May/June 2019 Volume 35 Number 3 COVER: STRIKE A POSE! Jacques Loots with a feisty sailfish he caught off Sodwana Bay.
The World on our Doorstep 2019 FIPS-M Trolling Championship — by Erwin Bursik
The Art of Anchoring Part 1: Dropping the pick — by Anton Gets
Anglers contribute R26.4-billion to GDP SA survey reveals true size of recreational fishing market — John Pledger
Part 3: Back to basics the Arniston way — by Johan Smal
Geelbek on the Menu Tasty meal options — by Gary Thompson
Tracking Shorty Shortbill spearfish behaviour and implications for anglers — by Martin Arostegui
Happiness Is ... When a boat rebuild works out better than expected — by Rob Naysmith
Treasure on the Shore Beachcombing in South Africa book review — by Sheena Carnie
Fulfilling a Dream Fishing the Andaman Islands — by Hannes Vorster
North We Go! Adventures of the first fishing tourists back in Moz — by Clive Olivier
DEPARTMENTS 8 9 42 55 63
Editorial — by Erwin Bursik Letters SADSAA News & Views Subscribe and WIN! Mercury Junior Anglers
46 64 80 80 81 82
Reel Kids Smalls Ad Index Business Classifieds & Directory Rapala Lip — Last Word from the Ladies
The official magazine of the South African Deep Sea Angling Association
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Publisher: Erwin Bursik Editor: Sheena Carnie Advertising Executive: Mark Wilson Editorial Assistant: Vahini Pillay Boat Tests: Heinrich Kleyn Contributors: Martin Arostegui, Erwin Bursik, Anton Gets, Rob Naysmith, Clive Olivier, John Pledger, Johan Smal, Gary Thompson and Johannes Vorster 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com • Through www.anglerpublications.co.za, or E-zine through <www.issuu.com> 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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PASSING THE BATON
HERE comes a time in every sphere of life when a change is necessary. In my personal case, after forty years of involvement in offshore angling administration, I felt the need to “pass the baton” to younger, more energetic individuals who can run with it. Our sport’s controlling body — SADSAA — is in fine fettle and on a smooth road into the future following a number of years of negotiating a few rocky roads. As a result I was able to “retire” from my position as Treasurer with a clear conscience knowing it is financially and administratively very sound. Those of us who champion SADSAA are often asked “What does SADSAA do for us?” Erwin Bursik To answer this all-encompassing question one Publisher needs to accept that man has the inherent desire to form bonds with like-minded folk, especially when it comes to sport. Virtually every sport has this magnetic pull, hence the number of clubs that form when likeminded participants get together. Within offshore angling this has been the case ever since we first developed boats from which anglers could target the fish species off the South African coast. With the combination of boats and the popularity of angling, strong associations and clubs formed from as early as the 1940s, after the second world war, and spread rapidly all along the coast. South Africans have an inherent desire for competition, and it was not long before this competitive spirit extended beyond the clubs to inter-clubs, interprovincials and ultimately national and international tournaments. On the back of this competitive driving force, together with the need to ensure the safety of the craft and anglers going to sea, it was necessary for there to be some form of control in the sport. As a result provincial and national associations came into being. South African Ski-Boat Angling Association (SASBAA) was the original national organisation, and in 1987 it morphed into the South African Deep Sea Angling Association (SADSAA) we know today. SADSAA and its supporting provincial associations are all manned by volunteers whose sole objective is the promotion of the sport of offshore angling. Among other things, they create platforms for aspirant competitive anglers to fulfil their ambitions in this aspect of our sport. The purely social anglers may not be interested in competing for national colours, but they all need to be able to launch their craft, want to have access to fish, and want to be able to join in the camaraderie with other like-minded anglers. SADSAA facilitates all of this. The current and previous committees of the last few decades have worked relentlessly to coordinate and promote the sport, and also work extensively behind the scenes to ensure that anglers have adequate fish stock to target and are governed by reasonable regulations and laws pertaining to the use of craft putting to sea. Whether it’s craft safety, marine conservation, tournament co-ordination, catch records, negotiation with government organisations or sport development, SADSAA’s dedicated officials work tirelessly to ensure that SA’s recreational offshore anglers can enjoy their sport in the best possible circumstances. That is what SADSAA does for you. Till the next tide.
RETRACTION: IS YOUR SKIPPER’S TICKET LEGAL? IN the January/February 2019 issue of SKI-BOAT we carried an article explaining to readers which of the old skippers’ tickets were legal and which needed to be updated. This article was based on credible information we received, but the letter below from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) highlights some errors in that article. In terms of Clause 10.9 of Marine Notice 13 of 2011, these old licences are still valid and will
remain so until such time as this status is changed through a revised Marine Notice. We therefore retract the statement that the old skippers’ certificates are not legal and apologise to readers for any inconvenience this caused. There is, however, no doubt that in time these COCs will become obsolete and it may be prudent to update your skipper’s ticket sooner rather than later to avoid the rush when it is legislated. — Editor
FUN AT THE INTERCLUB COMP Dear Editor I would like to share the amazing fishing experience I had from 18 March to 22 March. I’m a 27-year-old female, and most of my friends spend their holidays on the beach or just at home, but for me a good fishing trip is all I need. Wahoo Ski-Boat Club hosted the Interclub competition at Sodwana Bay in mid-March and everyone who participated worked hard and really made the best of each moment. It was very special to be a part of this. Attached, please find some of the photos which I managed to take during the busy week of fishing at Sodwana. MONIKA DU PLESSIS SKI-BOAT May/June 2019 • 9
The South African Protea Team comprising of Mike Riley, Colin Barris and Henk Du Plessis.
The South African SADSAA Team comprising of Clinton Good, Jan Kapp and Sam Botha.
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By Erwin Bursik
ID-FEBRUARY 2019 saw a number of wide-eyed foreigners standing on the beach at Sodwana Bay watching ski-boats crash through the waves as they launched out into the deep. This was the start of the 2019 FIPS-M Big Game Trolling Championship. Although a number of international FIPS-M events have been held in South Africa in the past, this was the first time we had been awarded the World Angling Games. This all-encompassing event includes all the facets of angling in South Africa. It fell to the South African Sport Anglers’ Casting Confederation (SASACC) to mastermind the whole event, but it was each facet’s responsibility to physically run its own tournament. SADSAA chose Sodwana Bay to host the 2019 FIPS-M Big Game Trolling Championship.
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In January 2008 a fleet of 25 large offshore fishing crafts churned up the waters of Richards Bay in a mass start at the 2008 World Cup FIPS-M Trolling Championship. This year 25 teams all successfully negotiated the Sodwana surf and stood by off Jesser Point awaiting the mass start. Tournament director Dick Pratt counted down the start over the radio and sent the fleet, motors roaring, off to their chosen fishing areas of this prime South African deep sea sportfishing destination. The 25 teams came from wildly diverse countries — Italy, Mexico, Slovenia, Switzerland, Swaziland, France, Spain, Angola, Austria, Croatia, Egypt, England, Germany, Gibraltar and South Africa, and during the parading of their countries’ colours at the opening ceremony the exuberance of all the teams participating was palpable. The format for this year was that each team drew a boat that would host them for the first practice day and the first official competition day. Each team then had a different boat for the remaining two days. In terms of the FIPS-M rules only these three days would count and all anglers had to use only a single nonstainless steel hook on an artificial lure. In addition, only three rods were permitted on the boat and all catches had to be released after being measured and photographed alongside the craft. The maximum line class permitted was 34kg.
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First place went to Pablo Garcia, Jose Garcia Vicens and Pedro Cifre of Team Spain 2.
Second place went to Bob McKee, Nick Teal and Jack Challis of Team England 2.
Third place went to Joaquin Escamilla, Rubin Simon and Jesus Tellechea of Team Mexico 2. 18 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
In theory it should have been an easy task, but as the teams all experienced, it’s not really that easy in practice when you have to account for frisky fish and boat movement while trying to control the measuring stick, photograph the catch and ensure the specific colour bands worn by all aboard were visible in catch-validating photographs and videos. Sodwana Bay is notorious for its unpredictable weather, so allowance was made for a weather day during the three formal competition days. Thankfully the weather gods smiled on us and we didn’t have to use that option. With a full five days of fishable weather the weather committee decided to call off the Thursday to give the teams a day off after three days of hard fishing, and also to make the most of the Friday which was predicted to produce ideal conditions. However, whilst Sodwana did produce extremely fishable, good boating conditions, it did not favour the anglers with its usual abundance of fish. The fishing was extremely hard. Despite both anglers and skippers trying their very best, the final tally of just ten marlin releases together with a limited number of small gamefish meant that many teams did not get onto the leader board during this competition. Compare this to the 2008 World Cup fished out of Richards Bay where 19 billfish, ten big tuna and multiple gamefish were caught. As the saying goes, our sport is called “fishing”, not “catching”! Disappointing as that aspect was, all the teams experienced the excitement of the surf launch and beaching, the untainted vistas of this natural coastline and the novelty of being accommodated and hosted in this largely untamed area of northern KwaZulu-Natal. All the functions and festivities were hosted in a huge marquee that had been decorated superbly to mark the importance of this international event and to ensure all visiting teams, skippers, crew and organisers were able to socialise during breakfast and each evening when dinner was served. At the final closing function the thunderous applause for the three top teams was overwhelming, and when those anglers reached the podium to receive their gold, silver and bronze medals along with a magnificent trophy, their joy was clear for all to see. In the end Spain 2 took top honours, followed incredibly closely by England 2 and Mexico 2. South Africa’s Protea team ended in fifth position. SADSAA president Phillip Marx, tournament director Dick Pratt and all those from club, provincial and national level who helped can be extremely proud of the immense contribution they made to ensure this event was such a resounding success.
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BACK TO BASICS
THE ART OF
ANCHORING Part 1: Dropping the pick
By Anton Gets
INE out of ten boats that turn over at sea do so because the skipper is not completely in control and is not checking the anchor rope position to ensure it’s lying in front of the boat and not under
the boat. Bearing in mind that I’m a practical skipper examiner, I implore you to take note of what’s discussed in this article — it is integral to your safety at sea. When at sea one must always be prepared for the unexpected. As an example, in recent times there was a skipper fishing in a competition at Sodwana Bay who lost both
motors (engines cut out) in a strong 28 knot north-easterly wind with all electronics including the radio rendered useless. The skipper used his head and decided to throw the anchor to hold the vessel back from entering the surf zone. However, although this seemed like a good idea, throwing the anchor is dangerous in this scenario. The skipper threw the anchor overboard but the rope itself was tangled up in the anchor hatch and he had a serious bunch up when he tried to let the rope out as the anchor was going down. The skipper tried to loosen the knots in the rope, but his hand got entangled in the bunch up when the anchor hit the sea bed while his hand was still entangled. He was pulled overboard, dragged under and caught up in the rope.
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Fortunately he only lost a finger and thumb in the accident, not his life. The crew swam to shore, with the boat ending up upside down in the surf. Both crew also had serious injuries and ended up in hospital late that night. All of this could have been avoided if proper care had been taken in maintaining all the safety equipment. Make sure that your safety equipment is all operational so that, when you
really need it, it works. In this case it was the anchor and rope set up that was incorrect. Whatever you do, do not fold the anchor rope into a roll like you do with a ski rope, because it twists and picks up loops that cause it to bunch up. In that way it’s similar to your garden hose or electrical extension leads that do exactly that when you want to stretch them a distance. Remember that any knot in the rope reduces its strength by 50%. Rather simply drop the rope into the anchor hatch so that it will come out the way you put it in. Tie the loose end of the anchor rope on to your anchor bollard and run the full length of rope away from the boat in a long line. Then, from the bollard, you pull and drop the rope into the anchor hatch as it comes so that you can have it on your deck or place it where you want it. Sometimes we use a milk crate as a rope container. This way, when you let down your anchor the rope will automatically unfold out of the hatch or crate without it snagging. The anchor will descend slowly and you have control of it, ensuring that it is going out in front of the boat diagonal to the vessel. “Throwing” the pick or anchor is the last thing you want to do. Also remember that the folding or Danford anchor that was used to pass your vessel COF is for safety and not for fishing. It remains on the boat as an integral part of your safety equipment. If you are going to anchor on reefs for the purpose of fishing then you must have a separate reef anchor and a spare rope. Let’s dive into the detail ...
