Ski-Boat magazine March 2019

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March/April 2019 Volume 35 Number 2 COVER: SNOEK MATE! Vic Warrington with a snoek caught off Dassen Eiland. Visit <> for more on this area.



’Cuda Hunting Where and how to target these gamefish — by Jonathan Booysen


Rampant Viskoors 2018 Billfish 15 000 Tournament — by Blyde Pretorius


Gotcha — Again! Recovered tags add to scientific knowledge



Getting Legal All you need to know about obtaining a skipper’s ticket — by Anton Gets


15 Years of Top Tuna Catches 2018 Two Oceans Tuna Derby — by Kirsten Veenstra


Handlining Yellowtail Part 2: Development of the area and the fleet — by Johan Smal


Truly Spectacular


An Orange River rafting trip to remember — by Rod Wyndham


The True Story of the Legendary Seevolstruis Dis waar, ek sweer! — by Hamish Fyfe

DEPARTMENTS 8 9 38 53 55

Editorial — by Erwin Bursik Letters SADSAA News & Views Subscribe and WIN! Kingfisher Awards

12 65 67 72 73 74

Reel Kids Mercury Junior Anglers Marketplace, Smalls & Ad Index Business Classifieds & Directory Rapala Lip — Last Word from the Ladies

The official magazine of the South African Deep Sea Angling Association


Publisher: Erwin Bursik Editor: Sheena Carnie Advertising Executive: Mark Wilson



Editorial Assistant: Vahini Pillay Boat Tests: Heinrich Kleyn Contributors: Jonathan Booysen, Erwin Bursik, Anton Gets, Blyde Pretorius, Johan Smal, Kirsten Veenstra and Rod Wyndham ADVERTISING – NATIONAL SALES: Angler Publications Mark Wilson cell: 073 748 6107 ADVERTISING – Gauteng & Mpumalanga: Lyn Adams — 083 588 0217 Publishers: Angler Publications cc PO Box 20545, Durban North 4016 Telephone: (031) 572-2280/89/97/98 Fax: (031) 572-7891 e-mail: Subscriptions to SKI-BOAT: R180 per annum (six issues). New subscriptions and renewals: SKI-BOAT Subscriptions Department, PO Box 20545, Durban North 4016. Telephone: (031) 572-2280/89/97/98 Fax: (031) 572-7891 • e-mail: • Through, or E-zine through <> Reproduction: Hirt & Carter, Durban Printer: Robprint (Pty) Ltd, Durban Full production is done in-house by Angler Publications & Promotions on Apple Macintosh software and hardware for output directly to plate. SKI-BOAT Magazine, ISSN 0258-7297, is published six times a year by Angler Publications & Promotions cc, Reg. No. CK 88/05863/23, and is distributed by RNA, as well as directly by the publishers to retail stores throughout South Africa. • Copyright of all material is expressly reserved and nothing may be reproduced in part or whole without the permission of the publishers. • While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this magazine, the publishers do not accept responsibility for omissions or errors or their consequences. Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers, the managing editor, editor, editorial staff or the South African Deep Sea Angling Association.

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AFETY, be it on land, in the air or on water, is without a doubt a serious subject, and a topic that is highlighted whenever an “incident” enters one’s personal domain. The closer the experience the more it affects one, and the exposure a tragic motor accident, aircraft crash or a boating incident receives these days in all types of media (especially the electronic platform) tends to intensify both the incident as well as the hype surrounding it. Just prior to the festive season a few boating “accidents” happened along the South African Erwin Bursik coast. Involving two ski-boats, a large motor Publisher yacht and an international yacht, these incidents put many of our boating fraternity into a whirlwind with of electronic images and comments flying. Yet, dare I say it, those self same groups hardly reacted to the exposure of the multitude of road accidents that happened daily on South African roads in which close to 2 000 people lost their lives. My point is simply this: without going into the national statistics nor drawing comparisons between user groups, it’s a fact that all forms of boating, but especially those going to sea, experience surprisingly few mishaps and minuscule loss of life in comparison to what happens on our roads. So, what is my point? The offshore boaters of South Africa have to accept that the offshore boat safety ordinances that were originally brought into being in the mid-1960s by ski-boat clubs affiliated to the Natal Ski-Boat Association and the South African Ski-Boat Association are a vitally important part of our sport of offshore fishing. These regulations resulted our fraternity realising that safety features needed to be built in to the very basic construction of craft as well as people becoming aware of obvious safety accessories needed for inshore and offshore boating. In those days, especially along the KwaZulu-Natal high energy coastline “flipping” was a regular occurance, but it was only publicised if there was serious injury or loss of life. There is little doubt that those safety requirements and the annual boat inspection then carried out by clubs at no charge set a standard — an admirable standard — for offshore boating in RSA. Having just been part of the Annual Boat Inspection at the end of 2018, I began to wonder whether this annual exercise is not being over played. Why do we have to show every single item deemed necessary to a boat examiner every year and then personally sign the form saying we (the boat owners) are fully responsible that the said list of requirements is in fact correct on the craft. If we’re signing this acknowledgement then surely it doesn’t need to be checked on an annual basis. Motor vehicles are licensed annually but are only inspected when the authorities deem that the said vehicle is not roadworthy or when change of ownership occurs. Would it not be more practical to license craft on an annual basis with the club one belongs to? In that case we would only have boat inspections to check that each craft is licensed, and if the boat examiner had cause to suspect the craft was not seaworthy then they could undertake an on-the-spot inspection. No one can deny that the original seaworthy certificate signed off after construction and again after a set period in respect of buoyancy etc is paramount. It’s also vital that every craft is licensed, numbered and recorded by the authorities. However the almost farcical boat inspection rigmarole carried out in South Africa raises more questions than answers. Till the next tide

Erwin Bursik


FAREWELL BUNDU I am ver y sad to report that Willie Bester — known to one and all as Bundu — passed on during the night of 23 January 2019. He was a friend to fishermen and families far and wide. He was 71 and a true stalwart of the DSBC, loved by one and all, from small children to adults. He definitely had an affinity to the fairer sex and I can vividly recall, sitting at the old club watching the ladies filing past with adoring eyes, putting their arms around him giving him a big kiss. The rest of us asked one another “How does he do it?” Bundu never ever said a bad word about anyone, and was a loyal DSBC member for over 40 years, always heeding the call when his assistance was needed — he never faltered! Bundu was also always popular with our staff and management, and always welcomed new-comers to the club. In fact, he ran many induction courses with Skinny and played a massive role on blending the DUC guys and girls with the DSBC. Just by being there he made the difference. This year’s DSBC Festival has been named in his honour as the Bundu Bester Memorial Festival — the right tribute to a wonderful human being, a true friend, a great club member and a top-class family man, who at last is reunited with his beloved Plum who passed away some years back. To his family, we all share your grief, but rejoice in knowing we all have wonderful memories of a great man and a true gentleman. HILTON KIDGER Durban Ski-Boat Club SASSI RESPONDS IN the editorial in the November 2018 issue of SKI-BOAT, Erwin Bursik questioned the science behind the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) programme decision to downgrade geelbek from orange to red. Here are the replies to some questions we sent SASSI.

1) Geelbek has been moved from orange status to red. Why has this been done when DAFF still permits the commercial fishermen unlimited offtake and recreational anglers are allowed two fish per day? This has had a dramatic effect on the market and restaurants are no longer buying geelbek, but anglers do not believe this is justified. Geelbek was listed as red after a comprehensive assessment in 2015 for the linefishery. The outcome was based on the DAFF stock assessment and a more recent study done by UCT which shows that the species is of major conservation concern and the numbers are heavily depleted and it was listed as collapsed. The results of the assessment indicated that the stock is just 9.94% of pristine (original stock) and still remains in a collapsed state. The assessment also highlighted the fact that geelbek aggregate in large groups when spawning which makes them easier to find and gives the appearance that the stock is doing fine. Our listing it “Red” is largely based on concerns about the stock. (Dr Bruce Mann has also commented on the geelbek issue — see below this letter.) 2) Why are some species like king mackerel red and green, dorado red, orange and green and dusky kob red and green? It is very important that people understand that we assess a species based on its stock status, and more importantly per fishing method and region/country where it is fished, hence if you look at the list, you will notice we list the species, the country/region in which it is caught and how it was caught (the fishing method). Different fishing methods have different impacts and are managed or not managed differently in different areas/countries, hence dorado caught by the line fishery is green, but dorado caught by the pelagic longline in SA is orange, and dorado caught by gill nets in the pacific ocean is red. It is important to note that dorado caught using all three methods and

from all three regions are sold on the South African market hence we cannot blanket list species under one colour because of the various factors, hence the complexity in the list. We ask people to ask three simple questions when looking at a species: What is it? How was it caught/farmed? Where was it caught/farmed? 3) Where do you get the scientific information to support your change of status? All information is from academic scientific publications, DAFF fisheries reports and working group documents, scientific documents/reviews from the FAO. In order for a species to appear on the SASSI list it must first undergo an assessment. The assessment is based on the Common Assessment Methodology which was put together by a team of international scientific experts. The CAM methodology is made up of three main categories which all contain a series of sub questions and response boxes that contribute to the overall outcome of the assessment. The categories are briefly described below: • Category 1 = Stock status — Is there a stock assessment for the species? If yes, what does it indicate about the sustainability of the species? • Category 2 = Ecological effects — Does the fishing method result in bycatch, harm species that might be endangered, threatened or protected, impact the benthic environment or catch high numbers of juveniles? • Category 3 = Management — Are there management strategies in place to address any concerns listed in Category 2? How effective are these strategies? Are the strategies in place to monitor catches and ensure compliance and enforcement? If yes, are these strategies enforced? The assessment process is a time intensive process and involves a wide range of stakeholders. Anyone can be listed as a stakeholder by requesting to be added to the SASSI mail list and anyone part of the SANCOR network is SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 9

also included. 1) Notice of intent to assess species is circulated via email. Interested parties have 30 days to comment on the proposed assessment list. 2) Information for the assessments is obtained by consulting with scientists at the Department of Agriculture, Forestr y and Fisheries (DAFF), academic scientists at different South African universities and through published papers. 3) Once an assessment is drafted it is then circulated to the relevant scientific working group (e.g linefish scientific working group) at DAFF for review. 4) After all the comments from DAFF are incorporated, the draft outcome is then published on SANCOR and the SASSI mailing list. Interested parties then have 30 days to view the assessment and submit any comments. All comments need to be backed by credible information. 5) Once the comment period has ended, the assessments are then critiqued by an External Review Panel which is made up of ten leading scientists in their respective fields. Finally any changes made by the review panel are incorporated and circulated to the members for final sign off. 6) At final sign off an additional notifi-

cation is sent out on SANCOR and on the SASSI mail list indicating the final colour. Affected parties have a 60-day transition period before the changes are incorporated on the website, pocket cards and posters. 7) This entire process takes around nine to twelve months to complete. PAVS PILLAY Manager: SASSI Programme,WWF-SA GEELBEK NUMBERS Regarding the red listing of geelbek on SASSI, it appears that this is affecting markets and consumer demand (which, quite honestly, is what it is intended to do). Geelbek still continues to be an extremely difficult species to assess because of its migratory nature and because of fluctuations in natural abundance (which are likely connected to environmental conditions affecting recruitment success and food availability). Nevertheless, using the best methods that science has to offer, a recent assessment still suggests that the geelbek stock is heavily overexploited and that is primarily why it has been put on SASSI’s red list. One of the reasons why no decline in catches is evident in the greater Durban area could be because this is a core spawning area for geelbek and the fish aggregate here every year between July and October in order to spawn.

Fishing in a spawning aggregation often results in what scientists call hyperstability. In other words it looks as though catches are stable but in fact numbers of fish are really declining but you can’t see it in the catch records because fishing is taking place in the core of the aggregation which is in fact shrinking. The high predation of hooked geelbek by sharks is another factor reducing their abundance but goes unreported in commercial catches. The unlimited bag limit for commercial fishermen is still in place because I think the responsible authorities (i.e. DAFF) understand how important this species is to commercial catches, especially because they are only available seasonally. Regarding the recreationals targeting and selling geelbek illegally, this is the same problem that has been bedevilling linefish management since 1984! I have copied members of DAFF Fisheries Compliance into this email in the hope that they can look into this problem, specifically in the Durban and Richards Bay areas and try to do something about recreational boats going out at night and catching more than their bag limit of geelbek (and dusky kob) and then selling them illegally. DR BRUCE MANN Senior Scientist Oceanographic Research Institute



RECENTLY decided to overhaul my boat trailer — axles, leaf springs, wheel bearings, U-bolts and mud guards. We fishermen and boat owners sometimes forget that the trailer is one of the most important parts involved in getting our boats to the ocean. Maintenance on boat trailers is extremely important if you want to prevent a breakdown, but I had a breakdown once and it was not because of a lack of maintenance because I am a perfectionist. We went on a fishing trip and towing the boat to our destination was flawless, but on the return trip we were left stranded next to the road with bearing failure. When the wheel bearings failed that axle was damaged, so we couldn’t just change the wheel bearings and be on our merry way, we had to make a plan to get home. In the end we had to chain the axle to the trailer and drive on only three wheels at 40km/h for over 60km. That is when I decided to overhaul my boat trailer. When we got home I started to investigate why the bearings kept failing. I discovered that loading all your things on the boat while travelling is a big mistake. The wheel bearings can only handle a certain amount of weight, and loading your gear and luggage on the boat puts a lot of extra strain on the wheel bearings. Now when I travel I offload everything from the boat, even the fuel tanks that still contain fuel. 10 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

When I began overhauling the trainer I started by stripping it. Note that the boat was still on the trailer as I do not have any space to off load it. The only time I removed the boat from the trailer was when I replaced all the roller pins with stainless steel pins. I started at the front of the trailer by removing the hook, winch and jockey wheel. I cleaned and regreased and replaced all the old bolts and nuts with new stainless steel bolts and nuts. I then removed everything to do with the axles including leaf springs and U-bolts. I stripped the hubs and bearings from the axles, then I cleaned the axles and removed all the rust. After cleaning it with thinners I then painted the axles with anti-rust paint NS4. After the paint dried I wrapped the axles with petroleum tape (grease tape). I did the same with the leaf springs — sanded them down to remove all the rust, painted them with NS4 and wrapped them with petroleum tape. The wheel hubs I cleaned and painted with NS4 anti-rust coating. I painted the bottom of the mud guards with NS4 to stop them rusting. When everything was completed I started re-assembling the trailer. It look me about two months to complete the overhaul as I was working only on Saturdays when I could. I now make a point of regularly checking my wheel bearings and replacing them before every trip, even if they still look and feel good. I use the ones I remove as spares, and I have two sets of wheel bearings for every wheel — better safe than sorry.

