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Spearfishing: How to work a ledge. KZN North coast South Africa

KZN North Coast A decent Tropical tail cruising through the hot spot on the ledge

Hi peeps and welcome back to Master Watermen. In this video I show how working up and down a long ledge can yield exceptional results even in shallow water (8 to 12m) and in not so great visibility as well.

When there is current and the visibility is bad I will either reef up using a reef hook or a drop weight if the current is not too hectic. What this does is leaves your buoy as a marker for you to look at whilst breathing up on the surface to scout around so as to maximise reef coverage and time in the water. Then you can use the buoy as a frame of reference so that you can consistently stay on the hot spot mark once you have found it.

I like to start up current then work my way down the ledge with the current as I progress through the dive. Once I have found a good hot spot mark on the ledge I will work it from the top of the ledge to the outside of the ledge to find the sweet spot where the better fish are holding.

In general the game fish (pelagic fish) will hold above the reef and outside of the ledge on or over the sand. They will definitely be present on the tide and if there is a prevalent current pulling down the ledge. The bottom fish (dimersal fish) will hold to the structure and caves as much as they can, holding tighter to the structure in a stronger current and poorer visibility.

The ledge in the video was new to me on this particular dive so the advice above definitely holds true!

Remember that quite often you get a series of ledges running parallel to a beach so work them one by one going deeper till you find that honey hot spot on the ledge. Please bear (pun intended) in mind that it is not necessarily the deepest ledge at the spot that makes for a great DINNER!

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…

Link to the full Narrow Barred Spanish mackerel video


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Bear weekend Dive Report 05-03-2021

Master Richardt Botes with a brace of Snoek boatdive Durban

Bear weekend dive report 05-03-2021

Bear weekend dive report 05-03-2021: Hi peeps and welcome to the Bear weekend dive report brought to you by the and

Well it has not been a great start to the crayfish season with some larger surf around and bad viz up and down the coast. I still managed to scratch two bags up North (read…prawns…hahaha) but it was not easy pickings! I also managed to fluff a Couta (high shot) and lose one (barb did not open)! Oh the bleakness! Fish did come out though so let’s have a look see.

We have Garreth LeRoux with his 1st Threadfin Mirror fish on a boatdive off Durban, Keaton with a bomber snoek on a shoredive up North, Kevin with a Rock salmon on a shoredive up North today, Master Craig Harper and Ruan Potgieter with Wahoo on a boatdive down South (Ruans 1st Wahoo 21kg), Master Richardt Botes with a lovely brace of Snoek on a boatdive off Durban and Teegan Coulonval with a Couta boatdiving off Durban.

Video report

Let us see what the weekend weather god’s have in store for us!

For once we have a SW blowing today(Friday) so some viz and warmer water should come in somewhere along the coast line, either lower South or middle to lower North coast would be my guess. The SW drops off in the night switching to a light offshore tomorrow morning both North and South with a North Easterly in the afternoon being lighter in the North and puffing more in the South.

Sunday the NE dies off completely in the South switching to a light Southerly in the arvo. Durban and North there of the NE blows through the night then picks up in the arvo on Sunday.

The swell will be big in the South getting bigger on Sunday swinging to a proper southerly swell of 2m from 1.7 m on Saturday. Durban and North will have the same swing from the South but Durban smaller at 1.5m and North at 1.8m Saturday morning with Durban building towards Sunday at 1.7m and North getting smaller at 1.6m.


So Saturday looking better than Sunday morning unless you hitting a boatdive then Sunday morning looking great down South!

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

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Taylor-Rose Toich opens the SA Women’s spearfishing record (Pending) for Daga salmon 12.05Kg (Corvina/ Mullowa y/Jew fish/Kob)

Taylor Rose Toich with the pending South African womens record Daga salmon of 12.05kg

Taylor-Rose Toich opens the SA Women’s spearfishing record (Pending) for Daga salmon 12.05Kg (Corvina/ Mulloway/Jew fish/Kob)

Taylor tells me she was trying to put some more points on the board for the Diving Divas spearfishing Champs which runs from February to November when she managed to bag this Beauty daga salmon!

