Monthly Spearfishing Report June 2009

Conditions

A June reminiscent of the ones we used to have in the late eighties and early nineties. Very settled winds and lots of clean water about on the Natal coast. I can remember diving twenty nine days of the thirty one of the Junes in the early nineties and that was shore diving. The south coast still experiencing poor visibility due to all the river sediment deposited there during the summer rains but clean water moving in towards the end of the month. Still some surfy days despite the settled weather and this seems to be a trend now with small surf days few and far between even with the very calm weather conditions. A big winter front marching through towards the end of the month bringing big surf and cold weather over most of Natal.

Fish-Wise

A lot of snoek being taken on the Umhlanga Umdloti stretch with most fishermen getting their ten fish on the good days. The natal snoek or queen mackerel really does need protection from fishing pressure and a lower numbers limit should be introduced for this fish together with a minimum size. The cuda action has gone quiet with most fish probably further south hunting sardines although Mark Keyser still got some big fish off the Bluff towards the start of the month. The reef fish seem to be very temperature sensitive in the winter months with the smallest change making some areas barren whilst another nearby area with slightly warmer water has lots of fish. The Ifafa stretch producing some big snoek and garrick with some of these fish having sardines in their stomachs.

dead whale washes up at hibberdene 11 june 2009Dead Whale Washes Ashore

Darrell Hattingh reported the death of a whale in the Hibberdene area. A smallish humpback whale washed up dead at Shad bay, Hibberdene on the 11 June. It was almost beached on the low tide and then washed out into the bay on the high and was being fed on by half a dozen sharks with what looked like a 3-3.5m great white biting chunks out with its snout and black eye visible at the surface just before sunset. No clues as to how it died but the locals were cutting huge chunks out of it presumably to eat.

Certainly puts you off the idea of a quick shore dive before dark to get some bugs. One wonders if the sharks would be aggressive under these conditions or just focused on the whale and not interested in a diver. With all the chumming going on now in the Aliwal area and divers interacting with sharks under these conditions it makes you wonder.

Sardine News

Plenty of action at Waterfall Bluff on the Transkei coast but water temperatures are still too warm on the Natal coast for the sardines to make any big appearance here. Some of the gamefish being caught have sardines in them so some sardines must be passing further out to sea off the Natal coast. The sardine netters thick on the south coast but no sardines netted as yet.

Cape Vidal

Mark Keyser was there recently and managed a 30.5kg cuda which is a great fish. Grant Mitchell landing a 25kg and 23kg cuda and a sailfish of 35kg with Koos Jordaan landing some good sized wahoo. As is the norm for Cape Vidal, either feast or famine depending on your luck but certainly worth the drive.

Solstice

There are two solstice days each year, the winter and summer marking the shortest and longest day of the year respectively depending on which hemisphere you live in. For us in the southern hemisphere the sun is in its most northerly declination on the 21 June and this will be our winter solstice and the shortest day. The 21 December will see the sun in its most southerly declination and this will be our summer solstice and our longest day.

Safe diving, John.