12 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019


Carl Oellermann and Jono Booysen with a good afternoons haul of ’cuda off Richards Bay. By Jonathan Booysen


HERE have been many articles written about ’cuda fishing over the years but it is quite often difficult to cover all aspects of the species as there are so many varying factors that inf luence how they should be targeted. Two questions need to be asked before the best answer can be given: • When will you be fishing? • Where are you fishing? These might seem like very general questions, but the answers are of great significance as both location and time of the year influence the fishing methods, tackle and bait choices to successfully target ’cuda. Apart from the obvious off-peak season, the time of the year is a ver y important aspect to consider as it usually determines the size of the fish and consequently the type of bait and tackle that you would use. Location on the other hand has more bearing on the fishing method to adopt. In this article, I’ll be focusing on my local waters off Zululand, but the ideas and concepts hold true for most areas where ’cuda are targeted.

SUMMER FISHING During our summer months — December to March — there is normal-

ly a good run of shoal size ’cuda. These fish range from 3kg to 10kg and are found in fair numbers. They prefer smaller baits such as sardines, maasbanker and mackerel. Using larger baits reduces the number of shoalies that you catch as the hookup rate is terrible on big baits. Due to the numbers of fish in these shoals, competition between them is fierce. This means that live bait is not a necessity and good quality dead baits will sometimes produce more fish than live baits do. Often the most important thing is the turnaround time for rebaiting and setting the lines. This is all good and well, but as I mentioned before, the other factor to remember is … location, location, location! When fishing on the north coast of Zululand, from Mapelane northwards, the water colour tends to be much cleaner than that further south. Cleaner water translates to trickier conditions as the fish can see your terminal tackle a lot easier. The heavier the gear, the less the chance of getting pulls, regardless of how fierce the competition is. Tackle in the 6kg to 10kg range, paired with 40- to 50 lb leader is perfect. Using #4 wire on the front snoot and #6 between the hooks is ample, just remember to use the smallest black swivels you can. Shoalies are renowned

for biting off swivels, especially in clear water. The average depth at which ’cuda are found is anything from 10m to 50m. Looking at the contour maps of northern Zululand, the places north of Mapelane have much steeper contours than that of areas to the south (Richards Bay, Mtunzini, Amatikulu etc). This means that the feeding area that the ’cuda prefer is very much narrower the further north you go; this will make your target area smaller and easier to work. When you have these conditions (clean water and a narrow target area) it is a good idea to drift. When you locate the shoal, if you’re drifting your baits stay in the strike zone longer than they would if you were trolling. In southern Zululand, as mentioned above, the feeding grounds are vast, and the water is usually a bit greener. This means several things. First, you need to cover more ground to find the shoals. Slow trolling is a great way to do this. The dirtier water has its pros and cons. One of the pros is that you can get away with using slightly heavier gear; 10-15kg line and 60 lb leader with #6 and #7 wire will be perfect and won’t negatively impact the number of strikes. The “con” is that fish can’t see your baits from as far away as they would in cleaner water. To get past this SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 13

David Allen with an average shoal ’cuda off Cape Vidal.

Piet Joubert, Pierre Smit, Gert Jacobs stand behind Jono Booysen and At van Tilburg with their 36.1kg ’cuda caught off Richards Bay. 14 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

hurdle you should change the type of bait you use. Any kind of non-visual attraction in poor visibility water is a great help. This normally comes in the form of vibrations from — you guessed it — live bait. Baits of choice in off-coloured water would be mackerel, maasbanker and small shad; they are small enough to get a good hookup rate and lively enough to attract ’cuda by the vibrations of their tails. WINTER FISHING: ’Cuda fishing in the winter is a completely different kettle of fish. This is when the real crocs make their appearance and 20kg-plus fish are the targets. While many anglers are off chasing Natal snoek, the trophy ’cuda hunters are stalking crocs. Fishing methods and gear will again differ from area to area. From April to July tackle gets kicked up a notch to focus on these larger fish. Heavier wire, thicker leaders and stronger tackle is the order of the day. Big ’cuda are not shy to tackle a large bait; they will trim it down to bite size without much effort. When fishing up north, I mainly use live bonnies that are caught using small spoons or feathers. I would suggest swimming them on 15kg to 18kg line with 65 lb clear mono leaders. For the trace, a #6 snoot wire and #8 hook wires are preferred due to the water clarity. If there are no bonnies around, large live mackerel and maasbanker are great alternatives. The one problem with these large live baits is that the big sharks love them as much as the ’cuda do, so be prepared to lose traces and have some long, hard battles. When using these big live baits you have no choice but to slow troll otherwise the baits will die or cause too many tangles. Trolling several live bonnies can become problematic, so stick to pulling only two at a time. Don’t be shy to troll into shallow water as many big ’cuda have been taken right on the backline. When targeting winter ’cuda in the dirtier water of southern Zululand my tackle is, by any gamefish standards, heavy. Most of my rigs would be 18kg to 24kg line, 80 lb leader, minimum #9 wire between the hooks and #8 on the snoot. I might get slightly fewer pulls, but most of the fish end up in the boat. My baits of choice for this area are fresh dead bonnies and wala-wala. The size of the bait and the flash that it puts out seems to be enough to attract fish from quite a distance, even in relatively dirty water. It is much easier pulling several dead bonnies than live bonnies, as they don’t swim everywhere causing tangles, but the live baits do sometimes make the effort worth it.

A small live bait rigged on light wire for shoal size cuda.

If the water is clean and things are very quiet I might be convinced to put out one live bait (mackerel/maasbanker) on the surface on slightly lighter gear, just to make sure we get a pull. IN A NUTSHELL: Summer months in Northern Zululand (in clean water) — fish with small baits on light gear on the drift targeting shoal size ’cuda.

Summer months in Southern Zululand (off colour water) — fish with live baits on medium gear while slow trolling, targeting shoal size ’cuda. Winter months in Northern Zululand (in clean water) — target large ’cuda by slow trolling large live baits on medium gear. Winter months in Southern Zululand (off colour water) — target large ’cuda by slow trolling large dead and live baits on heavy gear. SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 15


Article by BlydePretorius Photos by Sarel Greyling Photography


ARD work definitely pays off. The dedication shown by the team which was on the beach first every morning around 03h30 — even before beach control, to have their boat first in the water, to be first on the backline and to release the first marlin for the week, deserved first place in the Billfish 15 000 Tournament! The 2018 Billfish 15000 tournament was hosted by Dorado Ski Boat Club at Sodwana Bay from 12 to 16 November 16 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

2018. Once again it was clear why this tournament is one of the best in the country, providing record statistics and a lot of fun during a week of marlin fishing. The committee members were hard at work setting up the huge marquee at Sodwana Bay Lodge on Saturday, 10 November, and the following day 52 teams registered for the Billfish 15 000. The tent was packed with opening night and all teams was very excited to start the competition. On Monday the f leet got the goahead from the weather committee and

all boats launched without any problems. The first hook-up was called in by 06h09 by Club Marine, but unfortunately it was dropped. The competition was on when Viskoors successfully released the first marlin of the tournament at 06h24. A total of eight marlin were released for the day and Viskoors was in the lead with a stripey and black marlin in the bag. Every night was a festive affair with happy hour in the marquee during which daily cash prizes, limited edition cooler boxes, compressors & battery voucher from Probe Corporation, lure

First place went to Team Viskoors.

Team Naughty Cat releasing a marlin.

packs, reels, and lots more where handed out. The MC, Jaco Hendriksz, showed all the anglers what would be instore for the week if an angler did something wrong, and made up a fun game for the “pig of the day”. Even if you’d had a bad day at sea, there was something fun to pick you up at the daily prizegiving. No doubt ever yone present remembers the “Bobjan” dance and moves by singer Robbie Wessels. On the second day, the weather was not great and the weather committee had to make the call. Safety always

comes first, and the message went out on the tournament WhatsApp group: Blow Out. Wednesday dawned with much better weather and it was time for the teams to get serious in competing for the first prize — the very first Z-Craft F200 centre console craft and a trailer plus insurance by Club Marine, all worth R450 000. In addition to that, the winners would receive an invitation to fish the Offshore World Championships in Costa Rica. Renowned for setting up records, the participants at the 2018 Billfish

15 000 again delivered on the Wednesday; total of 106 strikes, 54 hook-ups and 30 releases were recorded for the day, Radio Control — Mariette Hendriksz and Lizelle Els — had their hands full with all the call ups, but still did a magnificent job! On Thursday the good weather stuck, and things looked great for the rest of the week. The competition was still open for any team to take the lead, and by the time lines-up was called anglers had recorded 59 strikes, 36 hook-ups and 26 releases. Friday was make or break for the SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 17

Marlin release on Naughty Cat. anglers aboard Viskoors who were still in the lead. Another great day of fishing was had and 20 releases were recorded. The main prizegiving was a spectacular event where everyone celebrated the 2018 event recording the second best statistics in the history of the competition — 230 strikes, 127 hookups and a total of 84 releases for the week! Viskoors managed to hang on to the lead right to the end, recording two striped marlin, two black marlin and one blue marlin released for the week. With a total of 1 470 points they took home the first prize and became one of the legends of the Billfish 15 000 tournament. Billfish 15 000 committee.

Marlin release on Reel Passion. SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 19

C-Vannah was right behind them with 1 215 points and they took home a Lowrance HDS12 Carbon Gen 3 fish finder, worth R75 000. Jorrie took third place, earning them a Warn 12 000 lb winch worth R33 500. The Calcutta prize went to the angler with the biggest by-catch for the week — Frans Troskie, fishing aboard C-Vannah, won R40 000 for his 21.6kg wahoo. And so another successful Billfish 15 000 came to an end. The Dorado Ski-Boat Club committee wants to thank all the anglers for their incredible camaraderie, all the sponsors for their ongoing support, and all those who work very hard in the background of the tournament to make sure boats can launch and beach, all electronics are up and going and generally make sure that this tournament is the best it can be. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts; we can’t wait to see all of you at the 33rd Billfish 15 000 Tournament in November 2019!

Second place went to Team C Vannah.

Third place went to Team Jorrie.

Fifth place went to Team Naughty Cat. 20 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

Fourth place went to Team Goloza.


Dave Knudsen’s tagged marlin travelled 3 633km before being recaptured.

GOTCHA — AGAIN! Recovered tags add to scientific knowledge


N the emotive area of catch and release, especially with regard to billfish, fortunately this has become the in thing to do and has been self-driven by the sporting ethics of the majority of sports anglers without any cohesive modelling by the law makers. This move, introduced in the early 1970s by the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) in Durban, was a slow starter, but by the late 1980s had gained incredible momentum, resulting in more than 90% of all billfish caught being released. For the original promoters of this, such as ORI’s Rudi van der Elst and his staff, this must bring immense satisfaction. Sadly tag returns have been minuscule here in RSA and this has led a small number of billfish anglers to denouce the trend, with them saying either that very few released billfish survive or that by tagging we are informing the commercial anglers where billfish are being caught. To put the first reservation to bed, if we look at the international results of telemetric tagging as well as those done

here in South Africa, we’ll see that the vast majority of these fish that are tracked for the duration of their tags’ deployment (60-180 days) happily survive and continue roaming the ocean covering huge distances. These results assure the scientific community that they survive with minimal ill-effects resulting from their fight prior to release. One of Africa’s major billfisheries is undoubtedly Kenya, with historic photographs portraying catches of sailfish hanging from gantries. One such photograph shows 47 sails that, at that time, had billfish anglers aclaiming this fishery off Malindi. In the early 1990s the thinking changed and, starting with the bigger sailfish competitions — one of them being the Captain Morgan Grand Challenge — loading a sailfish was prohibited. In the 19 years during which the Captain Morgan ran out of Hemingways Hotel, over 1 640 billfish (mostly sailfish) were released and not a single one brought to the gantr y. Statistically, if one extrapolates the Kenya fishing and the South African bill-

fishing one can safely say that thousands of billfish have been released off the east African seaboard over the last 25 years. Dave Knudsen, a renowned doyen of marlin fishing off the northern KwaZulu-Natal coast, and his team on Skybird have released a large number of billfish. One of these, a black marlin, was tagged and released on 6 March 2018 during the Sodwana Gamefish Competition. This fish was taken on a live skipjack tuna with a circle hook in 200m of water between Little White Sands and the first canyon. Dave dutifully sent the tagging card back to ORI. No doubt Dave hoped that maybe this one would be recaptured, but regardless it was his contribution to science. On 1 November 2018 ORI received news that a tag had been returned from a black marlin caught in southern Tanzanian waters. Dave’s fish swam 3 633km in 240 days! This was not only extremely exciting for Dave, but also to all of us who are essentially interested in the biology of the billfish targeted in South Africa. The information gained SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 25

from this recapture also adds to the general information regarding these species. The thrill an angler gets seeing the quarry in all its magnificence as it turns its head, flicks its tail and disappears into the indigo blue water is an indescrible sensation which many of our anglers have experienced. Yet very few can say “The billfish I tagged and released has been recaptured!” In fact this is only ORI’s third black marlin recapture out of 839 tag releases in 34 years. Dave Knudsen was thrilled when he was informed of the tag retrieval. “When we heard of the recapture of the black marlin in question we were naturally extremely interested as this was a first for us on Skybird. When the marlin swam away after we tagged and released her off Sodwana, little could we imagine the epic journey that lay ahead.” Another well known SADSAA executive, Anton Gets, had a similar experience; a sailfish he had released in a sailfish competition off Bazaruto Island in July 1992 was subsequently recaptured. When asked if he had details of his fish’s recapture, he stated “Hell man, I’ve got all the details and copies of the tag certificates up on the wall at home; it’s a once in a lifetime experience!” Anton’s sail was recaptured 490 days later when Dr Steve Botha caught the 40.2kg fish off Sodwana Bay while

fishing in the OET during November 1993. He subsequently returned the tag in perfect condition to ORI in Durban. The sailie had travelled 1 500km. The story of this release and recapture was carried in the Januar y/ February 1994 issue of SKI-BOAT. South Africa’s ORI and the African Billfish foundation based at Watamu in Kenya have to be commended for their relentless perseverance in persuading anglers to tag and release billfish with the full knowledge that very few of these fish are recaptured. So when a recapture such as Anton’s and now Dave’s is made, it is incredibly meaningful to the entire scientific community and in fact all the anglers who target these magnificent gamefish.

