Monthly Spearfishing Report March 2002

March 2002

The cuda classic that was re-held on the 10 March for the third time has been put over to the Wahoo winter gamefish competition. No shows by the cuda on all three occasions left the R1000 prize for the biggest cuda unclaimed. Prizes did go to other spearos who managed to weigh-in some gamefish. Ant Dunne took first place with a queenfish of 6.25kg followed by Ryan Bermester with a bonito of 3.9kg and Calvin Oosthuysen`s queen mackerel of 2.5kg. Ant Dunne shot an 18kg cuda at No1 on saterday 9, so there are some cuda out there. The recent paddle-ski competition was won with a 22kg cuda with quite a few good sized cuda weighed-in. The Umhlanga ski-boat festival was also won with a cuda of 28kg. Water conditions have improved slightly since February but are still poor for the time of year. Lots of north easterly winds are kicking up the bottom with inshore conditions mostly undiveable. Water temperatures are down a bit and this is affecting the cuda. There are still lots of small queen mackerel off the beachfront and further north from Umgeni to Umhlanga. The fishermen are having a field day with divers getting good bags when they are able to dive. Ifafa point has also been good for these fish. The lobster seem pretty thin on the north coast, but this could be due to unfavourable water conditions making them go out deep. Sodwana bay has been quiet fish wise with just the odd cuda and sea pike being taken. The same can be said for cape vidal with few fish coming out. I was up in Mozambique for 9 days from the 16 March and can report that the water temperature was off by a degree or two. This was causing the cuda to run deep and they were very hard to shoot. Not as much fish action as normal for the Inhambane section of coast.

Make sure you have your licenses with you when you go diving. Not having them can cause unpleasantness with the Nature Conservation Services as they treat you as though you are a criminal until you produce the license which is not clever PRO on their part. Remember you are only allowed to have eight lobster in your possession, so sorting the catch on the beach is asking for trouble.

Looking through a recent gun test, it was interesting to see that one of the biggest factors affecting accuracy was the barb. Barbs that did not sit well or have too much flare at the end dramatically affect the flight of the spear shaft. Also stiff trigger mechanisms affect accuracy adversely. The tensing of the hand causes the muzzle to move. Ten guns were tested of 100 or 110 barrel lengths with a target set at 14 feet from the muzzle. The Rob Allen gun tested was too difficult to load so was not included in the test. Other factors tested that did not influence aim were rubber thickness and position of the barb, top or bottom. Spear shafts with no barb were found to be very accurate and heavier spears than the 6.5 to 7mm tested were less accurate. Some degree of drop was noted for all the tests over the 14 feet. The average drop was between 1-2 inches.

Craigh Heslop had a nasty accident recently whilst boat diving in the Shelly Beach area. The boat that he was diving on had 4 stroke motors. These motors are very quiet and he did not realize the boat was over him until it was too late. He ended up being rushed to hospital with some nasty cuts in his head. One very lucky diver to have survived such an incident. I have boat dived recently with spearos who use reel guns with no floats to minimize the drag in a strong current. It is very hard to keep track of where everyone is under these circumstances and the top man has to be wide awake.

Safe diving, john.