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Complicated Couda for Louis

Juggz bangs another beautiful couda for us!

Complicated Couda for Louis

Complicated Couda for Louis: the sardines brought the fish right in close recently and some epic shore dives were had.

Not the least of which is this nail-biting fish as described below by Louison the south coast…

“Three fish came in behind me at 12m as I was lining up on a bream, I turned around and the bigger one immediately left. Of the remaining 2 only the smaller one turned broadside, but a long shot. I hit the mark with the 900 RA Timberline roller but the spear didn’t go all the way through, and then to add excitement the belt reel jammed, took me about 15-20 seconds to correct it. Screamed for a second shot but my buddy was far from me as I chased after the fish in the opposite direction, eventually the fish turned and he intercepted the couda. When he dived down to shoot we could see the barb sticking out on the same place the spear went in, thankfully his shot went through the head and switched it off after about 15min of adrenaline pumping heart racing action.

There was sardines in the area but nothing close by, only swam with a good size pocket on the way back to the beach. Hit the sand after the sun was down and the hills were bright orange, my legs immediately turned jelly and I died 3 times carrying my full catch back to the car up the high sand bank.

All in all I’m very grateful to God for the opportunity and blessings He generously gave me.”

Yowser Louis just reading that report was hardcore enough! Fantastic fish and thank you for taking the time to write it all down. So we can publish it here in our online library of spearfishing news and achievements. Right on The Master Watermen website.

Affiliated YouTube Channels – highly entertaining  surf reporting – neva miss a single  sardine – highly technical  sport fishing – getting out there safely – complain here

Affiliated websites – self-catering right on the Umzimkulu River –  sardine run coming up – never miss a single  sardine – news from deep down –  surf and conditions reporting – your dreams are out there – technical  sport fishing

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AM Dive and Sardine Report 27 June 2024

Master Watermen Sardine Report 27 June 2024

AM Dive and Sardine Report 27 June 2024

AM Dive and Sardine Report 27 June 2024 : well The Bear ate something bad last night and as a direct result, we get this! An actual report! From The Bluff, Cave, where the water is warm and blue.

Over to The Bear on location…

The Bear checks in from Cave Rock this morning the 27 June 2024


There are sardines everywhere today. From Port Edward to Ballito and beyond?! Never even knew they went that far north, but we’ll take it. The sardines are not voluntarily swimming up the beach like they do sometimes. They are swimming a few hundred metres to a few kilometres out.

Ballito 27 June 2024 Sardine Report by The Bear
Ballito 27 June 2024 Sardine Report by The Bear

There are also reportedly even more baitfish, most likely sardines, down deep where we can’t see them. But fish finders can. These deeper pockets of baitfish could also be mackerel and red-eyes. Either way, the ocean is very alive at the moment.


This is the time of year to be a spearo. The fish get full and lazy. Everyone getting their faro share. And more. The DAFF contingent are around but they can never keep up tp the sheer hoards of shad fishermen on every beach. Making a huge mess.

Affiliated YouTube Channels – highly entertaining surf reporting – neva miss a single sardine – highly technical sport fishing – getting out there safely – complain here – dive here

Affiliated websites – self-catering right on the Umzimkulu River –  sardine run coming up – never miss a single sardine – news from deep down – surf and conditions reporting – your dreams are out there – technical sport fishing

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Early Sardine Report 19 June 2024 by The Bear

Sardine Report by The Master Watermen 19 June 2024 at 7AM

Early Sardine Report 19 June 2024

Early Sardine Report 19 June 2024: we are having a phenomenal early sardine run this year. So much so that The Sardine News website broke! So we will share the posts between the many websites we run, in the future. Especially here at The Master Watermen.

I just got some inside information from netters who were successful yesterday late afternoon with a net real close to Hibberdene. Just a bit north.

Enjoy the video…


This a great time to be a spearfisherman. Clean water. Gamefish. Sardines. It’s like a magical imaginary wonder world down there. Check out this recent gallery of catches.


During the sardine run, fish are much easier to shoot than to catch. Which is why we all went underwater in the first place. But some anglers are getting lucky and garrick are being hooked all up and down the KZN coastline. Aswell as those lekka big old kob. The 20kg models that sit right in the shore break to ambush shad and sardines as they swim by.

You have to be completely ‘doff’ not to be catching your daily quota of shad. Which is FOUR I might remind y’all!

Deep Sea

It’s a tough time being a ski-boater this time of the year. The fish are everywhere. Every beach. Every reef. Fish have migrated to here from all over the show. To get their share of the spoils. But they ain’t biting! They are after the fresh power-packed bite-sized sardines. That are freely available everywhere right now.

Today 19 June 2024

Those outsized shoals sighted yesterday on the lower south coast have got everyone on edge. Up early. Drinking coffee and waiting on The Sardine Report.

These big shoals could surprise us all and disappear completely again. The water in Durban is 22 degrees and that is way too warm.

Yesterday Kevin in Qora was reporting his water right down to 16 degrees. And that water is not the result of any incessant easts. None have been blowing hard enough to chill the water that much. So Kevin deduces that his cold patch down there in the deep Transkei, is yet another cut off section of cold being sandwiched against the shore line and being driven north by pressure.

Kevin’s understanding of the sardines and the ocean is unparalleled. And he has a grandstand seat. His verandah! Kevin runs Wild Coast Cottages. You can get ahold of him via The Sardine News website. Which is kinda broken at the moment but it is still serving the news luckily.

Affiliated YouTube Channels – highly entertaining surf reporting – neva miss a single sardine – highly technical sport fishing – getting out there safely – complain here

Affiliated websites – self-catering right on the Umzimkulu River –  sardine run coming up – never miss a single sardine – news from deep down – surf and conditions reporting – your dreams are out there – technical sport fishing

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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 (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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The Admiral and the Shark at Leven Point

The Admiral and the Shark at Leven Point

The Admiral and the Shark at Leven Point: I met three crazies on this early 90’s trip to Vidal. Diving mate Rick (also crazy) and I had headed north to dive the fish blue waters of the Natal North Coast.

Cape Vidal

We were allowed to camp. We were allowed to drive along the pristine beach highway to Leven Point (turtles and all). But. We were not allowed to catch crayfish. Or shoot any reefies. Trade-off accepted. But it was tough with all those tempting rock salmon swimming around and all over the place!

It’s far to Leven Point. It’s a lot more than eleven kilometres. Which is how everyone pronounced the place back then. Eleven Point hahaha. So about halfway back after an early dive, coming out of the sun, unbelieving, I see some dude swimming in through the waves. So I put my indicators on and found a parking quick.

Pete Kennedy and Tony Tomkinson

This is how I met Pete Kennedy. A formidable diver and character. He was out the back on his girlfriend’s Dad’s boat in about 45m. Fishing for sailfish. The Dad was Tony Tomkinson – the legendary professional hunter. Well, they couldn’t agree on something. Pete can be disagreeable. So could Tony as I found out with time. Two extraordinarily headstrong characters. Pete just said cheers to Tony. Jumped off the boat and into the azure. And swam the 5 kilometres back to the beach. Where he coincidentally met up with us. He was gonna have to walk the 10kms or so further, in his wetsuit, to get back to camp and his girlfriend! After quick introductions…Pete jumped in the back and through the sunroof, he explained how he got there. We chatted furiously after that. I became great friends with both of these guys after this weekend.

Then, a dude in a new red Toyota Venture rocked into camp later that day. He was also shooting fish. He was on his pat malone. Very cool, calm and collected. From Cape Town. And he comfortably joined our fire. He set up camp next to us. We chatted up storms of mosquitoes. These were different times. It was really hard to find someone to dive with back then. When we did meet up, it was always gonna be in a campsite like Cape Vidal.