Anton Gets with the sailfish he tagged and released in July 1992, and which was recaptured in November 1993.

Here are ORI’s statistics for all the billfish tagged and recaptured in the ORI Tagging Project from 1984 to 2019: • Black marlin — 839 tagged, 3 recaptured • Blue marlin — 428 tagged, 0 recaptured • Striped marlin — 572 tagged, 2 recaptured • White marlin — 3 tagged, 0 recaptured • Sailfish — 3 576 tagged, 32 recaptured • Swordfish — 79 tagged, 1 recaptured • Shortbill spearfish — 44 tagged, 0 recaptured

TAG & RELEASE IS IMPORTANT GLOBALLY N interesting sidebar to this report of a black marlin recapture in South Africa is a story that had social media all aflutter in late November/early December 2018. A 1 431 lb black marlin was caught off Lady Musgrave Island, Australia, and many people were very angry that the fish had been taken from the sea and was not released. This photo and letter below appeared on the Pelagic Research Network’s Facebook page ( PelagicRN/) on 1 December and gives a very objective view on the catching of black marlin. “We sift through the fact and fiction on this large 1 431 lb black marlin that was caught off Lady Musgrave Island earlier this week. We are not advocating for or against the take, but just looking to provide context. “Many people in the public have raised concerns of this being a old fish. This fish is likely to be in the range of 15 years old, give or take a few years, and while this is old in terms of marlin, it is relatively young in terms of fish and animal lifetimes. In comparison to other fishes, a 40cm yellowfin bream would be around five years older than this four-metre marlin. “There is a large range of social views around the landing of big fish, so we ask how common is this? Estimates suggest that over 95% of marlin caught in Australian Waters by sportfishers are released alive. The release of marlin is a voluntary practice that has become the social norm within the sportfishing community and as a result the majority of fish are tagged to support research on the species. “Do the fish survive once released? Our research suggests that overall there is 90% post-release survival on black marlin, with a greater likelihood of survival in larger fish than smaller animals. “Finally, there were suggestions that this fish will be used for research purposes, so what can it tell us? As few black marlin this large have ever been aged, if the otoliths (ear bones) or dorsal spines can be collected from this fish it can help to refine the age estimates for this species. Additionally, black marlin from the southwestern Pacific have only been recorded to spawn on the northern Great Barrier Reef, so if the gonads can be preserved and are found to contain hydrated eggs, it may provide information on the importance of Lady Musgrave as a secondary spawning site.”


26 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019



All you need to know about obtaining a skipper’s ticket IN the January 2019 issue of SKI-BOAT we ran an article informing readers that their skippers’ tickets might well not be legal. That article created a lot of interest in the topic as a whole, and here Anton Gets, SADSAA’s Deputy Safety Officer — Coastal, tells you exactly how to go about getting your skipper’s ticket. By Anton Gets


NE must be truly motivated to obtaining a Certificate of Competence, especially with a surf launch endorsement, and then decide which category of ves-

sel you want to skipper: • Cat B is 40 nautical miles to sea with a two engine rig. • Cat C is 15 nautical miles to sea with a two engine rig. • Cat D is 5 nautical miles to sea with a one or two engine rig. • Cat E is 1 nautical mile to sea with a one or two engine rig. • Cat R is for sheltered launches, i.e. harbours, dams, lakes, rivers, estuaries and all inland waters where boating is permitted. Boats with 15hp or less don’t require a Certificate of Competence (COC) or Certificate of fitness (COF) for the boat but SAMSA highly recom-

mends that you kit the boat out with the same safety equipment required for Category R boats. We also strongly recommend that candidates do the Cat B to D Skipper’s Course COC as it is much more informative and ultimately covers just about all the scenarios that you may encounter at sea in difficult situations. It also covers basic seamanship and one will want to advance further after starting off with perhaps an entry level boat like a semi-rigid, jetski or single engine boat. Although you may have two motors on your boat, a Cat E COC will still limit you to one nautical mile (1.8 km) offshore.

Left: Current Category B skipper’s ticket with surf endorsement. Above: New SAMSA Category B skipper’s ticket with surf endorsement. Below: New SAMSA Inland Category R skipper’s ticket.

30 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

You cannot convert your Cat E or R to the B to D ratings as they have different theory examinations with a lot more detail involved, including navigation, law, power, weather, first aid etc. It sounds hectic, but if you study it all makes sense and is needed for any difficulty you might encounter when out at sea. The B – D licence allows you to skip all boats including semi-rigid, jetskis and bow riders (river boats) under 9 metres in length. The course involves 16 hours of theory lectures, but that can be done over three or four days in four-hour long sessions. Most lecturers can adjust the classes to suit the candidates. SAMSA legislation on practical surf experience requires a minimum of three launches on four different days at the wheel with a qualified skipper on board who then can instruct you and sign off the launches and sea experience on the required SAMSA log sheets. You can also go to a certified skipper’s training institution that holds courses weekly and do practical surf launches from first light and finish at approximately 08h00. When the practical training is finished you will then start with the theory at about 09h00. Some skipper’s training institutions may do theory up-country in the evenings or on weekends and then send you to do practical surf training with a training institution at the coast. It’s much easier to do the practical and theory training at the same time, but unfortunately you may need to take leave or make arrangements where you can do it in your own time or on weekends. Doing practical training at the weekend is not always ideal because of the chance of inclement weather, and on a good weather day the launch site will be busy with everyone launching. As a result it can take quite a bit of time to get all the launching in. Bear this in mind if you’re going to travel a long distance for a weekend. We recommend that you to do one solid course so that you can get it over and done with at the same time and remain focused on what you are doing. For every category, including category R, one must do a practical test which has to be signed off by a registered SAMSA qualified examiner. The boat that you are signed off for — in both surf and sheltered categories — is the boat that you are qualified to take out to sea through the surf or harbour. For instance if you do the examination on a jetski you will only be licenced for <9m jetski endorsement. The same with semi-rigid craft and single/double engines or tiller arm endorsements. Therefore it is recommended that when you do skipper’s training you do it on a deep sea rigid boat <9m with two engines through the surf..

To upgrade from a Cat C licence to a Cat B licence you need experiential hours at the helm — 100 hours at 15nm — signed off by a skipper with a Cat B licence. In other words, to obtain a Cat B licence (40nm <9m) there is no extra theory involved, only experience at sea. If you want to go further than that and add extra endorsements like night rating and dive endorsements you will need to do an extra course. Night rating involves another theory course which focuses on night lights, shapes and sizes. For night rating launching through the surf you have to launch before sunset and beach after sunrise. If you’re operating through harbours you have to go through Port Control when proceeding to sea day or night. No further practical experience is needed to upgrade to a night rating. For the dive endorsement you must furnish the examiner with a copy of your divemaster card or instructor’s card to enable the endorsement to be added. I suggest that before purchasing a vessel you should decide what your ultimate goal is — recreational boating, water skiing, inshore fishing, deep sea fishing etc. Start out with a good entry level vessel and motors suited to your purpose, and then from there purchase something that will suit you for future enjoyment and outings in all aspects of the sport. If you purchase a suitable boat you can use it on rivers and dams for family outings and enjoyment and also go deep sea fishing and travel anywhere in South Africa and Moçambique through surf and harbours. The minimum age at which one can obtain a skipper’s ticket (COC) is 16 years for recreational purposes category B to R. You have to be at least 18 years old to obtain sport & recreational/commercial ticket B to R. Please note that some digital selective calling (DSC) VHF training institutions are advising people that they can’t do a skipper’s course until they have done a radio course. THIS IS NOT TRUE. We suggest that you do the skipper’s course first, and once you have passed these exams then worry about doing the radio course . You might not complete the skipper’s course for some reason and then you would have paid in excess of R3 000 for something you will never use. Regarding the DSC VHF, the digital selective calling is still not a regulation as yet, but you are required to have a VHF operator’s licence and VHF radio equipment on your boat licenced with ICASA. Any enquires can be made to the Provincial Safety Officers, National Safety Officer, Deputy Safety Officers or SADSAA Secretary. They will answer questions and assist in whatever way they can. SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 31


15 YEARS OF TOP TUNA 2018 Two Oceans Tuna Derby

By Kirsten Veenstra


HE Two Oceans Tuna Derby, one of South Africa’s most prestigious sport fishing tournaments, has an interesting history. During the 1990s it became increasingly evident that Hout Bay had a world class fishery on its doorstep. The idea of travelling to the deep to catch tuna up to 100kg with stand-up gear on rod

34 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

and reel had become a reality. Many commercial pole boats had seen tuna this size swimming in their chum lines next to their vessels, and anglers and boat owners started to plan and get the correct gear prepared for this daunting task. The Atlantic Boat Club recognised this interest and Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing came onboard as the title sponsor, and the Tuna Derby was

born in the Millennium year of 2000. The winning fish at the first Derby only weighed 62kg, but in the years that followed the dream of the Two Oceans Tuna Derby became a reality as fish in the 100kg range were regularly caught, and the rest is history. In November 2018 the Two Oceans Tuna Derby boasted 29 entries two weeks prior to the start of the tournament, with 140 entered anglers — a


Tarryn Hemmes with the 3rd biggest catch of the 2018 derby — an 87kg yellowfin tuna. Photo by Sean Todd.

The marina at Atlantic Boat Club. Photo by Nick Muzik. great fleet for the tournament’s 15th year. Entries came in from many different clubs across the country, as well as an international team from The Netherlands. In Cape Town any boating event is at the mercy of the wind and the waves, most especially the wind in the summer months. At the 2018 event the south-easter howled for the whole week of the origi-

nally scheduled fishing dates from 5 to 10 November, pushing fishing out to the following week on 13 and 14 November. During the blow out week Chris Shield, Atlantic Boat Club committee member and the Two Oceans Tuna Derby organiser since the tournament’s inception 15 years ago, had many tournament festivities and lucky draws lined up for the entrants ever y night at

Atlantic Boat Club, and Greg Bertish of the Little Optimist Trust gave an inspirational talk on one of the evenings. Two challenging days of fishing were held on 13 and 14 November, yielding some impressive catches from the 32 boats that headed out from Hout Bay harbour. The allowable catch at weigh in was two yellowfin tuna and one longfin tuna per boat per day. SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 35

Left: Mark Delany of Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing and the winning crew on Silver Fox with their prize. Photo by Gary Lategan. Centre: Justin Karan on Reel Therapy with the biggest catch of the derby — a 91.85kg yellowfin, and the top lady angler Judith Roetman. Photos by Gary Lategan. Bottom: Steve Potter, Greg Bertish and Mark Delany with artwork auctioned in aid of The Little Optimist Trust. Photo by Sean Todd. Top three winning boat teams: 1st — Silver Fox with total entered catch of 153.4kg, skippered by Heinie Strumpher. They won the Yamaha-powered ski-boat with a trailer. 2nd — Xtreme 1 with total entered catch of 148.8kg, skippered by Bosman Swanepoel. 3rd — Real Time with total entered catch at 143.3kg skippered by Izak Pieterse. Top three individual catches: 1st — Justin Karan, fishing on Reel Therapy, with a 91.85kg yellowfin. 2nd — Izak Pieterse, fishing on Real Time, with an 87.5kg yellowfin. 3rd — Tarr yn Hemmes, fishing on Seasons, with an 87kg yellowfin. Top two lady anglers: 1st — Judith Roetman, fishing on Xtreme 1 2nd — Tarr yn Hemmes, fishing on Seasons. Tarryn entered a longfin in the ladies’ category and her yellowfin in the overall category. “The Two Oceans Tuna Derby hosted by Atlantic Boat Club is an event that Hout Bay can be proud of,” says Chris Shield. “Over the years it has become one of the most sought-after events in the South African sportfishing calendar, and the professional organisation of the event is something that the fishing club excel at year after year. It puts Hout Bay solidly on the map as a world-class sportfishing ground in South Africa.” Mark Delany of Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing, title sponsor of the event over the years says they are very proud to support and be involved with this even year after year. “Kudos to Chris Shield and his team at Atlantic Boat Club and all the many loyal supporting sponsors who make this event possible.” Atlantic Boat Club and Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing are looking forward to another great Derby in November 2019. For more information on the Tuna Derby, email <tunaderby@> or visit < w w w. a t l a n t i c b o a t cl u b . c o . z a / > .

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ADSAA’s new year started with the proverbial foot flat on the pedal and the RPM at maximum, primarily due to our hosting of the FIPS-M World Games. By the time you read this the event would have run its course; the competition report will appear in the May/June 2019 issue of SKI-BOAT magazine. While penning this report and witnessing the enormous amount of work SADSAA’s Tournament Committee is putting into this event, I know for sure it will be a memorable one for the 25 teams that are scheduled to take part in and off Sodwana Bay.

Personally I am very positive it will exceed all expectations, primarily due to the input from not only Dick Pratt and his committee, but also many other SADSAA member provinces, clubs and individuals who are unselfishly giving of their time and resources to ensure this event is a resounding success. They say when the chips are down it’s surprising who comes to the party, and I am both amazed and extremely heartened, not to mention eternally grateful, to all the SADSAA members who have offered support and banded together to get their hands dirty making sure the plan comes together. So, to all the boat skippers, official organisers and helpers, on behalf of SADSAA I say a huge thank you! Another of SADSAA’s active sub committees is the safety portfolio. Every year both our own members and SR boat owners leave everything

till the last minute before going away with their craft for the Christmas holidays. This year was no exception. The likes of Carl Krause, Anton Gets, Jannie de Jonge and Lynette Adams, together with SADSAA’s administrative staff Kim Hook and Zee Meth managed to move mountains to get everyone on the water. By the time the Durban SADSAA office closed for the holidays they had processed and submitted to SAMSA ever y COC application they had received. Further to this, negotiations are in hand between our national safety officer and SAMSA to expedite the backlog of COC applications that are still with SAMSA. This is a division of SADSAA that has come under the spotlight over the last five years and those involved need our gratitude and support for the amazing work they are doing to overcome the problems of the past.



T’S so typical of anglers — if a line parts it’s because it is bad, weak or cheap line; it’s never because of a poor knot or an angler’s incompetence.

