Aliwal Shoal Report February 2010 - Basie Ackermann

General conditions

No need to adorn the conditions this month with the rank of General. It sucked. I’m sure the Aliwal is 261.6metres closer to Durban than it was last month. Dragged there like a protesting brat to the dentist by the relentless reverse current.

Started end of last month, and only changed on the 23rd. Three solid weeks of south north current. Too boot, (oooh, a lot of ooo’s) the visibility during this delightful period of inactivity as far as  spearing goes was an astonishing 6-8 metres., Green. Cat-regurgitating grass - green. And easterly winds, admittedly not too strong, all sub 20 knot, but enough to force you to mow the lawn, watch paint dry or fix that 6 month old broken light bulb. (No – the light bulb is not 6 months old; it’s been broken for 6 months. Stay with me here.) Water temperature was on average not too bad, 23-24 degrees Celsius, but did drop down to 19 degrees on the 16th, but peaked at 27 degrees on the 28th. Warmest water so far this summer. The only reason why there wasn’t the aroma of boiled fish in the air was because there were no fish around.

The one true thing to the character of February was the temperature and humidity. Hot. Very hot. 

On the 23rd out of nowhere the current swung onshore north south again, and making up in strength for losing out for over three weeks. It was pumping. Brought some clean 20metre visibility as well, but surprise surprise, left the fish behind.  Stayed like that until the 25th, when a westerly came through and stopped it dead in its tracks.  Back to reverse current again. Oh the joy of that was indescribable.


By now everybody knows of Emil Pirzenthal’s new potential SA record Ignobilis of 63kg, shot on the 12th. If not, you are probably living in Brakpan. (By the way, did you know that the tooth brush was originally named by a Brakpanner?  Anybody else would have called it a teeth brush. Then again, many of them only have one tooth). [Disclaimer: This last comment is purely fictitious and does not in any way or manner reflect or represents any person living or dead in any town anywhere in the world. If it does, it is coincidental and unintentional.]

Emil shot the Iggy through the head at fairly close range, and after a “slight” tussle, managed to boat it with just the barb hanging onto the gill plate. Pulled right through the head.  In my opinion the art in spearing these incredibly strong fish lies not in the shooting of it, but in the landing. Emil is a specialist when it comes to these fish, as was proven to me once again, first hand, on the 23rd, when he shot three of 18-31 kgs, and Mark van Achterbergh and I did not even see one. Way to go, dufuses.

In Mark’s defense, he did boat a fine 38kg specimen earlier in the month, and a nice 6kg Rock Salmon. Emil shot several Iggies during the month in the crappy conditions, as well as some Seapike and Kaakap.  

Couple of Tropical Yellowtails permanently lost their swimming ability as well, but that was about it as far as fishing went.

Bigger news than Emil’s Iggie, is the sighting of an extinct species on the Shoal by yours truly on the 24th.  I decided in a moment of eco-friendly awareness to let it go, as it is probably the last of the line of a fine line fish (alliteration to make my High School English teacher proud – although she is probably pushing daisies by now).

It was a 15kg cuda, swimming next to a Dodo and Coelacanth.

Not lying to you. Only thing I am lying about is the eco awareness bit. Couldn’t get near the cuda.  So I took a shot at the Dodo and hit the Coelacanth. Don’t tell anyone.

Enjoy our Oceans,