Under the stars and around the fire we drank beer and rum. We ate steak from the Cape. Woody, our new friend had brought chunks of fillet with him all the way. They had to be eaten since there was no power here. He asked if we could dive together the next day. He confided in me that he had not yet encountered a shark underwater, yet. But that he really wanted to. I laughed to him that we would definitely be diving with sharks in the morning.

Admiral Woody Woodburne

Eventually we spoke work. I was running The Sardine News as an A3 tabloid. And selling Mydos for Brian Davey. I am still running The Sardine News. And selling Mydos. Over thirty years later. I had told him my story. Rick explained his planned protest and trajectory away from South Africa to the UK. And so we asked Woody for his story. Says he works for the SA Navy. Drives a submarine. Let me introduce to you, Vice Admiral Lambert Jackson ‘Woody’ Woodburne. The chief of the navy at that very moment. But sans uniform. Medals for leadership and initiative in combat and all. Wetsuit instead!

Early the next typically glorious morning, this unlikely four-ball loaded their gear up into the back of my old Hilux. We hit the beach in the crisp early offshore of the north coast. It is breathtakingly beautiful. Blue being the colour of everything to us stoked spearos. So clean! We don’t talk much on the way there. Nerves. Leven is hardly a point. But it has two lines of reef. One shallow. One deep. We arrived to nobody but the sun and the terns. After a quick but compulsory visit back over the dune to the bush, we calmed our nerves by chatting as we geared up. The usual briefing about the sharks for Woody. “It’s zambies that we are worried about”. I never believed in whites at this point in my life. It was just easier like that. “There are plenty raggies and blacktips. But they are only gonna bite your fish. That stupid zambie will take you out if you are not looking. Eyes peeled and look around you every few seconds.”

It’s the most rewarding baptism ever entering Mother Ocean up here at Leven Point – swimming out through the brilliant white foaming surf and into the vaste expanse of indigo blue. Never-ending intrigue, wonder – and no end to the challenges coming up. Adrenalin firing, we got to the first ledge. Pete was gone immediately. This is how he dives. On his own, but close enough to listen for shouting. Rick balanced off to one side. And the Admiral and I took a course heading up the middle of the reef, into the current, heading north to where the reserve starts. Not allowed in there. And yes, back then, the green bakkies of the Natal Parks Board, held up the law. We all had licenses.


The first fish was a Natal Snoek aka Queen Mackerel. It came past us at high speed. Instinct told me to turn around and see what was chasing it. Bang! Here is the first damn zambie of the dive. It hasn’t been a minute. And yes, he was focused on that snoek. But when he found us, he immediately started his BS. He swaggered round and round us. Pectorals down. In vague figures of eight. He was in front of us one second, disappeared, and in another second he was behind us.

I did not want Admiral Woody Woodburne to see me blow a sharks head right off with my .38 Special powerhead. Tucked in my wetsuit sleeve. I had two of them. I loaded one onto one of my guns. The weirdest thing happens when you put a powerhead on. Your demeanour changes. Now you need to set up a decent shot. The shark senses this change. And invariably leaves town. This one did just that.

After an hour, we still hadn’t shot a fish. It’s better at Leven to shoot carefully or the sharks will get your fish. Plus its like an aquarium down there. So much to see and do. A huge mamma raggie swam up the reef. 4 Metres plus and round as a wine barrel. Coasting at less than one kilometre an hour. Totally docile. Up here in the warm, they rarely harass anyone. Down south in the cold of the Kei, they can be as cunning as a Zambezi. And so the Admiral and I swam down together. It’s shallow here, like 14m. I had two huge guns trained on the shark just in case. But the Admiral was able to achieve a life-long dream and swim peacefully with a shark. Right alongside the massive beautiful animal. Very small eye btw.

And so we shot some fish and headed home. The next few days were a repeat of that morning and day. With a dive at Cape Vidal over lunch. And back to Leven Point, or Oscar’s along the way. Although none of our party really even knew where Oscar’s was. I could only find it at low tide!

The following fish were all recently shot at Cape Vidal…


Admiral Woody Woodburne, the submarine pilot, passed away in 2013. I shall never forget the dives and times we had that week. Tony is late too. Died exactly where he wanted to – on a hunting trip. Pete is settled and working in Durban. Rick is still travelling. And I am still right here slamming at the keyboard in Port Shepstone. 30-something years later!


The Sardine News

By Navy Photo Unit, Naval Printing Press, Simon’s Tow – Original publication: unknownImmediate source:, Fair use,

This post was sponsored by MYDO Fishing Lures, Umzimkulu Adrenalin and the Umzimkulu Marina. You can take advantage of a special spearos offer at the Marina right here.

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Natal Spearfishing Champs 2023 dates 1st/2nd July

Natal Spearfishing Champs 2023 dates 1st/2nd July.

Hi peeps yes it’s that time of the year again when we see who is the best of the best at KZN shore dive spearfishing ! Dates have been set for this weekend 1st and 2nd of July 2023 weigh in at PWSC boat wash bay by DUC. R300 entry fee gets you in with an awesome tshirt, boerie roll and a beer! Not to mention some awesome prizes from the guys at Rob Allen spearfishing! This compop has been held since 1955 and trust me it’s a great honour to have your name on the trophy.

Natal champs is shore entry only with only one fish per species allowed to be weighed in with a maximum of 10 fish per stringer (South Africa regulations allow for 10 fish per diver per day). Minimum weight 1kg and a ceiling of 4kg (can shoot over this weight but the extra Kg’s don’t count over the 4kg hence the saying Maxi weigher). You get one point per species and one point per kg. So 50 points would be the perfect stringer on the day. Master Angelo Spada holds the record weigh in at Champs with a stringer of fish around the 40kg mark! Normally the Champs should be a two day event to avoid the luck factor and show who is boss but time constraints will limit it to a one day event. Points from Champs count towards Nationals selection and Natal spearing colours (tie blazer etc). No cartilaginous fish, sea barbell, Angel fish and Surgeon fish allowed!

This week we had some serious rain from Port Edward all the way up past Umhlangha and serious swell as well. The sea has calmed down a bit today and weather is looking good for the weekend but sadly it’s brown town up and down the coast ATM, I spoke with compo organiser Cpt Chris West yesterday and he said he would make a call tomorrow (Friday the 30th June) if it is a go weekend or not for the Champs.

Entries are still open and yes there are still tshirts available! Come on let’s get it on peeps whether it be this weekend or a following weekend it will happen sooner rather than later! I have attached the entry form along with some pics from previous KZN champs compos. Let the best diver win!

As always Dive Safe and Straight spears from the Bear…

The Sardine News and the Master Watermen are powered by TLC for your Business. Where you can take your business processes online and make more money!

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Bear weekend dive report KZN Sardine run 2023-06-23

Bear weekend dive report KZN Sardine run 2023-06-23

Hi peeps and welcome to the Bear’s weekend dive report brought to you by and

This last week has been tough for spearos due to large swell up and down the coast not to mention finding viz has been rather difficult. With the Sardines around there should be plenty big pelagics like Wahoo, Couta and Cobia out deeper with big rockcod and Daga salmon moving into the shallows to feed on Sardines.

When I was up North of Tinley manor last weekend two Daga salmon came out around the 15Kg mark in the shallows. If they that far north already there should be plenty around further south! Snoek were filing middle of the week in the Ballito area and Westbrook to Zinkwazi had croc Couta action with one or two Wahoo coming out off the fishing skis.

There’s a NE of about 15knt blowing this afternoon (Friday) with Boss weather Saturday and Sunday with the swell dropping off from its current size of 2.45m at 12 seconds from the south. Saturday arvo and Sunday whole day looks best this weekend for a dive. Viz was reported middle south coast today of around 6m.

Sardines are being pulled on a daily basis on the South coast with sardines being netted today as well. Please bear in mind that there are heaps of Jonnies(sharks) with most of the sardine shoals atm so it’s best to get in before or just after a shoal has moved in!

Happy school holidays to all the youngsters! Go and check out the sardine netting its great entertainment for the whole family!

