City hosting annual spearfishing contest

Here fishy, fishy . . . South Island Spearfishing Championship organiser Josh Craig and his son Daniel (2) are ready for the competition in Dunedin on Saturday. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Fish of Dunedin beware – some of the best spearfishers in the South Island are heading your way soon.

South Island Spearfishing Championship organiser Josh Craig said the annual competition would be held in Dunedin on Saturday.

Mr Craig, of Pukehiki on the Otago Peninsula, said the competition was first contested in 1961.

The event was held in waters in the lower South Island and near Nelson, where it had been the past five years.

About 30 fishers – diving in pairs – were expected to compete.

Mr Craig would be among the fishers.

Competitors would be given a list of fish species to target.

If conditions were favourable, the divers were expected to bag blue cod, blue moki, butterfly perch, greenbone, red cod, trumpeter and tarakihi.

The “odd ball” species on the list which could be harder to find were kahawai, kingfish and Jock Stewart.

In a bid to conserve fish stock, competitors were encouraged to take only one fish of each species.

Each species bagged earned a fisher 100 competition points.

Days before the competition, a decision would be made on the one location to hold the competition.

Swell forecasts and sea conditions would dictate the decision.

Mr Craig hoped conditions would allow the competition to be held at his preferred location, Danger Reef.

For divers to access the reef about 2km offshore, boats would be launched from Shag Point.

The next preferred location was Green Island, off Brighton Beach.

Green Island would have been the number one location if bigger boats did not have to travel to Taieri Mouth to access it. The third preferred location was Penguin Bay, in The Catlins.

“They’re all good diving locations.”

Competitors would be given four hours to vie for the Orbell Trophy.

The Queen Charlotte Trophy would be open to novice divers.

The weigh-in would be at Otago Underwater Club in Corstorphine.

Prizes have been provided by Dive Otago, Hunting & Fishing Dunedin, Westshell Dunedin and Wettie.