Aliwal Shoal Report January 2008 - Basie Ackerman

Who would have thought that the astonishing vision, foresight and planning of our very, very efficient ANC led government and its parastatils would affect this report. But it did. All the black outs toasted my pc, so therefore a very late report.

By the way, we are now banned from using the term “black outs”. It is henceforth to be known as “previously lit areas”.

General conditions

I think the earth has shifted on its axis and Cape Town is now higher than Durban, with the result that the ocean is now rushing towards Durban. We are having a relentlessly strong reverse current from south to north. On only 5.5 (yes - .5) days of this month did we have the joy of the right north south current.  The only plus side of the reverse current was that we had very good visibility most days, ranging from 10-30+metres. The temperatures varied from 24-26 degrees Celsius, but with thermo clines on certain days. Some big winds and easterly swell in the first week also put paid to any plans of spearing.


The cuda have made a small appearance on the shoal, with Jaco Blighnaut starting the month off with a 14 kg cuda, amongst other fish.(Being his first dive in close to 18 months, he was back in the country from his commercial diving job in the Gulf of Mexico to prepare for Nationals. He only had about 9 days to get back in shape, and then he still goes and places first in the event. Well done - SA’s next Tommy Botha, methinks.) 

A few other cuda also came out, mostly on the Eelskin side, and in the 7-12 kg range.  Mostly singles, except for the one day when the cuda were thick off the North East pinnacle, and some spearo’s, whose names I failed to get, did find them shoaling.

Quite a few Seapike around, and some nice sized ones too, and some Ignobilis. Emil Pirzenthal again made mayhem and got enough. Emil’s biggest for the month was one of 51 kg’s. Nice fish, and just 5 kg’s shy of his own SA record. Then he also had a whole range of between 30 -42 kg

Him and Shane Oberholzer the one day landed 8 all between 18-28 kg’s.

On the 11th the water was absolutely crystal.  I haven’t seen the Shoal that clean in years.  Standing on the boat, you could see the sand in 30 metres of water. On that day Mark van Achterberg landed a 22 kg Iggie, and Alistair Louw a nice 40 kg Salmon on the Nebo.

Reports of other fish shot were 2 (lost) Albacore, and a couple of Fulvogutatis and Sangora.

Hordes and hordes of cuda and Dorado came out on the skis off Scottburgh this month, which is always a good sign. Not too surprising though, as those reefs work well in a reverse current.  Bodes well for the coming cuda season. 


On the 19th Wayne Munn, diving off  Jurgen “Jugs” Holtzhausen’s boat, landed a nice 85kg Black Marlin off the outside edge. Well done.

There have been numerous sightings, both above and below water, of Marlin this summer. Both Mark van Achterberg and some scuba divers have seen a 200kg + Marlin on two separate occasions on the Shoal.  It is good news that they seem to be appearing more and more frequently lately.


Funny thing though, with all this reverse current we’ve been having, the southern  outside edge of Aliwal has actually become much more alive with all sorts of bait fish, bottoms as well as shoals of Fulvies and Iggies, and some big cuda. But it is still second prize.

If this trend continues, we’ll soon be referring to the north south current as the reverse current for Aliwal…

Happy hunting.
Basie Ackermann