For the last decade SADSAA has supplied line to all participating anglers in interprovincial and national competitions. This has been done to level the playing fields as far as light tackle line usage is concerned. This practice will cease this year. As of 2019, after our existing stock of line has been utilised the issue of free line will cease and anglers will have to supply their own IGFA rated line. This was agreed at the October council meeting following a thorough line testing exercise undertaken by the KZN Records Officer of the issued line against other IGFA line makes. Following a rigorous debate at counciland a vote, the

majority decision was to allow participating anglers the freedom of choice when it comes to the line they use. The association’s assigned scale will be used at every SADSAA run interprovincial and national competition, and all lines will need to be tested to ensure they comply with the SADSAA/IGFA line class stipulations. Another contentious issue was also ruled upon during council at the same meeting. This was in regard to “ownership” of the fish caught by a participating team during any SADSAA competition. Regardless of what has happened in the past, it is now agreed that all fish caught become the property of the anglers fishing on a particular boat during the event. The anglers then have the right to dispose of such catch as long as they stay within the laws of the country regarding the sale of fish.

READERS’ QUERIES SADSAA’s President, Phillip Marx, has undertaken to answer a limited number of readers’ queries regarding SADSAA in each issue. If you have a question you would like answered, email him on <>. 38 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

ENVIRONMENT — NEW MPAs By Mark Beyl SADSAA National Environmental Officer


N October 2018 the Cabinet approved a network of 20 new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), including the enlargement of certain existing MPAs. The proposed MPAs went through an extensive public participation process in 2016 and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has been responsible for the incorporation of public comments into the final MPA plans. The new MPAs (or extensions of existing MPAs) have not yet been gazetted into law but it is important to alert the ski-boat angling fraternity of what is in store. It has been reported that the new MPAs are based on the extensive research by a team of over 30 marine scientists conducted under the Phakisa initiative which was started in August 2014. The MPA network strives to achieve the greatest representation of different marine ecosystem types in the country and maximise protection benefits while minimising overlap with the most important areas for affected industries and activities. Specific consideration was given to supporting fisheries management and eco-certification, protection of threatened and overexploited species and many other aspects covered in a national spatial planning framework. SADSAA was informed that the exact boundaries, zonation and specific regulations for each MPA will hopefully be published in the government gazette at the end of March this year. As such it is impossible for SADSAA to comment specifically on the MPAs, or their regulations, until they are

gazetted. We certainly hope that the comments made by our Environmental Officer and our members will be incorporated into the final plans. Whilst SADSAA fully supports efforts to protect the growing threats from unsustainable developments, such as mining, oil exploration, pollution, overfishing, etc., it maintains the view that recreational ski-boat anglers have minimal impact on the ocean’s fish resources if they are compliant with the fishing regulations such as bag and size limits. As such SADSAA’s comments were focused on the impacts that MPAs would have on recreational ski-boat fishing in attempting to uphold the constitutional prerogative of striking a balance between the conflicting requirements. Another important factor that was highlighted was the significant economic contribution by the deep sea recreational angler to South Africa’s economy, based on various studies from renowned experts. As such it was proposed that, where possible, recreational ski-boat anglers should be allowed to fish in MPAs, but in accordance with regulations determined for that specific MPA, such as no bottomfishing which is currently imposed in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park MPAs. SADSAA also proposed that the decision to restrict activities within an MPA should not rest with a management authority alone (eg: the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority), but each MPA should establish a consultative forum comprised of various stakeholders, including scientists, and representation of interested and affected parties. Once the new MPAs are gazetted SADSAA will carefully scrutinise their implications for recreational ski-boat fishing.

The original map of proposed MPAs which was put out for comment. Once they’re gazetted we will know actual boundaries.

SADSAA CONTACTS: Email: <> • Website: <> SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 39


HANDLINING Part 2: Development of the area and the fleet

The current Arniston chukkie fleet stowed on the slip. Picture by Elma Smal. By Johan Smal


N the January issue of SKI-BOAT I started talking about the chukkies of Arniston and the tough fishermen who have perfected the art of handlining for yellowtail. In part 1 we looked at some of the history of fishing and the evolution of the tools anglers use; in this issue I want to point out how the history of these craft and fishermen ties up with that of Arniston. Please note that any reference made to Agulhas in particular includes the major settlements of Bredasdorp, Agulhas, 42 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

Struisbaai,Arniston and Skipskop, unless otherwise stated. Our focus, however, remains Arniston throughout. “Desolate to the extreme” was a rather fitting description by someone of what this particular piece of barren land had on offer many years ago. This is the very same place where the quaint little town of Arniston eventually sprouted from the ancient, windswept, lacteous-coloured sand dunes. Located 27km on an easterly heading from the southernmost tip of our continent and called Waenhuiskrans in Afrikaans, it’s the only town in South Africa officially

known by two names. The English name,Arniston, originated from an East Indianman sailing ship christened Arniston. Under charter by the East India Company, while heading around the Cape to repatriate wounded soldiers from Ceylon on 30 May 1815, she was wrecked on this rugged shoreline during a blistering storm. The Afrikaans name, Waenhuiskrans, was in reference to the huge tidal cave which was chiselled into the sandstone cliffs by Mother Nature’s elements during ancient times. Waenhuis means wagon house, and the cave is literally large


enough for an ox wagon and span of oxen to turn around in. Remains of stone-walled fish traps located in the inter-tidal zone and their associated shell middens, scattered around above the high-water mark and dated to be 2000 to 4000 years old, provide authenticated proof that nomadic tribes stayed in the area for millennia. From a later period evidence also indicated a more resident lifestyle, and from the 16th century onwards, further substantiation that there was some contact between the Khoisan nomads and survivors of the numerous shipwrecks dot-

ting this treacherous stretch of coastline. The first reported wreckage in the area was that of the Zoetendal dating back to 1673, but these disasters must have occurred ever since the Portuguese explorers Bartolomeu Diaz and Vasco Da Gama traversed the area in the late 1400s. In the 17th century European settlers started to explore the Overberg, and by1708 cattle farmers had already procured grazing rights on loan farms in the area. By the time Arniston was wrecked in 1815 the nomadic tribes

had already disappeared from this part of the coast and the six shipwreck survivors were taken to Cape Town by oxwagon. Arniston Downs, the loan farm on which Arniston was later established, became a private property in 1838 and changed hands on a regular basis. Around 1850 the first members of the present fishing community of Arniston settled in the region. It seems they were originally from Swellendam. Initially fishing from shore, the fishermen migrated to inshore fishing as boat technology advanced. They went SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 43

to sea from the present Roman Beach known as Oubaai and lived mostly in houses spread out in a closeby area now known as the Ou Dorp. Following an agreement in 1905 to develop a holiday village on their land, they gradually moved to the present fishing village called Kassiesbaai. The village was sonamed because some of the first houses there were built from the numerous

“hout kassies” (wooden cases) that washed ashore from the many vessels that crashed on the reefs. A national heritage site, this 200-year-old settlement is the oldest fishing village in South Africa. Arniston was declared a town in 1922 with the Fisherman’s Union, inaugurated in 1932, assuming responsibility for managing the Kassiesbaai fishing vil-

Seen from the inside, this mysterious Waenhuis Cave was the inspiration for the original Afrikaans name for the area — Waenhuiskrans, later also named Arniston. Picture by Elma Smal.

lage. The two different names used for the town, became the official town names in 1981. Arniston, Agulhas and Struisbaai have been popular vacation and fishing destinations since the mid 1850s. As the populaces burgeoned and increasingly attracted more permanent dwellers, the towns expanded with a progressive snowballing effect. They are now bustling holiday and fishing towns, especially during the December holiday seasons. A famous anecdote is that Jock Dichmont (one of the previous Arniston Hotel owners) who ran the pub had two stompkop (poenskop/black musselcracker), decorated with steenbok horns, mounted on the wall. Holidaymakers, some asking very peculiar questions about this bizarre collection, were told that they were local “bokvis” which came out at night to feed amongst the dunes. Legend has it that many actually believed the stor y and spent many hours camping on the beach hoping to gain a glimpse of these outlandish fish. HEADING OUT TO SEA By the turn of the 20th century the local Arniston fishermen were going out to sea in small wooden rowing/sailing boats, the only means of propulsion available to them at the time. The boats were pushed over the beach by hand and launched directly into the surf from small protected bays. Instruments were non-existent and the men relied on their indigenous SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 45

This portrait taken from Ou Baai, portrays the original fishermen’s settlement, Ou Dorp, circa 1900 and shows one of the early dwellings situated on the dune directly behind the rowboats. Indeed it was tough living as these early heavy wooden rowboats had to be manhandled over long stretches of loose sand when lauching or beaching. Picture: Ferdie Sparmer knowledge and natural instincts, using landmarks to navigate and always fishing within sight of the shoreline. As the fish were abundant and close inshore in those years, it was not necessary to go far out to sea. Once the first sail was hoisted after a day’s fishing there was usually a race back to the harbour, not just for fun, but mainly for commercial reasons. The longer you fished the greater the catch, but the first boat in had the best chance of selling its entire catch. Following their relocation from the Oudorp to the present Kassiesbaai,

boats were launched from Arniston Bay but were still pushed over the beach by hand. However, once again mankind’s eternal need for advancement and proprietorship reigned supreme, and the construction of the Arniston slip eventually reaching completion in 1936. Some 40 metres long and 25 metres wide, dipping into the ocean at an angle of 7°, the slipway extends right into the surf and has no protection from any breakwater facilities. Although this presented some new challenges that had to be surmounted, handling their boats on this concrete

surface became manifold easier for the fishermen. Although still manhandled, the boats could now be lifted onto steel rods and be rolled around more easily. Motorised handling of the boats during launching and beaching then followed — the very same system still in use today. When launching, a modified tractor is used to drag the boats down to the water’s edge and they are then pushed to a suitable depth where the skipper can safely negotiate the oncoming surf. (See Part 1 for a series of pictures of a chukkie launching during a spring low tide.) When they return to

An aerial shot of Arniston taken by Terrance McNally circa 1955. With the hotel essentially still an island in the sand, this picture gives a glimpse of why the area was pronounced as desolate to the extreme. SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 47

port, the boats — neither fitted with wheels to run up the slip, nor trailered — are hooked onto a permanently installed diesel-driven winch and hauled up the slipway where they are stowed safely above the high-water mark. Today the chukkies are still pulled around on the slipway’s concrete surface without any wheeling arrangements. Sliding on heavy steel channel irons permanently fixed to the keels, they suffer from accelerated wear and tear, especially generally impact damage resulting from all the knocks endured during these bumpy operations. Up to the early 1980s the lack of appropriate electrical infrastructure — indispensable for suitable refrigeration and ice production in particular — rendered the safeguarding of bait and management of daily catches absolute nightmares for the fishermen. The peak fishing season was during the hot summer months, regularly yielding bumper catches. To prevent spoiling every single catch of the day had to be dealt with sensibly and quickly; it either had to be consumed or sold, alternatively salted, dried and stowed for personal future use or sale. With the majority of residents being subsistence fishers at the time, the local market could not absorb much excess. Some local farmers purchased small quantities at times, mainly for consumption by themselves and their workers, but most catches had to be transported to the bigger markets at nearby settlements. Located some 95km away, Swellendam was the most popular terminus. These precious, quick-spoiling loads had to be carted on the back of open trucks and were covered with

wet hessian sacks to keep them cool and moist, a practice which lasted may years. (For more details on the susceptibility of fish to spoiling see “Something Fishy — Causative factors of fish spoiling”, SKI-BOAT July/August 2017.) docs/skiboat_201707/58 THE BIRTH OF GRP CHUKKIES IN AGULHAS Numerous chronicles documenting the history of early life in the area have been compiled and published, but these records dealt mainly with the early settlements, its people and lifestyles, as well as the area’s natural beauty and associated attractions. Not much had been documented about Agulhas’s richest attribute — the abundance of her copious fish stocks, the eventual exploitation of these and the hardware used to gather the catches. Due to the absence of written records on the subject — especially the period around the 1950s/1960s when the industry really mushroomed — one has to rely on oral records. Unfortunately very few elderly people are still available to share their life ventures, and getting accurate historical accounts remains testing. Sadly, nobody could confirm who coined the name “chukkie” for these boats. Different spellings have surfaced over the years, but in Arniston the boats are commonly referred to as chukkies, allegedly named after the engine’s startup noise. Some people say, however, that they were originally called “Chugchyggy” which again was based on the running noise of their original slow revving engines — a mere 800 to 1 200 rpm going flat-out! Locally they are also differentiated from ski-boats

(habitually called speedboats or powerboats) as the “slow boats”. Chukkies developed from the novel wooden row/sail boats which originated in Kalk Bay as early as the 1700s. Many years later this design eventually found a foothold in Agulhas, where they were extensively used at Arniston, Skipskop and Struisbaai until around the mid 1900s. They were mostly carvel builds (hull planks laid close together on their edges) with only the odd clicker built to be found (edges of the hull planks are overlapped to form an irregular exterior). Due to the exceptionally rough operating conditions they were exposed to these wooden craft required a lot of maintenance. The hull planking in particularly was prone to damage with the joints having to be cleaned out, re-caulked and sealed on a regular basis, using the traditional caulking cotton rope (also known as Oakum) and red lead putty. Repairs were labour intensive and time consuming, rendering the craft unserviceable for extended periods, and obviously when there was no boat there was no income. With the new GRP technology progressively gaining popularity and becoming readily available over time, a practice evolved to simply apply a GRP skin over the damaged wooden planking. Proving to be a relatively quick, cheap and effective repair at the time, the practice gained acceptance rather quickly. This resulted in some wooden boats eventually sporting a complete new GRP skin, so successfully applied that the rotten planking on the inside could simply be stripped away and discarded. Further developments eventually led to the “wooden frame complete-

