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Scottburgh: The Spearfishing Mecca

Posted by Silverback on 06 November 2007 at 01:26 PM

Spearfishing in, around and offshore of Scottburgh

When I talk of Scottburgh I include the area from Umkomaas down to Pennington. There are 3 official launch sites, these being the Umkomaas River, Park Rynie Skiboat Club and the Pennington Skiboat Club. I have experience with the first two sites. Launching a boat off the shore in Natal remains one of the most exciting experiences. There is an old adage regarding skippers: “There are two types of skippers, those that have flipped their boat and those that are going to flip their boat!”

The areas to consider when spearfishing off a boat begin with the wreck of the Nebo and Aliwal Shoal deeper than 25m (Aliwal Shoal Crown and the wreck of the Produce enjoy complete protection i.e. no fishing/spearfishing). Moving S from Aliwal one encounters the various features of Scottburgh Ridge, incl elements like Castle reef and Scottburgh Ledges. Use the water tower and antenna above Scottburgh to orientate yourself. Further out is 19 fathoms which is very deep so look for pinnacles but be warned this area has become notorious for its aggressive Zambesi’s. Off Park Rynie you encounter Butchers to the N and then notably Landers about 4km out from launch site. S of launch is the Umzimai Wall, again this is very deep look for shallow pinnacles. Notable species encountered: Black Cracker, Englishman, Natal Bankie, Catface and Yellowbelly Rockcod. Gamefish include ‘Couta, Wahoo, Dorado, Sailfish and Marlin!

What about shore entries? From Umkomaas: the area directly in front of the dive-lodge S of the river, then the points: Widenham, Clansthal, Greenpoint, Scottburgh, S of the Park Rynie launch and Umdoni Point. Fishing pressure is high so your effort/fish is high but expect Kob, Grunter, Garrick, Natal Snoek and Queenfish as well as reef fish like Zebra, Bronzie’s and Natal Knifejaw. One other bonus is crayfish. They may not be collected from a boat but can be taken on shore entry. Only the species ‘Panulirus homarus’ Natal/East Coast rock lobster and then only with a permit.

One often encounters spearo’s with buoy in tow, off which several fish and a bag of crayfish is hanging. Never hang fish off a belt stringer. Recently a spearo was bitten on the lower leg by what appears to be a large Great White. Crayfish have an accurate clock resulting in them crawling around in the open with impunity out of season, in season, however, look for them deep in rock crevasses and holes, often found with morays which are notable for their foul attitudes and sharp teeth.

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