As spearfishermen we know that if you want to get a record fish, you have to be diving where the record fish live. Paradise Magoo in Mozambique is definitely the place where the big old Croc Cuda live.
You may ask why I am simply giving away this most valuable secret. It’s because my heart is just like a big old Cuda (scarred, worm ridden and ugly) and in one of the infrequent acts of charity that I am prone to suffer from, I’d like to share this special place with all the newbies out there.
Co-ordinates for Paradise Magoo Resort:
S 25° 01’ 46.8” E 34° 00’ 01.1”
Co-ordinates for Magoo Croc Reef?
Dream on sucker, I am not that charitable.
Two weeks before our epic trip, a well known local spearfisherman told me how he had played tag with three big, record size Cuda during his dive on Magoo Croc Reef. He said that he did not spear them as his deep-freeze had packed up… Right, and who is going to believe that?
He also showed me his fish attracting “flasher” made out of a toilet cistern ball with shards of broken mirror stuck to it. I immediately risked seven years of bad luck by shattering my daughter’s vanity mirror and made my own mirror ball.
On reflection (excuse the pun), I must say that this type of flasher really works well. Just make sure you don’t get caught red handed while shattering a family member’s treasured possession, rather use your bakkie’s rear view mirror – it’s safer.
Back to the story. We launched at 5am, because the early bird catches the worm (or rather, the early spearo catches the Cuda). The wind was a North Easterly of about 15 knots and the 18km trip out to Magoo Croc Reef was a bit bouncy. We kitted up and slid into the water eager and expectant. Within 15 minutes we spotted the first fish, but they were deep and the water was gorilla snot. We decided that if we were going to land one of these big fish, we needed to work together.
We climbed on the boat again for another drift over the “hot spot“. I got ready to dive and breathed up for a deep dive. Diving past the mirror ball towards the bottom, I noticed a thermocline at about 18 metres. The water below was eerily chilly and yellow. I was still thinking that maybe the water had got too cold for the fish as I slowly circled my way back to the surface scanning for any sign of movement. What happened next is fixed in my mind like video footage.
I completed a 180 degree scan and then turned my mask to begin the next viewing cycle. Suddenly, 2 Cuda appeared below me coming straight up the flasher (with me right behind it). I got such a fright that I swallowed a mouthful of seawater through my snorkel. Bad move.
The Cuda responded aggressively, switching on their dazzling display of tiger sparkles; turquoise and cobolt blue flashing across their shiny metallic skin. The smaller of the two giants (estimated at +30kg each) came closer… my hunting instincts took over and I placed a perfect shot into the neck of that beautiful creature.
To say that all hell broke loose is an understatement. Cuda can accelerate up to 13 knots in 2.5 seconds and this one sure did. When I broke the surface, my buoy was heading for the horizon, tangling all the flasher and buoy lines in the process. I grabbed hold of one of these lines and was dragged along as if I was water skiing.
I shouted for the nearby boat to get out of the way of the lines and to follow me. After a long time, the fish started to slow to a steady, constant pull and I managed to retrieve my second gun which fortunately was hanging from my buoy. Just then, the Cuda turned around (when I felt the line go slack, at first I thought that I had lost the fish) and headed straight back at me with another great burst of speed. At point blank range, I fired another shot behind the gills directly into the spine. In a way I was sad to see this glorious creature in its death throws, but at the same time was hyped to secure my first Magoo Croc.
I basked in the congratulations of my friends as the boat arrived and we loaded the Croc Cuda (a new Gauteng North Underwater “Blue GNU” spearfishing record of 32 kg). Ronan, Richard and Willem also speared huge crocs and we managed to land nearly a dozen of these beasts on the trip.