Aliwal Shoal Report July 2010 - Basie Ackermann

General conditions

Pigs can fly in the middle of July.

I would believe that before I'd believe that you can spear fish on the Shoal in July.

In fact I am sure that I have seen some pigs flying overhead when a couple of the first real big winter cold fronts came smashing through. I'm even convinced I saw a pig attached to a roof rack attached to a Transkei taxi, the driver nonchalantly slouching with an arm out the window. There was something next to the pig; I can only guess it was a featherless chicken. Now whether the chicken was plucked before it was tied to the roof rack, or whether it was defeathered by the west, only the owner of that chicken would know. And I have no idea who that would be, being a Transkei chicken.

You've probably realized by this irrelevant drivel that there is not too much to report as far as spearing went. So stop reading this. Hey. You are still reading this. I've told you there is not much information here for you so go back to the main page and read one of the other reports. The ones about fish, not pigs and featherless chickens. You are still reading this aren't you?? Wow you are a persistent bugger. Ok then. Sheez, how bored must you be?

The month started off with promise. A north south current and 8-12metres visibility, 20 degrees Celsius water temperature. First big westerly hit us on the 7th, then again on the 11th, continuing through to the 16th, interspersed with pumping east. Big swell, 8m visibility, 18 degrees water temperature. Let's all rush out there.

None of those typical glassy, offshore July days for us, thank you.

Visibility dropped to 6metres again. From an astonishing 8. Wow, what a great July this has been….. Biggest culprit for the bad visibility this month was none other than ……. (Drum roll…………) Sappi Saiccor!!! We've had quite a few days with the right current, but ruined by their filth. They have been working on the pipeline trying to repair a leak that has been there for months. Hey, the cheapest option always works the best.

Good news was that the weather slotted into typical July fashion (no reflection on the fashion at the July Race – which is not fashion in my opinion anyway -), with glassy days and offshore wind. Still dirty and cold, although it created excellent inshore conditions with pearler visibility and no swell for more than a week. That all changed with the next westerly buster blasting Kwazulu Natal into Mozambique on the 29th, with monster swell the next day.


The Shoal produced a few big cuda over twenty (kilograms, not years), some Wahoo and Sailfish in the first couple of days. Then due to the combined effort of the winter fronts and Sappi, all spearing offshore ceased. I can't recall seeing or hearing about a worthwhile fish that was shot on the Shoal in the remaining three weeks.

The action all happened inshore. Crystal water and some isolated sardine action. Lots of Garrick and some big Snoek coming out, and big Ignobilis and Yellowfin tuna seen on the sardine pockets, doing the Argus Cycle Race with the Sardines all imitating Lance Armstrong. This year the sardines used a new method of protection. Screw the bait ball trick, run baby run. Ignore all exits and turn offs, traffic lights and stop signs. Collect R200.00 when you pass Go. And keep going. Last Sardine on the Upper North Coast is a mullet.

You are still reading this, aren't you???

Enjoy our Oceans,