Diving Divas South Africa is a group which was formed to help SA women grow & learn spearfishing with the guidance of experienced spearfishing women to compete for provincial and national colours in spearfishing and also to have a passion for the sport. Contact @divingdivasSouthAfrica divingdivassouthafrica

Taylor is from East London in the Eastern Cape and she says that conditions last week Wednesday and Thursday (24/25-02-2021) were truly epic with calm seas and crystal viz which is not an everyday occurrence in East London! Taylor and her dad dived the Wednesday but she did not get the extra points she needed so they decided to hit another shore dive on the Thursday after work at 3 Sisters reef.

3 Sisters is a long 3Km walk from the parking lot at Bonza Bay beach on soft sand but well worth the slog and needless to say Taylor was quite amped to get in and dive by the time they got there! They swam the 1km to the reef and decided to dive the inside section of the reef with a big cave that has two entrances.

After diving for a while Taylor managed to bag a small Baardman (Tassel fish) and her dad swam up to her and asked if she would like to shoot a Kob? There’s a whole shoal in the cave with a rockod and a Zebra fish! Taylor dived down to have a look even though at her experience level she finds cave diving a bit skits and there was quite a bit of wave surge which can pin you inside the cave. After checking out the gloom inside the cave she told her dad that there was zip in the cave.

Dad went back to have a look and returned saying she must look carefully and you will see the Kob in the back. Back down she went and guess which fish she shot? The Zebra! Hahaha…needless to say dad was nonplussed! But he came to the rescue and said let’s check the other entrance to the cave and the daga salmon had moved that side! Lucky!

Taylor psyched herself up, breathed up properly and went down again. Having a look around in the second cave entrance and she saw zip again in the gloom at first but decided to move into the cave further until she got her body halfway in the cave with dad almost having a hernia topside! Aha! Now she could see the shoal of Kob and all of a sudden she saw there was a rock in the cave with a big silver fish behind it! She let fly with the spear and managed to get a good holding shot remembering to grab her line and not the gun on the way out of the cave playing the fish on the way to the surface.

A tug of war tussle ensued and she managed to get her first Kob to the surface, dad beaming with pride! 12.05kg is a decent Kob by shore diving standards…well done Taylor!

And that’s not all…they went out a bit deeper and Taylor was lying on the bottom waiting for fish and feeling all rosy with her Kob when she glanced up towards the surface and a Marlin was swimming over her! A frikken MARLIN! She got spooked at first thinking shark then she spotted the bill and big pec’s and tail fin…and wisely opted not to pull the trigger and let it swim by for another day!

Spike fish (marlin) are spearfishing rig thieves of note and that’s stealing from Master Divers with all the right gear! You did the right thing letting it swim by…especially on a shore dive Taylor!

Taylor’s gear:

Omer Alien mask and Rob Allen snorkel

Freedivers carbon fins

Rob Allen Xflex green camo wetsuit

1m Freedivers carbon gun with a single 18mm band

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…


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The Bears weekend Dive Report 26-02-2021


The Bears weekend Dive Report 26-02-2021

“Bang on time the weekend dive report came out on video on YouTube on Friday, and today on the Master Watermen. Next week we will do it all same time! Shot Bear, for the great work man! – Xona”

Hi and welcome to The Bears weekend dive report brought to you by an

Weekend Dive Report

Well peeps it’s been a great week for the lucky few that managed to find decent viz and those that
braved the large surf that was cooking up and down the coast. Mackies were around in numbers
with more Snoek than you could shake a stringer at and some decent Couta around as well all mostly
just above shoal size with no Crocs being shot and landed. Some were sited though but goggles tend
to make things bigger in the water right? Ha ha ha ha…

That is the good news…the bad news is that late Wednesday night through to Thursday morning the
heavens opened up properly and killed the decent viz that had just pulled in up and down the coast!
Every river (read streamlet drain etc etc) spewed chocolate into the blue which is now been turned
into BLEEN (brown green that was blue)!



