Sunday, December 1, 2013

MJK Spearfishing Lazarus Banks

MJK 65kg Dog Tooth Tuna - Lazarus banks
I have been away for weeks now guiding different spearfishing trips and adventures. One of the standouts was the week spent with Mohammed Al Kuwari out on the famous Lazarus banks in northern Mozambique. it was the first time I had guided out there so I teamed up with Eric Allard, who has been running charters there for the last year already and has access to good boats. Because Lazarus is so far from shore we needed a live-aboard which meant that we literally just did the 'eat-sleep-dive' thing for over a week.

We were also filming MJK's segment for a new film 'In The Zone' is working on. Richard 'Snoek' Leonard came out to direct the shoot and be extra hands and eyes in the water. Lazarus was perfect for filming with its crystal clean water and shoals of Doggies and Sharks.

Lazarus is an amazing spot, and has some incredible Dog Tooth Tuna. The shallow structure and numerous coral bommies meant that landing the fish was easier said that done. The Doggies were also very cunning and after the first few drifts would sit just a little bit deeper, close enough to pick out the big ones, but just too far for a perfect shot. You learn very fast that unless its the shot is the most perfect you have ever had and that you are 100% sure of hurting or stoning the fish its just not worth taking. Broken steel cable is testament to this, the big Dogs are just insanely powerful.

Mohammed who is known for his epic kill shots was on a good run at first with 3 kill shots (or as we joke with him "MJK shots") in a row. With a prize 65kg Doggie rolling over with a perfect MJK shot, possibly one of the best shots I have ever seen. The good run came to an abrupt end when he shot an even bigger fish. The fish rolled over and we were almost about to celebrate when the fish woke up, it did a slow dazzed circle around us at 30m and then disappeared with 2 x 35l and 2 x 11l floats. We eventually got the floats back, and the steel shooting line had sheared off!! So you can only imagine what happens if your shot is bad.
MJK with a 45kg Lazarus GT
Giant Kingfish are also numerous on the Lazarus and we saw shootable fish every day. MJK took one and it weighed in at 45kg, but I think if we were not focusing on Doggies we would have found a bigger one. Then again we were focusing on great fish on film so we also only took the shots where everything was perfect.
Rich, MJK, And myself
Lazarus is fairly big and a week is not enough time to explore all the spots. We would have loved to have stayed on for more days but we were limited to how long we could stay out there by how long the ice that was keeping the fish would last. So we left feeling like we need more days :-) I guess that's not a bad thing. It just means we will have to go back.
Lazarus is a serious logistical mare, yachts, boats flights and of course this all means that its not cheap. But if you have the means, then this is definitely a place you need to add to your bucket list.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Spearfishing a Black Marlin with Tim McDonald

Tim Mc Donald Spearfishing Marlin Australia
Great video of Tim McDonald Spearfishing a Black Marlin
It is very rare that spearfisherman catch massive marlin, and then its even less common to have the whole hunt captured on film.
Tim McDonald from Queensland Australia shoots and lands a 138kg (305lb) Black Marlin on a reelgun. The fish towed Tim around for some time before subduing the massive fish.
Watch this amazing video edited by Richard Leonard - Spearfishing Black Marlin - Tim McDonald



Monday, September 16, 2013

Spearfishing Nacala Mozambique

Nacala Wahoo
I have just got back from an epic spearfishing adventure at Nacala in Mozambique. I went up to do spy the place out as a future place to take guys spearfishing. I met up with Mike Donnald from Kwalala Lodge in Nacala. He has been living and spearing out there for almost 15 years. But had done little exploring as there are very few guys to dive with up there.
Mike with a great Rock Salmon
We were very unlucky with the water conditions but we explored some of the craziest structures I have ever dived. Huge drop offs going from as little as 10m to 30m plus ... and then in a short distance disappearing into 100s of meters. With the water in Nacala being bad we decided to do a last minute dhow trip up the coast to see what we could find.
The 'Ororomela' somewhere off the coast of Mozambique
So for 3 days we sailed the coast north of Nacala. We had some great diving in some of the most amazing beautiful places I have ever seen. But it was the dhow trip its self that was the real adventure, fortunately we had great weather and slept under the stars with no major problems.... well the one night was windy and we landed up not getting too much sleep.
Paradise .............
Some of the beaches are insane little paradises with baobabs and coral reefs .. It is hard not to want to build a shack and just stay there.
Some of the amazing structures we dived.
We found some crazy places to dive with massive cracks that are like a maze through the coral reefs, complete with long swim throughs, arches, and caves. Here you land up hunting and stalking crafty reef species like Speckled & Boha Snapper.

