Ski-Boat November 2023

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November/December 2023 Volume 39 Number 6 COVER: FIFTY-POUND FIGHTER Garry Harris is the first member of the 50 lb+ Q-Fish ’Cuda Club. (See pg 44.) He caught this 52 lb beauty off Santa Maria, Mozambique.



Where to Fish Part 12: Scoping out Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal — by Jono Booysen


Tiger Tales 2023 Sodwana Hengelklub Tigerfish Bonanza — by Erwin Bursik


Snaring Snoek Fishing clever in the Cape — by Donavan Cole



Snoek for Supper Recipes from the pro — by Chef Ryan Cole


Paradise on our Doorstep An East African island experience at Villa Martins, Inhaca — by Erwin Bursik


Fishing in the Wild,Wild West 2023 Queens of the Ocean Competition by Sheena Carnie, Elma Dos Reis and Sella Schönfeldt



Eyecare Essentials Understanding the role of sunglasses — by Kelly Brown


Mining Gold in the UK Protea anglers compete in EFSA Species Champs — by Francois Beukes




Editorial — by Erwin Bursik


Bell Reel Kids




Mercury Junior Anglers




Bell Reel Kids Winner


Subscribe and win


Ad Index


50 lb+ Q-Fish ’Cuda Club


Business Classifieds & Directory


Kingfisher Awards


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: Lynette Oakley Contributors: Francois Beukes, Jono Booysen, Kelly Brown, Erwin Bursik, Sheena Carnie, Donavan Cole, Ryan Cole, Elma Dos Reis, Angelique Meyer and Sella Schönfeldt. ADVERTISING – National Sales: Mark Wilson, Manager — 073 748 6107 Lyn Oakley, Sales — 082 907 7733 ADVERTISING – Gauteng & Mpumalanga: Lyn Adams — 083 588 0217 Publishers: Angler Publications cc PO Box 20545, Durban North 4016 Telephone: (031) 572-2289 e-mail: Subscriptions to SKI-BOAT: R220 per annum (six issues). New subscriptions and renewals: SKI-BOAT Subscriptions Department Telephone: (031) 572-2289 • e-mail: • Through, or E-zine through <> Printing: Novus Print, Cape Town Distribution: On The Dot <> Full production is done in-house by Angler Publications & Promotions on Apple Macintosh software and hardware. 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 On the Dot, 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.

4 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023




OMPETITIVE festival-style angling in the ski-boating arena here in South Africa has exploded over the last two decades, becoming the “in thing” rather than the once a year event that the original Umhlanga Festival was in the 1970s and early ’80s. Nowadays these festival-style events carrying huge prize money have become the norm rather than the exception, both here in South Africa and across the border in Mozambique. The year’s fishing calendar is now so full that it has become quite a challenge for ski-boating Erwin Bursik crews to choose which events they’ll attend Publisher from the numerous ones on offer. The main driving force creating this following is not just the vast and often very valuable prizes on offer, but equally the opportunity for boat owners to get their teams together to enjoy the camaraderie and excitement of these events that have become show pieces of professional organisational standards. Of course one can’t deny the allure of large top prizes and big subsidiary prizes so numerous that the majority of the participating teams have a good chance of winning something to take home as bounty. But winning prizes is really just the cherry on the top of an exciting fishing adventure. As I pen this editorial I am fine-tuning Mr SKI-BOAT for the annual Sodwana Hengelklub Tigerfish Bonanza that’s been held at Jozini Dam every September for the last 20-plus years. The excitement is palpable and, win or lose, good weather or bad, I knew it would be the fantastic experience it has always been. You can read the report elsewhere in this issue. Even more exciting for me is to see the way these competitions have evolved to the point that we see a number of ladies’ and juniors’ events becoming incredibly exciting, commanding overwhelming numbers of teams. In line with that, in this issue we also have coverage of the 2023 Queens of the Ocean event. What is still more amazing is not only the incredible effort put in by clubs and associations in arranging these events, but also the incredible support they engender from organisations and companies who sponsor the top class prizes on offer. Although the sponsorship in terms of these magnificent prizes and cash is fantastic – and necessary – the involvement of these sponsors at the actual events also brings with it the “toenadering” of sellers and buyers. In the carnival atmosphere, it’s a great opportunity for them to get to know each other and enjoy the “out of office” camaraderie that flows in such abundance. While I am incredibly lucky to be able to attend many of these fishing competitions and enjoy each and every one of them, time and money limit the number of events that boat owners and their crews can practically attend. And yet, when one sees the large number of competing teams at all these tournaments, with very limited overlap, it reveals just how many ski-boaters go out of their way to ensure they’re able to attend their chosen tournaments. Without a shadow of a doubt, the vast majority of teams that enter these competitions – regardless of whether they win prizes or not – end up returning home having enjoyed themselves and immediately start planning to take on the challenge of the same event the following year. If you have never attended a festival competition, you have missed out. The prizes are just one aspect; the major incentive is really excitement, friendship and the pleasure of fishing with your own crew in a well-run event. Don’t mock these competitions until you have tried them, because when you do you will not only enjoy the experience but will also hopefully win a prize. Tight lines

Erwin Bursik


MAPELANE JUNIOR INTERCLUB Dear Editor, The 2023 Mapelane Annual Junior Interclub was held from 13 to 15 July 2023 and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. I captained the U19 St Lucia Barbarian team and we won our age category! On the first morning we launched early, and once all the boats were safe behind backline we all started fishing at the same time. The bonitos were jumping all around the boat so I cast a spoon out, let it sink for a bit and there we go – fish on! The perfect way to start the day with a beautiful king mackerel bait for later in the day. We started to head up north to a bait mark on the 25m contour line where we loaded up with mackerel and live red-eye sardines. At our first fishing spot we put the fresh live baits in the water and used bucktail jigs to work the water column, but got no pulls. We set up for another drift, and this time I sent down a live bonito and a red eye far out on the surface. It wasn’t long before I got my first tuna bite on the surface red eye.After a hard 15 minute fight the tuna was finally under the boat ready to be gaffed, or so I thought… It screamed off straight under the boat, cutting my line off on the boat’s keel strip. It was a very sad loss for the team, but we fought through it and headed to another much deeper spot. On the second cast I hooked and landed a king mackerel of 12.2kg on the bucktail jig. The rest of the day was quiet and we ended in fourth place which we were disappointed with. The next day we struggled to get bait, and I made a risky call of running up far in the shallow waters when I saw a big school of bait on the surface. As soon as we caught some bait I rigged one and set it out straight away. Five minutes later we I was hooked up, and after a short fight I landed my first queenfish, a beauty of of 9.8kg. Not long after that I hooked my new personal best snoek/queen mackerel (8.4kg) on a bucktail jig. For a while the fishing died off and we just

had dolphins swimming around us. I decided to put a f luorocarbon trace out to look for a big tuna, and not long after I put the rod down there it was – the third species I was looking for. After a very akward and unusual fight for a tuna in the shallow water, we had our 17.9kg yellowfin tuna onboard which put our team way in the lead. We went deep for a while and we got a smallish ’cuda, but the latter part of the day was quiet. With two hours left I wanted to try the shallow waters once more to see if we could bag a fifth species. After a long wait the rod finally went and it was a queen mackerel and I had to fight it quickly to get it away from the dolphins. What an eventful weekend of fishing! Mapelane is truly a special place to go fishing with many good experiences. Matthew Farrell (captain, St Lucia Barbarians)

THANK YOU, MAPELANE Dear Editor, I recently fished the Mapelane Junior Interclub and want to thank Uncle Jimmy (our skipper) and the Mapelane Ski-Boat Club for a wonderful comp. On 13 July we headed up the KZN North Coast towards Mapelane to take part in our first fishing competition – the 2023 Mapelane Junior Interclub, representing the Umlali Ski-boat club.

Our excitement levels rose as we reached the dirt road and beautiful coastal forest that leads to the Mapelane camp. On Day One, we rose to a chilly morning and were first to reach the beach, where we arrived to fairly pleasant sea conditions. Although it proved to be an exciting first day with lots of action and hook ups, we failed to boat any fish. At lines up, we reeled in with a sense of frustration at the missed opportunities. But Uncle Jimmy was patient and encouraging, and we decided to focus on Day Two. After listening to the tackle talk and getting some tips from a few of the senior club members, we prepared for the next day’s fishing. Conditions on Day Two were not ideal, with a strong north-easterly wind, but all the boats were able to safely launch. After catching some live mozzies and shad, we headed straight to a reef called Scavengers. We did not have to wait long until our reels started screaming, but it wasn’t until later in the afternoon that we boated our first ’cuda (about 8kg). We decided to move to the top of the reef for one more drift before lines up. We had just spotted a promising showing on the fishfinder when my brother, Nathan, hooked a good ’cuda with the whipping spoon. A quick time-check revealed that we only had five minutes to land this fish which was still screaming off with the line. After a quick, intense fight the ’cuda was boated – just in the nick of time. It was an exciting end to the competition. At the evening’s prizegiving, we were thrilled to hear that the two ’cuda had earned us first place in the U16 division. Even better than that was the experience, things learned from Uncle Jimmy and other experienced anglers, and making new friends. It was a great event that was very well organised, and the Mapelane Club is a really beautiful location. I would really recommend other juniors consider taking part next year. Dillan Korving (Team Umhlali). SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 5


Scoping out Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal By Jono Booysen


ICHARDS Bay is a very popular fishing destination, and for good reason.This area has a bit of a reputation for being a difficult place to find fish, but when you do find them, they are often of trophy size. I agree with this sentiment, even after calling the area home for nearly my whole life. One of the difficulties is that the area is vast, and fishing spots

are not in close proximity to one another. This is where a well thought out gameplan is essential for the day to be successful. Focusing not only on the target species, but also on the area I intend to hone in on, significantly improves my success rate. By having a good idea of what “Plan A” is, you can have a few contingency plans for backup. Other things to consider when looking at where to fish off Richards Bay

might seem obvious, but are really important... • Check weather forecasts, as there is nothing worse than running 40km north only to get caught in a 30 knot south-westerly buster. • Try to find out what the current is doing. You can ask around, check a few apps or simply look at which directions the ships are lying at anchor (if there is not too much wind affecting this).

