Monthly Spearfishing Report September 2007

Monthly Report – September 2007

Conditions

Generally poor conditions for the inshore waters along the Natal coast with  unsettled seas and poor visibility for much of the month of September. Water temperatures around 21c and greenish pea-soup type of water hovering over most of the inshore reefs. Although not pleasant this type of water can be ideal for hunting silver steenbras and garrick with the fish well within range if they want to see what you are.

Fish-Wise

A lot of garrick around for this time of year with the Bluff area working very well for these hard fighting fish. The brusher run is in full swing with fish reported from up and down the coast. Most of the early season run is made up of smaller fish so it is good to remember that the size limit for the white musselcracker (brusher, cracker, silver steenbras) is 60cm. The large head of this fish makes excellent eating and Indians call it biskop and consider it a delicacy. Natal snoek being taken on the north and south coast but most of the fish are under 5kgs.

Sneaky Shark

Was diving for brusher in poor 2 meter viz in six foot of water with Andrew Henwood on the Bluff the other day. Lots of churn and the viz down to 3 foot in some places on the bottom. Last place you would expect to see a big shark unless the sardine run was on which was not the case. Andrew spotted half of a big shark lurking in under five foot of water cruising on top of the reef probably on the lookout for a quick bite. In case there was any chance of mistaken identity we decided to move on.

Feeding Tigers

Watched Mark Adisson feeding the tiger sharks out at Aliwal Shoal on DSTV the other night and this time by hand. It cannot be too long before there is an unhappy incident between a tiger shark and a diver. All past experiences with wild animals tells us that to feed a wild animal is to sign that animals death warrant. Why should it be any different with a shark and what are these sharks being fed for anyway.

Cape Vidal

Craig Heslop was up at Vidal mid-month and had great action. The weather was a bit dicey with only one day diveable but the snoek turned on up at Leven Point on Saturday and he and his crew landed big snoek from 7kg up to 10.5kg. All the action was on the shallow ledge with the deep reef very quiet. Certainly worth the trip if the weather plays ball.

Commercial Bag Limit for Englishman

With recreational fishermen limited to one englishman per day with a minimum size of 40cm. It seems crazy that there is no commercial limit for this fish with commercially licensed fishermen able to catch as many as they like of what is deemed to be a threatened species. Also interesting to see that commercials were applying to be able to fish for geelbek within the Aliwal Shoal reserve at night.

South African Marine Linefish Management Association

The AGM for 2006 was held in Cape Town and unfortunately no representative from spearfishing bodies was there. We have the minutes of this meeting elsewhere on the site and as can been seen from the agenda, it is vitally important to have a spearfishing representative at these meetings.

North Coast Freediving Union

With the recent formation of the fourth spearfishing union in Natal, things are really happening in this province with regard to the sport. The north coast guys mostly target gamefish and hope to take this form of the sport into Nationals. It fits in well with the latest scoring system where gamefish and less pressured species attract higher bonus points than slower growing fish.

Sodwana Bay

Chris Coates and the north coast boys were up here recently and report things rather quiet. Apart from the odd elusive wahoo and some big fulvie kingfish there was not much else in the way of decent sized gamefish.

Provincial Trials

There are four spearfishing unions in the Natal province. They are Southern, Central, Northcoast and Midlands. The Dates for the hosting of the joint trials are 13/10, 10/11, 1/12 with Northcoast still to confirm there joint trial date.

Safe diving, John.