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20kg Garrick story by The Bear

Jason Heyne of the Master Watermen and his Margate shot Garrick with the kids

20kg Garrick story by The Bear

Main question I got asked on the busy beach after the dive “How long did it take to shoot this fish?”.

Followed by ”how deep/far out?” which is the usual question besides “what about Sharks!”.

Answer to the first question if you ignore the long drive and various stops to check for right conditions and you start the dive from when I entered the water from the beach…I would say about 5 minutes to 8 minutes tops! The fight and landing (hands on the fish and the usual barb/knife to the brain) there of another 10 to 15 minutes!

But..big BUT!!

I have been looking for a Garrick/Leervis (Lichia amia) of
over 20kg since I started diving in KZN waters for just over 26 and a half years! (give or take a couple of days and hours!) So 26 and a half years and 5 minutes is the correct answer!

Lost a beast in 14m two years back North coast and missed one close to this weight 2 years before at the same spot but backline, waited too long to take the shot being greedy and checking the shoal of 20 odd fish for a bigger one first!

The swim out was quick in the rip current on the south side of the point and I had just got positioned in the 2knt SN current (4m depth to sand on my left and 3m to the slope of point bricks/structure on my right on the southern end Garrick still being on the up run so facing south). I always put Camera with head strap on first before deploying my flasher so looked down quickly to my waist to get the camera out my shuttle crayfish bag and in doing so caught sight of the single Garrick just in line with me coming past me already to my left on the sand just in visibility (6m).

Quick instinct duck dive with the fish head down and moving fast it was just out of range so two fast kicks and a grunt got him to turn slightly and pause just long enough to plant a decent long-range shot just behind the dorsal fin mid-body…shot was good but that noise (DOOF) on impact told me that the spear had not passed through (hit the spine and the spear ran up it towards the swim bladder area). So I let the fish run with the float line rig and float. The fish then decided that the horizon out to sea looked good and subbed my float and so began the fastest 300m swim of my life!

Eventually, I caught up with my float which had now returned to the surface grabbed the stringer and put the camera on whilst being towed a bit. Viz was better out deeper and when I had the spear running line in my hands I could see the spear was pulling but luckily I dive with two guns with the second gun a 130 reel gun on my belt reel and managed to plant the second shot seen in the picture.

Jason Heyne of the Master Watermen and his Margate shot 20kg Garrick
Jason Heyne of the Master Watermen and his Margate shot 20kg Garrick

My dive mate Paul Roxburgh thought I was seriously deviating from the dive plan at first but then saw that I was doing full on Freestyle and thought maybe I had shot a big Cape yellowtail or Daga Salmon but obviously could not keep up and was 100 odd meters behind me inshore! Excellent camera work Paul…thank you!

20kg Garrick are spear destroyers of note…the brand new 7.5mm spear from Rob Allen is still exactly that…brand new no bend whatsoever! Top kit and master engineering!. Aweh!

At just over 20kg I am super stoked and the epic run and fight made it awesome to say the least…will drop a link to the footage when I edit and upload to Master Watermen YouTube channel!

As always dive safe and straight spears…

The Sardine News is on Facebook right HERE and we run a cool YouTube Channel right HERE!

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Video: Evan Phillips baby GT and Chelsea Dog Attack Behaviour

Evan Phillips with his Umzimkulu Estuary baby Geet about to be released

Video: Evan Phillips baby GT and Chelsea Dog Attack Behaviour

In this video shot on a morning fishing trip on the Umzimkulu River – young Evan Phillips gets his baby GT. And we catch Chelsea Dog Attack Behaviour red-handed on camera.


A few pics of the Umzimkulu Marina, in Port Shepstone, where we are based at the moment.

The river valley woke up freezing this very wintery but beautiful morning. The offshore was coming straight off the mountains and it sure felt like single figures. So when the sun showed itself, departure came about. A nice full boat of fisherfolk. David Phillips and his wife Robin. Evan. And little lady Jordan who took on camera duty all dressed in pink! We also had Arno from Fishin’s Cool Fishing School.

So with three guns firing off the bow, and three in ambush positions out the back, we followed the far channel to the top, and right over the big hole area.

This has been a great place to fish over these past few months. Rock salmon, kob, perch and kingfish of all species have been patrolling here.

Soon Evan was bending on his beautiful little baby GT. Who put up quite an argument or was just acting real good for the camera.

