Monday, January 21, 2008

Port Elizabeth - warm water fishes

After this weekends diving I though to comment on the unusual warm water species that are occasionally caught or speared in the Port Elizabeth are - especially in Algoa Bay.

Recent years have produced some really warm clear summer waters - this year being a bit of an exception - more east winds and thick plankton. Over the years fish that are unusual that we have seen or taken in Algoa Bay include: green jobfish (Kakaap, rubberlips, caranx (Bluefin, ignobilis, bigeye, yellowtail kingfish), pompano, queen mackerel, king mackerel, Natal knifejaw, sailfish, rabbitfish, Natal wrasse*, brindle & potato bass*, white edged rockcod and probably more I have omitted.
*not allowed to catch or spear

Back in the 1950's there used to be the annual cuda season when anglers used to catch king mackerel off the harbour wall - normally it began around February and ended in April. Fish up to 18 kilograms were regularly caught. Something to think about hey? In the late nineties I got a 13 kg king mackerel one of the many wrecks at north end while hunting for grunter! That was a surprise.

Algoa Bay hold and circulates water back and forth with the prevailing east and west winds - small fish or eggs that flow down the coast can easily get trapped in the the bay for some time and the fish grow up in or near the bay - we can take the odd sample.

Look what I speared yesterday:



2.5 kg spadefish - the first I have ever seen in the Eastern Cape.

Reports for the weekend all indicated thick plankton on the surface - viz of 1 - 2 m. Cleaner cool water beneath - if you want good viz dive deeper to the thermocline under these conditions.

St Francis produced some big yellowtail and musselcracker at Shark Point - divers encountered many raggies(sand tigers) - big and curious - one chap even gob bumped - brings back memories of watching Fanus Gerber kickboxing a snapping raggie there in the mid nineties!

Down the west side divers had some viz below in the cool, clear water and warm soupy plankton on top.



Eugene with two fine fish - musselcracker of 13 kg and a big red stumpnose

His mate caught a nice scotsman - they took a pics of the splendid colourations.





I tried some interaction with a 1.6 m spotted gully shark yesterday - as one passed by; I snatched its tail and managed to detain the shark for a few seconds - it first tried to get away by frantic kicks of the tail. It then bent back leftward toward me then again to the right. The head being right next to its tail[and my hand] - I let go in case it took a snap and made off with my thumb.

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