A 36.1kg ’cuda caught off Richards Bay. Back: Piet Joubert, Pierre Smit, Gert Jacobs. Front: Jono Booysen and At van Tilburg. SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 7

FISHING SPOTS 1 Mapelane Pinnacle 2 Mapelane Ledge 3 Dingos, Scavenger, Potatoe, Buddies 4 Kitchen 5 50m Ledge [north] 6 Nhlabane Pinnacle 7 Drukgang 8 Kasteel 9 Groenkop 10 Pipeline 11 South Pier 12 Arm Mans 13 Len 14 Small High Point 15 Jackpot 16 Patingo 17 32m 18 Danies, Edwards, Pats, Gerries 19 Marlin Ledge 20 High Point

COORDINATES South Lighthouse Ledge 2828600 Scavenger 2828900 Mapelane Pinnacle South 2830600 Buddies 2836300 Hlobane Pinnacle 2840700 Scavenger 2841200 Kasteel North 2842500 Groenkop Snoek 2844900 Groenkop Snoek 2845000 DRUKGANG 2845600 Kasteel South 2846000 Pipeline 2848600 Pipeline 2848700 Pipeline 2848700 Pipeline 2848800 Arm mans 2852600 Len 2854000 Patingo 2857700 Sml High Point 2858000 32m 2859700 32m 2859900 Danies 2902500 High Point 2909300 Pats 2904300 Edwards 2904800 Gerries 2905400

East 03247000 03227300 03224700 03223700 03216000 03233200 03220300 03210900 03210900 03224600 03218100 03207900 03208100 03208200 03208700 03203500 03207400 03202300 03209500 03202000 03203700 03201300 03202900 03147500 03146100 03144600

Jono Booysen with a ±12kg garrick tagged off Richards Bay’s South Pier.

10 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

• Water colour can affect my decision of where to fish, so if there has been a lot of rain or the north-easterly wind has blown for a while, ask the regulars what they have seen. Once you have done your homework on conditions, you need to make a call on where to go. Regardless of what area I decide to fish, I always first look for a good supply of live bait.To me a reliable bait spot is way more important than any fishing spot. Often these bait spots are themselves some of the best fishing spots but are overlooked by those solely focused on bait fishing.

Jacques Spence with a lovely Natal snoek caught on a fasttrolled fillet.

BAIT SPOTS My go-to bait spots are mostly close to the harbour. This allows me to get bait and then decide if I am going north, south or east. On the northern side of the harbour entrance, just off the short pier, there is a yellow marker buoy indicating the presence of an old wreck. This buoy often holds bait. Failing that, a few hundred metres outside the harbour, just to the south, there is a wave rider buoy that yields great results on its day. The most popular bait area has to be the “pipe”.This is the effluent/sewer line running out off the coast. As with most underwater structures, it is a magnet for bait. I find the best area is at the end of the pipe. Just sound around until you find the showings or head to the small clusters of boats that have already found the bait. Not only is the pipe a great bait spot, it is also THE place to be when the daga salmon make an appearance in winter months. The size of these fish gives the Breede River a run for its money, with many 45kg-plus daga landed there. Other good bait spots include “Len” which is in the middle of the ship waiting area, about 8km east of the harbour in roughly 40m of water. Most shallow reefs will have some kind of small fish species that can be used as bait, so don’t be shy to send a sabiki down whenever you see a good showing. Now that the livebait is sorted, we can focus on something a bit more substantial. As mentioned before, the fishing spots are a fair distance apart, so it’s better to make a call whether to go north or south and stick to that decision. I will be mentioning a few good areas between Mapelane lighthouse in the north and Mtunzini in the south.

Jono Booysen with some livebait ready for rigging.

NORTH Mapelane Lighthouse is roughly 40km north of the Richards Bay harbour. In the shallows, from Lighthouse Bay to the Jolly Rubino wreck, the Natal snoek (queen mackerel) can often be found in plague proportions. Mixed in with them are the usual backline species such as

GTs, blacktip kingfish and the odd queenfish or prodigal son. I’ve also managed to catch quite a few silkies (wolf herring) in this area which are dynamite big baits for fishing the deeper water in the same area. The “Mapelane pinnacle” has been regarded as one of THE gamefish destinations in this area for anglers and spearos alike. This pinnacle comes up from 30m to 11m and is home to good numbers of ’cuda, which are the main focus on this reef. You never know what you might encounter in this area as good hauls of tuna species (yellowfin and kawa kawa), wahoo and sailfish occur regularly. Unfortunately, the sharks have also become privy to this spot, and it can be near impossible to get your fish out whole when the sharks are hungry. If the pinnacle is not producing, there is an option to head out deeper to one of my favourite deep water gamefish spots: the ledge.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 11

Ryan Williamson and proud father Malcolm Buchanan with Cameron Buchanan’s first billfish, a stripey caught off Richards Bay in December 2012.

The name refers to the ridge in roughly 50m of water that runs along the entire Natal coastline.To find it, travel east until you see the depth come up from ±55m to 47m and then back to deeper water. This ledge runs roughly north to south, so it’s relatively easy to find. Fish use this ledge as a highway to travel along. Littered along the ledge are a few high spots that are popular areas to fish and I will mention a few of them in the Richards Bay reaches. The ledge near Mapelane includes places such as “Scavenger”, “Dingo’s”, “Potato” and “Buddy’s”. Many large ’cuda have been taken on these marks and the area remains a very special place to fish. Other species such as dorado, sailfish, wahoo, tuna and marlin also patrol this ledge, not to mention the good number of bottomfish. Please note that there is a green zone from Mapelane Lighthouse heading north where bottomfishing is prohibited, so make sure you don’t fish illegally. For the marlin fishermen, in the 1 000m deep area, there’s a spot known as “The Kitchen”. It is known for having produced good numbers of blue- and striped marlin as well as some of the large yellowfin tuna that sporadically make an appearance. Hlobane and Dawsons are about 30km north of the harbour. Here you will find the water colour changes to become a lot cleaner due to the prevailing currents. Again, the 50m ledge is a go-to spot for dorado, wahoo and black marlin, with the odd sailfish in the mix. Hlobane pinnacle, in 23m of water, used to be a great spot but lost popularity for some unknown reason. I have had some success there with ’cuda and

queenfish. The spearos also get good mixed bags here when the clean water moves over the pinnacle. During the winter months into early spring, the backline can be a great place to fish. GTs, Natal snoek and garrick move into the shallows chasing baitfish. Look for rips and current/plankton lines that will hold the baitfish. If you see large, surface-feeding fish in the scum lines, they are most probably milkfish (Chanos chanos) so don’t get too despondent when they don’t eat the lures you throw at them. Also off this area is the well knows marlin area called the “Drukgang”. It is

Jono Booysen with a sailfish ready for release off Richards Bay.

the area found between Dawsons and south of Hlobane in about 500- to 600m. The 180m to 250m depth drop off Hlobane is quite steep, so it’s worth spending some time there pulling lures for marlin. As a result of the good structure, the deep water bottomfishing is also really good if the current is not too strong. Roughly 15km north of the harbour, we start getting into the big Natal snoek territory. This landmark is known as “Groenkop”, named after the highest vegetated dune in the area. Every year the small baitfish gather here and attract Natal snoek, ’cuda and tuna. Look for the birds and clusters of boats between 10m and 25m and you should find the fish. If the shallows are not producing, again, the ledge is a great alternative. The high spot off this section of the coast is called “Kasteel”. It is, in my opinion, an underrated spot and has produced many ’cuda, yellowfin tuna, dorado, wahoo and sailfish. For some or other reason, the average size of the ’cuda on this section of the ledge tends to be less than 15kg. Groenkop is often used as a final “Plan Z” on the way home from a fruitless day’s marlin fishing but has, on several occasions, delivered the goods with a black marlin or sailfish. I have also had some great bottomfishing off the deeper edge of the reef. The last area that is worth a mentioning here lies just north of the harbour. It’s a great marlin fishing area with a steep dropoff from 200m to 450m. Commonly known by locals as “Jackpot”, it produces blues and stripeys that are attracted to the upwelling caused by the dog-leg shape of the contours.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 13

Jurgen Putz with a ±40kg GT tagged off Small Highpoint

SOUTH The closest, and probably the most popular fishing spot is the harbour itself. More specifically, the south side of the channel, up to and including the South Pier, produces some of the best garrick fishing on the KZN north coast. Several world records have been caught within a stone’s throw of the harbour wall. One of my favourite little spots is “Small Highpoint”. It’s a single pinnacle on the 50m ledge just deeper than the ships’ waiting area. Being so isolated, it acts like an oasis for baitfish, which in turn attracts predatory fish. The pinnacle often teems with small jube-jubes, and rigging them live produces wahoo, ’cuda, amberjack and GTs.As with most pinnacles that hold jube-jubes, the marlin are never far behind. During the winter months this is a great place to stock up on bait to target big Richards Bay ’cuda. The bottomfishing in this area can also be great, especially when the geelbek stack up there. The map alongside this article

shows three deep-water pinnacles in over 1 000m of water. This area is known as “The Berge” and has produced many big tuna and blue marlin. When I’m in the area and am fishing for marlin, I personally prefer fishing for marlin a bit shallower than that and tend to concentrate on the steep dropoff from 200 to 400m that runs for several kilometres to the south. For the old school marlin anglers who still fish live bait, it’s a great option to get liveys off Small Highpoint and then work that ledge. Heading south, we enter the zone of the infamous “crocodile” (aka 30kg-plus ’cuda). The area from New Mouth/Mhlatuze Lagoon all the way past Mtunzini has produced countless trophy fish. The first spot,“Arm mans” or “Callies Reef” was made popular by Callie Peens who caught a 39kg and 43kg ’cuda there over the years. It is still a great area to fish for bottomfish and put out a trapstick on the surface. Patingo wreck is probably the most

14 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

well-known spot in this area for big ’cuda. Lying 18km south of the harbour, it has been responsible for the vast majority of 30kg-plus crocodiles caught around here. As with most of this region, it fishes best in the week or late afternoon when most boats head home. It is a small area, so it gets crowded quickly, especially when one boat puts the anchor down. If the water conditions are not great or if there is too much boat traffic, 4km to the south-east is an area called “32m”. It refers to a large zone with scattered reef in 30- to 34m depths.The 32m area stretches south towards Mtunzini and includes well known reefs such as “Danies”, “Gerries”, “Pats” and “Edwards”. These are great places to anchor up and fish for bottomfish. At the same time, put your ’cuda baits out as you stand a great chance of getting a pull from a proper ’cuda. The last spot that has to be mentioned is the Mtunzini High Point, 44km from the harbour. This is one of those magical spots on the 50m ledge that is a gamefisherman’s dream when the conditions are right. It is also the one deep water location where the big ’cuda like to hang out. Similar to “Small Highpoint”, the jube-jubes are abundant and rigging one live is a sure-fire way of getting connected to any number of big gamefish that abound there. In summary, Richards Bay has good reason for being a popular fishing destination. It has all the onshore amenities as well as excellent fishing all year round, offering anglers access to everything from 1 000 lb billfish to trophy size gamefish and bottomfish. There is also that great feeling of satisfaction when you return to port with a good haul knowing that you have managed to figure out some of the secrets of this great location.