FIBREGLASS VERSUS GLASS-REINFORCED PLASTIC (GRP) The term “fibreglass” is somewhat misleading as it describes only one component of what is actually a composite material. The other component is a plastic resin, usually polyester although vinylester and sometimes epoxy are increasingly used these days. The more accurate term is actually fibreglass reinforced plastic (FRP) or glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). Glass fibres have been produced for a long time with the earliest patent awarded to the Prussian inventor Herman Hammesfarr in the USA in 1880. Mass production of glass strands however was accidentally discovered in 1932 when Games Slayter, a researcher at Owens-Illinois, directed a jet of compressed air at a stream of molten glass and produced fibres. Originally called “Fiberglas” it was a glass wool with fibres entrapping a great deal of gas, making it useful as an insulator, especially at high temperatures. A suitable resin for combining the fibreglass with a plastic to produce a composite material was only developed in 1936 by du Pont — the same group which invented Dacron and synthetic fishing lines. With the combination of fibreglass and resin, the gas content of the material was replaced by plastic. This reduced the insulation properties, but for the first time the composite showed great strength and promise as a structural and building material. Ray Greene an employee of the Owens Corning Company is credited with producing the first composite boat in 1937,

but did not proceed further at the time due to the brittle nature of the plastic used. When Basons Industries tried to produce a fibreglass boat in the early 1940s no release agent was used and the hull could not be extracted from the mould. Experimenters encountered other difficulties too, but as materials came together and production methodologies and applications evolved over time, it effectively unleashed the composite’s revolution. Ray Greene produced a fibreglass sailing dinghy in 1942 with some other “plastic” boats following with the likelihood that thousands of fibreglass boats existed by the late 1940s. The 1950s and ’60s saw an influx of new constructors who, attracted by the low starting investment needed, were happy to satisfy the public’s desire to get afloat and produced boats in conditions that would be laughed out of court today. Despite this, most of the fibreglass boats made in that era survive to this day. This owes something to the fact that early boats were somewhat over-engineered. Generous lay-ups have contributed to longevity and, though we now know that GRP is far from being the maintenance-free material originally anticipated, most of the problems that occur can be managed without writing off the structure. Acknowledgement: George March, 50 Years of Reinforced Plastic Boats, published by Reinforced Plastics magazine, 8 October 2006. SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 49

This picture was taken of Ferdie Sparmer’s Kontiki beaching on the Arniston slip on returning from its maiden voyage during 1955. She’s about to be hooked onto the winch to be hauled up the slip; note the person standing on the slip with the hook in his hand. Kontiki was one of the early wooden boats built by Louw & Halverson and fitted with a 15hp Kelvin paraffin engine. Found to be underpowered, the engine had to be replaced but sadly her wreckage was also claimed by the deep blue some time later. Picture: Ferdie Sparmer ly encapsulated GRP hull” builds that became very popular during later years. One of the high risks associated with this technological advance was a phenomenon called “fibreglass pox”. This defect was named after the multitude of surface pits in the outer gel-coat layer which resembles smallpox, and which allowed seawater to seep through small holes and caused delamination. Most of the older fibreglass boats were often not constructed in temperature controlled buildings, leading to this widespread problem. It was also caused by atmospheric moisture being trapped in the layup during construction in humid weather. With inshore fishing becoming a normal lifestyle for many South African’s after the Second World War, the need for more suitable, advanced and better-equipped fishing craft was pushed into an unprecedented upward spiral. The relatively new fibreglass technology which became available in South Africa around 1950, was ideally suited to build such boats. This could be done much more quickly than was possible using the more traditional methods, and in response to the growing demand various boat builders introduced this new GRP technology. The well-known Stompneusbaai resident, fisherman and entrepreneur, Samuel Antonie Walters, realised the immense potential of St Helena Bay’s rich seafood resources and saw that the fishermen were looking at options to upgrade their crayfish and snoek boats 50 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

in particular. Together with Charles Hutchinson and Alfred Tallie (an expert Louw & Halverson boat builder fabricating wooden boats in Velddrif at the time), Samuel established the company Sachal in Vredenburg during 1965. The name Sachal was created by using the first two letters of each partner’s first name. Commencing with the construction of GRP boats straight away, they were the first to deliver these new generation chukkies to Arniston in the mid 1960s, followed by Struisbaai just a few years later. ENGINE-POWERED CRAFT TAKE ARNISTON BY STORM The first reference to a motorised vessel operating at Arniston was Koos Sparmers’ 32ft trawler Miss Arniston. She was acquired around 1927 and, believe it or not, fitted with a 9hp Thornycroft engine. She had to be anchored in Arniston Bay at sea and the catches shipped ashore by rowboats. Reportedly Coen Taljaart, a wellknown boat owner and ostensibly the first principal fish merchant in Arniston and Agulhas at the time, was the first to install an engine into one of the Arniston rowboats during the mid1940s. This was a 2-cylinder Scottish built 15hp Kelvin paraffin engine, distributed by Louw & Halverson at the time. Although some Lister engines also followed, the Kelvin became the engines of choice until they were replaced by the preferred 2-cylinder Ford diesel engines which became

available circa 1955. The next major upgrade to these power sources only materialised in the late 1970s when 30hp Yanmar engines and the 80hp 4-cylinder Ford became the popular choices. After 40 years of hard labour in extremely harsh conditions, most of these engines are still tonking away today, still chasing Kassiesbaaiers’ dreams. Although our focus remains on Arniston, it is interesting to note that by 1960 chukkies were in fact used all over the Western Cape. Some important locations include Stillbaai, Mossel Bay, Witsand, Skipskop, Gansbaai, Hermanus, Gordon’s Bay, Strand, Kalk Bay and St Helena Bay. However, Struisbaai,Arniston and Kalk Bay are the only places where they still operate on a daily basis, weather permitting. Acknowledged as the first managing owner of a real commercial fishing enterprise in Struisbaai, Barend Dalhauzie was the first to build a fishfactory in Struisbaai harbour during 1960. Operating a f leet of his own boats, he also rendered a boat repair service to others. Sold to Etienne Bruwer and with Lance Steytler also playing a role in the business, Irwin & Johnson (I&J) bought the factory in 1967. Louis Knobel was transferred from Kalk Bay to manage the operation and brought the Kalk Bay-built wooden chukkie Dagbreek 1 with him. According to my sources, the first GRP built chukkie located in Struisbaai was Jan Weber’s Waterberg, built in 1969 by Sachal in Vredenburg. Kenny Coleman, a well-known ex-Kalk Bay fisherman, relocated to Struisbaai during the early 1970s. He used a 16ft GRP Sachal-built monohull fitted with a 20hp Yanmar outboard and an 18hp auxiliary Johnson engine. Due to the restricted deck space, load carrying capacity and fuel cost Kenny decide to upgrade and bought the GRP constructed chukkie Melody from Kenny Kingma in 1973. Operating at Kalk Bay harbour at the time, she was also built by Sachal in Vredenburg. During 1974 Frank Weber, an uncle of Jan Weber who owned Waterberg at the time, used Dagbreek 1’s hull (the biggest hull at the time) to shape a mould. He then built Blouberg followed by Dagbreek 2 in 1974 — the very first GRP chukkies to be constructed in Struisbaai. In 1979 Louis Knobel and one of his sons, Brian, also engaged in building GRP chukkies. They constructed a mould using the hull of a defunct I&J boat, but lengthened by 1.2 metres, to build Mar co 2. Some eight more chukkies were built by them between 1980 and 1985, mainly for I&J. Brian then progressed further by building larger craft in Struisbaai, including some deep-sea trawlers.

Ou Grote, the oldest lady in Arniston, and one we’ll get to know better during the last part of this series. Picture by Elma Smal. THE BIRTH OF GRP CHUKKIES BUILT IN ARNISTON During 1975 the treacherous Agulhas coastline claimed yet another victim. The relatively new wooden chukkie, Gansie 1, one of Coen Taljaard’s many chukkies, built by Louw & Halverson’s builder, Alfred Tallie in Veldrif, was wrecked on the reef at Struispunt. once she was salvaged Coen commissioned Jollop Murtz, one of the legendary Arniston fishermen and general boat repairer at the time, to restore her. The new GRP skin was laid over her wooden hull using lots of resin and only chopped strand fibreglass, with no gel-coat whatsoever. (Gel-coat is the material used to provide a high-quality finish on the visible surface of a fibrereinforced composite.) Having been declared seaworthy following the acquisition of a new licence and different name, Ou Grote, she went back into service. Currently Arniston’s oldest lady in use, she happens to be the chosen one we’ll get to know more intimately at a later stage. This particular build marked Jollop’s first GRP build, setting him on course to become Arniston’s most celebrated boat builder. His second chukkie, Ahi, which was owned by W Fortman, was built in Struisbaai. Traill Witthuhn, another legendary commercial Struisbaai fisherman, relocated to Struisbaai in 1971 and started

fishing with Kenny Coleman on Melody. In 1977 he decided to take the leap and build his own boat. With Jollop Murtz designated as his preferred builder, he moved a wooden hull belonging to a defunct I&J boat called Marco, to Arniston. Traill’s new boat Rusvic was layered over Marco’s wooden hull using the male moulding system. Marco’s 25ft long hull with its flat underside was ideally suited to facilitate shallow water f loating which was essential for the launching and beaching conditions from shore at Arniston, so many GRP builds were fashioned over her shell. Also using the male moulding system, they were all constructed by Jollop Murtz, aided by his son Thomas, and most of them are still in use today. Samrock was one of the most celebrated wooden Arniston chukkies; she belonged to the famous Kassiesbaai brothers, Simon and Samual Marthinus. During 1977 they decided to build their own separate boats and also commissioned Jollop for the task. Their boats, Timothy and Nicolene, are both still in service today. Samrock was subsequently sold to Eppie Newman who operated her for a few years before she was grounded and used as a mould by Jollop Murtz to build numerous more chukkies. One of the Marthinus brothers, 88-

year-old Samual, is currently the oldest remaining Arniston fisherman and also the only one still alive who went to sea with rowing boats. Fortunately he could share his memories with me; it was indeed a real honour and privilege to be able to talk to him in person. In the next and final part of this series I will get into the real meat of handlining yellowtail, starting by sharing some snippets from the pre-colonial fishing practices as gleaned from Jan van Riebeeck’s journals dating back to 1653. I’ll also touch on the current quandary of the Arniston chukkie fishermen and take a closer look at one particular local chukkie. Weather permitting and fish biting, I hope to spend a day on Ou Grote handling yellowtail the Arniston chukkie way, and will report back to SKI-BOAT readers on my personal experience. My thanks to the following sources for the wealth of information provided: • Ferdie Sparmer, rightly called Arniston’s walking encyclopaedia and the original source of most records. • • • Kenny Coleman, Brian Knobel, Samual Marthinus, Thomas Murtz, Eppie Newman, Piet (Lulu) Swart, Frederik Walters and Traill Witthuhn. SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 51

52 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

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56 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

By Rod Wyndham


HY do we love ski-boating and fishing so much? Sure it’s about catching fish — the endless pursuit of the next big one and the skill to outwit that fish — but there is actually so much more to fishing. The friendship out on the water, the dramatic scenery and views that we see of our coastline, the excitement of the launch through the surf and then the endless hours of drifting, trolling and waiting, plus hours of trying to solve the world’s issues. This all combines with the thrill of the chase when it all connects and the reel screams with the hope of the next big fish.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 57

Orange River mornings with sun tipped mountains.

Five-year-old Tayne Wyndham proudly shows off his mudfish. Camp two in the heart of the wilderness.

Camp one — Thumb print hill. Of course none of this is limited to fishing at sea, so when I saw a friend’s post on Facebook about his family’s trip paddling on the Orange River, I decided to find out more. Naturally my first question was:“Can I fish and what is the fishing like?” Before I knew it we were booked and counting down the days. It turns out that the fishing can be very good, with the target species being largemouth yellowfish, smallmouth yellows, mudfish, barbel, carp and tilapia. I knew little about catching these fish, but I’m a fisherman, so how hard could it be, right? With a lot of help from the guys at Frontier Fly Fishing — Dean Riphagen and Riaan Heyns — I was prepared for mostly flyfishing, but of course I threw in a spinning rod just in case. I spent a number of nights tying flies with enough lead in them to make holes in my boat. I even needed to add a tungsten bead to get then down I was told. Riaan, a local expert, says, “Unless your fly is on the bottom you are not going to catch fish.” “But how much lead is enough?” I ask. “The more the better,” I am pretty much told.“You’ll see.” So, armed with boxes of flies that would drown most fishermen, plus a few Rapalas, we set off for the Orange River... The Orange River is nearly 2 000km from my home and the road trip is spectacular. Those who have never been to the Northern Cape from Upington to Kakamas and from there to Springbok, you are seriously missing out. Simply spectacular! My kids would say,“Dad, it’s like we are on a different planet.” We caught our first view of the mighty Orange River at Augrabies Falls, and what a spectacle it was. Being the avid angler I am, all I could see were the large shoals of large- and smallmouth yellows at the base of the falls, with no way to reach them. It got the blood pumping, though, and I went to sleep that night dreaming of all those fish. We then crossed the Orange River and arrive in Namibia at Bundi Adventures — our starting point. After a quick briefing on how to pack our watertight drums and cooler boxes 58 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

Tayne very pleased with his smallmouth yellow.

Last day on the river — day five.

Lauren, Tayne and Michaela on the the river. and a hysterical account of how to use the bush toilet (aka looloo) by Lazarus, the packing and list checking takes place. There is very little packing space and you are pretty much encouraged to only take one set of clothes for the river and one for at night. A blow-up mattress and a pump are a must, believe me. On my boat obviously my fishing gear took priority and all the lead that I had packed weighed me down like some of those taxis you see heading for the borders. Early the next morning we were given a final safety briefing and then we were off. Very soon one sees the incredible beauty of this river. The green river banks give way to massive sandstone and granite cliffs. The pace on the river is slow and one drifts along at peace. The friendly banter on the river with an occasional water fight is like no other, and the mood among the paddlers is generally one of awe. Greg De Valle, my marlin fishing buddy and crew member, pumped out a few tunes from Creedence on his speaker as we drifted along in the hot sun. The first rapid was soon upon us and our river guides prepped us for the run. You paddle like mad and in seconds the river goes from scenes of slow and lazy to rapid and frantic; certainly enough to make sure you are not asleep and to get the heart racing. However, as quickly as it appears it’s over; you may be a little wet, but you’re back on the slow paddle and drift. Before long it’s lunch and you pull up to the side. Fishing time! The rods are out and the first flies are tied and cast into the current ... Fishing is a bit slow, but there are few expectations at this stage; the experience of just being on the river overtakes everything. Soon a game of cricket is on the go in the blazing sun and the families fight it out, but the sun eventually chases us to the shade. One day blends into another with views that just get better and better; truly breathtaking. The river is full of life and is only interrupted with the odd rapid. They slowly get more and more challenging, but you have plenty of time to learn as you go. It’s not long before you become a master and rapids

that looked daunting on day one look like child’s play on day three. You leave behind all sign of human existence, and soon it’s you the river, the desert and the mountains. The odd fish eagle keeps an eye on you and occasionally you see a black eagle soaring over the cliffs. You pass some diamond mines or works and you can’t help thinking of the stories of men seeking their fortunes. The guides share stories of guys picking up 8 and 14 carat diamonds while walking along the bank or working the mines. Makes you take more careful note of the stones and pebbles at your feet; maybe today will be my lucky day! Every afternoon you pull up to the most beautiful campsite in the world with huge, towering mountains on each side. It’s a quick set up of the tents and then lots of time to fish until the sun sets. Some are happy to laze around camp, bathe in the river and take it easy, while others are on the hunt to find those fish. The fishing is just incredible, and after a few days spent honing our skills we were into the yellows almost shot for shot. I had always heard how strong these fish were, but for some reason had still discounted them. Well, I was in for a lesson; they fight better than those prized tigerfish that we love to catch. I quickly learnt that my 5-wt Sage rod was no match and I should have taken Riaan’s advice to rather fish a 6- or even 7-wt. I bust off more hooks that I have ever done and often my fly returned straightened. We would fish well into the dusk and return to camp every night with wonderful tales of fish that got away. If it wasn’t for the odd photo I think the other folks on the river with us would have had their doubts about us. Greg and I were on a steep learning curve, but we managed to land the odd fish. One afternoon we beached for the night at the Entrance Exam Rapid — this was apparently the one that would ultimately prepare us for the Sjambok, one we would encounter in a few days’ time. This rapid looked perfect for fishing and we raced off to try our luck until dark. SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 59

60 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

Rod Wyndham with a barbel that did not break hooks or line. The rapid behind his shoulder is where the muddies were spawning and the white foam below is where the barbel were waiting.

