Well with neap tides this week and full swing spring Equinox weather this week has been below average diving conditions wise. Wind from the North East then wind from the South West throw in a golosh of rain and that’s the week in a nutshell. So you have to be on it to get dives in this time of year unfortunately but some divers were and the Brusher have definitely arrived and the Garrick are still around with large shoals of Pickhhandle Barracuda on the South coast deeper pinnacles. It won’t be long and the steam train Cape Yellowtail will also be on the deeper pinnacles down South coast. While I am writing this the South African Team just walked onto the stage in Sardinia for the parade before the Spearfishing World Champs starts tomorrow (Saturday 09-2021) at 08H00 CET. Wishing the lads best of luck and a safe championship! Goooo Bokke! Live feed here … https://web.facebook.com/Apneapassion/
In our fish pic’s this week we have Master Gavin Nell with a giant Pickhandle Barracuda just over 19kg boat dive South, Melvin Pillay with a decent Brusher 9.2kg shore dive Durban, Rudie with his PB Brusher 7kg and a Garrick shore dive South, Scholar Guy Mcarthy with his 1st Stone bream shore dive Durban, Troy Elof with a decent Brusher and Grunter shore dive Durban and Troy Elof with a decent Natal stumpie shore dive Durban.
Saturday the SW wind that has been blowing the last two days drops off around 6am and switches to a light NE wind late in the afternoon. Swell is chunky at 3m early bells dropping off to 2m late in the day at 14 seconds. Sunday a moderate NE is on it from early bells picking up speed after lunch to a proper buster. Swell starts just over 2m and builds to a mooshy North 3m swell late in the afternoon.
So prospects of a shore dive this weekend are looking very slim to say the least. Saturday looks good for a launch for the boaties either Durban side or down middle South coast.
This week we got our 1st spring rains and there was some damage river water wise but not as bad as originally suspected with some heavy downpours on the North and South coast. Bad news is there is a buster NE blowing right now as I write this! These rains normally herald the start of the Brusher run and one or two shoal size Brusher have been coming out. Some good catches of Garrick with sporadic Snoek action here and there when you hit a luck and they are feeding. There are still loads of Sardines around and this is messing with the inshore game fish action at the moment.
In the fish pic’s this week we have Bruce Jackson with a 25kg Daga Salmon shore dive South, Chase Mair with his 1st Daga salmon and Seapike boat dive Durban, Clinton Stiglingh with a Brusher boat dive Durban, Connie Hallowell with a fat Garrick shore dive South, Dane Chittock and Devesh Debipersadh with lovely brace’s of Garrick boat dive Durban, Elton with a 9.9kg Garrick shore dive South and Kurt Bunge with a beauty of a Splitpaint Parrot boat dive South.
Saturday the NE continues to blow from Friday night picking up speed as the day goes on with a proper 2.6m East swell on the water turning it to mush. Sunday a light NE still blows early bells switching to a light SE wind late in the day. Swell starts at 2.7m and drops off to just over 2m in the afternoon.
So peeps diving wise this weekend is just for those hardcore individuals who like diving in a washing machine. No word of lie it will be horrible. Meh!
As many of us spearo’s know there is about to be a who’s who showdown when it comes to Master level competitive spearfishing. South Africa has a great team consisting of Master Jaco Blignaught, Master Don Solomon (1st Worlds) and Master Gerhaad Vosloo (1st Worlds) with team Captain Veteran Master Angelo Spada.
