Monthly Spearfishing Report November 2002

November 2002

With November being a heavy rainfall month,it is always going to be a limited diving period. Water temperatures are starting to improve (22-23c) but diving days are few due to poor visibility. The lack of good viz is due to the large amounts of silt deposited into the sea by rain swollen rivers. The weather has been unsettled with a fair amount of windy days. This month there have been 7 calm days, 11 days when the north east has blown and 12 days of southerly winds. The fishermen are getting a lot of small queen mackerel off Umgeni river mouth with the odd big one being caught. Some garrick are also being caught. The seine netters operating from Durban ski-boat club have been netting a fair amount of garrick. I counted 12 the one morning. Selection should start to work soon for some big queen mackerel. The Sheffield stretch can also be good for queen mackerel and you sometimes get some early big king mackerel filing through this time of year in this area. A couple of small king mackerel have already been shot off Umdloti which is normal for this time of year. The ski-boats fishing at stud have also landed some small king mackerel. There are some good sized cape yellowtail to be found on the south coast, Scottburgh and Ifafa being two likely spots for these fish. Still a lot of garrick around on the south coast if you find favourable water. They were pretty thick at Ifafa on the 15th with blue water, but turned off as soon as some cold water moved in. Shows you how important water temperature is to fish. In the warm water they were relaxed and inquisitive and you were seeing them on a regular basis. With the cold water they became very timid and uninterested and you saw the odd one scooting along the bottom but had no chance of shooting one. The cold water on the bottom out deep is still keeping most of the reef fish away or hidden, with only small catches being boated most days. No1 off Durban has been seeing some action when the blue water moves in, normally after a southwest. Reports are of literally hundreds of spadefish in the warm water but you cannot get within range for a shot. The white musselcracker(brusher) run, which is drawing to a close, has been very poor this year. Even Anthony Dunne, a brusher specialist, has not managed to bag many this season. The dagga salmon run has also been quieter than in previous years, although some big ones over 40kg have been shot on the wrecks. Cape Vidal has been providing some good gamefish diving with some good bags of queen mackerel coming out if the right conditions are found. In the recent Gauteng North Sailfish 1000 spearfishing competition held at Vidal, the R1000 offered for the biggest sailfish landed went to Len Turner. Len and crew managed to boat three sailfish off the point at Vidal with Len`s 30kg fish taking the first prize. An SA record dorado was also boated by Adriaan Marais. The fish weighed 13.8kg gutted with the old record being 11.5kg ungutted. Good catch!

With the recent unfair reporting on the billfish 15000 being shown on 50/50, Joe public is in full cry. I say unfair, because in any emotive issue such as this, it is only fair to show both sides of the story. The part not shown was that billfish are fast growing ocean wanderers and the recreational catch pales into insignificance when compared to the commercial catches made of these fish each year. The so called MPA`s(marine protected areas) were put into place at the instigation of the divers and fishermen to protect the slow growing reef fish in these areas. No such protection can be afforded to gamefish as they do not remain in any area for long but roam the oceans in search of food. Gamefish are also extremely fast growers and do not need the same protection as the slow growing reef fish.That is why the MPA`s are gamefish only areas. The NCS are now asking that no billfish be awarded prizes in any competition. It is just so par for the course. This is definitely a knee jerk reaction done to pacify joe public with no thought for the divers and fishermen who are the main users of these areas. Quick fixes like this never work and a lot more thought and study needs to be done before any ruling can be made. Hopefully the status quo will remain! Safe diving. John.