“T Grapple anchor
22 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
HROW the pick,” shouts the skipper with his eyes glued to the fishfinder. “Throw the bloody pick!” Not a sound is heard; the distinctive rattle of chain over the gunnel is absent. With smoke pouring out of the skipper’s ears and his red, scowling face turning purple, he drags his eyes from the huge plume of fish visible on the sounder over the fast disappearing pinnacle he can see on the screen. Words turn the air blue and curses only old sea-salts would understand are totally lost on the new crew who were experiencing deep sea fishing for the first time. Cowering in the transom area, wide-eyed and speechless, they focus on this raging monster — their skipper. “What’s a pick? What would we do with a pick and why or where would a pick be kept on the boat?” they ask, bewildered. Sound familiar? Been there done that? I bet you have — either as a skipper or a crew member. And you know what? Anchoring is one of the most dangerous aspects of ski-boat-
ing. Despite this, very little attention is given to doing it properly and safely. Anchoring at sea is not just “throwing the pick” — there is far more one should know about how, when and where to drop an anchor. Thereafter the retrieving of the anchor is the most difficult and dangerous aspect of the procedure and we will cover that in the July issue of SKI-BOAT. In this article I will detail the most commonly used anchors, how to rig them and how they should be deployed.
SHORT CHAIN: Anchor tends not to hook, and bounces along the bottom.
ANCHOR ROPE Before we get to discussing the anchor, we need to take a look at another very important aspect — using the correct rope. The correct anchor rope to use is 10-20mm nylon, polyethylene or similar with as little stretch as possible, ±1 000kg breaking strain or more. The ski-rope that is often used is adequate for shallow water, but stretches and carries air within its twines. This stretch makes it difficult to retrieve in deep water, particularly in strong current situations, and can be dangerous. The air in the twine causes the anchor to lift, and hence you will have difficulty staying in one spot. TYPES OF ANCHORS Sand anchor: Ideal for anchoring on sand, particularly when you have engine failure and are drifting towards the breaker line or if you want to fish a small wreck and want to avoid losing your anchor in the rigging. The sand anchor also allows you to anchor ahead of a particular spot where there is no reef structure. However, it is not advisable to use it for anchoring on a reef or metal structure. It has the advantage of folding away for easy storage. Grapple anchor: Ideal for anchoring on reefs. One should use an anchor with four tines, between 10- and 15mm thick, depending on the size of the craft. Tines with a diameter of 10mm are normally sufficient for a craft of approximately 5m, and 12-15mm for a craft over 6m in length. The shaft of this kind of anchor is usually 35- to 40mm in diameter, and round or square in cross section. It should be 250- to 400mm in length. An anchor with a 35mm shaft, which is 250mm long and has four 10mm tines will weigh approximately 6kg and an anchor 400mm long with a shaft of 40mm and four 15mm tines will weigh about 10kg. GETTING INTO POSITION Anchoring effectively, be it on sand or rock, is vitally important. Ideally, one wants to anchor in the right place the first time the anchor is dropped. Believe it or not, the chain between the anchor and rope is what makes your anchor
hold — it is not just a precaution to stop the anchor rope chaffing on undersea rock ledges. The anchor chain should have an overall length of at least ten metres, with the first two metres being of 8mm short link heavy chain and the remaining length of lighter 6mm chain. THE ART OF ANCHORING While it is the skipper’s responsibility to locate the correct spot to anchor and where exactly to drop the anchor, it is also his responsibility to ensure his crew are totally au fait with all the practical aspects of dropping anchor. The colloquial term “throw the pick” is wrong. An anchor is never thrown — it is lowered until the anchor is suspended from the craft’s side by the full length of the chain. Once the rope is in the hands of the crew member he can release it and let the combined weight of the anchor and chain, aided by the drift of the boat, descend to the bottom without the anchor entangling itself in the chain. If the anchor and chain are merely tossed overboard they are highly likely to tangle, and a tangled anchor will never hold. LONG CHAIN: There is a far greater chance of hooking on to the bottom structure which is what you need.
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These diagrams depict the positioning of the anchor, the protection the chain provides against the rope chaffing on the reef, as well as the placement of the marker buoy and the position of the boat after tacking. When anchoring remember to ensure that the full length of rope not only uncoils evenly, but that it is also situated so that it doesnâ€™t snag rods, reels or even crew membersâ€™ limbs. The anchor rope whips out extremely quickly, so beware! A soft rope also tends to snag or knot far more easily than the stiffer harder rope mentioned earlier. The skipper must locate his reef then ascertain the position of fish in relation to the pinnacle before he considers anchoring. The whole reason he is anchoring is to ensure that the craft is positioned in such a place that, when the effects of the current are taken into account, the anglers are able to drop lines into the area where the fish are congregating. To achieve this, he has to consider the wind direction, the current flow and strength, the depth of the water and the structure or sand in which he intends getting his anchor to hold. To complicate this equation, he may be steaming into the current and/or wind and therefore has to judge the distance from the reef that he will have to set the anchor while the craft drifts back towards the reef and the fish he has 24 â€˘ SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
detected on the sounder. This is without a doubt the most difficult aspect of bottomfishing. It takes years of practice and experience. Getting on top of fish is essential; ending up 10- or 20 metres off the fish is useless and the anchoring procedure will have to be repeated. Many skippers use a marker buoy to indicate the position of the fish. This buoy is usually a light float attached to thinnish nylon or old spider line and a few heavy sinkers, which is dropped on the reef near the fish. Once it has positioned itself the skipper can then more accurately determine the exact position of the fish in relation to the settled marker buoy. This information will give him a better idea of where to end up after dropping anchor. Depending on the strength of the current and wind, one can adjust the position of the boat in relation to the reef or fish by tacking. To tack, the anchor rope is cleated off to either port or starboard of the front bow anchor roller.
ANGLERS ADD R26.4BN TO GDP SA Survey reveals true size of recreational fishing market By John Pledger
HE true worth of recreational fishing to the South African economy has been laid bare in the most comprehensive survey of its kind in South Africa. The survey was commissioned by the South African Consolidated Recreational Angling Association (SACRAA), thanks to a R1.3-million loan from the South African Fishing and Tackle Agents and Distributors (SAFTAD). The results show that there are approximately 1 327 633 anglers in the country and they make an indirect contribution of R26.4-billion (EUR1.6-billion/US$1.8-billion) to the South African Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The industry itself supports 94 000 employees. The contribution made by the industr y in terms of GDP and the employment opportunities it represents are the headline numbers. Although it did not completely break down sales of different items of tackle, the survey did flag up expenditure on fishing gear, terminal tackle, clothing, locally harvested bait and frozen bait that is commercially sourced. South African anglers spend an estimated R1.97-billion (US$138-million) on bait; R4.37-billion (US$307-million) on fishing tackle; and R687-million (US$48-million) on apparel. That is approximately R7-billion (US$500-million) which is 37% of the total spend on fishing activities. When compared to the import statistics from the Department of Trade and Industry. it appears that the bulk of fishing tackle is manufactured locally, because in 2017 the value of imported goods (rods, reels, hooks, lures and accessories) was R210-million. Similar to most regions across the world, participation by the younger generation was eclipsed by older
26 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
Approximate age spread of South African recreational anglers.
Types of fishing trips undertaken in the last 12 months. groups. Angling is most popular among those aged 40-49 years (30%) and 50-59 years (21%) compared to 1% and 11% for those aged 10-19 and 20-29 years. The fishing tackle industry has welcomed the survey as being “good for the trade”. There have been many conflicting reports on the size of the market and who has what share. These survey results bring it into true perspective to a lot of individuals on the outside who think that the fishing tackle business is a thriving, money-making operation when it is in fact a highly competitive business. From an industry viewpoint it is a chance for companies to study their position in the market and to estimate volumes being achieved by competitors. It will also be instrumental in obtaining tournament sponsors as they can now see how many anglers are out there and the exposure they will receive in the event of sponsorship. The report also gives an insight into
participants in the sport. We were always under the impression that it was a middle- to upper class pastime. However, the survey highlights that there are many anglers int he lower income level who are fishing with rod and reel for the purpose of subsidising their protein diet or as a means of trading to earn money for the family group. It’s a wonderful document as far as highlighting the number of employment opportunities the sector offers. In the event of legislation being passed restricting angling opportunities, we now have irrefutable information to present to administrators which will be of particular interest to the government as job creation is very high on its political agenda. The government is also particularly hot on tourism and we are now able to substantiate that recreational fishing in this country is a great source of both international and domestic tourism. For further information on this survey visit <http://www.sacraa.co.za/projects/economic-survey>.
HANDLINING YELLOWTAIL Part 3: Back to basics the Arniston way
By Johan Smal
TILL somewhat dazed, I became aware of the annoying noise from the alarm clock rapidly growing louder. Momentarily despising the piece of technology that kickstarts our daily lives, I felt the onset of that typical euphoric feeling I’ve experienced so many times before. Suddenly wide awake with waves of adrenalin surging through me, I fully comprehended these now solidly ingrained early morning sensations — yellowtail fever! Originating from the Arniston harbour a couple of hundred metres away, short commands and exciting chatter, sporadically masked by short bursts of revving diesel engines, drifted through the bedroom window. Jumping out of bed and rushing through the usual morning routines, I reflected on the motive for my delight, simultaneously preparing myself for the exciting day which lay ahead. The last time I fished from a chukkie was way back in 1990, the very first time we came to Arniston. This time, almost 30 years on I would be joining Ou Grote’s crew handlining yellowtail the Arniston way! It was still pitch-dark when I arrived at the slip but the first boat had already been pushed into the surf and was disappearing into the dark beyond. Amidst excited chatter and morning greetings I passed my gear over Ou Grote’s gunnel for stowing by one of the crew members. With her engine’s test starting successfully completed, we rushed through the
Exhausted after a long day’s slogging out at sea, Edwin Agnew walks home carrying his oilskins, fishing gear and, most importantly, his fry for the day — a fresh yellowtail that did not get away.
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Ou Grote chasing yellowtail on the Vlakbank at Struisbaai with another Arniston boat, Mianie, in the background. Ou Grote’s regular six-man crew consist of skipper James Murtz (Lulu) sitting on the transom, Bennit Marthinus on the right, obscuring Edwin Agnew behind him, Rubin Marthinus (positioned in the middle) with Felix Hendley standing behind the oars. Andrew Europa was not present.
short prelaunch caucus. In the crisp morning air the poorly-muffled thumping sounds of the stoter’s (tractor) engine was pretty deafening. The tractor driver was busy pulling the individual boats backwards from their parking lots, spinning them around to face the ocean, and then cleverly executed some manoeuvres to position his pusher behind the chukkie for the final shove into the surf. The whole operation was amazingly slick and without incident. LAUNCHING OU GROTE When our turn came, sliding down the slip towards the water with some black smoke spewing from the pusher’s
exhaust, Ou Grote’s inboard 80hp Ford engine sprang into life the ver y moment her bow hit the oncoming surf. With throttles wide open and reaching full speed remarkably soon, we skimmed over the well-lit surf area into the tranquil dark waters behind. In preparation for the 90 minute ride to Skipskop bank, our target area for the day, the crew bedded down into their individually allotted “laaie” (fishing holds). Only the skipper, who happened to be the owner as well, remained in an upright position, standing behind the wheelhouse with the tiller arm lightly squeezed between his lower legs.
Seventy-two-year-old James Murtz (Lulu) has worked these waters for as long as he can remember. With his head neatly silhouetted against the starry expanse hanging above us, the illumination from the instrument displays and running lights created some eye-catching displays dancing all over his face. Appreciating his well-aged but serious expression I started humming, intuitively, Matt Redman’s song Ten Thousand: “And on that day when my strength is failing; the end draws near and my time has come; still my soul will sing Your praise unending; ten thousand years and then forevermore!”