Onto the feeshies from the week we have Arno with a decent 18kg Couta shot up North, Connie
Hallowell with his 1 st Couta up North, Henry with a lovely brace of Rock salmon, Liam Mullaney with
a special Speckled snapper North, Master Dane Salmon with a bus Tomato rockod of 4.5Kg gutted
on a boatdive South, Matthew Bothma with his 1 st Snoek shorediving North, Morne with a lovely 7kg
Snoek shorediving Durban, Ruan Potgieter with his 1 st Rock salmon shoredive North, Troy Ellof with a
size Harry hotlips 7.3Kd shoredive Durban and last but not Least Master Jaco Blignaut with a new SA
record Amberjack of 52.4kg shot boatdiving South at 45m. You can read more about this insane
Amberjack in the news article here


Right let’s see what the weather gods have in store for us this weekend…hmmm Durban and North
coast are looking great with a light offshore Saturday morning switching to light onshore in the arvo
and South pretty much the same just will be puffin slightly more in the arvo. Saturday swell is zip
Durban and North coast Picking up slightly in the arvo and 1.3 m further down South to 1.8m in the
arvo. Sunday is pretty much a copy of Saturdays weather just slightly more onshore wind in the arvo
and the surf starting off bigger in the South and mellowing later as the onshore flattens it out.
So it’s definitely a dive weekend especially if you have a boat (or a mate with one)!

Oh and do not forget to renew your East coast rock lobster permit …Monday the season opens again!
As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…

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New South African Spearfishing record Greater Amberjack 52.4Kg (Seriola dumerili)

Jaco Blignaut 52kg amberjack new South African record spearfishing

New South African Spearfishing record Greater Amberjack 52.4Kg  (Seriola dumerili)

The KZN South Coast is a hot spot for giant greater amberjack. And ace spearo Jaco Blignaut just keeps breaking records. Even if they are his own! – By Jason Heyne

Well champ Master Jaco Blignaut was at it again this weekend (21 February 2021) breaking South African records with a BUS Amber of 52.4kg. Eclipsing his previous standing SA record shot in 2019  by a whopping 15.6kg (36.8kg)!

These fish are infamous for busting up gear and putting even experienced divers in trouble especially when shot at depth with the go-to shot placement being through the gill plates. Which seems to slow these steam trains down if you can’t place a kill shot. Through the body shot normally results in a goodbye spear and or a serious knitting session of line through the reef.

I caught up with the Champ last night and he says he tried for the kill shot but just missed the switch box (brain) at a depth of 45m on a mark down KZN South coast and so ensued a 20 minute plus battle with this beast of a fish. Jaco reckons the fish took all his line on both gun and belt reels (about 100m or so) and he nearly had to ditch the whole rig! 

Jaco says it was shot with a prototype 1m inverted roller gun he has been developing @salt_refelex. He recons he has put 3 years of RnD into the roller head already! Hopefully I can get a go with this sick puppy when it’s ready for testing and write up a review…nudge nudge, wink wink Jaco!

Oh and NO the fish did not fit in the HATCH!

Well done Master Jaco Blignaut!

The Master Watermen

The Master Watermen website and YouTube channel are off to a flying start. And Jason’s weekly news-style video roundup, with conditions forecast and other useful tidbits, is going to a regular thing to look forward to. Every Friday!

Website by The Sardine News for the Master Watermen. If you have some news for Jason to include in his weekly roundup or as a feature like this one, then drop him an email on anytime!

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Bear weekend Dive Report 19-02-2021

The Master Watermen website and YouTube Channel love to feature stories like this. If you have a story, video or some pics, please consider sending it in to The Bear for consideration. He is on anytime! SEO by The Sardine News for the Master Watermen. Site and hosting by TLC for your Business. Dive Report.

Bear weekend Dive Report 19-02-2021

Jason Heyne getting to grips with his new broadcasting software, allowing us an almost 3D Bear weekend Dive Report 19-02-2021.

“Hi and welcome to the Bear’s weekend Dive Report brought to you by and Master
Well peeps it’s pretty much been a nothing doing week due to some inclement weather , larger swell
and viz being hard to find.
Some fish did come out though and we have Christo Muller with a Dorado on a boatdive off Durban
followed by Hennie boatdiving down South with a size Seapike and an exceptional Dageraad which
are like hens teeh to find in KZN waters, then last but not least we have Keaton from the “putty
team” slaying the Snoek as usual with a decent brace and a single fish both on shoredives up North.

