Monthly Spearfishing Report October 2006

Monthly Report – October 2006

Conditions

Adverse weather conditions for most of the month made the inshore seas undiveable. The strong north easterlies made for rough surf conditions and the heavy rains forced most river mouths open. Aliwal Shoal was diveable at 12m but south-north currents and the marginal visibility made it not really worth the trip. Some good water moving inshore towards the end of the month along the Bluff and on the north coast with number one and Salt rock working well.

Fishwise

Some sailfish action out at Aliwal Shoal together with wahoo and ignoblis but you need the warm clean water to move in otherwise it is a wasted trip. The Umkomaas river is flowing strongly and unless the currents are running the river water is affecting the viz on the Shoal. October is one of the best months for the brusher [cracker] run along the kzn coast but with big seas it has been impossible to hunt for them in the white water. Salt rock came to life when good water moved in at the end of the month and garrick, snoek, grunter and kob were landed. Coopers light wreck off the Bluff produced  good bags as did number one reef off Durban with Ryan Bermester shooting a pending SA record spotted or catface rockcod of 9.4kg out here.

Worlds

The Spearfishing World Championships hosted by CMAS has come and gone without the participation of a South African team. Reason being that we did not comply with the unrealistic entry requirements that the governing body imposes. As can be read elsewhere on the site, CMAS tried to have spearfishing banned from their sports roster with this decision having to go to an international sports tribunal to be over-turned. The choice of a newly formed body[FIPSA] with spearfishing interests at heart and no unrealistic entry requirements seems the only logical choice.

Transkei

Was down on the Transkei coast for the first couple of days of the month after the big rain storms in that area. The sea was undiveable owing to the large amount of rivers that flow into the sea along this stretch of coast and despite the calm sunny weather, no diving was possible. Had plenty of time to scout the area for launches and found an excellent one located on the Mdumbi Backpackers road. This is in the Coffee Bay area and the road to Coffee Bay on the south side of Umtata will take you there. Take the Anchorage Hotel/Mdumbi road turn-off and follow the signs. The Border Spearfishing competition did not take place as the conditions were not good enough to hold the competition with poor visibility the culprit.

Sodwana Bay

Spearos visiting this popular scuba diving venue found diveable water with 50 foot visibility but very few fish with only the odd cuda seen. Rough seas making the normally easy launch a bit tricky and probably better to wait for a more settled weather pattern before making the five hour trip north from Durban.

Restricted access

Some of you might remember when spearfishermen were banned from launching from club or municipal run launch sites along the KZN coast and Pete de Beers’s beach front property at Clansthal was the pirate launch of choice for most boat owning spearfishermen. Probably one of the meanest launches on the coast owing to a serious shore break that soon taught you the ways of the sea. All this exclusivity came to an abrupt end when a commercial fisherman took one of the Eastern Cape Municipalities to court and won his case over the right to launch where he chose. Umhlali ski-boat club at Tinley Manor and Christmas Bay launch a few kilometers south of this still continue to make their launches open to the chosen few.

Wahoo Dive Club

Founded in 1959, Wahoo is one of the few dive clubs dedicated solely to the sport of spearfishing and could be the only one in South Africa. If anyone knows different please let us know. The club has quite a history to it and in the days when liquor was not allowed to be sold on a Sunday here in South Africa, the Sunday club nights were very busy. Only beer quartz and hard-tack were on offer so the atmosphere was pretty festive. Now of course most spearfishermen are not big drinkers owing to the fitness levels needed to remain competitive. The club is still going strong, due mainly to the efforts of Chris West, with the club house recently extended and open on Wednesday nights with anybody welcome. There are always braai packs available and a cold beer with plenty of spearfishing talk on offer too.

How did They Catch Them

Studies of the Blombos Cave in the Southern Cape have unearthed fish bones from the black musselcracker, red stumpnose and kob. Considering that these bones have been dated to between 100 000 to 75 000 years old it is interesting to ponder how the primitive people living there at the time managed to come by these fish. Not the easiest of fish to catch even with the right tackle so for now it remains a mystery.  

National Spearfishing Championships

They are scheduled to be held in the Sedgefield/Wilderness area towards the end of April 2007. The format for team entry has changed and provinces are able to send as many teams as they can field and there is now a veterans and juniors division. This should provide the way for more spearos to enter Nationals and hopefully some of the older spearos might be enticed to give it a go.

Conservation

Spearfishermen are mostly conservation minded and our history proves us to be so as do our current actions. It was the early Zululand spearos who first introduced a ban on the shooting of brindle bass amongst fellow spearos and this conservation measure was later taken up by the authorities. The organizers of Provincial and National spearfishing competitions have put a one fish per species limit in place on their own initiative and there are possible further plans to remove certain threatened species from competition.

Mozambique News

The north easterlies have really being getting up to speed along this part of the coast but with the water temps rising and fair visibility, conditions have been good. The Pinnacles are teaming with gamefish but there are a large number of sharks patrolling the area that make spearing virtually impossible.

Good Wind Site

Andrew Henwood sent us this link that is good for checking how the wind blows along the South African coast and will help when planning spearfishing trips. http://www.windfinder.com/forecasts/wind_south_africa_akt.htm.

Safe diving, John.