Hunting the Big Return Cuda at Cape Vidal August 2006 by Brett Dickson

Annual Trip

brett with his CudaCraig Harper, Mark Keyser and I accompanied John Little on his annual trip to Vidal during the first week of August. Bad weather & big Cuta are what Vidal is known for in August. I have had many trips up to Vidal over this period with not much to show for our efforts as the famous Zululand North East wind has put end to any hopes of diving. There have also been some times when we have just cracked it right.

Joburg Boyz

John had all the food & accommodation, which was booked well in advance, under control. All we had to do was arrive at his house in Botha’s hill on the Sunday to pack the boat & we were on our way. As Mark & I now live in Joburg we were getting lots of flack from John & Craig as we are technically ‘bone heads’ who flap around on the odd shore dive a couple of times a year. As most of you know John likes to put a bit of money on these trips for the biggest fish which usually ends up being a decent sized Cuta .As it turned out John & Craig were writing cheques they could not cash…….

Bad Weather

The first two days saw August weather living up to its reputation. Most of our time was just spent sitting around talking about past diving trips. Craig also managed to set the world record for the most amount of chocolates consumed! Wednesday was looking like we might be able to dive but due to steering & motor trouble we ended up drinking coffee in St Lucia whilst waiting for the boat to get fixed. We were all contemplating cutting our losses & going home that afternoon when John returned to camp rather excited saying that tomorrow was going to be the day!

Break in the Weather

We all awoke bright & early & made our way down to the beach to find the sea Flat with a rather strong off shore blowing & one hour later John was doing the first buckie at the famous Leven Point. After a few drifts Mark & I were the only ones with fish on the boat & Craig was paying for his chocolate eating ability & could not dive due to sinus trouble. The vis was not getting any better but the Dutchmen continued to extend their lead as I had a couple of nice cuta & Mark a Prodigal of 17kgs along with a few snoek between us.

30+kg Cuda

It was getting late into the afternoon and I was drifting along the deep ledge when I noticed a rather big shark come in on my flasher, I was a bit unsure of what shark it was so made a dive to go have a look. As I started following him down on my right I noticed a large shape appear moving rather sluggishly, I changed the angle of my dive & gave chase to the intercept the fish placing a good solid shot just behind its head. The fish, which I first thought was a Cuta of around 20kgs, turned and came back past me on its side as if it was checking me out wondering what had just happened, I then only realised how big it actually was! I surfaced shouting to Mark, who was a little inshore of me, to put a second shot but the fish kept its distance making its first run straight inshore before heading out to sea. We gave chase & Craig dropped me just ahead of my float allowing me to dive & put a second shot. This lead to me boating a Cuta of 31kgs!

The next day the cold front hit putting an end to our diving for the week. I collected my cash from the others & it was back to Durbs. Vidal had lived up to its reputation of BAD WEATHER & BIG FISH!!

Brett Dickson