I have loads more pics and will get the best ones and do a full write up on Nacala in the Ultimate Spearfishing mag.



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Coal Ship Runs Aground Richards Bay

Smart Shipwreck off Alkantstrand Richards Bay. Pic M Mersham
A large 230m ship called 'Smart' caring coal has run aground just north of the main surfing beach at Alkanstrand in Richards Bay. With the large swell yesterday the ship had already caused a beautiful A-frame peak. Maybe this is Richards Bays version of the Seli??

The 'Smart' broken in half.
The long ship has broken about two thirds down, and does not look like it is going to be easy to remove. Being in the bay we can only hope that the salvage guys get out there and remove all the fuel oil and other potential pollutants before Richards Bay lands up with a serious environmental disaster.

If all works out well there is potential for Richards Bay to add to its already great surf spots. I can already see some crackers forming on the next cyclone swell.

If you know any more details please post a comment below.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Daga Salmon are Here

Grant Powell - 44kg Daga Salmon
Over the last 2 weeks a number of Daga have either been seen or shot off the North Coast. Many of them in very shallow water while the guys have been hunting Garrick. One of the best fish so far has been Grant Powell"s 44kg beast of a Daga shot off Umhlanga. This pic did its rounds last week on social media and caused quiet a stur.

Here is a short account of this epic catch by Grant:

My biggest fish ever!
Saturday, 27th July, at about 8am. I Swam in off Umhlanga, off the shore, super close to my house. I was out with a mate, Andy Zwiers, we were only in for about 30 minutes in total.

Conditions were pretty good vis about 6m. We swam out to my usual spot, but today since the water was a bit cleaner I saw I reef a bit further out, and swam onto it. Thought I saw something behind the reef, but was black so had to swim down to check it out. There 4 of these beasts were chilling! Slowly moving off, one was clearly the biggest. I had two guns in my hand, a 900mm and 1200mm with 18mm & 20mm rubber, both Rob Allen. So I lined up the big guy and as I was about to shoot I reckon, wait they in no rush, let me try get 2. So I lined up the Big one with my gun in my right hand, and the smaller one (Probably about 35kg) with the gun in my left hand, then shot at the same time. Swam to the surface thinking I had gotten both.

Unfortunately those things have like massive plates for scales and the smaller guy somehow wasn’t on the end of my gun when I got to the surface. I was more concerned about the big guy anyway, I shot him good but my spear didn't even go straight through it was so fat! He hardly noticed I had shot him, and just cruised slowly away like nothing happened, then suddenly realizing and towing me off with him... After about 5minutes of being towed around I decided to reload my other gun (which was no easy feat) to give him another securing shot. Plugged him and he stopped swimming...

I decided to hot foot it out of there before the sharks got a whiff...  so stoked!!! It was quite a swim in gripping a 44kg fish and trying to swim! I didnt want sharks to come so was trying to rush. Gripped it in the bottom of the gills and swam. He was still slightly alive so every now and then he would try breathe almost crushing my hand. Lucky I didn't get smoked by any waves.

When I got out, I couldn't believe it, neither could the o’s on the beach! For the next few hours between being very STOKED it was photo’s, weighing and trying to figure out what to do with this beast. In the end decided to give most of it away to the local fishermen and my dive buddy Andy, ended up with less than half, but at least it fitted in my freezer ready for an awesome fish braai and camp fire stories.
Campfire stories for sure ... fish like these fuel fires for years, well done :-)


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Waves , Glass and Broken Locks.

My son Braidy getting pitted.
This past week had some great waves, we had almost given up hope that we would have any memorable days surfing this winter. My highlight was getting my lighty on film in an insane throaty barrel. We snuck in for a quick hour before school and got some crazy waves. In hind sight we probably should have bunked and spent another hour in the water. I just don't know if we will get a day like this again this winter.

But its not all roses. My car got broken into the next day at Bog, they smashed a window and broke the drivers door lock and the rear canopy lock trying to get in. All they got was a cell phone, but the damage cost and hassle of fixing the car is ridiculous.

The car breakins and thefts along the surfing spots is insane. In July alone 4 surfers cars were stolen and many have been broken into and fleeced. It seems that none of the parkings are safe, even the ones in the open with car guards!! Worst thing is that the police do nothing in response and there is even speculation that there is on group of cops that are in on the whole thing. So if this is true between the corrupt cops and dodgy alcoholic car guards we are pretty screwed!!

