Monthly Spearfishing Report June 2007

Monthly Report – June 2007

Conditions

Strong north-easterly winds blowing at the beginning of the month which is unusual for this time of year as one would expect much more settled weather. This could be good for the sardines though as the strong north-easterlies could cause some colder water to move inshore. Two westerly fronts coming up from the Cape but otherwise a very settled month with the clean green water of winter having moved inshore. Cold snap associated with a Cape front brought icy weather to most of the country with snow falling in joburg for the first time in 26 years.   

Fish-wise

Gamefish still being landed along much of the Natal coast at the beginning of the month and if the sardines arrive in force there will be plenty of gamefish activity. Already fishermen have been getting a lot of garrick using the jig and drop method and in the Umzumbe area some big cuda and ignoblis have been caught from the shore. Wahoo being seen out at Aliwal most days when it is diveable but not many being landed. Treasure on the Bluff is always a good spot for gamefish when the sardines are around as is the Hibberdene and Umgababa areas.

Sardines

Mid-month no action down as far as Hole-in-the-Wall but lots of whales, dolphins, birds and sharks so this could all change very quickly with the sardines putting in an appearance where you least expect it. Water temperatures 19 to 20 celsius on the lower south coast and small pockets of sardines reported off Umzumbe and further south. With the low water temperatures and relatively settled conditions we could be in for a bumper run on the Natal coast. Sardine hotline is 0822849495.

Sodwana Bay

The Pietermaritzburg Underwater Club’s Bluewater Gamefish Challenge held at this venue on Saturday 9 June was a big success. Coral Divers was the accommodation venue and this well run resort certainly lived up to expectations with very efficient staff and excellent food served up. Sodwana has so many spearfishing options when compared to Cape Vidal that it adds to the challenge as you need to plan carefully to maximize your effort. Although the water was colder than expected some good fish were weighed-in with Danie Van Huyssteens 42kg giant kingfish the pick of the bunch.

Cape Vidal

This popular spearfishing spot will once again host the Wahoo Diving Club’s Winter Gamefish Competition. This competition has been running for over twenty years and always gets a good turnout of spearfishermen. The comp is scheduled for the last Saturday in July, and with the chance of some crocodile cuda being encountered at Leven Point, should provide spearos with lots of excitement.

Not so Rosy

The rosy jobfish or silver-gill is of the same family as the green jobfish more commonly known locally as the kaakap. Both these fish are classed as gamefish under the current legislation. In the early nineties Mark Garner and myself boated up to Kosi mouth from Sodwana where we encountered a big shoal of these fish circling a pinnacle. They were all around the 7kg weight and Mark had the good sense to claim one for a South African spearfishing record. We only took one fish each, as the then Natal Parks Board who controlled Sodwana, were saying that these fish should be classed as reef fish. So spearfishermen no longer shoot these fish at Sodwana even though it is still a gamefish and you are quite within your rights to do so. This is mainly done to keep the peace and foster good relations with the authorities. Yet after many years of not being shot these fish are still very scarce, being a deep water species, and not venturing into diveable depths too often so one wonders of the logic behind the protection of this gamefish.

Vibes

Mark Keyser with a 25kg yellowfin tuna shot on a shore dive on the bluff .jpgIf you have been spearfishing for some time you will probably know one or two of your diving acquaintances who seem to see sharks a lot more than your average. I believe this has something to do with the vibe that your body puts out. In the same way that some people seem to be prone to attracting aggressive behaviour from dogs or the person who least likes cats will be the first person whom the cat jumps up on. Animals are able to read the vibes that we put out and act accordingly.

Latest

Plenty of sardine action as far up as Durban Bay with lots of shark activity on the south coast associated with the sardines. Treasure on the Bluff has been working well for big cuda with some big grunter and the odd daga salmon also being seen here. Mark Keysers 25kg yellowfin tuna shot here on a shore dive is worthy of mention. Cuda being taken on Aliwal and 19 fathoms with the Pennington area also producing some fish. Water temperatures ranging from 24 down to 19c depending on what wind has been blowing.

National Spearfishing Championships 2008

Everything is on track for the 2008 National Spearfishing Championships scheduled for Sodwana Bay in May, dates still to be finalized. The competition will have 4 days of spearfishing with day one being the open individual championships. Any spearo who is a member of a recognized diving club will be able to take part in the open individuals and it is an ideal opportunity to meet the top divers in the country and test your spearfishing skills against them. The Russians will hopefully be sending some teams again and any international teams are welcome to take part. Teams consist of 3 divers with a top man to skipper the boat. Sodwana Bay offers some excellent blue water hunting and landing 10 different species of gamefish is a great challenge for even the best of spearfishermen.

Safe diving, John.