07 Jan 2013

Did you know the crayfish season is still open (Jan1st – April 1st 2013) but catching is limited to weekends and public holidays only. Surprisingly this delectable seafood is not exclusive to wealthy diners and as long as you have a recreational permit and stick to the rules – you can enjoy a crayfish feast with your friends.

Always keen to sample the delights of the sea, Boating World’s Derrick Levy, Greg Alice (and three friends Rob; Sheldon and Matt) recently took off in the magnificent Fairline Targa 38 for a spell of crayfish netting.

This was something new for the Durbanites in the party - as crayfishing in KwaZulu Natal is only permitted when snorkeling or gathering off the rocks. Interestingly while most of us use the term “crayfish” – the creatures found along our coastline are actually Rock lobsters (crayfish are generally found in fresh water) – but we’ll stick with familiar terminology.

Carrying the required permits (R92.00 each) - and plenty of instruction from experienced crayfisherman and Riviera owner Peter Sternberg – the excited group set off from Granger Bay for Kommetjie in the Cape. An all too familiar westerly wind and a 3-metre swell did not deter them from their goal – to catch the legal limit of four crayfish each – and the promise of a delicious meal to come.

Comfortably cruising at 20-knots the Fairline Targa 38- sliced through each swell with ease and before long they’d passed the wreck of the Boss Barge 500  - but not much further on the swell grew even bigger and the decision was made to go further south towards Cape Point.

Eventually two nets (connected to marker buoys) were lowered to a depth of 15 meters – and 15 minutes later, the first five crayfish were safely brought on board. Each one met the minimum size requirement of 80mm in length and was not “in berry” (an egg-carrying female).

Despite losing a net shortly after, they still managed to get their full quota of 16 Crayfish and it was time to head home.

On arrival back at the moorings the delighted party put on the outside electric griddle located in the Targa 38’s cockpit, heated salt water and wine in a large pot and steamed the crayfish into an attractive bright red colour.

The rest of the Boating World team soon made their way onto the boat for a fantastic crayfish feast accompanied by refreshing sparkling beverages.

Remember these important pointers from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries:

  • Permits are only issued to persons over 12 years old
  • Crayfish may only be collected and landed between 8am and 4pm
  • Recreational fishers may not sell their catch and the lobsters must be transported in their whole state.
  • Females in berry – carrying orange eggs under their tails must be returned to the sea straight away.