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CONTENTS

November/December 2018 Volume 34 Number 6 COVER: FAST AND FURIOUS A Cape Verde blue marlin heads straight for the boat after being hooked. Photo by Stuart Simpson.

FEATURES

10

Mike Tyson of the Sea Targeting amberjack out deep in KZN — by PJ Botha

16

Dredging 101 Striving for perfection — by Ryan Williamson

25

Doting on Dorado It’s summertime and the fishing is hot! — by Jonathan Booysen

33

56

Bait Up! How to catch and keep quality bait — by Jonathan Booysen

48

The Legacy Lives On 2018 Sodwana Tigerfish Bonanza — by Mark Wilson

54

Eyecare Feature Add a secret weapon to your tacklebox

56

Tripping up the North West A fishing trip to Aus I’ll never forget — by Daryl Bartho

64

Iron Fist from the Sea

10

Ace Craft’s role in recce operations — by Erwin Bursik

70

Book Review: Born to Fish A tale that will entrance young and old — by Erwin Bursik

DEPARTMENTS 8 40 45 47 67 69

Editorial — by Erwin Bursik SADSAA News & Views Subscribe and WIN! Kingfisher Awards Mercury Junior Anglers Reel Kids

64 71 71 71 72 73 74

Bits & Pieces Smalls Ad Index Business Classifieds Charters & Destinations 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

WHO’S BEHIND THE SASSI SCIENCE?

Editorial Assistant: Vahini Pillay Advertising Consultant: Joan Wilson Accountant: Jane Harvey Boat Tests: Heinrich Kleyn Contributors: Daryl Bartho, Jonathan Booysen, PJ Botha, Erwin Bursik, Ryan Williamson and Mark Wilson. ADVERTISING – NATIONAL SALES: Angler Publications Mark Wilson cell: 073 748 6107 Joan Wilson (031) 572-2280/89/97/98 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: angler@mags.co.za 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: jane@mags.co.za • 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.

8 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018

W

HEN it comes to fish species and fishing for them, most if not all of us deep sea anglers have very definite views regarding the continuity of our sport, the biology of the species we target and the laws that determine what, where and when we can legally catch these fish. Going back 30 if not 40 years, I was part of a SASBAA delegation to discuss bag limits with the Minister of the Environment of the time, John Wiley. The minister outlined to us the then government’s thinking regarding the country’s fish Erwin Bursik resources, how they should be utilised and, above Publisher all, how the fish stocks could be looked after to ensure that, in his words, our children and their children could have the same access to them as we do. John Wiley, an avid angler himself, understood our sport and the need to have sufficient number of multiple species available to allow our fraternity to go to sea and actually catch fish. He assured us that whilst bag limits would be promulgated, we sports anglers would have access to sufficient fish to enable us to enjoy our sport and allow the competition side of the sport to flourish. Many tides have turned since that day in Cape Town and we have seen many different ministers governing the country’s offshore resources. Up to now the legislated bag limits provided a solid base, in theory, to pursue our sport and attain the quantity of fish-catching pleasure we wanted, the very reason we head out to sea. In theory, I said. In practise this is usually not the case. Boating pleasure is certainly achieved when we go out to sea, but the physical act of targeting and catching fish is more often than not minimal if not barely existent. When viewing this entire scenario the major problem I have is the low quantity of fish available. Most of the species we offshore anglers target are the same species which are legally and illegally targeted by the commercial fraternity. Whilst this situation can be debated ad nauseum, we always return to the extent of a specific resource, the allowable offtake from that resource and the way that offtake is allocated. In recent years the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) has put together a list of seafood that’s available in restaurants and fish shops throughout South Africa and uses a red, orange, green code to indicate which foods come from sustainable stocks (green) and which come from threatened stocks (red). It’s a major achievement and their efforts are generally applauded. However, their recent downgrading of the Cape salmon (geelbek) from orange to red has raised some flags. Current national legislation allows commercial fishermen and netters to harvest as many geelbek as they can catch, whilst recreational anglers are only permitted two per person per day. Government scientists, we are told, use as their yardstick the resource itself, in this case geelbek, to establish management rules which ensure the resource use is sustainable. How then, pray tell, can a specific species on one hand be made “open season” to commercials from Cape Point to Richards Bay and at the same time suddenly be downgraded into the same category as the red steenbras by another group of scientists at WWF-SASSI? The nett result of this downgrade is that restaurants and fish shops which abide by SASSI recommendations have almost stopped buying geelbek. As a result huge quantities of these fish are landing up on peripheral markets at very low prices. What drove this change? Is there new research which shows the geelbek is now endangered? If so, why are commercial operations still allowed to catch as much as they can? A look at the most recent SASSI list also raises a few other queries: King mackerel — red and green; dorado — red and green; dusky kob — red and green? By now you’re probably as confused as I am. What information do DAFF and SASSI use when they arrive at such a divergent set of laws and recommendations? Till the next tide.

Erwin Bursik


TACTICS

Greg Botha showed this 37.8kg bruiser who was boss!

Targeting amberjack out deep in KZN 10 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT November/December 2018


By PJ Botha

B

Adrian de la Hunt was pleased with his 10kg amber.

ACK in 2008 my crew and I started targeting amberjack on the KZN South Coast with what we thought was the correct tackle and bait. Yes, we landed some good fish, but we also got a hiding of note because these guys are world class fighters. However we learnt a lot and eventually found the correct set up which I’ll share with you in this article. MIKE’S HANGOUT The perfect depth is from 70- to 90 metres and on the edge of a big hole or canyon. The reason for this is that the hole or canyon creates an upwelling which becomes a thriving Mac Donald’s for fish like this. The size of the fish you will find in this depth ranges from 17to 50kg. THE FAMILY We have noticed that the junior and teenage fish shoal together in the summer months of December and January. You’ll find 2- to 8kg specimens on good reef structure with 5- to 10 metre drops and in depths up to 40m. The perfect conditions are slack current with a thermocline at mid-water. The older guys and girls range between 8- and 16kg and are found in 50- to 60 metre deep water. Once again ideal conditions feature a slack current with a thermocline at mid-water. BAITING UP The junior and teenage fish love the whip spoon, the 100-200g Benthos jigs and the bucktail jig. Silver, green, orange and chartreuse are all succesful. For the older guys you need to move to the heavier 200-300g Benthos jigs and livebait. My favourites are shad, mackerel and torpedo scads; the more slender the bait the better. When you’re baiting for “Mike” we have three options — yellowfin tuna, frigate tuna and skip jack tuna. The size of the bait is of utmost importance as the amberjack does not have a very big mouth; anything up to 4kg is good. TACKLE In the beginning we started jigging with grinders and two-piece rods, but we quickly found out that we were undergunned with the two-piece rods and the middle of the range grinders. We then invested in Shimano Stella 18 000W and one piece Shimano Blue Rose jigging rods. Our success in landing the bigger fish improved somewhat. We then started live-baiting with the grinder set up which cost us lots and lots of tears, never mind the injuries sustained when we hooked bigger and stronger fish and had no option but to increase our drags. With the grinder being at the bottom of the rod, the conSKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 11


12 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT November/December 2018


TYING PJ’S WIRE KNOT

stant pressure of 25kg-plus drag and the fish’s pounding tail kicks, the rods were snapping left, right and centre. The answer to our challenge was to find an over-hand set up that was not too heavy to handle due to the technique we use. We invested in a Shimano Ocea jigger 4 000 star drag reel which has an 18kg max drag and matched it with a one piece Kingfisher 450g rod. We spooled the Ocea with 120 lb Saltiga multi-colour braid and attached a 1.8mm x 5m long mono leader to the braid by means of a plaited knot. Our trace for the livebaits was a very simple one to start with. The mono diameter was 1.8mm and it was 1.2m long. On one side we put a 3/0 three-way swivel and on the other a 12/0 Bandit single hook. The sinker line was attached to the three-way swivel and — very important — the sinker line length must be between 6- and 10m long. The length of your sinker line determines the distance between the reef and where your

Above: The livebait trace the author uses. Top: a step-by-step guide to tying the knot PJ uses on the carbon-coated steel wire, with the wire-to-hook connection and swivel connection all shrink-wrapped.

livebait is swimming, therefore giving you a greater chance of keeping the fish from cutting you off on the sharp rocks. The tackle and trace mentioned above was very efficient and produced fish of up to 32kg. Unfortunately the Ocea jiggers did not last too long; the gears stripped and the one-way bearing disintegrated but as least we were not breaking rods. We still found ourselves locking up the Ocea jigging reel to full drag including the left thumb pressing down onto the spool as hard as we could and the fish still took line off the reel and swam into the reef. In this situation there’s only one stance you can take — download a song called Bend Ova by Lil Jon, listen to the song and imagine your knees touching your elbows all locked up under full pressure. We then started doing some homework on another reel. It had to be light and small, but with a very powerful drag system. We found the king of all reels for our application — the Jigging

SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 13


PJ Botha with a lovely 17kg amberjack.

rocks as possible. Round three is a real tug of war. At this stage of the fight the fish will settle into some off the strongest tail kicks you have ever experienced. Every now and then it will try to dart off to the bottom. The pressure on the tackle and your body is intense and you need to hang on for dear life or all will be lost. Round four we’ll leave for you to experience for yourself..

Master PE10. This reel’s drag maxes out at 100 lb, it only weighs 830 grams has a 1:3.6 ratio, a lever drag system and enhanced power T-BAR aluminium handle. We matched the PE10 with a Shimano Beastmaster 20/30 rod which is your perfect combo. After being repeatedly cut off on the rocks on the 1.8mm mono, we decided to give another trace line a go. We opted for 200- to 300 lb carbon-coated steel wire. The advantage of the carbon coated wire is that it ties a very simple knot and has a very thin diameter — just what you need. (See photos on previous page.) THE FIGHT Round one — the bite — is insane to say the least! One moment your rod tip is facing the sky and in zero point zero seconds your rod slams the gunnel, the tip is in the water and you let your knees touch your elbows! Round two — the first wind of the reel — is the most important, and if you can get a second, third, fourth and so on, all the better. Even with a long sinker line you still need to power the fish to keep it as far away from the

The Jigging Master PE10 proved up to the task of subduing big amberjacks.

14 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018

THE MAN ON THE WHEEL A very important factor in this complex process is the skipper. Our experience has showed that the angle of your line to the boat is of utmost importance. Remember if the angle of your line is at 45 degrees to the boat, all the fish has to do is swim straight down and, without any pressure on the line, it will make at least 8m in 80m of water. The line angle has to be straight up and down so the angle is at zero degrees; this will ensure you keep maximum pressure on the fish so that you can control its actions. Good luck! Go out there and catch a record fish.


