Aliwal Shoal Report March 2009 - Basie Ackermann

General conditions

Not really a month to write home to. Or report on, for that matter.

The rain in February and the beginning of March was a recipe for disaster. The rivers spewing forth voluminous amounts of mud (which used to be topsoil on sugar cane farmers’ lands before they cleverly decided to plant right up to the rivers edge) turned blue into green into very brown.  Throw in some cyclone induced swell on the 6th  - 8th, mix in a couple of days of good easterlies, and you have a recipe for mowing the lawn, cranking up the credits by going shopping with your wife, girlfriend/boyfriend(!!??)  or for home maintenance. Lovely stuff.

Visibility has been terrible for most of the month, with days of no viz to average of 6-8metres. There were some serious thermoclines, with the lowest temperature 18 degrees Celsius. Which is fine if you are hunting polar bears.

During the latter part of the month it started cleaning up after a few big wests and strong reverse currents. The problem was that a soon as it swung north south again, all that saturated filthy water sitting north of Umkomaas came rushing back.

The river has also been doing its best by flowing 4 pillars wide. Too much rain for the ocean to absorb.    

Fish

No sign of the shoal cuda.  Last year March they were all over the place. A few reports of some crocodiles have been received, but none landed. Not too many spearos out – wonder why? - but I did hear an unconfirmed report that one fishing boat got 12 cuda between 8 and 25 kgs on the 14th.

A couple of Wahoo were seen around, but the only ones landed were from fishing boats. Can’t shoot them if you can’t see them….

So not too much interest in the Shoal this month, especially with all the snoek which has been loose inshore. One of the best snoek seasons we’ve had on the South Coast, albeit all crèche sized ones…..

We did manage to find diveable conditions on the afternoon the 24th, (hooray!!) but the visibility quickly packed up with some gorilla snot coming off the bottom. We saw some Wahoo, all bigger than usual, but they are bigger for a reason and me, I’m a bit rusted since I last saw them here. This is the time for the donkeys, so watch this space.

By month end conditions were improving drastically, so let the games begin.

Enjoy our ocean.
Basie Ackermann