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King Oscar, Raggie Sharks and GTs

King Oscar, Raggie Sharks and GTs

King Oscar, Ragged Tooth Sharks and GTs: since the diving has been so frustrating this whole year, here we are going back in time, to when shore dives were the only option. Sharks and all!

Over to The Bear…

“Check guys…shot this one on backline shore dive at King Oscar shallow reef Cape Vidal. 30 years ago! Big winter surf 2m with foamies over the bank..took me and Hayden a good 15 minutes to get out past backline…as I ducked the last wave in the set and got out 2 GT pulled in over the sand to my right heading out to sea…thought lakkas 15kg GT and shot the closer one oblique angle from behind through the spine mid body and spear came out by the pec fin opposite side of the fish..back half of the fish went black! Spined!

I thought cool this will be quick..but the fish kinda coughed twice and spat out some half-digested fish and then all hell broke lose! Never ever in my life since and before have i been towed by a fish like that! No reel guns back then and I used two guns i customised and made up myself from Champion Arbelete guns..a 123 and a 128 barrel..single 18mm bands and powered to the max…other owes could not load them! Second gun on a stainless steel ring which can run up and down the floatline with a 10m floatline to the gun handle so you could double up….so back to the story!

Freight Train

The freight train then proceeded to tow me up current (reverse current with SW blowing 15knt)_at such a pace my mask nearly came off and the second gun got ripped out of my hands,,,grabbed the float on the way past and held on for dear life! The fish was now travelling along the backline with me in tow and as I sped along I saw a snoek then a shark then another snoek and two small sharks all bolting off as I sped by them…after about 900m (my dive buddy remarked later that all he saw after clearing the surf after me is this bow wave about half a meter high heading South and I had magically vanished into thin air…then he realised that was me being towed!) the fish then turned right and headed straight towards the big backline surf!

No ways was I going to be dragged back through that 15-minute nightmare swim and I started putting on the brakes big time hauling the line hand over hand so I could get to the second gun and end the fight. Got the gun and carried on hauling till in range and put second shot through the gill plates just in time and had to duck a wave and grabbed its tail in both hands and swam like hell to get out of the crunch zone!

My two hands could just fit around its tail and when I got my right hand in the gills I realised that this was no 15kg GT!

King Oscar and the ragged-tooth shark

Carried on swimming out with the fish till I hit the start of the shallow Oscar reef. All I had heard of my dive buddy was screams and shouting getting closer…He was a noob and those sharks were the 1st ones he had seen and was by my side in the next minute or two saying ‘shark shark shark‘ over and over again! lol…they were those 30kg grey models…puppies..had a good laugh and we started sorting out the fish. Him keeping watch while I unclipped the second shot straight spear to pull it through the gill plates and reload (the 1st spear was toast, to say the least S bend styles). As I was doing this focused on the fish and spear removal (I had already grabbed both my Powerheads out the sleeve pouch and he had them on his guns just in case) he started squealing and pointing both guns down below my fins. I looked and this bus Raggie was coming up towards me head 1st from the bottom and when it got about a meter from my fins it went totally gonzo snapping and biting like mad trying to chow my fins!

I was screaming shoot it shoot it but dive buddy did nothing…he then screams its protected species cant shoot it!

At this stage the Raggie is closer and I felt one fin tug as it bit! SHOOT THE FROGGIN THING HAYDEN! BOOM as the powerhead goes off right behind the Eye. At this stage the Raggie is in touching distance from me and goes into a series of death rolls moving away from me now catching my unclipped spear line in its pec fins…ripping my brand new stainless steel spear out my hand! Still snapping like mad it scarpers off with my spear in a series of death rolls. I look at Hayden and he looks at me both of us in total disbelief at what has just happened. Hayden says let’s get the frogg out of here…he nods and loads his spear back in the gun quickly while i remove the poked spear and string the GT quickly through the gills.

Bent spears

The spear was so bent I had to hold it next to the gun unloaded. Hayden you must swim behind my float and fish so the Jonnies don’t get to it let’s move! We fin off at high speed and hit the backline at pace not even checking for a gap. We both get through the foamies unscathed and start swimming through the wide midbreak channel dry land about 100m away. As the bubbles clear I see a large funny shaped piece of sand 3m away from me move and then I see the huge eye on the sand patch. Another GT in the midbreak 3m away from me just parking there looking at my GT on the float!

Huge GT

BUT this one is twice the size of the one currently on my stringer! I can’t shoot it…so point slowly at it Hayden sees it and subs halfway lining up with the gun that did the damage to the Raggie and I see straight away that he has not loaded the gun and he realises that at the same time and quickly grabs the band and loads…GT has not moved an inch at this stage and he lines up again to take the shot then realises he has left the spent powerhead on! GT is still just parking there and Hayden reaches forward and pulls the powerhead off and as he does this it makes a small sharp sound as it comes off. GT wakes up and takes off gone never to be seen again…we hit the beach and can now see that my GT is frikken huge. Was the club record at Wahoo for couple of years until John Little broke my record with a 40kg GT shot on Vidal Point also on a shore dive. 34.5kg.

Protected Species!

That was the 1st dive of the 4 day trip at 10am just after we arrived from Durban. Haydens dad was OIC at Mapelane hence the ‘I can’t shoot it its a protected species’ comment from Hayden. I said to him no biggie it’s gone so no evidence. Deon from Vidal parks board picked us up about an hour afterwards as he had given us a lift there on his way to do a patrol to Leven and back.

No ways I was gonna carry that back the 5km to camp!

We were staying in the staff accommodation at the base camp as you drive into Vidal and had access to two big deep freezers as well. True as Bob that flippen Raggie washed up on the beach the next morning but upon hearing the story (you could not miss seeing the huge hole in its head) from the two of us after our point dive that following morning – Deon laughed and said he would have pulled both triggers same time! Was an epic trip Hayden managed one Snoek and I shot the rest of the fish (I managed to to straighten the stainless spear and luckily had brought a spare just in case) …check pictures below.”

Thank you Jason! For that highly entertaining tale from the past. If anybody else has a story to contribute to the diving doldrums relief effort, please send to me at umzimkulu@gmail.com (Sean) or +27793269671.

As we get through the rainy season, we can start looking forward to a normal year of shooting fish. Down here at the Umzimkulu Marina we can host you. And Umzimkulu Adrenalin will get you out there. Contact The Bear directly for his tours and training options.

Let’s goooooooooooooooo!

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