Ski-Boat magazine — November 2019

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Other countries: R31.30 excl.

R36 .00

November/December 2019 Vol. 35 No. 6

MOROCCAN MISADVENTURES White marlin in North Africa

ODE TO THE LONGFIN A popular target in years gone by

BOATING BIG EYE Hooking & landing your big catch


November/December 2019 Volume 35 Number 6 COVER: BLUE BEAUTY A strong Cape Verde blue marlin hooked from Nha Cretcheu. (See pg 64.) Photo: Stuart Simpson



SKI-BOAT Magazine Readers’ Survey Take our survey and win a fantastic prize from The Kingfisher


Staying Legal Operating within the parameters of the law — by Erwin Bursik


Ode to the Longfin A sought after species in years gone by — by Erwin Bursik


Big Boy! Part 3: Bringing your big eye tuna to the boat — by Rob and Scott Naysmith



One Hand Washes the Other Ski-boat anglers collect genetic material from seventy-four — by Bruce Mann


Tigers are Too Smart by Half 2019 Sodwana Tigerfish Bonanza — by Erwin Bursik


Live the Life Two Oceans Marine launches Magnum 2750 CC


Eyecare Essentials Never leave home without your sunnies


Moroccan Misadventures Chasing white marlin in North Africa — by Adam Waites


Predators & Pelagics


BCSS International Tagging Programme — by Ale Weiss


Blue Marlin Capital Cape Verde delivers again — by Herman Jansen van Rensburg


30 Years On and Still Powering Ahead Two Oceans Marine celebrates a milestone

DEPARTMENTS 8 9 32 61 63 75

Editorial — by Erwin Bursik Postbox SADSAA News Subscribe and WIN! Kingfisher Awards Reel Kids

50 76 77 80 80 81 82

Bits & Pieces Mercury Junior Anglers Smalls Ad Index Business Classifieds & Directory Rapala Lip — Last Word from the Ladies

The official magazine of the South African Deep Sea Angling Association


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



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

8 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019


AFETY at sea has, since time immemorial, been both a necessity and at the same time a highly emotive issue.

There’s no doubt that the extensive video coverage of rescue crews setting out in horrendous seas to rescue people and craft in distress, including footage I saw of a rescue operation in the North Sea late last year, graphically demonstrates the need for adequate safety standards and equipment for ocean-going craft. However, the question that is often raised by Erwin Bursik our local offshore boating community is whether Publisher this stringent need has been over emphasised and/or over legislated here in South Africa. “But in Australia, USA and even the UK the rules are not as stringent as these in SA!” is the complaint I often hear. The authorities cite the lack of Coast Guard facilities off the South African coast as the reason we have such high safety requirements, but the validity of that is debatable when you remember that we have the extremely efficient National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) operating in South African waters. In the early 1960s, a ski-boat launching from, for example, the Durban Ski-Boat Club was required to have the following safety equipment onboard: • A life jacket for each crew member (these were canvas jackets with six pouches in the front which were filled with cubes of cork); • Two paddles/oars; • Bailing bucket; • A toolkit which had to include a spare shear pin (in those days these pins were used to connect the propeller to the drive shaft). That was it — no radio, no electronics, no flotation, no fire extinguishers, no flares .... in fact none of the 30-odd items now required if you want to get your boat certified as seaworthy. What’s more, despite the basic craft we ad back then and the outboard motors of those days being a lot less reliable than the modern motors used today, of the boats that launched from Durban Ski-Boat Club, very few if any craft sank, nor was there loss of life of crew members. Loss of power (ie: both motors not running) was quite a regular occurrence, but being towed back to base was not considered “an incident”. Yet the words “safety at sea” — debated in the committees of clubs and the initial national sporting association, the Natal Ski-Boat Association — evoked very emotional discussions. Many “what ifs” were bandied about in the discussions of safety standards in the formulation of the Natal Ski-Boat Association’s “Boating Manual”. Annual boat testing was also introduced, along with the introduction of formal skipper’s tickets. My first proficiency test at DSBC (after acquiring my first boat in 1962) consisted of the club’s commodore standing on the beach watching me launch my craft, proceding to Vetch’s Pier and returning to the beach. Times change, and despite the mordenisation of boats and outboard motors, the safety requirements’ list grew exponentially. There were many arguments put forward by those who do not see the necessity for all the additional requirements put into place by the national body. In hindsight the theory versus practical argument was bound to happen regardless of the minimal loss at sea of club-affiliated craft. The original Boating Manual was later developed into the “Safety Manual” — a subtle but very real change that has gradually developed into what we have to adhere to today under the current legislation. With the whole “safety of craft at sea” issue now completely out of the hands of South African ski-boaters I have to quote the words of one of the doyens of our sport, the late George Coates of Mapelane Ski-Boat Club who strongly voiced an opinion at one of the early Natal Ski-Boat Association meetings: “I oppose the formalisation of the Natal Boating Manual as it will, in time, become a rod we have made for our own backs that we will never be able to escape.” George, how right you were! Till the next tide.

Erwin Bursik

POSTBOX BEWARE HEAVY SAMSA FINES Dear Editor, A warning to all my fellow deep-sea anglers ... My crew and I were fishing the Port St Francis Tuna Challenge in early June. I work abroad so I could not participate in the first few days of the competition, and a friend took my boat and crew fishing. I later joined them for the last two days. I recently had my boat completely redone — new buoyancy, deck, cab, hatches, aerial for my VHF radio, new cables for my equipment, new fish finder/GPS/radar etc. The repairs to the antenna and cables alone cost R15 000. We left port on 7 June and fished all day with no issues — the radio was working fine calling in and out on channel 10. On the morning of 8 June the weather wasn’t too good, so three weather boats went out to assess the conditions. Contact was made with trawlers out in the deep, and the committee made the call to send us fishing. As the weather forecast on showed improvement during the day, we decided to battle the elements and continued to fish. We missed the 11am call-up, but weren’t worried as the competition rules stated that all callups would be on channel 10, and we all know 35 nm out to sea the signal isn’t that good. By 1pm we decided to start to turn back to port. When we reached the 100m mark where we normally get cellphone signal I received a message from my wife to call Port St. Francis port control. I couldn’t get through to them on the radio so I phoned them on my cellphone. They informed me that the competition was called off earlier in the day and I needed to make my way back to port as they had notified MRCC in Cape town and NSRI was sent out to look for us. Keep in mind that I was booked out till 4.30pm that day. Just after that I received a call from NSRI in Cape Town asking me if we were all okay. When I got back to port, I had to go to the harbour master’s office to fill in some paperwork that is required after an incident out at sea. The harbour master also instructed me that I was not to remove my boat from the mooring where I keep it during competitions. The next morning I again asked if I could remove my boat from the water, as I was flying back to work that day. Again I was instructed to leave my boat on the mooring. When I returned to work I started contacting the PSF harbour master and SAMSA. They started sending me documentation and again I had to fill in paperwork. I was slapped with a Notice of Detention of a vessel (dated 18-06-2019) and an Admission of Contravention section 324. I was

advised that SAMSA would send surveyors to check that everything was in order on my boat. They found that the frequency was not set correctly. (Bear in mnd that no ski-boat has to do a SAMSA survey on their radios, only commercial craft.) After the radio surveyor/installers fixed the problem I had to pay a R4 815 fine before I could take my boat out the water. Well, after this I thought I was in the clear. NOT SO. I was then slapped with a fine for R25 000 from SAMSA because they found that my radio aerial wasn’t working correctly. In my opinion that was no fault of mine. I was abroad at the time of installation and expected that the SAMSA accredited surveyor who installed the brand new aerial on my ski-boat would have done the correct procedures, seeing that they work hand in hand with SAMSA. I submitted an appeal to SAMSA, stating that my radio worked when I called out and it worked when I called back in. How must a regular boat owner know that his radio has a small problem with it if we are not required to do a radio survey like the tankers and trawlers? After I submitted the appeal to SAMSA they replied as follows: “Dear Mr Andre Labuschagne, “Admission of Contravention (AOC) in terms of Section 324 — not keeping a radio watch on VHF channel 16 and for permitting an unseaworthy vessel to proceed to sea. “1. Total amount as determined in Section 313 of the Merchant Shipping Act, was R30 000. “2. 25% deduction results in an amount of R22 500; “3. After mitigating documents that was submitted, and an additional deduction of 25% that was considered appropriate after re-considering the matter as a whole, the final amount of the Admission of Contravention is hereby reduced to R15 000, a 50% reduction from the grand total. This is based on the fact that the contravention emanates from a reasonably excusable ignorance of applicable law. “Please note that should this not be agreed to, the original amount as per the AOC document when delivered to your representative will be re-instated, until the matter is finalised by the SAMSA Legal Section in our Head Office. The vessel will then also be prohibited from sailing as per Section 45 of the SAMSA Act, until all matters are finalised. Should your response be favourable, the current AOC will be retracted and a new AOC will be issued for the reduced amount of R15 000. “I trust that this will be in order and await your response.” I have since paid the AOC, but I’m still sticking to my guns that I wasn’t in

the wrong. My radio/aerial worked and how was I to know that it wasn’t 100%? This is just a warning from one boat owner to the rest. Tight lines and may you have many happy fine-free days of angling. ANDRE LABUSCHANGE

BACK IN THE DAY... Dear Editor I love to see photos of ski-boating in the old days. Here’s a picture taken by my father at Warner Beach during 1968/9. My interest in ski-boating started back then when we used watch the boats going in and out at Warner Beach nearly every day. We used to go to Amanzimtoti for holidays and we frequented Warner Beach mostly — that was my first introduction to ski-boats. It absolutely fascinated me watching them launch and beach. We even used to help the skippers push their boats up the beach to their trailers. Today most launch sites have winches or tractors. Back then a 4.5m boat was big; today a 5m boat is small. Back then a 33hp Evinrude was a big motor; I now have a 20ft Benguela centre console monohull with two 90hp Mercur y motors. When we go down to the coast nowadays we go to Kelso and mostly launch at Rocky Bay, but soon the log home will be up in Pennington. PETER FRANZSEN <>

NO GENERATION GAP Tokkie Pieterse and his son Giann (above) both love reading SKI-BOAT magazine and although this photo was taken a couple of years ago, the two still regularly sit on the couch discussing which boat they want! SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 9

READERS’ SURVEY We know SKI-BOAT magazine is your favourite deep sea fishing magazine, but we want to find out a bit more about our loyal readers so that we can make it even better by tailoring our contents to suit you. To this end please would you fill in this two-page survey and email it back to or else go to our facebook page and click on the link to the PDF document and then mail that to us. To give you a bit of incentive to reply, The Kingfisher have generously sponsored the prize pictured alongside worth R4500. One lucky reader who replies to the survey will win this 60 litre Safari Chiller and a bunch of Mustad goodies including a waterproof bag, landing gloves, cutters, pliers and filleting knife — well worth taking five minutes of your time to answer some questions about the lifestyle you love so much. So let’s dive straight in ….

Please fill in/mark the appropriate box that best suits you. WHO YOU ARE: Age group:

Under 25

26 - 35

Gender: Occupation: Annual earnings: Other family involved in Deep sea angling: Residence: Home language:

46 - 60

Male Student

Over 60

Female Corporate executive

Company employee


Below R250 000

Professional practice

R250 000 – R500 000



Over R500 000






Free State


E. Cape

W. Cape

N. Cape

North West

Other Country


Club member: Beverage preference:

36 - 45



Yes Beer

No Wine


Soft drinks

FISHING: Boat: If you own your own boat how many people crew for you?

Top three areas fished regularly:




.................................................................................................................................................................... Zululand

KZN Central (Durban area)

KZN South Coast

Wild Coast

Border (Kei Mouth to Great Fish River)

Eastern Cape (Port Alfred to Plettenberg Bay)

South Cape(Knysna to Struisbaai)

Western Province



East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya)


Other overseas Target species (approximate days per year): Preference for fishing style:

Billfish Dead bait

Gamefish live bait

Bottomfeeders lures

Tackle — rods (number owned):




Tackle — reels (number owned):

Scarborough type

Multiplying reels

Spinning reels

BOATING AND VEHICLES: Type of craft owned/used: Brand of craft owned/used: Brand of motors:





........................................................................................................................................................................................... 2-stroke


Craft insurance:


Number of tow vehicles — 4x4: Number of vehicles owned (family and company):

4-stroke Not insured

Up to 2 litre

2- to 3.5 litre

Small: .............................

Bigger than 3.5 litre

Medium: .............................

Large: .............................

HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION — Please list your top three based on actual average days per year Hotel

Rented holiday cottage

Rented holiday flat


Camping/ caravanning

Owned flat/cottage

EQUIPMENT OWNED (approx. market value to nearest R1 000) Tackle (rods, reels, lines, tackle box etc)

Outfit (boat, trailer, motors, safety equip)


Tow vehicle mainly used for fishing


Camping (tent, caravan, camping equip)



OTHER RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES — List top three based on actual average days per year: 1)






READERSHIP PROFILE Which version of the mag do you read?




How often do you read the magazine?

Every issue

Most issues


How many other people read your copy of SKI-BOAT? What other angling magazines do you read? How do you rate SKI-BOAT compared to other SA angling magazines?

What articles interest you most? Mark from 1 to 10 where 1 is your favourite and 10 your least favourite

Do you use SKI-BOAT to guide you in your purchase of boats, motors and other equipment?

............................................................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................................. Excellent



Below average

Boat tests

Angling “how to”

Features on venues

Tackle tests


Tow tests


Competition reports

Junior Angling News

Rapala Lip




Any further comments: .............................................................................................................................................................

Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to fill in this questionnaire. Please email the completed form to and look out for details of the prize winner.


Many of us tow our boats great distances and even across borders to reach our fishing destinations, so it’s important to make sure we know the rules and heed them.

