Monthly Spearfishing Report October 2003

Monthly Report – October 2003


Once again plenty of westerly fronts blowing in from the Cape but not much rain that is normally associated with these fronts. The north easterlies have not really got up to speed this month and the surf has been small most days. There have been a number of diveable days but the visibility is rarely better than 6m. Tinley Manor has had some good viz on occasion of 8m plus during the month but the water has still been cold. Things got a bit nasty towards the end of the month with big winds and big surf. Shelly Beach had some 10 foot surf on Monday 27th.

Fish Action

The cold water is chasing most of the reef fish out deep and divers are seeing few. Still some garrick about on the North coast but the ones that l have seen have mostly been out in deeper water. The shallow reef off Umhlanga lighthouse has been providing brusher hunters with plenty of action with the best times being early morning and late afternoons. Bruce Hickey landed a kob of 28kg in this area recently and divers report hearing them a lot but that is as close as they get. South Pier and Cracker reef have once again been hot spots for brusher (cracker) with Dorian landing the biggest so far of 16kg. The Athlone ledge, once a very fishy spot, has been dead and does not seem to attract many fish any more. The AECI pipeline that comes out in this area could have something to do with the drop in fish activity along this well structured reef. The South coast seems to have gone quiet and not many fish are being landed here. Shelly Beach has been diveable on a number of days in marginal conditions but not really worth the trip. The inshore water temperature needs to rise before things start to hot up.

Aliwal Shoal

15m is the best visibility you can expect out at Aliwal during this period and with a south to north current thrown in you might be in for a hard day. It is still worth a look and Launders can have big shoals of cape yellowtail congregated on the pinnacle so this is always another option. Deep Scottburgh can hold plenty of reef fish at this time of year if conditions are suitable so it is worth launching in this area.

Closed season

The east coast rock lobster (crayfish) season closes at the end of the month (October) and re-opens on the 1st March 2004. The 30 to 50 foot reefs on the north coast are well stocked at most popular spots but plenty are in berry (carrying eggs) so make sure you check your catch. The west coast rock lobster season opens on the 15 November 2003 and closes on the 15 February 2004. From the opening to the 31 December fishing is allowed everyday and thereafter only on weekends until the close of the season. The bag limit is 4 per person per day.

Perle Ban

The recreational perlemoen permits have been done away with for at least the next ten years. This is to try and stem the illegal poaching that is taking place in the Cape on this species. Bans like this are always a bit worrying as they set a precedent.


Got notice of 2 international competitions taking place next year. The New Zealand nationals are taking place in late January at Great Barrier Island. Aussies plan to hold an International Big Fish Competition mid year with a bottom limit of 5kg and perhaps a limit on billfish of 30kg. Competition will be over 2 days with each diver allowed to weigh-in 3 fish per day not of the same species. Entrance fee will be around $100AU and will include accommodation and food. A competition to make a note of on the local scene for next year is the Wahoo Winter Gamefish Competition up at Cape Vidal. As soon as the dates are set for this competition it will be advertised on the site. This is a well-run competition with good food, lots of prizes and plenty of fun plus some great diving. The privatization of Cape Vidal might necessitate a venue change for this comp in the near future. Results from the monthly Hibiscus club competition are as follows; 1st Louis van Wyk 2nd Joe Mulder 3rd Mark Lange.

Pemba Trip

A group of 7 divers are heading for Vumba island 200km+ north of Pemba in Mozambique. The plan is to fly to Pemba and then board a 30-foot cat for the ride up to Vumba Island. This is the home of big dogtooth and a look at the chart will show what an awesome area it is. Pictures and a write-up on the trip will be posted on the site in mid December.

Vidal News

The drawing below is a possible plan for the future development of Cape Vidal. Pretty scary with not much thought for the average guy or the environment. This type of development is not suitable for an area like this and would make it very elitist. I spoke to the camp manager at Cape Vidal and the place is definitely going to be privatized. This is already a done deal with the tender process closed. They are pretty much in the dark themselves and are not sure who has won the contract. So expect some big changes with money being the guiding theme.


On a tour in South Africa, the Pope took a few days off to visit the coast for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the beach in the Pope-mobile when there was a frantic commotion just off shore. A helpless man, wearing an English rugby jersey, was struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a 25-foot shark. As the Pope watched in horror, a speedboat pulled up with three men wearing Springbok rugby jerseys. One quickly fired a harpoon into the shark's side while the other two reached out and pulled the blue semiconscious English fan from the water. Then, using long clubs, the three beat the shark to death and hauled it into the boat. Immediately the Pope shouted and summoned them to him. "I give you my blessing for your brave actions. I heard that there were some bitter hatred between South African and English rugby fans, but now I have seen with my own eyes that this is not true." As the Pope drove off, the harpooner asked his buddies, "Who was that?" "It was the Pope" one replied. "He is very wise." "Well" the harpooner said, "he may be very wise, but he doesn't know anything about shark fishing. Is the bait holding up OK or do we need to get another one?" Thanks to Warren Bennett for this bit of humour.

News from Port Elizabeth by Gletwyn Rubidge

It’s been a bit quiet here - The beginning of October was better than the end. Thunderbolt produced good yellowtail one weekend, but there have been few around since. The cracker have not yet arrived thick despite the easterlies. A few good size red stumpnose (three over 6 kilos) came out early in October near the point. A visit to the RIY banks only produced one yellowtail and a few bottoms. Some bank steenbras up to 8 kilos have come out of the deep water along the west side. Lots of east wind two weeks ago and the plankton is in thick and clear water is scarce now.

Specially Designed Tuna guns

Here is some news on guns that are being designed and built by Tommy Botha and friends, specifically for shooting the bigger yellowfin tunas off Cape Point. The gun is a mid handle design, crafted from laminated Burmese teak with a semi-enclosed track and side-stocks. It shoots a 8mm spear with drop head, powered by four 16mm rubbers and uses a breakaway system with bungie and boogie board. Divers hunting the yellowfin have found that there was a need for a gun with increased shooting range and much greater impact and penetrating power at distance, especially for the larger yellowfin. We hope to have some pictures of the gun soon. Thanks to Pierre Liebenberg for this info.

Safe diving, John.