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Sedgefield

Posted by Silverback on 06 November 2007 at 01:25 PM

A Cold Utopia

Much of our spearfishing is scouting trips to the National Champs areas. We figure that eventually we should have spearfished along the entire South African coast. This trip saw us checking out Sedgefield/Plett, the Garden Route.

We launched with a fishing skipper, Nicky, from Knysna and headed West toward the Sedgefield Banks, next to the Goukamma Marine Protected Area. This was the last day we would be checking out this area. We were flying back to Jhbg that evening. In 3 months we would be back competing against the best of the best in South Africa.

I was well rested, my head clear of mucous and my body enjoying the diving. It had recently been cold with a shallow thermocline. Not good for scouting when you realise that the Great Whites use the thermocline to avoid detection when hunting seals. Today was different. The sea had changed overnight. Warm, calm, clear water, almost unheard of for this area. The morning started poorly. The dives were comfortable and easy but every time we were called to the boat to move to new spot, I had no fish but the other divers were starting to show their prowess, accounting for Red Roman, Cape Knifejaw even a Bonito. You do start to get despondent when this happens.

By late morning my luck changed. I saw fish, not big enough to shoot but I was starting to see fish that attracted my curiosity. I started pushing my bottom times. That is when things started to come right. The longer I stayed down the more and bigger fish I saw. I made every attempt to breathe up properly, not make any noise, get down to the reef quietly and remain silently hidden. I made every attempt not to stare at big fish. Basically watch from the corner of one eye. Before I had become aware of the situation, I had 5 large fish of different species on the boat.

You know things are going well when everyone is expounding the stories of their success and you are still busy hunting. No-one is asking questions like what are you seeing or where are you looking? We were only moving when new species were not found. My best fish came in deep water 22m+. I saw the pattern before the fish. Big Red Stump, I thought. I lined up. Out of the corner of my eye, even bigger stripes. A really big fish was hanging on the periphery. I waited. When I thought the fish was in range, I squeezed the trigger. On the way to the surface I felt the fish struggling. It turned out to be a 4kg Santer. Sadly, poor weather kept us from competing in this area for Nationals.

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