Online report on youtube here…

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…

The Sardine News and the Master Watermen are powered by TLC for your Business. Where you can take your business processes online and make more money!

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KZN Bear Report Sardine run 2023-06-09

KZN Bear Report Sardine run 2023-06-09

Hi peeps and welcome to the Bear’s weekend dive report brought to you by and

Diving conditions were slow beginning of the week but the water started cleaning up and settling from Wednesday this week with some Couta and snoek around. Most of the couta action is from Warner beach up to Zinkwazi in the North. One lucky fellow got himself a croc today up North but thats the only one I have heard of this week

Garrick are starting to come through and Snoek are around with some even being caught off South pier. Brusher have made an appearance and there are Daga salmon off the deeper marks already.

The Great whites have also started to make an appearance with two large specimens between 3.5m an 5m being sited on Aliwal shoal this week where the viz was pretty decent to say the least! The Humpback whales are starting to move up the lower south coast as well which points towards some decent sard action coming soon to a South coast beach or two!

Sea temps are around 22deg C on the south and 23/24 deg C on the north and we need that south temp to drop a bit for some proper action to around 19 deg C!

Conditions today (Friday) are awesome with flat seas and viz around. Tomorrow we have a SW coming through with swell predicted to around the 3m mark but Sunday looks good with the swell dropping below the 2m mark and a high tide just after 9am.

Coming up on the 1st of July we have the Natal champs shore diving compo at R300 a head which gets you entry, boerie roll, drink and a Tshirt. There will be some great prizes from Rob Allen as well! I have attached the entry form so get to it and test yourself against KZN best!

Youtube report available here…

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear

The Sardine News and the Master Watermen are powered by TLC for your Business. Where you can take your business processes online and make more money!

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Sardine Run 2023 Sightings Map

Sardine Run 2023 Sightings Map

Sardine Run 2023 Sightings Map

Sardine Run 2023 Sightings Map: firstly thank you to anyone and everyone who took the time to pop a sighting in on either The Sardine News or here on the Master Watermen website. We use this information and cross-reference with our Sardine Spies in each area – giving us a far more accurate perspective than what gets broadcast by the mainstream media fools.

The map is updated non-stop as news and sightings come in. Recent observations from Sardine Spy Kevin in Qhora reveal that we could be in for sardines far quicker than we originally projected. Yes, the mud and pollution is keeping the fishies far out to sea. But as soon as order is restored and the blue water comes back in again, we should be all hunky-dory.

As of this post, we are preparing today’s report for later, which confirms shoals off Coffee Bay and even as far north as Port St Johns already. This means we can expect the odd bit of early action in KZN very soon. Considering these shoals can move at 10 kms per hour, in 24 hours – that is 240kms!

But ok, here is the map for you guys to stay in the loop with…

And to contribute to via the little survey that pops up on The Sardine News and right here on the Master Watermen, every now and then.

If any of you spearos are keen to get in on the action, you can buzz the crew at Umzimkulu Adrenalin. Boats and all sorts available for charter. And you can stay at the Umzimkulu Marina. Where even more is on offer. Ocean Safaris. Deep-sea, shore and estuary fishing. There are big green WhatsApp buttons floating around on The Sardine News, and Umzimkulu Adrenalin. This is the easiest way to get in touch.

Thanks for checking in here at The master Watermen website.

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Bear Saturday dive report 18-03-2023 BIG SURF

Hi peeps and welcome to the Bear’s weekend dive report brought to you by and

Well ja nee! That super cell has now moved South and East in the southern ocean but now we are dealing with some inshore swell of 2.3 to 2.5m at 12seconds from the south east which will swing around to due east on Sunday. Meh!

Temperature on the buoy is just under the 26deg c Mark ATM with a just sub NS current running. Bluff is trashed, town is Brown. Umhlanga ginger beer same as dloti but there’s a cleaner line out deeper. Salties etc milled. But bog bay by Westbrook showing colour in the rather stacked 2m plus sets.

Weather though is ballistic…..go figure!!!

Youtube report here…

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…

The Sardine News and the Master Watermen are powered by TLC for your Business. Where you can take your business processes online and make m

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Spearfishing Rockcod (Mero/grouper)The Good the Bad and the Ugly Part 1 #mero #grouper #yellowbelly

Spearfishing Rockcod (Mero/grouper)The Good the Bad and the Ugly Part 1 #mero #grouper #yellowbelly

Hi peep’s and welcome to another @masterwatermen video tutorial this time the Bear in action Spearfishing a Yellowbelly rockcod (dusky grouper) off chain pools, Umdloti, KZN north coast South Africa. Here locally in KZN we have had marginal conditions at best recently but here in this video the viz (water clarity) is absolutely insane! This area gets a lot of traffic both fishing and spearfishing wise so finding a decent size Yellowbelly rockcod is no small feat! Yellowbelly rockcod are highly residential fish and never really move from their home (cave) unless it gets sanded up or they become too big to fit through the front door so to speak. I hear some people getting grumpy already reading this but Yellowbelly rockcod are found almost right through Africa and the Mediterranean plus they occur offshore at the Canary islands. They are not really in danger of being shot out and becoming extinct! That being said our daily permit limit here is 1 per diver per day at 60cm plus total length (around 3.5kg) and there are plenty around under that size which goes to show they are indeed breeding and stocks are okay. When spearfishing it’s also harder to shoot one because we are limited by depth! In my opinion the fastest fish in the ocean is a Yellowbelly rock cod! Hmmm I hear you say… there’s nothing faster than these fish in-between where you just saw them and their cave! Because when they spot you they dart as quick as lightning back into their lair! Hahahaha. Watch carefully in the video and see if you can count the seconds from when this fish has seen me descending to when it disappears into its cave. They are also very good at lying dead still and their markings make them difficult to see from above. All this being said, this rock cod hunt is almost perfect except the part when I have to bash my trusty old torch to get its shine on! Hahahaha. Always check your torch is working before entering the water… trust me this advice will get you some decent fish and save you nightmares! Take note of how I look away once I spot the speedy Yellowbelly rockcod and then use cover for the approach to the cave entrance. In supa dupa clean water they are very hard fish to hunt unless caved up and even then it’s not guaranteed you will get them. They can fit into amazingly small cracks and holes. Also they are masters at getting you caved up and battling to extract them once shot, so a kill shot is almost always preferred. When working in caves a shorter gun is preferred, preferably a barrel length of 1m or less. The 80cm cuttlefish barrel roller gun I am using in the video is the bee’s knees for me ATM and has plenty of maneuverability for tight cave work!

Link is here for the youtube video Enjoy and hit that like button, comment and sub! Aweh! As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear!

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BLOODY SUNDAY A shark story by Master Gavin Nell, Amamzimtoti KZN South coast South Africa

Master Gavin Nell with a lovely Couta boat dive South


A shark story by Master Gavin Nell, Amamzimtoti KZN South coast South Africa

Well not quite a Bloody Sunday though this particular Sunday could easily have turned into one even if it had a different protagonist to the popular U2 song. It was one of those cold and rainy dive mornings which made the early wake-up and subsequent dive day that much less inviting. Even a fairly routine chore like packing the boat becomes less intriguing when you have to do it under the constant fall of rain and impending wet clothes so early on in your day.

We arrived at the launch site knowing that the past few days had brought river breaks and brown water to the horizon so there were times when I thought about whether or not I had wasted a perfectly good family day. But one of my crew was down from Johannesburg for only a few days and this being his second attempt to dive in as many trips, I had already decided to launch the boat, regardless, to ensure that we found him a fish before he had to travel back.

The day started pretty much as expected, with an average of around 4m visibility wherever we went and as little as 2m in some places. Just to put things in perspective, ideally, in summer we’d like at least 15m and anything below 8m is not fantastic, so this water was not-too-kosher to say the least.