Arabatax is a port town on the east side of the Island of Sardinia in the Tyrrhenian Sea (39.936166, 9.702712) and is the Italians home ground. The viz is normally very good with most Mediterranean fish species occurring in the area. Sea temperature varies but at the moment it can be up to 26 deg c on the surface and down to 16 deg c on the floor at depth and air temp up to 36deg c!. The depths that the guy’s will be diving is insane in any divers books with the shallowest spot in Dive zone A being 23m out to 70m! Master Don said to me that the shallowest he has dived so far during scouting is 40m! Let that sink in…
Here is a link to a best of Sardinia shot in 2016 and it gives a great idea of the species found there and types of structure and drop offs around the Island showcased in a highlight reel… https://youtu.be/aRaZnMu5yvs
So as you can imagine our lads are at a bit of a disadvantage as far as it comes to local knowledge of the dive area and finding the fish. So in order to be competitive Master Jaco and Master Don headed out for scouting at Arbabtax over a month ago. It is absolutely insane the hours and money that goes into competing at one of these events and that’s just the boat hire and daily fuel costs etc for the scouting. Never mind the flights and accommodation plus time off work. To say it is over half a Bar (R500000) is not an exaggeration at all. The one team has 12 (twelve) scouting boats!
As we know these lads do not get a Springbok fee like our Rugby lads do …hmmmm maybe one day in the future! So bux is tight and obviously any help would be appreciated by the Team. The guys have a raffle ticket page with all sorts of great prizes to be Won Please see details in the flyer I have included. There is also a whatsapp group you can Join for a nominal fee that has all the inside info from the guys in Sardinia and Q an A sessions as well.
As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…
This past week has had below average diving conditions with only two or three days being diveable in between the August winds blowing and some larger swell left over from winter. There are some bigger Garrick around on the backline with the Brusher starting to make an appearance in the Durban area. The NE wind pumped the last two days turning the sea into a big washing machine but the good news is the SW wind arrived early this arvo (Friday) and is blowing now as I write this.
In the fish pic’s this week we have Devesh Debipersadh with a great brace of Garrick shore dive South, Keaton with his 1st Brusher 5.16kg shore dive Durban and Zander with his PB Garrick 13.18kg shore dive North.
Saturday morning the SW wind continues to blow dropping off just after midmorning switching to a light NE wind in the arvo. The swell starts chunky early bells at 2m plus but settles by lunchtime to 1.7m. Sunday morning early bells the light NE starts to drop off and switches around to a light to moderate SW wind just after lunchtime. Swell is slightly bigger in the South at 1.8m than North at 1.5m with not much power at 8 seconds from the East.
So it’s quite hard to predict the SW accurately at the moment which means I am not too sure on what the dive conditions will be like on Saturday and there may be a gap in the afternoon. Sunday morning is definitely green for GO dive wise depending on where it cleans up first after the SW on Saturday.
Since I started spearfishing (1985) till today Wahoo have been my nemesis fish! I just do not see any small Wahoo, only TANKS, and manage to plant fairly good shots (x 3) which they just seem to shake off with nonchalance and swim away unscathed!
In this video from Master Watermen we catch up with Master Richardt Botes on a boat dive on the South coast of KZN South Africa. On board we have Skipper Brett, PADI freediving instructor Charl Marais, Tyron Hunt, Zander and diving Diva Chrystal Botes. Chystal is busy getting in her practical dives in for the PADI course she is doing with Charl. The other lads are in it for the Wahoo!
Master Richardt is using his custom 1.2m Carbon cuttlefish Roller gun which you will see is an absolute machine for those long range shots on the sneaky Wahoo. The gun is made up to spec using a Rob Allen roller head, 7.5mm spear, handle and reel. Freedivers new 16mm outer and 1mm inner diameter roller bands are powering the gun. The carbon cuttlefish 1.2m barrel is imported from overseas.
Range is everything normally when it comes to actually getting a spear in a Wahoo and this gun has that in Spades. Quite often big blue water guns are overbanded woodies (wooden guns with 4 or 5 bands even!) just to get the range and the accuracy is dodgy to say the least! And the recoil is next level hence the two handed braced approach on the shot to secure the fish. As you will see in the footage the cuttlefish carbon barrel negates most of the recoil and the gun is still very accurate using one hand. And ONE band and at half the cost of an imported woodie gun!
I am sure with some more fine tuning these guns are definitely going to find their place (if they have not already) at the top of the Blue water hunters list of “I need” guns!