STAYING LEGAL Operating within the parameters of the law

CQUIRING a trailable craft — whether new or pre-owned — is the fervent dream of most offshore sport anglers. When that part of the dream is finally realised there’s the ultimate experience of getting to know your new craft by standing behind the controls, powering her into the sea, and then the long awaited opening of the throttles to fully realise and appreciate the reality of owning your own boat. A dream fulfilled. Often months if not years have preceded this eventuality, during which time a multitude of decisions had to be made — decisions that in practical reality have perhaps been glossed over in order to reach the moment when your dream comes alive and the extent of all the incremental decisions made hit the harsh reality of the open ocean. Regardless of the wide ranging preordering research undertaken and the innumerable opinions sought, the final choice — and consequences — basically rests on your own shoulders. It is therefore you — now the proud captain


of your own ship — who gets to enjoy the fruits of your decision or be foisted by your own petard if things go wrong. In the world of boating there are two phrases that can make or break one’s enjoyment of the “dream boat”; they are: “take a chance” and “I didn’t know”. These are the curved balls that get thrown at all boat owners during the years of ownership and extended use of that prized acquisition. The “take a chance” decisions can be the most difficult ones to make and can have the most far-reaching consequences. It’s the proverbial “belt and braces” scenario — when is enough good enough? When is material thickness okay and when is it too much? When are ancillary fittings too flimsy or too robust? These are just two examples of the dozens of decisions an aspiring owner has to make or accept in order to get the craft of his dreams onto the water. “Take a chance” decisions are often bade based on financial cost, and this is indeed a deciding factor in many of the aspects of acquiring a craft. One

of the major decisions in this arena is the cost and importance of the trailer that will carry your craft. The other phrase that can have farreaching consequences is: “I didn’t know.” This is often a far more important aspect than the above where a conscious decision is made. In today’s society we have been conditioned to buy items — be it a motor vehicle, boat or any other article — that come in great packaging, but with the only technical information being supplied in the users manual or warranty card. However it’s usually only when there appears to be a problem that we resort to looking at that written literature. When it comes to major purchases like a motor vehicle or boat we’re faced with a huge range with prices differentiating enormously throughout that range. Things can get dodgy when you’re buying “pre-loved” items, but when you acquire a new motor vehicle you presume it is 100% legal and complies with the law and standards set here in South Africa. Does anyone ever

SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 15

read the ordinances? Even if they do, it is doubtful that the buyer of the said vehicle checks these applicable legal requirements. The same goes for buying a new boat; we assume it (and the trailer it comes on) complies with the laws of the country. It is this assumption that largely results in the “I didn’t know” answers when we get in trouble. Add to the assumption is the ever increasing responsibility when boats are often towed long distances over rough roads. The “law of the land” regarding trailering often only come to our attention when there’s an accident or routine inspection by law enforcement officers. Suddenly there are consequences for the boat’s owner who really did presume his rig was 100% but suddenly finds himself falling foul of the law. Over the last two decades SKI-BOAT magazine has carried a number of articles covering some precarious aspects of boat ownership, especially with regard to safety on the road. It might be worth your while to have a look at these: • November 2004: The long haul — How safe are you when towing your boat? • April 2009: Towing — Legal or Illegal — The rules are complicated and involved. • May 2009: Brake now — Ensuring your trailer brakes fill the legal requirements. • March 2016: Over coming your nemesis — How to choose the ideal 4x4. • May 2016: Overcoming your nemesis — Choosing the right tyres and tyre pressure. These were all in line with our desire to continue informing boat owners of their legal as well as safety requirements, primarily while towing their rigs. The ever increasing movement of boats around South Africa and especially into Moçambique, where the improved road conditions have led to higher speeds being used and much greater traffic volumes, unfortunately increases the risk factor and brings into play the possibility of legal liabilities if all the legal requirements have not been met. Back issues are available for those who want to read the articles mentioned higher up, but in the next few issues of the magazine we’ll be revisiting some of these issues to help enlighten those boat owners who “did not know” they weren’t complying with the law. Topics to be covered include: • Legality of towing — trailer/ boat/tow vehicle/gross vehicle mass/gross combined mass. • Trailer brakes & legal requirements • Trailer tyres — legal tyre & load ratings • Trailer suspension

TOEING THE LINE The rules are complicated


HE laws in South Africa pertaining to towing, trailer weights, trailer braking and gross vehicle mass as well as driver’s licence categories are all set out in the comprehensive and voluminous South African Road Traffic Act. Whilst this Act pertains largely to the trailering and trailers of the long distance transport fraternity, there is a specific section that covers light load trailer and boat trailers. During early to mid-2009 a number of rigs — tow vehicle, boat and trailer — were pulled off the road due to apparent non-compliance of the said Act. As a result SADSAA sought guidance from a specialist attorney who explained the full implications of the Act and also the serious problems that a boat owner could face from a routine roadside inspection by a traffic officer or, more worryingly, if the rig proved unroadworthy at the time of an accident. As an example, if a rig was ordered to a roadside weigh station facility and and was deemed not road worthy because of its gross combined mass, apart from incurring a hefty fine, the boat and trailer would be impounded. They would stay at the weigh station until the owner could get another vehicle that complied with the gross vehicle mass requirements to come along and hitch up his boat for removal. A logistical nightmare! First make sure your driver’s licence is valid before embarking on any long haul, especially if it’s into Moçambique. The licence of the driver not only has to be current, but also has to be valid for the weight of the trailer being towed. The law clearly states that a driver with a category B licence is only permitted to drive a vehicle weighing under 3 500kg and to tow a trailer weighing less than 750kg. An EB licence entitles the driver to

16 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

drive a vehicle weighing less than 3 500kg while towing a trailer and boat not exceeding 3 500kg. If a vehicle exceeds 3 500kg the driver is required to have a PDP (professional driving permit). The combination of towing vehicle and trailer weight is a very important part of staying within the bounds of the law. The tare of the tow vehicle is an important factor. This comprises of the vehicle itself together with the supplied accessories that form a permanent part of the standard vehicle but does not include what is loaded into or onto the vehicle for the journey. The gross vehicle mass is the maximum mass of the vehicle fully loaded including fuel and is the total weight the vehicle is permitted to weigh according to the manufacturer’s specifications. The National Road Traffic Act of 1996 sets out the requirements of the tow vehicle’s tare and the gross vehicle mass of the trailer loaded as well as the braking system required for the trailer. It is essential that road users comply fully with these regulations. TYRE TIPS We won’t go into detail regarding trailer tyres now because that will be fully covered in the next issue of SKI-BOAT magazine, but all those travelling to Moçambique during the December holidays are strongly advised to carry two spare tyres for the trip. There are vast distances between tyre repair opportunities in Moçambique and that becomes a huge worry if you’ve had to utilise your spare and you don’t have another one. Most of those who regularly tow rigs to Moçambique carry a second spare because compatible replacement tyres are not only difficult to obtain, but getting a replacement can often take a good deal of time as well. In this case it’s definitely better to go the belt and braces route and take a second spare.


There are still longfin around, but not in the same numbers as they were in the 1980s and you have to go further to find them. Here Sean Todd shows off his 21kg longfin tuna caught on 3kg line — the current world record in that line class.

18 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

By Erwin Bursik

tially. After a while the only “gulf” between the two associations was the stubbornness of the old guard of both HERE have all the longfin sides to capitulate. That stubbornness tuna gone? This question was eventually overcome and in 1987 recently came to mind the two combined to form the South while I was reminiscing African Deep Sea Angling Association and watching the African bush TV — (SADSAA). Over the last 32 years this our campfire — deep among Namibia’s association has dismantled the big red dunes of the Kalahari. Indeed, boats vs small boats scenario and has where had they gone, this tuna species concentrated on strongly promotthat was so sought after by offing the sport of ethical competishore sportfishermen from the late tive sport angling. 1950s until well into the ’90s. The transformation of ski-boats At the time this gamefish in overall length from the 18 footspecies ticked all the boxes — it ers to the 30 footers and larger — was highly rated as an exciting fish while still following the same to target socially, competitively and launching style they did 40 or commercially. Targeting longfin even 50 years ago — enabled offrequired sport anglers to venture shore anglers to target a number far out to sea off Cape Point, and of the pelagic species which were considering how basic the skipreviously out of range of the boats of that period were, the “big smaller boats. boats” based at Simons Town were This was very much the case really the only viable option. history of the longfin tuna. During the early part of this When we read the writings of period offshore angling was clearly Nick de Kock and Brian Hunt durseparated into two very distinct fraing the 1990s which extolled not ternities — the big boats and the only the extent of this resource ski-boats. So much so that two offbut also the fighting ability of shore angling associations were these fish that grew up to 30kgfounded — South African Gamefish plus, one appreciates the draw to Association (SAGFA) in 1957 and target these tuna competitively as South African Ski-Boat Angling well as recreationally. Association (SASBAA) in 1958. In the early to mid 1970s a SAGFA was for the big boat number of us ski-boaters became boys who operated primarily from aware of big catches of these tuna Cape Town’s Marlin and Tuna Club when SAGFA ran a national annual based at Simons Town harbour and competition targeting these fish Natal Deep Sea Rod and Reel Club way out off Cape Point. The catchfrom Durban Harbour. A limited es were so good that SASBAA number of big boats were also based at East London, Port The 1981 Western Province Interprovincial produced incorporated Cape Town as a Elizabeth and Lorenzo Marques, 180 longfin over the four day tournament — already a venue for its annual national interthereby spreading this association’s big drop from the 383 that came out at the 1980 tour- provincial competition. The comappeal across South Africa. Add to nament. Here the Border team can be seen offloading mittee believed that there were sufficient ski-boats in the 18ft catethis the marlin fishery at Santa some of their catch. gor y and enough experienced Carolina and the sport extended its skippers to carry competitors from all To fast forward a bit through histobrand of offshore fishing to include the provincial associations of SASBAA ry, as ski-boats grew both in size and sea anglers in what was then Rhodesia who to competitively target longfin tuna. worthiness and “big boats” remained travelled to Moçambique to target the Bear in mind that at that time skilimited and were slow to get to distant marlin. boats were not equipped with the fishing grounds, the disparity between During this period SASBAA bonded niceties we have today — there was no the two fraternities narrowed exponentogether the many clubs formed after


the Second World War that largely catered for skippers operating craft in the 14ft to 18ft categor y which launched directly into the surf or from protected launch sites. That covered the whole coast from Zululand to the Cape West Coast and primarily concentrated on the inshore sportfishing anglers who targeted both pelagic and demersal linefish species.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 19

With Cape seas being what they are and the dense mist that was commonly experienced during the return run into Hout Bay or around Cape Point into Rumbly Bay, it made for interesting boating, and the radio direction finder was a great help. In the early years of the SASBAA Nationals the emphasis was on fun, and minimal rules were put in place. The two major rules were that there would be a mass start and a set time of lines up. No line class was mandated and

anglers didn’t have to be at weigh-in by a stipulated time. Whilst teams were fiercely competitive, it was a case of catch as many longfin as one could and points were awarded based on the total weight of the boat’s catch at a point per kilo of total fish presented to the scale. An example of the laissez faire attitude regarding rules was seen at one of the Nationals when a craft ended up off Robben Island instead of Hout Bay due to heavy mist and only presented their fish to the scales after 11pm that night. They incurred no penalty and everyone was just happy to see the team safe and sound. In 1980 the Natal team of Trevor Rapson, Dennis Mercer, Andy Vinnicombe and I saw our dream come true when we were selected to fish in the Tuna Nationals off Hout Bay. Don’t laugh now! Our arsenal consisted of two ’cuda rods each, Scarborough reels and 30- and 40 lb line. We drew Black Sabbath, Hamish Fyfe’s 18ft ski-boat. He was thoroughly perplexed at how we planned to use the Scarborough reels, asking who was going to cut chum if the crew had to hold rods and Scarboroughs instead of lodging the combination in the rod holder as could be done if using a multiplying reel. Somehow we managed by rotating the chum cutting duty so that only one of us had dirty hands while the others controlled their Scarborough reels. This style of chumming for tuna was very different to our Natal anglers’ usual method of angling, but once a fish had been hooked we had the ability to pull

Archie de Jager, Koos Boonzaaier, John Barry and their skipper for the day, Ross van Reenen, with a good haul of longfin taken during the 1987 Bols Interprovincial tournament fished out of Cape Boat and Ski-Boat Club.

Dave Todd with a 12-14kg longfin tuna caught on fly in 1999. He was among the first group of anglers to catch tuna on fly in the Cape.

The Natal team — Andy Vinnicombe, Erwin Bursik and Dennis Mercer — which fished the 1980 SA Champs in Hout Bay were very pleased with the longfin they caught. radio, no GPS, no sonar; all the skipper had was a handheld compass. After a few years the “sum log” was introduced. Much like the device we used to have on the front wheel of a bicycle that clicked over each metre that was cycled, the sum log used a propeller attached to the craft’s transom to give the approximate distance travelled. Much later a radio direction finder was introduced that provided distance and direction to the closest lighthouse or land base station to the port of exit.

20 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

A newspaper clipping from September 1988 describes Maureen Colyn catching her record 32.5kg longfin. it extremely hard and get them to the gaff in a much shorter time — according to Hamish — than one could achieve with the multiplier of choice back then — the Penn 49A — on shorter and softer rods. The run out into the deep which took at least two hours was new to us, and all we had to go on was Hamish’s know how and his compass. The only directions we got from our skipper were to “look for water colour change and feeding birds or an active commercial boat; then we pull lures until we have a longfin and then chum like mad.” Mean Machines — preferably green — were the lure of choice. I don’t remember if we even had diving lures at that stage. This was the first time any of us had witnessed a shoal of longfin 15- to 30kg in size swimming under the boat like penguins, with their wing-like pectoral fins, inhaling the blocks of chummed sardines. It was extremely exciting as one could watch a longfin swimming in the chunks we were letting out. We even pulled the chunks away from small fish hoping that a bigger fish would decide to eat. On the very rare occasion that a big yellowfin tuna appeared in the chum we were advised to whisk the chum bait out of its mouth. We were told not to waste time fighting these 50/60kg brutes when we could double or even treble our score by doubling or trebling

up on longfin. Believe it or not, on Captain Rapson’s instruction I straightsticked a big yellowfin. At the time I was bitterly disappointed as I had never caught a yellowfin anywhere near the size of the fish I had had to part on. This sort of “frenzy fishing” which got us all so excited, lasted until the late ’80s. Don’t get me wrong, not every day was a bonanza, and often — as with all types of fishing — today’s large haul did not mean the next day would produce the same excitement. Quantity varied with each annual season and of course the Cape’s notorious weather often prevented the craft of the size we were using from getting to the tuna fishing ground 30 to 40 miles out to sea. The commercial handlining and poling boats were numerous, and because they overnighted until their hatches were full, the majority of the local ski-boats targeted them, knowing that was where the longfin were shoaling. Longfin tuna or white flesh tuna was in big demand, especially with the local tuna canning factories which would not accept yellowfin at all. The net result was that yellowfin were not targeted as they had no commercial value. I need to add that when the Nationals were held in Cape Town in those days the total catch was absorbed by the canning factory and the costs of running the 14-odd competition boats

FACT BOX BY ROB NAYSMITH • There were days during some of the Nationals where double-digit numbers of longfin per angler on 10kg line were not uncommon. • I had many days where our boat would come in with well over a ton of longfin between two of us, all caught on one drift. Today the recreational boats rarely come in with more than a couple of fish on a good day. • The commercial pole boats still make fair catches at times, but the distances they travel puts them way out of range of the recreational day boats. • I believe that one of the biggest contributors to the dramatic decline in longfin catches by recreational anglers is the loss of skills. The only way today’s recreational angler knows how to catch a tuna is to look for a hake longline boat or trawler and chum a huge amount of bait around it in the hope of attracting a yellowfin. The art of trolling has been lost and even spinning has been forgotten — the two most fundamental ways to catch longfin. Longfin are nomads and unless you hunt them down you seldom catch them. The new anglers of today have no idea what to look for and don’t have the ability to identify the subtle signs of longfin in the area. Sure, the shoals aren’t what they were 20 years ago by any means, but they are still there for those who know how to find them.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 21