I read the currents and tides and made a few adjustments to my plan and route. Heading where I thought we would find some “viz” and hopefully some fish! But without much luck initially it certainly took all my persistence to finally start finding some diveable water, which was only made more frustrating by reports from the scuba divers of 12m visibility where they were diving in the shallows. Of course nowhere to be seen where we were diving except for a small patch here and there.

Things did improve and one quality fish after another slowly found its way into the hatch, which bolstered motivation levels. What was most uncomfortable were the dirty layers of water all the way from the surface in some areas, with a thick brown cold layer below that combined with plenty sharks in the area harassing our attempts. Lo and behold, not that I thought it was going to be possible, I found an even colder stretch of water, on the bottom, at one of my deeper spots. BUT this cold water was clean! I got prematurely excited though because I didn’t know that only two dives later we would be packing up and going home.

On one of my next dives I hit the bottom and saw a few quality fish so I took my time enjoying the clean water for a change on the floor and I started lining up on a fish while I looked around before taking the shot to ensure that I didn’t see anything better before pulling the trigger.

I turned my head right and then left whilst still tracking the fish, and as I did that, I saw a massive head not 5m away approaching directly at me at a steep angle out of the dirty layer above me. It was the biggest White Shark I had seen to date and it was showing me far more interest than any other had done before.

I had made the educated guess by the end of this experience that she was a female. What really concerned me was that she had probably been swimming around me sizing me up in the dirty water already and then she followed me down and it was only now that I had seen her! We don’t see them too often in KZN South Africa but they are the number one predator that you do not generally want to see whilst spearfishing! Especially in less-than-ideal conditions where you can’t keep an eye on their movements one hundred percent of the time.

I immediately forgot about the fish, rolled over onto my back and flared my limbs to make myself look, at least a little, more intimidating and less like a meal. But she kept on coming so I had already started turning my spear tip towards her and used it to push her away gently while I started to slowly ascend. At this point she was so close I could see her Ampullae of Lorenzini (sense organs on the nose that detect electrical fields) clearly and even her old battle scars in the form of darker lines that had healed up and her large black eye peered at me, as though she was looking straight into my soul, to truly test my resolve.

I swam up whilst keeping an eye on her below me, keeping my gun between my fins, pointed straight at her, in case I needed to fend her off again. But to my dismay she turned and followed me up just below my fins! At this point she opened her mouth just a little, almost tasting the water for signs of whether or not this strange creature was a meal or not. I could see her rather large teeth clearly and directly into her mouth, certainly not the best view considering I could fit in there fairly easily!

Swimming into the thick brown layer I lost sight of her for a second then she gave a few harder beats of her tail and re-entered my field of vision soon after too close for comfort. I had to pull my knees up a little and give her a more convincing prod this time, at which point she banked and disappeared. I hit the surface and immediately called for the boat, while my head was on a constant swivel looking down into the depths for her next appearance. I jumped on as soon as the boat arrived next to me and spent the next few moments comparing shaking hands with my dive buddy who had seen all of this transpiring while he was swimming up. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valour for the rest of the day we packed up to go home and perhaps return in better conditions.

Only a spearo would understand! But these experiences don’t put me off of spearfishing, they only ignite my passion further. There is no more sustainable form of fishing. It is the most physically demanding and challenging way to harvest fish and all whilst getting some incredible exercise! We enjoy the unbelievable experiences and being one with nature. We see sights that someone who does not dive simply won’t believe! We experience close encounters with the sea’s creatures which are humbling, profound and mesmerising at times.

An experience like this reminds you that in the sea you are truly part of the food chain and it’s one of the few places where we are not the apex predator in the chain. Seeing this beautiful creature so close-up and personal, in her natural environment, doing what she does best is even better than sitting on a game vehicle, photographing lions, rhinos, or elephants, and was a privilege, that I perhaps strangely look forward to again, But perhaps the next time under better conditions and different circumstances…

Wow Master Gavin nerves of steel hey! Peeps keep your eyes on stalks and your dive buddies on watch when you are diving marginal to poor viz conditions. Master Gavin had a close shave here but by being calm and reacting (going on his side showing size and keeping spear tip between himself and the shark) in the correct manner came out okay but shaken. It was definitely the right call to leave the hot spot and dive another day. No fish is worth a life,,,period.

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…

#spearfishing #masterwatermen #kznsouthcoast #greatwhite #close_encounter #sharklore

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2022 Natal Champs and DUC (Durban Undersea Club) Garrick challenge KZN South Africa.

2022 Natal Champs and DUC (Durban Undersea Club) Garrick challenge KZN South Africa.

Rob Allen Youtube video of compo here…

This past weekend Saturday the 26th of November KZN spearos were finally able to get stuck into these two classic spearfishing events both of which have been running since the 1950’s! With the hectic floods we had here in KZN South Africa earlier in the year and COVID getting in the way the two years before we have all been champing at the bit so to speak for a good compo! Due to the year nearly being over and finally some good diving to be had it was decided to put both compos on the same day (they normally run as separate events during the year).

Natal champs is shore entry only with only one fish per species allowed to be weighed in with a maximum of 10 fish per stringer (South Africa regulations allow for 10 fish per diver per day). Minimum weight 1kg and a ceiling of 4kg (can shoot over this weight but the extra Kg’s don’t count over the 4kg hence the saying Maxi weigher). You get one point per species and one point per kg. So 50 points would be the perfect stringer on the day. Master Angelo Spada holds the record weigh in at Champs with a stringer of fish around the 40kg mark! Normally the Champs should be a two day event to avoid the luck factor and show who is boss but time constraints will limit it to a one day event. Points from Champs count towards Nationals selection and Natal spearing colours (tie blazer etc). Master Sean Burns is heading up trials for early next year and all interested parties are welcome to contact him in this regard Junior or Senior. Champs and trials are free of charge and boat rides can be organised for trials no problems! Nationals is set for May 2023 KZN South Coast hosted by Hibiscus Underwater Club headed up by Master Don Solomon. It should be a cracker event, excuse the pun!

DUC Garrick competition is shore or boat dive (paddle ski , microlight or whatever blows your hair back…hahaha) and in the past the winner is the heaviest Garrick shot on the day followed by heaviest stringer of Garrick. Currently the limit per diver per day is two fish but recently the Garrick population has been under heavy fishing pressure so it’s now limited to one fish per diver weighed in to allow the breeding population to recover. Please peeps take it easy on these majestic fish and try take smaller fish and not the biggest in the shoal.

Saturday before last was set as the dive day but was postponed due to inclement weather and not much viz being reported up and down the coast (yes fish were shot on the cancelled day but the predicted howler SW wind pitched way later than predicted). The weather lined up perfectly for the following weekend and the entries started flowing in with nearly 40 competitors signing up! Great call Captain Chris West and not an easy one to make. It just shows that experience always counts the most when it comes to diving and at 72 years young the Captain has bucket loads!

On the Friday one two very nice fellows, Master Brent Borstlap and Master Gavin Nell, headed North and South respectively to do some scouting and reported back that it was indeed divable but North was a little cold and green and south was looking good with blue water and an average of 6m plus viz and not much surf at all. Game on!!!!

So the choice was scratch in colder low viz North where most of the action has been recently or head South for the crystal warmer water and take your chances with the sporadic action. Peak Garrick return run is normally from beginning of November (obvs starting earlier in the North and finishing earlier as well) and ending mid December far south coast.

I really wanted to be on the Garrick trophy ,having been so close in the past but no joy, and I already have my name on the Champs trophy so I decided to head south on comp day with Domenic Fourie and Darryl Mc Cormac in tow. We had a little bit of a late start (someone arrived late no names mentioned) ideally you want to be in before sunrise to catch the Garrick on the feed. We arrived at Widenham just as the sun was rising (overcast so no glare) and checking the viz from the view point we could see it was crystals with a 1.4m swell running! Awesome…but here came three divers kitted up about to get in on the North side…oh no! But we were gonna walk to the south side and catch the drift south to north so no worries we thought and drove to our safe parking and kitted up then trudged the 1.2km to the south point.