Group pic photo bombed by stray dog on the river.

Greg Valle with one of the smaller barbel (catfish) that we were able to land. Soon we noticed thousands of mudfish spawning on the opposite bank in the very shallow rapid. We then noticed that below the rapid was a huge heaving mass of white water and fish. They were all barbel, but huge barbel; bigger than any I had ever seen. Many were trying to climb the shallow rapid to get at the mudfish. Once they had spawned in the shallows the mudfish would ultimately have to try and pass this mass of open mouths; it was a sight to behold. Fly-rods where not going to cut it, but sunset was 30 minutes away and the camp — and our spinning rods — was still a good kilometre or two upstream. We made a dash for it and soon were back, ready to do battle. Light was fading fast and we knew we probably only had time for a few casts each. Well, shot for shot we cast across the current, hit the rocks on the other side and were into a monster barbel. Time and time again my heavy spinning rod with 40 lb braid and Saltiga reel were no match for these huge fish in the current. We broke split rings, hooks, lures, the lot. Greg and I hooked at least five fish each and only managed to get three out, these being the smallest of the bunch. We eventually ran out of light. Walking back to camp we could not wait for first light. We had agreed with our river guide that, after completing the rapid the next morning, he would pull the group over on that side of the river and let us get in some fishing. We were not disappointed, and although the barbel had moved off and the muddies were not spawning as prolifically, the fishing action was incredible. We landed large- and smallmouth yellows aplenty, plus the odd muddy which is also a strong fighter on fly. Eventually we had to follow the group down the river to our next adventure and the “Nappy Run” — you turn your life jacket upside down and pull it up your legs, then float down the rapid without a boat, on your bum with your legs up. The kids thought this was hilarious! The trip is truly the adventure of a lifetime and one of the best family trips that you can imagine. There is a fair amount of paddling and one 5km+ stretch is actually called Divorce

Alley (we soon worked out why), but the hard work pays off. The regular breaks for meals and swimming — not to mention the rapids — make the day a great deal of fun. Kids have an absolute blast; there is plenty of fun for them and they can easily fish from the side with a mielie pip, often out-catching us guys on the fly. I took my five-year-old and 11-year-old with and they loved it. Day four is incredible, and is the day you face the mighty Sjambok Rapid. I think we were all secretly bricking ourselves, having heard stories of 19 boats flipping in a single day, some to never been seen again. Just after lunch the challenge was on. The rods were put away for the first time in days and everything was double tied down. Hannes, our river guide and tower of strength, went through every detail and told us there was nothing to worry about. He set off first with his fully laden canoe — tables, pots, pans etc — and glided down standing up, making it look very easy. After a good pep talk to our crew members we went for it, hearts pumping and arms working hard. Through a good few waves and sliding past T-bone Rock and we were through. It all happened so quickly that we all thought the worst was still coming, but no, it was over. There were a few trembling hands like after that tight launch through the surf on your ski-boat. Everyone made it and there were high fives all round. What a rush! The current was swift in that section and paddling was easy. Before long we were at our camp and setting up for another perfect night; a little sun burnt and tired, and happy to be stopping for the night. Well, the desert always has a few surprises, and later that afternoon we experienced a dust storm. Greg and I were out fishing and catching some really big yellows, the best of the trip. We saw it coming from a long way off and soon it blanketed our camp and eyes like you see in the movies. The wind was howling and Hannes and our families were back at camp holding onto the kitchen gazebo for dear life, but as quick as it arrived it left and calm descendSKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 61

ed again. We then had a few drops of rain, something very unusual, Hannes says. We didn’t even run for cover, we just enjoyed every minute of it, and soon it settled into another perfect evening. The display of fireflies was unparalleled, and it was like watching a very expensive laser lighting show as they drifted across from the other side of the river bank in their hundreds. We were kept in awe for hours before dragging our tired, aching bodies to bed. The fire flies followed, though, and we lay looking up at the stars through our mozzie netting on the tent, the Milky Way and the fireflies performing above us like the best show pilots. The sense of contentment was surreal. Soon we fell asleep to the sound of the river bubbling past on its way to the coast. Truly magical. The best part of the trip is the escape from modern technology — no cellphone signal, no video games, no social media, no Facetime, no Twitter, no Instagram and no Facebook, only family and fun time. I took a satellite phone along in case of an emergency, but the sense of relaxation I felt not having to check my phone was just the best. Everyone commented on how wonderful that was. You get to talk to each other as you drift down the river and you really get to know each other. It has changed my kids and made us a better family; who could ask for more? We used the Bundi Adventure Company and they were fantastic. They send you off with experienced river guides who look after your every need — including cooking three fantastic meals every day. I have no idea how they do it, but you will be well fed. You have to take your own water, drinks and snacks. They provide a large water proof barrel that takes your sleeping bag and dry stuff, plus they provide a large cooler box with ice for (they say) 50 cans of beverages, etc. Evenings are spent around a roaring fire and most nights you are sleeping by 9pm, whacked out from the day’s activity. You rise to the still water, reflections of mountains topped with the fiery first rays of the morning sun and the smell of wood smoke as the first morning coffee is brewed. Paradise, I 62 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

promise you. If you are a keen angler then put a group together and let them know that’s what you want; it will mean less paddling and more fishing. Otherwise the normal program gives you a bit of everything and caters for all. They offer three-, four- and five-day river packages. We did the five-day trip and were not disappointed, nor did we find it too long. I think secretly we all wanted to keep going and were sad when it came time to haul our boats off the river. We are already thinking of doing another trip in 2020. FISHING GEAR NEEDED Flyfishing is probably the best way • 6/7-wt rod • Good reel with lots of backing • 12- to 15 lb leaders are a must • Good, well-tied flies on good hooks Flies for smallmouth yellows: • Sizes 8, 10, 14, 16 • Caddis patterns well weighted with tungsten beads • Hots spot pheasant tail nymphs • Hare’s ear nymphs • Worm patterns • Copper Johns • MSP Flies Flies for largemouth yellows: • Sizes 4, 6 and 8 • MSP flies • Muishond • Lake Dragon Kids • Small rods • Small hooks, swivels and sinkers • Whole kernel corn, that’s all.

SURPRISE CATCH! by Samaarah Ibrahim (15)


’M a junior member of the Gordon’s Bay Boat Angling Club and have been fishing since I was a little girl. My father Nishaad has always been involved in fishing and got me hooked on it.

Ever since I was a young girl my passion has always been fishing, I remember the first time I caught a fish, I was only four years old! When I was around ten years old I caught my first yellowfin tuna, and it was then that I knew I had to keep doing this as one of my hobbies. On Wednesday 24 October 2018 my dad, two friends — Ockie and Davie — and I left the harbour around 4:30am on our boat Monish and went out to the deep which is 40 nautical miles off from Cape Point. I was hoping to break a pending Western Province junior record and a pending All Africa, SA junior record. I managed to hook one longfin tuna on 3kg lineclass but lost it after an hour and a half’s fight. What a disappointment!

The day was going very slowly as there weren’t many fish being caught, and as the first rod went off I grabbed it. It took me around an hour to land the 46.8kg fish and it was a huge surprise when we saw this was a southern bluefin tuna because we normally do not catch this species in our waters. I caught it

on 15kg line with a Williamson Deep Diver. I am very passionate about this sport and plan to get my skippers licence this year and hope that I will be able to continue to break many more records.

SKI-BOAT magazine, in conjunction with Mercury, is proud to offer all junior deep sea anglers the opportunity to win awards for excellence in angling. If you are 16 years old or younger and you submit a photo of yourself and the fish you caught, you will receive a handsome certificate suitably inscribed confirming the catch. And there’s more ... Once a year the names of all junior anglers whos photographs appeared on the Mercury Junior Angler page will be included in a lucky draw and the winner will receive, courtesy of Mercury, a fantastic prize of a 2.5hp outboard motor. All you need to do is send us a photograph of yourself and your catch, together with the following details: • Your name address, telephone number and date of birth • Species and weight of the fish you caught • Line class used • Date and place fish was caught • Boat and skipper’s name All entries should be sent to : Mercury Junior Angler SKI-BOAT magazine PO Box 20545, Durban North 4016 or email your entry to <>. There is no restriction on the number of awards that can be applied for, and SKI-BOAT magazine reserves the right to use the photographs as it sees fit. A selection of five award winners will appear in each issue of SKI-BOAT magazine. Junior anglers, Mercury and SKI-BOAT magazine acknowledge that you hold the future of our sport in your hands. Here’s your chance to show us what you can do!

66 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

TALES FROM BLACK SABBATH LEGENDARY sea dog Hamish Fyfe passed on to the endless ocean in the sky in December 2018. He wrote some wonderful tales for SKI-BOAT magazine over the years, and as a tribute we’re rerunning one of his more memorable ones here ... By Hamish Fyfe


E had left Hout Bay early that afternoon to move down to the east coast to join the chokka run. I had been at the wheel for about 12 hours and the crew were all asleep, a state induced by an excess of cheap wine with chasers of weed. However, the hangovers would soon pass and the guys would be ready to fish once we reached the vicinity of Port Elizabeth, still some 30 hours away. The steady rhythm of the single Detroit diesel had a hypnotic effect and it took considerable effort to stay awake. This I accomplished by just balancing on the edge of the steering stool. It was easy — if I fell asleep, I fell down. The sea was calm with an easy following SW swell, the moon creating a luminous yellow highway — the pathway to the “white gold”. During one of the periods between falling off the stool — which was becoming a more and more painful experience — two huge ostriches ran straight in front of me, right across my yellow highway. Well, I just let myself fall off the stool and, hopefully now fully awake — albeit with a throbbing funny bone — I pulled myself up slowly until my eyes were level with the bottom of the wheelhouse window. They were still there, silver in colour, the silver accentuated by moonlight. They held their necks parallel to the water and their beaks were like those of an extinct dodo, but bigger. As they disappeared like ghosts into the night, my now totally disrupted mind managed to register one other fact: the ostriches had large webbed feet, a small salve to my reasoning powers as to how the hell they managed to stay on top of the water. My cook, whom I hadn’t noticed previously, came run-

The true story of the legendary

ning from the bow of the boat where he’d been relieving a bit of pressure, his face a mask of disbelief — he didn’t even see me as he went to the stern of the boat — but I overheard some of his mutterings about merchants selling “kak mengsels” for him to smoke. This occurrence, hallucination, dream, or whatever, I kept to myself as I could well imagine how a conversation would go if I mentioned seeing two ostriches running across the ocean, miles out from shore, in the early hours of the morning. I locked the memory away in the furthest corner of my mind. The road down the east coast is one I found myself travelling frequently for a variety of reasons, and a year after my “ostrich night” I once again found myself on this road to investigate a report of massed yellowtail, but nobody was sure exactly where. It was summer and nothing much had happened on the fishing side, so there was no real urgency in my investigation. Suddenly, I found myself below the Duineberge opposite a perfectly formed bay known locally as Grootbaai, and a sudden memory forced itself to the surface. On the night of the silver ostriches the moon had also shown the Duineberge in the distance. I took a dust road turn-off and wound my way down to Grootbaai and parked my car. A feeling of unease crawled over my skin. Earlier that day, a good friend of mine had swopped an earthen jug of mampoer mixed with honey for a few fresh frozen snoek I had brought up with me, so as the feeling of unease built up, relief was sought. I pulled the prop, took a small mouthful and swallowed. Ahh ... so smooth ... but so deceptive. I waited patiently for the sledgehammer and wasn’t disappointed. I was still trying to refocus my spinning eyes when I discovered that all feelings of disquiet had faded dramatically and life had definitely improved. I was guiltily contemplating life a little bit more when a shadow sidled up to the car, followed by its owner, a wizened old coloured man. “Donder, dis nou ’n regte kan!” he exclaimed and quickly got onto the introductions. “My naam is Jakob en ek het wragtig lang laas so ’n mooi ding gesien.” His eyes sparkled in anticipation, but

SEEVOLSTRUIS 68 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

I wasn’t too keen to share the “kan”, as he called it, with anybody, even though there was more than enough for both of us for a few days. “Skipper, ek weet jy gaan nie sommer vir my ’n doppie gee nie, maar as ek ’n paar happies kry, sal ek vir jou vertel die rede die yellowtail dié dae so skaars is,” he proclaimed. I wasn’t particularly interested in hearing where the yellowtail had gone and even less interested in having someone suip out of my mampoer mise. His presence was also making me feel guilty about having another dop on my own. “Oubaas,” he continued in a more desperate vein, “die storie is darem worthwhile. Ek weet dinge wat ander mense nie weet nie, vernaamlik julle wit mense wat te civilised geword het en sien net wat julle wil sien — niks anders nie. Maar ek kan ook nie ’n storie vertel sonder ’n bietjie petrol.” I wasn’t sure that I enjoyed his “oubaas” bit, but I was obviously not going to get rid of him until he’d told his story. I had another mug in the car, which I filled for him, took a dop myself — thankfully — and settled down. I had opened the driver’s side door to let a bit of breeze blow through the car. Jakob settled himself down on his haunches, leaning with his back against the car. Carefully he lifted the mug to his lips and I watched with consternation as he swallowed the contents in one gulp. A few seconds later a violent spasm shook his body, so violent that he ended up with his behind in the dust and his legs stretched out in front of him — and a look of delirious pleasure lit up his face. “Dam-mit,” he wheezed. “Dié goed stamp ’n ou darem blerrie lekker. Bliksem, I sommer thought the manne forgot how to make lekkergoed soos hierdie. Donder — gee my nog ’n kap, dan is ons reg. My motor ry sommer sweet nou — jus a bit more van daai high octane, dans ons reg vir die trip.” Reluctantly I filled his mug again, but also took the opportunity to have another sluk myself. Jakob’s legs frantically beat another quick tattoo in the dust. “The trouble is,” Jakob began, “that people see the fish is gone, but then they looks in the verkeerder rigting. Like the yellowtail here at Grootbaai; there used to be sommer ’n groot bos vis in die ou dae. Toe het ek genotice, one afternoon jus like this, ’n klomp yellowtail comes in the bay, sommer miljoene — next day, nutting! “So I asks myself — how can this be — waars die blerrie vis heen? So the next time this happens, I reckon I’ll sommer checks it out myself. I buys myself ’n lekker vyf man kan — wyn, not brandstof like you got there — and I sits jus over there, unner the tree. “I jus sits an watches, ek sal sommer die hele nag watch. In dié plek slaap die mense sommer vroeg, daars niks om te doen nie. Ons is nie soos Mosselbaai met Mosgas. Ons het f@£$^&* all hier. They also reckons they’re bang of spoke — ghosts. I reckon they’re jus bang of their vrouens. “Anyways,” he continued with a hopeful look in the direction of the jug, “jus about 9 o’clock I checks something that makes me tink I should be by the house. I checks two silver spoke running across the baai. I just took time for one quick sluk. I don’t know why they call it a vyf man kan, that sluk took up two ou’s shares. Anyway, then I made spore, sommer groot spore, to the house. “My oupa — who’s now gevrek — he checks me out when I comes in, sommer takes the kan out of my hand — hy vra nie eers nie — vat ’n lekker sluk vir homself and gives it back.” His mug appeared again on its own volition and I filled it and sorted myself out. The dust settled from his recurrent palpitations and he continued. “My oupa jus tells me to sit down and then he tells me of the seevolstruis.”