FISH IT DRIFT IT Catching Furuno’s drift


IND and currents have minds of their own, so wouldn’t it be awesome if you could line up your fishing spot and let the plotter do all the hard work by calculating your drift line and time? Now you can with Furuno’s FISH IT – DRIFT IT, a feature unique to NavNet TZT plotters. It’s easy to overthink and complicate the calculation of setting up a drift, and is frustrating when you miss the spot, but clever software built in as a standard feature to TZT2 and TZT3 plotters removes the guess work. No more wasting time when the boat drifts in a completely differently direction to your best guess. HOW DOES IT WORK? Furuno’s DRIFT IT feature will tell you where to start your drift so that the vessel will drift in the direction of the waypoint, all the time giving you heading, speed and distance information, and tracking your progress to the waypoint. As this is a DRIFT feature, you first need to stop the vessel and wait for the forward momentum from the motors to cease. Next, select your waypoint. This can be a waypoint saved from a favourite fishing spot or a mark on the sounder that’s got your interest and looks suitable for dropping a few baits or jigs while you drift over the mark.

Once the boat is settled into a drift, tapping the plotter screen to fish the mark will bring up a menu. Select the FISHIT option. A menu pops up showing important information like Distance To Waypoint (DTW), Speed Over Ground (SOG), Speed Through Water (STW) and Course Over Ground (COG). A fish icon with a solid yellow line to the vessel indicates that the FISH-IT mode is active. Range rings appear on the plotter to help with easily judging distance.This is important information for the next step: DRIFT-IT. To active the DRIFT-IT mode, tap the DRIFT-IT icon on the screen. Using the DTW, SOG, STW and COG information, the plotter software can calculate the optimum position to start the drift.A message “Drifting to Compute Drift-it Start Point” will be displayed. The vessel will need to drift for about 30m to accurately determine the drift speed and direction under current conditions. Once the plotter has calculated the vessel drift, it knows where to position the vessel for 16 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

the optimum drift line. A purple course line will join the vessel’s position to the DRIFT-IT spot.Tapping on the icon opens a pop-up menu that allows you to select the time to drift.You can select 3, 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes, and the purple icon will move to accommodate the time required to hit the mark. Most people use the shortest option of three minutes. Motor over to the purple spot and again ensure that all forward momentum from the motors has stopped. That’s it – the DRIFT-IT feature gives you the best drift line so the skipper can get a line wet and not have one hand on the wheel and the other checking which way the wind is blowing. Scan this QR code to watch a YouTube video showing how the FISH IT – DRIFT IT feature works.


2023 Sodwana Hengelklub Tigerfish Bonanza

Pat Loots and Nicholas Gumbi (top) with a beautiful fat Jozini tigerfish, and (above) one of the bigger tigers being measured on the KeepNet mat.

By Erwin Bursik


UST after 4am on Friday, 22 September 2023, the early arrivals at the slipway into Jozini Dam began to line up as a queue of vehicles towing boats began launching into the pitch blackness of this immense stretch of water. A little while later all 192 boats and 683 anglers were eagerly awaiting the 06h00 parachute f lare send-off to mark the start of this year’s Tigerfish Bonanza, hosted by Sodwana Hengelklub of Pongola. As 6am approached, the boats jockeyed for position around the yellowf lagged control boats, and anglers watched the rising of the starter’s outstretched flare hand as the seconds counted down.

Within seconds of the flare leaving its holder, the roar of almost 400 outboard motors shattered the early morning tranquility as the 2023 fleet of craft jumped onto the plane. The game was on! Whispers of tigers frequenting the area upriver towards the railway bridge where the Pongola River enters the dam resulted in many skippers immediately heading in that direction at full speed. With the sun just peeking over the Lebombo mountains, the sensory overload of seeing the spray and hearing the roar of well over 100 boats racing around the headland and up the river was truly something that only those involved could fully appreciate. Soon afterwards, the waters of Jozini Dam calmed down as boats set-

tled in their chosen positions to start hunting tigers. With tranquility restored, the anglers got busy, all keeping one ear tuned to listen out for updates from the mobile phone app created to record and disseminate catch information during the event. Fortunately it wasn’t long before the tigerfish of Jozini recovered from the morning’s rude awakening and started prowling around for breakfast. The rules stipulated a 400mm minimum length for fish to count, and it seemed those were in plentiful supply. As Eric James, the digital expert on Mr SKI-BOAT, began to relay the first reports coming through, we felt the pressure mounting. Eventually John Frankiskos landed our first tiger over 400mm and we could take solace in at least being on the leaderboard.

20 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

All the sponsors at the 2023 Tigerfish Bonanza. This new app, developed and perfected by KeepNet SA and used by other angling competitions as well, would supposedly overcome the problems experienced by organisers over the last couple of years. Indeed it did, and it was very interesting being able to follow the continuously updated leaderboard and see which anglers were catching fish. We carefully scrutinised all the accompanying photographs of tigerfish being measured to assess our competition. Of course this can also be an extremely frustrating exercise when one’s own team is not producing! Weather-wise, this year we had excellent weather with a slight to moderate north-easterly wind prevailing on both fishing days, making fishing both practical and comfortable. This extremely popular event that draws a huge attendance has been in existence since the mid-1990s and I have personally fished it since 2001 when it was largely attended by inland water anglers. Nowadays all boats are welcome, and the vast majority are ski-

boats that fish both out at sea as well as on Jozini. For this year’s event the Sodwana Hengelklub organising committee managed to acquire a substantial number of prizes that included a R100 000 first prize for the overall largest measured fish of the tournament, and second prize an aluminium craft with a Yamaha motor.The top 15 measured tigerfish all won prizes for their respective anglers. The 2023 committee excelled themselves with the overall highly sophisticated stage design and digital portrayals of the sponsors supporting this event, providing an overwhelming display of support to those companies and individuals who make this event possible. A huge thank you on behalf of all the sponsors goes to Simeon van Heerden and his committee for going the extra mile with regard to sponsor recognition. While fishing conditions out on Jozini Dam were very good, and 334 tigerfish in excess of 400mm were recorded, the big tigers were hard to find. Despite that, on day one a big fish

of 660mm was caught by Sunel Sonnekus and that topped the leader board for the first day. With another day of fishing still to go, the competition was wide open and catching a fish bigger than 66cm was definitely possible.The next day Sunel’s fish was unceremoniously removed from top of the board by three longer tigerfish. The biggest of these was Mia Tinkhof’s 670mm tiger, followed by Nicholas Gumbi’s 665mm fish. These fish were estimated to weigh between 4.6kg and 5kg. I must also mention the process anglers had to go through when catching a measurable fish, and give credit to the organisers for making sure all the tigers were released in good condition. After a tenacious fight, someone onboard had to video as we quickly placed the caught tiger on the provided KeepNet length mat to measure it, and then carry on recording to show the fish released and swimming away.These videos were then uploaded on the app to create the leaderboard. We found it a lot more convenient

Fishing beneath the iconic bridge over Jozini Dam proved to be a good tactic. SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 21

Mia Tinkhof’s 67cm tigerfish earned her R100 000!

Nicholas Gumbi took home the boat prize for the second biggest fish. He’s flanked by Anthony Daniels from Yamaha and Zyl Janse van Rensburg from Alu-Boats.

Sunel Sonnekus caught the third biggest tigerfish. She’s pictured with John Minne of Lowrance SA. 22 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

to stay at our selected “honey hole” and release the tigerfish we caught rather than rushing to a weigh station to weigh them as we have done for so many years. This is a win-win situation for both the tigers and the team. It puts far less stress on the fish and saves the team from having to up anchor and take a possibly long run to a weigh station, all the while doing one’s level best to keep the fish alive and strong enough to swim away after officially being weighed. It also saves fuel and time and the frustration of returning to “your” spot only to see another boat settled over your “honey hole”. Time on the water is always the best, but there was another aspect of this event that really warmed my heart. With so many teams camped on Sodwana Hengelklub’s property very close to the Golela Border Post, whenever we walked from our chalet to the huge marquee it felt like the early days of Sodwana when we all camped there during the marlin comps. I relished the sight of so many full campsites, the smell of braais underway, the linking of boat names to the respective teams, and the camaraderie of greeting the anglers.Then there was the gauntlet I had to run, where it was almost impossible to escape having ’n stuk boerewors or a dop and often a chat about the day’s events with every angler I greeted! What a wonderful experience, and one I really miss at Sodwana. These days when you’re marlin fishing everyone is in fancy accommodation and you virtually need an official invitation to “kuier”. As I intimated earlier, the final prize giving was very slick and sophisticated, and Simeon and his team got through the speeches and prize awarding at a good pace without depriving those who had won from having their moment of glory to be photographed and to absorb the excitement and glory of their achievements. From us on Mr SKI-BOAT, a huge thank you for a wonderful competition and an exciting few days of the 2023 Tigerfish Bonanza. Although we didn’t place as high up as we wanted to, we were happy to be 19th out of 192 boats and we’ll definitely see you there again in 2024. TOP TEN TIGERFISH 1. Mia Tinkhof . . . . . . . . . . . . .67.0cm 2. Nicholas Gumbi . . . . . . . . . .66.5cm 3. Sunel Sonnekus . . . . . . . . . .66.0cm 4. Eckard Bohmer . . . . . . . . . .65.0cm 5. Dominique . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64.5cm 6. Reinhard Smal . . . . . . . . . . .64.0cm 7. CJ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60.0cm 8. Marnits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59.5cm 9. Henk Pretorius . . . . . . . . . . .59.5cm 10. Martus Klopper . . . . . . . . . .59.0cm


Fishing clever in False Bay By Donavan Cole


DON’T think there is another species of fish in the Cape that causes as much excitement and chaos at our slipways and on the water as the Cape snoek does. On any good weather day in False Bay when the fish are around, it is not uncommon to have over 100 boats, kayaks, rubber ducks and almost anything that can float in an area the size of a few rugby fields. The snoek’s name comes from “zeesnoek” because the early Dutch colonists said it reminded them of the freshwater pike (or snoek) they found in the Netherlands. Snoek (Thyrsites atun) are encountered along the entire west coast of South Africa to Namibia and up the south/east coast as far as Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha). While we make massive catches of snoek in South Africa, we also import large quantities from New Zealand.The main reason for us importing so much of these fish is due to their consistent superior quality. In South Africa our snoek frequently go “pap” where the flesh will turn to jelly, resulting in it been inedible. The imported snoek do not have the same enzyme in their flesh that causes them to go pap. I know a few boat owners who don’t allow anglers to bring snoek on board because of the mess they create with their blood and scales. Snoek have tiny scales, each the size of a match-

head, which they will usually shed when you lift them from the water. These scales then fly around sticking to every surface on board, including any exposed skin. Once dried, they can be near impossible to remove. Snoek fishing also results in a lot more blood flying around than other species as you break every fish’s neck after landing. WHEN AND WHERE The last two years were two of the best snoek seasons we had around False Bay in the last decade, and we can only hope the 2023 season will bring similar catches. In 2021 and 2022 the snoek arrived around Cape Point by the middle to end of September with good catches being made from September through to January.This year we caught our first snoek of the season outside Cape Point in the second week of September, and as I write we hope we’ll soon be catching them inside False Bay. The easiest way to find where the snoek are is to look for the commercial handline snoek fleet. These boats are not hard to spot. They are usually open center console mono-hull ski boats between 6 and 9m and fitted with the largest outboard engines the boats can handle, in order to load and push as much fish as possible. It’s not uncommon for some of these 12-man boats to load in excess of 2 000 snoek a day, which they can catch in a matter of a few hours when the larger shoals arrive and they are feeding properly.