I am not a speed diver and have my routine when kitting up and entering the water making sure everything is 100 percent before entering the surf for the swim out. Domz was in the rip before I had even put spit in my mask and Darryl was right behind him! I followed about 5 minutes after and upon hitting backline saw four floats not two? Crowded does not work for backline but comp day lets shoulder on I thought. Turned out the two extra divers were Clyde Greef and Kevin Benecke also in the compo and Clyde gave me the heads up that they had just seen Snoek but no Garrick having been in since before sunrise.

We tried for Garrick for about another 45 minutes without any joy and went out deeper looking for Snoek and bottom fish for Natal champs score. I have dived Wideham quite a bit so was on the marks sharp with Domz and Darryl following close behind. Spade fish for days greeted us in 10m with jellyfish everywhere you looked in the 15m viz ! Water was nice and warm with a light south north current running…almost perfect but Widenham works in stronger current normally so I focused on the bottom fish. Lemon fish were fullup so I added one to the stringer with my Spade fish. Went out deeper to 14m, added a Lantern fish and a suspect (under 1kg maybe) Pink Bank steenbras , he committed suicide so who was I to say no, to my stringer.

No Catface rockcod around (normally get one or two at Widenham) and the Goatfish were all suspect sizes so what to do? Bronze bream zero…hmmmm. Decided since it was so clean to kickout onto the outside scattered reef without much structure in 16 to 17m. Second down I was lying on the floor watching two suspect Yellowbelly rockod chasing each other around. No cave so they should not have been there…then the larger one came back and settled on the sand about 5m away facing me head on. Hello those pectoral fins look big and he was fat…SIZE! My 80cm roller finds 5m a bit much so I sneaked closer using my left hand and he spooked a little and settled behind a small boulder. Ha gotcha …ambushed him over the boulder through and through kebab style! Nice!

After that nothing much doing so upgraded on the Lemon fish and Spadie and started swimming in to cruise backline to exit on the north side hoping to maybe see a Garrick. Found sprats and Redeye sardines in 7m going wild and spooking every now and then but no Snoek with them so headed in after 5 hours in the water. Well done Domz and Darryl for going that bit deeper and getting some weighers! No time for second dive so we headed back to Durbs with having to be early at weigh in as I had been appointed as weigh master by Captain Chris West. Ballistic conditions just add fish!.

And that was pretty much the same story for most the divers that headed south on the day…four to 5 weighers on the stringer besides Master John Girzda diving with junior Heath Houston getting a decent stringer of weighers with his sharp eye for fish weights…three of his fish spot on 1kg and also a just legal size Scotsman which are very hard to find especially on a shore entry dive.

Clyde Greef and Kevin Benecke were not done after Widenham! The Amigos needed Garrick! Kevin won the last Garrick compo and Clyde wanted that win…in his own words below

“The DUC Garrick comp is one of my most anticipated events on the KZN spearfishing calendar. It’s always filled with camaraderie and banter between the 3 Amigos team (Clyde, Kevin and Leo). We discussed our plans and ideas during the week building up to the comp and all signs pointed us to a dive on the south coast. Unfortunately one of the 3 Amigos (Leo) pulled out the night before with a work commitment that came up with short notice.

So with plans in place the 2 Amigos that remained headed south to Widenham point. Not long after working the back line on the point I saw some approaching Snoek, but they were moving fast and didn’t feel like becoming a meal. As I surfaced I heard a shout from Kevin. He had managed to put a good holding shot into one of the Snoek already, hence the shoals reluctance to let me approach them. After Kevin landing the decent Snoek we worked the area for another 30 minutes but it started to get a bit crowded so we decided to move elsewhere.

We pulled into the parking at Ifafa point and were surprised to see such blue water and no one on the point. We worked the point in front of the parking and Kev saw one Snoek but nothing else. We decided to drift north with the current towards the river bridge. There were a few rips pulling out as we moved along that affected the viz in some patches and I had started to become a bit discouraged as I hadn’t seen much and the clock was ticking. I drifted into a patch of beautiful blue water with a few scattered boulders on the bottom and immediately noticed that there was some life in the area. Shoals of juvenile Blacktip kingies with a few half decent shad mixed in (thank goodness for shad season being closed and me not being able to shoot one). Not even 10 seconds later I caught the silhouette of something big and turned to see 4 decent Garrick all lit up beautifully. They swam away from me and just before they disappeared into the blue the shoal banked to the left and doubled back with one presenting itself perfectly. I lined up and took the shot and the spear went in just above the spine but hurt it so that it didn’t put up much of a fight and in a minute I had it on my stringer!

We hung around for a little while longer but then decided to head in. The anticipation really started kicking in on the drive back! It was an awesome comp that was well organized and I was so stoked to have won first prize for the biggest Garrick! A big thanks to all who were involved in organizing the comp and thanks to my dive buddies Kevin Benecke (who won it last year) and Leo who although he couldn’t dive had made it to the weigh in to give some support!”

Well done Clyde! And you got a roller gun as 1st prize to replace the one you lost earlier in the year during the Snoek Couta King compo! Justice is done…Aweh!

The guys who went North were on the fish! The viz from the day before had actually improved a bit in places and some damn fine stringers came out as we can see by the top finishers in the Natal champs results sheets which I have attached pdf format. I have also attached the species per diver table also in pdf format and it is worth a look to see what was what on the day.

Master Sean Burns had a great dive with his son James and next door neighbour Chad (Sean stays right at Sheffield stairs parking) here is his account of Natal champs day dive below…

“You can plan for as long as you want for a competition, but you’ll only really know for sure the morning of the dive if it’s all been worth it. That was case the morning of the comp when a bluish-green tint in the peaking swell held the promise of a good day’s diving with some viz. Our plan was simple, head to a point first thing in hopes of ambushing a Garrick on the high tide.

The three-diver party made up of myself, my son James and my neighbour Chad split up after swimming out through the surf. I headed into the foam (white water around the surf break) to hunt white water species whilst the boys worked the Garrick line. The boys had an encounter with some Snoek which unfortunately only yielded excitement and no fish. Amongst the shallow structure I managed to hunt down a sizeable Bronze Bream and couldn’t get a shot off in time on a 4 to 5kg GT that came in to have a look. One species down. After a 45 minute session on the point, we made an executive decision to move onto deeper reef as the tide dropped.

The wind picked up, causing the sea to stir. This dropped the viz to only 4 metres. Many divers would turn their nose up at 4m viz but this is great for hunting reef fish (Just make sure to use a 1m gun or less). We eventually located our deeper reef mark which proved challenging with a light south to north current on the top and a heavy north to south current on the bottom. The flashers (Fish attracting device) where let out to hopefully bring in a Snoek.

On the first patch of reef, I interrupted a plump Catface-Rockcod enjoying his breakfast of a baby Sand shark! My 1m RA roller made quick work of the greedy bugger. Two species down. A few downs later, in 16m of water, I found a decent cave and ended up missing a size Yellowbelly Rockcod. Luckily, that same cave produced a nice Tomato Rockcod. Three species down. The area then became quiet so we finned our way to another piece of reef. The Batfish rose up from the murk, indicating good reef below. A Purple Rockcod received the sharp end of my spear and was the fourth species in the bag. A nice Lantern Fish soon followed. Five species down.

By now my son James had managed to bag a Bronze Bream and a very nice Spadefish on the shallower part of the reef. I continued to work the deeper areas on the outside edge of the reef thoroughly investigating every nook and cranny in search of a Rock Salmon or another Yellowbelly Rockcod. It’s always important to slowly and thoroughly comb a good section of reef before moving on. Over the next couple of hours, the species rose to eight for me with a nice Spadefish, Tasslefish and Lemonfish. James also got his third specie, a size Tasslefish.

