Good times – Good luck by Danie van Hyssteens November 2009

Dedicated to Spearfishing

The teamIt has been almost a year now since I moved to Mpumalanga with a very sore heart. Leaving behind what I enjoyed most was a bitter pill to swallow, but then again life takes you on courses that you don’t always understand at that moment. Greg and I decided that to satisfy our love for the sport of spearfishing we would make a plan to do at least one trip a year, definitely more if time allows us. For anyone who practices the sport the understanding of our dedication does not need any mentioning.

Mozambique the place to be

Handing over to Greg to get a group of mates together and plan the trip, things where starting to take shape. Our initial plan was to go to Milli Bangalala, a trip I did the last year resulting in us bagging sailfish, big wahoo, cuta and a personal best Indian Mirror of 15+kg. It seems to be the spot for wahoo at this time of year, big wahoo…

A Spanner in the Works

As it happens with most trips, there is almost always something that goes wrong, and this was not to be an exception. The motors on our boat where in desperate need of some attention and could not be repaired in time for the trip. Talking to the other guys we were fortunate in Craig coming to the rescue with his little duck. Unfortunately, it was not the type of boat you would want to take into the middle of nowhere. Greg and I spoke and decided to change our plans to option B as it had worked for us before, namely Sodwana. It turned out to be the better option for some of us, unfortunately not for others though.

Good Vibes

Sailfish and CutaEverything sorted we all arrived early from our different locations, some still celebrating from the previous night, to find the sea ruffled by the NE, but clean. After some guys taking the time to sleep off the previous night excesses, we launched after lunch. We headed straight to the spot we had got lucky during nationals two years before, knowing that we had a pushing tide and with the current, fortunately, playing its part. I have to mention that there were vast amount of jellyfish in the ocean, and according to local knowledge, the game fish will be right behind them. Apart from giving the lungs a bit of a workout and stretching them, the ocean was very quiet that first day.

Day Two

Day 2 resulted in the same conditions and we decided to head off earlier to the spot to make more of the pushing tide. Again, there were lots of jellies around with clouds and clouds of bait fish, but otherwise very quiet. Greg Audie eventually managed to get a nice cuta (17kg) with Craig Harper seeing a huge marlin(estimated 200kg) but was not presented with  a good enough shot. Greg Bisset saw two smallish wahoo (7/8kg) but also not getting a shot in. We knew that this was the place and we just needed to get our timing and drifts right to get to see action. This set our plans for the next day.     

Day Three

Sailfish and MarlinDay 3, what a day this turned out to be… First few drifts revealing nothing. Seeing the bait fish feeding relaxed…then a change in their behaviour...subtle but there…I drop down…in comes a cuta (12kg)…whack!...short fight…in the boat. I see the other boat and go and check on their luck…Harps picks up the tail…a Sailie (35kg)!! the game is on! Do a few more drifts and seeing Greg a distance away I see Pete on the boat frantically gearing up and jumping into the water…what the ?&%!...apparently he saw some big Dorado around the boat and tried to jump in and chance a shot – no luck though!...deciding to carry on with my own thing…there!...what’s that!....the most amazing colour of blue on the pectorals revealing itself as a marlin(80kg) cruising in….just relax now….I take a deep breath and start my descent into the realm to meet this magnificent beast…he sees me and turns, with the dorsal flicking upright…the fluorescent of the blue is awe inspiring, unbelievable…I am starting to get my aim right as the beast turns and comes right at me…opening its mouth in what looks like a challenge….straight at me! I am ready, waiting for the perfect shot…which I get as he turns away in an act of grace… whack!... right in the head where I wanted it. Then the flight, not as strong as I thought it would be. On my way up I am looking for Greg to give me help, to clip my gun on as I only have the 50 meter dynema on my reel. Then this bus of a wahoo comes in, totally lit up…what a sight!…he must be over 25 kg’s. Back to the issue at hand, the marlin runs and stops, runs and stops, and I am pulling line in faster than he can take, even with Greg swimming after it we are getting closer. Then we get in range and Greg puts a securing shot in, not that it was necessary as we could see the beast was hurt. Greg dives down to grab the tail, wrong decision and gets a klap against the head. I then take my chance, knife already pulled, I swim to the front and grab his bill, relieving him quickly to end the fight. Shaking with adrenalin I take the moment in. What made this beast decide to come to me and not anyone else, I cannot explain…content is the word that comes to mind right now. Unfortunately the rest of the day produces nothing for the other guys.

Day Four

Day 4, I walk up to Harps on the beach and ask him what are the odds of having another day like the day before and he just smiles…We do the same as the previous days, hoping for the ocean to present the other guys with some bounty as well. It wasn’t long before the little red duck sails towards me with Harps picking up the tail…Sailie(37kg)!! AGAIN!.. unbelievable fortune for someone that really deserves it. The rest of the day fairly quiet until Audie decides to go to the bottom in 34 meters of water and comes up with a good sized cuta(20kg), excited as always revealing the amount of gamefish on the drop off. Awesome achievement landing that fish in that depth armed only with a reel gun!

As we spoke afterwards, hunting gamefish has a lot to do with luck, but there is still the amount of preparation, knowledge, experience and understanding of the ocean that will improve the luck factor, and of course, time in the water.

To Chief Walking Seagull, Kamikaze Pete, Bouymaster, Audie and Harps…thanks for an unforgettable trip.


PS. I told you I will get you a big one…