TACTICS

By Ryan Williamson

T

HE proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof, or so the cliché goes. For me, during the prototype design and manufacture of a dredge to be marketed by Pulsator, the ultimate goal was to take a few completed dredges to Cape Verde during my three-month skippering stint there during the blue marlin season, and to test them under the most brutal blue marlin fishing conditions in the world. Both Stuart Simpson and I pulled the Pulsator dredge very successfully during this season, proving that they raise fish and also expanding our practical knowledge of how to swim the dredge while ensuring we as skippers and our crew made the most of the marlin we raised. I hope to pass on this knowledge to the marlin anglers in South Africa in the sincere hope they will raise more billfish in the season to come. At the outset I want to emphasise that, yes, all our experience has revolved around fishing from sportfishers, but with the modification I suggest I am convinced that dredges will also be an asset to those fishing for sailfish and marlin off ski-boats. Let me state here and now that the primary role of a dredge is to imitate a shoal of baitfish and create activity through contrasts just under the water’s surface. This is achieved not only by the colours used in the “bulb” squids, but also by the polycarbonate fish replicas seen as a flash/contrast foil, which are more streamlined, thereby making the dredge easier to pull. Dredges pulled from ski-boats proved very successful during the last marlin season at Sodwana, so yes, this strategy is viable for even the 18ft class ski-boats — with a few modifications. Firstly, on a ski-boat I recommend you use a slightly smaller 34-inch dredge with a lighter 3kg weight. The deployment of the dredge also needs to be carefully considered, especially if lighter, more flexible outriggers are installed. My advice is that unless your craft has substantial outriggers stayed with support stays from forward, a stern cleat should be used with 6- to 10mm “yachting” cord (approximately 20m long) securely attached. This length will be adequate because the dredge is usually deployed 8- to 15 metres behind the boat. The terminal attached to the dredge remains the same (see diagram A) but it’s of utmost importance that you use the highest quality swivel cleats and snap shackle possible. Set out below is a list of some of the most popular electric reels, spread across a fairly wide price range. • LP 1200 / 2400 Lindgren Pitman • Kristal Fishing • Miya Epock • Magic Marlin Some of the other hardware we use and which proved effective in our setup in Cape Verde is one 2-inch ball bearing pulley, attached to the rigger, plus a 1-inch ball bearing pulley, attached to the dredge. Harken or Ronstan are best. You also need heavy duty ball bearing swivels and D shackles. Larger boats with aluminium spreader bar outriggers, are able to pull the dredge from the rigger. A pulley system using a short stiff rod loaded with an electric/manual reel is mounted on the gunnel or a tower rod holder close to the base, aft of the rigger. Hard monos from 400-600# are best (60m or less). 16 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018


roller roller

dredge weight

supported rigger line

electric reel monofilament 400 - 450 lb

ballbearing swivel

Diagram A: Some electric reels you can have mounted within the construction of the boat, thus allowing more space and keeping the electric reel away from elements such as saltwater.

Dredge retrieved and hanging from outrigger. To start with check that your supports/connections are strong enough to pull the dredge. In SA it’s a good idea to upgrade your rigger back bar to solid stainless steel, or a thicker wall support (24 foot-plus) due to our rough conditions. When in doubt run a cord (48mm) from the dredge attachment point on the rigger to a point forward on the boat like a cleat or railing etc. This will reduce the strain on the rigger from the dredge. Choose the rigger on the side that best suits the vessel — the side where it’s easiest to store the dredge, where you have the clearest access to the dredge reel and where there’s the best visibility for the captain. Neither side is

automatically better than the other. The right distance of the dredge behind the boat depends on drag from your dredge because this changes the depth at which it swims. You don’t want your dredge to sit too deep in the

water as spotting fish on the dredge then becomes difficult. Ideally your dredge should run 1m to 3m below the surface. Do not allow the dredge to break the water’s surface. If your dredge is sitting on your first wake then, depending on the boat size, it will be between 8- and 12m behind the boat. Set the drag on the reel so it can take the strain of the drag whilst trolling/retrieving, but it must not be locked up fully as a fish can get wrapped up from time to time which will test your rigger to the max! Please remember when you pull a dredge the physical drag depends on the size of your dredge and weight — a

SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 17


combined weight of between 20- and 40kg — so to retrieve this while the craft is trolling at about 8 knots is not child’s play. Whether you are retrieving using a cleated cord, a heavy downrigger reel or, as suggested, an electric reel, be extremely careful and have a dry run of both deployment and retrieval so all the crew know how the task should be done and where the dredge should be stowed. Stowage of the dredge has to be thought through to ensure the arms are not damaged and the squid lines and polyfoil are not tangled. Just imagine a 20kg bull dorado on the deck tying itself up in your dredge if it is left lying on an open deck! I further recommend that when using a dredge for the first time one should commence the trial exercises in light to moderate sea conditions. Above all, do not use a dredge in heavy seas. Not only do you risk losing your dredge, but there’s also a much greater risk that accidents will happen during

the exacting deployment and retrieval of a dredge in those conditions. Please also ensure the maintenance of all aspects of your dredge is 100%. Dredges are not cheap and they endure a significant degree of stress when being towed around the ocean. Continually check lines, swivels, cleats and shackles for wear. When stowing it, hang the dredge up and or collapse the arms correctly to avoid bending them. Even though the Puslator dredge is made of 316 stainless steel and the arms of spring steel, they need to be looked after if you want them to last. Now for some details on how to fish a dredge... First and foremost you need to decide on the style of marlin fishing you intend to undertake. When using a dredge you basically have two options — one is bait and switch baiting or pitch baiting, and the other is the traditional style of pulling a spread of rigged lures. It is absolutely essential that the dredge is immediately taken out of the

water when a crew member or skipper has spotted a fish. The reason for this is that in Cape Verde we saw that if the dredge is still in the normal trolling position it can give the fish too much choice between chasing the dredge or your lure. I must emphasise that this is really important. Anglers need to ensure that one person is in charge of this responsibility, thus avoiding confusion on the deck As a start, especially at venues like Sodwana Bay and Richards Bay, I would run three rigged lures from the outriggers in the traditional fashion with the dredge, and have one standby pitch rod with a bait ready. In Cape Verde our technique was that if we had a fish that came up lazy behind the lure or if a stripey came up behind the lure (which can sometimes be difficult to hookup), we would start teasing the fish in by pulling the lure in, deploying a pitch bait rod into position and getting the fish to switch from the lure onto a bait rigged with a circle hook.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 19


Diagram B: This would be the ideal setup for an angler’s first attempt at dredge fishing. Pull these lures with hooks and one standby pitch rod. The lower showing of the dredge diagram is when it is pulled from the aft cleat on a ski-boat’s transom.

hookless teaser

stinger with hook

switch bait rods

hookless teaser

Diagram C: Teaser and switch baiting spread.

20 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018


40 0m 30 0-

Don’t use the five lure spread to start with as this will lead to too much confusion when you’re just getting used to using dredges. With having the dredge in the water, which is substantially bigger, there is no need to think that you have less chance of attracting fish with only three lures in the water. Once you get more experienced you can add a fourth lure to your spread, but keep a pitch rod ready at all times. It is important to run your lure from the rigger position, fairly close to the proximity of where the dredge is — about 2m on the outside of the dredge and 2m behind the dredge. The same would apply if you were to run a lure teaser. In my personal experience over the last two seasons in Cape Verde, with the lures positioned closer to the dredge, 60% of my bites have been on the lure that is on the same side of the craft as the dredge, fairly close to the dredge and almost parallel to the tail end of the dredge. The two other lures on the opposite side of the boat to the dredge can be placed conventionally but not too far aft. (See diagram B.) If you intend using only the pitchbait method you would run your hookless lures as teasers in the same position on the shorts as per Diagram A, and then have a stinger (shotgun) rigged lure. The reason for this is that if the fish loses interest in the teasing and falls back, having a stinger gives you a second shot at jamming the fish. (See diagram C.) If the captain or crew spot a fish on the dredge the captain must turn the vessel towards the dredge side. This draws the dredge into the clearer water, thus allowing the skipper to have a better view of the dredge and of the fish’s actions. Both the early morning and late afternoon sunlight can make it very difficult for the captain and crew to see fish on the dredge, so you’ll often need to look out for other signs too, like a dorsal fin, tailfin or boil behind the dredge. When the sun is higher it’s much easier to spot fish on the dredge. Spotting a black shadow, electric tail or pectoral fins are all indicators that the dredge should be removed from the water. In both instances one needs to divert the marlin’s attention from the dredge to the lures or pitched bait. As soon as I see any indication that a fish has been raised I instruct the crew to switch on the electric reel and get the dredge out of the water as quickly as possible. The same would apply if one is hand-pulling a dredge run from a cord from the aft cleat. Remember not to use a dredge that you are not able to retrieve. For example rather look at a 3kg weight and a 34-inch dredge if you are going to be

15° turn to starboard marlin mark on sounder

original troll course for boat with dredge on starboard side

Diagram D using cord line and pulling it in by hand. This aspect is very important as the dredge creates a great deal of drag and retrieving it to a hanging position on a big sportfisher using an electric reel is a lot easier than retrieving it by hand when dredging from a ski-boat. See Diagrams B and C for dredge-set up using an electronic reel. Deployment from the aft cleat on ski-boats is practical and does work, but make sure that when the dredge is being retrieved the motor nearest to the dredge is put into neutral to reduce the chance of it getting tangled in the outboard’s propellers. WHEN YOU SEE A MARLIN... I have been asked what I do if I see a marlin mark on my sounder. My sounder is set to scan from the surface to 150 metres so that it will hopefully pick up the marlin which usually swim at between 30- and 100 metres, and also bait showing below this depth. Bait showings indicate an area to be worked even if marlin are not marked. If the billfish are in the first 0- to 15m you will seldom mark them on your sonar. If you pick up a marlin mark it’s essential that you turn 15 degrees on the helm towards the dredge side, allowing the dredge to come into clearer water, making it easier for the captain or crew to see the fish behind the dredge. Once you have turned 15 degrees, hold course for at least 300- to 400m. Every fish behaves differently,

and if fish are marked at a shallower depth they will be up on your spread a lot faster than fish which are deeper in the water column. If you have marked a fish and you do not allow a long enough period for the fish to come up into the spread, you might lose it. Often you will raise the fish on a sharp turn, thus changing the performance of the lures that you were turning on as they slow down on the turn. I have seen this happen numerous times, where the fish then fades off due to the lures on the inside stalling. If you have not raised a fish within your 300- to 400m run you can then start turning back to the area where you marked the fish and see if you can get a second run at your marked fish. see Diagram D for an example of the troll pattern I would use. Dredging adds a new and exciting dimension to the sport of targeting billfish and, for many of us, has produced incredible results. I think that running a dredge most certainly helps to raise fish up from deeper water, and the side profile of the dredge can be seen much more easily by fish than a surface lure smoking. The other great thing about a dredge is that you’ll find that 80% of your bites are on your shorts, and if you have not hooked up on the first attempt, most fish will fall back and have a go at your longs. This gives you a second shot, whereas if you miss a fish on your long it very seldom comes forward to eat your short.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 21


TACTICS

DOTING ON DORADO It’s summer time and the fishing is hot!