The main area where the snoek are encountered is in Buffels Bay, which is just inside the Cape Point. The snoek often move deep inside the bay too, with large catches being made right off Millers Point slipway when the season is in full swing. Years back we would frequently get snoek even deeper inside the bay, catching them off Simonstown, Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay. Outside Cape Point, the main area where the fish will be caught is on Rocky Bank, which is around five miles south-east of Cape Point. You can also find snoek around the Anvil, Bellows, South West reefs and further up the coast towards Scarborough and Slangkop Lighthouse. On your echo sounder snoek will show up in different ways depending on what they are doing. When they’re free swimming, you will usually find them “writing” in a closed red ball on the sounder. As soon as you stop and drop lines you should see the shoal break up and disperse all over the screen when they start feeding. (See photos alongside.) When the fish are busy feeding on baitfish, you will find them broken up at different depths. These shoals will usually grab a lure or bait line. There are, however, times when you will barely see them as they “write” so close to the ground that you cannot see the difference between fish and the seabed. The best way to check the different ways they will show up on your fish SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 27

Left: Snoek showing in a closed shoal on the echo sounder before starting to feed. Right: Shoal of snoek spread out and feeding. finder is to take note of the showings while you are catching them or while you are among boats that are catching. CATCHING SNOEK Once you arrive in the area where the commercial boats are anchored, the weather and your specific location within the fleet will affect how you catch them. The most common way of catching them inside False Bay will be on anchor. First find a spot where you will not hinder or obstruct other boats.You need to consider that if the wind comes up, there is a very good chance of dragging the anchor so it’s best to always try and find a spot where you can put out as much anchor rope as possible. Try not to anchor directly ahead of another boat so that you don’t run the risk of dragging onto them or catching their anchor rope with your lines.

Once you’ve thrown anchor and it’s hooking, you need to figure out where the fish are in the water column so you can place your bait lines accordingly. Check your echo sounder to see where the fish are “writing”, and stream your lines out to reach that specific zone. When the fish are scattered and slow inside the bay, put bait lines out at various depths, and once you start feeling the fish in a particular spot, put the rest of the lines there. When snoek fishing, we will usually work in fathoms, one fathom being 1,83m. This is roughly the same as when you extend your hands as wide apart as possible while holding the line, and measure from fingertip to fingertip. When you see the fish markings on the echo sounder set in metres, the quickest and easiest way to calculate fathoms is to divide by two, so 20m will mean measuring off 10 outstretched

arms/fathoms of line. Alternatively, you can change the measuring units on your echo sounder to fathoms, and fathom off your lines accordingly. I usually start by dropping a line down to the bottom with a heavy weight attached to the hook. Once it reaches the bottom, I lift it around two fathoms from the bottom. I will then set another line four fathoms from the bottom. When fishing with a hand-line it is pretty simple to set your line at a certain depth and keep it there, but it’s not as easy when using a rod and reel. When bait fishing with a rod and reel, I will usually “fathom” off the desired depth by pulling the line off the reel onto the deck and then pitch the bait out to settle at that depth. You might find this quite tedious, but it will make all the difference on those days when the fish are biting slower or at a specific depth.

A number of happy anglers show off their snoek catches wrestled from the Cape’s cold waters. 28 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

One way to mark your line on the reel at a specific depth where you are catching the fish is with a short piece of dental floss that you simply double and choke around the line. Then, when you want to reset your bait, simply drop the bait until you reach the dental floss marker. The next thing to consider is how to weigh your line down, especially when there is current in the water. Always use as little lead as possible on your bait lines so that the bait can pass through the water column, because snoek will often take the bait while it’s sinking. You can then take up the slack and set your lines at that shallower depth. There are, however, days when you might need a few ounces of lead to keep your bait down when the current picks up. I usually use a barrel or ball sinker that I have free running on the line to lay against the swivel on the hook. I often use a f luorocarbon bite trace between the main line and hook, and I like to attach the leader to the main line with a knot. You can use a swivel, but there are times when the snoek are feeding madly and will grab a swivel while you’re pulling the line in, resulting in the line being bitten off. Once your lines are set, you wait for the bite. The way the snoek grab the bait will depend on how they are feeding on the day. At times the line might just go tight if the snoek has the bait in its mouth and swims off. You want to strike then to set the hook. At other times they will bite like a smaller reef fish and then you mustn’t strike immediately. Feed the bait to the fish, and only strike when the line goes tight. If you miss the bite and you can still feel there is bait on the hook, don’t retrieve your line immediately as the fish will probably come back a second time and give you another chance. You can sometimes entice a second bite by pulling the bait in slowly.This is why pike is the favoured bait for snoek fishing as its nice and tough, and snoek will often return a second and third time if you miss them. Once you set the hook, you want to pull as hard as you can, depending on the tackle you’re using.A fast retrieve is necessary because seals are often waiting to take your fish! A seal will usually take the fish deep down and then come up for a breather as far from the boat as it can. If a seal does take your fish, keep as much tension as possible on the line while the seal is swimming away. Your best chance of getting your fish back is when the seal tries to throw your fish on the surface. Be very careful of pulling too hard when you have a snoek that’s been hooked on a spinner or lure. If the lure

A vlekked snoek (top) ready to be salted and hung out to dry in the wind (above). pulls out of the fish’s mouth while you are fighting with the seal, it will shoot back at you like a bullet. When fishing outside Cape Point you might find that the commercial boats are all huddled together with their engines running while they keep their boats facing into the sea and their crew work their lines and pull fish. Sometimes the skippers will just move from shoal to shoal that they find using sonars and echo sounders, and then keep the boat in the perfect position for the crew until the shoal disperses. They will then up lines and head off to find another shoal. When you encounter the boats fishing like this, it’s best not to get in the very middle of the mix of boats, as you are unlikely to be able to keep your boat in a fixed position between them, and run the risk of catching their lines or even colliding with one of them as you drift past. Rather come in on the downwind side of them. If you’re unable to remain in position, then just drift away from them and once you stop catching you can move back up and start again. PAP SNOEK The best way to ensure that a snoek does not go pap is to break its neck as soon as you bring it on board. This is done by pinning the fish down between your legs (if you are wearing oilskins), holding it behind its head with one hand and placing your other hand’s thumb in the fish’s eye and your other fingers under its mouth.You then bend the head backwards 90 degrees until you feel the neck break. If you’re not keen on breaking the

neck like this you can use a knife to cut its throat to bleed it. Warm water and warm weather will usually cause a snoek to go pap very quickly, so keep the fish as cool as possible and out of direct sunlight. Snoek are usually “vlekked”(butterflied) by cutting them from tail to head alongside the dorsal fin.A second cut is then made to separate the backbone from one side. When folded open, it’s opened up like a butterfly, hence the term. When “vlekking” a snoek, you want the meat to be a nice pink colour and visibly firm. If the meat looks white then the fish is on its way to going pap. If the flesh has a jelly-like appearance it is best not to eat it, as the taste and texture would probably put you off snoek for life. The best way to ensure that the meat does not deteriorate any further after cutting is to lay the fish flat and throw a handful or two of coarse salt all over the flesh side. Leave the salt on for around 20 to 30 minutes and then rinse off with fresh water. Hang up for a few minutes to drip dry. This will usually firm up the meat and stop it from turning completely pap. FEROCIOUS FANGS Snoek have incredibly sharp teeth and many anglers have ended up in the emergency room to be stitched up after being bitten and losing a lot of blood. Snoek are believed to have an anticoagulant on their teeth which will stop blood from clotting, and most bites will bleed profusely. There is an old snoek fishermen’s tale that if you cut the eye of a snoek SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 29

