Aliwal Shoal Report March 2010 - Basie Ackermann

General conditions

Shoot me now. Please.  For I fear if I have another month like this I will turn into a demented bokkom. And by then you will be wasting a lot of bullets. Have you ever tried shooting a bokkom with anything else than a shotgun? Not so easy. Especially a demented one. The bokkom, not the shotgun. What an absolute pathetic month it was.    

The ocean has been as fragile as a woman’s emotional state at the beginning of a new relationship. One false move and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. The month didn’t start off too bad, with 30metres visibility and light north south current. Then the easterly winds started. The slightest puff and in stormed the cold upwelling. This was pretty much the blueprint for the rest of the month. Just as things settle down and visibility improves, a light east and it’s all gone. Cold green water spreading like an oil slick on the surface from a puking bubble blower. Man it’s scary how much oil a stomach can actually hold…

From the 5th to the 12th it was ridiculous. The ocean was influenced by a cyclone system having wedged itself off Madagascar, and we experienced Groundhog Day. Every day it was the same, regardless of current: 4-6metres, 15-17 degrees Celsius. Green and cold. Green and cold. Green and cold. Are you guys getting the message or must I repeat it again? Green and cold. No, not talking about the Springbok jersey – stay with me here. Please. Not that difficult. For most people. Maybe you have a problem? Ever thought of getting professional help? I think you should. Yes you! Don’t look behind you.

What made it more frustrating was the fact that it was beautiful weather wise, flat seas and very light winds. On the 13th it started to clear, with the surface layer 10-12metres at 22 degrees and the bottom dirty and cold.  Light south north current on most days, alternating with no current. Water temperature crept up to 25 degrees again, just to come crashing down on the 22nd to 16 degrees and 6metres visibility. Cold upwelling and a waste of a north south current. The 25th it all turned on, 20metres, light north south, and no wind. Perfect. Jaco made hay. The rest of us stayed away. The very next day we were back to reverse current, 6metres and green. Only improved marginally to 8metres by month end. Hooray.


I managed a 21 kg Ignobilis on the 3rd, Emil a couple of Seapike. That was the only fish for me for the month. I heard the guys from Gauteng North boated some Dorado, Fulvies and Sangoras on the 13th in trying conditions. No other reports.

Day of the month was the 25th and performer of the month was Jaco Blighnaut who was out there on the best afternoon of the month. He boated a Black Marlin of 110kg on a reel gun – took two hours - , a 27kg cuda (gutted), 18kg Wahoo (gutted) and a 18kg Ignobilis. Not a bad bag even by Jaco’s standards..

5 Wahoo in the 20-30kg range were boated from Jet skis on the 30th, in fabulous visibility of 6 metres. Fat lot that helped us.

A couple of isolated bigger cuda were caught, but not wild.

The big game fish were around, as we’ve had shoals of Bonito jumping all over the place for close on two weeks. Could be they were trying to become invisible to the big fish lurking nearby, but more probably were jumping out to see where the hell they were due to the crap visibility……

In closing, a new trend is becoming the scourge of the Shoal. Jet skis. In numbers. At any given time there will be at least five mosquitoing up and down the reef.  And over it. Crown area? Where?  Spearos in the water? Where? OOPS! On Good Friday I counted 26. Sounded like a chainsaw convention in Southern Texas. Now I have nothing against guys fishing off jet skis, but unlike ski boats they seem to be unable to operate on their own. They believe in strength in numbers. And speed when trawling. The noise pollution above and especially underwater is ridiculous. Each one leaving a bubble trail that crisscrosses the other’s, and forms a pattern that could easily win the annual Fair Lady’s knitting competition. Their wakes trail at least a 100metres just under the surface and hang there forever. It does nothing for the cohesion of a shoal of Wahoo. Lastly these guys race all over with no regard for spearos or float lines in the water. Most of the culprits boast flashy 4x4’s denoting origins from Umhlanga, Pinetown, Hillcrest, Pietermaritzburg. Not long before a spearo is run over. So be aware if they are in your vicinity.


Enjoy our Oceans,