We need some solutions people!!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Great White Comes Too Close - FULL STORY

Being attacked by a Great White shark scares the crap out of all of us spearfisherman. The Eastern and Western Cape in South Africa has extreme concentrations of these awesome creatures. But as awesome as they are, they are not what you want to see when spearfishing.

The original video clip "Great White Comes Too Close" created a huge stir on the internet so we went and got the full story. Richard Leonard went to Eugene van Wyngaardt the man who captured this amazing footage to get the whole story and the rest of footage not shown on Youtube.

I dig the part where you can hear Eugene screaming #$&% through his snorkel.


Pic from video - 'Great White comes too Close'

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Great White Shark Off Christmas Bay

The Great White Shark 'Courage' not far from Christmas Bay KZN
Where were you spearfishing on Wednesday 3rd July??? Well hopefully not off Christmas Bay on the Dolphin Coast!! Because you might have bumped into 'Courage' the 12'6" long, 1372lb (856.5kg) mature male Great White Shark!!
If you had, I think you might have needed much 'courage'. I shark that size in 3-5m water is enough to make you crap yourself to death, let alone the fact that it is a Great White!!
Follow Courage Click Here 
On the other hand... when you are not crapping your self, it is quiet cool to see where these beasts have been roaming. Great White sharks are serious travellers, travelling for thousands of kilometers between continents. I am happy with that as long as where I dive is on of the layovers on their prowling route. 

I know sharks don't 'really' eat people, and I am the first to say not to worry about the sharks. But the thought of spearfishing in the average murk we have with a Great White is daunting. Just thinking about the idea makes me respect the spearfisherman who dive around the Western and Eastern Cape coastlines. No wonder they hide in the kelp hunting 'Hotties' .... I would also be too s*%t scared to venture out :-)

To follow some Great White sharks in your area go to Ocearch Global Shark Tracker
But may I suggest that 'ignorance is bliss'


YES! Our YouTube channel has 10 000 subscribers!!

10 000 subscribers and growing
This week our YouTube channel ITZTV Spearfishing reached the 10 000 subscribers mark!! This is a major mile stone for us :-) And makes our channel the most subscribed to spearfishing channel in the English speaking world, maybe even in all of YouTube!! I think thats pretty cool.

Our views are also doing well with 4.3 million views ....  who would have thought?? Imagine we made a buck a view I would not only have the best job in the world, but I would also have made some booty :-)

So where to from here? Well we have a couple videos in the pipeline that will roll out in the weeks and  months to come. There are some crazy things to come including a project that has already been 3 years in the making ... I am saying too much already, you are just going to have to wait for more :-D

A big thanks to all our supporters and the guys behind the scenes. Especially my good mate and biz partner Richard 'Snoek' Leonard for having this vision and constantly driving and striving for greater things. Kudos to you bro ..

So if you have not already subscribed ... subscribe to the Greatest Spearfishing Channel on YouTube
Subscribe Here


Monday, July 8, 2013

Daga Salmon Time

James "Hogga" Bieth 35,3kg Daga Salmon
One of the best things about spearfishing in winter on the KZN coast is the fact that the Daga Salmon start to make their appearance. James Bieth headed up the coast last week and landed up getting a really good Daga Salmon.

This is his PB and he said that it was literally the last down for the day. James said that he saw a smaller one come in and dash out before he could get a shot, only to swim a bit further to see the 35kg fish lying near a ledge.

Well done to James I know he has been hunting this fish for a good few years, so Kudos to you. Lets hope that this is the first of many good Daga this season.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Big Couta in the Middle of Winter

Ratman in his element!
I have been slow to get back into the water back home after my travels, the first week was time with my family. Then last week the surf was so good and I had a fair bit admin work wise so it was easy to make excuses not to don the 5mm suit and go look for Snoek.

Ratman on the other hand has been sneaking in getting a few Snoek, and with the conditions looking so inviting yesterday Ratman convinced me to take a swim. We decided that we would visit a spot that occasionally holds a Couta during this time of the year leading up to the Sardine run. It was a long shot but we were doing the mid day social dive thing and weren't expecting much to be honest. .... we I wasn't at least, this was just a get wet session.
Ratman's new PB 23kg Couta
Anyway we got to the spot and Ratman on his second dive shouts to me that he has a 'BIG' Couta. He had spinned the fish with his 1300 and made easy work of landing the fish. A small shark came in and would not leave Rat and his fish alone so we took turns looking after his prize while looking to see if there was another lucky fish lurking around.