30 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

Baiting for snoek using pike and sardine on big J hooks when handlining, and circle hooks when rod and reel fishing. and rub the jelly in the cut it will stop the bleeding. I find the best thing to carr y for snoek bites is a bottle of “Staaldrupples” as this will stem profuse bleeding and help blood clot. The snoek bite itself is not usually where the injury happens; it’s usually your reaction to being bitten and pulling your hand back that results in the worst wounds. TACKLE AND BAIT Snoek are pretty fierce predators with big mouths and razor-sharp teeth that will destroy most baits and soft lures in a single bite. The average snoek caught in the Cape is around 2- to 4kg, but it’s not uncommon to catch them up to 6kg. Tackle varies widely and is up to the angler. I have caught snoek on the lightest tackle while fishing inshore league on 4kg line, and on heavy 120kg hand lines.Although the thick lines don’t really give the fish a chance, it can be just as much fun as on the lighter tackle. I do, however, adjust my tackle according to the prevailing conditions, depth of water, current and how the fish are feeding. The most common and exciting way to catch snoek will be using lures, and I am yet to find a lure that a snoek will not take when they are around in their numbers. They can, however, get quite fussy some days when they only want

to take a certain colour and swim past most lures. You can use pretty much any spinner/jig that you would use for yellowtail. I generally advise people to use the lures that usually gather dust in the back of the cupboard, as you will probably lose a few lures every time you head out thanks to their sharp teeth. I have found that if you use a thick fluorocarbon bite trace you will end up losing a lot less tackle. The size/weight of the spinner/jig you use will depend on the tackle you are using. My go-to spinner is a Tin Garfish spinner that I bend slightly to give it a nice action.These spinners can be a bit heavy for the average spinning setup used by anglers in the Cape. The second best option for me would be an old trusty Tin Snake spinner that I also bend to give a nice action. Tin spinners work so well because teeth marks and scratches will give the spinner a nicer finish and look to a hungry snoek. I usually put a heavy duty 4/0 or 5/0 treble hook on these spinners.The main reason for using heavy-duty hooks is so you can use pliers to remove the hook from the snoek’s mouth and keep your fingers well clear of those razor sharp teeth. If you choose to catch snoek “commercial style” with a handline you can opt to use a traditional “dollie” and “bok-

stang”.This consists of a shiny/coloured barrel lead between 3- and 5oz, and a brightly coloured skirt made from rubber inner tubes or gloves cut into strips. The most common colour is red. These days you can pick from an array of colours and use either a single 11- or 12/0 hook. In years gone by snoek fishermen didn’t have all these options and they would simply use a lead barrel that was scratched using the back of a knife, and a piece of dried shark skin that was then cut into strips to make a skirt.This is known as a snoek lead. The easiest option to use on a handline is a snoek spinner. You will find these in every possible colour combination under the sun with an 11- or 12/0 hook attached by means of an oval clip. When fishing with a handline you will get less bite offs if you use a spinner than when the line is attached directly to the hook as it is on a snoek lead. On a spinner the line is above the lure, meaning it’s further away from those sharp teeth. Snoek spinners are also easier and quicker to change than a snoek lead. When casting or throwing out your lure, throw it as far as you can from the boat. Let the lure sink through the water with the line under tension as opposed to just dropping the lure down next to the boat. Let the lure freefall down, as the snoek will very often SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 31

Vingerlappies for handline fishing and various lures used when targeting snoek. Big single hooks are used on handlines, and tin spinners with treble hooks are used on spinning rods. grab a lure while it’s sinking. If the line is slack, it will usually swallow the lure and swim off, and when the line tightens you will get bitten off. Bait fishing for snoek can be a lot of fun, but can also be extremely frustrating when the snoek are not taking the bait properly. When they are shy, you will often pull in your bait to find teeth marks all over the bait where the fish has simply “tasted” it. Just like lure fishing, choice of tackle and hooks will vary from angler to angler. The most common hook to use is a 10- to 12/0 with a swivel attached to the eye. The big hooks help reduce the chance of getting bitten off, but you need a bit of force to set these thick gauge hooks into a snoek’s mouth. When fishing with lighter tackle, I usually opt for a thin gauge 8- to 10/0 circle hook. Using these circle hooks will usually result in far fewer bite offs than when using a similar size J hook. I have also found that I get far fewer bites when using a wire trace, so I usually use a thick fluorocarbon bite trace. Most fish baits will work but imported pike is by far the first choice for most fishermen. Unfortunately it’s not always easy to get and is very expensive.You will usually only be able to buy pike in 10kg boxes.The most cost-effective approach is to buy one box, drop the frozen box on the ground a few 32 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

times to break the fish apart, then repack them in smaller packs while still frozen. You can then remove the bait from your cooler as needed. Once you defrost pike it won’t refreeze well, so I usually refreeze any unused defrosted bait and then use it as chum on the next trip. Another way to chum is to use the stomach contents of the snoek that you have already caught. Hang the snoek over the side of the boat while holding the base of the tail. Use your other hand to rub the belly from the tail side towards the head, and you will push out the stomach contents. If you do decide to use a handline, make sure you have “vingerlappies” on your index/pulling fingers. These are rubber or neoprene tubes made to slip over the finger to stop you from getting cut when pulling the lines. It also provides extra grip when pulling. Snoek can also be caught on trolled lures, but will not often take on a surface lure, so if you want to catch them on troll rather opt for a deep diving lipped lure. Trolling is also a great way to find a shoal of snoek to then cast spinners at or throw bait lines on. If you hook up while trolling, don’t stop the boat immediately. Troll on for another short while and this will usually result in the rest of your lures hooking up, as snoek are a shoaling species.

Watch your echo sounder while pulling in the snoek you have hooked up. If you ran into a shoal, then you should see plenty signs of them all over the echo sounder screen. If this is the case, then clear the lines and drop a spinner or jig and you should hook up pretty quickly. You should also carry a bolt cutter on board when snoek fishing and ensure it can cut through any hook in your tackle box. I have seen more hooks in people’s hands and bodies from catching snoek than any other species, because snoek mouths have a terrible habit of tearing, and when you lift the fish from the water, the lure then comes straight back at you. SIZE AND BAG LIMITS The current SADSAA All Tackle snoek record is 8,4kg (caught off Hout Bay in June 1974 by G. Sandell), but I have often seen snoek over 9kg caught on commercial boats around Cape Town. The IGFA All Tackle World Record is 7,67kg (caught in Chile in March 2017). The bag limit for snoek is ten per person per day with a minimum size of 60cm. If you’re keen to join us for a day’s fishing in False Bay to target snoek, or would like updated info and catch reports, then visit <www.oceanlife>.


Snoek for Supper By Ryan Cole, Executive Chef at Salsify, Camps Bay All recipes written to feed 4 or 5 people SNOEK ON THE BRAAI • Make a fire and get the coals to medium heat. • Put your butterflied (vlekked) snoek on tinfoil, skin side down, and place into a braai grid. • Cook over medium heat for roughly 12 minutes. Once the f lesh goes white, flip and cook for 30 seconds. • Remove from the fire, dress in sour fig dressing, and serve SOUR FIG AND SPRING ONION DRESSING 40ml sunflower oil 2 tbs finely chopped ginger 2 tbs finely chopped garlic 2 small red chillis, finely chopped 4 tbs mirin 4 tbs sake 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped 1tbs sugar 2 spring onions, sliced 3 tbs fish sauce 5 tbs sourfig jam

MOSSBOLLETJIE FLATBREAD 280g cake flour 5g salt 6g dried yeast 60g butter 1 medium egg 125ml milk 80ml butter 10g aniseed • Mix everything together on a low speed with a dough hook for 7 min. • Clingwrap bowl and allow to rise for 50 mins at room temperature. • Divide into 8 even-sized balls. • Using a rolling pin, roll them flat • Cook on medium-heat coals for 4 mins each side. COAL-ROASTED POTATO SALAD 3 medium potatoes 3 sprigs of rosemary 3 x 10g cubes of butter Tinfoil torn to A4 size

• Heat a medium sucepan and add oil. • Sweat the ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chilli to golden brown. Add the remaining ingredients, cook down by half, remove from the heat and allow to cool. 34 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

• Add the rosemary and butter and a pinch of salt to each potato. • Wrap the potato in foil, and cook on low coals for 45 mins or until soft. POTATO DRESSING 2 tbs Dijon mustard 100ml olive oil 1 tbs honey 3 tbs capers, chopped 1 small handful parlsey, chopped 1 tbs dill, chopped • Whisk ever ything togother in a bowl for 40 seconds. • Cut the coal-roasted potatoes into six, put in a bowl and dress. HERB DRESSING 1 cup dill, chopped 1 4⁄ cup coriander, chopped 1 4⁄ cup parsley, chopped 1 4⁄ cup chives, chopped 25ml apple cider vinegar 30ml honey 40ml yoghurt 150ml canola oil Pinch of salt pinch of black pepper • Mix all together GRILLED SALAD 2 red onions cut into wedges 2 bulbs of fennel cut into wedges 5 spring onions 10 pieces tenderstem broccoli • Char all veggies on the fire. • Dress the charred veg in the herb dressing and serve.



no easy feat if one considers the pressure S we head into the last few put on the staff and the facilities for these months of the year and prepare events, and hosting back to back events for our long anticipated holiday over two weekends was always going to season, we look back on another be a challenge. incredible year of angling. SADSAA and its Once the venue and catering had provincial member bodies have yet again been booked and sorted, letters were delivered the goods and produced some sent out to all Provinces requesting them excellent events for our anglers to showto put forward candidates who qualified case their skills. and wanted to participate in this incrediThis year has seen some incredible ble event. results from our international anglers, Anton van den Berg was quick to with a number of gold, silver and bronze arrange boats and all the logistics around results, and this always inspires those each participant as the entries started to making their way up through the ranks come in. We were blessed that this year to aim for more. Locally, every National we had a few more entries than last year, and Inter-Provincial, has seen the best of and among the mix we really brought this South Africa’s anglers not just competing, Chris Schorn, home with a senior member from the but also making new friends, refreshing SADSAA President South African Sports Anglers and Casting old friendships and making new memoConfederation (SASACC) committee and ries that will keep all coming back again his son joining us for the two days of planned activities. and again. SASACC played a big role in the financing of both In May this year, we once again put together our All events, and as the governing body above SADSAA, it was a Stars tournament.After the huge success of last year's event, pleasure to have both Andries Maree, SASACC President, it was with anticipation, and maybe even a little trepidation, and Mike Milligan, SASACC Vice President, in attendance that the team started the arrangements and the planning to this year. host the event in 2023. Our three-man organising commitAs all the logistics and planning started falling into tee were each tasked with various aspects of the event and place, the ever growing question of finances was looming work started shortly after the end of last year’s tournament. in the back of everyone's minds. Budgets were submitted to Once a budget had been drawn up, it was clear that one Andries Maree, President of the SASSAC committee and of the biggest hurdles in today’s tough economy was always SADSAA’s Action Committee, who deliberated and commitgoing to be finances, for both the hosts and the participatted to matching the SASACC contribution. ing anglers and their families. It was once again decided Neil Coetzer headed off to Sodwana in November last that we would cover every aspect of the tournament apart year to select the Light Tackle Nationals, and there in a disfrom the travel to and from the venue. cussion with members of the OET organising committee, Justin Paynter quickly set about arranging things with the All Stars came up. After the resounding success of the Durban Ski Boat Club and the venue was secured for the OET bonanza, Mpumalanga Deep Sea also committed to week after the annual Durban Ski-Boat Club Festival. That’s

All the participants at the 2023 All Stars event.