Dave Todd, Hilary Smith, Renee Logie and Cathy Fenton-Wells with the ABC ladies’ haul of longfin tuna caught during one of the Cape Boat Club’s annual interclub events in the 1980s. was largely offset as a result. How the system has changed! Nowadays the longfin tuna, although still sought after by the far-ranging commercial fleet, is just considered a “nice” bycatch and is certainly not targeted by recreational craft to the extent they were in the past. And that’s all because one fish’s value suddenly escalated exponentially, with the high yellowfin tuna demand from the sushi market. From the competitive perspective, with the introduction of line class fishing and the point structure dependant on the size of fish landed, there was initially a big move towards light lines when targeting longfin. As it was a strong, clean-fighting premier gamefish, especially on light tackle, a cult of anglers developed who preferred the art of catching a lot of longfin on 6-, 8and 10kg class tackle. This became the norm and resulted in numerous world records being established due to the world class fishery in terms of longfin tuna found in Cape waters. Sadly the reality is that consumer demands have dictated that yellowfin tuna is now the premier species targeted by both commerical and recreation-

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al anglers in the tuna-rich waters off Cape Point. The longfin has been sidelined completely and is now a minimal recreational bycatch at best. There is no denying that catching a giant yellowfin tuna with the aid of most technically perfect fishing reels and matching rods using braid line is one of the greatest prizes and experiences any big fish sports angler can experience. Bringing alongside a yellowfin in the mystical 100kg class is an experience that will not only top most others in the area of sportfishing, but will also provide a memory that will last a lifetime. In a final salute to the longfin tuna, I must unequivocally state that the few of us around today who witnessed and fished among the “dik” longfin shoals have memories that have lasted decades. Sadly not many if any of the current anglers will experience that in their lifetime of fishing to come. Watch this video of Chris — Primal provider #113 — catching a longfin at the Canyon off Cape Point in June 2019. <www.>


BIG BOY! Part 3:Bringing your big eye tuna to the boat By Rob and Scott Naysmith


N the previous edition of SKI-BOAT I covered the fishing methods we have found most successful; in this issue I want to go more in-depth with regard to the tackle, traces and the rigging of lures. Let’s first look at lures because that’s probably how most of us catch our first big eye tuna. You want a lure that swims fairly straight with a little wiggle. Big eye use speed to catch their prey so if the lure darts around they can easily miss it; that’s when you see those awesome swirls and splashes around your lure. Yes, they love the action, but they can’t turn sharply enough, so for the best hook-up rate the lure must be exactly where they calculate it’s going to be. As mentioned in previous issues, the lure size should be close to what

they’re feeding on, so lures between 5and 8 inches are ideal. The hook size should suit the lure and be spaced with beads to get it to sit just inside the skirt. I like using a 10/0 to 12/0 Mustad Southern Tuna hook because of its shape and strength; the inward curve of the tip and barb allow the hook to hold around the hard jawbone. The bite leader should be mono, not wire, of about 1.8mm to 2.5mm, clear and soft. The big eye has little time to inspect the lure, but if something looks out of place, it won’t eat it. Big eye come up from the depths to eat and use their speed to outrun their prey, so this results in most strikes coming in from the back, totally blind and unexpected. With the hook placed in the back of the lure your hook-up and holding rate increases as most often the hook sets well in the mouth, gills or throat. Gill or throat hook-ups shorten

the fight substantially. I prefer to use nothing more than a two metre leader of thick material because this enables the angler to wind and hold the fish next to the boat. A longer leader will keep the fish away from the gaff man, and you certainly don’t want him leaning outside the boat to gaff a tuna. Don’t be scared of using up to 2.5mm diameter leader, but it must be clear mono, not coloured or f lurocarbon. Tie the leader directly onto the main line with a double threeturn Uni-knot or splice on a top-shot loop and connect with a Bimini. BAITING UP Your trolling outfit can also be used for bait fishing. Simply cut off the lure or swivel you’ve attached it with, and tie on your bite trace as discussed in the previous edition. In drift fishing you going to have to get your bait down

A typical trolling pattern used when targeting big eye tuna. 26 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

deep so a sinker is necessary, and the deeper you’re going, the heavier the sinker. It doesn’t have to be a pretty sinker because it’s not coming back. I use one or two elastic bands or a piece of thin copper wire to attach the sinker to the front eye of the swivel, just strong enough to keep it attached. For bait fishing I like using a circle hook because it’s been proven to give the best hook-up rate and it holds way better than a J-hook. I always say: If the spool turns, the fish is on, and it will stay there. Baiting up is a matter of choice as long as you adhere to a few basic rules: • Make sure the hook protrudes proudly; • Make sure your hook is super sharp; • Keep the bulk of the bait below the hook; • Use ultra-fine elastic thread if you must tie-wrap the bait; • Make your bait look sexy … all fish like a sexy bait. Bait fishing during the day means you must go deeper, sometimes all the way down to 200 metres. For ease of explanation let’s say we have a thermocline at 40 metres and something that looks like interference down at 120 metres; we want to position our baits around those depths. We’re going to use two lines — the first we set is the top line to around 45 to 50 metres, with the lighter of the two weights and out on a balloon around 50 metres from the boat. Then we set the deeper line to about 130 metres with no balloon, straight off the rod tip. Sit back, relax and wait, keeping an eye on the balloon and the sounder, and making sure you put on the alarm — it makes for more excitement. When the balloon disappears or breaks away you know the fish is on, or if your strike comes from the deep line then the rod will bend and line will peel off. There’s no balloon bobbing like a float on a dam, nor is there any nibbling and light tugs as you see in the movies — it’s all or nothing. One minute nothing and in the flash of a second line is peeling off the reel at unimaginable speed. Let the games begin! FIGHTING FOR YOUR LIFE When the action starts, first relax, put on the stand-up harness and make sure you’re totally prepared, because the minute you lift the rod out of the holder your life will change forever. Don’t worry that the line is melting away, that’s just the way it goes. One of the questions I am asked most often is “What’s the part of fishing that excites you the most?” Both Scott and I were born into a world of fishing, so we’ve had an unbelievable opportunity to experience catching so many fish, but through all of that, there is one

The three main styles of hook we find best — circle-type bait hooks and Mustad Southern Tuna J lure hooks.

Deep diving lures that work consistently are GT lures and Rapala CD 22.

Kona type lures must have a flat or concave face with or without jets. Run them on the outside edge of the wake. SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 27

Smaller Yamashita plastic squids can be run just behind the boat in a straight line, off lie-down rods. Set your bigger squid behind a bird way out back.

Rig your bait with the bulk of it below the hook for better action and hook-up rate. answer we both agree on — our favourite moment is those few seconds as the fish picks up your bait or lure, turns its head and releases all its energy at once. And few fish do that better than a tuna. It’s the speed, power and suddenness of the strike, the determination, unrelenting focus and single-mindedness of the fish all combined into one brief moment — and the world stops turning right there. Then reality kicks in — like a mule. I equate the initial run of a big eye to throwing a spinner at a passing train and trying to stop it. Of all the tuna most likely to strip your reel, this is one of the biggest culprits. The reason for this is that a big eye can turn on its head and rocket all the way through the many temperature changes, currents and depths right down to the ground, without even batting an eye. You can’t even chase it like other fish. You stand there holding on while

your arms stretch, watching the line melt off your reel, all the time knowing that someone will have to wind it all back on. This is your opportunity to think about the drag setting on your reel, remembering that the setting on a full spool increases exponentially as the diameter of the spool decreases. Then add to that the increasing drag created by the huge bow of line being pulled through the water. You need to constantly slacken off on the drag as the fish has its way with you. For the sake of this article, let’s say your big eye stops before you run out of line. Now the work begins. This is what you dreamed of — that huge fish hanging on the gantry with you smiling widely by its side. All that’s left to do now is wind it back to the boat. Okay, so it’s far away, but you’re good for it and it won’t be the first time you’ve wound so much line onto a reel. And with all the confidence, smiles and ban-

28 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

ter you can portray, let’s get this done! And suddenly nothing wants to work — the rod won’t bend any more, the reel won’t wind the line on and, to make matters worse, your arms are beginning to ache. This is a good time to get your stand-up harness on, if you’re not already wearing it. Strap it on so it’s comfortable, clip in the reel and let the harness do the work. Lean back as if you were going to sit down, then wind yourself back up. Keep doing this until the fish takes all your line back again, then you start the same procedure all over again. By now your brain’s becoming a little tatty; what was rational a few minutes ago is now mush. In fact you’re beyond thinking too deeply. Suddenly you begin to realise you have muscles you never learned about in school, and they burn like fire. But your mates are watching so you keep a brave face although your smile is now lying on the deck. Pull, wind, pull, wind … keep the rhythm going even if it’s only a quarter of a turn at a time. Keep the fish’s head facing towards you and drag it up from the deep. Time ticks by while the sweat stings your eyes and soaks your shirt. Your arms are numb but your back hurts like hell. Your hearing has faded and your eyesight is blurry for the most part. This is about the time you consider breaking off this fish. Suddenly you no longer care about that photo at the gantry; actually you’d rather just go home and sleep. But it’s now that the strong, steady beat of the fish that keeps you hanging in. BRINGING HIM IN “Colour!” Suddenly you hear angels singing and you smile for the first time this hour; you could kiss the guy who shouted that. And deep down in the blue you get glances of the sun’s rays flashing off your fish as it swims powerfully on its side, tail beating strong in the unending circles. The circle — usually in a clockwise direction — is actually more oval than round. One side is lower than the other, so use this advantage to beat your fish; hold on the downward side and pull on the upward side. Keep the head towards you as hard as you can because every centimetre of line counts. This is when you have to apply all of the little energy you have left. Be aware that you may need to work the reel drag if the fish takes off again and, yes, they often do, luckily not to the same extent as the first time. As the fish rises in its circles to the surface, stand hard against the gunnel to keep your line from touching the boat as it swims underneath. Slowly it comes, and another circle. The gaff-man should be standing ready beside you with a second gaff on

Some days you’ll get luckier than you believed possible and the plan comes together properly. That’s what happened on Sunday 28 April 2019 when these three monsters were caught aboard Tuna Cat Cha. Photo courtesy Sean Todd/Etienne Braun. the other side. Patience is the name of the game — put the gaff into a deep fish and you could lose everything, including the gaff-man. Some rules for the gaff-man: • Always gaff over the fish, that way you can watch the positioning of the gaff hook; • Always aim for the head. A head shot means the fish comes towards you if it gets cranky, and with the bone there’s less chance of the gaff pulling out. Suddenly it’s all over. The fish lies still in the water while you lie still on the fishbox; the rest is up to the crew. First a wire is pushed down the inside of the fish’s spine to humanely despatch it quickly. Now incisions are made to bleed out as much blood as possible before the heart stops pumping. Once this is all over the fish is hauled in over the gunnel and this is the first time you realise the true size of the beast you have fought so hard to subdue. If you can, remove the stomach and gills and fill the fish with flaked ice to preserve it. Once the fish lands on the boat, keep it on that side of its body from then on; the top side will be prime meat while the bottom, although still excellent, will have carried the weight of the fish. The fish is then gently lowered into the fish box and covered with ice to reduce the core temperature as quickly as possible. Back at the dock it’s time for those photos you’d initially dreamed of and which are now well deserved. Keep it quick, though, and get your fish out of the heat as fast as possible — no lying around in the sun. Get it up onto the filleting table in the wash bay and let the fun begin.

PREPPING IT TO EAT When filleting a big eye the aim is to get four distinct fillets, two from the top and two from the bottom, off each side. The prime fillet is the front half of the top — it is firm and full of flavour with a good bit of fat. The bottom fillet around the stomach section, is rich in fat and mouth-wateringly tender with a lighter flavour. Those fillets at the tail end, although still more fatty on the bottom and more tasty on the top, are not quite of the same high standard and tend to be more stringy. Probably the best way to eat big eye tuna is while you’re filleting it. Those little slivers from a misguided knife will just melt in your mouth. Forget the wasabi, soy or cooking, just eat it like nature intended. You will never find another fish quite like a big eye — that buttery mouth feel, subtle yet present tuna flavour and a tenderness that just melts away. But for those less adventurous, there’s always sashimi, the festive grilled-on-a-braai style, fried in a pan method or even oven-baked. This is one fish you have to try — it’ll rank as one of the best on your list. My favourite way to cook big eye tuna is to cut the fillet into thick cutlets and then cook it either in a gridle pan or on the braai over a hot heat, with no

salt, spices or flavouring. Sear the meat until it turns white halfway up the outside, flip it over and do the same again, then immediately take it off the heat. Place it on a plate and get ready to ser ve with a chilled glass of your favourite white wine. By the time you cut the meat it will have cooked through and left a faint hint of pink in the middle. Tuna cooked this way is so tender you can eat it with a spoon. Big eye tuna are rich in Omega 3 fats, making them one of the world’s healthiest fish to eat; they rank second only to bluefin in the Japanese sushi market, making them one of the most sought after tuna species worldwide. A top gamefish for the sports angler, a wonderful fish for the table and a beautiful fish to look at, big eye tuna will always be one of my top fish to catch. By the time you read this final article in the series on the big eye tuna they would have arrived in our waters off Cape Point, and this time you have the knowledge to go out and catch yourself one of those bombers. It will seldom be easy, but it will be rewarding, that’s for sure. It’s been a privilege writing this article with my son Scott; I’ve learned so much by listening to his new methods, ideas and raw excitement. I’ve been learning how to become a better fisherman all my life, but there’s no better feeling than learning from someone you taught. If readers have any questions regarding this or the previous articles feel free to contact me on (021) 712 1069 or email <>. Alternatively visit me at my boat shop — Down South Marine — at 29 Estmil Road, Diep Rivier, Cape Town. Tight lines and sea you on the water.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 29

30 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019


ONE HAND WASHES THE OTHER Ski-boat anglers help collect genetic material for seventy-four

A good-sized seventy-four being measured before having a sample taken of one of its fins. By Bruce Mann Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI)


WAS recently contacted by Nick Nel from the Natal Deep Sea Angling Association who asked whether I thought it would be possible to include seventy-four (Polysteganus undulosus) as a target species in the 2019 Bottomfish Nationals scheduled to be fished from 11 to 16 August off Durban. As most ski-boat anglers know, seventy-four are on the Prohibited List and may not be caught. However, the moratorium on this species has been in place since 1998 and there are indications that the population is slowly recovering. In the absence of catch information, scientists need to explore alternative methods to assess the population trend of seventy-four. One novel way of

