Aliwal Shoal Report June 2007 - Basie Ackerman

General conditions

A quiet month and not a very diveable one. Only 4 favourable days for some game fish action.

Both north south and reverse currents changing overnight to days with no current whatsoever. We had some absolutely incredible glassy, windless days though.  The word doldrums came to mind.  Visibility ranged from 3 to 20 metres, with a monthly average of  8metres.

Temperatures fluctuated between 23 and 20 degrees Celsius. Notably when the temperature dropped to 20 degrees, the sardines appeared at Ifafa and Hibberdene areas. Some good bags of big game fish came out on pockets at Widenham and Warner Beach during that brief week.

Temperatures went up to 23 degrees again, and that was that. No sardines to date of writing.  Not even a sardine crawl. Now you are asking what that has to do with the Aliwal report?   Nothing.  But there it is anyway. I also had an unconfirmed report of a 30kg cuda being landed by a fishing boat on the Outside Edge. Nice fish.

Visitors

The annual migration of Humpbacks started with lots of noise underwater and splashing going on all over on the surface.

There also seems to be a new resident on the Shoal, either he is lost or he is just on holiday, visiting. But he is none the less well versed in the irritating and annoying habit of taking food that others provide. Not even my flashers were safe. He has been spotted numerous times just off the North East Pinnacle – about a 150kg Brindle Bass. And he loves handicapped fish. Or flashers, for that matter.

Some Action

Only four days this month had the conditions conducive to producing some Wahoo.

The first was on the 7th, and they were loose. One fishing boat caught 8, and about the same number of Yellowfin Tuna. We were there in the afternoon, and saw shoals of up to 20 in a shoal. Most of them were small, less than 20 kg’s, and we chased and duffed and carried on like madmen. We ended up with only three, 13, 14 and 18kg’s. But good fun. The visibility also dropped to 6m after half an hour, so they were disappearing out of sight as soon as they came into sight.  On the 10th the conditions were perfect, but no fish. Not a sausage. Andy Norton and crew did manage a decent Sailfish though.

Some big Wahoo were spotted on the 12th, but could not be approached, when some Mozambique water moved in. A couple of cuda and a nice Salmon were landed instead. Then on the 29th things looked right again. We jumped in at midday, right into a shoal of 20-30 fish, and all in the 20-40 kg range. What a rush. I lost one of about 25kg’s after it pulled my buoy under three times, and Ferdie Burger landed a smaller one out of that shoal.  Alistair Louw later landed a 20kg one, and saw a beast of 40kg plus swimming with his speared fish. We all saw small groups again on each drift, but they had wisened up and stayed well out of range. 

I saw one Wahoo do a peculiar thing. I took a fairly long shot at him, and it seemed like he’d  heard the gun go off, as he’d turned his head, saw the spear traveling true, and at the last moment just turned flat on his side. My spear went over him, and had he not turned flat, it would have been a holding shot. He casually turned upright again and kept on swimming, all relaxed and obviously very chuffed with himself.  Smooth move. Watching that Matrix DVD paid off, Mr. Wahoo.

So in total a quiet month, but the few days that were good, the Wahoo were there, offering a worthy challenge and providing exciting diving. Noticeably absent were the excessive numbers of sharks that we usually see, with the odd Blacktip around and I saw one big Tiger off Cathedral. The feeble attempt by the sardines to “run” might have something to do with it. I’m sure the sharks will come back highly irritated and annoyed after being duped and swimming so far  south in anticipation. Hooray for us.