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A Lucky Garrick (Lichia amia)

Posted by Silverback on 06 November 2007 at 12:54 PM

Sometimes you just get lucky.

I was in the plane about to land in Durban. The sea looked terrible. The Easter was turning the sea into a maelstrom. This was going to put a serious damper on spearfishing.

I met up with the family enjoying their holiday, while dad had been slaving at work. I threw the spearfishing gear into the back of the bakkie with disgust and thought: Time to score some brownie points. I suggested a picnic at Rocky Bay. The kids would love it: rockpools to explore and I could spend time with the wife.

We arrived at Rocky Bay. The sea looked foul but there were stacks of dolphins in the surf and even some whales behind the backline. The family enjoyed the dolphins’ antics and were suitably impressed with every whales’ water-spout. I was fascinated by the dolphins and decided to jump in and take a look. I kitted quickly and grabbed my little gun, just in case.

The swim out was horrible. There was a tremendous surge with substantial rips. The waves did not seem to have any pattern, which just meant swimming through “balls to the wall”. As I moved passed the backline, I looked up to re-orientate myself. Approx 10m to my right 2 dolphin were approaching quickly. There was a lot of churned up sand but these dolphin looked as if they were on a collision course with me. I dived expecting the dolphin to be in front of me.

Instead a brazen garrick cirled looking at me inquisitively. Instinctively I lined up and pulled the trigger. The fish went stiff, obviously spined. Horror of horrors, it just slid off the spear, the flopper had not engaged it was pinched to the shaft!
I surfaced quickly sucked in fresh air and dived. The fish was lying below me moving backwards and forwards in the surge. I fired again. Missed. Quick reload. 3 or 4 rushed breaths on the surface. This fish was sure to be gone. What a waste, I thought. Dived again. There it was. I put the spear right against it and fired. Got it. Now it dawned on me. I had no stringer. I had jumped in not expecting to see anything, the gun going along as an after-thought. Also, I had heard lots of stories about the Zambezi sharks in this area. I left the fish on the spear and clutching the gun swam through poor viz into the rough shore break. With every tug on the line I thought: Must be a shark taking my fish. Finally onto the beach, exhausted. Slowly wound the line back on the reel. A few people strolled up to see what I was up to. Then slowly the fantastic fish washed up, spear through it. A lucky dive indeed!

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