Monthly Spearfishing Report October 2009

Conditions

Start of the summer rainy season with a number of rivers up and down the coast breaking out into the sea. The resultant sediment deposited on the inshore reefs can make for poor visibility with any north easterly winds stirring up the sediment and making for low viz. Again a lot of windy days with the northeast making for bumpy seas and cool sea temperatures. Westerly fronts coming up from the Cape but few flat days and not cleaning up the inshore seas very much. Sharks Board sea temperatures for the month of October recorded at 17 to 21 celsius along the KZN coast so 5mm suits are still needed. Water should warm up by the end of November and the predominant northerly currents for most of October are good news for the gamefish.

Fish Wise

Still some snoek(queen Mackerel) being landed on the north coast in the Umdloti area when the viz is diveable. There is normally a pre run of cuda in November along the Natal coast so this is something to keep an eye on. Some wahoo out on the Shoal but conditions very unpredictable but worth a look if the current is right. Here is the link to a site that will give you the current out at the Shoal. http://www.oceanafrica.com/oceanwatch/databuoy/db_info.php?BuoyID=1> Big cracker (brusher) being taken on South Pier and at some of the better known cracker spots on the Bluff.

Product Review

I have been using the Cressi Gara range of fins for a number of years due to the soft foot pocket not irritating a bone chip on the navicular bone on both my feet. Most foot pockets a few years back were firm over this area but with the new generation of foot pockets coming out they all seem to be soft and pliable over the top of the foot. Recently on a trip to Mozambique I was loaned a pair of the new FreeDivers carbon and glass fiber composite blades that come fitted to a very soft foot pocket. I had tried the previous carbon blades made by FreeDivers and found them to be too stiff for my liking. The new blades are made from carbon and glass fibre in a match that gets the most out of the different properties of both these compounds. The memory of the carbon together with the flexibility of the glass fibre make these fins very easy on your legs but they have a great deal of thrusting power for little effort. Dave Coetzee was also using his pair for the first time after winning them in a spearfishing competition. The first day out we tried the point for a late afternoon dive. The speed that the fins generated for surface swimming with what seemed little effort was great and all the guys had a go. The next day we headed for the deep pinnacles to see how they performed on deeper dives. They did not disappoint and had good power for coming up from 25m dives and got you down there with little effort. I only have the Cressi Gara’s to compare but there is no comparison. When I got back to Durban and had to use my old fins again, they felt very heavy on my legs and seemed to lack power. I am on the waiting list for a pair of the new fins and hopefully it will not take too long.

News from the Euro Zone Qualifier

South Africa placed thirteenth overall in the Euro Zone Qualifier against some of the top sides in the World. The Spanish side came first leading the field by a big margin. Other top ten countries in order of merit were: Italy, Croatia, Algeria, Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Finland and Russia. We might still qualify for the World Spearfishing Championships in 2010 as the other zone qualifiers are pretty disorganized and this could create a gap for the South African side.

Cape News

There have been good catches of yellowfin tuna in the fishing grounds off Cape Point with the biggest fish recorded of 97kgs. Things went a bit quiet mid month but the south east winds blowing should bring the fish back on the bite again once they have tapered off and the seas have settled.

Tanzanian News

Eric Allard reports that the weather pattern has been a bit strange for this time of year off the coast of Tanzania with small storm systems coming in off the sea. Winds at 15 knots from the east but should start to settle down soon. Fishing boats off Dar es Salaam getting lots of sailfish, wahoo and yellowfin tuna plus the odd marlin. The current is still too strong to fish for dogtooth tuna but will slow down by November.

Web Cams

Here are the addresses for some web cams along the coast that you can view to judge surf and wind conditions. The Margate one is very good and I look at it most days to see what the sea is doing.

Umhlanga-  http://www.wavescape.co.za/webcams/umhlanga.html

South Coast- www.margate.co.za

Amanzimtoti- http://www.wavescape.co.za/webcams/amanzimtoti.html

Durban- http://www.wavescape.co.za/webcams/durban-beachfront.html

Shark Attack

Just got news of a shark attack up in Mozambique in the Vilanculos area on the deep pinnacles. Mark Ragotzki, who owns the Joburg Rob Allen franchise, was spearing out there with Rob Allen. They had just started diving and on Marks first dive down he shot a green jobfish. On returning to the surface Mark saw a Zambezi shark first buzz his speared fish and then it rushed Mark. It grabbed hold of his foot and shook him a few times and then about turned and was gone. Mark was lucky in the sense that doctors managed to repair the damage to his severed tendons and he will not loose his foot. The visibility was a good twenty meters and apparently he was using a black wetsuit and black fins. Mark was using the normal float line rig to his gun so once he had shot a fish of any size he would not have a gun in his hand. Having a gun in your hand to ward off an aggressive shark could make all the difference and your body language will be very different as opposed to being bare handed so to speak. As most spearfishermen know it is important to make your dominance felt when dealing with an aggressive shark. Maybe a good argument for reel guns and breakaway systems.

Safe diving, John.