Monday, February 11, 2008

Spearfishing for Bank Steenbras in Port Elizabeth

Bank steenbras are a somewhat elongated fish of a generally grey colour. They have pronounced stripes which are normally distict in the water but these fade after the fish has been removed from the ocean. This species has large lips, especially in big specimens of 6 kg upwards. They seldom attain a weight of over 8 kg and the South African record is 10 kg. I have take four over 8 kg, two in Algoa Bay, one off Kini Bay near Seaview and one at Eerste Rivier. They are quite often taken in trawler nets.

Banksteenbras generally occur on deeper reefs of about 14 m and deeper but on occasion they move shallower. They do not often take bait so many a fisherman does not even know what they are. The flesh is splendid eating.

Some authors claim that one cannot go out and hunt for them but it is purely chance that one will appear. I have found this not to be true in the Port Elizabeth area - I have many bankie spots and if I make a point of going to find one I will almost surely find and spear one.

They are quite easy to spear especially when they occur in large shoals of up to 100 fish. Sometimes their pink cousins (Natal Fingerfin) may be found amongst them. These fish can be pushed up in good numbers by thermoclines raised by the upwellings of notherly or easterly winds such as we have experienced this past weekend.

In the pic below a bankie passes by watching my camera

This next fish came in real close - about 1.5 m away - note that I took the pic as the fish was swimming away.

Some years ago in February after just such easterly winds as we had this weekend I found a shoal of bankies and red steenbras in 16 m of water off Seaview. Check out the clip below on YouTube.

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