contribute a substantial amount toward the event. At the closing function of the Nationals, Neil Coetzer was given the opportunity to address the participating teams about the All Stars and was humbled by the amount the Provincial teams gave in financial commitments toward the event. In addition to that, we also received two anonymous donations that contributed enormously to the coffers. Before December was over, we had managed to secure all accommodation and had clothing orders in the system, and it was building up to be a great event. Planning slowed a bit in March as Justin had been awarded his Protea colours and headed off to Egypt, but upon his return everything went into full swing once again and before we could blink the weekend of the event was upon us. The opening function and decor of the club was a sight to behold, and all credit must go to Durban SkiBoat Club for the ease with which they manage to accommodate us and set aside an area in their premises for the function. The All Stars participants were then introduced to the skippers and gillies who would be accompanying them for the weekend, and after brief speeches of welcome and a hearty meal ever yone headed off to the accommodation in Umhlanga run by Holsboer Vacations. It was with great excitement that all the tournament participants went to sea on the Saturday. Many smiles were seen as the boats went on the hunt for bait and then dispersed in different directions to fish for the day. At the weigh in, there were many stories and more smiles with some good fish being caught, and every participant having had fun for the day. We had not planned to cater for the Saturday night, but Byron Kane, Chairman of Umhlanga SkiBoat Club, offered to host a braai for all at their incredible facilities in Umhlanga. All the participants attended and partied the evening away, and we were fully entertained by the friendship, love and smiles of everyone present. The Sunday was predicted to be a bad weather day, but like the year before, fortunately the weather played its part and all boats managed to stay out at sea until the official lines up was called. The scales were once again put into action and snacks were served during the weigh in. It was such a blessing to see the happy faces as special friendships were formed and stories were shared about everyone’s experiences on the water. The whole event was capped off on the Sunday evening with a prize giving and a meal in the club, and every skipper, gillie and participant was rewarded with medals and trophies. Every face in the house was dressed in a smile and love for our glorious sport. A heartfelt thank you to all the sponsors, organisers, skippers and gillies and, most importantly, the anglers, for another incredible weekend.We able-bodied anglers often take for granted how easy it is for us to head to the sea and wet a line, and to be able to facilitate this for others who may otherwise not be exposed to it, is a privilege and an honour. As the year draws to a close, we see two of our largest bonanza tournaments taking place once again – the OET and the Billfish 15 000 – to be capped off with the Heavy- and Light Tackle Nationals all taking place over three consecutive weeks in Sodwana. To all who will be travelling and participating, we wish you tight lines and safe travels.


An East African island experience at Villa Martins, Inhaca Review by Erwin Bursik

OÇAMBIQUE has lured adventurous South Africans ever since the early days when Lourenço Marques (now the flourishing city of Maputo) was a popular destination to experience the Portuguese culture and cuisine – the proverbial Europe on our doorstep. The devastating hostilities that ravaged the country from 1974 to the late 1980s may have dampened some tourists’ enthusiasm for an LM/Moçambique experience, but not all. Our angling fraternity has always been drawn by the lure of Mozam’s warm waters, gamefish and billfish, and burgeoning beach-side accommodation has enticed thousands of South Africans to frequent this offshore angling paradise on a regular basis. It’s no surprise it’s so popular considering that Mozam is basically on our doorstep and there are a vast number of places where South African skiboaters can tow their own ski-boats to and fish in this tropical paradise at


costs that are equal to or even more affordable than offshore destinations in South Africa. The mainland has plenty of attractions, and then there are the incredible islands … In mid 1991, Ted and Lyn Adams, Louis Kuhn and I visited Inhaca Island as guests of Gone Fishing Safaris to get a feel for the spectacular island sited 30-odd kilometres off the country’s major city, Maputo, and north of the Santa Maria headland. Inhaca is separated from the mainland by a channel called Hell’s Gate. The southern tidal race exits and empties the vast inland tidal f lats of the huge Maputo bay through Hell’s Gate and also through Maputo’s main shipping channel which runs north of Inhaca. At that time the Santa Maria headland was the last bastion of Renamo supporters, as we found out when we saw them patrolling the beach of Santa Maria toting AK47s. There was no visible habitation on this magnificent headland and beach back then.

During that visit we unfortunately experienced the full force of a south westerly front that prevented us from fishing the apparently fish-rich waters on the seaward side of Inhaca, and while we flew to the island, Louis and I had an interesting ride back to Maputo by boat at the end of our stay. Over the next three decades I fished “Moz” on numerous occasions, but always further north of Maputo, bypassing the capital city at the Xai-Xai turnoff. The lure of Guinjata, Tofo, Vilanculos, Inhassorro and the Bazaruto archipelago was too strong, resulting in me neglecting Inhaca after that one disappointing experience. Ryan Hansen of Durban Marine recently twisted my arm to accompany him and his wife, Joanne, when he went to deliver a boat to the owner of a new lodge that was nearing completion on the southern extremity of Inhaca Island. The promise of fishing the area off Inhaca and Santa Maria with one of Maputo’s top anglers sealed the deal. As the saying goes, I’m very pleased I went.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 39

These days, with the new coastal highway from Kosi Bay to Maputo, the 595km, seven-hour drive from Durban, and virtually the same distance from the greater Gauteng region, makes this area much easier to reach than those north of Xai-Xai. And now, having experienced the fishing potential and the incredible scenic diversity of Inhaca and Santa Maria, it’s clear that as a fishing and holiday destination, Inhaca is hard to beat. It’s just sad it’s taken me 30 years to realise that. The 45-minute boat trip aboard Richard Martins’ 31ft Panga craft was an easy ride for Richard’s family, Ryan, Jo and I. When we arrived at Villa Martins on the protected south-western quarter of Inhaca, my senses were blown away The high tide allowed us to buoy up just on the fringe of mangrove trees over white sand. It took me right back to another area I love in a virtually identical setting in Kenya and Tanzania in the Kilwa region. It felt like I was coming home. That alone made the trip worthwhile. Following a band of helpers, we walked the 30 metres or so through the mangroves, and then another surprise awaited me.There, surrounded by a traditional white Mozambican wall was Villa Martins. The scene was so different to what I’d expected, that I had to stop to fully absorb the beauty of the lodge basking in the late afternoon sun. I was excited that this was to be my home for the next four days. The centrally sited swimming pool, surrounding lawns, ten spacious and extremely well appointed and finished rooms, main house, dining and recreational areas set amidst the coconut palms and huge Mozambican mango trees all shouted: Welcome to Villa Martins. Richard and Jessica Martins are wonderful gracious hosts, and Jessica, with her Mozambican flair, more than satisfied our gastronomic needs. Speaking f luent English, the couple shared a great deal about the ways of Inhaca Island, its history and local inhabitants. They also took us to the marine reserve and across the estuary to stroll along the Santa Maria “beachfront” and indulge in a meal at one of the restaurants there. What really intrigued me is the development on Santa Maria and its draw of tourists to the area – both South African and international visitors. Richard’s company runs 14 fully rigged and crewed ski-boats ranging from 16 foot up to 28ft, giving them the potential to target both gamefish and billfish. His fleet also serves to transfer tourists from both his lodge and Santa Maria to Maputo in comfort, protected from the prevailing weather conditions. Over and above this, he is able to organ2 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

ise fuel supplies and mooring services for clients who take their own ski-boats to Villa Martins. Over the last two decades I have eagerly read the articles on the annual Inhaca Challenge which have been carried in SKI-BOAT magazine. Names like Santa Maria, Hell’s Gate, Channel Buoys and Lighthouse were only names of

fishing areas that didn’t mean much to me, but which had stuck in my mind and which came to the fore again as Richard rounded Portuguese Island and set a course virtually directly out to sea. He had chosen the northern track as the strong tidal outf low through Hell’s Gate was not that great the day we went fishing. Besides, he said, where

Villa Martins’ very comfortable accommodation.

Ryan Hansen and Richard Martins amidst the mangroves.

All set to go fishing.

SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 41

Ryan Hansen’s beautiful Sailfish.

we were set to start fishing “The Well” was an equal distance away whichever way we went, but the initial run north and around Portuguese Island was calm, flat water, making that run a lot faster. The excitement built as we headed out into magnificent blue water. As I scrutinised the craft’s Garmin sonar and GPS, I could see for myself the areas I had read so much about, but had never seen before. We had a grand tour of the fishing spots and I was enthralled at seeing the different offshore terrain on the sounder and getting a rundown on the various areas that Richard has fished commercially and recreationally over the last 20 years. A simple factor that exposed his knowledge and got me thinking was the way he worked an area like The Well in relation to tide and how emphatic he was that on the tidal peak the baitfish – and hopefully gamefish – would congregate and enhance our strike rate. Standing alongside the skipper observing the plotter’s snail trail and sonar readings was extremely interesting and informative. One of Richard’s commercial craft was working the same area and had got

there on the tide change and had already recorded some good fish, including a marlin. We just had a few strikes and some small fish before relocating to visit some of the other areas I mentioned. From what I saw, the water was not that deep when compared to our distance out to sea, and that surprised me. The bottom was between 40 and 60 metres below us. Richard said, however, that there are deeper marks where he uses deep jigging tactics that pay off handsomely, with big amberjacks being the number one target. I saw photos of some of these catches, with the biggest he has caught weighing 54kg. Yup, 54kg! Working the areas we did in order to show me the extent and relative proximity to Inhaca Island, our haul almost equalled that of Richard’s 16ft Seacat that ended the day with two marlin, two yellowfin tuna in the upper 20kg range, a wahoo, a dorado and a big GT among quite a few smaller fish. Our moment of glory was when Ryan Hansen’s reel screamed and a magnificent sailfish took to the air, flying parallel to the water about 50 metres behind the boat. Even more surprisingly, it was hooked on a Rapala, so

42 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

I didn’t give it much hope of staying attached. But it did, and after a lengthy fight, this huge sailfish which we estimated at over 50kg was brought alongside, the lure pinning it like a livebait just in front of the sail. It was incredibly exciting! Even after all my decades of fishing I’m still totally captivated when I see one of these magnificent fish swim away after being released, and I hope that will never change. At last, after a fun day at sea, it was home time and Richard decided to weave his way through Hell’s Gate, the channel that separates Inhaca Island and Santa Maria. I am pleased we did it, for it showed me not only how treacherous it could be, but also how easy Richard made it seem. All in all my four-day visit to Inhaca was way too short, but still more than long enough for me to resolve that it’s an area and destination I will definitely return to. I believe I have found my Shangri-la. Relatively close to home – just seven hours towing from Durban to Maputo and an hour by sea to Villa Martins – this very different, exciting and beautiful tropical destination is a must-visit on my list.