Left: Locally called the “stoter” (pusher) this workhorse is an ordinary tractor fitted with “horings” (horns or arms) and is used to manoeuvre the chukkies around on the slip. This is the only mechanical means of propelling a chukkie down the slip into the surf deep enough for it to float and safely negotiate the oncoming surf. Very similar to the way some beach launches are done up north, the “horings” (horns) push onto the “horingplate” (horn plates) fitted at the back of the transom. 32 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
En-route to the banks some 90 minutes over the horizon, Lulu stands behind the wheelhouse with the tiller steering arm nipped between his legs.
Sometime later I noted that the long awaited dawn had brightened up the eastern sky sufficiently to unveil the details of a magnificent picture unfolding before our eyes. In front of us stretched the most spectacular panoramic view imaginable — windless shades of orange skies guarding over small lazy turquoise swells blending seamlessly into the calm shiny surface of the great Indian Ocean beyond. Bounded only on the portside by a green shoreline interspersed with snowy white sand dunes, it reminded me of a rainbow; beautiful colours intentionally chosen by Him. Deeply touched by the display, the excitement I felt at being able to fulfil my long awaited wish to fight feisty yellowtail from a chukkie with a handline was simply overwhelming. The upside of such a long boring voyage during night-time must be the idle time which gives one a chance to muse over all sorts of things. Still watching Lulu’s face, I became acutely aware of Ou Grote’s personality. It’s a living organism, I thought! Watching the white post-scrubber exhaust fumes swirling upwards from the ocean’s surface, I realised that the smell of a diesel fuel spill, exhaust fumes and fishing bait inter alia, are ver y typical of these boats. I also noticed that the rhythmic hull vibrations were neatly in-sync with an atypical blend of the large propeller cutting into the water and the audible sound of the fast rotating engine intermingled with f luctuating power demands needed to ascend and descend the swells. Whilst quietly enjoying these stim-
uli, I pondered over the origin of the term chukkie. Having learned that this style of boat was originally called a chug-chuggy, my unilateral decision to call them as such for the remainder of this exercise, was driven more by sincere sentiments than any other motivation. Fortified by the fact that I was actually travelling on-board the very first GRP chug-chuggy built in Arniston, the sudden rush of pride and honour catapulted my joyous feelings to new heights. With Ou Grote having been built during 1975 and the rest of the fleet only a few years later, they certainly have stood the test of time and served their masters well. However, after 40 years of service in harsh conditions, often enduring the worst Neptune could throw at them, they have become completely out-dated, badly worn-out and unreliable for the task at hand. With their hulls seriously fatigued and drive-trains failing — particularly those four-decade-old engines, they are in constant need of care just to stay seaworthy and afloat. Unofficially they have been branded as a safety hazard and due to the crews’ fear of getting stuck at sea if their boat breaks down, at least two boats need to go out to sea together. Glancing over the serene waters surrounding us, I recalled Meirion Williams (a retired and well-known Struisbaai fisherman) once saying, Cape Agulhas waters are not the place for unsound boats, inexperienced skippers or fainthearted crews, as water conditions change very rapidly. The place is legendary for its sudden weather changes
with gale-force winds whipping up the sea, generating massive, fast-moving swells exceeding ten metres. No wonder the area gained global reputation as the “Cape of Storms”. We have to remeber that the GRP chug-chuggy was a state of the art inshore fishing craft at the time it was first built. Furthermore, during their sea trials they were pedantically tested in hostile conditions, and the designs were enhanced and modifications done to improve general performances. One of the most important aspects was the flat bottom which was imperative for quick floating in shallow waters during launching and beaching, compared to the deep water mooring conditions offered in Struisbaai harbour. Their relatively short lengths and light weights again facilitate easier manoeuvrability on the slip, especially when manhandling is needed when the pusher breaks down. Although craft up to 50ft in length were manufactured in various locations around South Africa, only 20- and 25ft models were built and put to use in Arniston. They performed well and produced the goods. However, having reached the end of their productive shelf-lives they need to be withdrawn from service. Another major downside is that the pusher, an integral part of the safe launching procedure, is also susceptible to to very high levels of wear and tear and, if it’s not rigorously maintained, prone to long let-downs. When compared to the new generation powerboats which are able to travel much further distances and get their catch to the markets much faster, it’s SKI-BOAT May/June 2019 • 33
Ou Grote being pulled up the slip by a diesel-driven winch after beaching; she’s kept upright by the crew. Note the size of the steel wear-strip fitted to the keel. Although subjected to the standard safety regulations and associated paraphernalia, the chukkies also carry life-rings and oars, safety equipment that’s not so common anymore.
obvious there are some downsides to the chug-chuggies. Single engine displacement-type hulls are very slow and take about three times longer to get to the fishing grounds. They also constrain the crews’ ability to quickly move between different banks in search of fish; the crews’ days become much longer. Recreational fishers flocking to the Arniston and Struisbaai banks provide additional competition, especially over weekends and holiday seasons. The Arniston fishermen are therefore in desperate need of contemporary planing-hulled boats which provide enhanced reliability, faster speeds and the ability to be trailered and towed around to other fishing grounds as needed. Suddenly I got distracted by a large f lock of low-f lying gannets heading straight towards the Skipskop Bank; that is always a very good sign! However, the sudden bout of excitement quickly dissipated as the birds suddenly chose a different heading. Still staring at them, I reflected on my mission of delving into the history of the Kassiesbaai fishermen who have very successfully managed to survived the more than 200 year long uphill bat34 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
tle they’ve been combating ever since they started fishing there. Today they are in fact facing very unsure prospects. Aside from their hardware’s deficiencies and shortcomings, the added realities of desecrated marine resources and stricter legislation are certainly driving their livelihoods to a grinding halt. They’ve reached a serious impasse with a future more uncertain than any challenges faced before, but their wellhoned assiduousness, ingenuity and fighting spirit to stay afloat is still very much intact and vibrant. Maybe, just maybe, the Kassiesbaai fishermen might get out of their quandary, hopefully without fatal scarring. Some distance away from us on Ou Grote the first chug-chuggy had already reached the Skipskop Bank and was carefully probing the two most productive areas where yellowtail normally feed. With shiny spinners attached to handlines pulled behind the boats, now clearly visible in the early morning glow, I once again felt the excitement pushing into my throat. Suddenly an individual on the portside went vas, then another one. Desperate to be engaged myself and wishing that we were on one of those modern speed-
boats so that we coould get there without further delay, I had no option but to sit it out. By then Lulu, just as excited as I was, had pushed Ou Grote into overdrive. Clouds of smoke were billowing from the exhaust and, although very eager to respond, the old lady’s speed hardly increased despite the deafening sound of the tonking engine now running at full revs. Momentarily providing some consolation however, full marks and appreciation must go to this perfectly timed man/machine interface. Appreciating that we would soon be at the hotspot, some snippets on pre-colonial fishing practices flashed through my mind. PRE-COLONIAL FISHING RECORDS When Jan Van Riebeeck arrived at the Cape on 9 April 1652, his crew observed that the local Khoisan residents were expert anglers using hand held rods, nets and spears. Within a very short time they were supplying the Dutch with fish. Van Riebeeck also mentions “a troop of Caapmans that brought ten oxen laden with steenbrassems killed with assegais in False Bay.” We assume they’re talking about
When the going is particularly good with over 100 boats crunching down on Struisbaai harbour early morning, queuing for their fair share of the bounty, some commercial boats may return with more than three tons each bulging in their hulls. This photo was taken in February 2017. white steenbras. The journals in the beginning of 1653 indicated that besides fish, penguins and “duikers” (cormorants) were also harvested, salted and consumed. South Africa does not have any history of native boat-based harvesting of marine resources prior to the Dutch’s arrival, but since the 1600s an artisanal, boat-based small-scale fisher y has emerged along the Western seaboard. This development was shaped mainly by the influences of the Malay slaves brought to the Cape, the European sailors and the local Khoisan peoples who had extensive shore-based knowl-
An illustration of the care being taken with yellowtail catches en-route to the markets. After being offloaded from the boats, fish are weighed, properly washed and then covered in layers of flaked ice before being transported by road to the markets which are located mainly in the Cape Town area.
edge of the coastal waters. The first indications of fishing as an industry came in 1655 when dried and salted harders were found to be nutritious and were used on ships as provisions for sailors. In 1657 freemen were allowed to fish with hooks but not to sell their catches, since that would distract them from agriculture. However, this decree did not prevent them from drying and selling fish to passing ships. In May 1658 this practice was prohibited and they could only sell their surplus fish to the Dutch East Indian Company. In 1708 the demand for fish had escalated so much that slaves were
allowed to fish on Sundays and also sell their catches. With the start of British rule the export of dried and salted fish shrank but the freed Malay slaves still caught great quantities of fish. These were sold for low prices to slaves within an 80km radius of Table Bay. By 1795 all restrictions on fishing were lifted and by 1830 the statistical register indicated there were 40 boats and 200 men exclusively engaged in fishing and two boats and 12 men in whaling. (Information from Sea Fisheries of the Cape Colony by W. Wardlaw Thompson, published by Maskew Miller in 1913)
By the end of February 2019 yellowtail catches in the Agulhas area — for this season so far — were probably the worst experienced for some 20 years. Here the fleet was trying their luck on a typically lean day.
SKI-BOAT May/June 2019 • 35
36 â€¢ SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
Skipper Lulu Murtz and Andrew Europa patiently wait for the yellowtail shoal to show their shiny faces again. HANDLINING YELLOWTAIL THE ARNISTON WAY By the time Lulu slowed down and turned Ou Grote’s bow into the current only a short distance upstream from the pinnacle where the fish were feeding, a few boats were already fighting feisty yellowtail. Poised, standing against the gunnels, we were all more than ready to engage. Finger protection donned and hooks loaded with sandwiches of octopus leg and pike, we chucked the handlines into the dark cobalt-blue waters before Ou Grote reached the target spot. The fish had risen and were feeding voraciously on the surface; almost simultaneously most of us went vas, all with belligerent yellowtail. The boat’s momentum into the current, however,
immediately swept all the lines astern. The ensuing entanglements created chaos, especially with the hooked yellowtail running unconstrained in all directions. We had to take some time out to untangle the lines and regroup, unfortunately wasting some valuable fishing time in the process. Most of the hooked fish were successfully boated and, with Ou Grote now slowly drifting with the current, lines could be cast perpendicular to her beam. With some of us working the bow area and some the aft space, hooked fish could be constrained and properly fought within their individual fighting zones. Wet, shiny, wriggling yellowtail were flying over the gunnels for a while but suddenly, as quickly as they
came on the bite, the shoal sounded. All went quiet with none of the boats catching any fish. Sometime later a few fish were lifted into boats again, but the majority of the fish were gone. Leaving the lingering flotilla behind, various chug-chuggies withdrew to search for the shoal in the area around the pinnacle. when they didn’t find any promising signs, two boats then targeted another area some distance away but Ou Grote stayed put, patiently waiting for some action. The crew commenced baiting and dropping their second set of lines, the way they normally fish for yellowtail which are feeding erratically. I was carefully watching Edwin Agnew who silently stared at the shoreline some SKI-BOAT May/June 2019 • 37
The conspicuous grooves cut into the gunnels by heavy handlines are proof that countless large and belligerent fish have been lifted into this boat over the years. three miles away, one line dangling from his left hand while he worked the other line with his right hand in a jigging fashion. What an honour to be fishing with these legendary fishermen, I thought. I was glad that I’d had the unique experience of probing their full account and gained a much better understanding and appreciation of their livelihoods and pursuit for continued existence. I saw Edwin’s hand jerking as a fish unexpectedly wacked his bait. He jumped up and leaned into the gunnel, fully poised to answer the first call in a long time. I was still holding my line and hoping for some action when he slowly looked around and stared at me. No! “Nothing,” he said without even 38 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
uttering a single sound; his shaking head and the disappointed frown on his face said it all. Suddenly all hell broke loose. Lines were ripped taught with strikes neatly executed. Arms flew in all directions, in some cases two arms in very close proximity, some belonging to the same person, actually crossing. Caught slightly offguard, my line got ripped from my hands. As it snaked over the gunnel I managed to grab it, but before I could gain full control, it almost cut right through my finger guards. A quick glance at the rest of the crew confirmed that most, if not all lines were now bringing fish towards the boat in some way or another. The dispersed boats had noted the action and were
bearing down on us, their boats’ loud droning noises virtually completely muffled by our crew’s excited chatter. Soon this run also came to an end, with the renewed prospects of making a bumper catch tumbling into the abyss. The last hook-up for the day, however, was made by Andrew Europa. He hooked into a large yellowtail, and the way the heavy handline was stripped from his hands indicated that it was most probably one of those huge loners which habitually patrol the ocean floor. Skilfully applying his many years of hard-earned experience, Andrew managed to restrain the headlong run. With the wild fish making short dashes all over, vigorously shaking its head as it went, the fisherman had difficulty retrieving lost line. He then pressed the severely strained handline onto the gunnel, pulling it down onto the hull with both hands. The resultant friction between the wood and fishing line reduced the excessive load on the angler, allowing him some time to rest and regroup. The array of time-worn grooves cut into the top of Ou Grote’s gunnels served as ample proof that this clever strategy has been employed since the boat’s first outing, particularly when fighting large strong fish. Guarding against overstraining the line, whilst keeping pressure on the fish, Andrew was constantly strongarming it to swim upwards and towards the boat and, most importantly, the waiting gaff. While I was still admiring Andrew’s adeptness at working and playing the feisty fish, the green and gold colours of the quarry rose from the depths only a short distance from the boat. Only a short piece of 120kg nylon filament separated the well-seasoned yellowtail hand-liner from the estimated 15kg yellowtail specimen on the other end, visibly straining the line. The fish was tired, slowly swimming in a circle just out of reach of the gaff; very tense moments indeed! Suddenly it took off again and we had to turn our heads away to avoid the huge spray of cold seawater — flapped aboard by its huge, rapidly oscillating, powerful tail — thumping us solidly in the face. All taken by surprise, we watched Andrew absorbing the strain, then clearly heard that familiar, dreaded sound, only this time with the sinker smashing hard into the hull, confirmation that this huge fish was gone. “Hook pulled,” came the final, resigned verdict. Yellowtail — particularly those large specimens hooked in the shallow waters of the Agulhas theatre — are notorious for these generally unexpected last strong sprints, a desperate final attempt to free themselves. As we know so well by now, some you win and some you lose!