We weighed the fish at my place. It was a super fat and healthy fish, but I thought the fish was maybe around 20kg, but  it tipped 23kg. You should have seen the grin on Ratmans face :-)

Well don Rat brilliant fish and about time too.


Some more interesting Spanish Mackerel Facts - Read Here

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Big Fish at Home

Craig Harper 26kg Couta
There is one thing spearfisherman have in common  and that is that we always thing the 'grass is greener on the other side'. We travel the globe looking for big fish, fair enough its just as much about the adventure as the fish. But we have it pretty good right here at home too.

Craig Harper proved this on friday by catching a 26kg Couta off his local reef near Umhloti. He has traveled a bit, but is also one of the first to acknowledge how good things are at home.

So well done Craig on sticking to your guns and eventually getting that 'dream' fish .... getting it at home must make it all that much sweeter :-)


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Spearfishing with Rollerguns in Qatar

1100 Rob Allen Rollergun conversion
My PB 27kg Spanish Mack shot with 1100 rollergun
I have just returned from a few weeks away diving the Arabian Gulf, more specifically off the coast of Qatar. I went out there for some filming and magazine work and was fortunate enough to get to stay with Mohammed Jassim Al Kuwari. Ever since his epic film 'Going East' I have wanted to get out there and do some spearfishing, and this trip exceeded all my wildest dreams!
Massive sand dunes at the 'Inland Sea'
Coming from sub-tropical Africa, Qatar is a bit of a shock to the system. Sand and more sand, and other than some crazy high sand dunes the country is flat. But the sea is nothing like the land and fish are a plenty, well thats if you know where to go get them. The ocean is shallow for a long way and there is not much structure, so when you find some structure, no matter how small you are going to find fish.

Mohammed 'MJK' hunting Spanish Mack in the shoals of Bludger and Pickhandles.
I had hoped to have gotten some of the massive Amberjack while there but they just did not seem to be around. So we just had a blast with the Spanish Mackerel, which they call 'Kingfish'. The place is amazing for spearfishing Spanish Mack and I have never seen fish like that ever. 
On the first day after filming we decided to go catch some Mangrove Snappers which are plentiful. I grabbed a short 1100 roller gun, loaded up and turned around to a 27kg Spanish Mack checking me out. That was the first fish of the trip for me and my PB Spanish Mack.
Rollergun test
An Assortment of spearguns converted to roller guns with Power Rollerheads
On a couple days when the vis was not great for filming we did some spearfishing just for fun. On the one day I broke my previous PB on Spanish Mack 4 times ... it was too insane.
Another great part of the trip was using and testing the Power Rollerhead conversions on the spearguns. Not only did we smash the fish but we spent a whole day in a pool testing a whole range of rollerguns and comparing them for a review I am doing for the Ultimate Spearfishing Magazine.

Rob Allen rollergun conversion
MJK 28kg Spanish Mackerel with 1300 Rob Allen Rollergun
The spearfishing was insane and we shot so many good fish, learnt loads about rollerguns and I had an experience I will never forget. Mohammed finished off our time together with catching a massive 28kg Spanish Mack a great way to finish off our time together. Look out for a full report on the trip and the rollergun review in the next edition of USM ... I think it will change the way you look at spearguns!

Cheers for now


For more on rollerguns read:

Unrolling the Roller - Rollergun Test and Comparison

The Ultimate Rollergun Test

Some more interesting
Spanish Mackerel Facts - Read Here

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Top Shots Spearfishing Video

Top Shots Spearfishing video with Sailfish in Madagascar
New Top Shots Spearfishing Action
Just what we needed this fine Monday morning :-) ... a new spearfishing video to get us to do even less work!!
This Top Shots vid has some great spearfishing from Peru with a massiver Gulf Grouper and some pelagic action in some beautiful blue water in Madagascar.

Watch the Video Here: Peru and Madagascan Spearfishing Action



Join me on a spearfishing adventure of a lifetime to Madagascar & the famous Castor Banks - FIND OUT MORE HERE

Friday, May 17, 2013

North Coast Yellowfin Tuna Spearfishing

Andrew Clarkson 35kg Yellowfin Tuna
A little while back I wrote a blog about me finally spearfishing a Yellowfin Tuna off the back of a pod of dolphins. (Spearfishing a Lucky Yellowfin Tuna) Andrew Clarkson just pulled this off again!!

Here the message he sent with the pic:
Thought I would send you a pic of the yellow fin that I shot yesterday. Clocked in at 35Kg, also off the back of a big dolphin pod. Super stoked as I missed out on one in December but managed to nail this one - my biggest fish to date. Was an awesome experience!