Well it has been quite a tough week for diving with loads of surge from well spaced winter swells and online predictions being out on quite a few days by up to at least a few hours. Some fish did come out though with Daga salmon North with dome big Garrick in the shallows. Wahoo were around when there was less traffic down South in the afternoons. As we start getting closer to the spring Equinox conditions normally get worse but the silver lining is the fish numbers increase as they start coming off the Sardine feed and head inshore for the Shad. Shore anglers have been having a blast when the Sardine remnants on the North coast have been pushed in by predators in the afternoons. Snoek, Yellowspot Kingies and Blacktip kingies have been caught in the shore break and mid break on spoons!
In the fish pic’s this week we have Fritz with a decent Rock salmon boat dive South, JP with a Yellowbelly rockcod shore dive North, Kurt Bunge with a Couta and daughters boat dive far North, Master Richardt Botes and Tyran Hunt with Wahoo boat dive South, Master Richardt Botes with two decent Wahoo boat dive South and Master Watermen scholars Noah and Guy with Master Jason Heyne shore dive Durban.
Oh but the weather god’s are not smiling on us this weekend at all. Buster SW blowing right now as I type this on Friday evening. Saturday from early bells the mega SW buster continues with some size swell up to 4m during the day. Sunday the size swell continues at 4m through to the afternoon when its starts dropping off as the SW blow from the cold front drops off.
So Boaties maybe launch Sunday arvo from sheltered launches and shore dive limited to the protected Durban bay area.
The Border Open Spearfishing Challenge 2021 took place on the long weekend of 6th-9th August 2021
This competition is one of those legendary events that most divers here in KZN South Africa would love to attend. But entries are limited and go to Border Club members first for two weeks before opening up for the general public to enter. And if you do not enter the same day (read hour) that open entries start its game over.
Held in South Africa at Transkei Hole in the wall in winter there are bound to be some Class fish around and this year’s event was no different from previous years with some decent fish coming out even though most divers reported fish being scarce on the day. Some class fish came out before the comp during scouting and Gareth Brockett lucked a 32kg Daga salmon the day after the compo.
“A day late on the Daga salmon but bru you do not get a chance on a decent fish like that often. Ja the compo was great as usual this year really missed it last year due to COVID etc. Dived this year with skipper Master Gavin Nell and we placed well 9th and 8th respectively seeing as we arrived late on the day before the event and took a guess which way to go in the morning. Jumped in on the point and hit a luck with my 1st two fish! A Garrick and then a shoal of Tail whilst re loading with the Garrick on my belt! Managed 9 fish but unfortunately my Brusher did not make the minimum weight of 5kg after gutting and gilling it at 4.6kg” says Gareth via WhatsApp call.
Skipper Alistair Jones hit a big luck when there was a last minute cancelation and was able to squeeze in his boat Mr Grinch with crew Master Luke Mollison and Liam Mullany…
“Finding fish on the day was not easy without having scouted any real sweet spots but we got fish. Cherry on top for me was winning the biggest fish comp trophy with a Class 13.5kg Brusher. I was lying on the floor for a while watching the ledge in front of me looking for Poensies when I thought to check over my left shoulder and two Class Brusher were right behind me moving away to my left. Got in a good shot on the trailing fish and all hell broke loose! But I managed to get it on the boat and I am super chuffed with a new PB brusher (New USC record as well) and winning the Trophy for biggest fish.” Alistair said talking about the comp day at USC (Umhlanga spearfishing club) braai night.
Andrew Trevathan managed to place 4th in his 1st Border open ever! He says it was like a dream come true as he has been amped for years to enter the comp and dive Hole in the Wall Tkei. Also helps when your skipper is Master Guy Le Meme who has now won the Border open for the umpteenth time hey Andrew? And Master Guy managed to win the Trump Trophy with a Billy Bartle (Two tone fingerfin) of 0.83kg. Trump species get double points. But give Andrew credit as Guy didn’t shoot the fish for him! There is even video evidence! Thank you Scott Campbell for taking the time to film the lads in action and post to YouTube for us to get a POV on Master Guy’s boat and the trip as a whole. And thanks Andrew for the chat the other night via WhatsApp and taking the time to give the inside story below. Class! Safe travels with your big move!