Marius Colyn with a dorado destined for the braai. SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 25


By Jonathan Booysen

Mark Wilson with a beauty caught off Durban.

T

HE most highly anticipated arrival of any summer gamefish species is most probably that of the dorado. I consider dorado to be my all-time favourite gamefish; they are abundant, fast growing, exciting fighters that are as beautiful as they are good to eat. Dorado are relatively easy to catch and will eat everything from large lures trolled for marlin to chunks of sardine on bottom rods. I still get viskoors whenever I spot those blue pectoral fins in the water. That sight can change a totally calm and collected person into a fumbling, shaky wreck trying to get hold of anything that can be cast to the free-swimming fish. This is part of what makes a dorado one of the most popular summer target species.

WHERE TO LOOK Dorado are fond of hanging around any floating debris such as logs, containers, ropes etc. The longer the object has been floating at sea, the more growth it will have on it and it will house a number of smaller fish. These small fish will be the draw card for hungry dorado and it is not uncommon to find large shoals nearby. As one might imagine, a ship that has been anchored offshore for an extended period is a magnet for dorado. Anglers can use apps on their phones to check which ships have been around the longest and head straight to them with excellent results. When fishing around the ships, the shoals tend to hang around the anchor chain, so one needs to practice caution when getting close. Another dead giveaway for where dorado will be found is wherever there’s a strong current line, temp break or colour line. Pieces of debris gather in these areas and provide refuge for baitfish. Dorado patrol these lines looking for bait shoals to feed on. My favourite conditions for catching dorado are when there’s a south-westerly wind of 10- to 15 knots, causing a slight chop on the water. A good north to south current with blue 25°C (or warmer) water is ideal. TROLLING LURES Trolling is probably one of the best ways to find fish because you can cover a lot of ground and get a good idea of the water conditions over a larger area. Dorado will eat just about anything that is trolled behind the boat, but definitely show a preference for surface lures. Small squid daisy chains and medium size lures in a variety of colours are a sure-fire way to catch them. SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 27


Another happy angler. Luke Bassett and Sheena Carnie display Sheena’s dorado caught on bait.

Soft head lures rigged with strips of tuna or dorado belly or squid make an excellent combination and give you second chance at a fish if it missed the first time. Lures should be rigged on nylon leaders of about 100 lb. When dorado are around, there is also a good chance that billfish will be in the area. Many marlin and sails have been caught while fishing for dorado, so make sure your tackle is up to scratch. When you find an area that is holding a few dorado and the bite slows on lures, switch to a different method to work that area. SLOW TROLLING Slow trolling is a very popular way to fish for gamefish and is definitely my favourite. One can pull live bait or fresh dead bait just slow enough speed to work an area properly. Live maasbanker and mackerel are my favourite live baits to use when slow trolling. I use a standard ’cuda trace with a 1 metre section of #5 piano wire from a power swivel to the 2/0 nose hook. From there I connect two #1 VMC treble hooks with #7 wire. If the baits are smaller, I only put one treble in the body. Some baits are rigged with dusters and others just have a small green bead on the nose. When mainly dorado are around, I swim most of my baits on the surface but always have one deep line out just in case. If I can’t get live bait then quality dead baits will work just as well and on the odd occasion even better than livies. I rig them on the same traces as

my livies, but I add a small chin weight or bait swimmer to improve their presentation. While moving along at a slow pace, I like to cast surface lures such as stick baits; the sound of a lure landing on the water draws fish in from a distance and improves your catch rate. I also always have two spinning rods rigged with a single hook on nylon leader, ready for pitch baits. If the weather conditions are very calm and the sun is bright, it pays to change to a nylon or f lourocarbon leader with a single J-hook through the nose of a livie. Fish with a loose drag like you would do for garrick and feed the fish when you get a strike. This change improves your strike rate but often means losing any other species with teeth. I have tried circle hooks but they tend to gut hook most fish as they swallow the bait so quickly. DRIFTING When you have found a shoal of dorado or an area where other boats are catching them, it’s a good idea to drift. If there is little wind, I stop the boat so that I can fish off the side, then I put out two deeper baits and three surface baits. Sardine, mackerel and halfbeaks are my favourite dead baits for drifting, especially if they are good quality. When drifting it is important to set up a chum line using any oily fish like sardines or mackerel. Not only does this attract the fish, but it also creates a visual marker for you to see where to set up your next drift. Once again I keep a surface lure in the water to draw

28 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018

in fish and two spinning rods ready to cast a livey or a sardine or mackerel chunk at free-swimming fish. At the end of a drift, I put out some surface lures and fast troll back up to the beginning of the drift and start the process over again. DON’T BE HASTY Regardless of which method you have used to hook the fish, it is a good idea to keep it in the water for a few extra minutes to see if there are any more dorado following it. If you spot a second fish, either throw a handful of sardine chunks into the water to keep the shoal around or cast out a hooked bait. Make sure to give it some time to swallow the bait before striking. When the second fish is hooked up, proceed to load the first one and repeat the cycle. TAKE CAUTION Dorado are notorious for causing havoc on the deck of a boat especially when a lively fish jumps off the gaff, so make sure you’re properly prepared before gaffing the fish. When the fish is presented next to the boat, gaff it close to the head and lift it into the boat. Try not to let the fish touch the boat gunnel or deck as it will start thrashing. Have the hatch lid already open so that the fish can be put inside as quickly as possible. Once it’s off the gaff, close the lid straight away. Don’t worr y about removing the hooks until the fish has expired; if you are lucky, by the time you open the hatch the hooks will be loose already.


SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 â&#x20AC;¢ 29


BACK TO BASICS

BAIT UP! How to catch and keep quality bait

Jono Booysen with a few maasbanker ready to go into the ice slurry. SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 â&#x20AC;¢ 33


34 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT November/December 2018


By Jonathan Booysen

W

HEN it comes to fishing, bait is one of the most important aspects to focus on. Most tackle shops have a good supply of various bait species, but these are not always the best quality. If you manage to find a shop that supplies fresh, quality bait, it is normally extremely expensive. To overcome the problem of substandard bait quality and availability, I have made it a mission to load up with bait on every opportunity that I get. By doing this, not only do I know that I will have the type and quantity of bait that I need, but I also know what quality it is. The effort is definitely worth it when it comes to tournaments as I am already a few steps ahead of the competition before we even begin fishing. In this article, I will be focussing on key items and fishing tactics for several of the species that are on the top of most anglers’ bait lists. SOUNDERS The echo sounder is one of your greatest assets when looking for bait such as mackerel, maasbanker, red-eyes, shad and pinkies. Colour sounders in particular depict bait shoals very well. The density of the shoal can also be determined by their colour on the screen; the denser the shoal, the lighter the colour on the screen. When you see a round ball with a red/yellow centre and blue outline a few metres off the structure, it is normally an indication of a dense shoal of baitfish. In deeper water it is advisable to adjust the upper and lower limits of your sounder to focus on the area that holds the bait. Normally I set the lower limit to 5m more than the depth I am in and the upper limit to 15m above the depth I am in. For example, if I am in 50m, I set the limits to 35m and 55m. Set the sensitivity relatively high, around 90-95%, depending on your sounder. By doing this you will be able to see even the smallest showing of bait.

Mackerel bait in brine. A good brine solution is essential if you want to keep your bait in good condition. It is vitally important to use saltwater or heavily salted freshwater for your brine. The reason for this is that freshwater removes electrolytes from the baitfish’s flesh. As soon as a fish is removed from the sea, it begins to deteriorate. Exposing the baitfish to freshwater increases this rate of deterioration. By adding table salt (which has known preservative and antibacterial properties) to a freshwater brine solution, you will maintain the bait’s quality as there is less bacterial deterioration. By adding extra salt to an icy saltwater brine, you can form a brine that dramatically increases the length of time that bait can be stored and still maintain most of the properties of freshly caught bait.

A showing clearly indicating the prescence of mackerel (top) and maasbanker. BRINE If you are serious about bait quality then you need to handle it properly from the moment it comes out the water. This means having a cooler box or hatch filled with brine. Your basic brine consists of a slurry of crushed ice mixed with saltwater, a few caps of formalin and bicarb.