When the fish finally came to the boat, Chelsea Dog leapt out of her own ambush position! But Dave was too quick and she retreated in disgust. Dave got the hook out easily enough and Evan was soon posing. And then justly released the absolutely dashing young GT back into the wild. After a quick lecture about that Halco Sorcerer in Jelly Prawn outfit.

Enjoy the action…

You can buy that guy right here. Both Dave and Johan Wessels independently vouch for this particular model and colour. And I can attest to its effectiveness – we have lost all the ones Johan left for us on his last trip! Actually it was my Dad! He has been tangling with rock salmon and all sorts of bad mannered lure thieves that been lurking around here lately.

A very toothy barracuda eyes my dredge teaser in the Umzimkulu recently. This footage is shot with our new GoFish cameras. Get your own using the link at the top or bottom of this page.

The Umzimkulu Marina has a few open slots still. Weeks and weekends coming up. Please get in touch to arrange your dream estuary fishing experience. For you, your friends or you and your family – this place is great fun – safe – and there really are some good fish be caught. And released. We practice tag and release wherever possible and only take a fish for the pan, in extreme circumstances.

You can get me Sean on +27793269671 or on to get the ball rolling. We have boats for charter or for hire. Self-catering chalets right on the river.

And plenty fish to catch.

And release!

We are Facebook here and we run a kicker YouTube channel right here.

GoFish underwater fishing cameras available now!
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Bodysurfin’ The Movie

Bodysurfin' Take 1

Bodysurfin’ The Movie

Bodysurfin’ The Movie: It’s not often you find something that blows you completely away. But this is will. Blow you the hell away. Flung by a masterful piece of artwork in the form of a quasi-ephemeral timepiece movie about the purest wave riding form we know about.


It feels like a hundred years ago when my brother Marc and I were fortunate enough to hang out with a certain Frenchie Fredericks, as kids. The same Frenchie that toured the north shore as a Springbok surfer in a sponsored VW beetle late 60’s. This was way before any doors needed breaking down. Frenchie’s erstwhile and notable companion was Christine Petrucci. The first Springbok lady surfer. Who used hang out with The Rell. And is the mother of *Maya.

Frenchie was heavily into board design and fin technology. And as early teens, Marc and I fell in with his mystical dreamings and fanciful wave riding philosophies. He surfed with aplomb, and a nice twitch which he converted into speed whenever he needed it. An intense surfer, full of concentration. Flare.

Back then, a day on the beach was just that. An entire day on the beach. Starting way before the sun. And ending with it.

Umtentweni, our local beach, was infamous for it’s shorebreak. On a decent spring with some east swell lying around, this dumper could really deliver. With Frenchie’s encouragement, we were all up for it. So much tube time. So many laughs. So many grazes.

And it was here that Marc and I were able to live life through Frenchie’s decades of experience and travels a while. In between waves he would chat north shore and south shore. Names that were God-like to us. Haleiwa. Laniakea. The Pipe. And whilst surfing these mystical meccas, Frenchie was rubbing shoulders and sharing waves with the likes of Nat Young and Rell Sun. He even knew Gerry Lopez!

Those days charging the huge shorebreak with Frenchie Fredericks were right in our formative years. He taught us how to wipe-out properly. How to porpoise a wave. How to survive the sand!

So when I found this. Bodysurfin’ The Movie. I was flung back to those pure and simple days. When having a surfboard didn’t even matter. Because you could just go for a ‘body’…any high tide you liked.

BUT what a movie features just below! If you would like to get real familiar with the inside workings of a tubing wave, watch away! The camera work is straight from George Greenough and the completely custom made sound track and movie score is oh so ephemeral. This movie dollops buckets of kudos onto such a noteworthy and noble pastime as is bodysurfing.

Enjoy and share a magnificent surfing production – these guys really turned it on! You ought to watch every scene. Listen to every note. I did.



There are two wild coincidences in this story. Firstly. Christine Petrucci. Mother of Maya. *Maya is Geoffrey Petrucci from JBay. His first name is Maya. He bust his neck bodysurfing the infamous ‘Tweni shorebreak when he worked with us at The Spot. Nineties. He survived just fine, but Christine still blamed us!

Second coincidence. Frenchie’s spearing buddy in the late eighties was none other than The Sardine News’ spearfishing editor at the time, our very own Darrell Hattingh!


