Aliwal Shoal Report January 2010 - Basie Ackermann

General conditions

Good kick off to the year. For a change. Most of the month we were blessed with north south onshore current, visibility during the first three weeks rarely dropping below 20metres, and water temperature of 24 – 27 degrees Celsius. Heaven. Too boot  (aren’t you impressed with my 2010 soccer word play – second time and I’m only in my first paragraph??) there were fish around. One or two days the visibility was reduced to 6metres, thanks to the “harmless pollution” (now there is a superb example of an oxymoron) so readily and friendly provided by Sappi Saiccor, but fortunately the Shoal managed to shrug this crap off.

The last ten days the wind played tennis everyday (ok, moved off soccer theme but at least I’m still with sport), and hence visibility dropped to 8metres, and water temperature down to 21 and 22 degrees Celsius. The current persisted though and on a couple of days good catches were made in slightly better conditions.

Fish

Lots of small Wahoo, lots of Dorado, lots of Ignobilis, and lots of snoek inshore, and even a few cuda. Yes – cuda – they have not yet followed the fate of the Dodo. Although they are certainly on their way there with lots of help from our slanty eyed friends with their trawlers off Mozambique.

Mark van Achterbergh landed 7 Wahoo and 3 Yellowfin Tuna on the 1st and 2nd, all in the 8-10kg range. The same time boats were catching Dorado with one boat landing 12. I’ve heard reports of a 41kg cuda boated off a ski down at Ifafa, and the skis off Scottburgh getting the odd cuda in the 6-12kg range.

On the 3rd we saw shoals and shoals of small Wahoo, and landed a couple, but strangely they were very skittish. Usually the smaller ones act according to the mental capacity that you could very well find in certain youth league leaders.   Lots of Tuna around, but they can definitely never apply for positions as youth leaders. The Dorado we landed during the first three weeks were all in the 5-8kg range.

Emil Pirzenthal, the Ignobilis specialist, landed a lot of solid specimens during the month, all in the 25-47kg weight division (see, now I’m with boxing). Also lost one of well over 70kg, according to him. At the time of writing this, he has actually landed a pending SA record, but that is for February’s report. He has also though shot an amazing 12.5kg Scavenger, also known as Mata Hari, another pending SA record. He is on a roll, but he puts in the water time.

Jaco Blighnaut boated a rare specimen for the Shoal on the 23rd, a 15kg Cuda off the Eelskin edge, apparently out of a shoal. Must have been the only shoal around.

The 27th produced wild action for the fisherman. I saw literally rugby field size (there it is again) shoals of bait fish all over the north eastern side of Aliwal, and Tuna jumping all over the place. Long time since we’ve had that amount of activity and bait. Needless to say the fishermen made hay while the sun shone. We went out later that day, but then things were quiet, and we only managed one small 9 kg Wahoo and a 7kg Fulvoguttatis. Not a Tuna to be seen.

All in all a very consistent fish month, but with one glaring omission - cuda. I even had the priviledge of encountering a approximate 250kg Marlin, but couldn’t get close enough for a kill shot. Next time.

Enjoy our Oceans,
Basie