SUGAR MACKEREL (RASTRELLIGER KANAGURTA) Mackerel is one of the most popular baitfish species on the KwaZulu-Natal coast. They are found in large numbers from the Cape all the way up to the KZN coast. The average size of these fish seems to be larger in the cooler waters of the Cape than those found in the warmer waters off KZN, even though larger mackerel are sometimes found in deep water 150m plus. When trying to locate mackerel the best place to look is near large manmade structures around which shoals tend to congregate. Wrecks, sunken containers, pipelines, shark nets and marker buoys are some of the best places to investigate. The best way to catch mackerel is with a sabiki rig, also known locally as a yozuri or baitjig. These rigs can be bought in most tackle shops and come in different colours and sizes, but I find the best colour for mackerel is white with red binding. I like to use the slightly bigger hook size with ten hooks rigs, and I do not like using pieces of bait on the hooks because then you tend to catch a lot of small bottomfish and other undesirables. When you come across a shoal of bait drop the jigs to the SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 35


depth indicated on the sounder. The mackerel usually hang higher in the water column than the other species of baitfish (like maasbanker) in a shoal. This can be seen on the sounder. Often when you catch a string of bait there will be maasbanker on the bottom hooks and mackerel on the top hooks. If you want to target the mackerel, try not to drop the jigs too deep through the shoal. Often the line will go slack before it hits the bottom, indicating you have gone through the shoal and hooked several fish. The best thing to do is to retrieve the slack line as soon as humanly possible and then, once you come tight, slowly bring the fish to the surface. If you do not go on immediately, work the jigs by raising and lowering the rod tip to impart some movement to the jigs. When you feel the fish climbing on, do not strike as this will only rip out the hooks. The resistance of the sinker and other fish pulling in the opposite direction is more than enough to set the hooks. Once you have found the shoal, mark it on the GPS and make several drifts over the spot and fill up on bait. Mackerel are strong, fast swimming fish that have caused more tangles in sabiki rigs than any other bait species put together. The reason for these tangles is that the hooked mackerel tend to all swim in the same direction, creating slack in the main line, resulting in a huge tangle which is known as “a bunch of grapes” — one big tangle of line in the middle with several fish hanging from it. The easiest way to minimise these tangles is by changing the weight of the sinker you are using. Weights need to be at least 10 oz on a six-hook rig and slightly heavier on the tenhook rigs. The reason for the heavy sinker is to keep the main line of the sabiki rig vertical while the mackerel are trying to swim up the line, preventing the otherwise inevitable tangle. When unhooking the mackerel, try to use a small hook remover. To do this, hook the dropper line over the remover, slide the remover onto the curve of the hook and give it a shake. Usually the fish will pop off the hook. This system allows you to get the hook out without touching the bait and without removing the fish’s slime, resulting in much better quality baits. These baits now need to go straight into the waiting brine solution.

you can target them effectively. Red-eyes are relatively small fish — smaller than the Natal sardines — so you need small hooks to catch them. The best rig to use is the small ten-hook sabiki rig. When the fish are on the small side (10cm), the feathers on the sabikis can be too long and result in the fish missing the hooks. To prevent this, I shorten the feathers with a pair of scissors, reducing the size of the jig and increasing the chance of hooking more fish. The weight of the sinker you use depends on how you are fishing for them. There are two main fishing methods I use for red-eyes and I alternate between the two depending on how the shoals are behaving. When the fish are boiling on the surface — normally given away by working birds — I rig two long spinning rods with sabikis and 2 oz sinkers. I then try to approach the shoal on the upwind side of them. The crew then cast the jigs over the shoal, with the wind, and slowly retrieve through the shoal. Try not to cast into the middle of the shoal as this will spook them. Also do your best to keep the jigs near the surface as this is where the shoal is most dense. If you let the jigs sink too far, you end up missing the shoal. The second way I fish for red-eyes is when the fish have sounded. I use the echo sounder to look for the showing which will most often be in the top 10m of the surface. The boat is then stopped up-current of the showing, motors are switched off, and the boat is allowed to quietly drift over them. In this situation I change tactics and try to get more rods in the water. I fish with one rod more than what I have crew on the boat. When a shoal is located, the sabiki rigs are sent down into them using a 6 oz sinker. When a string of red-eyes is hooked up, lift them slowly to the surface but don’t take them out the water, rather put the rod in a holder with the fish still on. Keep them about two or three metres under the surface; this keeps the shoal around the boat and the crew now fish for the red-eyes just under the boat. When the shoal moves off, repeat the process with the next shoal. When switching between tactics the sinker size can be increased, but it does not need to be too big as they do not tangle the rig nearly as easily as stronger baits like mackerel. When I have a string of red-eyes I find it easier to shake them off the rigs, straight into the brine instead of handling each fish. They lose their scales exceptionally easily and by shaking them off you retain most of the scales.

A clear red-eye showing just below the surface.

Wala-wala ready to be frozen.

RED-EYE SARDINES Red-eye sardines are commonly found along the South African east coast in winter months. These small baitfish are a favourite among rock and surf anglers but are just as deadly when used offshore. The red-eyes’ location is often given away by birds working the surface above the shoals. When you go to investigate bird activity you will often see small fish flickering just under the surface; these are most likely red-eye sardines. When you stop next to the shoals you will see a showing on the sounder right at the surface (in the top ten metres) and this is where

WALA-WALA (CUTLASSFISH/RIBBONFISH) Wala-wala are probably the top baitfish for crocodile ’cuda off the north coast of KZN. Every year anglers are prepared to sell their souls to get hold of wala-wala, just to have the chance at catching a trophy 30kg ’cuda. Wala-wala are predatory fish that feed most actively at night. They are mainly found in harbours and estuaries, but it is not uncommon to catch them out at sea, especially when the water is green and cold. These long, silver eel-like fish with a vicious set of teeth, SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 37


Wala-wala rig.

Halfbeak rig. can be bought in some specialised tackle shops and many anglers are more than willing to pay the high price to save themselves the effort of going out and catching them. The best way to target wala-wala is by fishing at night off jetties or harbour walls near a light source. They will eat a variety of offerings from lures to fish fillets to small live baits but can show preference for a specific bait when they are being fussy. My personal preference when it comes to walawala is a fresh sardine fillet about 50-60mm long, but if they are really thick, a thin fillet of shad, razorbelly or wala-wala works very well. Without a doubt, small drift baits catch more wala-wala than any other rigs. The trace I use consists of a 150mm section of light piano wire with a small swivel on one end and a #2 single hook on the other. From this hook I attach a small treble hook using another section of wire. The length of the hook rig is short enough to be concealed in a small fillet (see diagram below). To rig the sardine fillet, pass the single hook through the tail section of the fillet and then put one hook of the treble through the lower part of the fillet. Use some ghost cotton to secure the bait to the front hook. On the front section of wire, I attach a small light stick. This helps attract the wala’s attention and helps you keep track of the movement of your bait. Flick the bait out and let it freely drift down. When the light stick is out of sight, lift the rod tip, pulling the bait back into view, then lower the tip and let it sink again. When a wala-wala takes the bait, it is in one of two ways. Most often it is just a slight weight on the line offering resistance when you lift the rod. When this happens, lower the rod tip and wait for the line to go taught, then give a quick sharp strike. The second kind of take is more savage and visu38 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018

al. As you watch the light stick sinking, it will suddenly streak away on the surface. This is followed by a wala-wala jumping out the water, clearing two- to three metres horizontally between jumps. The best thing to do here is to give a quick strike and hope it sticks. If you miss a wala on the first strike and you still have bait on, put the bait back in the area where you pulled the hook; it will often come back again. When a wala-wala comes out of the water, it has a mirror finish which needs to be maintained. If you lie the wala on the ground and let it flap around, this shine will be lost so be sure to remove the hook and place it into brine without it touching anything. When freezing wala-wala, be sure to wrap them individually and lie them straight. HALFBEAKS (BALLYHOO) When you talk sailfish, you can’t help but hear how good halfbeaks are as bait. Throughout the world, halfbeaks (or ballyhoo) are one of the best bait for billfishing. The only problem with this bait is that it is difficult to get hold of; even bait shops struggle to get stock so anglers are forced to make other arrangements to get hold of them or catch their own.

Halfbeak/ballyhoo


Halfbeaks ready to be vacuum-packed. Halfbeaks are common to the warmer waters of northern KwaZulu-Natal and into Moçambique. These small fish are found in most rocky bays from Cape Vidal northwards. They congregate along the reefs during low tide where they feed on food items on or near the surface. Halfbeaks can often be seen in shoals just under the surface while snorkelling in these bays. This is one of the best ways to locate a shoal of halfbeaks before going onto the reef to catch them. Netting is not allowed in our marine parks, but in Moçambique this is one of the most common practices for catching the popular baitfish. Unfortunately netting leaves the bait in a less than perfect state when compared to those caught on baited hook. When setting out to catch halfbeaks on the rocks with a rod and reel, it is best to go prepared. You should try to be totally self-sufficient and not have bulky cooler boxes or other items that could get washed away as the tide comes in. The easiest way to do this is by having a “shad bag” over your shoulder or around your waist in which you carry everything that you need. When fishing for halfbeak, I use very small pieces of sardine or prawn. I find that it is easier to cut my bait before going onto the rocks and store it in a small bait container around my waist. The remains of the sardine are used for chumming. Other items that I take are spare hooks and a trace, a hook remover, an old rag and some ice. The trace I use for halfbeaks is a basic freshwater kurper rig made using a champagne cork and a skewer/sosati stick. To make the trace, pass your line and skewer through the centre of the cork. Secure the line to either end of the skewer with wax tape or dental floss. Make sure that you leave about 300mm of line to tie on the hook. Move the cork to the middle of the skewer so that it will drift horizontally in the water. Jam a toothpick in next to the skewer to stop the cork from sliding up and down. Tie a #10 hook to the end of the line and you are ready to go. Once you have located a shoal of halfbeak, either by snorkelling or by seeing them with your polarised glasses, it is a good idea to crush a few of the sardine remains and throw them into the water near the shoal. Try to make the chum land with a noise/splash, as this will attract the fish which are very curious. Once the fish are feeding on the chum, cast a small piece of sardine just past the shoal, then very slowly retrieve the bait and the fish should follow it. When this happens, stop retrieving and let the halfbeak eat the bait. When one side of the skewer lifts out the water, give a quick strike and the hook should set. Bring the halfbeak in and swing it straight into the open bag of ice. Try not to handle the fish too much while removing the hook because they also lose their scales very easily. Fishing on the spring low tide gives you the longest period to fish for halfbeak. Always be aware of the sea conditions around you as rough waves and incoming tides can wash you off the rocks if you are not careful.

Vacuum-packed mackerel and bonnies — perfectly preserved for your next fishing trip. PACKING AND FREEZING BAIT After going to all the effort of catching and caring for your bait, it is vital to follow through by packing and freezing them correctly. As I’m sure everyone knows, freezer burn is one of the worst things that can happen to bait that gets frozen and stored for extended periods. To prevent this, a proper vacuum packing machine is a must. This removes all the air from the packaging and eliminates all burn. If a vacuum machine is not available, wrapping each individual bait in plastic wrap will work. When packing the vac-packed bait in the freezer, I try to freeze the bait straight. I also try to lie the baits on their backs until frozen. If they are frozen belly side down, the belly flesh tends to be weaker when thawed. If you have a large amount of bait to freeze, try to spread them out as much as possible so that they freeze faster. If layers of bait are stacked on top of each other, the middle packs take longer to freeze and become squashed before they are solid. To prevent this, shuffle the bags around after a few hours or pack already frozen bags between the fresh packs. Quality bait is difficult to get, but it makes the world of difference to your overall results. When you get into a shoal of your favourite bait, make the effort of catching and stocking up the freezer; it will save you money and frustration in the long run. SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 39


Phillip Marx, SADSAA President

S

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

ADSAA’S participation in the 2019 World Angling Games and the fact that we’re hosting the Big Game Fishing (Trolling) section of this major event being held in South Africa is a great honour. Sodwana Bay has been chosen as the venue for the event which will run from 10 to 17 February, and this gives SADSAA the opportunity to expose the international angling community to the facilities and fishing potential in that part of our country. As things stand, 21 teams have confirmed their attendance. These teams come mainly from Europe, Africa, Middle East and India, and they have indicated huge interest in the chosen launching area and the style and type of offshore gamefishing being offered.