Dive Report 19-02-2021
Dive Report 19-02-2021

As regards the weather this weekend it is looking Great for tomorrow morning (Saturday) with a
light onshore in the afternoon only, more NE wind south and just about zip wind up the North coast.
As for the swell for Saturday we have a large Northerly swell running at 2.2m Durban and 2.4m down
South. North coast seems to not get the swell according to the predictions and will only get a 1.4m
Northerly swell. Saturday the swell cranks South at 2.4m plus and 2.3m Durban to 17m up North
with a fresh to moderate South Westerly coming through early bells. Hopefully the Tropical storm up
North by Maputo in Moz does not affect us as much as the last one and dissipates by Thursday next
week far offshore as predicted because those Mackies are out there thick ATM with February being
prime time for them.
So it looks like Saturday morning is a go for a dive and Sunday is cooked out.
As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…”

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Youngest Lady Spearo in the Country /World???

Young Ella Bunge about to swim out and scare some sharks

Youngest Lady Spearo in the Country /World???

Miss Ella Bunge hails from the South coast of KZN South Africa and at 9 years old is already bringing home dinner from the sea!

This last week she got her full bag of four Shad/Tailor/bluefish and fed the whole family says dad Kurt Bunge, which is a step up already from the Karanteen she managed to bag the week before.

Diving family

Ella and her little sister Leah are gonna be a great team!

Her Dad reckons her younger sister Leah will follow soon into the ocean and be another youngest Spearo in the family (pictured next to Ella). Ella has her sights set on bagging a Bronze bream next and her dream feeshie is currently a Garrick/Leervis/Lichia which she hopes to get a shot at this next Garrick season which starts in May this year and her favourite diving spot Ramsgate is the right place to look for Garrick.

Her Spearo hero’s are Dad and Master Don Solomon from Pathos South Africa.
The future is bright for South African spearfishing with young Spearo’s like Ella and her sister joining the ranks!

Ella’s Gear…

Mask: Mares X Free
Snorkel: Mares
Fins: Very soft Majorika SUB Dolfin sponsored by Master Don Solomon from Pathos SA
Gun: Freedivers 900 with two 14mm over length bands and a customised handle to fit her
small hand.

“Yowser! Thank you young Ella for featuring on the Master Watermens as our youngest spearo ever! And thanks to Dad for sending in the pics and story! Maybe soon Ella and The Bear can team up and go for a dive together and make some video? Maybe then Ella can teach the old Bear a few lessons!” – Xona

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Hot spot Identification KZN South Africa

KZN South Africa is where these video titorials by Jason Heyne are being filmed and produced

Hot spot Identification KZN South Africa

“Righto, deep in KZN South Africa, Jason Heyne getting very technical in this bumper giveaway of hard-earned secrets. Lucky most won’t recognise all the different species that feature in this thesis. I certainly don’t!” – Xona

In this KZN spearfishing tutorial we look at how to ID a good mark (Hot Spot) and what to do to
get maximum size fish off the mark.

Why is it essential to hunt and look for Hot Spot marks whilst spearfishing? Why are game fish
and larger size demersal fish (bottom\reef fish)more prevalent around these Hot Spot marks?
It’s the old needle in a haystack idiom…there is an extremely large amount of Ocean to search to
find your trophy fish and Hot Spots act as magnets for the needle (trophy fish) because they
have holding fish loaded on them which in turn attracts game fish looking for food and larger
demersal’s looking for cover and company for early threat detection. No holding fish equals zero
or minimal chance of a game fish or trophy size demersal’s so please try to avoid shooting the
holding fish off of a Hot Spot mark as they are resident fish and normally breed and grow slowly!
The 5 holding fish to look for are:

  1. Old women angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboids) Brown angelfish with a vertical bar
    towards the tail area, the juveniles have blue vertical bars which fade at maturity. These
    angelfish will hold tight to the mark in bad visibility and be more spread out around the
    mark in good visibility.
  2. Yellowfin surgeonfish (Acanthurus xanthopterus) Purple-grey in colour with a yellow
    patch behind the eye and yellow pectoral fins and feeds off waste and scraps from the
    other holding fish so they will be present if other holding fish are there in numbers.
  3. Cave bass (Dinoperca petersi) Blackish brown with white specs which fade as they get
    bigger and look similar to freshwater bass in shape. They are present almost always if
    there is a cave on the mark and 2kg plus Cave bass generally indicate a mark that does
    not get a lot of spearfishing pressure.
  4. Dusky rubberlips (Plectorhinchus chubbi) Oblong fish with pale brown-grey bodies
    which are darker on top and they have fat white lips hence the rubberlips in the name. If
    there is a big shoal of these fish in the 2kg plus range on the mark it is definitely a Hot
    Spot and receives minimal pressure from spearfishing.
  5. Natal fingerfin (Chirodactylus jessicalenorum) Oblong pink fish with fat lips and a
    forked tail. If there are a number of these fish around over 1.5kg it is a definite Hot Spot
    and has received minimal pressure from spearfishing.

