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Sodwana Revisited

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

Scouting before the 2007 Bluewater Gamefish Classic

We had done our preparation. We had our skipper and boat booked well ahead of the event. I had contacted a lead, via the skiboat club, which had proved very useful. The weather looked good and the sea warm. On paper, we had everything on our side.
The approach would be to tackle the easy species first and then move onto the more difficult ones. 10 species was our target. Sodwana is a marine reserve and only gamefish may be taken.

2 days to comp. The weather seemed to start deteriorating as we stepped out of the car. The sea temp dropped quickly, a plankton bloom was starting which was going to affect the viz. Not everything can be controlled. We scratched around all day while scouting. The odd kaakap and bludger made an appearance and paid for it but all in all this was not looking good. Then, while returning to the launch site, I noticed baitfish on the surface. The guys were becoming apathetic but were prepared to give it a try.

We slipped in and sidled up to the school of fusiliers. They seemed unconcerned. Then suddenly they scattered. Something had chased them from below. I dived through the school and ended up on the reef approx 18m below. Thump, thump, thump. I could hear the commotion of the chases. I swam toward the sound and out of the murk 2 grand looking Tropical Yellowtail cruised into view. The black stripes through their eyes makes them look so cool underwater. In their own inimitable fashion they swam over to look at me. Their brazen attitude seemed to suggest they were considering whether I might be edible! I lined up and fired. The fish was hit low and quite far back, near the vent. It raced off in huge circles. The activity attracting its school mates. My buddies must have been watching the proceedings because in a very short space of time, I was surrounded by spearo’s and speared fish. Awesome. The day just started to improve.
We spent the rest of the afternoon following one another around watching for a fish to be shot. Then the surface spectators would dive down to take the fish lured closer by their struggling companion.

Eventually all the divers called it a day and were back on the boat. We just looked at one another with bemused expressions of glee and satisfaction. It feels great when everything comes together.
What of the comp? Approx 60 divers competed. Only 27 managed fish. Angel-eyes and I were the only divers, amongst our buddies, to weigh fish. No diver managed 10 species. The winner shot a spectacular GT!

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