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2023 Queens of the Ocean By Sheena Carnie HE sheriff has spoken: St Lucia is the place to be, even when the town is overrun with cowboys and the wild westerly is blowing. The 2023 running of the Queens of the Ocean competition at the beginning of September showed just how eager South Africa’s women are to join their men fishing out deep. The 2022 event was already well supported with 19 boats, but news of the fun event spread like wildfire, and this year a full capacity f leet of 35 boats and 105 anglers signed up. The first day, Friday, started perfectly calm, with the crews all gathered on


the beach at 5am, enjoying the stillness of the early morning and the splendour of a full moon and star-studded sky overhead. But there were already whispers that we might not launch.The whispers were right, and the weather committee called a blowout thanks to a predicted 40 knot south-westerly which duly arrived around 9am. The women – including a number of first-timers – had come to town to fish, though, and some resorted to a bit of shore fishing before the wind got too strong, or else practised trolling lures across the swimming pools of the resorts where they were staying.

Others took the opportunity to drive along the Eastern Shores of iSimangaliso Wetland Park, spotting some of the big five and taking in the magnificent scenery at Mission Rocks and Cape Vidal before heading back to dress up and mosey on down to the saloon set up at St Lucia Ski-Boat Club. This year’s theme was “Wild West”, and as usual the anglers and ground crew went all out in dressing to the theme and relished the opportunity to ride the bucking bull that was set up alongside the marquee. Food and drink flowed freely, and gees was at an all time high, but most of the anglers retired early on the Friday night to catch some shut-eye before starting extra early on the Saturday.

With 35 boats needing to launch and only one day to catch enough pointworthy fish and win the competition, everyone wanted to be near the front of the queue. The launches all went off smoothly, and after a fantastic day out on the sea with varying degrees of success, but full appreciation of the splendour of the scenery and dolphins and whales playing all around, 35 tired crews returned to the clubhouse for weigh in. The marquee was abuzz with excitement because of one particularly large king mackerel/’cuda that was held aside at the weigh in. There were not that many fish in the weigh-in queue this year, but a few decent sized prodigal sons and yellowfin tuna were among them.

48 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

Everyone knew the multiplying factor (based on the number of different species each boat caught) would determine the ultimate winner, but the ’cuda looked big ... and then there was the matter of the five released billfish that would also add big points to their teams’ tallies. A number of excellent fish were eventually weighed in, including Danica Bartho’s 19.22kg yellowfin tuna and Eleanor Roode’s 16.56kg prodigal son, but when firsttime angler Elma Dos Reis’s ’cuda finally pulled the scale to 29.64kg, there was no doubt it was the biggest fish. At prizegiving that night, though, their one big fish only put Jehova Rapheka in sixth place overall, and it was Captain Fine’s mix of species – including a released marlin for top lady angler Sella Schönfeldt – that won them the competition. John Deere came second, and the Bartho women fishing on Valhalla II finished third, proving it’s not only their husbands who can bring home the fish. All the women – and their male skippers, gillies and companions – had a fantastic weekend, with many vowing to return next year. In the meantime, I’ll allow the prizewinners themselves to share their stories and excitement.

Catch of a lifetime By Elma Dos Reis

Elma’s winning ’cuda. This is a once-in-a-lifetime catch,” said an old fisherman at the weigh-in. “I have been fishing all my life and had never seen such a big ’cuda.” Queens of the Ocean… This was our choice of a ladies’ weekend, and it was one of the most exciting adventures of my life. It was an every-secondcounts, no-time-for-sleep kind of a

weekend filled with laughter, excitement, good food and surprises. Being super competitive, we got up at 3am the first morning and managed to be first in line. Unfortunately we had bad weather and couldn’t go out to fish. Not easily discouraged, we got up at 2.45am the second day only to be tenth in line. We waited excitedly, together with 34 other boats, to launch, even though we were by far the underdogs of the competition, competing against far more experienced and skilled anglers. It was my first time on the ocean and I did not know how dangerous launching could be. Fortunately, Pieter, our skipper, knew what a dangerous task it could be and handled the launch with impressive delicacy and skill. Pieter has been fishing at sea since the age of nine. The family’s first boat was a rubber duck, and later they bought a boat and called it Jehovah Rapheka, meaning “The God that heals”. Now, after being at sea and experiencing the adventure of a lifetime, I understand how one’s heart can feel gracefully healed in the midst of His indescribable creation. We had a fantastic launch and made it safely through the surf with not even a tiny bit of sea spray touching us. We tried catching livebait but we only caught a few sardines and a “gorrie” that we wanted to throw back, but since we didn’t have anything else, we kept it. We later hooked the ’cuda with our one and only “gorrie” – without any steel trace! With absolutely NO experience, or having a clue what to expect, when the reel started screaming and it was my turn, I just knew I had to reel like my life depended on it! Exhilaration was coarsing through my body! My passionate crew tried helping me and tried explaining how I should pump and wind, I was so scared of the line becoming limp that I just kept reeling in “manual mode” without any proper fishing technique whatsoever! The reel suddenly felt loose and started to swivel, and I thought it had broken! I was shaking with adrenaline and I had a hard time keeping the rod straight to reel in properly. My “moonbag” like I called it, was everywhere except on a comfortable spot and Zanlie, my friend, had to hold it on a bearable spot. Everything was happening all at once… I haven’t felt such a hype and adrenaline rush in all my life! Everyone’s positive encouragement kept me focused. When the fish was brought onboard, the crew’s reaction was extraordinary. Initially I thought it was to make me feel special about catching my first fish, but the screaming and hysteria continued, and I suspected it had to be quite a catch.

Our NSRI keeping a watchful eye.

Danica Bartho with her 19kg yellowfin tuna.

Sulesda Willemse’s 6kg yellowfin tuna.

Megan Shepard with an 18kg yellowfin tuna, , unfortunately too late for weigh-in. Madelein Grobler’s sailfish release.

Team Saul Good celebrating another good day at sea.

Zanlie could see that I didn’t quite grasp the magnitude of this exceptional moment and told me that I would understand when we got back on land. The crew was in absolute disbelief. Adrenaline reverberated through all of us and I was overwhelmed with emotion, feeling extremely thankful, favoured and spoiled. Our trip back to the beach was filled with celebration and uncontrolled happiness. Back on land, the spectators were in aweand “catch of a lifetime” was the most popular phrase. I could see the appreciation and admiration in the people’s eyes. I also saw the longing in those eyes which had tried countless times to catch a fish of this size. The excitement wasn’t over yet. The weigh in was exhilarating and I was flabbergasted by the response of everyone around me. The organisers even had to shorten the line and reset the scale, so the ’cuda could fit. It weighed 29.64kg! I was awestruck! One could see the ’cuda had lived a giant’s life, as it was covered with old battle scars and had teeth missing, and we were the privileged ones to land it. Our fish was the biggest fish of the competition and I felt incredibly humbled. We received several prizes, including a trophy, R10 000 for the biggest fish of the day and R5 000 for third place in the “Top Lady Angler” section. Our boat also came sixth overall despite only catching one fish. The memory of this once-in-a-lifetime weekend will stay with me forever and I am so grateful to have been part of this amazing adventure. I am in awe of God’s perfect creation! What a privilege to enjoy nature – the big and small of it, the diversity, the complexity, down to the smallest detail. It is incomprehensible, unexplainable, uncontainable. • Eleanor Roode with the third placed fish, a 16,56kg prodigal son.

’n Puik dag vir Captain Fine Deur Sella Schönfeldt IT was ’n great gevoel gewees... die oggend vroeg voor ons gelaunch het, het ek vir my span gesê ek gaan ’n marlyn fight vandag. Ek het volle vertroue in myself, my span en boot gehad. Ek het net so gevoel gehad. Ons


Sella’s marlin T&R flag.

Gelukkige het ons ’n paar ervare mense op die boot gehad, onder andere ons skipper Michael Fourie en gilly Marius Botha. Hierdie was ook nie die eerste keer wat ek ’n marlyn release het nie. Van kleins af was ek al op die see saam my pa en boetie, en ons vang graag saam gamefish. Aangesien die wind baie erg gewaai het op daai stadium en die see rof was het ons ’n uur en 10 minute baklei met die marlyn. Om ’n marlyn standing te vang en nie uit ’n fighting chair nie was tough gewees vir my. My span maats het my natuurlik begestaan en aangemoedig terwyl Umfaan (klipwerf) kliphard op die radio gespeel het. Ek glo dat mens die lekkerste vis vang met boeremusiek, so asof dit die marlyne roep na die boot toe. Dis my wen resep vir marlyn! Wat die wen nog meer lekkerder gemaak het is dat ons die bie op ons eie boot gewen het! Ons het geweet ons gaan dit doen, maar min het die ander bote ons ’n kans gegee. Captain Fine het nie terug gestaan nie! Dankie ook vir ons borge, julle is fantasties: C&J Boerdery, PR Schoeman Boerdery,Team Onfire,Pioneer en Civcon. Ek wil net by sê dat wanneer mens op die see is besef mens hoe klein jy werklik is en hoe groot jou God is. Ek sal altyd respek hê vir die see en my skepper. TOP FIVE BOATS 1. Captain Fine 91.80 points 2. John Deere 82.62 points 3. Valhalla II 78.44 points 4. Fintastic 70.00 points 5. Stella 53.68 points

het die oggend vroeg uit gegaan na die 1 000m merk waar ons getrol het, maar niks gekry het nie, toe gaan ons vlakker na die 100m waar ons nog steeds onsuksesvol was. Maar van opgee was daar TOP FIVE ANGLERS nie te sprake nie, en ons het 1. Sella Schönfeldt, Captain Fine 400m merk toe gegaan waar 2. Eleanor Roode, Fintastic ons ’n swart marlyn gekry 3. Elma Dos Reis, Jehovah Rapheka het van oor die 200kg op ’n 4. Rika Meintjies, C-Angel 80 pond lyn. 5. Kaylee Bartho, Valhalla Winning team.

40 points 35 points 29.64 points 20 points 20 points

SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 51

FEATURE By Kelly Brown


S you gear up for summer, it is crucial to safeguard your eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays. Whether you are a swimmer, lifeguard, avid fisherman, or simply enjoy a day on the beach, understanding the impact of UV rays on your eyes is essential.