Twelve O’clock crept up on us and I still needed two species. Our last move took us to a deeper area (18m) and this area is well known for big Bartail Flatheads, Natal Knifejaws, Spotted Grunter and Blacktip Kingfish which would all add significant weight to my bag. Whilst waiting on the bottom, concealed in a crevice and grunting furiously I managed to pique the interest of a shoal of Blacktip Kingfish. Once they appeared I slowly and accurately placed a holding shot into the biggest fish in the shoal. The fish immediately resorted to dirty tactics, dragging my spear and line straight through a cave and out the other side. I knew that if I left the fish and headed to the surface I would most likely lose a heavy fish and my spear with it! With no time to waste I emulated the tactics of my adversary and torpedoed through the two-way cave hole! Once I cleared the cave I made haste to surface with the fish in tow and species number nine was on the stringer.

Realising time was against us, and content with nine species on my stringer, we headed for the beach. My Coatesman’s Blackfin Float Bag made for an easy exit by riding a large wave all the way to the beach. After a quick turnaround at home, we headed for the weigh in.

A massive thank you to Rob Allen for sponsoring the assortment of magnificent prizes and to Captain Chris West for organizing the event! “

Well done on 4th place Natal champs Burnsie! And taking the juniors diving at the same time…still a master at juggling tasks I see…and thanks for taking on KZN spearfishing Union yet again. Next year gonna be awesome. Aweh!

Had a good chat with Master Brod Whittaker before the weigh in and he chose to stay in his local waters at Umdloti for comp day taking Captain Chris West as dive buddy. First dive was at shallow Selection reef in iffy viz but he still managed a decent Pompano and a Bronze bream. Captain Chris West got a weigher Seapike and a decent Snoek…but a set of teeth (shark) made off with the whole Snoek besides the head while his stringer was unattended. Hard luck Captain!

They exited and took a drive to North Umdloti but that was looking not ayoba (not good) so Captain Chris opted to get going and organise things for weigh in later. Brod hopped in at Selection again and went deep and produced a damn fine stringer of fish to bring him to his 10 species for the day!

Well done on 2nd place Natal champs Brod damn you missed the win again by 300grams! Next year more pushups hey?

So that brings us to the crew of six divers going North in two vehicles. Chad Garret, Matthew Downey and Jordan Perrins dived a point first and the Snoek were filing with some decent viz at 6 to 8m! But only one counts hey. Justin managed a 7kg Garrick putting him 2nd place Garrick compo…well done Justin! They exited and moved a bit south to another spot with deeper reef and managed some decent bottoms for Natal champs score. Well done guys hope to see you next year again!

The other crew of three was headed up by 2 times Springbok spearo and two times Springbok under water hockey champ Master Brent Borstlap. He is currently SA underwater hockey Captain and will be training hard for the next 8 months or so for worlds set to be held in Brisbane Australia next year! Brent asks if anyone would like to join for social Underwater hockey at Kings park pool they will have it booked every Monday night from next year…no charge. They have spare headgear and sticks just bring mask and short fins. Wednesday nights will be for those wanting to compete. Very good training for shore diving! That’s why he has legs that can kick start a Boeing!

The other two divers were Master Kelven Grung and Master Angelo Spada who made the trip down from Gauteng to come compete. They dived a little further north in 3.5m viz, point dive first for two hours with not much joy then they swam in and moved further up into the bay and went deep producing exceptional stringers of fish in the crappy viz. 5 hours later they swam in and headed for the weigh in. Master Angelo Spada came in 3rd at the weigh in Natal champs! Well done Angelo and thanks for the help with the fish ID! Master Kelven came in 6th at weigh in for Natal champs well done! 6th again like Nationals…need to shake that number!

Master Brent brought home the win for the third time now with a great stringer of fish! Well done Brento 3 more to catch up with Jules on the trophy hey!

So there you have it! Awesome compo with divable conditions and a great bunch of spearos never mind the soggy conditions at the weigh in!

Thank you one and all for pulling finger and showing that KZN spearfishing is indeed alive and kicking. Thanks lads from Dive Factory for setting up and even bringing gazebo to keep the spectators dry for weigh in and awesome prizes by the dozen! Captain Chris and Master Sean Burns the effort is really appreciated and keep it up! Thank you Callum from Dive factory whom provided the awesome weigh in pics! He has produced a Rob Allen Youtube video of the weigh in which is available here….

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear….

#roballen #kznspearfishing #sauff #spearfishing #masterwatermen #kzn #southafrica #thesardinenews #kznnorthcoast #kznsouthcoast #lechea #garrick #spearfishingsouthafrica #springbokspearfishing #underwaterhockey

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NATAL CHAMPS Species and Points List 2022.pdf



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Natal Champs and DUC Garrick compo to be held 19-11-2022

Natal Champs and DUC Garrick compo to be held 19-11-2022

Why do we have spearfishing competitions? First and foremost it creates structure in the spearfishing community both local and abroad. Secondly… don’t people want to know who is the “best of the best” and where they stand on the roster?

When it comes to compos like the DUC Garrick comp it is pretty much a luck on the day but having local up to date knowledge on sea conditions can sway the odds in your favour. Whereas Natal Champs compo is a whole different kettle of fish as it is one fish of each species only at weigh in and fish must be over 1kg with 4kg being the max weight. So an ideal stringer of 10 fish would be all Maxi weighers (all 4kg or over). This negates the luck factor big time,

Natal Champs is shore entry only and the DUC Garrick comp is boat or shore entry. Many top KZN spearos maintain that the Natal Champs trophy is the one to be on! Natal Champs has been around since 1955 and there are some legendary names on the trophy…Mark Roxburgh, Len Jones, Shaun Atlas, Gyula Plagaani, George Askew, Brent Borstlap and even me!

The bonus is you get two for the price of one this year…R250 gets you entry into both compos! So why not enter and see where you stand in the pecking order in KZN spearfishing? Captain Chris West always organises great prizes plus you get a t-shirt, Boerie roll and a drink! What’s to lose? I have attached the entry form pdf doccie to this post…let’s get it on! Oh and only 50 T-shirts available so get moving now!

Last Natal Champs was back in 2019 and even with the big swell some decent fish came out (Big swell big fish…Master Craig Harper). Master Brent Borstlap took the Trophy from Rowan Carters dad in his absence as he had passed away…RIP Rowan. Top fish was Master Brents 4kg plus change Purple cod, Master Guy Le Meme shot a croc Couta 27kg plus change and Master Brod Whitaker drummed a lovely Daga salmon over 20kg.

Conditions are lining up nicely for Saturdays compo’s with minimal swell predicted and a light to moderate south westerly blowing. So come be a part of KZN spearfishing history and show everyone how it’s done!!!

I have included some pictures from the 2019 Natal champs…why? Because we all love feeshie pics! See you all at the weigh-in at PWSC boat wash bay Saturday arvo. Even if you are not participating it is always a great get together of local spearos! Details on entry form.

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…

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Snoek MAYHEM Boulder bay Ballito KZN South Africa (Queen Mackerel)

Snoek MAYHEM Boulder bay Ballito KZN South Africa (Queen Mackerel)

Hi peeps and welcome to another video from Master Watermen! This time it’s the Bear diving with Master Juggs Holzman off Boulder bay Ballito KZN north coast South Africa. The Snoek AKA Queen mackerel were filing like mad on the day and we wasted no time getting in on the ACTION!

We were so quick on the action that we managed to get our flashers and floatlines knitted up to the max in the Snoek fever and total mayhem! Keeping calm and collected is key when there are Snoek coming through in large numbers! And wouldn’t you have guessed it they came through again while we were still undoing the mess of floatline and flasher line! We could not resist and both got stuck into the Snoek whilst tangled up! Mayhem is an understatement I tell you and it makes for great viewing! Youtube video link is here

This is what makes Snoek hunting awesome! The camaraderie, amp, stoke and total mayhem is what most of us spearos live for. Snoek coming past right and left leaves you choosing your fish as they file past in large shoals in the shallows. What more could you ask for!

