temperatures rise on the lower south coast, and this is highly unlikely, the sardine run should definitely take place this year as opposed to the non-event last year. This can be one of the best times for spearfishing but a lot of luck is involved in finding the sardine shoals that have gamefish with them. Generally good spots to dive are prominent points where the sardines are active in the area and any shoals that you see being harassed by gamefish, evident by the splashes as the fish attack the sardines. Boat diving gives you a lot more options and is probably the best way to hunt the sardine shoals. Some good spots are: Treasure on the Bluff, Umgababa, Widenham Point, Scottburg shark nets off the caravan park, Kings Rock at Rocky bay, Pennington south of the tidal pool, Umdoni Point, Ifafa, Hibberdene, Umzumbe Point, Shelly-Uvongo stretch, the point at Ramsgate ski-boat launch and any area where you can see sardines active. A couple of years back Richard Bruno and crew shot a number of large cuda from a small shoal of sardines off the beachfront in Durban in 10 foot of water. This time of year can make for thrilling spearing and it is always worthwhile getting in the water.

Mozambique News

Ryan Van Der Merwe, Tim Theunissen and Dan Owen were in Mozambique recently diving the Vilankulos area. Unfortunately the weather was not ideal with the southeast wind blowing for much of their stay and a south north current to add to the unfavourable conditions. Biggest cuda was 18kg with some nice kaakap landed aswell, but otherwise things were quiet with no wahoo or sailfish about in the cold water. June is an excellent month weather wise in southern Mozambique but this year the southeasterly winds have blown a lot more than is normally the case and conditions have been poor.

Aliwal Shoal

The Shoal has been quiet for the most part with few gamefish about. This is normal for this time of year but there is always the chance of a class gamefish being encountered as they head south for the sardine action. The visibility drops on the Shoal this time of year and 15m is about the best you can hope for which is good for hunting gamefish.

Safe diving,
John.