Andreas Papachristoforou with a beautiful seventy-four caught during the 2019 Bottomfish Nationals.

determining whether the population is recovering — without having to kill any fish — is through genetics. A small fin clip (the size of a fingernail) taken from one of the pelvic fins and an accurate measurement of the fish is all that is needed. This can be done on a live fish which is then released back to the sea. Fortunately seventy-four seem to be able to survive the stresses of barotrauma (i.e. pressure change when being brought to the surface) better than some other reef fish species and this enables them to swim back down after being released. After thinking about Nick’s suggestion I contacted Dr Denham Parker at the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) and asked him whether involvement of ski-boat anglers in the collection of seventy-four genetic samples was a possibility. Denham managed to obtain permission Colin Joubert with a seventy-four caught during the 2019 Bottomfish Nationals. Please note that there is still a ban on catching these fish.

for the 16 boats and anglers competing in the Nationals to collect seventy-four fin clips on condition that best handling practices and fish survival were prioritised. Back at ORI we made up 16 sampling kits (one for each vessel) containing ten sample bottles filled with 95% ethanol, a tape measure, pencil, labels and pair of scissors, along with a clear instruction brochure explaining how to handle and measure the fish, take a fin clip, release the fish and record the data. These sampling kits were given to the skipper of each vessel at the briefing before the competition. A sample of at least 50 fish is required to produce results that are statistically significant. While only 11 seventy-four were caught and sampled during the competition, this is a good start and a much-needed, positive collaboration between scientists and anglers. Chris Wilke, a senior technician from the DEFF, was able to attend some of the weigh-ins in the afternoons and collected the samples that had been taken. Basically, what the geneticists will do is to get an estimate of the genetic variability (heterozygosity) of the population and compare this to a similar estimate that was made based on samples collected by ORI in 2006. An increase in heterozygosity is a good indication of an increasing population. This is particularly true in species that have suffered a population collapse (e.g. seventy-four) as genetic diversity is inherently low due to the relatively few breeding individuals. Similar attempts will be made to collect more fin clips over the next 12 months.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 31



T It has been a busy few months from a SADSAA point of view with the SADSAA Bottomfish Nationals and the SADSAA Gamefish Nationals being hosted by Natal and Zululand respectively. It is always exciting to see the country’s top recreational sport anglers come to together to compete and share the fellowship that our sport offers. I was privileged to attend the Bottomfish Nationals’ closing ceremony in Durban, which was a great success. Natal DSAA and the Durban Ski-

Boat Club hosted a great week, with some good fish coming out. The results once again showed how important local knowledge can be, with the Natal teams taking two of the top three spots. Congratulations to everyone involved. In late July Eric Visser (S.Gauteng) and I took part in the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. Although the fishing did not go as we had hoped, it was an honour to fish in such a well-organised competition. November sees the start of a very busy time on the angling calendar, with events such as the Billfish 15 000, the OET Bill- & Gamefish Tournament, the Tuna Derby and the SADSAA Light & Heavy Tackle Nationals all taking place. I wish all the tournament organisers and com-



IXTEEN teams participated in the 2019 Bottomfish Nationals held in Durban in August, with five fishing days. The final results were as follows: TEAMS: Gold — Natal White; Silver — Border Men; Bronze — Natal Grey ANGLERS: 1. Graeme Burdett (SADSAA U19); 2. Riaz Hussain (Natal White) 3.Andrew Harris (Border Men) BOATS: 1. Cast Away (Richard Jones); 2. Natal Power Boats (Garth Richardson) 3. That’s Him (Anton van den Berg)

petitors great success with their preparations. Congratulations to the following anglers who have been selected for the three-man Protea team to fish in the Guatemala International Billfish Tournament in November: Edwin Freeman (MDSAA) Captain, Marius de Vos (MDSAA) and Francois Bezuidenhout (MDSAA). We hope the fish are cooperative! I wish you all safe travels and blessings over the festive seaason. May each of us take the time to appreciate the good memories of the past year and remember those we have lost, all the while looking forward to a happy, successful 2020. Tight lines to those who will be taking time out to relax on the water here or abroad.

SADSAA Masters team in action — Bottomfish Nationals.

UPCOMING TOURNAMENTS 1 – 10 November:Tuna Derby, Hout Bay 4 – 8 November: OET Bill- & Gamefish Tournament, Sodwana 7 – 9 November: Guatemala International Billfish Tournament 11 – 16 November: Tuna Derby spare week 11 – 15 November: Billfish 15 000, Sodwana 18 – 22 November: SADSAA Light & Heavy Tackle Nationals, Sodwana 7 – 14 February:Two Oceans Marlin Competition, Struisbaai 16 – 22 February: Mapelane Billfish Invitational

8 – 13 March: SGDSAA Rosebowl Interclub, Guinjata 14 – 15 March: Durban Ski-boat Club Interclub 22 – 27 March: SADSAA Junior Gamefish Nationals, PYC 28 – 29 March: Umkomaas Interclub 31 March – 5 April: SADSAA Bottomfish Nationals, Struisbaai 21 – 25 April:Tuna Masters, Hout Bay 25 – 27 April: Durban Ski-boat Club Festival 25 April – 2 May: GBBAC Offshore Classic, Gordon’s Bay 27 April – 1 May: SADSAA Senior Gamefish Nationals, St Lucia

SADSAA CONTACTS: Email: <> • Website: <> 32 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019


1st at 2019 Gamefish Nationals: SADSAA Men — Abed Khan (N), Justin Paynter (N) and Wessel Grimbeek (SG).

2nd at 2019 Gamefish Nationals: Natal Black — Shane Dennis, Douglas Dustan & Mark Brewitt.

fish; that put them in front HE 2019 Gamefish with a day to go. Nationals were held at St The final day was windy Lucia Ski-Boat Club from and the safety committee, 28 April to 3 May and were run together with skippers and by Zululand Deep Sea Angling. team captains, decided to Registration and the openlaunch two hours later than ing ceremony was held at the St usual, extending the day by Lucia Club House on Sunday 28 two hours. The sea was very April. The food for the week rough, but the anglers persistwas all delicious and was preed, and what a day it was! The pared and arranged in-house by SADSAA men had three species St Lucia staff, all managed by but only three fish; SADSAA Frank Sykes. Three-course meals were the order of the day, 3rd at 2019 Gamefish Nationals: SADSAA Masters — Dave Masters on Fintastic came in with three species and some with boat packs fit for kings. Murgatroyd (N); Frank Sykes (N) & Brent Egling (N). good weight; Natal Ladies were Monday started very slowly in with a shot and SGDSAA blue team had a great day as with a few reports of small yellowfin and skipjacks coming well. out deep, but the crafty gamefish anglers who persisted At the final weigh-in the SADSAA Masters were last to with livebait and quality bait supplied by the organisers, weigh; they needed three species to weigh to wrap up the came out on top. Nationals, but their skipjack came in exactly four grams Day two was a total blow out with winds in excess of short — exactly the same 4 grams separated first from 35 knots, so the St Lucia Ski-Boat Club arranged a tour up fourth. Triple T made a good come back, and Zazu had the estuary on house boats for all the anglers and their famtheir first bad day, but nothing was revealed till prize-giving. ily members. Then there was the contest that surprised us The SADSAA President, Natal President and Zululand all — the U19 SADSAA team just lost out in a very heated President all attended the prize-giving. Special thanks were and heavily contested beer pong competition. given to everyone who made the 2019 Nationals such a Day three started with perfect conditions and once great success. Zululand would like to also thank Johan again all the boats fishing livebait and deadbait seemed to Engelbrecht and his committee for hosting the Nationals. prevail. Boats pulling plastic did not cope too well except Eventually the competition co-ordinator, Shaun Aspden, for the Natal ladies’ team who caught four species including handed his 60 children (45 anglers and 15 skippers) back a 14.86kg prodigal son landed by Michelle Richards. Using to their families, and thanked all the provincial anglers and the SADSAA rules for the tournament, the multiplication especially the skippers for putting in a week’s hard work factor would make all the difference. with their boats and keeping everyone safe through the By the end of day three the SADSAA men led the way surf and back every day. with the Natal ladies and SADSAA u19 close behind. Day four again dawned with fair weather and quite big swells, but all the skippers got out safely. The secret to this Results were as follows: was the pushing skills of the St Lucia tractor driver Teams: 1. SADSAA Men . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .594.44 points Wiseman and Wave Dancer Charters’ owner Barend Verster, 2. Natal Black . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .504.11 points who helped with his tractor. This was the day to make a 3. SADSAA Masters . . . . . . . . . . . . . .424.11 points move and the SADSAA men did just that with the ladies Boats: 1. Zazu (Jean Schoonhoven) . . . . . . 545.17 points staying in the hunt. Natal also made a move with king 2. Magangane (Les Heartly) . . . . . . .536.93 points mackerel and prodigal son in the hatch, and a released king3. Fintastic (Shaun Aspden) . . . . . . .494.21 points


READERS’ QUERIES SADSAA’s President, Phillip Marx, has undertaken to answer a limited number of readers’ queries regarding SADSAA in each issue. If you have a question you would like answered, email him on <>. SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 33


By Erwin Bursik IGER, tiger, burning bright in the forest of Jozini’s mystical depths (with apologies to William Blake) oh how thou dost vanquish us mere mortals! The over 300 anglers fishing this year’s Sodwana Tigerfish Bonanza tried a variety of tactics, but the magnificent tigerfish of Jozini cocked a snoot at everything we offered them in an attempt to get these carnivores of the lake to feed. Lockjaw of epic proportions had inflicted the inhabitants of the lake over 26, 27 and 28 September. Only 33 tigerfish were presented to the three weighstations which were strategically placed around this vast stretch of water so that the decent fish which were caught could be recorded and then released back into the lake.


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The Tiger Hunter crew were thrilled to take ownership of the first place prize boat. Photos by Lightcast Photography. Contact them on 079 573 8900 or email <>

SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 37

This is the 18th year that the Tigerfish Bonanza has been hosted by the Pongola-based Sodwana Hengelklub on their homewaters of Jozini Dam. It was a statistical nightmare for the organisers and a hugely frustrating few days for the anglers who took part in the annual event. The tempting menu featured live tilapia, fresh sardine fillets, red eye sardines, fresh razor bellies, chicken hearts, chicken livers and the latest f lavour of the month — “kapenta” a white bait similar in size and appearance to Kariba’s famous kapenta. But still the tigerfish stubbornly refused to sample our offerings. During the official opening of this year’s Bonanza spirits were buoyed by the fact that a massive cold front with strong south westerly winds had moved

past Jozini and it was predicted that the following three days would be very fishable. In addition, some “master” tigerfish anglers who had fished these waters in the two weeks preceding the Bonanza had had exceptional catches of tigers — both in size and quantity. When the f leet set out on the Thursday morning, despite the weather being unseasonably cold, we were hyped up for a seriously pleasant and rewarding three days of tigerfishing. No-one could have foreseen the incredibly frustrating fishing which lay ahead. Even after the slow first day’s results were posted — only 13 fish were weighed, with one being a respectable fish of 2.525kg — the fundis of the area predicted that the remaining two days would result in much better catches. After all, the weather forecast was for

Second place

Sixth place 38 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

the perfect amount of wind and sun ... As the saying goes “The best-laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft agley”! And so it was indeed — all our schemes for the Bonanza came to naught. Hard as it is to believe, only 33 tigerfish were recorded at the weighstations. The competition rules now allow for a sideline species — barbel — to be weighed too. Seven of them were weighed, with the biggest pulling the scale to 8kg. Since 2012 all the tigerfish caught at the annual Sodwana Tigerfish Bonanza have been released, and as there are no foreign trawlers or longliners operating on Jozini Dam and the water levels have risen substantially since last year, with the water colour also dramatically improved, if the fish were not skulking away in the depths wearing crash hel-

Third place

Seventh place

mets, where the hell were they? As my own hunting mentor and a game farmer in the far northern reaches of SA once said after an unsuccessful day in the bush, “Work harder tomorrow — the bokke haven’t gone into orbit, they are out there in the bush, so go and find them!” What did the tiger fundis have to say? We all know that all anglers have “post-competition expertise”, and I heard many different views from the local “experts” as to why the tigerfish were off the feed. Sifting through these, the overall theory was that the unseasonable cold front had dropped the lake’s deep water temperature to below 16°C and only the top half metre or so rose to nearly 20°C. We all accept that a sudden change in water temperature has an effect on fish-feeding activi-

TOP TEN FISH — 2019 1. Mathew van Wyk. . . . . . . . . . 2.570kg 2. Billy Cronk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.525kg 3. Thomas Steenkamp . . . . . . . 2.465kg 4. Frits Kouwenhoven . . . . . . . 2.245kg 5. Janus Vermaak. . . . . . . . . . . . 2.025kg 6. Shaun Deetlefs. . . . . . . . . . . . 2.010kg 7. George Durand . . . . . . . . . . . 1.845kg 8. D van der Westhuizen. . . . . . 1.835kg 9. Flip van Wyk . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.770kg 10. Pieter Steenkamp . . . . . . . . 1.610kg ty and it certainly did at this year’s Tigerfish Bonanza. On the final day of fishing young Mathew van Wyk fishing on Tiger Hunter pulled the proverbial rabbit out the hat with a very respectable 2.57kg tigerfish. His efforts were rewarded with the first prize of a Yamaha

Explorer 465 with casting deck, powered by 40hp Yamaha 2-stroke motors. He was a very proud and excited young man indeed. At this event prizes are awarded to the top 20 tigerfish caught and released, based on weight. Despite the low numbers of fish caught it was a very exciting prizegiving with the big marquee filled to capacity. All those present applauded and celebrated along with the top 20 prize winners who had at least caught a tigerfish at the 2019 event. Those of us who took part in the 2019 Sodwana Tigerfish Bonanza celebrated those who were successful and, being good sports, bit the bullet and rejoiced in the fact that we’d had the pleasure of fishing the waters of Jozini Dam in the midst of its exquisite sur-

Fourth place

Fifth place

Tigerfish Bonanza committee and the major sponsors. SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 39

Mathew van Wyk and his dad, Philip, show off Mathew’s prize-winning fish.

rounds. In addition we no doubt learnt, from the desperate trying of old and new spots, to formulate a strategy to be adopted for future social fishing trips to Jozini.This strategy will also be applied at the 2020 Tigerfish Bonanza which will be held at the same venue in late September next year. The organisers, under the leadership of Albert Lourens, did a sterling job of making this year’s event a resounding success despite the lack of cooperation from the fish. A situation like this is always incredibly stressful for the organisers and one has to sympathise with the whole committee which took great strain. However, this team of young up and coming members of Sodwana Hengelklub did everything they could to make this year’s Bonanza memorable for those who participated. Fortunately they have broad shoulders and they weathered the strain of dealing with the odd team that intimated the lack of tigerfish was the committee’s fault. A true angler knows that weather and fish catches are totally out of the committee’s control. Just in case you’re beginning to think Jozini cannot produce quality tigerfish both in size and quantity, have a look at the list here of the top ten fish caught at the 2012 Bonanza, the first year that the catch and release rules came into play: 1. Kevin Joubert . . . . . . . . . . . 6.200kg 2. JJ Rautenbach . . . . . . . . . . . 5.205kg

40 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

3. Mike du Toit . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.525kg 4. Pieter Retief . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.525kg 5. Ken Landman . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.265kg 6. N. Kleynhans . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.210kg 7. Johan Theunissen . . . . . . . . . 4.120kg 8. HE Terblanche . . . . . . . . . . . 4.110kg 9. Natalie Strydom . . . . . . . . . . 4.040kg 10.W. Cheyne. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.960kg That year the 20th heaviest fish weighed 3.552kg! With that in mind, please judge the organisers on the efficiency of how the event is handled and run, the quality and quantity of prizes and, above all, on providing the participants with the opportunity to interact with like-minded sportsmen and women within the sport we all love. Albert and his committee ticked all those boxes, so please give them your support in the year ahead as they work extremely hard preparing for the 2020 Sodwana Tigerfish Bonanza. The magnificence of the entire vista surrounding Jozini Dam is undisputable — from the towering Lebombo Mountains in the east to the wild game savannahs in the west — and those who participate are already greatly rewarded by being able to spend time there. Catching one of the stunning looking Jozini tigerfish which provide such a strong and visual fight is just the cherry on top. The 2020 Sodwana Tigerfish Bonanza can’t come quickly enough for me, so I hope to see you there next September.


