Aliwal Shoal Report May 2009 - Basie Ackermann

General conditions

We’ve had a fairly persistent north south current even holding it’s own against some serious westerlies. Produced some good solid swell and cooking surf inshore for those otherwise undiveable days. Also gave us some very decent Wahoo hunting days. Open fridge door offshore winds in the mornings meant some real pearler flat days with light winds. Visibility anywhere from 4m (Sappi Saiccor we really love you) to 20m. Temperatures rather high between 22-24.5 degrees Celsius, not boding too well for the sardines.


Good conditions for Wahoo, but there were more successful Wahoo watching than hunting going on. Some days were text book for the silver blue torpedoes, but with not a sausage of a sighting even. Some Capies up for Nationals landed two Wahoo and lost about 6 on the 2nd. Visibility was a crappy 8metres with a blend of effluent, green upwelling and river water, but the north south current was there. I witnessed a Jet ski catching a 22kg cuda – well not the ski per se, but the guy fishing off it - just outside Cathedral. Nice fish.

Things went quiet for a while with some very clean days, but reverse current, and some very dirty days, with the right current. Go figure. Sappi Saiccor had nothing to do with this.

Common denominator though - no fish.

Some heavy launching conditions on the 13th, 14th with us canceling our spearfishing charter on the 15th due to the unsafe surf conditions. And out there the ocean was teasing us with 15m and light north south current. (Reported from boats that launched later on at Rocky Bay). The 16th had diveable visibility of 12-15metres turned into 6metre muck by – yes; you guessed it again – SAPPI. Came from the north and just obliterated everything like a sandstorm from The Mummy. Not the one that brought you into this world, the movie. Two Wahoo did come out on reefs to the south though before the mummy could have its revenge.

The Shoal just wallowed in the muck.

Big west on the 17th, and turnabout conditions. 30 metres visibility and some Wahoo watching happening again. Very skittish which is to be expected as they can see you as soon as they swim past Hibberdene.

On the 18th Alistair Louw and I found some Wahoo on the reefs south of shoal, and managed 3, all sub twenties. The Shoal was not working. From the 20th until month end we had a north south current, amazingly surviving the onslaught of three westerly fronts. Unfortunately it was initially slightly offshore, which is no good and just pushed dirty inshore water out. No fish.

Then another mother of a front on month end with cranking 4m swell, so no diving.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, this section should be under the “Conditions” heading, because hardly any fish came out on the Shoal that I am aware of. Lots seen, but that’s it. Which brings me to the next thing – this month I’ve had numerous sms’s from spearo’s telling me that they’ve heard the Wahoo were loose on the Shoal. Now we are all aware how rumours spread, not just over distance, but also in size as well. Then I was told by a jet ski fisherman that a spearo landed 9 Wahoo on that weekend just before Nationals. (??)

This all was news to me. But now just because I don’t have a cooking clue about any of this, doesn’t mean it’s not true. Is it? Does anyone reading this know about this rather impressive bag? I am aware only three people read this - excluding my mummy :-) - but I think to help with accurate reporting, anyone shooting fish on the Shoal is welcome to email me at [email protected] I do however know for certain that the landed Wahoo were rather scarce on the Shoal this month.

I usually am all over any spearing boat out there like a blue arsed fly at a cattle auction, firstly to see what I am missing out on and secondly to try obtain facts for my report. I will miss things though and would appreciate you letting me know.


Just an interesting fact is that some Bronze Whalers have been seen around in the area, and also a nice, but very lost (and unwelcome) Slaapstad Submarine - a big Great White. Could be that they are here in anticipation of our still non existent Sardine run.

Enjoy our ocean!
Basie Ackermann