Aliwal Shoal Report February 2008 - Basie Ackerman

General conditions

This was the month of visibility.  And some frustration. I can’t recall when last we’ve had such good visibility for such a continuous length of time. We had one or two days of 8m stuff, but mostly it was in the 12-15m range.

On the 19th though the Mozambique water moved in.  Visibility of 25-40m (!) and water temperatures of 27-29 degrees Celsius for a whole 10 days in a row.  And very light winds with glassy, but not flat, seas. Paradise.  Unfortunately the fish could see you approaching as they came around the point at Port Edward and they mostly kept well clear. This was also the ten days that these conditions were seriously under utilized, as we’ve had impossible surf launching. 4 metre easterly swells as a spin-off from the cyclone pestering Madagascar. Kept most spearos on the beach crying. Conditions on the Shoal were optimum but the gates were closed. Those of us that did manage to get through the ridiculous surf aged substantially, but it was rewarding just diving in those unbelievable conditions.   

The current was north south more often than the past two months, with it actually reaching 3 knots on the 11th.  The predominant current was still reverse though.

Fish

The cuda have been around, but all shoal size. Big shoals of up to 200 and more have been seen on a couple of days, with a couple landed, but they just seem to be passing through.  On most of our trips out we’ve managed at least one or two. I also boated a Wahoo of 20kgs, but it was a loner. Once again, these fish are all year round on the Shoal in the right conditions. Andy Norton and crew reported a healthy shoal of 30kg + Wahoo on the 23 rd, as well as a huge school of cuda. Mark van Achterbergh landed a couple of cuda and saw some decent Wahoo on the same day, but all at sparrow fart.  It went quiet after that. 

There has been quite a few Dorado around, but smallish ones, and Billfish hunting on the surface. On 4 different occasions did I see the caudal fin of a Billfish on the surface slice through the water. Difficult to tell, but an educated guess will be that they are mostly Sailies, except the one which I actually managed to see the thickness of the tail. Only a Marlin, or a Sailfish on steroids. Big.

Emil Pirzenthal came back with a nice bag on the 27th  consisting of 7 Yellowtail Kingfish in the 8 kg range,  a couple of cuda as well as a Prodigal Son of 25 kg. Nice fish. 

So all in all an excellent month condition wise, a bit thin on the fish side, but the crystal blue water and bath like temperatures made up for it. Well almost.

Happy hunting.
Basie Ackermann