Monthly Spearfishing Report October 2007

Monthly Report – October 2007

Conditions

The rains have thankfully started in KZN and over much of the country. The Umkomaas River is now flowing strongly allowing users of this busy launch to use the river again. The river out-flows affecting the inshore visibility along the Natal coast but not as bad as previous years for October. A windy month as per normal for October but shore divers finding favourable conditions if they were prepared to travel. The deeper reefs having fair to good conditions for much of the month.

Fish-wise

The peak month for the silver steenbras (cracker, brusher) run along the Natal coast and plenty of fish being landed for those divers prepared to brave the white water. A lot of garrick coming out on the south coast with spots like Ifafa and Umzumbe working well. The quota for garrick is two fish per day under the new regulations. Deep Scottburgh holding lots of bottom fish as can be seen from the results of the recent joint trial held out there by Central Natal.

North Coast Union Down and Out

The formation of this union is no longer with lack of commitment from club members the main reason for the demise. So these divers will be sitting on the sidelines whilst a gamefish nationals is held in their backyard.

Cape Vidal

Reports of lots of big snoek being landed up at Leven Point during the month. This time of year it is always a bit of a lottery going to Vidal as the wind can spoil a weekend away with the snoek only really turning on under settled wind conditions.

Transkei Coast

This amazing stretch of coast has a mix of the warmer and colder water fish that are found along the South African coast. This diverse range of fish makes for excellent spearfishing and it is always exciting diving. The Border Open held at Hole-in-the-Wall recently showed how a seemingly small change in the weather can change fish movements over the reef. The competition day was very quiet fish wise compared to the previous day when most spearos were seeing a great variety of species. Apart from a stronger wind later in the day things seemed relatively unchanged but the fish life was totally different.

Cape Point Tuna

The season getting off to a good start with some good sized fish up to 80kgs being landed by fishermen. The recent publication in international freediver magazine of a 4 page article on the Cape yellowfin tuna spearfishing should definitely spark some overseas interest in what has become one of the best spots for spearfishermen to hunt this fantastic fish.

Deep Scottburgh Sharks

Sharks becoming more and more of a problem in this area with most spearos reporting incidents every outing. I have dived this area for twenty one years now and the shark activity has increased dramatically this last year on the Deep Scottburgh reefs. More worrying is the type of behaviour displayed by the sharks when they rush you on the bottom when you have shot a fish and then harass you the whole way to the surface. I now get my fish off the reef and only pull it up once I am on the surface and generally only dive in 6m plus visibility. Could competition for food be making these sharks more aggressive and bolder than is normally the case!

Mozambique News

Certainly the windy months in southern Mozambique with the onshore north-easterly winds really spoiling conditions in the Tofu-Barra area. The northern parts of the coast in the Pemba area are now going into their best months with settled winds and increased gamefish activity.

East Coast Rock Lobster

October heralds the end of the lobster season in Natal waters with the season re-opening on the 1 March 2008. In Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand to mention a few, you are allowed to dive your lobster quota from a vessel but here in South Africa you are only allowed to catch lobster from a vessel if there is no diving equipment on-board. That means you would be using a baited hoop net. There are moves afoot within the spearfishing fraternity to get this law changed so that you can dive your quota from a boat. Hopefully this will come about as there is no reason why you should not be allowed to catch lobster diving from a boat.

Genetically Speaking

Specialists in this field know that behavioural genetics take many hundreds of years to be instilled within an animals genetic make-up. That is why lions will move away when humans are on foot but will happily walk right up to a car. They instinctively know that man is a threat to them but a car does not register on their radar and is totally foreign to them so is not recognized as a threat. The same would apply to sharks as man has only been jumping in the oceans over the last fifty or sixty years in any numbers so sharks will still be making their minds up about whether we fit into the eat or retreat category.

Safe diving, John.