Aliwal Shoal Report April 2009 - Basie Ackermann

General conditions

It turned out to be quite a windy month. The north east was up early on more days than not, often ruining otherwise good diving conditions. The first big winter fronts also marched through on the 10th and 20th, both times followed by a big east blowing for up to three days, confusing the life out of the sea and making a mess of it.

Then on top of this our best friend Sappi Saiccor played a very active role in screwing conditions up on the 3rd,4th,18th, 19th, 29th and 30th. Our thanks to the man made mess. Only 6 days - I guess we should be thankful. Ja right!!

Skillfully dodging all the abovementioned factors, the north south current put in a regular showing, offering good spearing, especially in the first half of the month.

The water temperature dropped markedly to the low twenties, and some days being outright silly with 17 degrees below the thermocline. Visibility ranged from 2m Sappi crap to a good 20m.


The month kicked off reasonably well when Mark van Achterberg and I played hide and seek with big Wahoo (30-40kg plus) and some crocodile cuda (20-30kg) in gloomy 6-8m visibility. Not often you see these two species in the same area on the same drifts. But there is a reason they are big…and for once the bad visibility favoured the fish – in and out of the gloom like ethereal spectres in a B grade Hollywood movie.

We also found a school of big Sangoras and Fulvoguttatis, but were endlessly harassed by the big Brindle Bass living off the North East Pinnacle and his irritating Potato Bass mate.

Lazy freeloading parasitical spongers, imposing on our generosity and making no effort whatsoever to feed independently. Smashed us up time and again, eventually we only managed one Sangora of 10kgs and one Fulvy of 12kgs.

On the 5th Emil Pirzenthal shot a ‘good’ bag consisting of 2 Ignobilis of 20kg, 4 cuda between 14-21 kgs, a 17kg Wahoo and a few Sangoras between 7 and 14kgs. What were you doing on that day??

Alistair Louw and I landed two Wahoo of 21kgs the next day, with some more coming out on the 11th, with Sven landing a 18kg one, and also seeing a big Marlin. On all these days there was a north south current.

The rest of the month was plagued by either reverse current, dirty water or big winds. Although not pertinent to this report, let it be known that on the diveable days some good bags came out on the other reefs in the area to the south, even in the reverse current. Good size Wahoo, cuda and Sangoras.

I’ve heard a few reports of other Wahoo being landed off the Shoal, but none over 22kgs. The buses are clever, and they might have won the battle, but the war is not over. May is here. The natives are restless, and their spears are sharp.

Enjoy our ocean!
Basie Ackermann