Monthly Spearfishing Report March 2010

Conditions

The sea was unsettled for most of the month courtesy of some strong north-easterly winds that blew on and off for much of the month. North-easterly winds mostly cause the inshore seas to be churned and bring in cold water. Equinox on the 20 march could have also had something to do with the unsettled seas as the bigger than normal tidal movement can be associated with big surf. Land temperatures starting to calm down a bit from the February heat-wave but the mild days will only kick from April.

Fish-wise

Not a lot happening along the Natal coast due mostly to unsettled cold seas. The cuda run has been dismal along the Natal coast with only the odd fish being taken. Well done to Gary Uys for winning the DUC Open with a 12.7kg cuda. The last weekend in March saw some cuda being landed on the south coast by divers and some good fish were taken in a ski-boat competition mid month off Umdloti. Some small snoek coming out but the cold water is keeping most of the fish away. Iain Ewing and crew were lucky enough to find clean warm water on a boat outing in the Ramsgate area and they got some good bottoms.  

Springbok Trials                           

Trials were scheduled for the 11, 12 March out on Deep Scottburgh. They were being staged to select a Protea side for an invitational spearfishing competition against a Croatian team to take place in May. They were cancelled due to poor sea conditions and now the teams will be selected from the Nationals results. Nationals are taking place in May.

Rock Lobster Season

The rock lobster season opened on the 1 March but as has been the case for the last few years sea conditions were not ideal. Would imagine that not too many bags were caught in the choppy seas even though you do not need much more than three or four meters to dive bugs. I still enjoy diving for crayfish and still find it exciting when you come across a big nest of bugs with some brutes amongst the pack. Season closes last day of October.

Spearfishing Nationals

The four areas chosen by the organizers for the National spearfishing championships are: Warners to Brighton, Cutting to Cave Rock, Umhlanga lighthouse to Umdloti river mouth, Chain pool to West Brook launch. There are overlaps where two areas abut though not sure of the reason for this but it could be to include the same reef in both areas. Should make for good diving and away unions will need to scout hard to beat the local boys as all these areas are dived frequently.

Cyclone Season

The cyclone season is nearing the end touch wood with no major blows along the east coast. Saw there was a small intense system out in the Indian ocean way east of Madagascar but it did not move much before dissipating. With all the natural disasters taking place it is comforting to see one of natures seasonal elements calmer than normal along our coastline.

Aliwal Current Info

  http://www.oceanafrica.com/oceanwatch/databuoy/db_info.php?BuoyID=1

This site has been updated and is much more user friendly. Worth a look if you are planning to spearfish out here. Interesting to see that the week of north easterly winds caused a very cold upwelling in this area with bottom water temps of 16.5 C. Do not expect to find many fish about under these conditions and not worth going out there when the water is so cold.

Sodwana Bay

This area has been working very well with spearos getting full bags of gamefish. The beach rangers are hassling boats that beach with kaakap as apparently this fish was not mentioned in the 2005 government notice with the new MLRA regulations. It was specifically allowed on the MLRA regulations dated 2000 so at this stage the legal situation is not clear. I have been assured that it has been reinstated on the brochure at Sodwana Bay pending final clarification.

Cape Vidal

This area has been pretty quiet with not many gamefish being landed. The cuda seem to have all but disappeared and apart from the odd dorado or kingfish not much happening. But Vidal can turn on from one day to the next and it is a beautiful spot to visit so always worth the trip.

Fish Protection

When it comes to nature mans medalling has invariably backfired to the detriment of the environment. I think that restrictions placed on certain fish species might cause imbalances on the reefs. A prime example is the potato bass. These fish dominate the reefs that they inhabit and with protection their increased numbers could pose a threat to other species.

Safe diving, John.