Anyway well done to Andrew great fish, hope the sushi was epic too.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Revolutionary Spearfishing News Video

Spearfishing News - 117lb Cobia
Today the Top Shots Channel launched their first revolutionary spearfishing news video. This unique concept features any news worthy spearfishing video footage. This way guys get their great achievements and moments 'aired'.

This is slightly different from the 'Top Shots' Series where the 'best of the best' spearing shots are featured. This is more of a current events and news worthy video show. So if you go out on a spearfishing adventure and have a fantastic day at sea or come across something very unique ... or even something funny and manage to capture the action on your Go Pro, mini cam or even cell phone send it in. (contact -

In this first news edition Aimrite spearguns have sponsored a speargun to a lucky winner who shares the video on their FaceBook profile. So if you want to stand a chance at winning an Aimrite speargun then share the love and share this link:

It is aslo good to hear what you guys think ... so post a comment and let me know what you think of this video.



Friday, April 26, 2013

Aeris F10 Spearfishing Dive Watch Gets Clocked

My Aeris F10 about to get clocked!
I thought you guy might find this interesting. I clocked my trusty old Aeris F10 dive computer. I have had the watch for at least 2 years and have put it through its paces. The watch has with stood some serious abuse to the point where even the plastic ridge on the rim of the watch has been worn round from getting ground down in crayfish holes :-)

Any way I thought I would take a pic after the dive where I clocked 9997 dives ... it would have been cool to have gotten 9999 tho. Not sure when I will be able to do this again. Man it will be amazing if I clock this again on this watch ... I will definitely retire it if I do. It can then sit on my bed side table and tick away.

The only down side is that it reset all the history when it went back to zero. And for some reason it now turns off if i go into the dive history. Taking the battery out seems to bring it back from the dead, so all good.

So just incase you were wondering whether or not to buy an Aeris F10 ... there is no doubt in my mind.
Maybe Aeris will send me a new one for the good punt.... nudge nudge wink wink  :-) 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Top Shots - Spearfishing Series - Giant Trevally Showdown

Here is the next Spearfishing Top Shots video from In The Zone Productions. This one is really cool as there is a voting thing where the viewers choose the best shot between two guys and their big Iggies.

The video has an Iggie (Ignobilis) from Gerhard Vosloo and one from Rodney Ive. There has been a fair bit of a tussle going on the voting poll to who has the best shot. Guys are seriously analysing each shot down to the bone!! It's got quiet heated once or twice as it does on facebook.
Check it out: Giant Trevally Showdown Poll

If you have not seen it yet check it out here: Spearfishing Top Shots



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Crayfish Licences and Regulations from 1967

Dersley Kenyon's Crayfish Licence from 1967
A good friend of mine Stephen Farrer sent me his grandfathers old Crayfishing License from 1967!! Have a close look, it only cost R2.00 !! Now days they are almost R100,00 but you can get it from the post office. Back then you had to go to the Parks Board offices in your area, in some cases these were only found in major cities or tourist centres.

8 crayfish at 2.5 inches (approx 65mm) - the same as it is today.
What is more interesting is the conditions of the license, which is 8 crayfish at 2 and half inches. This is the same as it is today 46 years later. It kind of makes you wonder why it has not changed? Many other fish species have had bag limit and size restrictions adjusted over the years to insure the populations are healthy.

But why not with crayfish? I guess the catch returns the guys get show that at the current size and bag limit the population is sustainable. I suppose it is true, because you can go to almost any reef in some of the most heavily dive spots and still get your crayfish. Maybe they won't jump into your bag and you will have to scratch around .... but they are there.

So thumbs up to good bag and size restrictions :-)


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top Shots - New Spearfishing Video Series

Top Shots - The Best Spearfishing Shots Series

In The Zone Productions the company that makes the Onefish spearfishing DVDs has just launched a new video series online. It's actually super cool! The whole idea is to find the most epic spearfishing shots on film and then skype call the guy and get all the details. Then put it down in a seriously hot little vid for all to see on line.

I guess there are loads of guys out there getting epic shots on GoPro and other video cams. The problem is that often they dont have enough footage to make a complete film or segment or have the skills to edit down the videos in a cool sleek way. This video concept will probably appeal most to these guys, and they will be able to get there epic spearfishing footage out and edited.

Here is the first episode here:
Top Shots - Spearfishing Series - Ian Brookes - Australia

As always it's not all that simple with loads of guys already submitting their footage for consideration. So I am sure only the choice vids will make the cut. The guys who get chosen also stand to win some cool prizes from Ultimate Spearfishing Magazine Subscriptions to spearguns and more.