If the above fish are present in numbers it is worth while working the mark for a number of downs
(dives to the bottom) to look for larger demersal fish and game fish before targeting any pan size
fish. Try lying still on different spots on the bottom around the mark and you will see larger fish
returning to the mark after your first down. Lie still for long enough and they will get curious and
swim in closer to you as they get used to your presence on the mark.

These are the fish you need to recognise…(one missing)

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears from the Bear…

“Yowser Jason fantastic work”! – Xona

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Daga dreaming…

Daga dreaming…

Thump thump like an amplified heart beat that reverberates in your solar plexus…then again thump thump and again thump thump…silence only the sound of your own increased heart beat. The unmistakeable sound of big  Daga Salmon calling to each other. But where are they…thump thump thump, thump thump…you are trying not to move and keeping as quiet as possible…thump thump…then you make out the bright dots that travel along the lateral line of the Dagas first and their shadows on the sand below as  they circle closer in  like ghosts  from deeper out on the sand and time seems to freeze briefly as you hope and pray they come in close enough to plant a decent shot through their armour plated scales.

Big Daga Salmon aka Kob or Cape Salmon (Croakers/Giant Corvina Med and North Africa, Mulloway Australia) are enough to rattle even seasoned pros and have led to quite a few Spearos having a shallow water black out especially when hunting them off the deep KZN ledges and wrecks were they normally holdup and rest during the day 22m and deeper only coming in shallow at night or when visibility is poor in the shallows. They travel up the East coast of South Africa from the Cape following the annual Sardine run from June and bulk up for breeding on the nutrient rich Sardines from Port St Johns river in the Transkei to KZN and Zululand waters towards spring and early summer. In recent years stocks of these large Argyrosymus species have been overfished and the breeding numbers are at an all time low according to the older commercial line fishing skippers and Marine biologists. The estuaries where the young Daga salmon and smaller half kob feed and get shelter from open ocean predators are also in a poor state due to pollution and silting up from bad catchment area management. Illegal gill netting is also on the rise adding more pressure on juveniles in the estuaries and coastal rivers closer to home here in KZN and up in Zululand as well.

The good news is that two of the main holding spots for the Daga salmon off Umkomaas KZN (Nebo and Produce wrecks) are now under protection within the New MPA (Marine protected Areas ) as of beginning of September this year with only pelagic game fish being allowed to be harvested/caught within the new extended Marine reserve recently Gazetted. The new Tugela river mouth MPA will protect them to a certain degree as well.

They are definitely a trophy fish for shore divers and boat divers alike , with a 20kg plus fish being considered the benchmark in recent times (specimens over 70kg have been caught on rod and line) and can do serious damage to your terminal gear straightening barbs and breaking spears , sometimes snapping 250kg running line like cotton and opening stainless steel retaining clips if not seriously hurt or killed outright with decent shot placement…never mind getting them up to the surface through circling hungry Blacktip and Zambezi (Bull) sharks that hold off the deeper marks waiting for free takeaways alla “Spearo Mr delivery”.

Recently I lucked into a decent specimen shore diving the Umhlali area on the KZN North coast in Crystal 20m plus viz…and my trusty cheap Chinese HD camera was on and recording! This being the second one I have managed to bag in the last three years or so whilst shore diving in KZN.

Dylan Koekemoer ( previous apprentice and Umhlanga Spearfishing Club Chairman) came along with me and another diving mate the day before for a quick Crayfish dive and maybe a chance for a Garrick or Queen Mackerel or two and I stayed shallow still not being able to equalize properly after a two to three week bout of sinus and flu. This turned out to my advantage having to stay shallower than my dive mates and  bagging a decent 8kg Garrick from a quick moving shoal on the backline and a 4.5kg Catface rockod out a bit deeper in 14m whilst looking for my last 4 crayfish from a new cave and ledge I found in the 15m plus viz , but my right sinus was squeaking badly and my dive buddies had hit the beach already so I didn’t go any deeper and swam back to the parking in the 1knt plus reverse South North current. Besides a small shoal of Queen mackerel they had seen no fish at all. On the way back home I asked if they wanted to give it a bash the following morning but both had other commitments so I figured I would give it a quick go the following morning ace out staying shallow again looking for the Queen mackerel  shoals before the predicted North East made it too bumpy.