See if you can spot the mistake I made when loading my 130 carbon gun with the two bands and leave a comment on the youtube video. Also please remember to like and subscribe. It helps a lot!

I put this Snoek video up so as to amp the divers for the SPEARO Snoek Garrrick July competition which starts this Saturday 2nd of July 2022. So you still have two days to enter. Entry details are at the beginning of the video so do not delay and pay so you can get your share of the awesome prizes and stand a chance to win in the draw for accommodation in the TKei and Moz! May the best Spearo win! Goodluck peeps!

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear.

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Perfect KZN North Coast GARRICK(Lichea amia) dive.

Perfect KZN North Coast GARRICK (Lichea amia) dive.

Hi peeps and welcome to another video by Master Watermen this time with the Bear in action using a carbon cuttlefish 80cm roller gun. 80cm??? Say what??? Yes I have been using this gun for just close to a year now and it has proven to be very accurate and powerful despite its size!

This dive took place last year (2021) just after my first and only bout of the dreaded COVID. Just a word here on diving (basically any cardio sport) straight after having COVID! Please take it easy as it affects one’s fitness quite a bit. I felt that my diving fitness had dropped to about 30 percent of what it was just before the dreaded Rona attacked. Being in the water out to sea means that calling for a medic to attend is in most cases out of the question and the last thing we need is another diver death in our Spearo community. Take it easy keeping shallow and avoiding big surf swims and make sure your dive buddies keep an eye on you for at least a week or two after having COVID!!!

Having a short gun is ideal for shooting fast moving fish in and around the surf zone as they are quicker to turn to get a shot in. I have always used single band 115cm standard rail guns for Garrick and this 80cm roller beats that rig hands down with range and power! Converted to say the least! Only drawback I find is the amount of time to load up after taking a shot compared to a straight rig with no reel. The main plus I have noticed is that your gun tip is way closer to your body when hunting fish and therefore you can get closer to the fish being hunted as you will see in the video!

Here’s the link to the YouTube video…

Hopefully this crystal water filled with fish video will help inspire all of us dry KZN Spearo’s to believe that yes these conditions did exist pre floods! Yes the water will clear up soon and the sardines will arrive with loads of gamefish hunting them! There is hope!!!!

At least there is something to look forward to this July when the Spearo Garrick/Snoek compo is on for the whole month! Loads of great prizes and some lucky draws too even if you do not win! Details in the two flyers I have put below.

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…

#masterwatermen #Kwazulunatal #kznnorthcoast #garrick #lechia #spearfishing #rollergun

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Line management to AVOID the dreaded MUZZLE wrap on Euro spearguns.

Line management to AVOID the dreaded MUZZLE wrap on Euro spearguns.

We have all had the dreaded muzzle wrap (when the spear running line becomes entangled in the bands and or muzzle of your speargun) and I am sure there are thousands of stories about lost guns and the big one that got away!

Keeping your running line tight and laid out in the correct manner will help avoid 90 percent of muzzle wraps. Sure muzzle wraps will happen when the fish is less than a spear length away from the end of the speargun but barring that line management is key.

Step one is to line up the line to the same side and always on top of the spear…never running underneath and never crossing over the top of the spear…always one side only! If you have a multi band gun make sure the line is not pinched between the bands and is running outside and underneath of them.

Step two make sure the line is tight after loading by running your hand from back of the gun to the muzzle holding the running line. Step three do the same now running down from muzzle to line release and step four the same again but on the opposite side under the gun.

Step five is to tighten up at the reel and put the extra loop of line from the reel around the line release to lock it in place. If you lock the reel like this the line will not come loose whilst diving and you can set your reel drag to whatever setting you like.

When you are a beginner always remember to have patience and stay calm when reloading. Panic is not a good Mistress for line management! Slow and steady always wins the race when reloading in a hurry…

Here is the link to the YouTube tutorial…

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…

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Wahoo@DUC Couta Snoek Master Competition 2022

Wahoo@ DUC Couta Snoek Master Competition 2022

The Wahoo spearfishing club is steeped in KZN spearfishing history and has held many spearfishing compo’s over the last six decades. The Couta Snoek Master has been held over the years in a few different formats but this time around it is now a yearly compo! Thanks to the dedicated efforts of “Captian” Chris West there are now two Trophies “Couta Master” and “Snoek Master” (see pic’s) . It would all not be possible without the generous sponsors Freedivers, Rob Allen, Lizzard and Pathos SA!!!

This year we saw a record number of entrants of 60 odd Spearos and the turnout at the weigh in at Point Water Sports Club was awesome to say the least. The compo got off to a rocky start with the designated weekend being not divable due to some rather large cyclone swell. The next weekend it was called off and the following weekend Saturday (12-03-2022) it was finally game on with some viz being reported and the surf size down for the shore entry divers to get a gap!

Fish had been a bit scarce towards the comp day because of a cold upwelling in the North and South not much viz so finding warmer cleaner water with some current would be key to winning the day.

Natal Underwater Union’s Sean Burns and crew headed far North for a boat dive. “We launched up north and hunted the Princess Grant reefs. Conditions were not optimal with a reverse current and 4m viz. After the first two hours and no game fish onboard we were lucky to find a group of fishing boats on the 30m line that were catching Snoek. We hopped in and after 10 minutes we had two Snoek in the bag”.

“The action soon died down and we headed to some reef on the 15m line. While waiting and grunting on the bottom in the green murk a lonesome Couta finally presented itself. What looked like a monster fish, size being enlarged by the dirty water, turned out to be 2.6kgs! With a Couta and some Snoek in the boat and a screaming East wind making conditions worse we headed home”.

“What a great comp that tested the skills of all divers and a big thank you to Chris, Clive, The Dive Factory, Free Divers and Point Water Sports Club for the awesome day!” said Master Sean Burns.

Skipper Master Henry Mitchell with some new guys on Sangoma said “It was a great day and the water was not too bad. One of my crew members got sick and was out for the day”. Shame not the right day to be sick! He says the comp was great and he had a blast as always! He landed a decent Blacktip kingy but did not manage to get a mackie though. Master Dane Chittock did manage to get the winning Couta though of 10.51kg. Well done Dane!

Junior Noah Whittle managed to bag a Snoek of 4.98kg off Skipper James Purcell’s boat earning him 3rd place Snoek Master in his 1st spearfishing compo! Well done young man!

Tall man Rudie de Toit diving with Skipper Ters down south managed to bag a Snoek of 5.55kg getting him 2nd place Snoek Master. Aweh Rudie!

Master Chris West “Dove our asses off and just bottoms to show for it”. Better luck next time Captain, spearfishing for mackies can be extremely frustrating at times!. Speaking with crew member Clive Honiball at the weigh-in he also said fish were super scarce even the bottom fish launching and diving from DUC.

I had a newbie from Umhlanga Spearfishing Club along for my Shore entry dive at Umhlangha. Huzaifa “Huzzie” Ahmed from Stanger met me at Durbanview parking just after 1st light and the sea definitely looked divable…super flat (perfect for a newbie) and about 6m viz. Looking at the water I could see the NS current was on it which is good for mackies but not so great for unfit legs! We kitted up and walked up to the North rip and swam out to backline. As I was unwinding my flasher on the backline a beast of a Snoek appeared to my right cruising slowly by. Quick grab for a gun and a duck dive and it melted into the gloom!

I quickly called Huzzie over and deployed my flasher and as I started swimming back to the spot 3 decent Snoek pulled in and I spined the middle fish. Winning Snoek Master fish in the bag in 5 minutes! 6kg on the dot but at the time I was thinking damn that beast would have been the nuts!