If you want to get your insane spearfishing shots on ‘Top Shots’ then email:

It would also be super cool if you could let me know what you think of these videos and the concept. Just post a comment below.

 For More on Gopro Setups, Tips and Tricks for Spearfishing Get the whole 'Behind the Lens Series' by Richard here Spearfishing GoPro Setups and Instruction Series



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Great Amberjack Spearfishing Footage

Last year we released the spearfishing video "OneFish Going East" that landed up being one of the most popular videos ever. With many of the guys who bought the film admitting to watching too many times to remember.

It has become a bit of a tradition with us to take one of our favourite scenes in a film and publish it on Youtube.
Yes it is part of a plot to take over the spearfishing net work on Youtube ...... we have a new series brewing and want to get some action going on our video channel. But you did not hear this from me :-)

So we could not help but put the Amberjack section of the film up. This is the segment were Mohammed Alkuwari made a name for him self with some of the most epic kill shots filmed on Amberjack.

Even if you have watch the whole video a 1000 times ... I know you will not be able to help yourself and watch this section again ...... I bet you pressed PLAY didn't you?

I hope you enjoyed these epic shots again ... please share and spread the love for us.


P.S keep an eye on our Youtube Channel : there will some seriously cool things happening there in about 2 weeks time.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Vintage Undersee Bantam Speargun

Ben Fernance's Vintage Undersee Bantam Speargun
Every once and a while you come a cross a strange speargun that gets you scratching your head. Ben Fernance sent me a couple pics of this contraption that was given to him. I did some scratching around and there is very little info on this very interesting speargun.
A strange cross between a Hawaiian Sling and a Speargun.
This strange gun looks like it is a hybrid Hawaiian Sling with a crude speargun type grip and mechanism. Might not be a bad idea for cave hunting and close shots in bad vis. I am not sure where the shooting line would go tho??

Top view of the Undersee Bantam
I think as the name 'Bantam' suggests that this was supposed to be a mini or compact speargun. Although I am not sure how effective it was and can picture this being used more by one of the James Bond girls in the 70's .... you know the shot with the busty bikini clad babe walking out he water with the speargun looking all sexy?

Anyway it would be seriously cool to find out more about this 'porno' speargun and maybe even find out if anyone can remember using one. Please leave a comments below ... this is going to be interesting :-)


P.S thanks to Ben for sending in the pics.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spearfishing a Lucky Yellowfin Tuna

My Lucky Yellowfin Tuna 27kg
When you think of spearfishing Yellowfin Tuna you generally think of Cape Town. Yes sure guys get the odd Tuna here on the North Coast, but it is the exception and not the rule.
For years I have always envied the guys who have gotten Yellowfin Tuna on spear here on our coast. It did not matter if it was a luck shot or skill, I still envied them.

It's not like I have not had some chances, but generally the tuna just don't hang around to get a shot in and you land up watching the tails swim away with out even getting a shot off. At best you prick the fish and they zoot off leaving your spear behind. The small ones in shoals are easier, but we seldom get shoals so shooting one is rare.

The most common place we see the bigger Tuna following the Dolphins. This does not make them easier to shoot, its just when I have seen them the most and gotten half a chance. Too often I have been watching the pod of Dolphin and suddenly noticed the Tuna and before I can get in hunt mode the fish is gone.

So for the last few years I  have tried to be more vigilant when seeing Dolpin knowing that in an instant I might get a smal window and an opportunity on a dream fish. So when coming off the bottom this morning and seeing some tuna swim over head my mind kicked into gear ..... I must admit I thought that this was going to be another fruitless chase.

About 5 or so Tuna of about 10kg, well so I though swam over me when I had just turned to return to the surface. I was thinking do I try chase them, them moved out of range very quickly.  'Oh well just another shoal of fleeting tuna I won't get a shot at' ... well so I thought. I carried on for the surface when I noticed a Dolphin, then another one. Dolphin + Tuna = Opportunity

So I turned my attention to the Dolphin changing direction towards them with speargun at the ready. They quickly darted off as they don't like to be confronted head on. Again I thought opportunity lost, then another Dolphin came in at speed. It turn way before reaching me and behind it where 2 Tuna. The Dolphins sudden turn blind sided the Tuna and before they realised it they were swimming past me.

I stepped on the gas and tried to close the gap but they were not getting any closer. I figured they were 10kg fish and with in range so before my eyes popped out my head from lack of air I would do the ol 'flyershot' and see where the cards fall. They were fairly far away so I aimed high and squeezed off a shot.

