Aliwal Shoal Report June 2008 - Basie Ackermann

General conditions

Wow.  Most Wahoo in many years, and the first in many years of a constant north south current for more than a month. Some days hardly any, but not one day of that pesky reverse current. Even against some serious fronts marching up the coast.

Hence June started with a bang. That bang continued for a solid two weeks, as conditions in the water hardly changed. Light to moderate north south current, slightly offshore, and visibility ranging from 8-20metres. 23 – 24 degree Celsius water temperatures. A lot colder on the boat. Land breezes every night, calm seas every morning.   

Nothing this good lasts. And it didn’t.  There must have been a huge domestic in the household of Mother Nature, as she threw a major tantrum as only a peeved off woman can and unleashed all her ire and fury for hubby on us mere mortals on the South Coast of  Kwazulu Natal. The ocean moved in every thinkable direction, and then in quite a few unthinkable ones as well. Just to add to the mix, some very strong easterly winds, and pelting rain. Reportedly we had 1000mm rain in just two days. Everything not bolted down or cemented in was swept away. Then again, a lot of things bolted down and cemented in did float away. Harsh.   

Needless to say that was the end of good diving conditions. Muddy waters past the Shoal, which only really started to clear by the 24th.

Fish

Now we are talking.  Best Wahoo season in years, albeit all the teenagers – mostly 12-20 kg ones. The bigger ones get to grow big for a reason. 

It started on the 2nd.  Shoals of 40-50 fish. All over the place. You jump in, don’t even have time to load your gun and they are there. We managed 4 Wahoo in the 14-16kg range, lost and missed and chased twice as many. On my side definitely some serious “bok koors”.

Next day the same. Loose. Emil Pirzenthal got some Wahoo, but also lost a 60kg plus Sailfish after stoning it. Spear just pulled out with barb closed. Fish flapping away slowly, he tried to get a hold of it, but the movie was over. Apparently not the first time this certain make of spear did that, even though it is loose when testing it.  No make mentioned. Alan Fraser the Moo man and crew also landed 3-4 Wahoo.

Alistair Louw landed a 15kg one. I managed a Wahoo of 21 kg, and then had to fight off a 200 kg Brindle Bass trying to swallow it. It was a tug or war that I won only because I played dirty and kicked this lazy predator repeatedly on the head, whilst holding onto my spear. Emil also lost a medium sized Wahoo to it about half an hour before. How much more do you want to eat, pig??

Funny thing is that in last year’s June report I mentioned a Brindle who prefers take away to actually making an effort to cook. It is now bigger and very aggressive. Seems to patrol the area off the North East pinnacle.

The 4th Corry, Garret,  Paul and Joe did well with Paul and Joe getting Sailfish of 35 and 40 kg respectively, and Corry and Joe each a Wahoo of 19 and 16 kg respectively. Garret landed a cuda. Nice bag. Hope I got that right.  

On the 6th same conditions, Wahoo still in shoals of 50 and more. They were getting skittish now after being chased all week, and we managed to lose 5. 3 of those by Sven in a matter of two minutes and still the same shoal swimming past. He reported seeing at least 100 or more. Had a problem with his gun that he was unaware of at the time. Alistair donated another bigger one to two dogs fighting over a bone. Except in this tale the third one didn’t walk away with it, and the dogs in question were big Zambezi sharks. Aloe now keeps his spear as a future sewerage drain cleaning tool.  

After that dismal performance we left, leaving John Little out there, who stuck it out and was rewarded with a nice specimen of 30kg. Nice fish. He also lost another similar sized one.

That Saturday the news was out and everything that floated was out there. Mid sized Wahoo were coming out, nothing reported over 20kgs, but more were seen and chased than landed. But still full up.

This trend continued for the next couple of days, lots seen, shoals of over a hundred, very skittish by now, but still some being landed, with bags of 3 and 4 Wahoo per boat. Most in the 12-18 kg range, but one did come out of about 6kgs. To save him a lot of further ridicule, the shooter will stay anonymous.

I saw one on Andy Norton’s boat that had the head of a 25kg plus one, but the body of a Garfish.  I assumed the Wahoo probably just came back from a visit to Ethiopia, but Andy corrected me by telling me about the rusting trap trace in its mouth, which obviously prevented it from hunting and eating properly.

Then the storms came.

Towards the end of the month conditions improved a bit,  with the 22nd producing good bags of decent cuda, but all from fishing boats. Too dirty to dive. Emil landed a croc of 27kgs. The length of an 18kg one but round stocky and very well sardined. Also reports of Geelbek in the Cathedral area, with Salmon off the northern side towards Amphi.  

Nebo wreck has also produced some cuda action and good Salmon.

Visitors

The annual migration of Humpbacks started with lots of noise underwater and splashing going on all over on the surface. Best Ragged Tooth shark season in a decade, with them plastered all over the reef and even the reefs inshore. Couple of reports though that they have hassled a few spearo’s as they retrieve speared fish. Lots of BIG Zambezi’s around, well rounded thanks to the sardines and very inquisitive.

Happy hunting.
Basie Ackermann