I’ve just arrived back from Cape Town after trying our luck on the Yellowfin Tuna. The purpose of the trip was to continue the filming of our video in memory of Alan Donald.
Mike Donald flew down from Nicala and Ryan vdr Merwe and Graeme Dwayne from Durban. We were grateful to have nice weather on the Saturday, but the wind picked up to about 18knots on the Sunday. The guys down there were really helpful and a special thanks must go to Louis Hattingh of Rabitech, Tommy Botha, Ismail (Miles) Sonday and Patrick (Skipper and owner of the boat Magoofter) They were all very forthcoming with information and valuable tips, built up over years of hunting these magnificent fish.
It didn’t take long for us to realise that this was a “new” form of spearfishing of which we had no experience. We were told stories of how the YF Tuna boiled on the surface and that many a novice had jumped in and landed one of these mighty fish. After a couple misses from all of us “experienced” spearos, we realised this was not always the case.
Floating around in 700m of water, and watching these barrels blasting up from the deep sure gets the heart racing. Aiming for the fish was our first mistake as you soon get distracted by bigger ones, and bigger ones and then a bus cruising further down below. The result is you are tracking from one fish to another and you’ll never be fast enough.
You have to keep focused on one piece of chum and wait for that split second opportunity. Graeme Dwayne was filming most of the time and he shot some good footage. I was lucky enough to get a spear into one of 50kg using a Rabitech Apex C/F 130cm Railgun. The fish are very forgiving as the skin is tough and therefore difficult for the spear to pull out.
What really impressed me was the highly effective, yet simple boogie board floats made by Tommy Botha. The one way cleat system, combined with 25m of 10mm shock cord, stability and bouyancy of the high volume closed cell foam provided the perfect platform to “winch” the fish up.
After 10 minutes I had the fish on the surface and the one-way cleat meant the fish was not going down again. The more line you give these fish the more they’ll take down. (Remember it is about 700m deep) I would recommend this system for anyone hunting Yellow Fin or any other big pelagic species. A constant chum line is also important to keep the fish feeding.
On the Sunday, the wind picked up and the YF were scarce. They were also feeding deeper down. I managed to get a spear into a Longfin around 18kg which gave us some fun.
All in all I would recommend the trip for something different. Sight seeing around Hout Bay and Chapman’s Peak also makes for some interesting scenery. Surfer’s were cruising out off Hout Bay on Jet Ski’s to ride waves at Dungeon’s. Speak to as many of the experienced divers down there. Tommy Botha, Louis Hattingh, Ismail who have all shot plenty of these fish and they are all very helpful. The more info you pick up from them the easier to will be when you get out there.
There are some big ones lurking around and we did see some fish in the 70kg range and some bigger ones 80-90kg came out the week before. We were told that it is not uncommon to see 100kg fish breaking the surface.
Maybe next time……
Cheers for now.