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Saturdays KZN spearing report on Monday

KZN spearing report weekly correspondent Jason Heyne made the headlines of his own news column with this huge 31kg daga salmon that Jason has been hunting his whole life

Saturdays KZN spearing report on Monday

Well it’s been one of those weeks, too busy to keep up! However Jason Heyne keeps his life simple enough, and is always on time with his KZN spearing report. And this weekend was a special one as Jason humbly acknowledges the fish of the week. A fish Jason has been hunting for his whole life! A 31 kg Daga Salmon! Great fish pal! – Xona

The diving conditions this week have been above average with some decent fish coming out. Big daga salmon, garrick and brusher are around if you look for them. Saturday a light onshore blows during the day with the swell running at 1.2m. There is a swell period change and direction change so the surf might jack. Sunday the sea is like a lake and a light south West blows all day. Viz was reported south today. So both days are looking good. Well done to me (Jason Heyne) on getting biggest fish of the week and club merit fish of the week a 31kg daga salmon! we had guest speaker Markus Potgieter give as a run down on shorediving kit and rig which was most informative. We will be having a guest speaker at every club meeting from now on. Meetings are held at wings bar Virginia airport downstairs at the lapa. Braai and drinks available at the bar. Meetings are every second Thursday night from 6pm. As always dive safe and straight spears.

Stay up to date  and in touch by subscribing to the Sardine News, or by Following/Like us on Facebook…

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Spear fishing report by Jason Heyne

Spear fishing report by Jason Heyne

This weekly KZN spear fishing report by Jason Heyne really is inspiring. The fish are all right out there, we just got to try harder!!!

Over to Jason…

“The sea conditions this week have been average with a bit of swell.
Even with the north east on the sea this afternoon (Friday) it was still good both north and south coast. There’s a light offshore Saturday with a 1.2m swell running and even flatter on Sunday at 0.9m also with a light offshore wind. There is good viz on the south and north coasts. Garrick and snoek are wild on the south coast and starting to show on the lower north coast as well. Some large king mackerel are around and apparently some wahoo! The sardines are still down at Port St Johns and only a significant drop in sea temperature will get them coming up the coast. Make sure you find plenty excuses to go diving because this weekend is going to be epic! As always dive safe and straight spears. “

Thank you Jason!

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The Sardine Run 2016 with Offshore Africa in Port St. Johns: bookings open

The Sardine Run 2016 with Offshore Africa in Port St. Johns: bookings open

The Sardine Run 2016 with Offshore Africa in Port St. Johns is looking to be the best yet. With the effects of the biggest El Nino ever recorded going on around us this year, we are hoping for the cooler water to prevail, to entice the shoals north, earlier and for longer.

Even in the quieter years, there is always some show of the little buggers, but from time to time, the stars line up, and a bumer season can be expected. This ain’t no guarantee, but for sure, the effects of the El Nino, and the correlation of past years El Ninos, means we can, according to maths, expect some sardine this in huge numbers, this year or next (howz that for insurance!).

In the meantime, I raided Captain Rob Nettleton’s video archives and pulled out a  series of 15 second clips, for us to enjoy, in the lead up to the season….

Here is the first, enjoy!

Offshore Africa, run by Rob Nettleton and Debbie Smith, is based right on the Umzimvubu River in Port St. Johns, deep into the Wild Transkei. Their combined experience ensures you get out to the shoals safely, and back again.

Click on over to Offshore Africa’s new website on, choose The Sardine Run, and really get a taste of what is to come.

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PSJ from underwater by Ant Kobrowsky and Offshore Africa

PSJ from underwater by Ant Kobrowsky and Offshore Africa

Anthony Kobrowski from Sea Candy – an underwater image production company, spent a few seasons with Rob Nettleton and Debbie Smith of Offshore Africa in Port St. Johns, chasing sardines and the predators that follow them.

This short film, put together by Sea Candy, portrays the vibe that gets us all so amped each sardine season.

For more information and for booking enquiries, click on over to:

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This week underwater with Jason Heyne

This week underwater with Jason Heyne

Jason Heyne is right in the current when it comes to what’s cutting underwater, up and down the KZN Coast…

“Well below average diving conditions this week with the August winds kicking in gear. Tuesday and Wednesday morning were diveable with the garrick patrolling as the east picked up late morning. A south west wind will follow close on the heels of the north east today improving conditions and settling the sea. Saturday you might find some cleaner water far south coast. Light to variable winds Sunday with a 1m swell running should make it a cracker day. If you have the time Cape Vidal and Sodwana have been producing some good fish! Please be aware that there is a whale carcass in the Scottborough area which has been attracting some very large sharks and 2 divers were chased out the water at Brighton on the bluff this week by a 4m great white. As always dive safe and straight spears. “

Many thanks Jason!