“Got the go ahead on Monday afternoon just before the event that I would be attending border open but it was only the next day that I found out I would actually be able to participate in the comp, excitement level through the roof as this has been a dream of mine for a few years now.
Border event day by day account
Day 1: Early morning missions (PT) and arriving at the Hole on Thursday only to be greeted with some crystal clean water. Boat launched and ready to get wet, we got to our first spot and 2nd down I was surrounded by a wall of Cape Tail, lined up and plugged one, lekker (great/awesome) hard fight and coming in at 17kg! That got me lekker warmed up and ready to hit the next spot and do some scouting. The day went on and my skipper The Great Glem (Guy Le Meme) found us a sizey (big) shoal of Piggies (Pignose grunter) and I managed to get my spear into a decent one. Then off to the next spot and I shafted a lekker Poensie, some big Bankies (Bank steenbras) and a whopper Bronze bream of 4kg and I have never seen one so big,I thought they had all been shot… hahaha. The smile on my face was definitely from ear to ear. Lekker day!!!
Day2: Definitely a turn for the worse, kak (bad) visibility, cold water (surface 18°c – floor 15°c) fish were few and far between so had to prepare for the worst for comp day.
Day 3: Comp day, all boats lined up on backline, a quick divers briefing and at 7.30am sharp we were all off! We were cruising at about 65kph (not even full taps, sh1t that Yamaha 70hp flies) heading south and leading the pack we got to the point first only to discover it was not looking very inviting, so its full taps again and off to the next spot. Guy and myself jumped in the water, conditions improved ever so slightly from the previous day so that was at least a good start. We both did one or two downs and then I heard Guy shoot! I couldn’t believe what I saw, this owe (lad) finds a lost Grey Bankie, like wtf… hahaha. Diving was game on and I got a Bankie and found a decent weighing Slinger, then back on the boat and off again.
As the day goes on we pick up a few species trying to get maxi points here and there, Guy gets a bus Brusher and obviously I’m over’s (really) jealous but hey that’s how it goes. I lucked a new species, a John brown and that added another fish to my 10 species tally.
At about the 5hr mark I was still scratching for one decent fish and out the blue (well greenish water) at 20m I look to my left and see a decent Piggy just sitting stupid looking at me, I slowly turned my gun and boom in the hatch it went, definitely a game changer for me. We hit the shallows in the last hour looking for some double point fish and got what we needed. Comp all done and dusted we headed back for the weigh in. There were some nice fish but also some very small bags and I could definitely see diving conditions played a big part! Fortunately for me I had a brilliant skipper and best mate to put me on some quality fish allowing me to get my 10 species which secured me 4th place!!! I couldn’t believe it, super stoked and thankful.
I just want to give a shout out to Scott Campbell, our team captain/topman and personal photographer (better watch out Barret Harvey, you got some competition hahaha) and Guy Le Meme for being an amazing skipper and finding the fish. It was an awesome trip and good laughs were had.
Final standings top 10 Men below. Well done Master Guy le Meme on taking the honours this year with 1st Place and Taking the Trump trophy as well!
Border Open 2021 – Men’s Results
Guy le Même
Ladies Mariette de Jager (14.47 points) and Taylor-Rose Toich (12.04 points) placed 1st and 2nd in the women’s division so Mariette keeps the Trophy this year as she won it in the last event. Well done Mariette!
This year’s winner of the Gregg Audie biggest fish at the Border Open trophy went to Alistair Jones (KZN) for a Brusher of 12kg.
This year’s most improved diver at the Border Open went to Borders youngest diver Sean Audie(14yrs) from placing last in 2020 to placing 35th out of 48 divers at this year’s Border Open. Well done young lad!
So some cracker diving and a great event by all means! Maybe, just maybe I can also hit a luck and attend next year’s event! Well done KZN divers for cleaning up at the Open in the men’s division. KZN diving Diva’s hope to see some of you there next year and give these Cape ladies a run for their money!
