Thursday, October 9, 2014

Back to Spearfishing at Home.

My 35kg welcome home present.
Over the last 4 months I have not blogged much, I took 3 months off spearfishing to do a Commercial dive ticket. But I am back and starting to get wet again, so you guys can stop sending me love/hate mail for not blogging :-)

Yesterday was my first dive here back home since May!! I took a drive up the coast to a spot I thought I might find a few fish to get back into the swing of things. The water looked ok from the beach and was a bit murky in the backline. It got ridiculously clean from about about 250m from shore.

Crystal clean water in winter is often not a good thing as it is often 'sterile' and not very fishy. On the reef the few fish that were around were not interested at all in coming home with me.
I decided to swim against the current to the front of the deepest ledge to see if there was anything congregating there. The plan was if there was nothing there then to head back inshore and catch some buggs.

As I got to the 20m drop there is a small finger that juts out into the strong south to north current. As I got to the spot I saw the Salmon from the surface. I have dived this ledge for 20 years and it always seemed like a good spot for Salmon but I had never seen them there before.
I turned into the current trying to hold my position over the ledge while breathing up. Flip it's harder than you think! My prep was terrible and I was breathing heavily from finning ... and possibly the excitement, but decided to dive sooner than later as I did not want them to spook and swim off.

By the time I got to the top of the ledge in 19m I was a few meters back from where the Salmon where sitting. I dropped my anchor and snuck up towards them. As I got to the ledge and I could see the one sitting on the sand I tried to keep really low and out of sight. This did not happen tho there were 3 fish and the 2 smaller ones saw me and light up as they started to move off.

S*#T! I am not going to get close enough. All I had was a 1100 roller with 16mm bands, the gun I use for reefies and small mackerel. I edged to about half a meter before the edge of the ledge and lined up. I was thinking I really need to be coming dow the ledge on this fish. While I was debating with myself what to do the fish sees me and starts to turn. Thwaack the decision was made and the spear hit the fish behind the head almost stoning it.

The fish slowly glided off into the current and I was unable to see if the spear had gone through at that distance. I bailed for the surface and was fortunate to be able to incept my float that was anchored on the ledge. I clipped of the gun and put the reel on free spool. I grabbed my 900 roller with 14mm bands and swam off after the fish following the dyneema reel line.

Eventually the fish slowed down but the current was pulling hard on the fish which pulled out all the reel line and had come to a solid stop. Deciding not to risk loosing the fish I did the long swim down after the fish and put in a securing shot with the 900 ... which when right though the fish.

It took about 20min to pull myself back to the float with the fish, which was now a whole lot bigger than I thought it first was. After sorting out a massive tangle of dyneema which had collected around one of the guns while pulling back up the current I head back inshore and got some buggs.

The swim back to shore was a killer and negotiating the shore break was fairly interesting. This however, was all was done with a decent dollop of satisfaction. I guess if there ever was away to have a 'welcome back' this is it.

Coatesman

P.S - if there ever was any doubt in my mind about the roller gun story this fish sorted that out.

Check out these other posts on the Roller guns:
Roller Guns In Qatar (this was my first experience with them)
Roller Gun Test (The test I did on the guns for the Ultimate Spearfishing Magazine)
Spearfishing Tuna with Roller Guns  (a short vid from my last Ascension trip)


Monday, September 22, 2014

Spearfishing Ascension Island

Mohammed Al Kuwari 118kg Yellowfin Tuna Ascension Island
It has been a long time since I last blogged, I have been on a mission with a couple things, one of them an epic 3 week spearfishing trip to Ascension Island.

If you have been following social media you would have seen all the pics that flooded the 'interweb' from the crazy last season on the 'Rock'. I was fortunate to follow MJK there to the island and spend days on end filming the most insane Yellowfin Tuna action I have ever seen. Oh and the 40-50m vis was not mind blowing at all either .... just saying.


Anyway here is a short vid with some all time footage of MJK on a crazy sized Yellowfin.  I also got a chance and MJK did a bang up job of filming me on my PB Yellowfin Tuna. (double thumbs up to MJK)

Hope you enjoy,

Coatesman

Saturday, May 24, 2014

2014 South African National Spearfishing Championships Results

2014 National Spearfishing Champ Charlie Myburgh
The last days competition started off with the top 5 places very close together. At the weigh in there were some surprises, and the top guys all seemed to have done well. It was any ones guess what the final placings would be. We all with great anticipation waited throughout the day and then all met together in the evening for  prize giving.  It was a fantastic evening of camaraderie and connecting after three very challenging days of diving. At this the most prestigious and highest level of diving in the country. Lots of stories of the week and then, finally the time arrived to hear what the positions, we all waited with baited breath to hear the outcome. The Gully Jumpers spearfishing club in Port Elizabeth were charged with organizing the event and Richard Leonard co founder of the club had the honour of announcing the positions.
2nd Place Niel Barnard and Richard Leonard

3rd Place Eugene Van Wyngardt

But before we announce the positions we must first send out a huge thank you to our sponsors Rob Allen, Freedivers and Rabitech who all sponsored the event with some great prizes.

South African Spearfishing Nationals 2014 Results:

Team Event Results
1.  KZN A Team
2.  EP A Team
3.  WP A Team

Individuals Results:

1. Charlie Myburgh
2. Neil Niel Barnard
3. Eugene Van Wyngardt
4. Guy Le Meme
5. Heinrigh Eksteen
6. Rowan Carter
7. Angelo Spada
8. Derek Dunning
9. Richard Leonard
10. Graeme Forrer

1st Place Team Event - KZN A Team
A big shot out to the Gully Jumpers for hosting a great Nationals and keeping this blog updated.