The response from our boat owners based in Sodwana has been heart-warming, and I am proud of these members who are as excited as I am to make this event a resounding success. A further plus in holding this international event at Sodwana is that it allows us as SADSAA to select a Protea team as well as a SADSAA team, thereby giving six of South Africa’s top gamefish/billfish anglers the prestige opportunity to fish for their country here in South Africa. An opportunity such as this doesn’t come around often, and SADSAA’s Tournament Committee under the chairmanship of Dick Pratt is already heavily involved in the organisation. Our goal is to host an offshore angling event that is as good if not better than any other such event held under the auspices of FIPS-M.

RECENT EVENTS NOMADS TURNS 50 Left: Phillip Marx awarded a gold medal to Mark Cockcroft (far right) as the Top Angler, and a silver medal to Michael Gruar (junior) at the Nomads Game Fishing Club’s 50th Anniversary prizegiving celebration. Colin Green, Vice Chairman of Nomads, looks on from the side.

HYMIE STEYN TURNS 90 Right: Dick Pratt and Erwin Bursik with Hymie Steyn (SADSAA’S Public Relations Officer) during a function in Cape Town to celebrate Hymie’s 90th birthday. Hymie has been involved in the administration of deep sea angling in South Africa for almost 50 years now, including a stint as President of South African Ski-Boat Angling Association. He still plays a very active role in our sport.

40 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018


JUNIOR GAMEFISH NATIONALS HE 2018 Junior Gamefish Nationals took place at Shelly Beach in mid-July, with 21 teams (U19 and U16) participating. The yellowfin tuna were plentiful, and in the end the SADSAA team consisting of three KZN youngsters — Bevan Taljaard, Tristan Schreiber and Seth van den Berg — took top honours in the U19 section. Eastern Province came second and Mpumalanga third. Southern Gauteng Blue took first place in the U16 section, with Zululand second and Free State third.

T

Right: Brent Egling (tournament convenor), U19 winners Bevan Taljaard, Tristan Schreiber and Seth van den Berg with Phillip Marx (SADSAA president) and Dave Murgatroyd (NDSAA vice-president).

GETTING TO KNOW YOUR COMMITTEE We believe it’s important that the SADSAA members know who’s on the committee, so in the next few issues of SKI-BOAT magazine we’ll be giving you a brief CV of the people on the 2018/19 SADSAA committee. Hymie Steyn, SADSAA Public Relations Officer, believes that there’s more to fishing than it just being a thing that you do — it encompasses respect for your fellow man and nature. Hymie began fishing at the age of six and became increasingly involved in deep sea fishing, to the point where he was Vice-President of CIPS for 16 years. Hymie was a founder member of the Cape Boat & Ski-Boat Club and is now an Honorary Life President of the club. He has represented Western Province and South Africa at many fishing tournaments, including captaining the Springbok team in three EFSA tournaments which were all won by South Africa. Hymie has held numerous committee positions in the provincial and national fishing structures and continues to be ver y active behind the scenes in fighting for our sport. Neil Coetzer, SADSAA Transformation and Development Officer, has a passion for passing on knowledge and teaching people to fish, and his recent successes with juniors and transformation anglers is a testament to his efforts. The best feeling for him is when

someone takes knowledge he has passed on to them and manages to convert it into fishing success. Neil does the majority of his fishing from St Lucia, Cape Vidal and Shelly Beach. In addition to his national portfolio, he is the Zululand Development Officer and Records Officer and the St Lucia Ski-Boat Club Development Officer. Neil has proved he knows what he’s talking about on the water, captaining three SADSAA teams to international events and achieving two gold medals. David Oostingh, SADSAA Records Officer, has been the owner of Buck’s Marine in East London since 2008 and has been involved in skiboating and power boating since the 1970s, so he knows plenty about the craft we fish from. Dave has proved himself a willing volunteer on a wide variety of committes, not least of all for the Border Deep Sea Angling Association/Border Ski-Boat Association where he has been on the committee for 44 years, 23 of which have been as President of the association. He has held his current position of National Records Officer for 15 years and has been All Africa Records Officer for 12 years.

Carl Krause, SADSAA National Safety Officer, has been a SAMSA appointed examinor/lecturer/sur veyor since 1980, and as such has a good grasp of all the aspects of safety at sea. He was Deputy Safety Officer of SADSAA from 2010 to 2016, and took over as National Safety Officer in 2016. He has been a member of the SAMSA Advisory and Technical Committee since 2005. Carl is a member of the Shelly Beach Ski-Boat Club and Nomads Game Fishing Club. Mark-Anthony Beyl, SADSAA Environmental Officer, is a lawyer, an avid marlin and gamefish angler and a diving instructor with many years experience, so he’s seen plenty of the fish in their own environments. He is also a SAMSA surveyor and an examiner for Northern Gauteng. Mark has been very active on the Northern Gauteng committee, holding positions as their safety officer, vice chairman and chairman at various times. He has also proved his fishing prowess, achieving provincial colours for light- and heavy tackle billfishing since 2005, and SADSAA colours for Heavy Tackle Bilfishing in 2017.

SADSAA CONTACTS: Email: <info@sadsaa.co.za> • Website: <www.sadsaa.co.za> SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 41


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Species: ................................................ Weight: .................................................. Line class: ............................................. Date of Capture: .................................... Where Caught: ...................................... Skipper's Name: .................................... Digital emailed photographs should be high-resolution.

YOUR favourite offshore angling magazine, SKI-BOAT, in conjunction with The Kingfisher and the South African Deep Sea Angling Association, is proud to offer all South African ski-boaters the unique opportunity to win awards for excellence in angling. All deep sea anglers who achieve laid down standards of excellence will be entitled to apply for the KINGFISHER AWARD. Upon ratification by a panel of adjudicators, the angler will receive a handsome digital certificate, suitably inscribed. The Kingfisher Award will be made for fish caught in two sections: 1) The Kingfisher Award - Meritorious Fish To satisfy the requirements for this award, anglers are required to catch a fish included in the list detailed hereunder, equal to or better than the nominated weight. Tackle used is of no consideration here, the RULES: 1) There is no restriction on the number of awards which can be applied for. 2) Award applicants must submit a photograph of the relevant fish with the application form, preferably a photograph of the angler holding the fish. 3) SKI-BOAT reserves the right to use the photograph as it sees fit. 4) Entries must be on the official form which is included in all issues of the magazine. 5) Entires must be received within 45 days of capture. 6) Certificates awarded will be as follows: Meritorious Fish - Gold Outstanding Catch 3:1 - Bronze; 5:1 and 7:1 - Silver; 10:1 - Gold 7) No witnesses of the catch are required. The award is made in the true spirit of sportsmanship and relies on the integrity of the angler to make a just claim. 8) A selection of award winners’ names will be announced in future issues of SKIBOAT, along with relevant photographs. 9) Award applicants should allow 30-45 days for processing of applications. 10) There is no charge for Kingfisher Awards.

fish's weight being the main criterion. The different eligible fish and their corresponding minimum nominated weights are as per the list below. A gold digital certificate will be awarded for this achievement. Complementing this section is the second award category: 2) Kingfisher Award - Outstanding Catch To satisfy the requirements for this award, anglers can catch any recognised fish and the weight of that fish must equal or exceed certain laid down fish weight:line class ratios. Awards will be made in the following ratio categories: 3:1 – Bronze Award 5:1 – Silver Award 7:1 – Silver Award 10:1 – Gold Award. Applies to IGFA line class 1kg , 2kg, 4kg, 6kg, 10kg, 15kg, 24kg, 37kg and 60kg.

SPECIES: Barracuda Dorado Kingfish (Ignobilis) Garrick (Leervis) King Mackerel (’Cuda) Black Marlin Blue Marlin Striped Marlin Prodigal Son Sailfish (Pacific) Spearfish (Longbill) Spearfish (Shortbill) Tuna (Big Eye) Tuna (Longfin) Tuna (Yellowfin) Wahoo Yellowtail

NOMINATED WEIGHT: 15kg 12kg 20kg 12kg 15kg 100kg 100kg 60kg 15kg 25kg 20kg 20kg 30kg 25kg 50kg 15kg 15kg

RELEASED BILLFISH AND GT (Ignobilis) KINGFISH With the strong trend towards releasing these and other fish, we have decided to amend the Kingfisher Award rules to provide for acknowledgement of all released fish. All we need is a photo of the fish being released or prior to release (e.g. GT held on boat) and the approximate weight of the fish which should fall in line with the stipulated weights set out above. In line with this trend we will not be carrying photographs on the Kingfisher Award Page of any of the billfish species nor GTs other than those that are released.

Submit application to: Kingfisher Awards, PO Box 20545, Durban North 4016 or email angler@mags.co.za


COMPETITIONS

2018 Sodwana Tigerfish Bonanza

48 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT November/December 2018


By Mark Wilson Photos by Erwin Bursik HE inaugural running of this now legendary event was hosted by the Sodwana Angling Club in 2001 and now, 17 years later, has weathered both the literal and economic storms with aplomb. Most events of this ilk have humble beginnings and build towards future events with more participants; not so for the Tigerfish Bonanza. An incredible 213 boats and 658 anglers attended that first event â&#x20AC;&#x201D; astounding by anyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s standards. Back in 2001 Pieter Retief landed a 5.92kg tigerfish to take home first prize; the rest, as they say, is history. Back to the present. Erwin Bursik, John Frankiscos, Romeo Leone and I fished together at this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event. We had been looking forward to it with great enthusiasm and much plotting and planning with regard to tactics, baits and lures had been undertaken in an attempt to ensure we would be crowned the 2018 champions. Unfortunately another 130 boats and over 390 anglers had the same ambition, and no doubt those anglers had put in as much effort as we had. Having covered this event for SKI-BOAT magazine since its inception, I had plenty of material to refer to and plenty of photos of winning fish and smiling anglers to inspire me. Pongolapoort Dam where the event is held is prone to very hot days, and the recent drought has taken its toll on

T

Natalie Henning with her prizewinning tiger.

