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Spearfishing Off Boats

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

Extending Your Range

I previously indicated that boats/jetskis/paddleskis allow you to dramatically extend your range. One of the great advantages of using a boat is that you do not have that breath robbing swim through the surf. You are not limited to one small spot but can readily move to areas that may be more productive. The use of boats in South Africa is strictly controlled. All qualified skippers will be aware of boating requirements and regulations. It is pertinent to remind skippers that the Navy, Police and Nature Conservation strictly enforce the law off the coast. Make sure your vessel has the necessary safety equipment, permits, as well as proof of identification for all the divers together with their spearfishing permits.

When using a boat, maps+gps+sonar are essential. I find that the scale on most maps is too large for them to do much more than give you an indication of where to look. When you encounter a likely looking area institute a search pattern.

It is easier to search if you have a point of reference. This can be as easy as marking a gps point or dropping a buoy and doing a grid-search around it, all the while watching the sonar for readings. Remember to mark any likely looking structure you encounter. Good looking areas that have a strong fish showing should receive closer inspection. These should be the areas you dive onto first. When looking for a retrieved gps point bear in mind that a level of error does exist. Move as close as possible to the gps point, drop a marker buoy then search for the detail using sonar. It may be necessary to drop an additional buoy on the correct spot.

When diving on a deep reef, it will be necessary to drop divers upcurrent of marker buoy. The deeper the reef the further upcurrent the divers should be dropped. Allow divers the opportunity to make several dives in the productive area. When they have moved over the productive area, the divers will need to be picked up and moved up again. To avoid exhausting the same area, try to drop divers in such a way that parallel drifts are performed to work an area thoroughly.

Sometimes you will be very lucky with the skipper you get. We had just such a skipper in Nicky. He would look at the species shot and when it looked as if no new species were appearing, move us to a new area. On at least 3 occasions he correctly predicted the species we would encounter in a very confined area. That ability only comes with extensive experience in a particular area.

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