Taylor and hubby Paul Toich have handed over to Ivan Wienk for the running of the next Border Open Challenge his details for contact… Ivan Wienk +27 74 589 9531 borderopeninfo
Well done Taylor and Paul! Organising this type of competition is no small task! Ivan you have big shoes to fill!
I have attached the hand written complete final standings as a picture for viewing and a list of all the Sponsors for the event (pdf) as these Competitions would not happen without community and local businesses support. Thank you one and all!
As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…
This week’s diving was definitely below average conditions wise with the August winds and moving into spring equinox when the sea conditions can change unexpectedly. There are some great Garrick coming out North coast with the Snoek and one or two Daga salmon came out on the South Coast. Diver Liam Mullaney managed to bag himself the bus GT of a lifetime in 24m on a boat dive down South. At 47kg it is the biggest I have seen local in quite a while!
Please be aware that DAFF (Department Fisheries and Forestry) have issued another warning about the chemical spill on the North coast to not harvest and eat Marine life from Umgeni to Salt Rock. They have also warned that swimming in the sea at beaches adjacent to the Umhlanga estuary can lead to personal harm.
In the fish pic’s this week we have Liam Mullaney with a bus 47kg GT boat dive South, Martin De Jager with a decent Garrick shore dive North, Master Joe Mulder with a beaut 35.8kg Daga salmon shore dive South, Master Louis Schourie with a Couta shore dive North, Master Richardt Botes with a lovely brace of Garrick shore dive North and Tanya Nadauld with a slab Tassel fish shore dive South.
Saturday a light N wind blows till lunchtime when it swings around to a light NE wind lighter in the South and fresher in the North. Average winter swell of 2m greets us in the morning mellowing slightly throughout the day coming from the South at a 13 second period. Sunday a SW blow from Saturday night is still on the sea till mid morning when it puffs itself out to leave glassy conditions in the late afternoon. Swell greets us mushed up with power from the SW blow at 2.5 to 3m mellowing to 2m in the afternoon.
So Saturday is go day weather wise for a dive if you can find viz and towards high tide should be the best bet there. Sunday is a blow out till later in the day if the prediction holds true.
Well fellow divers the August winds are here officially which normally signals the start of the main winter Cape fish run here in KZN. Daga salmon will be piling up on deep marks and wrecks with their cousins the Geelbek in the mix. Brusher will start moving up the coast from far South towards the Durban Bluff and Toti areas. They will be followed by the Cape Yellowtail and Pignose grunter. Snoek and Garrick are still around but spread thin at the moment along most of the coast with certain hot spots firing and then dying off. So it’s a lucky dip gamefish action wise but they say that the more you dive the luckier you get! Cape Vidal had some action and some Cape lads got into some fish. The Border open was a huge success and I will be reporting on the competition next week so look out for the article. Well done Master Guy LeMeme for taking the honours!
In the fish pictures this week we have Chad with a Snoek and a 7kg Blacktip kingfish shore dive North, Connie Hallowell with a fat Snoek shore dive South, Dieter Petrashcke with a Garrick shore dive, Kurt Bunge with his 1st Yellowbelly boat dive South, Master Darrell Hattingh with a size 32kg Daga salmon shore dive South, Master Juggs Holzman with a decent Tassle shore dive Durban, Matt Oakley with a Snoek and slab Garrick shore dive North, Melvin Pillay with a fat Garrick shore dive Durban, Peter, Henry and Dane with Daga Salmon boat dive Durban, Renier Kruger with a Yellowbelly and Bronze bream shore dive South, Robert Morland and mate Ambers and Couta boat dive Cape Vidal, Robert Morland and mates Couta and Garrick boat dive Cape Vidal, Robert Morland and mates Couta boat dive Cape Vidal and Robert Morland with an Amber boat dive Cape Vidal.
Saturday we have the usual winter offshore wind blowing early switching around to a light NE wind in the afternoon. Swell starts a bit on the chunky side at 2.3m but will flatten out during the day. Sunday a cross onshore NNE wind blows early bells putting an East bump on the sea being lighter in the South and stronger in the North giving way to moderate NE wind in the arvo. Swell has less punch than Saturday at 2m but will get messy as the sun gets past the yard arm.