49


Albert Lourens, newly appointed chairman of the Sodwana Hengelklub, showing off this year’s first prize. the level of the dam, over the last seven years. The Pongola Game Reserve fishing report <www.pongolagamereserve.co.za> put the dam level at close to 50% before our arrival. A massive improvement over the level at the same time last year, it showed most obviously in the colour of the water. Last year the dam was muddy brown, but this year it was light green. The 2018 event took place from 20 to 22 September. As usual the Wednesday was dedicated to settling into one’s accommodation — either at the campsite or else in one of the many

Juvenile tigerfish were plentiful.

high end lodges situated close to the dam. That evening the skippers’ and anglers’ meeting was held in the marquee to sort out any questions or concerns the participants had. On Thursday morning — the first day of fishing — a long convoy of watercraft ranging from dedicated offshore boats all the way to bass boats and everything in between made its way through the gates of the Pongola Game Reserve and down to the slipway for the launch. The excitement in the air was tangible but short lived as the first day’s

angling ran afoul of gusting winds which made it dangerous for the smaller boats to compete against their much larger counterparts. In keeping with the concept of fair play for all, the first day’s fishing was declared a blow out and a call was made that any fish caught that day would not be eligible for prizes. This is the first time I have a witnessed a blow out at this event and I shared the other anglers’ disappointment that a day’s angling would be lost. The next two days were fished in relatively calmer conditions.

Jaco Sevenster with his 3.245kg tiger which took third place. SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 51


Hansie Duvenhage of D7 Unique handed the spoils over to first prize winner Natalie Henning. Onboard Mr Ski-Boat we managed to catch small tigerfish aplenty by employing small spinners, but once again the big boys and gals managed to elude us. The report back from the weigh-station release point was that most of the other boats participating had the same situation. However, there is always that one angler who manages to get everything right. For the second year in a row a woman outfished all the men. Natalie Henning effected a brilliant catch, weigh and safe release of a 3.62kg tigerfish, and took top spot. She was closely

followed by Alwin Bohmer with a 3.48kg tiger, and Jaco Sevenster took third place with his 3.245kg fish. Congratulations to all three of these exceptional anglers. Yamaha has been the premier sponsors at this event for as long as I can recall, and this year they put up a Toby monohull powered by a single tiller-arm 15hp outboard on trailer valued at over R100 000 as the prize for the heaviest tigerfish. This year the longstanding committee passed the baton to a new team headed up by a very capable Albert

Flip van Wyk’s 2.925kg specimen took fourth place. 52 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018

Lourens, and they did a fantastic job, ensuring that this particular Bonanza will continue to be a great drawcard for anglers and sponsors alike. Add to this the massive expanse of water, its bank alive with wildlife and the opportunity to catch one of the most elusive freshwater fish species in Africa, and you have an event that should be on the bucket list of every angler. I will certainly be there next year — will you? If the answer is yes, then please contact Ina <ina@sodwanahengelklub.co.za> for further details.

The smile says it all!


FEATURE

EYECARE ESSENTIALS Add a secret weapon to your tackle box N often-overlooked and undervalued item in the angler’s arsenal is a good pair of polarised sunglasses to protect your eyes during the long hours on the water. We all know that sunglasses protect our eyes from harmful ultra violet radiation which can lead to sunburn of the cornea and even temporary loss of vision. Prolonged exposure can also increase your chances of developing cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma or skin cancer around the eyes. Equally as important is the fact that sunglasses also shield our eyes from flying hooks and wind-blown debris which are regular hazards while fishing. Wearing polarised lenses — even on cloudy days — greatly reduces the glare directly from the sun and the glare reflecting off the water, cutting the impact of the harsh light and eliminating the need to squint. Polarised glasses also enable you to see deeper into the water which is always an advantage, especially if you’re watching to see fish coming up on your lures. Just as lures, rods, reels and fishing techniques have evolved over the years, so has the technology used to make sunglasses. In the past good quality polarised glasses were very expensive and out of the reach of most consumers. Although there’s still a lot of truth to the saying “you get what you pay for”, innovations in technology and practices mean prices have come down in recent times and more anglers are able to afford top quality products. Keep in mind though that not all polarisation is created equal. Some sunglasses block only 20-30% of glare. Make sure you select a premium polarised sunglasses brand that elimi-

A

nates 99.9% of harsh glare to get the best advantage. The top quality brands are also likely to last much longer. Another important consideration in selecting your perfect pair of fishing shades is the colour of the lenses. Certain colour lenses perform better on certain days, depending on the amount of light present. As a general rule of thumb, if you spend your days fishing offshore, a grey base lens with a blue mirror is the way to go. For freshwater and inshore fishing amber, rose or copper lenses with a green mirror are better. A darker lens with a very heavy mirror is important for offshore fishing because the light reflecting off the open ocean can be extremely intense. Many anglers are worried about choosing sunglasses which improve their image or complement their fashion sense, while others just want something durable and serviceable. Either way South African stores have a wide range of options to suit everyone’s tastes. Be sure to select a pair of sunglasses that features durable, scratch and solvent resistant lenses that are also waterproof. Take note of the lens and frame material to ensure you choose a pair that is lightweight and durable so they won’t shatter if accidently dropped on the boat. If your sunglasses fit well and are lightweight, you won’t even notice you’re wearing them. Wrap around styles are also a good idea because they block light from entering your peripheral vision and offer additional protection from physical hazards. Many anglers like to wear their glasses on a strap or leash of some kind to ensure they don’t drop off in the middle of the action of fighting or retieving a fish.


SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 â&#x20AC;¢ 55


TRAVEL

By Daryl Bartho

O

VER a couple of beers way back in August 2005 a good mate of mine suggested I join him and a few other guys on a bit of a paddling trip up the rugged North West coast of Australia. At the time I was over in Perth paddling the Avon Descent, a river kayak race from Northam to Bayswater, some 124km over two days. I was already shattered from two long days of paddling, but the thought of a bit more paddling while getting to fish some of Australia’s most remote reefs made the decision really easy. I would be joining some of Australia’s most accomplished watermen on a 600km odyssey from Carnarvon up to Exemouth. Over the next two weeks I experienced some of the most amazing paddling, fishing and spearfishing the planet has to offer. We were accompanied by two fishing vessels as we paddled approximately 60km per day. Thankfully we had a few days to chill, which, in my case, were spent chasing mackies (’cuda in SA), wahoo and other pelagics. After that trip in 2005 my good mate Ash Nesbit decided that the trip should become an annual fixture in our diaries, but instead of paddling 600km, we would set up a base camp to fish and spearfish to our hearts’ content. We did five trips after the first trip in 2005 exploring the remote islands and deserted beaches the North West coast has to offer.

56 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018


Exemouth beauty â&#x20AC;&#x201D; like Mars on Earth.

Massive greater barracuda devour most lures.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 â&#x20AC;˘ 57


25kg wahoo caught on the troll in 30m of water.

Mackie on the LP 190XDD Chrome purple. 58 â&#x20AC;˘ SKI-BOAT November/December 2018

Decent wahoo on a skirted lure.


Coral trout caught off Cape St Crique.

The weather in August across there is very similar to Durban’s, with the water a comfortable 23°C. However big swell is always a problem with the big frontal systems that work their way up from further south. I hadn’t been back to WA for a couple of years since, so when Ash asked me if I would join him on a charter from Geraldton all the way up to the Montebello Islands this year I just had to convince my dear wife that it was going to be a good idea. Ash is captain of a 70ft aluminium power catamaran called Silverado. It is the ideal live aboard for fishing and diving trips to the remote areas of NW Aussie. Leaving my wife and two young daughters, aged two years and five weeks respectively was never going to be easy, but the thought of screaming reels and blue water helped! Ash had a client who wanted to take his family on a fishing holiday around the Montebello Islands and he thought it would be a good opportunity for me to do some scouting for possible charters in the future. My aim is to try get a few guys together next year for a few weeks of solid fishing aboard a luxury mothership. The North West has everything any waterman could ever dream of — endless fishing opportunities, some of the best waves and world class diving. Packing for this kind of trip is always tricky; it’s easy to get carried away and end up at the airport check-in with a bag weighing 47kg! Fortunately I already had a quiver of rods and a heap of tackle over in Perth so it was just a case of putting together some ’cuda spoons and couple of new ’cuda dusters after a quick stop at Pulsator Lures. I had also called Ben Patrick from Halco Australia two weeks prior to the trip and he very generously put together a large selection of lures for us, including their new Slidog stick bait and Laser Pro 190 XXD. The Australians fish slightly differently for their ’cuda/Spanish mackerel compared to the way we do it here in KwaZulu-Natal. Very few of the guys rig mackerel and baits like we do here along our North Coast. They mostly use linked hooks with large garfish/halfbeaks as bait or simply troll for them with bibbed lures such as Halco Laser Pros and Sorcerers. I’m a sucker for whipping when it comes to targeting ’cuda and this is the main reason I have entrusted my Kingfisher Ski Whipper with 9” KP to Ash in Perth. Over the past few years I’ve been trying to convince Ash to go and catch some slimy mackerel a few months before our trip so that we always have decent bait and don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on sardines and gardies. Eventually the day of departure arrived. I said goodbye to my wife and two kids, took a quick eight hour flight across to Perth, drove five hours up the Great Northern Highway to Geraldton. Once we got there we had to patiently wait six hours for Reece Baker to arrive on a bus from Onslo, so we only left the Gero Harbour after midnight. Finally we travelled 16 hours all the way up to Cape St Crique on the southern tip of Dorre Island. Bernier and Dorre Island both form part of the Shark Bay World Heritage Site and are home to some of the world’s most endangered mammals. The islands are each approximately 30km long, with a small gap separating them. If the swell is under 3m then it is possible to pass through the gap from the Shark Bay side, but you definitely don’t want to be caught in the gap with any swell over 3m; I can vouch for this after experiencing it firsthand. The fishing on the western edges of these islands is unbelievable! Huge wahoo congregate in the slightly deeper water from 30-50m and can be a menace when you’re trolling high speed lures. Places like Low Point and the Gap proving to be some of the better areas when targeting these speedsters. SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 59


The ’cuda seem to prefer the slightly shallower waters closer to the islands and we targeted them in 12-30m. There are hundreds of yellowspot and golden trevally along the many ledges and you can literally catch a fish every drop of the jig. The bigger ’cuda and wahoo seem to hang around the many feeding shoals of skipjack and longtail tuna that smash the smaller baitfish along the steep island structure. I’ve had some of my favourite spearfishing in this area while targeting the abundant baldchin groper that frequent the shallower 5-20m water. The ocean wildlife is wonderful and a few years back

60 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018

we were fortunate to have a few manatees swim around us for about 40 minutes near the Gap. We have not had too many issues with shark predation in the past, but I must admit that this year I saw a definite increase in shark activity and we had a good number of ’cuda taxed. There are also plenty of massive brindle bass that continually patrol the main ledges in search of a feed. On many occasions I nearly messed my wetsuit when these giants swam up to me, usually from my blind spot! This year I also noticed an abundance of big chanos chanos (milkfish) that were congregating on the multiple scum lines not far from the shore. On the first dive of the


trip we were surrounded by them and had some 25-35kg GTs cruising around as well. We hooked quite a few decent ’cuda while testing out the new Laser Pro 190XXD and Reece caught a 20kg-plus fish on the chrome purple lure not ten minutes after we put them out. I was amazed at how stable the Laser Pro 190XXD was when it was pulled behind Silverado at 13 knots with a massive prop wash. Ben Patrick told me they have spent a huge amount of time and money perfecting the design of the new bib, and the speeds at which we pulled them — and their performance — showed they’ve got it right. We managed to get a ’cuda on almost every bait we pulled,

SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 61


Reece Baker with a nice mackie on the Laser Pro 190XDD.