RECIPES By Gary Thompson
GEELBEK ON THE MENU G Tasty meal options
EELBEK must be one of the nicest and most versatile eating fish caught by recreational anglers and commercial fishermen all along our South African coastline. Smaller geelbek are great done on the coals and larger fish can be filleted, preferably with the skin off, and prepared in many ways without wasting an ounce of the fish other than the bones. If you are going to catch geelbek yourself, make sure you pinch the gills and bleed the fish properly as soon as possible after landing the fish. Geelbek tend to have lots of the brownish meat along the spine and skin, and bleeding the fish immediately after it’s caught reduces the amount of darker flesh. If you have the luxury of crushed ice on the boat, leave the fish lying in some crushed ice until you get back home. Do not use blocks of ice as this often bruises the flesh. Once you get back to shore gut and scale the fish as soon as possible at the rocks. Washing the fish in fresh sea water helps retain the flavour. It is then advisable to hang the fish in a shady spot (perhaps in a tree) with a slight breeze to dry it out nicely. Keep the fish in the fridge overnight to firm up the f lesh; this makes filleting it much easier and there’s less wastage. It’s a very versatile cooking fish, and here are a few of my favourite geelbek recipe ideas. PLAIN SALT AND PEPPER FRY The simplest and probably best way to eat fresh geelbek is just to fry a fillet, sprinkled with fish spice and a bit of salt and pepper, in shallow olive oil. Do not overcook the fish; far too many people make this mistake. Simply keep an eye on the side of the fillet and as soon as it turns white halfway up, turn the fillet over. Cook until the two white sides meet, remove, let it rest a bit and then enjoy. CHIVES AND PARSLEY FISH BAKE Using the top fillet, cut it into 3cm x 3cm blocks and follow this recipe:
Young Jay Rance takes home two beautiful geelbek for his family’s dinner. 40 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
White Sauce 3 cups milk 3 Tbs Maizena 1 Tbs butter Salt and pepper 1 2⁄ cup chives finely snipped 1 2⁄ cup parsley finely chopped Mix the butter and Maizena in a pot and bring the butter to melting point. Add the milk, salt and pepper and stir continuously until it comes to the boil, then add the chives and parsley and simmer for a few more minutes. Sprinkle some salt and white pep-
per over the fish blocks and steam the fish until just cooked. Pack layers of fish in an oven dish. Pour white sauce over the fish, cover with grated cheese and sprinkle with paprika, melted butter and bread crumbs. Bake for 15 minutes at 180°C. CURRIED FISH The bottom fillet can be cut into smallish 2cm x 2cm blocks for making curried fish. Start by preparing the curry sauce, then add the fish blocks to the simmering sauce for a few minutes until just cooked. Many people fry the fish and then add it to the curry sauce, but I find that the fish absorbs more of that delicious curry flavour if you don’t fry it first. Curry Sauce 2 Tbs chutney 2 Tbs apricot jam 2 Tbs mild curry powder 2 Tbs sugar 2 Tbs Maizena 1 Tsp salt 1 Tsp turmeric 1 2⁄ cup water 1 2⁄ cup white vinegar 3 onions, sliced Fry the onions in oil for a few minutes until they start to soften, then add curry powder and turmeric and cook for half a minute. Add chutney, jam, sugar, salt and Maizena with water and vinegar. Boil for two minutes and then add fish blocks and simmer until the fish is just done. Bottle and refrigerate for a week, then enjoy. FISH PATE Clip the fins off the wings and put the wings and the belly in a salt and brown
SASHIMI The top fillet is skinned and cut in a block approximately 7cm wide and 15cm long. This fillet piece is then left in the fridge till it starts firming up. I suggest that you dry away any liquid that may accumulate on the plate. For your sashimi, slice very thinly across the grain with a very sharp, thin bladed knife. Served with soya, wasabi and ginger, it is delicious. If you add a nice chilled glass of wine with a view of the sunset, the experience is simply sublime. sugar brine. The brine consists of enough water to just cover the fish in a dish with salt and brown sugar mixed in equal portions. Leave the wings and belly in the brine in the fridge for approximately a day. Remove from the fridge and place the wings and belly on a clean braai grid in the wind until they start to dry and a sticky layer forms on the surface. Place them in a smoker and smoke until done. Once they’re smoked, remove the skin and flake off
all the flesh from the wings and belly. Add the flesh to some mayonnaise, finely chopped onion, gherkin, black pepper and a dash or two of Tabasco. Mash finely together with a fork or a blender until it forms a smoothish pate. Enjoy on crackers or thinly sliced toast. Bag Limits Always keep in mind that the recreational bag limit is two per person and the minimum size is 60cm. Enjoy!
SOUP 2 bay leaves 1 onion 2 cloves garlic 1 pkt tomato soup 3 Tbs tomato sauce 1 stalk lemon grass Tabasco to taste Black pepper to taste Place the head, back bone and skin of the fish with the bay leaves and half of the chopped-up onion in a pot with water that just covers the contents. Boil for about an hour, stirring the pot occasionally to get the flesh to dislodge itself from the bones. Once you have a nice white fish stock brewing in the pot, remove from the heat and strain the stock into another pot. Cut up the other half of the onion very finely, chop up the garlic and fry in a little oil, then add the fish stock, tomato soup, tomato sauce, lemon grass and Tabasco to taste. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. If you have any fine fish off-cuts add this to the soup while it is simmering. SKI-BOAT May/June 2019 • 41
PRESIDENT’S REPORT Phillip Marx, SADSAA President
ITH the World Games over our lives finally seem to be returning to some normality! In my opinion the tournament was a great success and my thanks must go to our tournament committee, Mpumalanga DSAA and Dorado SBC. You all did an unbelievable amount of work towards making this tournament what it was.
Prior to the World Games I attended the capping ceremony of our teams for this tournament. NGDSAA did well in hosting this occasion at Imbelu SBC. South Africa was able to enter two teams with Mike Riley (Captain), Colin Barris and Henk du Plessis making up the Protea team and Clinton Good (Captain), Jan Kapp and Sam Botha representing SADSAA. Both teams did us proud, with our Protea team finishing joint third . In recent weeks I have attended the St Lucia SBC, Natal DSAA and Western Province DSAA prizegivings. All these functions were extremely well organised and of the highest stan-
dard. Of note was all the juniors who are so involved in our sport and how well they are all doing. We anticipate great things in the future from all the up and coming young anglers. It is with regret that I announce the retirement of our long standing SADSAA Treasurer, Erwin Bursik. Erwin was a founding member of SADSAA and has served this organisation unwaveringly for many years. We thank him for all his years of service and hope that he knows how much he will be missed. I thank all the portfolio holders for all the work and time they put in making sure SADSAA runs smoothly!
MEETING between our President, and iSimangaliso CEO, Sibusiso Bukosini, was held recently, and Mr Bukosini acknowledged the value of the recreational deep sea anglers within iSimangaliso. We also received a communique from iSimangaliso pleading for assistance to demonstrate that hosting angling competitions in MPAs would be able to fit in and assist with achieving the goals of the MPAs. This request came after almost three tons of fish were killed in a five-day fishing tournament, and this obviously makes it difficult for the authorities to promote competitions within MPAs. Our anglers should take serious heed of this aspect, and SADSAA, as the controlling body of Deep Sea Angling in South Africa, should be seen to promote conservation. SADSAA must thus caution entities who host competitions within iSimangaliso to think out of the box to minimise the number of fish brought to the scales. Of course one must also look at these catches in perspective, because the competition was fished over five days, with many boats and anglers participating. All these catches were also within the allowable legal limits. The plea for submission of full and accurate returns for catches within iSimangaliso should be endorsed. The communique repeated iSimangaliso’s Internal Park Rule 07/2011 which states: • IGFA rules to apply; • Only circle hooks may be used when fishing with bait for billfish;
• No stainless steel hooks are permitted; • No vertical jigging is allowed. Please see that you adhere to the above rules because fishing within the iSimangaliso MPA is a valuable asset for our recreational anglers. We again urge our members to only keep the amount of fish that is needed for their own consumption, rather than taking the maximum allowed. Whilst on the topic of MPAs, SADSAA frequently receives requests for the actual geographical areas of the new MPAs. For those not in the know, here’s a brief background: In October 2018 Cabinet approved a network of 20 new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and 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. SADSAA was recently 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. SADSAA cannot comment specifically on the MPAs, or their regulations, until they are gazetted. We hope that the comments made by SADSAA and our members will be incorporated into the final plans. Once the new MPAs are gazetted we will scrutinise their implications for recreational ski-boat fishing, and report back.
SADSAA CONTACTS: Email: <firstname.lastname@example.org> • Website: <www.sadsaa.co.za> 42 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
UR year is in full swing with a number of tournaments already having taken place, not the least of which was the FIPS-M World Angling Games, where SADSAA hosted the Big Game Trolling Championship from Sodwana. The details of this event are covered well elsewhere in this issue of the magazine so I will not elaborate further. Suffice it to say, well done to all involved, especially the skippers and crew who made themselves and their boats available. This was a tournament of the highest order and was appreciated by all the competitors from around the world. The All Coastal Interprovincial Bottomfish Tournament was successfully hosted by Eastern Province DSAA and the Port Elizabeth Deep Sea Angling Club. By all accounts it was an excellent competition and was very well attended by all but one of our coastal provinces. Congratulations to the organisers and the anglers. As I write, the All Inland Interprovincial is taking place and we wish the anglers well and look forward to reporting further on this tournament in the next issue. Notable tournaments that are just around the corner are the SADSAA Gamefish Nationals to be hosted from St Lucia SBC in April and the SADSAA Tuna Nationals to be hosted from The Atlantic Boat Club in Hout Bay in May. We look forward to some excellent catches and hope to bring some news of these events later in the year. On the international front we have teams representing South Africa in the 79th Annual International Light Tackle Tournament (ILTTA) to be held at Club Tepeyac de Pecaza, Cabo St Lucas, Mexico and the annual EFSA Bottomfish International to be held in Weymouth, England . These two teams are: ILTTA 79th International Light Tackle, Mexico, 2 - 8 June 2019 — 3-man Protea team: Dave Martin (Southern Gauteng, Captain), Fires van Vuuren (Mpumalanga) and Herman Dickinson (Mpumalanga).