LIVE THE LIFE Two Oceans Marine launches Magnum 2750 CC

Photos by Sean Todd


HE Magnum 2750 Power Catamaran Centre Console Model is the newest addition to the Magnum Power Catamaran range from Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing. Two Oceans Marine started building the Magnum Power Catamaran range in 1996 with the Magnum 780, and since then the range has been a wonderful success. The current range includes the Magnum 23 Centre Console, the Magnum 2750 Walkaround, the newly launched 2750 Centre Console, the Magnum 32 Walkaround and Full Cabin Sportfisher, and the Magnum 36, 44 and 46 Walkaround models. The launch of the Magnum 2750 Centre Console follows the highly successful launch of the Magnum 2750 Walkaround model in February 2018. The centre console version is specifically designed for use in warmer, tropical climates. She has a range of possible applications such as fishing, diving or island hopping, and also offers the comfort and versatility required for cruising and social entertainment. The aft deck is customisable, and options include having a table or a fighting chair for the serious gamefisherman.

The Magnum 2750 Centre Console has a solid bimini top, fixed side windows and an opening front windshield to provide ample protection from wind, rain and spray whilst still providing good ventilation. There is a lot of storage space in the console which can be customised for tackle and personal items, and can also accommodate an optional heads. Built to endure the Cape of Storms, the Magnum 2750 Centre Console’s catamaran hull provides excellent stability with a dry and soft ride, and is filled with high density foam. She can easily accommodate three people behind her wheel and another three facing aft to watch the lures. Read more about her and see more photos at

42 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

SPECS LOA: 8.5m Beam: 2.9m Draft: 0.55 m Boat weight – operational: ±45 00kg Fuel – Standard capacity: 450 litres Min hp (O/B 30-inch shaft): 2 x 200hp Max hp: 2 x 300hp

THE NITTY GRITTY AFT DECK • Self-Draining. • Two below deck fish hatches. • 2 x cut outs located on gunwales for storage of lures, knives etc. • Access hatches to battery storage on hull sides. • Deck-mounted fighting chair pole with table on top. • 2 x Automatic bilge pumps for hull drainage. • 2 x Electric drain pumps for drainage of below deck fish hatches. CENTRE CONSOLE • Central steering console housing hydraulic steering pump, engine controls and instrumentation.

• Upholstered leaning post with built in storage locker below for cooler boxes etc. • Starboard access door to storage cupboard capable of accommodating a marine head. • Port access door to storage area with shelves. FORWARD DECK • Moulded, non-skid surface with safety rails. • Anchor locker — self-draining, ahead of collision bulkhead. • Upholstered seat with insulated cooler box below. FUEL SYSTEM • 2 x Aluminium fuel tanks constructed to marine specifications, complete with full baffles, inspection plate, isolating valve, fill, suction and vent lines. • Useable volume per tank approx. 230 litres

• Remote level gauges are located at control station. • Water separator filters and engine primer valves located in storage hatches on aft deck. • Marine approved flexible fuel piping used throughout. ELECTRICAL • 2 x Heavy duty 100amp Delco engine start batteries with isolating switches. • Marine grade switch panel. • Marine grade silicone tin wiring. • Navigation lights — LEDs • Anchor light — LEDs • Bilge pumps are wired through the switch panel, and have their integral f loat switches hotwired to the house batteries. • Deck wash pump. STAINLESS STEEL All fittings are marine grade 316 stainless steel welded and polished.

• • • • • • • • • •

Bow rail. Handrails strategically located. T-top with 8x storage rod holders 8 x gunwale-mounted rod holders. 6 x star flat sockets 4 x start flat rod holders 1 x Anchor bollard and roller guide. 4 x Heavy duty deck cleats. 1 x Heavy duty bow eye. 2 x Heavy duty transom eyes

ELECTRONICS — SINGLE STATION NAVNET SYSTEM • Furuno 15-inch Navnet System (GPS, Chart plotter) linked to: 1kw sounder Icom 25 Watt VHF Magnetic compass Marine CD Player with 4 speakers For more information about Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing and their boats, contact Kirsten Veenstra on <> or phone +27 82 926 3932.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 43

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EYECARE ESSENTIALS Never leave home without your sunnies By Gary Heiting, OD <>


E all know we’re supposed to wear sunglasses to protect our eyes, but what if the sun doesn’t bother your eyes, do you still need to wear sunglasses? Yes. The sun emits damaging UV rays that can damage the eyes, and UV rays penetrate clouds, so you can get sun damage to your eyes even on overcast days. OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: • What are UV rays? Ultraviolet (UV) rays are high-energy, invisible light rays; sunlight is the main source of UV. UV light is broken into three different types — UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA has longer wavelengths and passes through glass easily; experts disagree about whether or not UVA damages the eyes. UVB rays are the most dangerous, making sunglasses and sunscreen a must; they don’t go through glass. UVC rays do not reach the Earth because its atmosphere blocks them. • When do UV rays affect my eyes? The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am and 2pm, but that’s not the only time UV rays can harm your eyes. Glare and reflections can give you trouble too, so have your sunglasses ready if you’ll be around snow, water or sand, or if you’ll be driving (windshields are a big glare source). Sunlamps, tanning beds, photosensitizing drugs, high altitudes and proximity to the equator also put you at greater risk of eye damage from UV radiation. • Do certain medical problems increase my risk for damage from UV rays? Yes. People with cataracts (and those who have had cataract surgery), macular degeneration or retinal dystrophies should be extra careful. • What are my options to prevent UV damage to my eyes? Wearing sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays is the best way to protect your eyes from the sun. Some contact lenses provide UV protection but they don’t cover your whole eye, so you still need sunglasses. You may also want to consider wraparound sunglasses to prevent harmful UV rays from entering around the frame. • What are the different kinds of sunglass lenses available? It’s a good idea to ask your eye doctor for advice when choosing sunglasses; different tints can help you see better in certain conditions, and your eye doctor or optician can help you

choose sunglass tints that are best suited for your needs. Sunglasses with polarized lenses generally provide greater comfort because they reduce glare from bright light reflecting off flat surfaces. Sunglasses that have anti-reflecting (AR) coating applied to the back of the lenses reduce glare by preventing light from reflecting off the back surface of your sunglasses. Mirror-coated lenses limit the amount of light entering your eyes, so you’re more comfortable. Mirror coatings (also called flash coatings) are highly reflective coatings applied to the front surface of sunglass lenses to reduce the amount of light entering the eye. This makes them especially beneficial for activities in very bright conditions, such as snow skiing on a sunny day. Gradient lenses are tinted from the top down so that the top of the lens is darkest. These lenses are good for driving because they shield your eyes from overhead sunlight and allow more light through the bottom half of the lens so you can see your dashboard clearly. Double Gradient refers to gradient lenses where the top and bottom portions of the lenses are dark and the middle of the lens has a lighter tint. This is a great choice if you want sunglasses that aren’t too dark but shield your eyes from bright overhead sunlight and light reflecting off sand, water and other reflective surfaces at your feet. Photochromatic lenses adjust their level of darkness based on the amount of UV light they’re exposed to. Over age 40 and experiencing presbyopia? Not a problem. Virtually any type of sunglasses can be made with progressive lenses, bifocals or trifocals. • Do I need to worry about infrared rays? Infrared (IR) rays are located just past the red portion of the visible light spectrum. Though infrared radiation produces heat, most experts agree that the sun’s infrared radiation does not pose a danger to the eyes. • Which sunglass lens colour is best? Lens color is a personal choice and doesn’t affect how well sunglass lenses protect your eyes from UV light. Gray and brown are popular because they distort color perception the least. • Are impact-resistant lenses necessary? For comfort and safety it’s good to choose sunglass lenses that are both impact resistant and scratch resistant. Polycarbonate lenses are lightweight and significantly more impact resistant than lenses made of glass or other materials. SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 47

• Do darker sunglass lenses provide more UV protection than lighter lens tints? Darker sunglasses decrease the amount of visible light that passes through the lenses compared to lighter lens tints, but they don’t necessarily provide greater protection from invisible UV rays. For adequate sun protection, make sure your sunglasses block 100% UV, regardless of the colour or darkness of the lenses. • Do children need sunglasses? Yes — sunglasses are essential for children. Children are at particular risk because they’re in the sun much more than adults and their eyes are more sensitive. UV damage is cumulative over a person’s lifetime, which means you should begin protecting your child’s eyes as soon as possible.

48 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

• What options are available to me if I already wear prescription glasses? Photochromic lenses are an excellent choice for sun protection outdoors if you need corrective lenses. They block 100% of the sun’s UV rays and darken automatically in sunlight. In many cases photochromic lenses can eliminate your need for a separate pair of prescription sunglasses. • Can sunglasses designed for specific sports really make a difference? Yes. Sports eyewear tends to be safer than regular sunglasses because the lenses and frames are made of special materials that are unlikely to shatter if struck and can give you the benefits of both sunglasses and protective eyewear. Also, certain tints can enhance your vision for certain sports.


The ubiquitous morning bait run.

By Adam Waites Photos courtesy of Ian Steed and Brian Rhoades


HE call from a good mate came out of the blue:“Would you like to fish and deckhand on a sportfisher in Morocco this white marlin season? I would go but I’m working.” Would I ever! There was one slight problem, though — I knew next to nothing about these fish and only slightly more about billfishing in general. All I knew was that white marlin elicited a certain dedication among those fishing for them and command the biggest tournament prize purses in the world. Although I’ve been lucky enough to catch one or two sailies thanks to the Vidal Express, and a couple of semi-decent tuna along the way, this presented a major step up from my usual light tackle gamefishing and surf launches. And that was how I found myself sitting in SKI-BOAT magazine’s office with the legendary Erwin Bursik. We were soon deep in a conversation in which I struggled my way through the details of sportfishing terminology and tactics. It’s easy to lose focus when you’re in there as the office is a treasure trove of old photos, huge mounts, dangling lures and even a few museum piece rods hidden at the back. It was an awesome way to kick off my crash course into this kind of fishing and I was lucky enough to leave the office with a stack of marlin-centred reading material. This included two rare gems — old Billfish

50 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

While Morocco has a lot of similarities to South Africa, the University textbooks which had some awesome tips and startwhole vibe is completely different and much more chaotic. ing points and Erwin’s parting advice that I find Captain One thing that became clear was that nothing was ever really Stuart Simpson (of Kenya and Cape Verde fame) and ask him as it seemed or as expected. This became evident the first for tips. time we got a chance to go out and grab a local beer. We folI struggled to find further information on the fishery (at lowed directions to a grimy industrial area around the main least, written in English), but a few unexpected quarters proport to find the Casablanca Seaman’s Society. On a dark, ausvided some great insight. I’m an avid follower of fellow South tere corner, lines of expensive German vehicles African angler and SKI-BOAT magazine contributor, clustered around a heavy wooden door. Jono Booysen’s fishing blog. He’s the only guy Through this we were shocked to find a ever to catch an IGFA slam (all nine billstunning garden courtyard and open fish) solely in Africa, and back in the (as well as cheap) bar packed with archives I found his blog about his locals and expats. This was just trip to Morocco. our first indication that things Now he was definitely polite might not be as they on it, but reading between the appeared... lines of his log made me realise What followed seemed this experience would carry like a never-ending cycle of multiple challenges both on boat maintenance, tackle and off the water. Craig preparation and truly bizarre Thomassen’s Inside Angling tasks. One day the guys blog also held some info on ended up on a fruitless the area which came in eight-hour tour of the city handy but had uncannily simsearching for various parts. ilar hidden depths! The next day we were sitting With a little bit of research in the front row of a local cusdone, I set off from Durban and tomary equestrian event. After arrived a day later in Casablanca all this we just couldn’t wait to to meet the boat’s owner and my If they aren’t in the air, they’re get out on the water! Finally we fellow crew. Our early days were aggro! This white came directly at managed to spend a few days getting certainly a crash course on local the boat before veering off. to know the area, and we soon worked norms. These included strange out a few early specifics. moments like regularly eating dinner at 1The Moroccan white marlin action really 2am, truly insane roads, and seeing a bit more occurs in a 35 mile dogleg of gradually rising surof the area and local customs than I’d expected. face gradient with very little structure or dropoff. This generally runs from north-east to south-west down from off Rabat STRANGE BUT TRUE to west of Mohammedia, the port of call for the fleet. We One of these was Eid al-Adha, where every family in the counfound that while we had a few red letter days in shallower try sacrifices a sheep and has a big family feast. It’s a bit of an water and further south, the real hotspot of the action was off interesting one when this takes place in your apartment block Rabat, a run in the 40 mile range. However, we were told by and there are sheep lined up in the garden with guys walking some of the local anglers that sometimes through the season around covered in blood! SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 51