Guests aboard Silverado enjoy luxury at every turn.

Spangled emperor caught from the back of Silverado after dinner.

Channel cruising in search of dinner.

62 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018

but the bigger 30kg fish still eluded us. A few big fish bit through the no.7 wire we used, but I wasn’t convinced any of them was over the magical 30kg number. Next stop was Barrow Island which entailed another 15 hours travelling further north. Along the way we decided to stop in at one of the many drop offs with scattered bombies around midday. There were red emperor and coral trout everywhere. As Dave Lewington was descending to the ledge below him a large silver flash caught his eye; to his right cruised a 30kg-plus ’cuda! He took aim and delivered a perfect shot which saw him getting towed around for about 15 minutes. Luckily the large ’cuda towed him almost directly to Silverado which was anchored about 600m north of us. Mike Dowson was following him closely in the plastic tender boat and was a bit apprehensive when the 33kg ’cuda was handed up to him to load; the fish’s head looked positively prehistoric! We had a lot of fun that evening catching and releasing spangled emperors up to 5kg on light tackle on the northern end of the island where Ash decided we would anchor up for the night. A couple of days later we found ourselves in the many channels of the Montebello Islands. Some days we had to try to evade the ’cuda and we couldn’t even get a bottom bait to hit the floor without being smashed by the hundreds of 8-12kg fish. Anything flashy would get smoked, and I had a quiet laugh at the guys using a bit of flash on their bottom hooks because even if they did hit the bottom, inevitably they would get bitten off


Fresh crays and coral trout for dinner.

on the retrieve. I was suitably impressed at how effective slow pitch jigging was, and the guys landed numerous impressive Rankin cod (very similar to our yellowbelly just a different colour), kingies and large red emperor. We also spent a bit of time catching squid on the weed banks and caught some massive crayfish for the pot. What I also found very interesting was that in the 1950s the British military conducted three nuclear weapons tests in this archipelago. These days the area is part of a Marine Protected Area with demarcated “no take” zones, and you would never imagine that any kind of bombing had ever taken place there. After three weeks aboard Silverado it was going to be very difficult getting back to normal working life. Waking up before sunrise, having a cup of coffee from freshly ground beans and having pretty much the whole day to terrorise fish — what more could anybody ever ask for? Lucky for me I’m not stuck behind a desk and computer all day. I did miss my wife and kids terribly, but I’m already planning the trip there next year. If you’re interested in going on the trip of a lifetime then get hold of me as spots will fill up very quickly once we have the dates and travel plan sorted! For further details email Dar yl Bartho <daryl@barthos.co.za>.

32kg croc shot off Browns Island. SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 63


HISTORY

A remodelled Ace Craft (renamed Barracuda) in action for 4 Recce.

IRON FIST FROM THE SEA Ace Craft’s role in recce operations

By Erwin Bursik

T

HE year was 1978 and South African troops were guarding the north western border of South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia) and South Africa’s north eastern f lank with Moçambique. The land, air and sea divisions were on active duty. In Iron Fist from the Sea, a recently released book, Arnè Söderlund and Douw Steyn document the activities of 4 Recce’s (4 Reconnaissance Commando Regiment) waterborne operation during the period of conflict. Recently a man was looking at the digital version of the book and recognised the commandostyle boats shown in some of the accompanying photographs as being the boats his father’s factory used to produce in the early 1970s. That man was Gary Oliver, and his father, Clive Oliver, was once South Africa’s foremost boat builder and the owner of Ace Craft. Clive, currently resident in the United Kingdom, is now permitted to break an almost 40-year

64 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018

silence which he was forced into in terms of the Secrecy Act. He told me the story of his clandestine meetings and prioritised manufacture of 18- and 21ft Ace Crafts for the South African Navy. The deck layout of these boats was modified to carry six and eight recces respectively, in addition to each boat’s three crew members. The boats were fitted with two 90hp and two 115hp Yamahas respectively and the entire rig was over sprayed with dull grey/green radar reflective paint. Douw Steyn was at one stage the Operations Commander of 4 Recce, and during our meeting in Durban he told me that 4 Recce consisted mainly of troops from “die ou Transvaal” who had little or no boating experience and knew even less about handling a craft at sea and going through the surf. The Natal Sharks Board staff who were already using these craft were commandeered to train the manne of 4 Recce before they were sent to their initial base in Langebaan. Operationally, Douw and 4 Recce’s task was to land troops


within the operational area to strike at predefined targets from a lonely beach in the dead of night. The Barracuda craft, as the navy named these boats, were deployed from navy strike craft up to 20 nautical miles off the coast. Their sole navigation aid was a compass which would guide them to the designated beach where they would generally disembark the troops along with tommy guns, explosives and other weapons of war. Once they were off the craft the three crew held the craft in the shallow surf line to mask it from radar detection, or circled within the surf line to avoid detection. A craft beached in the way we all do when fishing would have become a proverbial “sitting duck”. Once the troops were all back aboard after such a sortie, the Barracudas would exit the surf and rendezvous with the strike craft about five miles out to sea. It was not an easy task on a dark night, especially when the compass was the only navigation device. Douw explained how they reached their destination ... The skipper had set times for distance at a set RPM, so he would calculate how long he would

have to ride at the set speed of, say, 3 500 RPM to cover the distance to the rendezvous point. Having arrived, he would then circle around the said spot awaiting pick up by the strike craft. The strike boat had either an aft standing dolly (see diagram) or a deck hoist to deploy and retrieve the crew and the craft itself. Those who know the sea understand the effects current, wind and chop have on a craft, and one has to marvel that these rendezvous were ever achieved. This regiment (4 Recce) was operational for ten years and was deployed from areas near Cabinda in the far north of Angola, as well as Luanda, Lobito, Namibia, and then Maputo, Beira and Quelimane in Moçambique, and up to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and proved to be a formidable force during this period. It is interesting to hear reports of how these Barracuda/Ace Craft boats were used by the strike craft. Both they and the inflatables that were deployed from submarines for similar tasks proved to be extraordinarily strong and seaworthy considering the enormous

time they spent on the water during training exercises and during the height of action. In further commendation of both the craft and the crews who skippered them, only one craft was “flipped” during these ten years, and it was flipped in the surf during Operation Simple. None of these craft were sunk during the period 4 Recce was operational. As Ski-Boat magazine is as much an offshore boating magazine as it is about fishing, we felt that this exposure shows the extent of the innovation that was present in the offshore boating community at that point in time and which indeed has continued to develop over the intervening years. For the Ace Craft to be chosen for this demanding service and to come through the ordeal so well over the course of ten years says a great deal for those who designed and built them. South African-built offshore craft are generally extremely well made, after all most of them must face the daunting task of bearing up in our rough seas as well as withstanding the bruising treatment of being launched off the beach and the even tougher impact of hitting the beach at speed to slide the craft fully out of the water. A tribute to both man and boat is detailed in the book. Iron Fist from the Sea is an excellent read and even those with no great interest in military matters will gain much insight into what men and boats achieved from virtually the very first boat we used to go fishing. If you can’t find a copy of this book at your local book store contact Douw Steyn directly via email <steynd@ proteacoin.co.za>.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 • 65


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 <angler@mags.co.za>. There is no restriction on the number of awards that can be applied for, and SKI-BOAT magazine reserves the right to use the photographs as it sees fit. A selection of five award winners will appear in each issue of SKI-BOAT magazine. Junior anglers, Mercury and SKI-BOAT magazine acknowledge that you hold the future of our sport in your hands. Here’s your chance to show us what you can do!

66 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018


AN ALL AFRICA RECORD by Jordan Kahn (13)

M

Y dad introduced me to deep sea fishing when I was just three years old and I fell in love with it when I caught a Natal snoek on my first outing. Since then we have spent many great days together catching ’cuda, dorado, marlin, sailfish and tuna along with other gamefish and bottomfish. Some of my greatest memories have been made on the boat catching fish way bigger than me. My dad and I have always fished the big tournaments together and we decided to start competitive interclub fishing in 2017. In July 2017 I fished in the Durban Skiboat Junior Team in the Umhlanga Ski-boat Interclub. My dad skippered the boat and I fished with Chad Jackson and Kieren McKay. The fishing off Durban was pretty quiet and we only weighed in one small fish on day one. The next day we decided to fish south of Durban but again found the fishing difficult with no bites. After spending half the day puzzling for bottomfish, we decided to run back to The Pipe off Durban to look for a bonito or yellowfin tuna. About ten minutes after we arrived I hooked a daga salmon on the bottom with a live mackerel and lost it just a few metres below the boat. We were fishing with IGFA 10kg line class so you have to

fight big fish carefully to avoid breaking the line. I baited up again and went straight back down to the bottom. Five minutes later Chad shouted, “Sailie behind the boat!” We all watched in amazement as it tailwalked and jumped. Suddenly my reel started screaming as the fish took up all the slack line in the water. This is not a fish you expect to hook at 45m on the bottom! I ran to the back of the boat, grabbed my rod and settled in for a good fight. After a long and spectacular jumping session my dad managed to grab hold of the bill and the fish was technically “landed”. We wanted to release the sailie and spent the next 30 minutes trying to revive it in the water, but unfortunately the fish had been wounded during the fight and it did not survive. We eventually decided to boat the fish as it was big for a Durban sailie and there was a chance it would qualify as a junior record on IGFA 10kg line class. We rushed back to the beach to get the fish weighed before the scales closed for the competition. The sailfish weighed in at 37.8kg — a new junior All Africa record. In January 2018 I received my certificate confirming the record. I love fishing and I hope to be a Protea angler one day.