Just before I left the following morning at 5am Dylan messaged saying he would join after all as his plans for the day had been cancelled, always a plus having a dive buddy and we found ourselves swimming out same spot at sunrise the main dive mission being to get Dylan a Garrick over 10kg and some Queen mackies. Wow 20m plus viz but not much current and the first Garrick shoal came past me in 10 minutes somehow eluding Dylan but after I got my fish the shoal returned and Dylan managed to bag a decent one, after a second shot from me, just a shade under 10kg so it was smiles all round.

We decided to look a little deeper and 5 minutes in I bagged a decent 8.5kg Queen Mackie out of a fast moving shoal of 200 plus fish and we hung around for a while nothing else doing so went out to 15m in search of some crayfish and bottom fish. At this stage Dylan was getting cold so grabbed his bugs and headed in while I carried on diving wanting to check the spot from the day before again which was 100m further south on the reef and had two semi decent caves and a ledge a bit deeper out. I dived down onto the 1st cave and immediately noticed a big crayfish in a crack above the cave so grabbed it quickly and as I started my accent there came that unmistakeable drumming sound…Thump, thump thump, thump thump! DAGAS! I checked both caves but no joy so headed out to the deeper ledge for a quick look before the long swim/walk back to the parking.

Straight away from the surface I could see it was a great mark with a pile of fish holding on it, Tassel fish, Bronze bream and plenty Old Women holding above and on the ledge. As I reached the ledge I noticed two medium sized (4/5ft) sharks circling out on the sand outside of the ledge but they moved off as I got in position to make a dive on the up current side of the ledge. Just before I duck dived I saw what I thought was one of the sharks moving down the ledge away from me and ignored it diving down on top of the Tassel fish as quietly and slowly as possible so as not to spook them. My last equalise just above them squeaked through my right sinus and they bolted down the reef  from the sound so I decided to settle on the reef and look around for a decent fish maybe coming in from the sand deeper out. As I looked to my right out over the sand I made out two white ghostly shapes heading towards me which materialised into two Daga salmon one fairly large model in the lead followed by a sub 20kg one! Turning slowly and smoothly with my gun I turned and moved slightly forward to close the gap waiting for the bigger fish to move past me a bit so as to be able to place the shot from slightly behind and above to get under those big scales and timed the shot perfectly just missing the kill shot but going through the shoulder behind the head and exiting just behind the opposite sides pectoral fin. She bolted off at speed swimming around the top of the ledge with the dyneema getting entangled in some reef growth. Two  more circuits around and the dyneema  gave the reef a haircut and the fish was loose and free of the reef before I hit the surface so I started applying pressure to keep the fish off the bottom with it dragging me under once or twice and 5 minutes later I had my hand in the gills of this beautiful silver slab of a fish! It was a long swim back because there was no way I could carry it along with the rest of my catch, one and a half hours later I reached the parking absolutely exhausted but super stoked with the epic dive! She tipped the scales at 29kg…

Daga Salmon tips from me are don’t move just your gun onto the fish move with the gun, moving just the gun tends to spook them and when lying on a ledge next to sand just a single quick pull on the gun rubbers tends to call them in to investigate. They hunt by sound so hear everything so try not to make noise and don’t equalise directly above them or on the same level as them. I use 7.5mm spears and 2mm stainless steel retaining quick clips from Rob Allen with 1,8mm Dyneema running line so as not to lose out on those bigger fish.

Travelling spearo Chris Leppan has a few tips as well …”Always dive with a buddy, they can put a second shot (if needed) into your fish and remember your dive buddy should be someone who you trust! I once shot a Daga that reefed me up in a bad spot in the wave zone and got tangled in my line with a powerful Daga on the end of my spear. I managed to shout out to my dive buddy who came over and cut the line which allowed me to keep my gun and the fish. Thanks Marcus, I owe you one! Keep your guns well maintained! Check your spears and replace them if they are rusted or bent. Daga Salmon are extremely powerful fish and I have snapped a spear clean in half on a Daga of a lifetime! I have noticed that Dagas frequent the same spots every year. If you have managed to see or shoot a Daga in a particular spot chances are you will see another one there. Check your Daga spots when the season comes round and don’t tell your friends (or your instagram followers) where you found your fish! Loose lips create crowded dive spots!”