We cruised around the rip for half an hour and nothing more to show. So we swam to the 8m reef pushing against the strong current on the way out. After 5 minutes on the reef Huzzie had disappeared! Couple of shouts and calls later I spotted him way down the drift and swam down to see if he needed assistance. Turns out that a Snoek had swum up to his flasher just after we hit the reef and the ensuing battle and reel over wind had put him there! Call for 2nd shot next time Huzzie! Unfortunately he lost his 1st snoek and a chance at a weigh in with only getting in a tail shot as it sped by.

I did a quick duck dive at the tail end of the reef ,looked left on the floor and then right and there was a shoal of Snoek. Steady shot on the closest big fish and managed another spine shot with my 80cm roller. We swam in and back up with not one complaint from Huzzie…bagged some reefies and bugs and swam back in.

Had a chat with Paul and Luke Shannon in the parking lot after and they had dived Tinley Manor with no joy as there was no current to bring the mackies in there. Just after I gave Master Brent Borstlap a lift up the road in my car and he managed a 4.6kg Snoek on a fast drift from North of the Lighthouse getting him 5th place Snoek Master at the weigh in. Well done Brento!

Master Richardt Botes went for a shore dive at Sheffield “Conditions were not great and I hopped in with Christo Muller to check it out anyways. Nothing doing so I headed up to a sugar cane farm spot further North and in the 3-4m green viz managed to bag a decent Fulvie kingfish with no mackies sighted.”

Dominique Fourie and Darryl McCormack swam out at Durbanview with Huzzie and I. Domz lost a Prodigal son (Cobia) and managed a 4.36kg Snoek getting him 6th place Snoek Master at the weigh in. Well done Domz!

A big thanks to Rob Allen for my new custom Xflex wetsuit and Callum Etschmaier for all the lovely pic’s. Callum made a video from Rob Allen for the compo! Here is the link…

Gonna be warm this winter! Also thank you Chris West (MC), Sean Burns(NUU), Clive Honiball (ToDive for Aqua)and one and all participants without you this compo would not be possible. It was an awesome event and I will definitely see you all next year! Results and pic’s below…


1. Dane Chittock – 10.51

2. Brett Dixon – 10.08

3. Craig Heslop – 7.22

4. Andrew Cochrane – 4.66

5. Don Solomon – 3.94

6. Sean Burns – 2.24


1. Jason Heyne – 6.00

2. Rudie du Toit – 5.55

3. Noah Whittle – 4.98

4. Brett Dixon – 4.76

5. Brent Borstlap – 4.6

6. Dominique Fourie – 4.36

7. Chadd Smith – 3.18


1. Henry Mitchell – Kingy

2. Richardt Botes – Kingy

3. Clive Honnibal – Parrot

4. Chris West – Spade

5. Kevin Benecke – Parrot

6. John Girzda – Parrot

7. Dane Salmon – Kingy

8. Dave Hanncock – Tassel

As Always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…

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Big Amberjack GT and Wahoo Bear Report 31-12-2021

Master Don Solomon with a bus Amberjack 38.6kg shot in 45m boat dive South

Big Amberjack GT and Wahoo Bear Report 31-12-2021

Hi peeps and welcome to the Bear’s weekend dive report brought to you by and

Hi all from a rainy Durban KZN! You guessed it the rains came down again just as the inshore was coming right in places! A series of thunderstorms up and down the coast line pretty much put paid to any sort of inshore diving this weekend. But there is hope as some vis was reported middle south coast and there is definitely clean water offshore for boat diving on the south coast! Yoh but some bus fish did come out all off the boat though and some divers got a late Xmas pressie or two from Santa! I have not heard from Master Paul Toich and Darren Halse so presume that East London and PE areas have not improved much since the last Bear Report. There are Bus GT around with some Wahoo out deep and big Ambers on the deeper marks down South coast with Zululand not reporting too much action besides the usual YFT, Couta and Dorado action and one bus GT. Some Couta did come out lower North coast but that was a flash in the pan and getting very lucky with finding a clean patch and on the incoming tide! The Bear would like to wish you all a prosperous, blessed and COVID free 2022! Happy new year!!!

In the fish pic’s this week we have Daniel Cilliers with a bus PB GT 35kg gutted and gilled boat dive far North, Jono Geyer with a size Wahoo 23kg boat dive South, Keaton with a Snoek shore dive North, Kezley Fitzgerald with a lovely brace of Shad shore dive North, Master Don Solomon with a bus Amberjack 38.6kg shot in 45m boat dive South, Master Gavin Nell with a bus GT boat dive South, Master Gavin Nell with a class fish for KZN waters Rosy Jobfish boat dive South, Master Gavin Nell with a Couta boat dive South, Master Richardt Botes 20kg GT Boat dive South, Stephan Wiid Master Brent Borstlap Like Shannon and Kannas Wiid with Couta Yft boat dive Durban, Tanya Naudald on holiday with a decent Queenfish and White barred rubbelips at Pomene Moz and Troy Eloff 4kg Stumpie shore dive Durban.

Saturday we have a light NE wind from early bells switching to a light direct E wind around lunch time. Swell starts at 1.9m 13 seconds from the South and builds to 2.1m 12 seconds from the south late arvo. Sunday we have a moderate SW blow predicted early bells which swings around to a light SE wind late arvo. Swell starts early bells at a mushy 2.8m 8 seconds from the South and drops off below 2m 10 seconds from the South toward late arvo.

So is there a dive Saturday…yes if you have access to a boat and don’t mind taking a chance deeper off the south coast and there may just be a clean patch to find South or North for a quick shore dive. Sunday if the SW comes through as predicted I would say arvo only boaties and shore diving alike.

Online video report available here…

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…

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Killer NE and Rain for Dayz Bear Report 25-12-2021

Master Richardt Botes and Andrew with a lovely mixed bag of gamefish Wahoo Amber Dorado and Tail boat dive South

Killer NE and Rain for Dayz Bear Report 25-12-2021

Hi peeps and welcome to the Bear’s weekend dive report brought to you by and

Well what can I say the sea had just started to come right last couple days from the heavy rain last week and NE wind onnit for 5 days straight then the heavens opened up again yesterday just when the SW wind was putting the Dr on it! Pretty much the same story I heard today from Master Paul Toich in East London and Darren Halse says they had East wind for 7 plus days straight in Port Elizabeth and the water temp dropped to 13 deg C and the fish are scarce to say the least! So much for a diving Xmas so family time this weekend and a Merry Xmas to one and all from the Bear! One two Snoek did come out and there was a flash in the pan of action out deep (Wahoo, Tail and Ambers) on the South coast but that’s all she wrote. Rivers have popped all up and down the coast from the rain deluge yesterday and today (Friday)…meh!

In the fish pic’s this week we have Connie Halowell with a Snoek shore dive South, Craig King with a Couta and Amber boat dive Durban boat dive, Heath MW scholar group with his 1st gamefish 3kg Greenspot kingfish shore dive Kosi bay, Johan Boshoff with a Tail and Daga salmon combo boat dive South, Kobus Delport with a lovely brace of Snoek shore dive South, Martin Stander with a Snoek shore dive far North, Master Richardt Botes and Andrew with a lovely mixed bag of gamefish Wahoo Amber Dorado and a Rainbow runner (8kg!) boat dive South, Noah MW scholar group with his 1st Spadie boat dive Durban and Tim McDonald MW scholar group with a decent Catface boat dive Durban.

Saturday the beastly NE wind starts up again around mid morning and picks up speed during the day and blows into the night. Swell starts 2.2m at 12 seconds from the South and drops to 1.8m 10 seconds from the South by the afternoon. Sunday early bells the NE wind continues to blow from Saturday night and seriously freshens up by lunchtime. Swell runs at 2m 10 seconds from the south early bells and gains strength as the NE freshens and picks up to 2.5m 7 seconds from the East by late afternoon.

So is there a dive Xmas (Saturday) morning…hmmm boaties maybe before the NE swings in by mid morning. Boxing day (Sunday) is a maybe (being very optimistic) for die hard boaties and Desperate Dans early bells!

Online report available here

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…

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