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Jason Heyne with a real diving report

Jason Heyne with a real diving report

Jason Heyne has been diving the waters up and down from his base in Durban, for decades. So when Jason says he has never seen action like he had over the last few days, then it’s very serious. And to back up this claim, check out the attached gallery of amazing spearfishing action.

Thank you Jason…

“I have never seen so much action on the natal coast. Sardines north and south coast. We are having a bumper garrick run (Lichia amia). If you sit on any point on the south coast you are bound to see at least one shoal. I saw a shoal this week of 100 plus fish all over 8kg! Snoek are around if the water is warm. ..I got schooled by three huge Snoek this week. The North East is set to blow tomorrow which is bad for viz but good for the sardines. On the whole diving conditions have been good this week with the best conditions on the south coast. Sunday is looking better for a dive but if you can get in early tomorrow you should beat the east. Well done to Matthew on bagging a beaut of a yellow tail on a shore dive in oz! “

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Up close and personal with sardines off Port St. Johns

Up close and personal with sardines off Port St. Johns

Very up close and personal with sardines off Port St. Johns. Please share this image!


Up close and personal with sardines off Port St. Johns. Sightings have been reported of shoals of baitfish as we move into the prime migratory season.

We just got to hope those commercial netter guys in St. Frances let a few shoals past this year!

Contact Rob or Debbie on

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Scene set for Four Elements Conservation NPC Ocean Challenge

Scene set for Four Elements Conservation NPC Ocean Challenge

The innovative Four Elements Conservation NPC is set to make waves yet again with its 2015 edition of the Ocean Challenge.


Photographer: Graham Stuart

On Saturday, May 16th, about 50 swimmers will battle it out between Durban’s North Beach and Vetch’s Reef during the five-kilometre race, now in its second year.

But this is not only about who has the slickest strokes in the water – it’s about youth development and creating awareness for a great cause, too.

“The swim is not only physically challenging, but aims to challenge people’s perceptions of the ocean,” says the founder of Four Elements Conversation, Olivia Taylor (18).


“The swim primarily aims to create awareness about ocean degradation, but also aims to fund an environmental scholarship camp at the end of the year, where candidates apply and get chosen based on various criteria – including passion and potential.”


Scheduled to take place in December 2015, the awardees will be taught to be independent young environmental entrepreneurs during a four-day adventure.


It forms an integral part of teenager Taylor’s goal to remind other young people that passion can lead to positive change.


“Youth have the most incredible ability to look past possible downfalls, allowing brave ideas to be formed, which leads to action and then to success. The secret is learning how to initiate change and then to remain optimistic when your confidence wavers,” she says.


All the action at the Ocean Challenge won’t be reserved exclusively for the amphibious types, though. Non-swimmers can show their support for the preservation of the oceans by participating in a walk on the beach, in time with the swimmers, while doing a beach clean-up. Those efforts are being coordinated by the Durban Girls’ College Environment Club.


There’s also a special treat in store on the day for kids from LIV Village, a Verulam-based orphanage. Four Elements Conservation will be facilitating a snorkel swim hosted by the I AM WATER Ocean Conservation Trust on Vetch’s Reef for these special children.


With last year’s event labelled a massive success, there’s no doubt that the 2015 challenge will be bigger and better.


The Four Elements Conservation NPC was established by Taylor when she was just 15-years-old. It works to conserve and preserve the natural environment, and has grown into an internationally-recognised organisation.


The Four Elements Ocean Challenge is open to any swimmer who is equipped to tackle the five-kilometre stretch along the Durban beachfront.


Date: May 16th, 2015

Time: 06h30

Venue: Durban Lifesaving Club (registration and prize-giving)


To enter, please go to Entries close on April 16th, 2015.


For more information follow Four Elements on Twitter @dive_aim_fly and Four Elements Conservation on Facebook. The hashtag for the event is #Swim4Change.

Contact Olivia Taylor at

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1.4kg Crayfish

A monster bug take by Darell Hattingh

1.4kg crayfish

Darrell Crayfish 1.4
1.4kg Crayfish by Darrell Hattingh


Darrell Hattingh started up his crayfish season nicely and on Sunday swam home with this 1.4kg monster! It was Darrell’s birthday on this day and the bug made a fine feast for the family!

Check out Darrell’s artwork here…scenes depicted as he has seen them underwater for so long.