Aliwal Shoal Report March 2011 - Basie Ackermann

General conditions

My apologies. No reports for January or February. Get over it.
In truth, they sucked. Not the reports, the months. Although the reports probably also would have sucked. They usually do.
A week of torrential rain at the beginning of January set the dirty canvas on which the next 2 months were painted on.  Dirty crap cold water with wind and less fish. February we had 15 continuous days of straight 15-20 knot easterlies. Lovely stuff – we all raced out there, especially after a cyclone had some more moves which filled us all with a deep joy. End of February the cuda started showing up, joining the shoals of snoek visiting the backline. March looked promising.

March was promising. First time in easily 10 years we are experiencing a cuda run on the South Coast.  If right now you are so uninformed that you are picturing cuda waggling on the tips of their tails, pumping their pectorals trying to overtake each other as they are grunting up Polly Shorts (that’s a hill in the Comrades, not Polly’s shorts, gutter brain), then this report is not for you.

The weather was unseasonably settled with light winds most days, and the first west in three weeks coming on the 9th. Water temperature 21-24 degrees Celsius, and a bisexual current, swinging both ways.  Visibility ranging from 8-25metres.
All in all prime conditions for fish.


The biggest draw cards though were the overcrowding of Bonito and miniscule cuda. Thousands of them around, inshore and out at sea, hence the fish that hunt them, and us, who hunt the fish, that hunt them.  Stay with me. Lots of cuda, tuna and Marlin. On the 16th I’ve heard of 4 Striped Marlin being caught by fishermen, all in the 50-70kgs weight division. One Marlin was even found in the Shark Nets, next to a Dolphin, a Turtle and an oomie from the Free State on a lilo, holding onto a buoy, who went swimming the day before. According to him he saw the Marlin and Dolphin sword fight on the surface until the turtle, which was a Ninja turtle, kicked them both into the nets. The oomie watched all this from his R59.99 lilo he bought at the corner shop owned by the Greek with the thick gold chain, the one next to the vis en tjips winkel. I can’t believe you actually read this nonsense!!

Back to the real story. The marlin was caught in the nets, (nothing else Tree huggers!! ) and one was also found dead on backline after being hit by what looked like a boat’s propeller.  So lots around. That same time I myself lost one Black Marlin of about 120KG.

To end this point, Dane Salmon shot a 145kg Marlin in 17m off Widenham on the 21st.  Very nice fish for backline. Like I said, lots of Marlin.

All this activity thanks to the Bonito, as well as the minutely small cuda.  Slightly bigger than Salad Fish some of them. But some donkey kong cuda of 35 and 37kg being caught off skis in the dirty water off Umkomaas, and hordes of ones ranging from 16-28kgs. Wonderful news. For us obviously, not the cuda, or Bonito, or Marlin.
The only real fish that wasn’t being caught in numbers were the Wahoo.  A couple came out, some twenties, but mostly teenagers who swam away from home. 

Zambezis were, are and will be thick on the reef. I have never seen so many Zambuks on the outside edge, and big. Makes sense with all the fish activity, but they are inquisitive and a nuisance. I recently saw the biggest one in all my spearing life of well over an estimated 400kgs and over 4 metres.  Monstrous. Its head was well over a metre wide. Remoras on it, all 7 of them, in the 3-4kg range. Evil bastard and he knows it.  Getting fatter by the day, mostly off the efforts and skill of others, very similar to a certain youth leader, except I think the Zambuk has more grey matter. In fact even the Zambuk tin of ointment has.

 [Disclaimer: This last comment is purely fictitious and does not in any way or manner reflect or represent any person living or dead in any town anywhere in the world. If it does, it is coincidental and unintentional, and if you think it might be referring to you, good luck in proving it, for in doing so, you will only prove that you actually do have less grey matter than a shark, or a tin of salve. Not exactly the result you wanted, hey?]


Other fish that stopped swimming this month were Sea pike, Yellowtail Kingfish, Kaakap and Sangora.   And Cuda. Did I mention cuda? Oh I have? Just so nice to say that. Cuda cuda cuda everywhere and most of them on a spear, oh so nice to hear.

Ok, so I suck as a poet.

Enjoy our Oceans!
Basie Ackermann