Monthly Spearfishing Report November 2002

November 2002

Reef Fish start to move in

The water is gradually starting to warm up and reef fish have started to move onto the Deep Scottburgh reefs. Aliwal Shoal has started to look promising and is worth a dive, weather permitting. Still some big westerly fronts coming through and the upwellings caused by these fronts are sneaking in some cold water that is keeping the fish away from most of the inshore reefs. The Shelly Beach area has been clean on a number of occasions but few fish are found due to cold water on the bottom. The same can be said for the Hibberdene stretch that has had some good water viz wise but few fish. When things settle down wind wise, both these areas will be worth a dive. This month normally means the change over to the 3mm summer suits, but the sea seems to be taking longer than normal to warm up this year. The Bluff has been mostly undiveable for much of the month and should also be worth a look when clean water moves in. The North coast has been just as bad and only the odd patch of clean water has come in to relieve matters.

The Worst Months

Nick McClurgOctober and November are definitely the two worst months for diving along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline. Lot of windy days that together with cold water on the bottom, make for lean catches with plenty of wasted trips. Sodwana Bay and Cape Vidal are also a bit iffy this time of year but can produce some good fish if diveable conditions are found. Just to prove that there are still some fish in the sea, Nick McClurg landed this 32kg wahoo at Cape Vidal recently. Diving the deeper spots here Nick also reported seeing big shoals of kaakap with as many as 30 fish visible on a down.

Vidal Comp Cancelled

The Gauteng Norths Cape Vidal competition on the 9/10 November was unfortunately cancelled. Rough seas and poor visibility made it a non-starter.

World Championship News

On the Brazilian world champ site the South African team placing has been dropped from 9th to 10th overall. Apparently this has something to do with one of our divers having too many non-weighers in his catch. The point system is one point per gram with a lower weight of 500gms and a max weigher of 12kg. One big fish can make a huge difference to your placing. This new placing means that Greece now moves ahead of us.

Less Rainfall?

It is too early to say whether we are in for a lean time rain wise this year but the weather forecasters forecast that this could be a poor rainy season. Though bad for the farmers and the economy in general, it is good for the sea and especially the spearfishermen. Due to poor farming practices along our coast most of the rivers and estuaries are very silted up and when they come down in flood, this silt is deposited in the sea on the inshore reefs. This causes great damage to these reefs and probably to all sea life that lives in this zone. It also makes the sea undiveable, not only because of brown water when the rivers are in flood, but any wind stirs up this layer of silt at any time and deteriorates the visibility greatly.

Reef Fish Protected for over 40% of the Coast

The KwaZulu-Natal coastline extends from the Mozambican border in the north to the Port Edward river in the south, 560km of coastline. The first 160km from the border to the reserve beacon 1km south of Cape Vidal, is a gamefish only area. The coastal area from Richards Bay to the Tugela River mouth, a distance of 70km, is undiveable 99.9% of the time. I only know of one person who has dived the inshore area here in 17 years of diving along this coast. So if you do the maths, over 40% of the KwaZulu- Natal coastline is effectively protected for reef fish as far as spearfishing is concerned.

December Outlook

Can be a good diving month here in KwaZulu-Natal. Aliwal Shoal can really switch on during this period with lots of gamefish activity. The large queen mackerel start to arrive on the north coast and the winds should start to settle down. Look for giant kingfish arriving on the wrecks and kob here to. Can be a lot of shoaling spadefish around at this time.
Safe diving, John.