Airborne again! This is the default state once that bait is swallowed. the action did move down along the dogleg until it was a relatively close run at 0 degrees. Though we had a good few days in the 120-140m range, the bigger shoals of fish and the bait definitely were more prolific in the 140-180m range. This was especially true where the contours bunched up with a bit of a steeper gradient. Captain Thomas Holmes put us right on the action, marking bait aggregations in the deep and working around these, pulling the packs of mar-

lin up into the spread. When the marlin are baitballing with whales and dolphins on the surface it is a stunning sight, but it can be challenging to distract them from the real action and get them into the spread. All of us were lucky enough to tick this species off the bucketlist and we got a few double-ups along the way. If a sailfish is just a dorado with a bill, I would agree with the Americans who say the white marlin really is more like a plus-sized, jumping wahoo. They

make blistering runs, changing direction on a dime and careening around the boat. They also seem to have different personalities. Some come straight to the boat before giving you gears on the leader, others greyhound off into the distance before tiring, and every now and then there is what we called, the “fris” bugger. After a few jumps these would sound straight down and use their full 40-50kg body weight to sit in the current and make the angler really work to get them up. We started by running lures based on firstmate Chris Hill and skipper Thomas’s huge experience of fishing for a range of billfish worldwide. Furthermore, a quick stop at the port marker buoy yielded strings of macks and mozzies, providing a ready source of pitch- and livebait if needed. A spread that worked really well for us was as follows: A) Short right — Big T/Black Magic Zippy Skippy in purple or pink running behind a pink Squid Nation daisy chain/Pulsator spreader on the bridge teasers/flat teaser. B) Short Left — Big T Super Lumo or Marlin Star Tomahawk in purple and orange running behind a Pulsator spreader bar or Moldcraft Wide Ranger Dorado on the bridge teaser/flat teaser. C) Long Right — Black Bart Run Cay Candy or SevenStrand. Basically any longer bullet head-style lure with a slight cup in a pink or purple. D) Long Left — Old Williamson Hacksaw Offcentre in pink. (See diagram 1 alongside.) We got what we thought were decent initial numbers, going 4-6, 4-7 and 3-7 on three successive days. We also managed to get stuck into a few dorado pack attacks. There are big shoals of roaming dorries in the area, and these are almost always bus fish. We stuck a few in the 14-18kg range but we also saw a good few in the 2030kg range. Definitely welcome bycatch. TACTICS TO TRY AT HOME As an aside, judging from the catches and hit rate we were getting, we all agreed that this sort of medium- to small range lure spread would be highly effective back home. I’m guessing in calmer water it would be particularly effective on the smaller billfish such as juvenile blacks, stripeys, spearfish and sailies up north. It would also be quite easy to manage and run well on the smaller boats we are on in SA and would clean up the usual tablefare dorries and wahoo. Switching out to a few jets and bullets on the longs would do damage to the tuna as well. There’s also the option to add a shotgun daisy chain for bycatch or bait. I think this spread — run with a few

52 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

The streamlined, whippet-like look to this fish gives it amazing aerial speed and distance. halfbeak and japmack swim/skipbaits instead of lures — would be deadly. MENTAL ADJUSTMENT So we had this waxed, right? Two slightly worrying things took place that made us not so sure. The first red flag came from the captain of the most successful boat in the marina. He looked at our lure rigs one morning, shook his head and, in a deep French accent, said “It’s no good.” The second red flag was my first meeting with Captain Stuart Simpson who said,“Wait for it guys, you don’t have any clue how much these fish can mess with your head!” We found out what he was talking about when we were joined by two great guys for a few days — Brian Rhoades and Ian Steed, from the Mount Maunganui Sportsfishing Club in New Zealand. One of the most frustrating fishing days of our lives ensued. The whites gave us a serious lesson as we lost nearly every hookup, shattering our illusion of having a sorted out game plan! Unfortunately we learned the hard way that in this case lure spreads would

be a dead end! When the marlin settle in a bit after arriving back from their migration it’s extremely difficult to get good hookup numbers on lures and you miss a lot on skittish follows and half-hearted swats. We had only led ourselves far down the wrong path with the methods we were using. After seeing some of Stuart’s previous seasons’ footage (with narrated advice), getting tips from other captains at the marina and going back to Jono’s blog, we knew we had to change our tactics entirely to what had been proven to work time and time again. The only way to really get the real numbers (and avoid a total mental breakdown) was by greatly simplifying matters. White marlin are not big fish and seemed to get a bit confused/scared by a bigger spread. They are a lot more wary and fade off quickly when there is too much action. Also, when they have too much to focus on the pitchbait gets lost in the action. We could see from experience that they came in multiple times when one- to three simple, hookless teasers were presented to

them. With less to focus on they also stuck around a lot longer and became more and more aggressive — a perfect time to pitch a well-placed mackerel. We also got better results and more interest with green gear as the locals said they just seem to be dialled into this colour. The real trick, as we had been told, lay with the tease pitch. This was how we found ourselves pulling a spread with two hookless Moldcraft Wide Rangers and at times one flat long teaser around the ocean while standing against the gunnel, dead mackerel in hand. (See diagram 2 below.) It seemed totally counterintuitive at first to fish without having a hook in the water, but it soon became evident that we were on the money as our catch totals shot up. Again, Morocco showed us that nothing is as it seems! When pitching for whites it is absolutely crucial to be 100% focused and ready at all times — something that really applies to all billfishing. It’s not a case of having a 500 lb blue crashing into the spread; whites can come up almost invisibly, blacked out in full

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stealth mode. In certain light conditions this makes them almost impossible to spot. In this case, you need to be focused on the slightest details from any angle. A strange pop of the lure, a few centimetres of bill or a lit up fin, spotted briefly at a certain angle, could be all the indication you get. It’s not uncommon for these to only be visible from down in the cockpit. If you want to get that crucial first pitch in when visiting, that means being ready and waiting with eyes on the water; polarised glasses are an absolute must. It’s also easy for your brain to trick you into thinking you are seeing marlin; rather pick up the rod and have a second look as very often they’ll actually be there! I would also recommend trying to look slightly across the cockpit at the teasers on your opposite side because in certain light conditions this helps in catching more of those small details. (See diagram 3 alongside.) The guys who get bored and don’t pay attention don’t get as many fish, that’s for sure. When a lit up marlin is confirmed and comes up onto the teaser, a carefully choreographed team play unfolds. As one deckhand or the captain teases the fish in (speed dependent on how aggressive it is) the anglers on deck pitch at the incoming fish. If the bait skips, they won’t attack it as much. If it goes past the marlin, you’ve likely blown the chance. It needs to “swim” in the clearer patches under the water’s surface down past the incoming teaser so the marlin can switch on to it. When all goes to plan, it practically looks like a trout bite as the lit up fish seems to almost sip the mackerel down. Deadbaits work way better for this, and you don’t even have to rig them up much — a 10/0 circle through both lips is more than enough. From there it’s a quick freespool with thumb on the drum — three to seven seconds max. It’s tempting to want to give it more time, but the marlin often felt the hook and dropped or spat the bait when they were given too long. They also sometimes don’t realise they have the hook in them, and come back for more action on the teasers. In this case it’s easy to drop the bite when they are heading and facing directly towards you with no corner to act as a hookset for the circle. If the marlin misses or spits the bait, you can wind it in and drop it back again and it often gets smashed by a following fish. Once you go on with one, you can keep tr ying with another pitch or throw out a livey. There are almost always fired up fish just out of sight which have been attracted to the commotion and are looking for a free meal. Using this trick, it’s not uncommon to have two or even four marlin on at a time.

By looking across the cockpit of the vessel the angler has a wider field of vision to spot the small details on a marlin that could mean the difference between a chance at a pitch and not seeing anything.

The ruler-like colour division and pearlescent white lower body in this shot shows clearly why these fish are named the way they are. SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 55

The author about to pop the leader on a release — by far the best for the fish and the fastest way to get fishing again.

An early season marlin caught on an Old Williamson Hacksaw Offcentre on the long. It took us a while to get this system going right, but we soon got into some great action at solid hit rates. Throw in a good few double ups, and Brian and Ian got stuck into some great sized fish. With the marlin’s acrobatics they also got fantastic photos which accompany this article. After they started the long journey home we also had a few days with seasick or tired guests which basically turned into fun days for the crew which gave us even more chance to get to grips with the basics of the system. I’m confident that anyone following a similar method, based entirely as it is on all the hard work the local guys have done over the years, would have a basis to also get solid results. We newbies couldn’t quite match the regular guys just yet, as the amount of fish they get

and how dialled in they have their system is pretty unreal. OFF THE WATER ATTRACTIONS Off the water there is also plenty to do, and there is loads of tourism info available out there. Mohammedia, the home base, is pretty much the Moroccan equivalent of a Margate or Scottburgh. It’s packed with local tourists enjoying the beach and an awesome shorebreak but not exactly fireworks and ancient minarets. The only difference is that you won’t find a camel coming up to investigate you in a sleepy SA beach town! I would definitely recommend booking a few days on either side of your fishing trip to explore further into the country and see this unique culture.

56 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

The hospitality can be truly special at times and the food is out of this world — fresh and bursting with flavour. Just be careful because, as with all countries, there are some people out there who can be a bit on your case or try to scam you. One of the common tricks we saw was guys following us around a tourist site or airport, and then demanding a “tour fee”. Aside from on the roads which are hectic, there was never a time where we felt remotely unsafe. If this sounds like a trip for you, I would recommend you speak to a South African who has been there. Reading blogs or chatting to people like Stuart Simpson, Jono Booysen or Trevor Hansen will give you great insight into the best way to properly organise a trip from South Africa to Morocco, and the pitfalls to avoid. Getting a straight, direct answer in Morocco can at times be extremely difficult. As with any charter industry, there are some shenanigans going on. Be educated going in so you don’t have to deal with and be disappointed by this. It is also not as cheap as you might be led to believe; in some places you are looking at around R300 for three beers. Having said that, there are also some truly world class options. The best boats to try get on are One More (highly professional and probably the best in the fleet), Capri with Captain Stuart Simpson, Solena (they have multiple boats and a great young team) or the Devil’s Pride and Nemo charter boats. The prices range from US$700 to US$1 800 a day, but ticking off a white and going on to get multiple fish is almost guaranteed with these guys within a few days. Some of these boats almost exclusively fish IGFA World Records on super light line classes so getting a free date is not set in stone. (See Stuart Simpson’s article in January 2019 issue of SKI-BOAT on catching white marlin on 2 lb line.) Even as the plane took off into the dusty sunset for the start of my trip home, I had mixed feelings about Morocco. This was both an exciting and very challenging trip, one which felt like my own “Billfish University”, although billfish primary school might be a bit more appropriate! However, when it comes down to it, the feeling of spotting and getting a pitch right on a lit-up white marlin is indescribably electric. Once you’ve had the chance to do it you’ll see the reason for the big bucks put up and you’ll feel like your (mis)adventures in Morocco have all been worth it! Adam is more than happy to assist regarding tips, contacts and advice for this fishery. Contact him on <>.


PREDATORS &PELAGICS BCSS International Tagging Programme By Alex Weiss


HE Bazaruto Centre for Scientific Studies (BCSS) marine station and the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) Ocean Observatory recently received international approval to coordinate two largescale tagging programs concerning large pelagics/predators and migratory gamefish. Owing to its privileged position on the edge of the continental shelf with deep waters of between 200- and 1 000 m, the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park (BANP) is unique because of the number of large pelagics, predators and migratory gamefish that can be found there. The BANP inshore and offshore waters are important nursery areas for tuna species, billfish and sharks and also hold an incredible number of pelagic gamefish and reef fish. The BCSS and the Kisawa Sanctuary sit in front of extremely productive fishing grounds, which include 1 000 lb-plus black marlin. Whilst sport fishing is world class in the area, BCSS is also primely located to undertake important tagging efforts of large pelagics and migratory gamefish such as marlin, yellowfin tuna, all kinds of sharks, wahoo and dorado among others. Tagging is an important scientific procedure to investigate fish spatial distribution and movements, migratory routes, habitat utilisation, hotspots, and spawning areas. Gaining information about fish movement, migrations and stock structure

helps researchers and fishermen across the world ensure that fishing is done in a sustainable manner, and helps management authorities to enforce the right measures and laws. BCSS is currently managing — via Dr. Mario Lebrato — two international tagging projects in line with the standards and procedures (i.e. handling, deploying, tag coding, reporting, and recover y) developed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). This is to assist in global conservation efforts of large pelagics and other migratory fish including an Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea bluefin

tuna tagging project, and an Indian Ocean tuna, gamefish, sharks, and billfish tagging project. BCSS is currently managing an Indian Ocean yellowfin (T hunnus albacares) and skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri), dorado (Coryphaena hippurus), king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla), black marlin (Istiompax indica) and blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) tagging project. For now they are using conventional tags, but that will expand later to satellite tagging. BCSS is also managing the TITAN RED Challenge tagging effort that takes place in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, facilitating bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) tagging, genetic sample recovery and filming (in conjunction with GoFishCam). Dr Jan McDowell of the Virgina Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS) is assisting in the research aspect of the projects, facilitating genetic sample recovery by preparation, analytics and publication. The BCSS tagging efforts in the Indian Ocean will also build on existing work on acoustic tagging on bull-, hammerhead- and tiger sharks which will integrate ICCAT codes. Currently, PhD student Calum Murie from Underwater Africa is leading shark tagging efforts in the area. As part of BCSS’s ambition of making data available to the public, the data from these projects will be available in the future on both the ICCAT as well as BCSS data repositories.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 59

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Cape Verde delivers again

64 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

By Herman Jansen van Rensburg


VER the last few years SKI-BOAT magazine has published a number of articles about marlin fishing in Cape Verde. These include Where Big Blues go to Play by Stuart Simpson (November/December 2015) which is a very accurate and informative article covering aspects like the bite, teaser fishing, when to visit and navigating around the islands. Blue Marlin Dreams Come True by Theo Daly (November/December 2016), It’s All About the Bite by Ryan Williamson and Blues Galore by Lance Clever (November/ December 2017) also give anglers a very good idea of what to expect. Reading and re-reading all these articles about the fishing in Cape Verde islands I was struck by the remarks from anglers that varied from “phenomenal” and “extraordinary” to “unbelievable”. They totally captured my imagination. For years now I have been fishing off the Moçambique coastline with my family as a gamefish and sailfish angler with a once a year trip to Sodwana, focussing just on marlin fishing using both livebait and trolling lures. Marlin fishing to us is the ultimate in fishing although we found you have to be ver y patient and persistent and it can be a frustrating exercise too. In recent months I felt that the cost, effort and lately the frustration involved in going ski-boat fishing for marlin at Sodwana Bay was so high considering the number of marlin raised and released, that it would be worth our while to change course from Sodwana Bay to Cape Verde. I wanted to experiance all that has been said about marlin fishing in Cape Verde first hand.