Coatesman

2014 Port Elizabeth Spearfishing Nations Final Day

The third and final day of the PE Spearfishing National Championships 2014 had to be one of the best competition dive days that Port Elizabeth has ever seen.  It was an absolutely mind blowing morning with a light offshore breeze, beautiful flat seas and a lovely sunrise to start the day and the report said that it was only going to get better throughout the day. The competition was super close at this point with very few points separating the top five divers.
Waiting for the official start.

The guys were super amped in the morning to get back out there and compete for that very prestigious 1st place trophy.  The dive area that was selected by the captains for the last days diving was Area 4, Bushy Park. This area is known to have really good fish stocks so we knew this day could hold some really good catches.  Bushy Park is about 10 kilometers from Noordhoek.  You have to drive right through the reserve area to start diving, so we all decided to drive to the nearest end point of the reserve and meet up before blowing the hooter. All ten boats eventually arrived some much sooner than others and then it was go time!  The guys sped off into the distance trying to get to their favourite spot before any one else so as to see if they could bag some early keepers.

When we got into the water, we had 15 meters visibility! It varied from 8 to 15 meters vis in most places which is extremely good for Port Elizabeth but also makes hunting fish like Poensies and Musclecracker very difficult as they are very clever fish and could see us from a long way off.  We knew that long bottom times and very stealthy hunting was going to have to take place if we were going to bag some of these maxi weight fish.  After an incredible day of diving, a day few will forget, we finished off at 2pm and were all once again back on the beach by 3pm and the weigh-in got started.  It was definitely the best weigh-in of the competition thus far.

There were awesome fish caught.  As the guys arrived on the beach we could see from the catches in their bags that the day’s take was going to radically change the points standing.  All the guys moved up to the weigh-in station with their bags and we started weighing the fish.  As predicted there was some amazing fish caught on the day and the challenge was on.  We knew that there were very few points separating the top five positions and there was a major battle  taking place between Charlie Myburgh from the Boland, Neil Barnard and Guy Le Merne from KZN, Eugene van Wyngaardt from the Eastern Cape.
Rowan Carter with the fish of the day.
Some of the catches of the day included some very nice sized White Musclecracker and a couple of Yellowtail were also taken. Rowan Carter from KZN managing to land an incredible bag, the biggest bag of the tournament thus far and for the day taking a huge White Musclecracker as well as a really good size Yellowtail amongst the ten fish that he weighed in for the days catch.  Another great catch included a huge Bank Steenbras caught by Robert Moreland from the Western Province, definitely the biggest Bank Steenbras we’d seen so far in the competition.  All in all a truly amazing day and very fitting end to this great competition.

Robert Moreland Bank Steenbras
Only time would tell what the positions would be after such a day’s diving, the positions were not going to be announced until prize giving 25 May, Saturday night.  - Gully Jumpers

Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 Port Elizabeth Spearfishing Nations Day 2

SA National Spearfishing Championships 
Once again Day 2 started out with awesome weather with a nice winter’s chill in the air. Nevertheless the guys were all in good spirits and anxious to get back into the water again after having had a break for 2 days due to unfavourable weather conditions. Unfortunately as we all got out there the wind picked up. The north easterly was blowing quite brusquely and we all realized that it was going to be a challenging day’s diving for everyone. Visibility had also decreased and for the most part the areas we dived in we only had about 3 to 5 meters visbility.

Guy, Niel and Eugene with some of the better fish of the day.
There was a good wind chop on the surface combined with low visibility as well as water temps of 16 degrees, this turned it into a rather tough day for the guys diving. Getting back to shore after the day most of the divers were quite fatigued and tired due to the tough conditions and we noticed that a lot of the divers had had a real hard time finding the fish. Not only were the diving conditions not great but the fish were scarce. Once again no one managed to land their 10 species of fish due to the weather and sea conditions, but nevertheless, even with these conditions we saw some really nice fish coming out again, not as impressive though as the White Musclecracker and the Yellowtail.
All smiles before the day began.
There reports however, that a couple of the guys had actually shot and lost a few Yellowtail which was very unfortunate. Again fish like Miss Lucy came out. It seemed like the Natal boys managed to find just the right spot as they landed themselves a few really nice Bank Steenbras.
KZN vs Eastern Cape
Niel Barnard, Guy Le Meme, , Eugene van Wyngaardt and Hein Eksteen were all with a point or so of each other on Day 2. This means that there is only a few points difference between 5th and 1st position at this stage going into the final day. So if any one of these guys have a good day they have a good chance at taking the win.

Day 2 Results:

1. Guy Le Meme
2. Niel Barnard
3. Eugene Van Wyngardt
4. Heinrigh Eksteen
5. Angelo Spada
6. Charlie Myburgh
7. Derek Dunning
8. Lohan Geel
9. Richard Leonard
10. Dave Joyce

The last day of diving will be on Friday 23 May 2014 and the prize giving will be on the evening of Saturday 24 May 2014. The reason we cannot dive on Saturday is because it’s against the rules to dive 3 days in a row, especially at this kind of level of competition. Friday’s diving will be out in Bushy Park. It’s a long ride out there but conditions are looking really good and it looks like it possibly could be the best day yet of the entire competition so far, so we are all really excited about it. - Gully Jumpers