EFSA Bottomfish International, Weymouth England, 9 13 September 2019 — 5-man Protea team: Martin Giertz (Eastern Province,Captain), Allen Ford (Border), John Luef (Border), Frans Beukes (Natal) and Wayne Gerber (Eastern Province). Meanwhile we have selected the following teams to fish for SADSAA in following Nationals. • Gamefish Nationals, St Lucia, Zululand 28 April - 3 May 2019; 3-man SADSAA team: Justin Paynter (Natal, Captain), Abed Khan (Natal) and Wessel Grimbeek (Southern Gauteng). • Gamefish Nationals, St Lucia, Zululand 28 April - 3 May 2019; 3-man SADSAA masters team: Dave Murgatroyd (Natal, Captain), Frank Sykes (Natal) and Brent Egling (Natal). • Gamefish Nationals, St Lucia, Zululand 28 April - 3 May 2019; 3-man SADSAA U19 team: Rorke Anderson (Natal, Captain), Barend Boshoff (Southern Cape) and Jan Haam du Plessis (Natal). • Junior Nationals, East London 24 - 29th June 2019; 3-man SADSAA U19 Blue team: Seth van den Berg (Natal, Captain), Josh Olivier (Border) and Graeme Burdett (Eastern Province). • Junior Nationals, East London 24 - 29th June 2019; 3-man SADSAA U19 White team: Barend Boshoff (Southern Cape, Captain), Rorke Anderson (Natal) and Gus De Bod (Gauteng). • Tuna Nationals Hout Bay, 6 - 11 May 2019; 3-man SADSAA masters team: Marius Coetzee (North West, Captain), Daniel Hughes (Western Province) and Nish Ibrahim (Western Province). On behalf of the President, Vice President and all your fellow anglers throughout South Africa, we offer you our heartiest congratulations and wish you tight lines.
E’VE had a huge response to the article published in the January 2019 issue of SKI-BOAT magazine on the validity of old skippers’ tickets. (See https://issuu.com/sheenacarnie/ docs/ski-boat_jan_2019/10) It seems at the moment all existing valid certification is still acceptable. On page 9 of this issue of SKI-BOAT there’s a letter from SAMSA clarifying the way things currently stand.
SADSAA’s Safety portfolio was recently audited by SAMSA and we have been given the green light to continue. We thank the ladies in our office in Durban, Kim and Zee, for all their hard work and dedication to sorting out every query that crosses their desks. The backlog of COCs and the new DSC VHF radio licences were also discussed and these topics are being addressed at the highest levels in SAMSA . We thank them for their assistance and hope this will be sorted out soon.
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 <email@example.com>. SKI-BOAT May/June 2019 • 43
Photo by Adrian Gray By Martin C. Arostegui IGFA Representative HE rarest of the world’s billfishes are the spearfishes; they are notoriously difficult to find and are often a surprise but highly prized catch in the recreational fishing community. Spearfishes are so infrequently captured and understudied that just a few years back scientists were still questioning the identity of “hatchet marlin”, a
46 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
species of spearfish originally described in the 1800s. Currently, there are four valid spearfish species — Mediterranean, roundscale, longbill, and shortbill. The first three occur in the Atlantic Ocean and associated seas, whereas the shortbill is the only spearfish in the Indo-Pacific. (See the article in the July 2016 issue of SKI-BOAT detailing Jonathan Booysen’s extremely rare catch of a longbill spearfish off KZN.) One of the main ways in which we study pelagic billfish is
Shortbill Spearfish Movement Behaviour and Thermal Niche: Implications for Recreational Angling Tactics with pop-up satellite archival transmitting (PSAT) tags; these get inserted into the dorsal side of fish and record high-resolution data on their movements and habitat use until they pop off and transmit that data to a satellite. While over 1000 PSAT tags have been deployed on sailfish, swordfish, and the various marlin species by researchers around the world, only nine tags have been deployed across the four spearfish species, highlighting how little we know about their behaviour. Recently my colleagues and I analysed data from the first
shortbill spearfishes ever outfitted with PSAT tags; these fish were tagged in Hawaiian waters as part of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Great Marlin Race (https://igfa.org/the-great-marlin-race/). With the help and support of recreational anglers and tournament organisers, the IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR) program has tagged over 350 billfish in 21 countries, including at the Columbia Billfish Classic hosted by the South African Deep Sea Angling Association. IGMR data has been used in research on blue SKI-BOAT May/June 2019 â€˘ 47
Figure 2: Time-at-temperature of three PSAT-tagged shortbill spearfish (individual mean ±1 standard error) per 24-hour period.
Figure 3: Temperature occupation by shortbill spearfish relative to sea surface temperature. Maximum daily temperature at depths less than or equal to 1 m was considered sea surface temperature for that day. Positive ΔT indicates occupation of temperatures cooler than sea surface temperature. Figure 1: Time-at-depth of three PSAT-tagged shortbill spearfish (individual mean ±1 standard error) by diel period; Spearfish 14P0549 (A), 14P0551 (B), 14P0523 (C). Daytime is in yellow and nighttime is in gray. marlin, black marlin, Mediterranean spearfish, and now shortbill spearfish. While some results from our shortbill spearfish study matched what we already know from recreational fisheries, others were particularly surprising. The shortbill spearfish we tagged spent, on average, over 90% of their time in waters less than 100m deep (Fig. 1), consistent with a near-surface distribution amenable to anglers trolling lures. In addition, we found that shortbill spearfish almost exclusively remained in waters 24-26°C (Fig. 2). The limited vertical distribution and thermal niche of spearfishes are directly linked, as these species do 48 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
not have the thermal tolerance to dive into deep, cool waters for longer periods of time like marlin or swordfish do. The overwhelming majority of the world’s 30 000+ fish species cannot maintain an elevated internal temperature the way that humans and other mammals do. However, all billfishes exhibit the ability to generate and maintain heat in their head region, the result of heat-generating muscles and the anatomical equivalent of a counter-current heat exchanger. This adaptation enhances their vision and central nervous system function when in cold waters, and expands their vertical range into deeper, colder water. Spearfishes have a less developed version of the heat-generating muscles and therefore cannot maintain an elevated temperature to the same degree as other billfishes. In addition, spearfishes are particularly small-bodied species, with average fish weighing 15-20kg, and therefore lose their heat much faster than the larger-bodied marlin and swordfish that
Figure 4: Depth-time series (5- or 10-minute interval) of shortbill spearfish A) 14P0549, B) 14P0551 and C) 14P0523. Colour points show the in situ temperature recorded by the PSAT at the corresponding depth and time. Shaded areas indicate nighttime. Solid black and half circles mark the date of the new and third quarter moons, respectively. Panels A and C include nearly the entire depth-time series for spearfish 14P0549 and 14P0523, whereas panel B includes only a subset of the data for spearfish 14P0551.
can weigh in excess of 500kg. For example, striped marlin from another study spent 8199% of their time in waters within 8°C of sea surface temperature, whereas the shortbill spearfish we tagged spent 9699.7% within 2°C of sea surface temperature (Fig. 3). Because shortbill spearfish have such a limited thermal tolerance, anglers interested in targeting them should focus their effort in waters within a degree of 26°C. Most billfishes actively dive during the day, when there is sufficient light to forage at depth, and remain at the surface at night, when darkness makes locating prey difficult. The only time nocturnal diving typically occurs in other billfishes is around a full moon, when the increased illumination permits nighttime foraging. However, the shortbill spearfish we tagged all dove at night regardless of the prevailing moon phase, repeatedly descending to depth and ascending to the surface (Fig. 4). Diet studies of shortbill spearfish explain this unexpected nocturnal diving behaviour; some researchers found that shortbills predominantly consumed near-surface fishes and squids while others found that they consumed a mix of nearsurface and mid-water species. In one study, shortbill spearfish were found to have a diet more similar to longnose lancetfish, a fanged predatory species found as deep as 2000m, than to wahoo or skipjack tuna. Our tagging results and those diet studies suggest that shortbill spearfish forage during the day on near-surface species in shallower water and dive at night to consume midwater species in deeper water. The mid-water prey species undergo what is known as “diel vertical migration”; they inhabit dark, deep waters during the day to avoid predators and migrate upwards at night to forage in shallow waters under the cover of darkness. When these mid-water species are deep during the day, they are outside of the temperature and depth range of shortbill spearfish, but when they ascend into shallow water at night they enter into the shortbill spearfish’s range. Many of these mid-water prey species, such as myctophid fishes, are bioluminescent (i.e., they generate light), and the eyes of shortbill spearfish have an increased sensitivity to bioluminescence that enhances their vision while hunting such prey species at night. Thus, it seems possible that night fishing with LED lights and smaller baits deployed over a range of depths (0100m) could yield shortbill spearfish in addition to those caught with traditional daytime trolling methods. Another potential foraging tactic of shortbill spearfish was suggested by differences in the distribution and diving behaviour of our tagged spearfish. Two spearfish that swam south/southwest and offshore of the island of Hawai’i both exhibited minimal diving activity during the day but extensive diving at night, whereas the one spearfish that remained in the vicinity of the island spent a considerable amount of time at depth during the day and night (Fig. 5). When they’re in nearshore waters billfish are known to opportunistically consume prey species that live on or near the bottom. I personally once hooked a sailfish while bottomfishing in 130 m deep water off Miami, Florida. Thus it is possible that the shortbill spearfish that remained near the island was diving during the day to consume bottom-associated prey. However, after tagging, billfish occasionally exhibit irregular postrelease behaviour consisting of increased diving
Shortbill spearfish caught off Richards Bay during the 2011 SADSAA Billfish Classic.
SKI-BOAT May/June 2019 • 49
This was one of nine shortbill spearfish caught in February 2010 off Richards Bay during the SADSAA Columbia Billfish Classic. frequency, so the unique behaviour of this particular spearfish may simply be an artifact of the handling and tagging process. We now have a sense of what shortbill spearfish do on a day-to-day basis, but we still know little about where they migrate to or their population structure. The species is known to spawn near Hawai’i, Taiwan, the Mariana Islands and in the western Indian Ocean, and is seasonally present in certain areas, but we don’t know where the fish go in
between or what routes they take. We also don’t know how many distinct populations there are or their status, which is concerning given that these fish are most commonly encountered as bycatch in commercial longline and purse-seine fisheries. Additional research efforts are needed to better understand this species and ensure that it will continue to be available as a gamefish to recreational anglers in South Africa and throughout the Indo-Pacific. When it comes to South African anglers’ experiences of catching shortbill spearfish, they occur infrequently off the northern KZN coast. A few have been caught in recent years during the OET, Guinjata and Billfish Classic competitions. Jonathan Booysen who caught a longbill spearfish off Richards Bay in early 2016 said although he hasn’t caught a shortbill himself he’s seen quite a few landed off Richards Bay and believes those were mostly caught while trolling in water 250500m deep, in water temps around 26°C. — Ed
Figure 5: Movements of three PSAT-tagged spearfish near Hawai’i. Grey ellipses indicate the 50% likelihood contour for each position estimate at 12-hour intervals. 50 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
Reference: Arostegui MC, Gaube P, Braun CD. (2019) Movement ecology and stenothermy of shortbill spearfish (Tetrapturus angustirostris). Fisheries Research 215: 21-26. Find the original article at https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.fishres.2019.03.005
CALLING PRIMAL PROVIDERS ALL
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54 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
Urbanised people, especially children, are often ignorant of where meat or fish comes from and the potential expense to their quality of life should they be consuming from the supermarket. Most primal tribes throughout the world honour their prey and thank it for the nourishment it provides and for the continuation of the cycle of life. Advertising, consumerism and urbanisation has suppressed our primal lifestyle. Man needs sustenance, but our current choices are often limited to GMO food that is chemically enhanced and designed to be inedible to some creatures and edible to others, mainly so that it can last for long periods of time on a supermarket shelf! In today’s profit-driven world our food is intensively farmed and mass produced in limited spaces, and the losses due to failure of one crop or herd because of disease could result in the closure of a corporate farm or business. Many farmers thus use antibiotics and pesticides as a form of insurance against these diseases. In 2011 in the USA alone more than 13 000 tonnes of
antibiotics were sold for meat production, compared to only approximately 3 500 tonnes sold for human use. We are unconsciously consuming such a large volume of antibiotics that our bodies are becoming immune to antibiotics and susceptible to superbugs. The CatchCook.com channel promotes the catching, processing, cooking and or storing of freshly caught fish, but also supports the practise of catch and release. Please respect all relevant laws, seasons, size and quantity limits pertaining to your quarry of choice. Remember to take only what you need from nature, respect your prey, cause minimum suffering, hunt and fish legally and ethically, maximise your harvest and have fun. If you share these values and recognise yourself as a primal provider, please like the catchcook.com videos and subscribe to the channel.