GETTING THERE I made contact with Stuart Simpson to enquire about time available, costs, accommodation and travel routes, and I booked a 14day trip (26 May to 8 June 2019) for my son, Coert, my son-in-law, Bouwer Opperman and me; we would be fishing with Stuart on his 33ft Bertram Nha Cretcheu. Stuart advised us to consider taking the route via Luanda, Angola, to Lisbon, Portugal, which also proved to be the most economical. A word of advice to all prospective CV visitors — do your visa application well in advance! We departed from Johannesburg on 23 May, starting with a three-and-a-half hour flight to Luanda, then a six-hour f light to Lisbon with a layover that night. The following day we had a two-hour and 20 minute flight from Lisbon to Sao Vicente. We were booked in at Residential Jenny in Mindelo, the capital of Sao Vicente. Our rooms came with a beautiful view of the harbour, and we also found it to be very reasonably priced and within walking distance of the marina and the Floating Bar. Mindelo is a colourful and very clean city, boasting friendly people and a relaxed holiday atmosphere. All the sportfishing boats operating from Mindelo are moored at two marinas — the Floating Bar and the Sportfishing Club. We walked straight down to the Floating Bar marina, SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 65

Coert Jansen van Rensburgand Stuart Simpson on the bridge.

Happy anglers and crew at the end of the trip.

Bouwer Opperman in the fighting chair.

Bouwer puts his back into the fight

Coert in the harness.

eager to meet up with Stuart. Stuart and Samuel Thuva aka Sammy (one of his crew members) were already hard at work preparing the boat and stocking up with supplies for our 14 days of continuous fishing. Sammy is from Kenya where he fished for 11 years with Stuart, originally crewing for Hemingways resort. The other crew member, Didico Brito, is a Cape Verdian who has been fishing with Stuart for two years and is home based at Sao Vicente island. We were all very impressed with the boat as Stuart showed us around. I was particularly impressed with the cabin interior which boasted a microwave oven, fridge, stove, toilet and neat trimmings. Stuart explained the interior was recently completely stripped out and replaced with a larger gallery and sitting area. The change in design offered a lot more space and comfort which we appreciated very much when we compared Nha

Cretcheu to other boats around us. The engine boxes were also silenced by high density fireproof foam and proved to be very comfortable to relax on. Apart from the boat being completely resprayed, the wiring was also redone, exhaust system replaced and new steering system and inverter installed — the boat was basically a complete refit. Stuart told us to bring our luggage with the next morning as he planned to venture out to Sao Nicolau island which is one of his favourite places to fish. Only a few captains are willing to take the chance to go out there, though, because it is 54nm east of Sao Vicente. However the weather was good and we had the time, so we were keen. On day one we set off from Mindelo harbour heading for Sao Nicolau island. We were spoilt right from the start by Sammy who ser ved us coffee. We watched Didico rigging pitch baits while Sammy prepared the dredge and

66 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

riggers and sorted out the teasers and hooked lures. We followed their moves with great interest since we were not familiar with the technique of teasing marlin to the back of the boat and then presenting a pitch bait to replace the other bait. Along the way to Sao Pedro Bank (approximately 9nm from the Mindelo marina) we passed high volcanic cliffs which dropped straight into beautiful blue waters. We were still looking at the Sao Pedro lighthouse which dates back to World War 2, when Sammy began to set the teasers. He set the bridge teasers out on the riggers with two reels on the bridge with Stuart; from there he conducts the teasing towards the back of the boat. The centre rigger was set out with a hooked lure on a curved butt rod destined for the fighting chair. We anxiously awaited the action with me on the first strike, Coert second and Bouwer third.

Coert hooked up to an aerial marlin.

Plenty of flags flying on day two.

Bouwer, Herman and Coert heading back to the marina.

FISH ON! When we were off Santa Lucia, the first island from Sao Vicente, the centre rigger went and I was in the chair. It was very similar to what we are used to, except for the boat backing up towards the fish because they want to have the best chance of tagging and releasing the fish without fighting it to complete exhaustion. I was so focused on not losing the fish due to slack line that I cannot recall a lot about the fight. Only when the fish was near the boat could I take in its size and beauty. Sammy and Didico expertly leadered the fish and tagged it before it was set free again. Stuart wanted his lure back so I brought the fish in again for Sammy and Didico to try to retrieve the lure, which they eventually did. It was high-fives and back-slapping all round as celebration of our first fish on day one of our trip and a personal best for me — a blue marlin of 650 lb. It was a

fabulous feeling and we sincerely thanked Stuart and his crew. We continued on to the Sao Nicolau bank and eventually reached Tarrafal, a small harbour where Stuart moored for the night. There we went ashore to overnight in a local hotel where we enjoyed very good local cuisine which proved to be the best we had for the trip. The next morning Stuart informed us that we would be leaving Sao Nicolau and heading back to Sao Vicente, due to the hot bite on the Sao Pedro bank and because he’d hoped for more action at Sao Nicolau. Stuart steered the boat back to the area where I caught my 650 lb fish the day before. We hooked up our first double of blues within 200m of the waypoint Stuart plotted the previous day! Now for the first time we witnessed the teamwork involved when Stuart teased the fish on the teaser towards the back of the boat and the pitch bait was pre-

sented in the clear water which was created by Stuart turning slightly to the side where the fish was on the teaser. As soon as the fish focused on the pitchbait Stuart wound in the teaser. Then it was a question of timing before the hook was set. We were entertained with lively, beautifully lit up fish that Coert and Bouwer fought simultaneously on stand-up gear. The fleet listened to our activity on the radio, but by the time they knew we were on the bite, they were out of reach. We had a wonderful second day of fishing with Coert and Bouwer releasing two fish each and myself one. They weighed approximately 90 lb, 100 lb, 230 lb and 300 lb. It was very enjoyable action on stand up gear. We were very happy with our tally of six fish for the two days and proudly displayed our flags at the Floating Bar mooring that night. From day three Stuart focussed on

SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 67

Sao Pedro bank which is on the leeward side of Sao Vicente island. The bank runs east from the ledge for 10nm, zig-zagging in and out, with drop offs ranging from 100m to 500m within just 200m. We were still fishing with only one hooked lure, the teasers and the dredge. Stuart worked the bank extensively from shallow to deep and also ventured out to deep water. The fish started to behave terribly on the teasers and the fishing got progressively slower from day three to day five, with two marlin in the 180 lb class on day three, one 280 lb fish on day four and one 100 lb fish on day five. On day six we were unable to raise even one flag at the marina. We were obviously not happy, but also not too worried because that is typical of fishing and something we are all too familiar with. STRANGE BEHAVIOUR The only explanation Stuart had for the strange and brutal way in which the fish behaved was that they were in a spawning or pre-spawning period. The young males tended to come up super aggressive on the teasers and lures, but only hit it once and then just followed them — window-shopping for a while — before fading off. From day seven Stuart opted to put two hooked lures out on the outriggers/longs as opposed to having only one hooked lure on the centre rigger. This, according to Stuart, is the time when lure fishing will outperform the switch and bait technique which apparently does happen from time to time. We were told to take our luggage along

again because Stuart wanted to explore the deeper waters around Santa Antao island, the biggest island in the group which lies 4nm north of Sao Vicente. There is a small bank called Monte Trigo 4nm out from the island, and just 100m from the shoreline the water is already 500m deep. The deep water seems to hold the bigger blue marlin and fewer shoaling fish compared to the other two islands. Our luck changed suddenly — first Coert and then Bouwer each caught a 300 lb fish, both on pitch baits. I was next, when a 550 lb marlin came up on the pitch bait, but we missed it and on the way out it took the long lure. I fought the fish for about 25 minutes but unfortunately pulled the hooks 30 feet from the boat. The waters here looked different to us — maybe due to the depth. We saw a pod of orcas and Stuart and Sammy both reported seeing one of the biggest fish they have ever seen which just sat under the teaser, admiring what it was looking at, before fading off. At the end of day seven we were very pleased to have four fish tagged and released next to each of our names. Stuart anchored in the small bay of Montrigo at the end of day seven and we took a local boat which paddled us to a pebble beach with a small shore break. The second week of out trip was just the opposite of what we experienced the first week. It seems there have been no scientific studies on the spawning or pre-spawning behaviour of blue marlin, but captains and crews with years of experience concluded

68 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

that the reluctant behaviour/slow bite was due to spawning behaviour. The fish were being teased in and switched to the pitch bait, resulting in a huge bite, long free spool and no hook up because the marlin did not swallow the bait. Apparently this is referred to as “dog boning” the bait. Stuart claims that 90% of the time when they raise younger males with this weird behaviour, they always mark a big fish (big mama) with them as they work around the area, sitting between 30m to 60m. We returned to the Sao Pedro bank and Sao Vicente island and days eight, nine, ten and eleven proved to be marlin watching days for us. This was brutal madness for Stuart and his crew, but they stick to their beliefs as they know this is not their first, and nor will it be their last time going through this ordeal. We raised a lot of fish but could not raise any flags at the end of the day. On these days we tended to spend more time in the cabin raiding the ample stock of supplies within. Coert and Bouwer are very competent cooks and we enjoyed bacon and egg Dagwoods, Portugese sardine burgers and a variety of tinned fish, fresh ham, four different cheeses with fresh tomato and onions, among other treats. The cooler box was also well stocked and we made full use of it. TURNING POINT Day 12 proved to be the turning point for us on the Sao Pedro bank. Coert caught a 350 lb fish on stand-up gear and our spirits were lifted drammatically because we could raise a flag again. Day 13 saw Bouwer catch a beautiful

550 lb fish from the chair — a personal best for him. I also caught a feisty 220 lb fish on stand-up gear. On day 14, sadly our last day, we were still working the Sao Pedro bank when we raised another beautiful fish that took the pitch bait. Coert fought it in stand-up gear and ended with his personal best — a 550 lb blue successfully tagged and released. Although we experienced a few flag-less days, we still saw a good number of fish raised and at the end of our

fishing holiday we were very happy to have raised 45 fish out of which 28 were hook ups and we tagged and released 16 fish between us — Coert six, Bouwer five and me five. My expectations were truly met as I’d hoped for each one of us to get a good fish to his name and we did that which is very rewarding. Stuart and his crew know what it takes to please clients who wish to have a good time fishing for marlin. They were always at our service, polite,

friendly and competent. I would certainly recommend Cape Verde to any one wishing to experience truly rewarding marlin fishing and will gladly assist with any advice needed. Nha Cretcheu (My Love in creole) will definitely see me again in the near future. For further information on fishing around Cape Verde contact Stuart Simpson via email <capeverde.>.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 69


A Supercat outside Two Oceans Marine’s premises around 1990.

One of Two Oceans’ earlier builds — the 430 Witblitz.


POWERING AHEAD Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing celebrates a milestone


N 2019 Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing celebrates the company’s 30th year in business. For one of only a handful of large custom catamaran manufacturers globally, it has been an incredible journey. From humble beginnings Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing has grown into one of Africa’s boat building triumphs. The company was founded in 1989 by Rod Delany, an engineer in the oil and gas industry and a Springbok waterskier. The Delany family had a love of the ocean and boats, and Two Oceans

Marine Manufacturing started simply selling boats built by Peter Lindenberg from a fuel station in Newlands. In the beginning the company was only a supplier.

Magnum 44 Power Catamaran Walkaround. 70 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

Within two years the company moved to premises in Paarden Eiland — a wooden wendy house that many people will remember, which was all that the company was initially allowed to erect. Eventually permission was granted to build a proper workshop, where Two Oceans Marine increased their boat range, incorporating hulls from Supercat in Port Alfred. This was the birth of power catamarans in the Cape waters — before that one never really saw a power catamaran. The partnership with Supercat was

Two Oceans 110 Day Charter Catamaran.

Two Oceans Marine’s premises around 1990. a highly successful one, with a good number of boats sold between 1989 and 1999. Initially, Supercat only manufactured a 17- and 20-foot version, but later the Delanys persuaded Supercat to produce a 26-foot version of their craft and so the boats slowly increased in size. Around that time Mark Delany returned from studying in the USA, and he spotted the opportunity for growth. Rather than fetch the Supercat 780s from Port Alfred, Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing bought the moulds and expanded their operation, thus going into boatbuilding. A small factor y was started in Airport Industria and a proper workshop was built in Paarden Eiland. In 1996 Two Oceans Marine started building the Magnum Power Catamaran range, and to date have launched numerous versions of these Magnum Power Catamarans ranging from 23- to 44 foot, with the first 46-foot model currently in build. The Magnum Power Catamaran range has been a

Advert dating back to 1997

wonderful success story, dominating the local sportfishing fleet in the Cape. The robust nature and ability to customise these boats has led to a successful range of commercial and leisure applications for the vessels over the years. What followed were several great

custom builds which grew the business further. One was a paddle cruiser for well-known broadcaster and former Knysna stalwart William Smith who owned the Featherbed Reserve; the other was a 780 for world famous novelist Wilbur Smith, together with the build of a commercial patrol vessel for IMT, a division of the SA navy. After the building of the passenger ferry, Two Oceans Marine built two 50foot sailing catamarans designed by Alex Simonis, and from there the custom catamarans only got bigger. Two Oceans Marine’s journey into the big custom catamaran market began around 2008, when they sat down with renowned South African naval architect Anton Du Toit of Du Toit Yacht Design to design a 65-footer. Soon a 75-footer was on the drawing board, and since Left: Mark Delany and Rod Delany (right) with Greg Bertish of The Little Optimist. Two Oceans Marine is The Little Optimist Trust’s platinum sponsor.

Open Ocean 750 Expedition Catamaran and the Two Oceans 48 Sportfisher. SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 71

The people who build your boats: Two Oceans Marine staff at the harbour factory (above) and the Neptune Street factory (below). then Du Toit Yacht Design have designed a range of large custom sailand power catamarans for Two Oceans Marine. Earlier this year the team launched South Africa’s biggest composite and leisure catamaran — the Two Oceans 110 Day Charter Catamaran.

Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing’s decision to pursue the niche market of large custom catamarans with Mark Delany at the helm also enabled growth that is probably harder to achieve in the production catamaran market. Also critical to the company’s success was the

72 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019

decision to manufacture power catamarans — Two Oceans Marine to a large extent spearheaded the growth of power catamarans into the South African market. The company has the ability to build a wide variety of vessels for differ-

Aerial views of Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing’s factories today at Paarden Eiland (top) and next to the harbour (above). ent applications and has a loyal and dedicated staff contingent with a large variety of skills. Today Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing has 4 500m2 of covered factory floor space in the Cape Town harbour and in Paarden Island just outside the harbour. On the immediate launch horizon are a string of Magnum Power Catamarans for South Africa and abroad, the Open Ocean 850 Luxury Expedition Catamaran, and the Two Oceans 82 High Performance Catamaran, an all-carbon high-performance sailing catamaran. Two Oceans Marine has also been appointed to manufacture seven new search-and-rescue offshore rescue craft

for the NSRI. The first of these craft is due for launch next year. To find out more about Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing phone 021 4487902 or visit their website <>. You can also find them on the following social media platforms • Facebook: < TwoOceansMarine>; • Twitter: < TwoOceansMarine>; • Instagram: < twooceansmarine/>; • YouTube: < channel/UCZxJUJGwAekfvyJqlPCJB zQ>.