BOOK REVIEW

BORN TO FISH Tales that will entrance young and old

Reviewed by Erwin Bursik

P

ATRICK Garratt, whose book Crazy! was published in 2012 and which I reviewed in the May/June 2013 issue of Ski-Boat magazine, set himself up as an author after his retirement from his position as CEO of the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. He recently published his second book, Born to Fish. As a marine biologist at the Oceanographic Research Institute based in Durban in his start up days in the “trade”, he carried with him a lot of experience gained from his formative years of beach fishing and ski-boating off the lower KwaZulu-Natal south coast. No doubt it was this knowledge and experience that steered him in the direction of marine biology as a career. Pat’s was the road followed by so many of us pursuing a love for fishing, from rock pools to the deep blue sea, from pinkies to black marlin, building with it the ardent desire to know more and more about how to hunt and catch fish. In his book’s introduction, Pat says that throughout his life, and especially as a young boy, he’s read numerous books and magazines about fishing but failed to find many real fishing stories amongst the how-to articles and reports that are published. He wanted to give today’s youngsters the thing he was hankering for. As the publisher of Ski-Boat magazine I naturally want to refute that claim, but after reading Born to Fish, I am more inclined to see his point and understand the reason for the books he has written. In Born to Fish Pat has woven together an intricate mix of characters from the diverse cultures of the 1950s onwards on the KwaZulu-Natal coast. A variety of races, sexes, ages and mindsets have been used in a complex yet interesting style. Anyone who knows Pat will recognise that at least one of the characters has the stamp of a young Pat Garratt growing up on the KZN south coast. Through the pages of this book we’re made privy to the activities, ideas, learning and above all philosophies building up in the minds of a youngster developing his skills as an angler. Having read the book, I can

concur with the likes of Barry Wareham and Rob Kyle whose comments on the back cover of the book commend Pat for the keen observation, compassion, respect and sound angling advice that are evident in the book. Their high opinion of Pat’s writing is validated time and time again. Here we have a book ostensibly written for young people who have had a taste of angling and want to delve more deeply into the surrounding romance. It’s a story book that Pat hopes will hook these youngsters on the fun of the pastime and will hopefully indoctrinate them into the culture of the sport and the inclination to do the right thing. A blend of fact and fiction, from a young Xhosa boy’s instruction by his grandfather to catch and keep only what he can consume, to the implied thinking of teenagers from privileged backgrounds in the realms of conser vation and resource management, Pat weaves a wonderful tale. The stories cross both social and ethnic barriers, following a group of friends from their early years until late teens, showing how their interest and expertise grew and improved as they ventured from elementar y rock fishing to targeting many of the bigger and more exotic fish from the beach. Above all it was the detailed fishing techniques and species habits that Pat put into the group’s fishing stories that had me hooked. I was amazed at his incredible knowledge not only as a marine biologist, but also as an angling tactician and tackle make-up artist. Pat imparts very cleverly, through the discussions of his characters, a strong message of the importance of good resource management, morals within the sport and the ethos of adhering to marine laws. Without doubt, he has achieved his ambition of writing a series of stories that young anglers will thoroughly enjoy. In saying that, I also enjoyed reading the book and linking the stories to my personal experiences whilst beach fishing as a youngster. Born to Fish will not only make interesting reading for any angler, but will also add immensely to their tackle box of knowledge.

Looking wistfully out to sea he continued … ‘On the one hand we know so little about the sea and the fish that swim in her, and on the other I fear that we already know too much and that we have started a process of decimating the oceans.’

70 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2018

Born to Fish is available from www.netbooks.co.za at a cost of R149, or through Amazon.


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O

N the way to the 2018 Tigerfish Bonanza held in Jozini, Mark Wilson and I stopped in at DB Marine in Richards Bay to view the progress of the F200 that will be taking centre stage as the main prize at the 2018 Billfish 15 000 tournament. Whilst the hull of the craft was still in the mould, its construction to deck level allowed me to see its composite construction that obviates the usage of all wood in this craft. Their use of Sondor Flotation was also very interesting.What an amazing prize this is going to be for one fortunate angler. While there I couldn’t help but be captivated by the almost complete Kingcat 2406 Full Cabin boat. My initial impression left me very excited about joining in on her sea trials during the early part of October this year. A full review of this craft will be carried in the January/ February 2019 issue of SKI-BOAT magazine. For further information on these boats contact Dylan Banwell on 072 095 0093, email <dbmarineservices@gmail.com> or visit their website <www.dbmarineservices.com>.

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Deadline for the January/February 2019 issue of Ski-Boat magazine is 7th November 2018. Book your space now. Contact Joan on 031 572 2289 or email adverts@mags.co.za

72 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT November/December 2018


DIRECTORY

SKI-BOAT November/December 2018 â&#x20AC;¢ 73


RAPALA LIP

THE END OF A DREAM          

I

ALWAYS thought that fishing was a very simple sport â&#x20AC;&#x201D; until I married a fisherman, that is. Our honeymoon was spent fishing. How did you guess? To this day Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not sure how he convinced me that I would enjoy fishing for the whole of our honeymoon when I had never before shown the slightest interest in his beloved sport! In any case, it was an educating week and it was then that I learned there was more to fishing than a fisherman, rod, bait, tackle and fish. The psychology behind it and the knowledge required astounded me! Allow me to share with you what I learned about my husband on our honeymoon ... My new husband, being a thoughtful and loving man, had purchased for me a rod and reel so that he could initiate me into the intricacies of the sport. I was delighted with my rig and eagerly awaited my first dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fishing. My spouse, a gillie and I set off for the lagoon armed with rods, reels, many a tackle box, evil smelling packets and a bucket of mud prawns. I dared not look at those poor prawns because the urge to tip them back into the estuary was great, but the fear of repercussions was greater. As I have already said, I married a loving man, but I doubted he would be very forgiving if I chucked away his bait. One should not test the boundaries of the relationship to that extent on the honeymoon ... Being a dreamer by nature, I imagined myself lying elegantly, even provocatively in a clean white boat, trailing my fingers in the water, my husband gazing at me in adoration as he reeled in fish after fish. I would play around with the tackle a bit, but by and large I planned to work on my tan while reading the novel I was currently engrossed in. Well, to begin with the boat was not white, nor clean, which marred my dream a little. The water was army green and I would have been terrified to dip a finger in it. My dream was

Last word from the ladies slowly crumbling. I could not lie down elegantly, provocatively or any other way because the boat was too small and the three of us barely fitted in sitting upright â&#x20AC;&#x201D; inelegantly! Not wanting to reveal to my new husband how squeamish I was, nor that I had never before been fishing, I declined to fish, saying I would just enjoy watching him. Really I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t bear the thought of putting those squirming mud prawns on a hook. After all, my nails had just been freshly done for the wedding! So there I sat, inelegantly swatting flies off the evil smelling packets, not looking at the mud prawns and applauding loudly every time my darling reeled in â&#x20AC;&#x201D; whether there was a fish on his hook or not! After three days of sitting in a small, dirty boat, watching my spouse and the gillie fish, I was horribly and most dreadfully bored. I was so cramped in the boat that I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even read properly, and every time the boat rocked I was worried my Kindle would go overboard! Total collapse of my dream! It was then that those extremely wise words came back to me: If you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t beat them, join them! Now bear in mind, dear reader, that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d had three days to ponder how I would escape the hook if I were a mud prawn, and also that I love all kinds of home craft â&#x20AC;&#x201D; embroidery, knitting, macrame etc. I had also had three days to get over my empathy for the mud prawns and my fears of handling them. With all this in mind you will understand why the mud prawn I seized had no chance! It was chain stitched, double knotted, herringboned and slipstitched onto my hook before it could move a pincher!

Not wanting to rock the boat by reaching over my husband and the gillie to get a rod, I just peeled off a long length of nylon and dropped it overboard in an untidy bunch. The two men sniggered quietly and smiled patronisingly at my endeavours. I could not distinguish between the tugs made on my line by the tide, wind and fish, so would just strike mightily whenever I felt it was appropriate to do so. Then I would haul the line in and invariably there was a large, very surprised fish dangling from my hook! This wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hard at all; in fact, it was quite a lot of fun! At first my darling and the gillie were also very excited at my catches, but when the same thing was happening two days later and their great casts were producing very little, their amusement had worn off and they were both boasting decent sized Rapala Lips. At that point my new husband announced heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d had enough of river fishing and had decided we should move to the rocks. Suddenly my Rapala Lip grew. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d watched other fishermen casting off the rocks and I knew there was no way I could cast that far. However, there were a few pluses to this change in pace â&#x20AC;&#x201D; firstly I would be able to stretch out on the rocks and work on my tan and get back to my book, secondly I could move myself far away from the smelly bait, and thirdly it would give my darling a chance to rebuild his pride in his ability as a fisherman. I was satisfied that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d proved I could catch more fish than him â&#x20AC;&#x201D; if I wanted to â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and really Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d had enough of that. Within a few days of starting fishing I learned several things: your dreams do not always come true; sometimes life works out differently and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s better than any dream; no knowledge is ever wasted â&#x20AC;&#x201D; not even embroidery stitches; pride comes before a fall; and lastly, be sensitive to other peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s feelings â&#x20AC;&#x201D; especially those of outfished fishermen â&#x20AC;&#x201D; sometimes itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best to bow out graciously while youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re ahead!

YOUR CHANCE TO GET EVEN CALLING all ladies â&#x20AC;&#x201D; are you an angling widow? Are you a frustrated crew member aboard hubbyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s boat? Do you bear the brunt of the skipperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lapses in fishing ability? Do you often want to have your say but are prevented from doing so by those chauvinistic male anglers? Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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 itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s done. Come on ladies, share your stories with us â&#x20AC;&#x201D; you know you want to. Email them to <sheena@mags.co.za>. 74 â&#x20AC;˘ SKI-BOAT November/December 2018


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Profile for Angler Publications

Ski-Boat November 2018  

SKI-BOAT magazine — now in its 34th year — is Africa’s leading deep sea angling publication with an extensive readership in South Africa as...

Ski-Boat November 2018  

SKI-BOAT magazine — now in its 34th year — is Africa’s leading deep sea angling publication with an extensive readership in South Africa as...