I will be putting the full Daga salmon video up on Master watermen YouTube channel here is the link to the channel for all to enjoy and as always dive safe and straight spears…

“Yowser Jason, that is real quality work right there…

Looking forward to your next tutorial. What your gonna shoot this time?” – Xona

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Spearfishing Croc Couta (Trophy Narrow Barred Spanish Mackerel) Crystal or dirty water?

Croc Couta shooting tutorial by Jason Heyne

Spearfishing Croc Couta (Trophy Narrow Barred Spanish Mackerel)
Crystal or dirty water?

Scomberomorus commerson aka Narrow Barred Spanish Mackerel aka Couta is a prize fish
for just about any Spearo to shoot and a Croc Couta (19kg plus) is a serious trophy fish to shoot
from a boat never mind on a shore entry dive! Join me in this episode as I stalk and hunt a lovely
Croc Couta on a shore entry dive on the North coast of KZN South Africa right at the start of the
Couta season for us which is normally around November most years (fishermen swear it only
starts in December!).

A question that gets asked quite often is “Clean or dirty water for big Couta?” I personally prefer
around about 8m to max 10m viz for shooting bigger fish as you can get a better chance at a
good close shot on the fish which is generally a requirement as they have a solid body and long
shots tend to not penetrate all the way through so the spear barb (shafts flopper) can penetrate
and engage. They are absolute steam trains and can empty reels in seconds with long strong
runs. Take note how I use a gun reel plus a belt reel both filled with about 50m of strong braided
cord to play and subdue the fish.

Also take note that having a good dive buddy to back you up with a second shot is always agreat help plus the dive buddy can also help to keep the ever present Sharks away from treating
you Croc Couta as Take out! On this dive I have a great dive buddy Master Richardt Botes who
backs me up perfectly and places the coup de gras shot with aplomb straight through the Croc
Couta’s brain killing it instantly!

Hope you enjoy the video and tutorial and as always Dive Safe and Straight spears…

Jason Heyne explains exactly how to go about shooting a big one of these croc couta as they are affectionately known around here.

“Hell’s Bells Jason, these stories and videos just keep getting better and better man!

Looking forward to your next tutorial. What your gonna shoot this time” – Xona

The Sardine News

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Quick Spearfishing duck dive tutorial with special guest Master Richardt Botes

Duckdiving with the Master Watermen

Quick Spearfishing duck dive tutorial with special guest Master Richardt Botes

Welcome back for another Master Watermen spearfishing Tutorial. This episode centres around the different types of the duck dive from the surface when on the decent. This one is for you Clive Honiball (To Dive For) and your student diver troop!

A good duck dive is tantamount to a good dive without a doubt as being relaxed and having decent grace (natural flowing swimming form) in the water increase’s your bottom time and helps to not scare the fish away from you as you approach them from the surface.

There are 3 types of duck dive…

  1. Both legs in the air at the same time to increase the speed of decent starting from a relaxed position with gun stowed and two or three small kicks to start the duck dive. This is a good technique when diving deep with minimal weight on the belt.
  2. One leg in the air only for stealth diving at varying depths with gun stowed and two or three small kicks to start the duck dive from a relaxed position. This is my standard go to duck dive because it has minimal splash and noise.
  3. One leg followed by the other leg starting from a gun ready position with one or two quick hard kicks to start the duck dive. This is the best duck dive for diving down on to fast game fish species.

Practise makes perfect when it comes to the Duck dive and it should eventually come naturally to you after a while. You should not be kicking whilst your fins are still out of the water and your legs should not come past the 12 o’clock position when swinging them up to start the dive. Noisy duck dives can and will SPOOK your fish! Bubbles are the Spearos enemy when stalking fish so being quiet and graceful is the key to getting better and bigger fish!

As always Dive Safe and Straight spears from the Bear…

“Right-on Jason and Richard. Let’s keep this shit coming!