Artist’s impression of the Two Oceans 82 High Performance Catamaran currently being built.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 73

TWO GIANTS IN A DAY by Julio Ritchie (14)


N 24 May my dad, Wayne, my brother, Lorenzo, Uncle Jono and I headed off to the mid-term junior competition held at Cape Vidal. When we arrived we quickly set up our camp and packed the boat. That night after the briefing we had a braai, but we left early to get a good night’s sleep so we

Julio with his 36.7kg amberjack and (inset) Lorenzo with his 30.3kg amber.

would be ready for the eventful day ahead. We launched at about 6.30am and were one of the last boats to launch out of 16. After catching some livebait we headed for one of Uncle Jono’s “secret” spots. The plan was to try to catch amberjack because they would be bigger than the ’cuda and tuna. We set out some livebait and one got bitten but had no major damage. A fresh livebait was put out and without much of a wait we were hooked. My little brother Lorenzo (nine years old) pulled in an 18.6kg amberjack — it was a really good fight! That was our only serious sized fish of the day, but I caught a 4kg yellowfin tuna just to put myself on the scoreboard. The following day we launched a bit earlier. We headed further north from the spot where we caught the previous day’s amberjack and after only two hours on the water I hooked an amberjack. A few times I was almost pulled over the side, but luckily my dad and I were both holding the rod. An amberjack is a very strong fish and it really hurt my back. A few hours later my brother caught another big amberjack. This one was way bigger that the one he caught the previous day, but smaller than the one I caught. Uncle Jono helped him pull the rod but it was hard work turning the reel. The fish was much bigger than him. At the weigh-in Lorenzo’s amberjack weighed 30.3kg and my amberjack was 36.7kg. They were two giants! At the prizegiving we won a lot of prizes. Lorenzo won first place for day one and second place for day two. I was placed first on day two. Lorenzo also won the swindle on day one and I won it for day two, and our boat won the best boat prize. Lorenzo also won a trophy and Shimano reel for best fisherman of the competition. It was really a weekend to remember and I can’t wait to fish this competition next year.




HE Suidpunt Deep Sea Angling Club will once again host the Suidpunt Yellowtail and Family Bonanza in Struisbaai from 27 to 30 December 2019. It is the second year in which the club’s Yellowtail Bonanza and the annual family competition will be run concurrently. The competition provides great entertainment for the thousands of tourists and holidaymakers who f lock to this busy seaside town in December. In 2018 about 280 anglers took part in the competition with ages ranging from 6 to 84. There was a great sporting spirit during the event. This year R100 000 worth of prizes are up for grabs! That includes a R20 000 cash prize for the heaviest yellowtail. There will also be prizes for the winners of the different categories as well as a few surprise prizes at the final

prize-giving ceremony. Last year was the year of the ladies with the heaviest yellowtail — a whopper of 10.88kg — brought in by Nadia Meyer, who was the overall winner. Michael Meyer (of Sharks fame) had to be satisfied with second place with a catch of 9.7kg, while Rodney van den Berg took third place with a 9.34kg yellowtail. The junior women’s category was won by 13-year-old Karla Rautmann with a yellowtail of 8.56kg. The closing date for entries for the 2019 event is 8pm on 26 December 2019. Entry fees are R250 for non-members, R200 for members and R100 for children 16 and under. For online entries visit the Suidpunt Deep Sea Angling Club Facebook page. For further queries contact Marinda De Kock on <> or <>.



ROM 7 to 14 February 2020 the waters around Struisbaai in the Western Cape will be churned up by the boats of eager participants in the Two Oceans Marlin Tournament, all out to bag one of the fastest gamefish in the world at the southernmost tip of Africa. Commonly known as the TOMT, and hosted by the Suidpunt Deep Sea Angling Club, the tournament has gained a name for itself as one of the most challenging marlin competitions along the South African coast. Deep sea anglers pit themselves against the three species of marlin found in the region, as well as the volatile weather and rough seas of the Cape of Storms. Suidpunt Chairman Hubert Meyer says a unique feature of this tournament is that it is the only marlin tournament in the world where you can catch marlin in both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans — all within one day. Another one of its charms is the great camaraderie that keeps anglers coming back year after year. In 2019 17 teams braved the seas around the L’Agulhas Bank from Struisbaai Harbour for four exceptional but exhausting sea days. The organisers are already holding thumbs for good weather throughout the coming seven-day tournament. Winners of the 2019 tournament — Capetonian — have already confirmed they will be back to defend their title in 2020. The tournament is 100% catch and release with a strong emphasis on conservation, as the tournament’s fishing grounds are right next to the recently declared Agulhas Marine Protected Area. Luckily all marlineers agree that watching one of these magnificent fish swim free is probably equally as thrilling as bringing it alongside the boat to video it before unhooking. No points are scored if a fish dies or is brought ashore. Lines in is at 6am and lines up at 4pm, weather permitting. Once the boats are out at sea the teams can settle in at a variety of favourable areas where marlin can be spotted, including the white marlin of local legend. The 12 Mile Bank, 5 Mile Bank and the Blougaansie are just a few of the names that will be bandied about after the first day of trolling. These areas are also packed with baitfish of all sorts, including anchovy, squid, yellowtail, yellowfin tuna, mackerel, maasbankers and skipjack which are all popular on the marlin menu. Registration for the Two Oceans Marlin Tournament closes on 5 February 2020. The entry fee is R7 500 per team of five and includes a shirt, goodie bag and dinner every night. Additional team members pay R1 500 per person. Early registration is essential for shirts and goodie bags. Online registration forms can be found on the Suidpunt Deep Sea Angling Club Facebook page. Further queries can be sent to the Manager of Suidpunt Deep Sea Angling Club, Marinda De Kock, on <> or <>. 76 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019



Catch and cook your own food and win great prizes


ANCY yourself as a primal provider — the man or woman who actually brings home the bacon literally rather than figuratively? If so there’s a brand new llifestyle video channel just for you. promotes the primal predator (hunter-gatherer) lifestyle that has formed part of our human history since our humble Neanderthal beginnings. Unbeknown to the urbanised ignorant, this is the norm throughout the majority of the world’s rural areas. Although promotes the primal provider lifestyle of hunting, fishing, diving, spearfishing, gathering, foraging and eco-sustainable healthy farming, they do not promote trophy hunting or any form of killing for pleasure, sport or competition. They love to hunt and fish as our ancestors have done since the beginning of time, and respect and appreciate their prey. Genuine primal providers try to use and preserve as much of their prey as possible, and return what’s left to nature to continue life’s cycle. Urbanised people, especially chil-

dren, are often ignorant of where meat or fish comes from and the potential expense to their quality of life should they be consuming from the supermarket. Most primal tribes throughout the world honour their prey and thank it for the nourishment it provides and for the continuation of the cycle of life. Advertising, consumerism and urbanisation has suppressed our primal lifestyle. Man needs sustenance, but our current choices are often limited to GMO food that is chemically enhanced and designed to be inedible to some creatures and edible to others, mainly so that it can last for long periods of time on a supermarket shelf! In today’s profit-driven world our food is intensively farmed and mass produced in limited spaces, and the losses due to failure of one crop or herd because of disease could result in the closure of a corporate farm or business. Many farmers thus use antibiotics and pesticides as a form of insurance against these diseases. In 2011 in the USA alone more than 13 000 tonnes of antibiotics were sold for meat production, compared to only approximately

3 500 tonnes sold for human use. We are unconsciously consuming such a large volume of antibiotics that our bodies are becoming immune to antibiotics and susceptible to superbugs. The channel promotes the catching, processing, cooking and or storing of freshly caught fish, but also supports the practise of catch and release. Please respect all relevant laws, seasons, size and quantity limits pertaining to your quarry of choice. Remember to take only what you need from nature, respect your prey, cause minimum suffering, hunt and fish legally and ethically, maximise your harvest and have fun. If you share these values and recognise yourself as a primal provider, please like the videos and subscribe to the channel.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2019 • 79

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Last word from the ladies



VERY fishing outing is an adventure for our young family. We have come to expect the unexpected, and with every adventure my husband, George, remarks that he hopes we’ll make beautiful memories. Beautiful memories — or hairy ones — are indeed what we make on these fishing trips and it has become quite addictive. In fact, we have cancelled our DSTV subscription, no longer use our rugby season tickets and we are quite content to miss a clash between the Springboks and the All Blacks. Each new adventure starts on a Monday when George returns from work. The boys will rush to meet him and explode with their first question: “Dad, when are we going fishing?” His response: “Have you checked the weekend’s weather?” Whenever the weather is foul we go shopping. The fishing-tackle shops know us all too well; they need only mention that someone caught a beautiful ’cuda (or whatever) on this Rapala or that lure and we will buy it — we have every available colour. Our recent adventure to Rocky Bay started in this fashion. Having armed ourselves with new Rapalas and Roosta poppers, we were ready to catch a magnificent beast at Aliwal Shoal. I had packed our favourite snacks for the boat: muffins, chocolates, biscuits and Ouma buttermilk rusks. I always pack a few beers for George — only to be consumed once we have beached safely — but have been told I may not disclose exactly how many beers it takes to quench his thirst. The surf launch went smoothly and, with the livebait well full, we set out for Aliwal Shoal. The strategy for the day was to see how the Rapalas and poppers fared before swimming livebait. On arrival at Aliwal Shoal, and while

George was rigging the rods, our eldest screamed with delight, claiming he had just seen a dorado underneath our boat. Much to our disappointment we saw it was really a whale which subsequently followed us the entire day. The whale must have decided to take a closer look at the occupants on the boat because it suddenly launched itself out of the water about 20 metres from our boat. The ocean exploded as the whale came crashing down. Both our boys screamed that we should head for the beach immediately, as we felt isolated and vulnerable. It took some doing to explain to the boys that whales do not eat humans and generally stay out of their way, but none of us really felt reassured. To try and deflect our attention from the whale, George decided to test his new Roosta Popper. On his first throw a seagull started to circle overhead. I named him Nelly and told the boys that the gull was bound to bring us good luck. On the second throw it was clear that Nelly was interested in the popper. We thought this was extremely cute and had a good laugh at the seagull being attracted to a plastic lure. On the third throw Nelly dived at the popper and we could not believe our eyes when the treble hook caught the gull by the foot as George retrieved the popper. The boys and I were hysterical, and so was Nelly. George now had a distressed Nelly on his line and we were concerned that he/she might be hurt or would drown. George eventually managed to bring the bird close to the boat and grabbed the gull’s other leg. Nelly was out for revenge and attacked George’s hands as he tried to release the treble hook with the pliers. George tried hard to remain calm and ignore our hysterical screams not to hurt the beautiful Nelly. He even-

tually managed to release the gull (unharmed), but not before using a few expletives and suffering a bruised hand. We decided to give up on the popper and swim the livebait instead. George groaned when Nelly returned, but the boys and I were happy to see that the seagull was healthy and flying without injury. But then Nelly took an interest in our livebait and suddenly the bird was no longer cute. Our six-year-old screamed: “That f!@#$% bird is now going after our livebait!” Within seconds we had a seagull on our line and George was reeling the bird towards the boat. As it got closer, our nine-year-old insisted that George should now “bliksem that bird” and his younger brother echoed his sentiment. George resisted the urge to comply, but we were all unimpressed with Nelly. We now had a whale and a seagull following us around and decided our only option would be to pull Rapalas. Thankfully our luck changed and we eventually hooked-up on two magnificent yellowfin tuna. A bit later the weather turned and we headed for the beach, but as we entered the surf a wave caught us from behind and lifted our boat so that it seemed we were going to roll. I lost my balance and fell against George, and his beer boep pressed up against the throttles. The boat jumped forward and screamed through the surf, finally ending up safely on the beach, much to our surprise and relief. We were all rather shaken from this adventure and I had to dash to bring George his first beer(s), to calm his nerves and to nurse his rapala lip. The boys’ lips weren’t much smaller, and they now give the death stare to any seagulls that happen to cross their path.

YOUR CHANCE TO GET EVEN LADIES — are you an angling widow? Are you a frustrated crew member? Do you outfish the men on the boat and have to deal with their Rapala Lips? Do you bite your lip at the comments coming from chauvinistic male anglers? We’re looking for new writers for our Rapala Lip column. All contributions are gladly accepted and they will appear anonymously to protect the writers from divorce suits, cold shoulders, banishments, cut up credit cards etc. Come on ladies, share your stories with us — you know you want to. Email them to <>. 82 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2019


BRAND NEW Raptor 660 Centre Console 2 x 100hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors, on galvanised breakneck trailer. R699 000

Cobra Cat 525 Forward Console 2 x 90hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors, on galvanised breakneck trailer. R350 000

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

Cobra Cat 525 2 x 90hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors, on trailer. R349 000

Cobra Cat 700 2 x 175hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors, on double axle trailer. R595 000

Ski Vee 500 Centre Console 2 x 40hp Yamaha motors with trims, on galvanised breakneck trailer. R179 000

T-cat 17ft 2 x 60hp Mercury 4-stroke motors, on trailer R229 000

Nova Sportfisher 22ft 2 x 150hp Yamaha 4-stroke motors, on double axle trailer. R725 000

Seacat 565 Forward Console 2 x 100hp Suzuki 4-stoke motors (under 25 hours), on galvanised breakneck trailer. R560 000

Yeld Cat 17ft 2 x 85hp Yamaha trim motors, on trailer. R299 000

Yogi Cat 500 2 x 60hp Honda 4-stroke motors, on trailer. R249 000

Cobra Cat 525 Forward Console 2 x 90hp Yamaha motors with trims, on galvanised breakneck trailer. R195 000

Kosi Cat 18 6 2 x 90hp Honda 4-stroke motors, on trailer. R249 000

Gamefish 170 Centre Console 2 x 40hp Yamaha 4-stroke motors, on trailer. R280 000

Tom Cat 30ft 2 x 225hp Yamaha 4-stroke motors. R550 000

Gamefish 170 Centre Console 2 x 60hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors (less than 30 hours), on trailer. R339 000

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

Citation 700 2 x 140hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors, on galvanised double oil filled axle trailer. R650 000

Supercat 21ft Centre Console 2 x 90hp Yamaha motors with trim, on dolly trailer. R189 000

Navarone 16ft 60hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors (only 260 hours on), on galvanised breakneck trailer. R129 000

Cobra Cat 625 Forward Console 2 x 100hp Yamaha 4-stroke motors, on brand new galvanised breakneck trailer. R329 000

Cobra Cat 500 Forward Console 2 x 60hp Mercury 4-stroke motors, on galvanised breakneck trailer. R279 000

Tournament Cat 30ft 2 x 200hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors. R850 000


Buttcat 930 XL Gamefisher 2 x 200hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors (only 114 hours on), on trailer. R1 690 000

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