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Snoek Fever by Christal Botes

Christal Botes with Snoek Fever in Durban

Snoek Fever by Christal Botes

SNOEK FEVER: Durban KZN – After months of no spearfishing and having had to move back to JHB in 2022, I thought my diving days are finally over. Until November of 2023 when me and my hubby decided it’s time to catch a break. And we also had the Umhlanga Spearfishing Club End Year Function that was coming up so this would be the perfect time to go to Durban.

Arriving in Durban the weather caught us by surprise, it was raining almost every day. It wasn’t the rain that kept us from diving but the big swells that came through with the rain. I kept thinking to myself was I even going to get a chance to get in the water or was it all for nothing? So we decided to wait for the weather to clear and hopefully see if there were any diveable water around. And then one morning when the sun came out my hubby said to me it’s time to pack our dive gear and drive up coast to go look for diveable water hopefully the swell would’ve dropped too.

As we drove up coast all you could see was rivers that had popped and dirty water pouring into the ocean. We drove past Tinley Manor and the water started looking a lot better. We then went to this one isolated beach and my hubby said to me this is it. It’s now or never. As we were gearing up the tide started rising and you could see some clean water about 2 kilometers from the beach pushing in. We swam out past backline and the reefs were quiet, just the local small reef fishies hanging around. We then drifted with the current to this one ledge where the water colour changed to a blue 7m. This was as clean as it could get. We reef hooked on the ledge and waited.

Then suddenly my eyes caught a flash coming in from the side, at first I thought it was my hubby’s fins or something and then I saw it. A big shoal of Natal Snoek (Queen Mackerel) came cruising past me. I dove down and was amazed to see such a healthy shoal of fish, lined up my gun as best as I could and took a shot. As I surfaced I thought I had missed and then my reel went crazy, adrenaline kicked in and I knew I had Snoek Fever.

I slowly pulled the line giving the fish enough slack to tire itself out. It quickly got tired and was easy to pull in towards me. When I grabbed him by the gills and was so stoked to have finally shot my first Natal Snoek. I then euthanized it and put it on the stringer. We drifted for a couple more hours and another shoal passed, at this point I was already exhausted and ready to get out.

My hubby also got a snoek and he could see that I was getting tired so we decided to swim back to the beach. I could feel that I was unfit from not being able to dive in such a long time but it was all worth it in the end, this fish had been on my bucketlist for so long and I was overly grateful for it. As we got to our guesthouse I immediately filleted my fish and put it in the freezer.

When we got back home in JHB I knew that my kids were going to be so happy to have some fresh fish for dinner, so I prepared some battered fish for them and they ate all of it. I can’t wait to get back in Durban again.

by Christal Botes

“Whoohooo Christal what a lekka article! Plus you can read it to your kids every night as their best bedtime story too!” – Xona

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