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HAPPINESS IS ... When a boat rebuild works out better than expected
SKI-BOAT May/June 2019 â€¢ 57
By Rob Naysmith
HAD Jabulani, a Billfish 23 mono hull designed by Naval Architect Bill Edwards, built for me in 1991. She was perfect for the long runs to the tuna grounds, strong enough to withstand all the Cape seas could throw at her, and a fish attractor of note, but she had a few quirks that I could have done without. Fishing styles and charter demands have changed, so it was time for me to upgrade in tune with the 21st century. I scoured the country for a boat that could take over from Jabulani, but after endless searching I came to one conclusion — don’t reinvent the wheel, simply make the best boat better. The boat I needed for unpredictable and sometimes massive Cape seas had to be strong, able to run head-on into a big sea, run true down the swells, handle storms and keep the passengers dry. She also had to be fast and comfortable, easy to skipper and economical for the long 20- to 40-mile tuna trips. And to make the redesign even more demanding, with the recent trend in yellowfin fishing she should be stable in the wind and not drift too fast. The design process began …. The boat had to be longer to handle the length of the swells, but her width was perfect at 2.3m at the waterline. She needed a different transom angle to give better trim ability, and a true tracking to eliminate any broaching. Any “greenies” (swells that run up the front of the boat before breaking on the roof — those where you see the fish swim past) should be diverted from dumping water into the back of the boat. The gunnels had to allow the angler stability and safety while standup fighting a big fish. She needed a bigger fish-box for the now more common 100kg plus yellowfin, while the deck needed to be uncluttered and comfortable to move around. We decided on a 110cm increase in length without altering the width. That was the start, but not the end. We started the transformation by taking a sturdy fibreglass mould of the rear part of the hull; the last thing you need is flexing when laying-up. This is where the costs begin to rise as it’s really a once-off mould. Along with this process came an enormous amount of fairing, polishing and release agent; you don’t want a mould to become part of your boat. The mould needed modification to increase stability on the drift and a change of transom angle from 7 to 12 degrees (she was originally designed for an inboard engine). Lifting strakes were extended but not modified. The most gut-wrenching part was cutting off my boat’s transom; we had reached the point of no return. It was also the beginning of my love affair with a Makita angle-grinder, but more of that later. Jabulani was always a fairly heavy boat, a good thing in a strong sea, but it was only when I saw the crosssection of her hull that I realised that all those years of dodging tankers through the shipping lanes was so unnecessary — they should have been dodging me. Then came the repeated waxing and polishing of the mould, finally coating with a release agent. The job of aligning the mould with the hull must be one of absolute precision; you don’t get a second chance. Get this part wrong and your boat will have a mind of its own — forever. Once secured, two coats of gelcoat were applied to the mould, making sure no air was trapped, especially in the tight corners and curves. Care was taken not to get gelcoat onto the joint and existing hull. The sole purpose of a gelcoat is to protect the fibreglass and leave a superior finish. Then came the laying up of the fibreglass. We used a combination of six layers of 450g chop-strand and biaxle fibreglass with General Purpose Resin (GPR), allowing two weeks for it to cure before applying four layers of bi-axle mat with epoxy. This process is vitally important to avoid delamination at a later stage. The new transom of double 18mm epoxy laminated marine ply was shaped, fitted and glassed in with the third layer of glass. During the two weeks wait for the GPR to cure I had this insane urge to get creative with the angle grinder. I waited for a day when nobody was around, took the grinder and extension
58 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
lead up onto Jabulani and released the Picasso in me. The day would become known as “the great Jabulani massacre”. By sunrise the next day the cabin roof, entire front console and fish-box were lying in a pile next to the boat. You should have seen the look on everyone’s faces — priceless. The plug was immediately cut from the grinder and the rebuild began. A mould was made for a new fish-box, longer, higher and slightly wider than the original. The cabin roof was cut in half both laterally and longitudinally and moulds made to accommodate the extensions. The remaining cabin sides were raised for increased internal clearance and to create an all-round overhang to divert the water. A complete redesign of the console and dashboard was necessary to bring Jabulani into 2020 and accommodate all the new electronics we now rely on. It’s a far cry from my early days of a compass, a “fish-finder” with a red flashing light and a little black book of landmarks. The trailer also needed to be extended, but instead of welding onto the existing structure and trying to find someone with a tank large enough to galvanise the whole thing, we decided to build a bolt-on extension. It’s a pretty simple exercise for those who enjoy metalwork and hard labour. This was galvanised separately and attached with high-tensile bolts and supports. Because of the change in weight distribution we waited until the engines were fitted before unbolting the axles and moving them back. Through this exercise we finally got 78kg on the tow-hitch, which allowed for the weight of fuel. Once the final layers of epoxy-soaked bi-axle mat had been applied and overlapped the existing hull by 1500 mm, the construction of the internal 8mm Nida-core honeycomb support began. This internal structure gave both lateral and longitudinal strength whilst providing a lightweight, waterproof support for the deck and separate watertight compartments for the floatation that was later pumped in. This honeycomb was epoxied and glassed to the hull and gunnels before the mould was removed, ensuring that there was no structural flexing. There are various stages of excitement when making changes to a boat, but the removal of the mould to reveal the new Jabulani was the all-time high. Then came the moulding and fitting of the motorwell and false transom. Now when you make a female mould you must visualise everything backwards — it’s tricky! All the complexities, measurements, shapes and fitting takes place in reverse, something you often need to get your head around. I moved the engine placement from 600mm apart, centre to centre, out to 750mm apart, and with a cavitation plate height of 250mm to the bottom of the hull, we were able to raise the overall transom height. This gave improved steering control and stopped excessive water flowing into the motorwell. Next, each compartment of the honeycomb structure was filled with polyurethane two-part expanding foam, a job with its own level of fun if you get your mix quantities wrong. Once smoothed and levelled the deck was laid — 13mm Nida-core laminated with two layers of 450-gram glass on both sides for strength and epoxied to the ribs. The entire deck was then covered with two layers of epoxied bi-axle mat to withstand the heavy work of gumboots and tuna fishing. A covering of 2K soaked deck sand was then applied for super grip and easy cleaning. I have found that although carpeting is nice, it’s not suitable for tuna fishing boats. Firstly, it holds the blood and becomes super slippery and secondly, we seldom fish barefoot so never need to cool the deck. I have yet to find a carpet that lasts more than two years with our sun, so that creates more expense . With the roof back on and laborious hours of fitting, manufacturing, fairing and sanding behind us, the console and dash were finally in place and looking good as well as being practical. After years of boating experience you learn the little things that make your time on the water more pleasurable, and part of that is ensuring everything has its place and is accessible. To this end there wasn’t a place or structure on the new Jabulani that wasn’t thought through many times, from the internal shape of the gunnels, position of battery boxes and drySKI-BOAT May/June 2019 • 59
ness of the trim hydraulics to building in a six-day cooler box for bait and ice; from easy access to the water separators, fuel shut-off valves and fuel tanks to angler safety while fighting a fish and, most importantly, ease of movement around the deck and passenger comfort. Next the external joining of the new and old hulls had to take place, a technique that requires serious attention to detail. This is the other side of the join which sandwiches the old hull into the new construction and completes the structural integrity of the entire hull. Finally came the hanging of the engines, a pair of 150hp Mercury SeaPro outboards with 19” pitch Revolution 4, stainless steel props. They are fitted with a complete array of Smartcraft gauges to monitor everything about the engines, including the rate of fuel flow so important with todays prices. In support, the new ActiveTrim system was installed to enhance the fuel efficiency. Then came the Garmin touchscreen network supporting the plotter, radar, AIS and engines through the NMEA 2000 backbone. Icom radios and a Hyteria Kavicom completed the communications part of the electronics. After months of work and a massive amount of learning in every aspect, Jabulani was finally complete. Now for the biggest question of all — would she be what I had envisioned, or would she be the biggest disappointment of my life? Towing her was a breeze and she felt no heavier than she was before reconstruction. Launching her was just like the old days, and there we were floating; and she immediately felt different — sturdier and more comfortable. A slow ride through the harbour area while we checked and double checked the integrity of the construction, the pumps, fittings and electronics, and all felt good. Then came the real test — acceleration and ride. The only words I could mutter were “this is insane”. She was on the plane within a few metres and flying along at over 40 knots within seconds with finger-light steering, it was insane. To say I’m ecstatic would be an understatement; Jabulani turned out way better than I could have wished for. At just over one mile per litre for both engines and 26 knots at 3 300 rpm, I have never seen a 26-foot boat perform like she does. Motoring around Cape Point and head-on into a 4-metre swell with 15 knots of wind is not for the faint hearted, but she felt extremely safe and capable. With the improved bow control, she rode perfectly dry at a steady 18 knots into the sea with only the occasional bump. Drifting side-on to the sea with a slow roll and no jerking was a pleasure, and a turn into or with the swells was effortless. Finally, during a run at 24 knots with a 4-metre swell, over the top and down the front, she ran true with no broaching or lagging. Then back into the calmer waters we went to see how she handled tight turns, and find the rpm at wide open throttle to check whether we had selected the correct pitch props. At 18 knots she turned a circle twice her length which, although quite intimidating, was impressive. The Quicksilver Revolution 4 props bit deep into the water and showed no sign of cavitation. As for the wide-open throttle, when we reached 52 knots with still quarter throttle to go, we decided it would be best to slow down. The propping will have to wait for a perfectly flat day. Would I do it all again? You bet! The pleasure and result I achieved from the project prompted me to open Down South Marine, a workshop where we repair and rebuild boats, service outboard engines, and supply and fit marine electronics. We are an authorised dealer and service centre for Mercury outboards. 60 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
TREASURE ON THE SHORE
Reviewed by Sheena Carnie Beachcombing in South Africa Author: Rudy van der Elst Publisher: Struik Nature
NY angler, fishing-widow or fishing-orphan who has spent even a little time on the beaches of South Africa has no doubt whiled away the hours digging through the sand and picking up odd shells or other items of interest. Others of you may head down to the beach specifically to see what natural treasures you can find washed up on the sand. For me it’s a kind of therapy — an opportunity to switch off my mind and just focus on what’s right at my feet. You usually don’t have to look hard to find something interesting. Rudy van der Elst (pictured, below), former director of the Oceanographic Research Institute and renowned author of A Guide to the Common Sea Fishes of Southern Africa, has enjoyed years of beachcombing, and recently launched a new book Beachcombing in South Africa. Rudy has lived and worked near, on or under the sea since his student days and is one of the leading authorities on the marine fishes of southern Africa. Now retired, he lives in Mossel Bay where he continues to enjoy the coastline and its treasures. Aimed at anyone who spends even a lttle time on the beach and who wants to know more about our coast’s natural treasures, this book is filled to the brim
62 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
with interesting information which is all beautifully presented. As Rudy says, “This book is not a field guide to southern African marine life ... rather it is designed to provide readers with insight into the origins and interesting stories of some of the many strandline organisms and items they may encounter on beachcombing adventures.” The pages are beautifully laid out and are illustrated with hundreds of colour photographs for easy identification of just about anything you’re likely to find on the beach. The information is also presented in short, easy-to-read chapters which will ensure the book appeals to a wide audience. Many of the items described on these pages — like blue bottles, cuttlefish bones, ghost crabs and barnacles — will be recognisable to most South Africans, but others, like the remains of lanternfish, shark skulls or fish-bone tumblers, will be much rarer finds. Aside from identifying the variety of shells, seaweeds and other creatures and plants one will find along the coast, Rudy shares information about these creatures’ lives, like details of how moon shell snails drill into hard clam shells, slash the clam’s body to bits and then suck it up like soup! It surprised me to learn that the plough shell gastropods which are so prevalent all over our beaches actually use a sense of smell to detect prey, and that cone shell gastropods stun their prey by using a hollow poisonous “dart” which is “a modified tongue supplied with a poison gland.” Rudy also offers practical advice on things like the best times to go beachcombing, and even gives ideas on how to use some of your beach treasures to create works of art. He also explains how to “make” salt if you run out on a beach camping trip! South Africa’s wonderfully diverse 3 000km long coastline has been home to many indigenous communities over the last few thousand years, and Beachcombing in South Africa also has a chapter dedicated to the history of those settlements. For the twitchers there’s a section on the shore birds one is likely to encounter on the beach, along with information on other nesting or stranded animals you might come across, and how to deal with them. The 144-page paperback is available from a variety of book sellers at a recommended price of R180.
