Aliwal Shoal Report April 2007 - Basie Ackerman

Conditions

With the change of season we had quite a few days of serious wind – easterly as well as big westerly.  More than enough diveable days in between though, with an average temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. Some days a thermo cline affected the diving. The current tended to be a bit bi this month, swinging both ways. Visibility ranged from 6-25m.

Fish

Not as wild as last month, although on two days the cuda were all over the Shoal.  On the afternoon of the 1st, , the visibility was a green 6m, with a light north south current, and not one boat out there fishing or spearing.  Was a bit bumpy, and okay if you were out there already, but a bit rough to come out in. I actually saw a cuda right under the surface as a swell passed the boat, and thought it strange, as you don’t see that too often. But then the Dive Master came up after their dive and told me they were surrounded by hundreds of “fish”, swimming circles around them during the whole dive. I immediately thought they were Sea Pike, as these fish are always the “cuda” they see. Back on land I showed him a photo, and he identified the real McCoy, or McCuda in this instance.

The second day was the 20th and that at high noon, of all times. One commercial fisherman happened to go past the Shoal, and he filled up with 40 plus cuda. He had the party all to himself.

As for the rest of the month, the cuda seemed to have moved further south, with very good catches reported from places like Pennington, Sezela, and Mtwalume. At the time of writing, (02/05) I heard reports that the fish are wild down Hibberdene side, so they are migrating slowly. To accentuate this, the Shoal has been rather dead of late, except for the odd cuda here and there.

Good news is that the Wahoo started making their appearance, and right on cue. The first day the conditions were perfect for them, Alistair Louw landed one of 23kg, and a couple in the 15kg range came out as well on other boats. Singles at this stage, but we’ll take that, thank you. Unfortunately the days with the right conditions for them were rather scarce. 

Watch out for the Garfish in the next couple of months. They are going to look like they have been taking steroids. They have been getting some serious exercise being chased senseless all over the Shoal. Usually we see lot of Sailfish doing this, but on two occasions I saw Marlin coming out and slashing.  The Wahoo is definitely also part of their exercise program.

A shoal of new residents, decent size Fulvoguttatis, have frequently been spotted off the North East Pinnacle, most in the 7-10kg range

So even though the cuda are thinning out, their replacements are more than adequate. And welcome.