Monthly Spearfishing Report May 2003

May 2003

Weather and Water conditions

Some very settled weather towards the end of the month before the big westerly front put an end to the excellent diving conditions that we had experienced up and down the coast. Water temperatures at the beginning of the month were 23c and had dropped to between 20 and 22c by the end of the month. Strong inshore currents running on the south coast.

Fish Action

The catface rockcod have moved onto the inshore reefs as they do every year about this time. One of 7kg boated on the south coast with quite a few up to 4kg coming out. Some big snoek(queen mackerel) action on the south coast making for exciting diving. These fish are heading down to meet the sardines on their annual migration up the east coast. Can be hard to approach to get a shot in when they are on a mission like they are now. Good spots to try for them are Ifafa and the Hibberdene stretch. Reef fish are plentiful on the lower south coast with catches being made up of bronze bream, rubber lips, cuckoo bass, baardman, natal fingerfin, and rockcod. The odd kob(daga salmon) reported together with some garrick on the lower south coast. Some big cuda(king mackerel) on the north coast with Umdloti reefs producing good fish together with the odd big fish being landed on the lower south coast. Salt Rock should be a good bet for an early morning or late afternoon dive.

Sardines

The sardines come onto the KwaZulu-Natal coast sometime during the first 10 days of June. This has been the pattern for the last 6 years with the main shoals arriving during this period. At present they are still on the Transkei coast and are spaced out with no major shoals reported. The Sharks Board sardine hot line number is 0822849495. You will be able to phone this number when the run is on and get regular updates as to where the sardines are.

Vidal Comp

The Wahoo dive club`s Winter Gamefish competition at Cape Vidal was once again a big success with all entrants having a good time. The chaps who organized the competition did a great job and the sponsors donated some good prizes making it exciting knowing that you stood a chance to win a good prize if you were lucky enough to bag a fish. The numbers were down on the 100+ of previous years but this took nothing away from the enjoyment of the competition. For more details read the full write up posted on the site.

Aliwal Shoal

Aliwal has been quiet with a reverse current for much of the time and the viz not much better than 10m. With the excellent inshore conditions most spearos have been opting to dive the inshore reefs.

Mozambique News

Settled weather and calm seas for this part of the coast. Kingfish and cuda coming out together with some big prodigals. Good time of year to go on holiday here with mild weather and plenty of fish action.

Fish Attracting Devices(FAD)

There are a number of these along our coast and fishermen and divers are getting good fish from them. They consist of a big anchor with a line off which lots of streamers are strung with a buoy marking the spot. As fish apparently have one-dimensional vision, this wall of streamers appears as a big solid object and fish are naturally attracted to it. The bait fish for protection and the rest follow. If conditions are right you will normally find Dorado in the vicinity and some big fish have been landed. Most of the FADS are a long way out to sea and you need the gps marks to locate them. If you can get these it is worthwhile paying them a visit.

Spearfishing licenses

Spearfishermen have always needed a license to spearfish with fishermen being spared until a few years back. With the introduction of the new laws new systems were put in place so that accurate information could be obtained from all user groups. Unfortunately the systems put in place have failed and no one has any idea as to the numbers making up the different user groups. This will hopefully be sorted out soon as it would be useful and informative to know these figures. Apparently a new system has gone out to tender with ID type licenses on the cards for the future.

Spearfishing Nationals

The National Championships take place from the 2nd to 6th June and are being hosted by the Natal Underwater Union with Richard Bruno organizing the event. The two areas for the competition are: Westbrook launch to Umhlanga Rocks lighthouse and South pier to Brighton Beach tidal pool including some of the No1 fishing grounds. The reserve area is Tiger Rocks to Winkelspruit tidal pool. Some interesting areas with the home teams likely to walk away with the top placings. We will keep you up-to-date with the latest news on this event.

Ear Problems

If you are one of the divers who have suffered from ear problems you will know how frustrating they can be. There is nothing worse than not being able to equalize when you are on a hot spot or the gamefish are running deep. Diet can play a big role in helping to prevent most ear problems. If you battle to equalizing you might try cutting dairy products out of your diet the day before you are going diving. Dairy products contribute to the mucus build up in your body and are one of the causes of ear problems to those guys who suffer from them. If you find it hard to equalize you might have a narrowed Eustachian tube and any foreign substance such as mucus might be causing the tube to close stopping you from equalizing. Another big problem food is bread with a lot of people having an intolerance to the gluten or wheat in the bread. Try staying away from bread a day or two before you plan to dive. I try and stay away from pills but there are obviously medications that will help you to clear your ear and sinus passages. By treating the cause and not the symptom you will benefit in the long run. Even the most harmless of medicines have long-term side effects if you take them often enough.


June Outlook

June is one of the best months for spearing along the KwaZulu-Natal coast with some exciting diving to be had amongst the sardines. If you are lucky enough to encounter some of the big gamefish that follow the sardines you are in for some of the best spearing you could find anywhere in the world. There are plenty of sharks to keep you on your toes on the south coast. Most of the shark activity is centered on the lower south coast and by the time the sardines reach Durban there is a lot less shark activity. Expect water temps between 18 and 20c with clean green water with good visibility being 10m. The water can sometimes be hard to read this time of year with the greenish tinge making you think it is worse than it is. If you can see sand in the waves you know that it is clean. Safe diving, John.