A recently buried memory burst forth from its hiding place — again with a vengeance — so I took a quick sip and filled up a mug that appeared from nowhere. More dust and the story got on its way again. “He says that he’s the only one that knows for sure — and now he’s telling me in case the story dies. Iemand moet weet. Seevolstruis is a bit like gewone volstruis, jus bigger and uglier with silver feathers and webbed feet. He’s also got a beak like ’n arend, en sy nek is korter en dikker. He told me the ou mense used to watch them at night till the volstruis found them and attacked. Dis nou waar die storie van spoke gekom het. Hy sê hulle is sommer lekker dangerous.” The mug appeared again. “Jy weet — dié goed — it sommer makes you see with new eyes. Anyway, oupa, he carries on about the seevolstruis. The voorlopers run out to sea at night, and when they checks the yellowtail in the diep water, they runs back and tells the rest and then a hele bos seevolstruis runs out to sea to chase the yellowtail into Grootbaai. A few of them runs up and down that channel in front there, dat die geelstert te bang is om uit te swem. “Then they waits till the tide goes right out. Then you see seevolstruis lined up sommer duisende. Then they start to run around, first across the mouth and then up and down across the bay, en dan vreet hulle, sommer on the run, met spoed. “They holds their heads low and they sommer scoop up yellowtail in their bekke and swallows the fish sommer kop and stert, one after the other.” Cup, shakes, dust and back to the story. “When the school fish is klaar, then they goes back to the Duineberge and sleeps till the weather tells them they must start looking for fish again. They makes holes in the duine and climb in with just their tail feathers and the tips of their beaks sticking out between their tail feathers. “Dit stink vreeslik in daai plek, that’s why not so many ouens goes there. Jus don’t make a mistake and pull out a feather — those things will sommer kap you stukkend. “One of those outjies with a motorbike for going in the sand — hy’t toe een dag daarin gery. They reckons he didn’t stop running until Valkenberg — sommer first stop — en hy’s nog daar. They reckons he’s mal. Hulle wil nie glo nie — Jinne, he musta got a moers se skrik! “That’s why mense don’t talk, hulle is bang — they reckons the seevolstruis knows when you talk about him, en hy hou nie daarvan nie — maar this gunpowder you got has made me feel sommer lekker, and anyways it’s still daytime.” I looked out over the bay and sea and sky in bleached pastel shades of summer, a sight of pure tranquillity, even seen through eyes now stripped of the blindness of civilisation. Two seevolstruis came running across the bay at an easy mile-eating lope, ran up the small beach and disappeared into the bushes. Their silver colour made them almost translucent in the bright sun. “Oubaas — bliksem, nous daar groot kak! I can’t even get to the house, daai groot hoenders sal ons sommer opmors — hulle weet ons is hier.” Jakob’s face was a picture of undiluted terror. “Sluit gou die kan toe and follows me to a place, sommer veilige plek. Moenie die kan vergeet nie.” Jakob scuttled off, his feet exploding with little puffs of dust every time he took a step. They were exploding pretty fast and I followed. Later, in sober retrospect, I should have started the car and left there and then, but people do many strange things in their lives, like getting married, etc. Jakob headed straight for a storm-water outlet which was just visible where the beach met with the tight matted underSKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 69

growth above it. The entrance was just big enough for us to peer out and have an unrestricted view of Grootbaai. My car shimmered in the heat about 300 metres away. “Nous ons veilig,” proclaimed a panting Jakob who, because of the curvature of the pipe, kept falling towards me. I furtively hauled a piece of plank left by a storm of the past into the mouth of the pipe, which fitted across our observation platform to form an adequate bench for both of us. But it still didn’t stop Jakob falling against me. “Ja-nee, nous ons veilig,” Jakob proclaimed again and took another dop without asking, the aftershock causing him to fall over backwards where he stayed. I looked blearily across at my car with a certain amount of longing, but my eyelids were getting very heavy and I nodded off to sleep. I remember waking up fleetingly to the pounding of many feet and looked out to see seevolstruis by the hundred running out to sea. Once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, I decided, and went back to sleep. I was awakened by a rough push from Jakob that sent me sprawling to the ground. “Bly daar, Oubaas,” he whispered frantically. “Kyk vir die blerrie goed.” In the grey light of dawn there were literally thousands of seevolstruis gathered on a flat group of rocks, nearly invisible in the early light. Further out to sea, nearly invisible in the morning light, more seevolstruis were herding another massive school of fish over the shallow sandbank and into the bay. Then the slaughter started. The banked masses of seevolstruis started to move onto the water with a military precision. They ran with a steady lope, first across the entrance of the bay and then circling back into the bay itself. Their necks were held virtually parallel with the water, and whenever fish broke water they were scooped up and swallowed. Their spurs hacked at other fish, throwing them up into the air for another bird to catch and swallow. The small ones, in imitation of their elders, did the same thing, except with a big fish, the weight of which caused them to perform ungainly involuntary somersaults which resulted in them falling on their backs in the water, only to be dragged out by observant parents. I took out my camera, photographing as fast as I could — my evidence to show all the sceptical civilised people. The spool was soon used up, so I returned my attention to the feeding frenzy before me. One big seevolstruis, bloated with fish and no longer able to stay on top of the water, was standing in the shallows hacking and swallowing. An admiring youngster was trying to emulate him, but the water was too deep and he kept disappearing under. How was it possible that these monstrous birds had escaped detection for so long? All that was known about them was from very vague, distorted legend. “Jy weet, in the old days dié plek was volop seevolstruis — vra my oupa,” Jakob stated. “I thought your oupa was dead,” I replied. “Hy is — maar hy’t geweet,” he answered logically. He continued,“Simon van der Stel, he saw seevolstruis near Simonstad and they had to build a kleinhuisie sommer gou; eerste gebou in Simonstad. Die ou naam onder die volk was Simonkakstad, maar hulle het die naam gechange om polite te wees.” The massacre of the yellowtail continued — and so did Jakob. “They calls the other place Struisbaai — dit was mos Seevolstruisbaai, but the ouens was too lazy to speak the whole name out, of the bang. That nonsense van struisdak huise is mos twak: a thatch roof is mos ’n riet dak, nie ’n struis dak nie.” He spat with contempt into the sand. “Maar nou, besides the seevolstruis we got here, die groot 70 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

base is daar in the army reserve — de Hoop. They don’t talks about it much, die army is mos so, but my neefie says that they are training the seevolstruis to invade Afghanistan. Dis mos ons secret weapon. Hulle sê Chris Barnard was ook daar en hy het braintransplants gedoen. Parlement is volop bewys!” I decided that while the animals were busy, I would make good my escape. Jakob told me I was “blerrie mal” but relented when I told him he could keep what was left of the jug. He reckoned it was about breakfast time. I started my erratic sprint towards the car and reached about halfway when, with no sign being given, a few seevolstruis, instead of running across the mouth of the bay and circling back, kept on coming, straight up the opposite embankment past Jakob’s hiding place (which must have caused the jug to be emptied) straight towards me. I reached the car before they did, but I had to scrabble frantically for the keys in my pocket. I was suddenly slammed to the ground, kicked, pecked and stamped on. With keys in a very sweaty palm, I managed to hide under the car where the monstrosities couldn’t reach me, but they took their vengeance on the car itself. The car rocked crazily on its wheels, from their combined assault, and they beat that car till they thought it was dead. For a while the only sound to be heard was the smashing of glass and the dull thud of bodywork being dented. At one stage it sounded as if they were doing a fandango on the roof. By then dust had clogged in my throat, eyes, hair, plus in the bloody cuts I sustained in their initial assault. I was keeping my eyes half shut to prevent more dust getting in them when I saw a large malevolent eye looking at me. The noise around the car subsided and I think all the seevolstruis were giving me a bit of scrutiny to see if I was worth their delicate attention. Finally they moved off to plunder more of the yellowtail that were being massacred with many a satisfied croak. Well, my friend Jakob would have to look after himself in his pipe. Once the birds were suitably distant, I eased myself from under the car, slid into the driver’s seat, and — muttering a few heartfelt prayers — got the car started. A few seevolstruis turned enquiringly at the sound of the engine, but once they saw the speed of the thing they had supposedly killed, they gave up the chase and returned to their happy hunting grounds. I looked back at the bay from the main road and the seevolstruis were still busy, but if I hadn’t known what to look for, I would have thought all that movement was just the shimmer of heat on the water. I drove straight home, battered, bent, bleeding and wild eyed, and told this story — exactly as I have here — to my dearly beloved wife. The only evidence I had, unfortunately, was a rather bent feather and a very broken camera. My wife never believed anything her husband told her, especially if the tale was a little off the straight and narrow normality of life. She thought I’d had too much to drink and had rolled the car, and that I was making up mindwarping stories instead of admitting the truth. As it turns out the insurance man didn’t believe me either! verifying the truth of this matter has become very important to me and I want to prove my wife wrong once and for all, so I am organising a trip, together with all interested parties, down to the Duineberge and Grootbaai to verify the truth and the legend. All interested parties can contact SKI-BOAT magazine for the particulars. And don’t forget to bring along your own version of mampoer and honey/gavine and molasses/witblitz and syrup or skokijaan and sugar. It helps pass the time!




ERCURY Marine will celebrate its 80th anniversary throughout 2019, reflecting on its strong heritage of innovation and leadership in the marine industry. On January 22, 1939, E. Carl Kiekhaefer purchased a bankrupt engine manufacturing plant in Cedarburg,Wisconsin. Now, 80 years later, the business that emerged from those modest beginnings, Mercury Marine, is a company with 7 000 global employees and is heralded as the world’s leading manufacturer of marine propulsion systems, marine parts and accessories. “Eighty years ago, Carl Kiekhaefer had a vision for Mercury and that was based around product innovation and technology and it’s that vision that built the foundation for us to continue to innovate today,” said John Pfeifer, Mercury Marine president. “Mercury has come a long way over the past eight decades because of the hard work and dedication of everyone who has been a part of our journey. We are looking forward to continued growth over the next 80 years and celebrating throughout 2019 with everyone who has made our success possible.” Mercur y, a division of Brunswick Corporation, has invested more than $1-billion globally since 2008 in the expansion of research, development and manufacturing capabilities. In 2018, Mercury successfully launched its largest engine platform in its 80-year history with 19 new V6 and V8 four-stroke outboard engines covering the 175-300hp range. “We have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to celebrate,” said Pfeifer. “I’m looking forward to sharing those celebrations around the world. 2019 will be yet another exciting year with more innovations to introduce.”



OWRANCE, a world-leader in fishing electronics since 1957 recently announced the release of a new, innovative pulse compression radar, HALO24, which combines the performance and reliability of Lowrance’s award-winning radars with the advantages of a new profile and lightweight design. Boasting 60 rpm high-speed rotation at distances up to 2 nautical miles — an industry first — the Lowrance HALO24 dome radar allows for increased safety and improved performance. The extremely fast refresh rate is excellent for high-speed and short-range tracking. Offering high-quality short-, mid-, and long-range detection capability, up to 48 nautical miles, HALO24 is designed to process multiple ranges simultaneously for advanced, instantaneous Dual Range performance. The radar features integrated VelocityTrack Doppler technology that provides instant visual feedback on the motion of radar targets in relation to the boat, colour-coding approaching vessels for high visibility, while de-emphasising diverging targets. HALO24 includes MARPA functionality, increasing situational awareness and decreasing the risk of collision. “The HALO24 dome radar was designed with the latest innovations in radar technology,” said Leif Ottosson, CEO, Navico Group. “With the HALO24 anglers will get unmatched radar speeds, an easy user experience with multiple viewing modes, and an advanced feeling of safety with all potential hazards visible on screen.” The lightest 24-inch pulse compression

radar dome on the market, the low-profile HALO dome offers different power-level options, ensuring high-speed radar coverage when and where it’s needed. In a matter of seconds, the radar will boot from low-power standby to full functionality in any mode — harbour, weather and bird. Incredibly easy to use, the radar will optimize up to 18 different parameters for each pre-defined mode. The Lowrance HALO24 pulse compression dome radar is priced at R 53 000 incl. 15% VAT and is available from LOWRANCE SA and their authorised dealers. An Ethernet-connected Lowrance multifunction display, such as the Lowrance HDS Live, is required for operation. For more information about HALO24, 4G radar and 3G radar as well as other Lowrance marine electronics, visit or contact your nearest Lowrance dealer or Lowrance SA on (031) 368-6649.



