Aliwal Shoal Report November 2007 - Basie Ackerman

General conditions

This can be called the “Lots of...” month. Lots (and lots) of rain, lots of wind, lots of  changes in water temperature, lots of lumpy seas but fortunately in between also lots of fish.

In the beginning of the month the conditions were a carry-over from October, with murky visibility due to all the rain and the rivers breaking through, and  water temperature dropping to an icy 19 degrees on a couple of occasions.  

From the 9th to 11th we had 25m and north south current, but eish! The wind! Then late into the month Aliwal had a pre season spurt of summer Mozambique water, coming in from the deep, albeit it on a reverse South North current. 25 degrees and 30 meters. Even in the “wrong” current the fish were there. That lasted for a glorious four consecutive days. It nearly felt like the good old days. Had this been on a North South current, it would have delivered unequalled spearing.

Fish

Lots and lots of Dorado, small Wahoo and Tuna coming out.

The first action was on the 9th, when it turned on with light north south and 25m. The only problem was that a gale force easterly started early morning and blew every man, animal and object back to shore. Emil Pirzenthal though, who was out there at day break, saw a shoal of 7  small Sailfish in the 20 kg range on his first drift, but was forced back by a faulty outboard and the worsening conditions. He went back that afternoon after the wind moderated a bit, and opened the Ignobilis season with two nice fish of 30kg’s each. Unfortunately he also lost his favourite gun, which was bounced overboard by a thrashing Iggy on the deck. This happened at dusk, so no landmarks and dark water.

These awesome conditions continued on the 10th, but were completely wasted by a buster Westerly, blowing everything that was not bolted or cemented down into oblivion.

The next day the current held against the onslaught of the west, but a big east came up again mid morning (what a surprise!). Come hell or high water, we were out there in the afternoon with Alistair landing three 8-10kg Wahoo, Chris a 5 kg Dorado, and Emil and Mark some Dorado and small Wahoo as well. Earlier on in the morning the boat of Garret, Joe, Diter and Corrie also boated some 8-10kg Wahoo, with Joe getting a bigger one of over 20kg’s. Did not get a confirmation of the weight, could even be 22-25kg if I’m guessing right. Nice fish considering the majority of Wahoo the whole month has been darts, although some 25-30kg ones have been spotted.

Speaking of spotting fish, two Marlin have been seen, one in the 150kg and the other in the 200kg range, whilst Mark hooked one on a feather whilst top manning,, saw it jump and obviously throw the hook. But they are there and worth keeping that thought in the back of your head. Won’t be long before someone is in the right spot at the right time to boat one of these beauties. There has also been a lot of Sailfish around.

By the way, kudos to Corrie Versluis who found Emil’s gun two later days on the outside of Aliwal in 30m of water, retrieved it and gave it to me to give back to Emil.  That’s nice to know that this still happens.

The clean warm water towards the end of the month once again delivered lots of small Wahoo, Dorado and tuna, and we even managed an 8kg Cuda shot by Gary.

Other fish worth mentioning (that I know of) are Emil’s 18kg Dorado and Diter’s 30kg Yellowfin Tuna. Well done guys.

Sharks

There are enough of them. Obviously with the increased fish activity, they hang around like leeches, waiting for a gun to go off, especially the Blackfins. I have also spotted a 3.5m Tiger off Cathedral, and big shoals of big Hammerheads. Nothing too unusual, although I think we might have a new resident on the Shoal.  Both Mark and Emil reported seeing a 4.5m White swimming with the Dolphins, and strangely enough a couple of Great White teeth have been found by scuba divers on North Sands over the past few months. Go back to the Cape where the divers there are used to you, Zippermouth!

Enough action to make us all happy, the start of summer water and  summer fish moving in, and good prospects for December.