Monthly Spearfishing Report August 2003

Monthly Report – September 2003

Loss to Spearfishing Community

Anthony Dunne has taken up work in Oman and will no longer be active in the spearfishing scene in this country. Ant is worthy of mention as he is a most likeable chap and was always free with his expertise and was willing to help in any situation. Ant has the power of positive thought and few things could dampen his enthusiasm for spearfishing. He was one of our top divers and featured prominently in most competitions that he entered. His keen sense of humour made him a pleasure to dive with and his humble nature never allowed him to become bigheaded about his exploits. Hopefully Ant will get to dive in Oman and we will be able to stay in touch by posting his stories from there on spearfishingsa. Full stringers Ant.

Spearing Conditions

The month started off with settled seas and some fair viz on the north coast. The umdloti/Tongaat stretch was the cleanest at 5m with lots of suspension in the water. The big fronts that pass through the Cape at this time of year makes for unpredictable weather along the east coast and the settled conditions did not last for long. Some 20-knot plus north easterlies and lots of rain associated with the westerly fronts made it difficult to find diveable water. Divers always eagerly await the offshore westerly winds on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, as this is what cleans the water visibility up.

The movement of water is perpendicular left from direction of flow in the southern hemisphere and this could be one of the reasons why these winds clean the water up. They reverse the current flow and cause large patches of clean water to move in from offshore. Calm winds and the Mozambique current also play a big role in determining the quality of visibility that we get along the KwaZulu-Natal coast.

Pollution of the sea from factory effluent and raw sewage that is pumped into the sea on a daily basis along our coast do not help matters. But the biggest culprit of all in causing bad viz along our shores is probably the bad farming practices that are carried out where farmers are allowed to farm along riverbanks and in flood plains. As there is no natural vegetation to hold the soil during flooding you have huge amounts of soil being deposited in estuaries and on the inshore areas. This layer of soil is easily stirred up by the coastal winds and can change the viz from good to bad very quickly.

Fish Wise

The water temperature is around 20c, which is not bad for this time of year, but there are not many reef fish about on the north coast. Some good sized sea pike being taken off Umdloti as well as some 10kg+ brusher (silver steenbras) by the divers working the white water. Still some garrick about on the north coast with the ski-boaters taking plenty between Umgeni mouth and Umhlanga. Lots of snoek (queen mackerel) action off Zinkwazi with the odd fish being landed on the point. When the snoek are feeding spearfishermen do not see them underwater but can stick their heads up and see them going mad nearby.

Under these circumstances it is best to go and sit on a nearby point and hope some pass through or perhaps re-visit the area later in the day if you are boat diving. The south coast points are working well for garrick with some snoek thrown in as well. Surf has been a bit heavy for the brusher specialists but there will be plenty hiding in all the white water. Deep Scottburgh reefs providing some fair bags of bottoms so long as the water is not too cold with the chance of kob on the wrecks. Richard Rumble landed a kob of 41kg on the point at Rocky Bay towards the end of the month.

Harbour History

The North Pier at the entrance to Durban Harbour when first constructed was the same length as the South Pier. This caused problems for ships entering the harbour as there was always the danger of being pushed onto the North Pier by the strong wind generated currents that swept across the mouth at certain times. To solve this problem the North Pier was shortened by over a 100 metres and the base of the original pier is what makes the reef in this area. The pier was constructed in 1894.

Sodwana Bay and Cape Vidal

The unsettled weather has meant that few divers have tried these spots. A 47kg giant kingfish was taken at Sodwana during the month so it is always worthwhile making the trip. If you find the right conditions the spearfishing is nearly always good. Cape Vidal has been producing some cuda with most of the action up at Leven Point but plenty of non-diveable days due to strong winds.

Hibiscus Coast Inaugural competition

This competition was held on Sunday, 21 September. The only fish weighed-in was a garrick of 5,8kg shot by Aubrey Van Zyl. He was the lucky winner of a Rob Allen speargun. A good braai was had afterward enjoyed by all the entrants.

News from Port Elizabeth by Gletwyn Rubidge

Poor conditions have kept divers out of the water for most of September but recently some flat days permitted a bit of diving. Brusher (cracker) have been scarce with a few coming out at Beachview and Seaview - sizes 6-14 kgs. There has been cool (16 DegC) water about and few, if any gamefish. John Hay got some brusher (cracker) at St Francis, but generally there is not much about yet. The easterlies are blowing so perhaps the cracker (and other reefies) will run properly this year.

Ifafa Hang-out

This popular dive spot now has a `spearos paradise` courtesy of Brendan Tryon who owns the house nearest to the point. Divers have been using Brendan’s house for safe parking for many years and Brendan has now taken this a step further by offering cheap meals to visiting spearos. A deck is in the process of being built where you will be able to relax and enjoy your meal whilst watching the action on the point. With parking being the problem that it is regarding theft and space this initiative is a welcome relief from the norm.

Safe diving, John.