ALTIST star drag conventional reels are strong yet compact and light. The three reels in the series will hold line classes from 14- to 50-pound test mono and are strong enough for braid sizes up to 100 lb. The drag system can apply as much as 10kg of pressure to the spool. Constructed from machined aluminium, anodised for maximum corrosion resistance, these reels are sturdy and durable yet high performing.The true free spool of this star drag system allows for longer casts under a variety of conditions and uninhibited spool pay out which is ideally suited for fishing livebait. The 6.4:1 gear ratio is fast enough for jigging yet powerful enough to put big fish on the deck. This new range of Daiwa Saltist multiplying reels is now available at most leading fishing tackle stores countrywide, and at The Kingfisher in Durban. Phone them on (031) 368 3903 and check out for more info. Don’t forget to check out the new Kingfisher fishing channel on YouTube — <> which has great product reviews, tutorials and new episodes of fishing being uploaded all the time.



ILD Gaffs have been producing bamboo gaffs for recreational and commercial use since 1975 and these robust tools have stood the test of time. The

most difficult part of making them is sourcing the correct variety of bamboo, but the producers have access to straight, thick-walled bamboo which is not too heavy, and the flexibility is perfect for gaffing fish. These simple, functional, inexpensive gaffs connect better with fish than most gaffs do. The handle of the gaff is made from sofala bamboo, while the hooks are tinned J-hooks (10/0 and 14/0) with the barbs ground off. The hooks are fixed to the bamboo by means of a machine screw and are bound with a 2mm polyester thread, finished off with a liberal seal of epidermix 372. The gaffs are available in various lengths from 70cm to 2m. They are available direct from the producers in Lydenburg and at selected tackle dealers. For further details contact Hilton or Mush Nichols on 079 969 4166 or 073 259 5630 or email <>.



EA Rescue are the first people we call when we are out on the water and in need of help. They rescue anyone at any time — at no charge — and recently launched two other really useful services, both of which are free. BravoBravo, Online Learning: Developed by the technology team which developed GETSMARTER, this is online learning at its best. Easy to follow from your computer, tablet or phone, the material is in bite size modules that you can complete in your own time and at your own pace. The design is very professional and there’s lots of information, but it’s not overwhelming. The first course available is their Skippers Guide for small vessels which is ideal preparation for the SAMSA skippers exam. Take a closer look at RSA SafeTrx: A free app, used internationally and customised for South Africa, RSA SafeTrx is available to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. You load details of your vessel, the people on board, your planned route and your ETA as well as your emergency contact details (i.e. spouse / person at home). Then, if you are late or if you press the panic button thte NSRI is alerted and they are sent to your position. False alarms do happen, so while they are preparing to launch, a controller will call you and your emergency contact to verify if it was a mistake. No one minds the mistakes as they are a good opportunity to test the system. Download it and try it out. As NSRI says, it takes the “search” out of search and rescue.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2019 • 71


AD INDEX Advanced Skippers’Training ............46 Adventure Tropicale.........................28 Anglers Apparel................................60 Bazaruto Encounters........................12 Billfish 15 000 sponsors thanks .......21



AN you identify the doomed “snoek look”? Study this book and soon you’ll be a pro. “THIS is an unusual book,” says the author, Robin Emsley, and he’s not lying. Robin first encountered snoek at close quarters when he bought a beach house near St Helena Bay. “This strange but beautiful creature fascinated me and I determined to learn more about it.This led to my discovery of the snoek people, that is the people who catch the snoek, who are equally interesting.” The book started out as a collection of photographs taken at St Helena Bay harbour during the annual snoek runs, but Robin, a professor of psychiatry at Stellenbosh Universtiy, soon figured out that text would enhance the book a great deal. He has a quirky sense of humour and that comes through strongly in the book as he attempts to analyse and “diagnose” the snoek. “The book is about life,” says Robin. “It is about survival and the evolutionary adaptation that has brought us and other species to where we are today. It mixes science and fantasy, although the main thrust is philosophical. It considers a Great Injustice. “The thread running through the book is the conflict between our need to survive and the value we place on life, all sentient life, beyond just our own species. This is made explicit in the passage entitled ‘The soul of the snoek’. “The extraordinary facial features of the snoek lent themselves to a metaphorical exploration of the mechanisms of adaptation, and prompted consideration of the cognitive and emotional capacity of other animals. However, there is no specific agenda, and I leave readers to draw their own conclusions. “There is material here for the vegan, the pastafarian, but also for the snoek braaier. The book simply reflects the observations and contemplations of a well-travelled shrink.” Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to establishing a research fellowship tasked with improving the fishing and marketing of the snoek in ways that will benefit the West Coast snoek fishermen. The book is available directly from at a price of R325 which includes registered post within South Africa.

YELD CAT 21ft with 2 x 115hp 4stroke Yamaha engines (late 2012 model). Boat is in impeccable condition; kept in airconditioned garage. Includes galv. b/neck trailer with loads of extras like stainless steel chains and turn buckles, three brand new tyres and two Eveready batteries. Boat is fitted with two luna tubes (independent pumps), livewell, deckwash (fresh and saltwater), Lowrance 12-inch sonar/map combo unit with Lowrance sonic hub radio. Seaworthy 2019 Cat. B for 5 people. Viewing to be arranged in St Lucia, KZN. For more details serious buyers can contact th e owner. Price: R650 000 not negotiable Contact: Andre Delport on Whatsapp +97 155 9849 803 or on email <>.

Club Marine .......................................4 Durban Ski-Boat Club.......................40 Durban Yamaha ................................32 Garmin ............................................24 Lowrance ...........................................3 Maxel ...............................................66 McCrystal Insurance ........................27 MDM — Raymarine............................6 Mercury ...........................................76 Mr Winch .........................................31 Natal Caravans & Marine....................2

SODWANA LODGE FOR SALE Natal Power Boats............................63 26-BED lodge in Sodwana Bay for sale. Consists of a 12-sleeper house (300m2), an eight-sleeper house (200m2) and three two-sleeper units (32m2 each). All rooms have their own bathrooms and are air-conditioned. All units have fully equipped kitchens. This would be an ideal buy for two or more families of fishermen. Property includes two large boatsheds (17.5m long, 10m wide & 5.5m tall), a huge storeroom (100m2), office, laundry, borehole (pumping into tanks is fully automated with pressure pump), generator (105KVA 3-phase), 3-phase power, plus pool and entertainment area with braais. All of this set in a beautiful tropical garden. Total property size 2 700m2. Situated 5km from the beach with easy access to the tarred road. The sale includes all furniture, fittings, linen, towels, etc. Thirty year lease available which can be renewed for another 40 years. Reason for selling — owners wish to retire. Price: R6.5-million negotiable Contact: Brian on 082 776 3984.


Boat & Truck for sale........................52

Natal Power Boats ...........................75 Resolution ISP ..................................52 Richards Bay Ski-Boat Club ..............11 Seaport.............................................52 SGDSAA............................................60 Shelly Beach SB Club .......................48 Ski-Boat magazine partner ...............12 Solly’s Angler’s Corner .....................60 Supercat ...........................................66 Suzuki Marine ..................................22 The Kingfisher .................................12 Turboformance ................................66 Two Oceans Marine .........................37 Vanguard Insurance .........................64 Verstay .............................................66 Xtreme Charters ..............................44 Yamaha F70......................................18 Yamaha Seacat 510.............................5





S a fisher lady with Northern Natal colours, nogal, I think I’m qualified to speak from experience about men on boats who always think they know better and that their ways are best. One December hubby and his buddy, “The Greek”, decided we would head north of the border to a part of paradise to take part in “the best bonanza competition”. As the time drew near, I was given a whole list of what I should buy. “Not too much food, please, babes, or there won’t be enough space.” However, when it came to the booze I had to buy, I was assured that there would be more than enough space. Eventually the day of departure dawned and “babes” did everything the men wanted, including all the packing and making enough padkos for us. We set off at 4am, and by the time we got to the border, hubby decided I should see to the passports because, after all, he does the driving, and he says — ag shame! — that it is very hard work. At the second border post it was the same thing, but this time they wouldn’t stamp hubby’s passport; they wanted to see him in person. Moaning like a grunter with a rapala lip, he finally descended from his throne behind the wheel and stomped off to the men in charge. His not-sofriendly demeanour must have irritated them, because that’s when the officials decided they wanted to take a good look at our 4x4. Needless to say, that’s when the trouble really started. The border officials wanted to know how many cases of beer we were carrying. The Greek declared “only three”, but this official was too clever. He wanted to know how it could be possible that we were carrying “only three” when he could see cases stacked all round the back of the bakkie? They obviously know ski-boaters and their rcreational pursuits quite well ... When the Greek eventually confessed to having 15 cases of beer, the official took out his calculator, punched in a few numbers, and said, “That will be R900 import duty, thank you.” In the end, it cost our party just R300 (under the counter), by which stage I was wishing I could crawl under the nearest 74 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2019

Last word from the ladies bush and hide my red face. Finally we were on the road again. By one o’clock that afternoon, the men decided to find somewhere to sleep as they were very tired and, of course, extremely thirsty. The next morning at four we were off again, but we only reached our destination late that afternoon as we’d got stuck a couple of times. By that stage we were of course exhausted, but we still had to unpack and get the fridges started so that the beers could get cold. Yes, holidaying is a question of priorities! Last on the list was the food, and then “babes” still had to make supper, even though I’d been promised that we would eat out the first evening. On the Sunday morning we got busy checking our rods and tackle, and that evening we attended the briefing before getting an early night in anticipation of an early start. The Monday morning went well, and at the weigh-in we made it on to the board. On day two “babes” caught the biggest yellowfin tuna! Oops, too clever of me and the men were not very pleased — rapala lips again — but I must admit that they did what I asked and didn’t miss with the gaff. Then day three dawned, and that was our day ... Firstly, I caught a nice skipjack (jube-jube), then The Greek decided to rig it up and hubby went on a slow troll. After about 30 minutes,The Greek’s rod suddenly stopped ... then a short while later it started moving again. The Greek struck and started shouting “Sailie, sailie!” Hubby shouted that I should take the wheel — and then the instructions really started f lying. “Turn to starboard ... hard to port!” But what do I, a simple ski-boater’s wife, know about all this seafaring terminology — all I know is “left” and “right”. Amidst all the chaos, we somehow managed to radio the beach control for a witness boat, and when it arrived hubby and The Greek tried to tag the

fish. Eventually, after the third attempt, it was released. The excitement on the boat was unbelievable. The witness boat thought we had tagged and released plenty of sailfish before, but in fact it was the first ever T&R on our boat and the first sailfish The Greek had ever caught! Day four was not as great. In fact, it was my worst nightmare. We tried slow trolling, we tried fast trolling, we tried rapalas, we tried feathers, we tried sards — all with no success. At roll-call over the radio, it seemed that everyone was catching fish except us. Naturally, this challenged the men’s ego and they decided we had to do something to rescue the situation. “Babes, why don’t we try drifting?” hubby suggested, to which I agreed (of course), and hubby and The Greek decided to put out three rods each. I stayed with my single rod (as usual). After a while, The Greek shouted again: “This is a big one! Out with the rods!” So I reeled in my rod, took the wheel (again) as I was instructed, and then came the next order:“Take out the other rods as well.” What was I supposed to do? Mine was already out and I was at the wheel. Next thing, hubby had a rod in his hand with a rapala swinging from the end of it, and he was shouting that they were going to lose the big one. He shoved the rod with the swinging rapala into my hand and turned back to the business of landing the fish. So there I was, standing with the rod in one hand and trying to steer the boat with the other. All it took was a slight swell and the rapala swung a little bit more enthusiastically than it had been doing — and ended up hooked in my nose! We all know about “rapala lip”, but “rapala nose”? Trust me, it’s infinitely more painful! What was my sensitive husband’s reaction? “Are you stupid or what?” By that stage I was, understandably, very upset and in tears. I ripped the hook out of my nose (which was bleeding profusely) and decided then and there not to fish anymore. It was my turn for rapala lip. Nothing like a pout or two to get a reaction from hubby, and in light of my contribution to the catch in our hatch on the previous days, he thought it wise to apologise and I reviewed my decision and started fishing again. In the end, after all the drama, we came fifth overall and bagged some lovely prizes. all was not lost after all. Yes, this was indeed a trip of rapala lips, wasn’t it? During our venture north of the border, I can now justifiably confirm that it’s definitely not a ladies-only affliction, although I can’t truthfully say the same about “rapala nose”, can I?




Cobra Cat 525 Centre Console 2 x 90hp Suzuki motors, on galvanised breakneck trailer. R485 000

Raptor 660 Centre Console 2 x 90hp Suzuki motors, on galvanised breakneck trailer. R645 000

Seacat 16ft Forward Console 2 x 60hp Yamaha trim motors. R229 000

Cobra Cat 630 2 x 135hp Mercury Optimax motors, on galvanised double axle breakneck trailer. R489 000

Gamefish 510 2 x 60hp Mercury 4-stroke motors. R289 000

Cobra Cat 525 2 x 90hp Mercury motors. R189 000

Cobra Cat 630 2 x 140hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors. From R650 000

Cobra Cat 800 2 x 150hp Mariner motors, no trailer. R595 000

Explorer 19ft Cabin Wetdeck 2 x 90hp Yamaha trim and tilt motors, on galvanised breakneck trailer. R289 000

Citation 700 2 x 140hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors, on galvanised breakneck trailer. R695 000

Seacat 565 2 x 115hp Yamaha 4-stroke motors, R330 000

Gamefish 170 2 x 50hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors. R235 000

Butt Cat 28ft 2 x 115hp Suzuki motors, no trailer. R250 000

Unique 540 Mono Hull 2 x 50hp Honda motors, on galvanised breakneck trailer. R135 000

Swift 190 2 x 50hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors. R289 000

Yeld Cat 16ft 2 x 60hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors. R420 000

Citation 700 2 x 140hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors. R750 000

Seacat 16ft 2 x 60hp Yamaha trim & tilt motors, beaching kits, on galvanised breakneck trailer. R229 000

Cobra Cat 630 2 x 140hp Suzuki motors, on trailer. R350 000

Cobra Cat 900 2 x 275hp Mercury Verado motors. R849 000

Swift 165 mono hull 2 x 70hp Yamaha trim & tilt motors, spare wheel, Garmin 160, on galvanised trailer. R189 000

King Cat 180 2 x 100hp 2018 Suzuki 4-stroke motors (only 10 hours), on galvanised b/neck trailer. R495 000

Supreme Cat 530 2 x 90hp Evinrude motors, on trailer. R229 000


Cobra Cat 630 Centre Console 2 x 140hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors. R489 000

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