South African Interprovincial Spearfishing Championships 2004

Stilbaai 2004

The National Spearfishing Champs, 13 to 17 March, were hosted by Southern cape in the Stilbaai area with 4 zones laid out, with the Harbour being the divider from the 2 East and 2 West zones. Although the East areas were diveable for one day during scouting, with loads of fish on the deep pinnacles, the persistent southeast wind ensured that these two areas were undiveable during the competition days. The East area stretched as far as Ystervarkpunt lighthouse with the west area ending at Odendaalspunt.

Competition Threatened

With the southeaster threatening to blow over 20 knots and perhaps dirty the sea for the remainder of the competition days, a decision was taken to hold the comp on Sunday 14 March to ensure that a result was obtainable should the rest of the days be undiveable. The further of the two West areas was chosen, with the Jongensfontein blinders being excluded from the area and the area extended to include the sandstone reefs off Blombos. This decision was taken, as the visibility was very poor for most of this zone with the southeast pushing the dirty water further along the coast each day, so there was more likelihood of diveable water the further west you went.

Tough Conditions on Day One

The nineteen 3 man teams met off Odendaalspunt with the southeast already starting to blow and a hard six hours diving ahead with the competition ending at 14.00. Visibility was good at 8m on the Blombos reefs but the water temperature was a chilly 14 degrees centigrade on the bottom, with most of the fish hiding in caves. The southeast was up to 20 knots + by mid morning and the 26km ride home was a bumpy affair for all the teams especially the divers on small boats. Despite the trying conditions some divers managed good bags. No cracker (silver steenbras) were weighed-in on the first day and only one cape yellowtail was landed.

Calm Seas for Day two but Poor Viz

Monday and Tuesday were rest days as it was hoped that the change in wind to a westerly would warm the water up and improve the visibility in zone two, the area from the harbour west to the blinders off Jongensfontein. Unfortunately the visibility out deep, where a lot of the teams had scouted, was very poor on the competition day and most of the fish were shot in the 10 to 14-metre depth range with a fair amount being landed in the white water as well. With no wind and calm seas, this day turned out to be a lot kinder to the competitors. Again some good bags were weighed-in with Jaco Blignaut showing his mettle and once again winning the Nationals with a fine haul of fish.

Items of Interest

James Lawson-Smith was voted in as the new chairman with Len Turner stepping down to take over as the vice-chairman. Southern KwaZulu-Natal will host the 2005 Nationals with the area running from Hibberdene down to Port Edward. This is a very good area for spearfishing and will provide some excellent catches. I will be getting some GPS co-ordinates to put on a chart to show the away provinces what the area looks like on a map. This will go up on the site as soon as I get it organized. Attie Lourens was the oldest competitor at 66 followed closely by Brent Addison. Also worthy of mention is Anton Bosman for organizing an excellent Nationals that was enjoyed by all the competitors.

Full results here.