Aliwal Shoal Report July 2007 - Basie Ackerman

General conditions

Another rather quiet month. The change of season, going into windy and mostly undiveable conditions, is becoming more evident. The water colour is also a lot greener, even when reasonably clean, with a lot of sediment, especially after the days of huge swell we’ve experienced. Visibility ranged from 6m on the bad days up to 20m on the good days, but mostly in the 10m range. The temperature also played seesaw in the park ranging between 19-23 degrees Celsius. These conditions were directly related to the current – after a north south, clean, but strangely enough, a bit colder than conditions after a south north current, which seemed to raise the temperature by a degree or two.


The peak holiday season for Wahoo is basically over.  Although they are encountered year round in the right conditions, they pack their bags of sardines and garfish and only visit the Shoal when conditions are favourable. This year they have been exceptionally wiley and cunning, with lots of Wahoo seen, but few landed. We need longer guns!  Maybe we should try some of those wooden ‘liquor cabinets’ that work so well on big tuna and have a 33ft effective range, so when they return in November, we can have a surprise or two installed for them.. 

The only ones I know of that came out was two of  24 and 17 kg’s shot by Shane “Sitting Bull” Oberholzer on the 10th and myself with one of 27kg’s on the 11th.

Other fish

A few Sailfish were also seen feeding on the surface, and one of approx 30kg’s came out on a jet ski.  Lots of Yellowfin tuna around. They have been jumping all over the show, and the spearo’s have also seen lots, with Emil Pirzenthal losing one of +- 35kg’s. Colin Townsend managed to land one in the 18-20kg range. The fishermen caught quite a few from 5-23kg’s. Most of the fish in the 5-10kg range were the weight of the heads as that was what mostly came out after the sharks had their fill.

Both Len De Beer and Emil have reported seeing big Poensies off the North East Pinnacle, but they have grown so big for a good reason….

Shark feeding

I have recently noticed something which is rather disturbing, and indicative of the impact man has on the environment.  It is becoming more and more prevalent all over the Shoal, mostly in the Eelskin, Inside and Outside Edge areas. I’ve spotted numerous Blacktips on the surface, swimming up to my stationary boat, (whilst waiting for the bubble blowers to finish their dive) breaking surface and swirling around, sometimes up to 8-10 of them. And that is not anywhere near a bait stem from a Shark Baited dive operator.

I even see them when there has been no baiting done that day. They are becoming so habituated by getting food from some of these operators, that they associate the shape of a boat with food, and come up to investigate. Not the Tigers though, only Blacktips.  Something wrong with this picture.

Makes me think of the Parks Board warning - “Do not feed the monkeys, as they will lose their fear of humans, and become aggressive” Lets hear a big hooray for aggressive Blacktips, courtesy of 6 years of shark baiting.

Member of Parliament.

A special mention goes to someone who should really consider a career in Parliament. When they are required to make a decision, they debate it to death, talk about it ad nauseum and mull it over for an eternity. Then, when a decision is made, it is inevitably the wrong one.

This someone is Emil Pirzenthal, who encountered a monster Black Marlin estimated well over the current 264 kg record, actually had a golden opportunity at a good head or spine shot, had his long gun with extra buoys all rigged in his hands, and then uhmed and ahhed as to whether he should shoot it or not. For whatever reason only he knows.  When he eventually decided to shoot it, he couldn’t get near enough for a holding shot. He laughingly admits to not knowing what he was thinking or doing, or why he was thinking at all and not just doing. Just like a Member of Parliament.