Joy!! The speed line disappearing into the murk is a great feeling. "Gee this reel is emptying fast." next the beltreel and that ran out just as fast. "Damn the Dolphin have the fish!" well a 10kg fish cant pull that hard! So tried to put on the breaks only to have my hands burn ...Damn Dolphins!!
Then it just stopped, there was still weight , but very little movement. I though the Dolphins had left it, but next thing it goes again.

Now normally my routine is shoot the fish with one gun, swim back to the float and get the other gun ... even if all let all my line out. This way I dont loose the fish while landing it if the shot was bad. In this case I didn't get that memo and before I knew it the current and fish had pulled me at least 50m from where I had reefed up.

Eventually I worked my way towards the fish and I could see the shooting line knot coming up followed by the fish. *^$@ its huge! Oh Crap ... and my shot bad! But it looks pretty poked, so I will just grab the tail. I tried to get the best grip possible on the tail but it just shook me off and bolted off again. This was when I realised I really could do with my other gun, but it was 50m away.

So I let the line back out and swam for the float, keeping an even tention on the fish. Long story short, I get the gun, get back to the fish and plant a solid second shot and secure the fish. Super stoked with the fish, I realise that it is 'sushi' time so I bleed the fish while swimming back to the float. The blood eventually slows and I dispatch the fish with a knife to the brain, and get the fish on my stringer.

Next thing the fish takes off, 2 guns and spears, float, 8 crayfish, and Snoek all straight to the bottom! Then back to the surface and then it throws in a couple twists, tuns and some chaos for good measure. Now I have 60m of reel line, about 70m of belt reel line and the second guns shooting line all in a knot .... epic!

Eventually I sort everything out and start to plot my long journey home .... but thats a long and boringly painful story. It dawns on me, this is a seriously 'lucky' fish. Yea sure there might have been some skill involved. But like most game fish there is a serious amount of luck involved.

I was 'lucky' :
  • The Dolphin blind sided the Tuna
  • My high shot was high (damn gun it too accurate and the spear did not drop as I thought) or I doubt the spear would have gone all the way trough as the fish was bigger than I thought.
  • The high shot got some good though tendons and skin to hold onto.
  • The Dolphins did not capitalise on an easy meal.
  • I was able to get my second gun ...
  • And of course right place at the right time.
So I finally get my Yellowfin Tuna off the tail of a Dolphin ... probably another ten years before I get this right again.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Brazilian Record Breaking Mozambique Spearfishing Adventure

Christopher Ananiadis - 50kg Ignobilis Kingfish
I recently returned from an epic spearfishing trip to Mozambique with some guys from Brazil. Christopher Ananiadis and his friends Guilherme Azevedo and Alex Talarico came out to dive the untouched waters 'some where' between Xai-Xai and Inhaca Island with me.
Christopher being and ex-South African had been to Mozambique before, but for the other guys this was their first time, so expectations were high. Fortunately everything from weather to the crazy fish, Mozambique did not disappoint.

This trip was very different from previous trips for me as the guys from Brazil are not accustomed to doing the typical 'blue water' type diving looking for game fish with a flasher. And preferred to scout the amazing reef systems for an amazing variety of reef fish. On many occasions there was the, "I saw a strange fish with ......are they good to eat, can we shoot those?"

Guilherme Azevedo - 21.65kg Indian Mirror Fish
The guys got some really good fish with a number of fish even bigger than or near the current IUSA world records. Christopher got 2 Purple Cod (White Blotched Grouper) 14.5kg and 13.3kg both bigger than the current 12.5kg record.
Guilherme got a Indian Mirror Fish of 21.65kg (Indian Thread Fish - Alectis Indica or African Pompano - Alectis Ciliaris) if it is the Alectis Indica it almost doubles the previous world record!!!
Alex got a Pickhandle Barracuda of 14.8kg which was over a 1kg of the current world record. With this fish we were ready with the measuring tape and made sure we had all the details to claim the record.
Christopher Ananiadis - 14.5kg White Blotched Grouper
The highlight has to have been the GT's (Giant Travelly - Ignobilis Kingfish) Two of the spots consistently produced good fish. The one is a small bump far north that comes up to 15m and is a mecca for a huge variety of kingfish species.
The one time Guilherme shot a 30kg GT and I dived down to film it when a massive 50kg fish came in. Christopher managed to get down quick enough and land a good shot. Both had massive tussles with their fish and it is a moment I will remember for ever.
The other GT spot is a different deal altogether. It is a deep reef that only comes up to 45m, but there are fish almost from the surface all the way down. It is insane! To geth to the GT's you have to dive through Rainbow Runners and baitfish, then through the Bludgers, Big eyes and Yellow Tails. Then through the sharks and when you reach 30 m you wil see the schools of GT's. The trick was being able to keep real calm and allow them to come in close. Christopher even hid behind some sharks the one time in order to get a shot in. It is one crazy place.