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 <email@example.com>. 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!
LUCKY FISH! by Rijn Prinsloo (9)
Y dad is not the best fisherman, but he loves my six-year-old brother and I so much that he bought us a boat — a big boat to go game-fishing. Why game fishing? Because my dad is obsessed with it, and my brother and I now also suffer from this same disease. So, we have a big boat with two engines, plenty of the best tackle and gear that money can buy, but mostly no fish. Our boat is a 16ft Yeld Cat named Curling Blue because the sea is blue and always curling, I have curly hair and my brother has blue eyes. Because we mostly catch nothing, not even baitfish, my dad tells us lots of stories about the (big) ones he caught a long time ago, although I’m not so sure I believe his stories. The three of us dream about fish (big, big ones), we read every fishing magazine we can find, we watch Wicked Tuna on TV and every now and then we buy tuna sashimi from the local fishmonger. But during our recent trip to Cape Vidal our luck turned. We set out at 5am one morning, with hope in our hearts although we actually still doubted whether our dad
could catch anything at all, even a wave. As it turned out we had plenty to show for our fishing adventure that day: two perfect dents in our boat from my brother’s front teeth during the surf launch; many cuts for my dad from his nemesis, the sabiki jig; my finger was almost severed when my dad foul hooked me on a cast with the popping rod; my mom had some bruises when my dad flattened her in his excitement to grab a screaming rod and reel; and then, after nine hours at sea (lucky we don’t get seasick) — we landed our very first ’cuda! What a beauty, and what a fight! We had to stay out of my dad’s way to avoid further injury from his strange gaffing technique! This photo is of my brother and me with our beautiful catch, beaming with pride. And if you look carefully, you will see why the tooth mouse was in business, and why my brother now has some extra pocket-money. My dad is not the best fisherman, but he loves us, and we adore him for taking us fishing and showing us the ropes, even if it means a few cuts, bruises and lost teeth. My brother and I, we are just lucky fish.
PLACES Happiness is... fishing with friends.
68 â€¢ SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
By Hannes Vorster
T was time for my annual fishing adventure, this time in search of the ultimate “beast of the sea” — Caranx ignobilis — better known as the giant trevally. Visiting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a unique and exhilarating occurrence in itself, but fishing the waters surrounding these islands is a completely different and very rare experience. It all started in 2014 when some friends and I planned a trip to the Andaman Islands. Unfortunately it got cancelled due to constraints laid down by the local authorities and we had to settle for fishing the Burma Banks instead. All subsequent plans to fish the Andaman waters proved insurmountable for a number of reasons and it was only then that I realised how special it would be to fish there, but it was not going to be easy. Apart from it being a dream, this had become a personal mission and one that I was not going to give up on. The local authorities are doing their best to keep this location as pristine and untouched as possible, which only adds to its allure. It was only when a fellow fishing friend from Dubai managed to book a trip a year in advance and then could no longer go that this opportunity became a reality for me. Two spots on a boat for four anglers during peak season were offered up and I grabbed them with both hands. Never before have I gone on a mixed trip where my friend and I would join two unknown fishermen sharing a boat for seven days, but this was too good an opportunity to be missed. Next I had to find a suitable companion — somebody who is as passionate as I am about pelagic gamefishing and conservation, and at the same time somebody I knew well enough that we could spend seven days together on a boat. I offered the additional spot to some of my close fishing mates and before long I had a taker — Herman Schoeman, a friend I had been in contact with but whom I had not seen for many years. We were set — finally I was going to fish the Andamans! Finally the day of departure arrived. Herman and I met up in Chennai where we boarded a plane to Port Blair. As we approached the archipelago which consists of around 350 volcanic islands scattered in the Bay of Bengal, with their picturesque white beaches and swaying palm trees, we could see the most amazing coral reefs visible from the plane and we both knew this was going to be a trip of a lifetime!
SKI-BOAT May/June 2019 • 69
Only 37 of these islands are inhabited and it is believed that there are still tribes living in the tropical rain forests that loom close to the sea shore who still haven’t learned to use fire. This is as remote as one can get, and as I mentioned before, it is only the very fortunate angler who ends up getting the opportunity to fish these waters. Since we were going at the beginning of November which is the end of the monsoon season we were fully aware of the risk of bad weather, but at the same time since it was the start of the fishing season, with a dark moon and fishing known to be very lucrative during this time of the year, it was a chance worth taking. Early reports indicated a bit of wind and we were getting very nervous about how things would pan out. Daniel Rymbei, owner of T he SportFisher India, met us at the airport and briefed us that the conditions were not ideal. It was hard to hide our disappointment, but we had some alternatives. When we arrived at the lodge we met up with the two anglers with whom we would be spending the next few days — two Frenchmen Claude who is a flight instructor still living in France and Manu Girard who has been living in Switzerland for the last 16 years. They already had all their fishing tackle unpacked and it was time to rig all the rods, spool reels, choose which lures to take on the first day, make 70 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
knots and all the regular preparations. Our excitement levels immeidately rose. Daniel explained that, due to the weather conditions, we would find it hard to get to the regular popping spots and that we would probably only be able to do some vertical jigging for the first few days. That would require us to drop a 180-400g lure to depths of up to 100 metres and then retrieve it with an irregular retrieval action. Needless to say, it’s a tough workout. I was really nervous that my few months of training in preparation prior to the trip would prove to be inadequate, but I was hoping that I would pull through. Friday, 1 November, was our first day on the water — four anglers, two crew and one skipper/owner. Conditions were not ideal, but not too bad either, and after a bit of a choppy ride we arrived at the first jigging spot — a flat reef lying in water around 70 metres deep. The strong current meant the lure did not drop vertically but rather at an angle, making it even harder to retrieve. We were at the spot for less than five minutes when the silence was broken by a loud scream from Manu: “Fish ON!” The rest of us anxiously waited for him to retrieve a strong fighting fish from the depths. We were hoping it was a giant trevally (GT) or a dogtooth tuna (doggie) because that is what we were targeting. After an exhausting ten
minute battle Manu finally managed to bring the fish to the surface. It was a GT! We knew for sure we’d come to the right place and, despite being absolutely exhausted from the vertical jigging, we immediately dropped our lures. After about two hours of non-stop jigging and a multitude of different fish species, my body was in absolute agony and I could not hide it any longer; all I wanted to do was take a rest or change techniques. I was looking at Herman (a farmer from South Africa and as strong as a bull) for some comfort and asked him how he felt. He had just released his first doggie and was still in a state of ecstasy, so no comfort there. Finally Daniel called it and we took a break before heading to a new location. We had broken lines, jigs being bitten off clean by the hook or by the line, sharks taking our catch half way up to the surface — all the regular stuff that accompanies this technique of fishing, there was only one difference: I had caught more fish in those two hours than I had done in any one given day jigging elsewhere in the world. It was obvious — this place is loaded with fish! We later managed to get into an area where we could do some popping — essentially casting a flat-headed, fish animated plug weighing between 120g and 280g into the water and retrieving
it by pulling it through the current making a large splash and popping sound. This intrigues the curious fish from the surrounding areas, as it imitates a wounded fish, although it probably just irritates the “king of the currents” (GT) which tend to aggressively attack these “intruders”. After a few casts I was yearning to go back to the jigging; this was way harder than I remembered. Maybe I am just getting old, or maybe it was from all the fish caught on the jigging, but I was getting worried that I would not be able to maintain the required pace for seven days. I tried some stickbaiting which is a similar technique, butwith a different lure shape that makes it much easier, but still had no success. I then tried a brand new Hanta Popper (rainbow colour) that I bought the week prior to the trip; on my first cast all hell broke loose. There was an explosion as the lure hit the water and it looked like I literally landed the lure on the fish’s head. This would be the first GT of the trip caught on a popper. You could not wipe the excitement off my face. The rod (SpiritFish – Hallaniyat, custom made by Nick Bowles from Ocean Active in Dubai) was bent from butt to tip and I was reminded of the strength and extreme fighting power of these beasts. This was what I’d come for! All of a sudden we were into the fish and we caught a
number of GTs, dogtooth tuna and yellowfin tuna. The pains and body aches were long forgotten. Herman was soon into his first GT on popper and that fish turned out to be the catch of the day, estimated around the 25-30kg mark. We had another jigging session in the afternoon on the way home and sailed back to Port Blair with huge expressions of satisfaction on our faces. Herman and I could not stop talking and laughing and at one stage we were convinced that the two Frenchmen suspected we were gossiping about them. That evening we enjoyed some fresh fish with local brandy and the laughter and joy and many stories of the day’s fishing continued until the early morning hours. This continued for the first few days while we all hoped for the weather conditions to improve. Finally Daniel announced that we would attempt to sail to Little Andaman Island which is the fourth largest of the Andaman Islands of India with an area of 707km2 and lies at the southern end of the archipelago. The low-lying island has widespread rainforest and is home to several rare species of marine turtle as well as the world’s largest sea turtle. Little Andaman Island is known for its white sandy beaches and bewitching waterfalls. En route we came across the most beautiful little islands that looked more like postcard images than real
land. I could imagine taking my family there one day to enjoy a normal family holiday, but this time it was all about fishing and we did not even bother to stop to do some exploring. We all had only one thing in mind and that was “the big one”. Arriving at Little Andaman we realised that this was going to be as basic as one could get — hardly any mobile phone reception, let alone internet. This was turning into one of my best holidays, since I had no access to work emails or stressful work related phone calls. We had a few days of fishing which one can only describe as absolutely phenomenal, but despite the large number of fish caught, we were all still hopeful of catching the sought after 50kg-plus GT which we knew were lurking around in the currents surrounding these islands. By that stage we had caught a large variety of fish and in large numbers, but nothing really big; all the fish were around the 15kg to 25kg mark. It was only on day six when I was casting my big 280g black Amberjack Plug (bought from Hesh El Brollosy from KBE Anglers in Dubai) that Daniel shouted: “Big fish!” I had a large GT chasing my lure, but after missing his first strike, one of the two smaller fish hunting with him grabbed my lure with one mighty attack. I was still not sure which fish had taken it since there was SKI-BOAT May/June 2019 • 71
72 â€¢ SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
Herman Schoeman with a 25kg GT.