Typical late winter KZN weather for us this weekend and I am going with boaties a green light for Saturday morning and coming right for shore diving around midmorning. Sunday is definitely a go for boaties and shore divers but early bird gets the worm before the NE East gets on it!
Peeps just a quick notice here. North coast beaches are closed for fishing and bathing due to more chemical spill being reported in the samples taken lately. That is all the way from Umgeni river to Sheffield in the North. No one has reported illness etc from diving that area but the sea critters especially filter feeding critters will have a high risk of containing the dangerous contaminants. Please report any fish or shellfish lying dead on the beach or shoreline.
Jaco Breedt commemoration 27-01-1985 to 07-08-2021
Jaco Breedt unfortunately passed in a drowning incident (suspected SWB) whilst diving alone off Junk Reef near Durban Harbour KZN South Africa on Saturday the 7th of August 2021 . He was a local icon for many years in the area and managed many notable catches of fish whilst diving and fishing KZN waters.
It’s never easy to say goodbye to a buddy and a dive buddy goodbye is the hardest kind of goodbye. I have had to do this on more than one occasion and it never gets any easier with repetition. The best we can do for our fallen dive buddies is remember the good times and celebrate them. Jaco Breedt lived for the sea and passed doing what he loved in life.
Through his 25 year plus diving career he dived with a lot of KZN’s top divers including Protea divers Gyula Plagani, Angelo Spada and Jaco Blignaut. He also showed a lot of current local divers the ropes when it came to diving in around the local Durban area and will be sorely missed by all including Troy Ellof, Louis Schourie, Melvin Pillay and Dane Chittock.
When it comes to spearfishing we are all aware that it is a dangerous sport to partake in but there are certain safety steps that can be adhered to make it safer. Try to always dive with a buddy and spot each other whilst diving (one up one down). If diving alone take fewer risks and do not push your dives to the limit. No fish is worth a life. Inexperienced divers always follow the experienced diver. Always have someone spotting when working deep caves especially when there is a strong current. And my all time 1st and golden rule “If in doubt sit it out”…there will always be another dive day or another fish!
Troy Ellof has sent me quite a few of Jaco Breedt’s fish captures and you can definitely see that the man is at one with the sea and in his happy place. I have included these pictures as a commemoration of his life at sea.
Goodbyes hurt the most, when the story was not finished…
Rest in peace Jaco Breedt…
As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…
Richard’s GT and other stories from Umzimkulu Adrenalin today Richard’s GT and other stories from Umzimkulu Adrenalin: Richard and Nina called us up for some fishing on the estuary this morning. They are considering getting a double kayak and heading out together. I began by telling them that kayaks are the number one cause of […]
Bucktails vs The Law Bucktails vs The Law: “Sean, Sean, please man, we need your assistance. We’ve been arrested for jigging with bucktails! Fishing down here in PSJ!”, came the call. DAFF And so I sprang into action. Called up my dear DAFF contact Bongani, and asked him about it all. Bongani pulled out of […]
Fishing School is back on at Umzimkulu Adrenalin Fishing School is back on at Umzimkulu Adrenalin: due to popular demand from hundreds of bored kids, we are re-opening Fishin’s Cool Fishing School. Limited numbers! Ages allowed are 10 to 15. R160 per day includes lunch (2 x hot dogs) and as much fruit juice as […]
Legging it with the Green Net and Tony Turton on the Umzimkulu Legging it with the Green Net and Tony Turton on the Umzimkulu: Legging is a method of moving a boat through a canal tunnel or adit containing water. This method of navigating through canal tunnels and adits was commonly used in canal tunnels during […]
Third wave of sardines have hit the beach in Durban! Third wave of sardines have hit the beach in Durban! Adam Kamdar has his finger right on the pulse of each and every sardine as they try to get past Durban. Adam reports for a number of media outlets that count on him daily for […]
Jason Heyne and Sean Lange have teamed up to bring you the Master Watermen Collection. Of stories, galleries, video, information, conditions, how-to, and a shop full of products and services. And all other things underwater.