Christopher on the hunt
 For me tho it was great to dive and chase Christopher around the ocean and taking photos. Even though he has been out of competitive diving for a round a decade he has to be one of the best divers I have dived with. His dive rate is exceptional and he had me asking him to slow down on more than a few occasions. I recon he would give the boys back home a good run for their money ...

Alexandre Talarico - 14.8kg Pickhandle Barracuda (WR pending)
All in all this was a brilliant trip, and the move north turned out to be very rewarding. We did land up traveling long distances, but I guess that is what it takes to find the good fish.

Join Coatesman on your own Mozambique Spearfishing Adventure - Read Here


Monday, February 18, 2013

Black Marlin Speared On Shore Dive

Paul Jorge 86kg Black Marlin
Every year around this time something really special happens in the world of spearfishing up on the North Coast. Today was that day! Paul Jorge shot and landed an 86kg Black Marlin while on a shore entry up the coast.

His amazing feat is not with out a story tho, first he swam out in the dark to the back of Salt Rock reef, but found that the reef was quiet and decided to swim all 650m back in and find another spot.
He then drove up the coast and swam out at Sheffield, and soon found some Snoek. While subduing the Snoek the Marlin came in and attacked his flasher. He did a quick reload with his 1200 speargun and planted a good shot behind the head.

The shot however did not hurt the fish and it took off out to sea, dragging him out with it. Paul reckons it just did not stop pulling and he just got deeper and deeper out, almost drowning him a couple times! Eventually he subdued the fish and with some quick thinking instead of killing the fish he just turned the massive fish to shore and let the fish swim him back to the back line. I cant think of too many people who would have thought about that.

Well done to Paul on an amazing catch.

Now bring on the seared Marlin steaks!! I'l do my part and bring the soy sauce :-)


Monday, January 21, 2013

Mozam Magic - Spearfishing Video with Rob Allen

Mozam Magic spearfishing video with Rob Allen
Mozam Magic Episode 1 - Spearfishing Video
Today we launched our new spearfishing video called Mozam Magic. It is a 3 part series designed specifically for Youtube and was a collaboration between the Rob Allen Dive Factory, the Ultimate Spearfishing Magazine and the editors & directors of the 'Onefish' films.

This short and punchy vid also features some insights to the new Rob Allen Vecta 2 handle and the newly designed optional loading butt. So it is a little different to what is typically scene on the net.

Me all acting strange.
There is something I know you will have a good laugh at. It's me .... we did a 'call to action' to get the guys to subscribe to the video sothat they automatically get the next videos when they are released. We did this shoot late one night after 2 full days of shooting. I had been putting back a far amount of potent energy drinks and was very wide awake. Or more like the lights were on but no one was home ... if you understand me? Anyway be sure to see me all googly eyed at the end of the vid ... too funny. Next time I am going to have to get the editor to make a plan or reshoot it.

Hope you enjoy

If you missed the link above click here: Rob Allen Spearfishing Video


Monday, January 14, 2013

End of the Holidays ....Sob*

This pic just has such a fun feel to it, it kind of reminds me of the holidays .....
Well by now pretty much everyone is back at work and the holidays are slowly fading under piles of emails and chasing up all the messages you ignored the last few weeks. I had to vacuum the dust of my PC before I could post this blog - what a mission!

To make matters worse I have a funny feeling the sea is going to miraculously come right and we will finally have some summer water to dive in. That's if you not working!! You know it is Murphy's law that this will happen, I am just surprised that today was not clean :-)

This summer was a real wash out ...... seriously it was! We have had record rain falls in November  December and January is on its way to also having record rain falls. This ment that this holiday I dived at home a total of 4 times and got only 2 fish (they were both nice Couta of over 12kg .... smiles) but I wish there were more days to dive and more fish to be had.

But I guess I should not complain I spent most days surfing with my lighty and sitting on the beach with the family, so I guess it's all good. I could have been stuck in land somewhere with my only companion a warm porta pool and beer belly from drowning my sorrows. No offence to the poor chaps who live in that reality :-(

Anyway its 'back to school' and back to sneaking off to dive when we really should be working ...

Lets hope 2013 is a cracker of a year, with loads of good fish.