Looking forward to your next tutorial.” – Xona

The Sardine News

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KZN South Africa spearfishing Queen Mackerel tutorial part 1

Queen Mackerel spearfishing Tutorial by Jason Heyne

KZN South Africa spearfishing Queen Mackerel tutorial part 1

Scomberomorus plurilineatus  AKA Queen Mackerel AKA Natal Snoek are one of my favourite species of game fish to hunt along the South African coastline especially in the Kwa Zulu Natal province. There is a bag limit 10 fish per person per day and they are absolutely divine to eat! This is the first in a four part Tutorial on how to spearfish for Natal Snoek.

They are almost present all year round on the KZN coast but are more plentiful here in the summer months from November to April when they come down from Mozambique to breed and obviously with the Sardine run June to August on the South coast of KZN.

They are game fighters and pound for pound one of the strongest game fish we have here in KZN with bigger specimens being able to strip your whole reel (they can attain 10kg plus, SA record T. Dreyer 11.4kg KZN 1985).

They hunt shallow reefs from the backline surf out to 20m plus in depth and are a shoaling game fish species sometimes up to 200/300 fish in a shoal. Early morning and late afternoons are the best time to look for these small steam trains.

In the episode we can see how fast conditions can change on the KZN north coast especially with a pushing tide with the visibility going from 6m to 15m in about an hour and the water temp bumping up a couple of degrees Celsius as well. Natal Snoek love warm water especially around the 25 Deg C mark and when the water is colder they become very spooky (hard to approach and tend to take flight at the smallest sound etc). I also show how to play a Natal Snoek on the long runs and to shoulder one’s gun using the bands and play the fish using the line and not the reel. Also watch out for the playing dead Natal Snoek and the final quick run where a LOT of beginners lose their fish.

As always Dive Safe and Straight Spears…

Jason Heyne aka The Bear

Queen Mackerel spearfishing Tutorial by Jason Heyne


The Sardine News

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Turtle vs Octopus

Turtle vs Octopus by the Master Watermen

Turtle vs Octopus

“Right, to kick off the blog section of the newly invented Master Watermen website, we have some literally unbelievable adventuring by Jason and Paul, way down deep. With a turtle and an octopus. Yes. It’s not even a joke. And there is video! Unfrigginbelievable I tell ya” – Xonalanga

Some people believe Spearfishing is just killing fish etc…but those of us at know that it is a way more than sustainable harvesting of the Ocean.

Master spearos (spearfisherpeople) are always good ambassadors and protectors of the Ocean and its creatures, we are the eyes under the surface and as such can see what condition or state the Ocean is in where we dive. I have seen how Marine animals can ask for help 1st hand whilst diving and 2nd hand via YouTube over the years and in this episode we get to see this phenomenon on a lovely dive I had with a Dive buddy (Paul) on the North Coast of KZN South Africa last year.

Loggerhead Turtle, Bottle-nose Dolphins and a Giant Manta ray all in one epic dive! The largest of all hard shelled turtles, Loggerheads are named for their massive heads and powerful jaws (leatherbacks are bigger but have soft shells). Their shell, is heart-shaped and normally a rusty brown colour. Their front flippers propel them through the water like wings, and their hind feet stabilize and steer them.

A female Loggerhead turtle always returns to the same beach she was born on after sometimes travelling thousands of km to return and lay her eggs and they nest on the beaches in Northern KZN South Africa and Mozambique at night here in the Indian Ocean and at one stage our local population was believed to be below 300 individuals. They have recovered quite well though and I see quite a few of them around on my dives here on the KZN coastline.

This male Loggerhead Turtle came to ask a favour at the end of the three and a half hour dive! He had taken a big Octopus for dinner and it became entangled around his neck! Watch as Paul and I see how we can help Mr Turtle get untangled from his dinner! TURTLE POWER! As always dive safe and straight spears from the Bear…

“Well if I can comment – YOWSER!!!

Man-oh-man Jason this is epic. And is that Paul Roxburgh in there with you?

But ok, a great attempt at convincing the public that spearos are not cold-blooded killers all the time. Only 99% of the time!

But after a chuckle, sure, agreed on every aspect, especially since the sheer amount of hours spent out there on a limb, adds up to a lot of kudos. Which means you can keep at it I suppose?

Well, between this story and Stompie, I am just pleasantly pondering at what might come next!?”


The Sardine News