Kwazulu-Natal has a great deal of excitement and pleasure to offer spearfishermen. Brushed by the warm Agulhas and Mozambique currents flowing southwards down this coast, our waters are home to a rich diversity of fish life. Thus, on any dive, spearfishermen can expect to encounter both large gamefish and many different reef fish species.
Compared to angling, spearfishing has a relatively small following along our coast. However the benefit of these small numbers – together with other factors, such as dirty water and rough seas at certain times of the year – have ensured the pressure on local fish stocks has not been too great. And it is this form of natural control that ensures excellent diving is still to be had in these waters.
KZN offers two types of dives:
THE SHORE DIVE
Two or more divers start at an entry point, and depending on the current, drift over reefs known in the area. Most shore dives last in the region of 3- to 4-hours. On a shore dive you would probably not go much deeper than 60 foot and (in season, with the correct licence) also catch the going daily quota of rocklobster. Weather and time permitting, most divers plan for two shore dives per day.
THE BOAT DIVE
Depending on boat size, this entails an early launch with 3 or 4 divers. A much larger area can be dived and depths vary from 60 to a 120 foot, depending on the diver’s ability. See Dive Charters for boats.
In both dive types the plan is to do an early morning hunt for whichever gamefish is running and then scout for reef fish hot spots later. In the last few years, spearfishermen have started challenging previously undived realms. Today guys go 20 + miles out to sea and dive pinnacles that come up to 35m – such as high points off Mtunzini to mention one. Diving deep spots in bad viz with a shark pod on and using the pod to dive where there are a lot of great white sharks is also now seen as sport.
THE KZN SOUTH COAST
Stretching from Durban southwards to Port Edward – a distance of 160km – the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast is characterized by short beaches bounded by rocky headlands and has a lot more reef areas than the North Coast.
The annual sardine run (‘The Greatest Shoal on Earth’) takes place along this coastline during winter, as shoals of sardines (a pilchard species also caught off the west coast) move up from the southeastern Cape coast accompanied by large gamefish. With shoals stretching ten or more kilometres long and a few kilometres wide, this is an exciting time for divers with big gamefish and even bigger sharks encountered right on the backline. It is an experience you will never forget!
The 50-60 foot reefs along the lower South Coast – from Mtwalume southwards to Port Edward – are also very productive.