Aliwal Shoal Report January 2009 - Basie Ackermann

General conditions

One false alarm after the other. Too many of them this month.

We’ve had the most stunning conditions. 25m+ visibility, north south current, 25 degrees Celsius water temperature and windless, flat seas one more days than not. At long last we’ve had the “perfect” conditions for game fish on the Shoal. 

Fish must have been LOOSE.  Full up. Smashing it.  Thick alley.  Happy days are here again. Not quite, as no one told the fish.  Huge absence of game fish on the majority of those days.  Very disappointing.  Very frustrating. Here we had the conditions we’ve been bleating about for months, and nada. Ziltch. Zip. Pleasurable diving but all we’ve done is take our spear guns for a snorkel, staring at blue, open ocean, chum and flashers, imagining a fish pulling in at any moment. Still waiting. And imagining.


Only fish that were seen regularly were Yellowfin Tuna (quite a few being caught from fishing boats) and Dorado. We managed 4 Dorado on the 8th and two the next day, but that was it. No sign of cuda or Wahoo or Sailfish. One thing that I have noticed though was the complete lack of Garfish. Usually there are hundreds of them on the Shoal, but for the first two weeks absolutely nothing.  Garfish are to Wahoo and Sailfish what vleis, rys and artappels are to a crunchie. No disrespect intended as I myself am one. A crunchie, that is, not any of the mentioned foodstuffs or fish.

We’ve started seeing the Garfish back on the Shoal on the 16th, when we were there in the morning and it was pretty dead. Gyula, however, did report sighting a Marlin early in the morning, and also landed a small Wahoo. Apparently that afternoon, still in the same perfect conditions, the fish came on with reports of some cuda, Dorado, and tuna coming out. How many and how big were not confirmed. I did hear one fishing boat caught 16 tuna in the 3-6 kg range. In the fish drought we’ve been experiencing on the Shoal, it is a known fact that a report of a few fish can very quickly become a report of someone smashing it big time. The more times the story is being related and regaled, the bigger the tale (and fish) becomes. Can’t blame anyone for that, we are all optimists and passionate about the silvery ones.

While I am on that note, I would like to remind everyone that this report only contains reports of fish that I have actually seen come out, or have been told about by the various spearo’s having speared those fish. Obviously I don’t hear about each and every fish shot on the Shoal, but I try and keep it as close to the facts as possible.

Jugs Holtzman did shoot a cuda in the 10kg range on the 11th, and also caught a tuna and Dorado on reel.  On the 14th Emil Pirzenthal took home a bag of 5 Ignobilis in the 15-30kg range.

Alan ‘Moo’ Fraser told me he’d lost a Black after shooting it with his reel gun on the 4th. It took 300m of line and then parted at the spear. The cops are still looking for him. Just kidding.   Apparently this is the third Marlin he’s shot and lost on a reel gun.  

So all in all a dreary fish month, but absolutely phenomenal conditions. All we can do is wait for the cuda to start filtering through, and the inshore waters to clear for the snoek. Reports of a lot of them being caught at Toti.

I heard a report that some big cuda in the 20-30kg range have been shot and lost on the 21st by Gyula and Emil respectively. Conditions were light north south and 20m visibility, once again. Good sign though. Hoping there will be more of them in the weeks to come. Their younger brothers and sisters are also more than welcome.

Well I’m going to Slaapstad and Wilderness for a couple of weeks. I’ll catch you on the other side.

Enjoy the ocean!