Hannes with a green jobfish.
Herman with a yellowfin grouper.
Manu with his 20kg GT.
Claude with yet another GT. Claude Kadi with a 15kg doggie caught on jig.
pandemonium in the water surrounding my lure. All I knew was that this fish meant business, and I was on! After a gruelling ten-minute battle which literally felt like an hour, we could see the fish starting to spiral towards the boat. This was certainly my biggest GT, but still nothing near the 50kg mark I was hoping for. We estimated it to be around 30-35kg and we safely released it after a few photos. My arms felt like they were going to come off my body, my back was so sore that I could not move and my hands
would not work anymore. The volume of fish and the hard work involved in catching them was starting to get the better of me, but I knew there was only one more day to go and we were now in waters that offered better chances of catching bigger fish. The next moment there was a mighty explosion in the water next to Manu’s black Orion T-rex lure. The splash was so big, it looked like somebody had dropped a bag of cement into the water. I’m not sure who was bending more, Manu or his rod; it was literal-
ly bent from butt to tip and he was cranking with a passion, but the fish was just peeling line off his Daiwa Saltiga despite the drag being nearly locked. You can imagine the excitement on the boat when he landed the fish which we estimated to be well over 40kg. After many cheers and much laughter we all got straight back into it; this was the fish of the trip so far and neither Herman nor I wanted to settle for second place. The celebrations and laughter conSKI-BOAT May/June 2019 • 73
Hannes Vorster with a GT caught on the Tapejara MoCo Lure.
Hannes with a red sea bass caught on popper.
Manu Girard with 40kg - plus GT (131cm length and 98cm girth).
Claude with a large emperor.
tinued well into the night, but we all knew we only had one day left, and the competitive tension was felt in the air. We took on the last day in good spirits, but unfortunately the weather had turned bad and we had a 60 nautical mile journey back to Port Blair doing nothing more that 5-10 knots an hour. We fished on our way back, but could not get into the spots where we were hoping to get the big fish. Despite that I managed to land a 74 â€˘ SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
rather nice GT on a new lure called the Tapejara which is hand made by Carl Herbst. This proved to be the only stickbait lure which landed a GT in the seven days and certainly one which will be a standard item in my tackle box going forward. We arrived safely back in Port Blair and, with a new personal best for me, a personal best for Manu, a first dogtooth tuna for Herman as well as a personal best doggie (around 20kg) for Claude,
we all walked away with wonderful memories of an amazing trip. We had so much fun and laughter, made new friends and caught some increduble fish â€” what more could one ask for? Not a day goes by without me realising how truly blessed I am, and I would like to thank the Lord for granting me this opportunity, for protecting me on the sea and for returning me safely to my family.
SKI-BOAT May/June 2019 â€¢ 75
NORTH WE GO! Adventures of the first fishing tourists back in Moz
By Clive Olivier
HEN the borders between South Africa and Moรงambique were closed after Frelimo took power in 1974, it was a big blow to those of us who had fished those fantastic waters every year for the previous decade. It would be another ten years before we had the opportunity to venture north again. After a few years and lots of negotiations between the South African and Moรงambican governments, the South African company which was assisting in running Maputo harbour managed to get permission for a few ski-boats to undertake an exploratory trip to Inhaca Island. It was not going to be a picnic because the war between Frelimo and the opposition forces was still raging and much of the action was quite close to Inhaca, but we were prepared to take a chance.... In 1984 the CEO of the company contacted me, and after many trips to Johannesburg and to Maputo to meet the minister of tourism, we discussed the bolts and nuts of the trip and the safety aspect. The minister had a young assistant who translated for him and the meeting went very well. Towards the end of the meeting I was enormously surprised when the minister addressed me in perfect English! He actually suggested that I should be the ambassador for fishing for Moรงambique. I thanked him for the kind offer, but I already had too many other commitments. The minister was very helpful in getting this trip on the road and we were given the okay to bring in the first
The convoy stopped only a couple of times to wait for punctures to be fixed and to stretch legs.
ski-boats under escort from the border at Namahaash to Maputo. I was asked to bring a cross section of skiboaters from around the country and I managed to get 12 boats with full crews. Everyone was warned of the potential dangers and was told that the company concerned and the govern-
ment would be assisting us. The plan was to arrive at the Polana Hotel which was virtually empty at the time, and then cross the bay to the hotel at Catemba where we would spend four days. We would then head back to the Polana before returning home. There were plenty of
challenges to overcome on this trip. For a start every skipper was asked to bring as much petrol as possible because fuel was scarce in Maputo. The company offered to try to supply us with some fuel at Catemba. Some of us had a trying time travelling up to Namahaash as the big cyclone Demoina had washed away bridges and roads through Zululand. Fortunately there were alternative routes and eventually everyone including the boats and crews from Gauteng and the Cape had arrived. We settled in for a night, ready to get going at 6am the next day. The army supplied us with two armed transports to escort us on the short trip to Maputo. One of the armed vehicles took the lead and I followed, with the rest of the convoy strung out behind me and another armoured vehicle bringing up the rear. Rebels were still active in the area, so we were all on high alert and keeping a SKI-BOAT May/June 2019 โข 77
tight convoy. Then, about 30 miles into the journey, I got a puncture! The whole convoy stopped while I quickly changed the wheel. Alaister Pilgrim and Jeff Fob were travelling with me. We had another stop a while later when the lead army vehicle stopped to check on his radio. The guys used this as a welcome wee break as many brown buggers (beers) had been consumed the night before We eventually arrived at the Polana Hotel in Maputo, simply parking in the driveway. The hotel was empty and the staff were excited to be catering to South African tourists once again. We left in convoy in the morning, heading to Clube Naval where a reception of officials awaited us. They had organised a fantastic lunch and the food was delicious. We were allocated guarded parking for our vehicles and boat trailers and were finally ready to launch. I had a guide on my boat to direct us across the wide bay. It was a lovely sight to see all the boats in a line crossing the bay. Once we reached the island we anchored our boats close to the hotel wall and were allocated rooms. Once again the hotel was empty and again the staff were fantastic. The group were getting on well together and there were even a couple of reporters After a group meeting to check that everyone was informed of what to look out for — customs, public relations etc — we then organised our boats for fishing the next day. 78 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
Above left: A morning’s catch at Catembe. Above: Crossing the bay with a guide.
We had never fished around Inhaca before as our previous trips had been to the Bazaruto islands. This time we went through the Santa Maria Channel and had to be careful of the rocks on the side. Once we were through the channel we found the fish — mainly
shoal ’cuda — were very plentiful. A few hours later we went back through the channel and found a deserted stretch of beach where we stopped for lunch. Alaister had taken along a small gas cylinder, pot and curry mix, so we cut a small ’cuda into chunks and Ally
made us a very potent fish curry. What more could one ask for? Most of the boats only fished in the morning as we had to watch our fuel supplies. A lot of the fish we caught were donated to the hotel staff and locals and were greatly appreciated. After a couple of days our fuel supply was getting low, but fortunately the company rep who was with us organised a few 44 gallon drums and fishing could continue. The weather was good to us except for one night when the wind blew so hard it broke the anchor rope of John Chance’s boat. A few of us went looking for the boat but couldn’t find it in the thick mangroves. The next morning one of the locals came to tell us the boat was further down and John recovered it unscathed. After four days we all left with a heavy heart and some full fish boxes.We made our way back across the bay and recovered our trailers and boats which were all safe and sound. We left soon afterwards for the border, and after getting to Namahaash everyone went their separate ways again. All in all it was an excellent trip with no hassles, and although it took quite a while still for the tourism to pick up properly, we were proud to be the trailblazers.
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80 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
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BUSINESS CLASSIFIEDS & DIRECTORY
MAKING A POINT A
NOTHER day on the water stretched ahead with me the only female onboard ...Days like this carry mixed emotions for me — I can’t wait to get out on the water and fish, but if I don’t know the men well I’m never sure what’s going on in their minds when they look at this woman angler. All the same I was ready bright and early to show the men that I could also cope with the long hours on the water and was not just a deck hand, but could actually catch some fish. As the sun stuck its head out above the water, we headed north to go look for some live bait. The weather was good, and so was the humour coming from the guys. I even laughed along with them when they made stupid suggestions like, “Start with the jigging rod.” I figured that I would have the last genuine laugh when I showed them I really could fish. I could not wait for that first strike! After a couple of fruitless hours of trolling and drifting we decided to go further north to another fishing spot where some anglers had had a lot of good luck catching big gamefish, like dorado and ’cuda. With our lines out and trolling lures about 20-25m deep our hopes started to soar again and everyone talked about what strategies we should try next. While the men had plenty of theories on what to do next, I held my peace and kept my eyes on the rods, ready to jump at the first opportunity. Finally we had a strike! Before I could get there one of the other guys took the rod and started fighting the fish. It was supposed to be mine! I was politely asked to stand aside out of the way so that the men could
Last word from the ladies try and control the situation. Quietly shook my head in bemusement and went to stand beside the skipper. I could see and feel the adrenaline rush. While the other anglers reeled in the lines of the other rods, I took the initiative to take one and do the same. All I wanted to do was help, and if you as a woman, do not jump in and take control they will never see that you are equally capable. I also needed to look out to sea and do something contructive, because my Rapala Lip was starting to show, and that wouldn’t earn me any brownie points. I really wanted to take that first strike, but consoled myself that my time would come. At last, we caught our first ’cuda for the day. We continued trolling around the same spot, and as I looked at the men cracking jokes while they checked their baits every 20 to 30 minutes, I felt like I was on the outside. I just wanted to catch my own fish! To keep myself busy I took out the cooler box and handed everyone a snack. The men seemed happy enough with me being busy then! Suddenly, while standing at the back, I started feeling a bit sick. They say women are less likely to get motion sickness, but obviously my body didn’t get the memo! There was no way I was going to let on that I was feeling green around the gills, because that would give them an opening to suggest that I
stay home the next day. I was determined to show the guys that I was capable of catching a fish. Being on a boat, out at sea and far from the shore, all that was left for me to do was tell them that I was a bit tired. I “rested” on my back on the deck, waiting for the next strike. Suddenly a reel started to sing! I jumped up and grabbed it with both hands, placing my feet firmly on the deck. All thought of the motion sickness disappeared. Of course all the men had advice and weren’t afraid to share it. One told me not to give too much slack on the line. Another shouted from the back, telling me to “Reel, reel, reel!” I just laughed on the inside, because I already knew what to do, but I understood why they were excited — we’d had a glipse of the fish and it was big! After just five minutes of fighting this fish my arms were tired, but there was no way I was going to let on — I had to prove a point! Eventually I got it close enough to gaff and soon the fish was in the hatch — then the celebrations began! I’d caught the biggest ’cuda for the day, so you can imagine the size of my smile and the Rapala lips from some of the men who wished they’d given me the first strike so one of them could have enjoyed the fight from this brute. The bottom line was that I’d made my point — I’d caught a good fish and hadn’t disgraced myself by puking — and the men (grudgingly) admitted I’d done a good job. That night all the Rapala lips disappeared over a couple of drinks and some tasty ’cuda steaks ... the challenges and irritations of the day were forgotten for a while ...
YOUR CHANCE TO GET EVEN CALLING all ladies — are you an angling widow? Are you a frustrated crew member aboard hubby’s boat? Do you bear the brunt of the skipper’s lapses in fishing ability? Do you often outfish the men on the boat and have to deal with their Rapala Lips? Do you often want to have your say but are prevented from doing so by those chauvinistic male anglers? We’re looking for new writers for our Rapala Lip column. All contributions are gladly accepted and they will appear anonymously to protect the writers from divorce suits, cold shoulders, banishments, cut up credit cards etc. You can also earn a bit of pocket money to buy yourself some tackle of your own and show him how it’s done. Come on ladies, share your stories with us — you know you want to. Email them to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. 82 • SKI-BOAT May/June 2019
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