THE DANGERS OF UV RAYS UV light is a form of electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun. There are three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC rays are mostly absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere and do not pose a significant threat. However, both UVA and UVB rays can have detrimental effects on your skin and eyes. UVA and UVB rays can penetrate the cornea and lens of the eye causing conditions such as cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, and photokeratitis (sunburn of the eye). Outer eye conditions such as pterygia and pinguecula

(growths on the white part of the eye) are also caused by these harmful rays. UVA and UVB rays are present throughout the year, even on cloudy days, making it important to protect our eyes and skin daily, not only in sunny conditions. THE ROLE OF SUNGLASSES Sunglasses serve as an effective barrier against harmful UV rays, reducing the risk of eye damage. Here are some factors to consider when selecting sunglasses for optimal eye protection: 1. UV protection: Look for sunglasses that offer 100% UVA and UVB protection. The lens material should reflect or absorb UV radiation, providing you with comprehensive protection. 2. Lens colour and tint: While lens colour preferences vary, it’s important to note that the colour or darkness of the lens does not necessarily indicate the level of UV protection it offers. However, certain lens tints

can enhance visual clarity and contrast. Polarized lenses are a good option for fishermen as they allow light in only one direction, reducing glare and improving visibility on the water. 3. Lens coverage: Opt for sunglasses that provide ample coverage. Many people enjoy wrap-around styles or larger frames for this reason. By minimising the peripheral light entering your eyes, sunglasses can further protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes from harmful UV rays. 4. Quality and fit: Invest in high quailty sunglasses that are both optically clear and durable. Ensure your sunglasses are both comfortable and fit properly so that you use them often. As an optometrist, I cannot overemphasise the importance of protecting your eyes from the damaging effects of UV rays. Next time you are out on the water reeling in that big gamefish, please protect your eyes against the sun’s UV rays.

Understanding the role of sunglasses 52 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 53

Kingfisher Award Application Form I hereby apply for the Kingfisher Award in the category:

Meritorious Fish

Outstanding Catch

Tick the appropriate box and supply us with the following information. Please remember to print clearly.

Applicant’s Details: Name: ................................................... Address: ............................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... Code: .................................................... Tel No: ................................................... E-mail: ............................................................... Club (if member): .................................. ............................................................... I, the undersigned, agree to abide by the rules of this award.

YOUR favourite offshore angling magazine, SKI-BOAT, in conjunction with The Kingfisher and the South African Deep Sea Angling Association, is proud to offer all South African ski-boaters the unique opportunity to win awards for excellence in angling. All deep sea anglers who achieve laid down standards of excellence will be entitled to apply for the KINGFISHER AWARD. Upon ratification by a panel of adjudicators, the angler will receive a handsome digital certificate, suitably inscribed. The Kingfisher Award will be made for fish caught in two sections:

Awards will be made in the following ratio categories: 3:1 – Bronze Award 5:1 – Silver Award 7:1 – Silver Award

RULES: 1) There is no restriction on the number of awards which can be applied for. 2) Award applicants must submit a photograph of the relevant fish with the application form and a photograph of the angler with the fish. 3) SKI-BOAT reserves the right to use the photograph as it sees fit. 4) Entries must be on the official form which is included in all issues of the magazine. 5) Entires must be received within 45 days of capture. 6) No witnesses of the catch are required. The award is made in the true spirit of sportsmanship and relies on the integrity of the angler to make a just claim. 7) A selection of award winners’ names will be announced in future issues of SKIBOAT, along with relevant photographs. 8) Award applicants should allow 30-45 days for processing of applications. 9) There is no charge for Kingfisher Awards.


Species: ................................................ Weight: .................................................. Date of Capture: .................................... Where Caught: ...................................... Skipper's Name: .................................... Outstanding catch Category applied for (tick appropriate box): 7:1

2) Outstanding Catch To satisfy the requirements for this award, anglers can catch any recognised fish species. As a guideline, the weight of that fish must equal or exceed the suggested weights below, or certain laid down fish weight:line class ratios.

10:1 – Gold Award. Applies to IGFA line class 1kg , 2kg, 4kg, 6kg, 10kg, 15kg, 24kg, 37kg and 60kg.

Meritorious Fish


Tackle used is of no consideration here, the fish's weight being the main criterion.

1) Meritorious Fish This award is for a fish that’s a memorable achievement for the angler, if not

Signature: ..............................................


a personal best, and is not confined to the species listed below.


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

SUGGESTED WEIGHT: 15kg 12kg 20kg 12kg 15kg 100kg 100kg 60kg 15kg 25kg 20kg 20kg 45kg 50kg 25kg 50kg 15kg 15kg

Email applications to:


Species: ................................................ Weight: .................................................. Line class: ............................................. Date of Capture: .................................... Where Caught: ...................................... Skipper’s Name: ....................................

With the strong trend towards releasing these and other fish, we have decided to amend the Kingfisher Award rules to provide for acknowledgement of all released fish. All we need is a photo of the fish being released or prior to release (e.g. GT held next to the boat) and the approximate weight of the fish

Digital emailed photographs should be high-resolution.

In line with this trend we will not be carrying photographs on the Kingfisher Awards page of any billfish or GTs aside from those that are released.

54 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

which should fall in line with the stipulated weights set out above.


Proteas compete in EFSA Species Champs By Francois Beukes


HE Protea team selected to represent SA to fish in the European Federation of Sea Anglers (EFSA) Species Championships in England in July was a mixed bunch who pulled off great results. Captain Allen Ford (Border) led his experienced teammates Wayne Gerber (Eastern Province) and Francois Beukes (Natal), along with two new caps DP Burger (Western Province) and Kevin Clarke (Eastern Province). The team enjoyed an official send off at the Bottomfish Nationals prize giving held at Kenton On Sea in the Eastern Cape in March 2023. There the two new caps were presented with their green Protea blazers in front of numerous proud family members and dignitaries’ from South African Deep Sea Angling Association (SADSAA) and South African Sports Angling and Casting Confederation (SASACC). Planning and preparations began immediately. In order for the team to be competitive and plan their strategy, they spent hours researching and watching YouTube videos to learn as much as they could about the target species, tackle requirements and local conditions. Booking flights and a hire car, VISA applications, booking accommodation and practice fishing days all formed part of the hype around fishing an international competition. After the team landed at Gatwick Airport they had a three-hour drive to

The Protea Team ready to take on the world. the picturesque seaside town of Weymouth. Situated in Dorset on the Jurassic Coast, it’s popular for its fossils and pebble beaches. The team wasted no time getting down to tackle prep for the fishing they expected to encounter off the coast of England. The three practice days were fished in trying conditions where we encountered rough seas, strong winds and extreme sea currents caused by the radical change in tides.This gave us a taste of what was to come and it was a huge eye opener to see how what sounds like a simple fish to catch was actually very technical.

Due to the difficult fishing conditions and ragged rocky bottom reefs, each day after fishing our first stop was at the local fishing tackle shop where we replenished our stocks and bought extra tackle as our strategies changed with more experience after each trip to sea. Considering the high exchange rate, these daily trips were quite costly and quickly started eating into our savings. Although bream was the only target species for the competition, we also caught various other fish including sea bass, conger eels, rays, wrasse, tope (shark) and bull huss (dog shark), together with a variety of small edibles.

It’s tough, technical fishing, but the men in green did well. SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 57

Smiles all round at the prizegiving. Most of the bream encountered were relatively small and catching them required a lot of technical preparation as each condition required different coloured beads, bait, trace choice and presentation.The norm was to use very small hooks and 90cm long hook snoots. We quickly established that with a strong tide the bream would most often bite on the hook closest to the ground, and with a slack tide they would bite higher up on the trace. Although it’s always a privilege to represent your country at the highest level, the first time is always most exciting. No doubt our two new Protea caps, DP Burger and Kevin Clarke, reflected on their long road to Protea colours and the incredible sense of achievement when they stepped onto the boat on the first day of competition. The competition rules stipulate that anglers from each country are split up

and fish on different boats for each of the fishing days. A draw is done on the boat every day and each angler is allocated a spot on the boat for that day. All bream caught had a predetermined point allocation based on their size and the number of fish caught.The points were tallied up daily and the angler with the most points on the boat earned 100%. All the other anglers then earned a percentage proportional to their points compared to the boat winner’s points. At the end of the tournament, each angler’s percentages are added up and that determines the individual results. All team anglers’ points are then added up, after discarding the worst score each day, giving the team results. Various categories determine how the medals are awarded. Ten countries and 52 anglers were represented in the various categories. The Protea team did exceptionally well,

58 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

bagging five medals and finishing fifth overall in the national team division. Allen Ford led from the front and was awarded a gold medal for the fourman executive team and a bronze medal for the four-man drawn team. Not to be outdone, DP Burger was awarded a gold medal for the longest bream of the tournament (45cm) and Wayne Gerber was awarded a silver medal for the second longest bream (42cm) and another silver medal for the four-man executive team. With the prize giving over it was time to bring down the curtain on what can only be described as a competition the team will cherish for years to come. The team made good friends and earned respect from all our fellow competitors for the high level of South African sportsmanship and team spirit we displayed in Weymouth. This was truly a memorable trip for the entire Protea team.

I LOVE FISHING! by Estelle Myburg (11)


HIS past July during the school holidays I caught a 6kg ’cuda! I was so excited!

We had a very early morning start, but it’s easy to get up early when you know there is a day of fishing waiting for you. My mom and I and the Viljoen family were on the boat, and Leon was our skipper. Everyone was so exited and hoped it would be a good day. We soon got live bait and I even caught a small kingfish on the yozuri.We threw it back in the water. While heading north we came across dolphins which swam and jumped in front of the boat. We also saw a mother whale with her baby, as well as two BIG manta rays. They were so beautiful, and we were so lucky to see them. Leon and Andries set up the rods , and not long after that my mother and Auntie Joany were on with a double strike on sailies. Unfortunately we lost them.There was silence on the boat for a while after that. A little while later fresh bait was on and there was a strike. This time it was my turn! I loved reeling in the fish. It gave me a good fight, and all I was concerned about was getting the fish on the boat. I fought with all my heart, and eventually it came closer and Leon could gaff it. I was so proud! It’s always an awesome experience to catch a fish, and I loved it! I will never forget this awesome day at sea. We caught five ’cuda in total for the day. Definitely a day that all of us will remember.


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ANIEL McKeown is the 2023 Bell Reel Kids winner! He received a beautiful Shimano Tiagra rod and reel courtesy of Bell. Daniel’s mom, Jacquie, was with him when he received his prize from Raj Singh, Bell Equipment’s Customer Relations Facilitator. In the March 2023 issue of SKIBOAT we ran Daniel’s story about his very first deep sea fishing trip which took place off Cape Vidal. He caught two beautiful dorado that day, one of 5.3kg and another weighing 6.1kg, and told us that he couldn’t wait to get out to sea again to look for a black marlin. Each issue we run one junior’s story, and once a year we draw one lucky winner to win a rod and reel courtesy of Bell. If you’re under 16 years of age and have caught a fish out at sea, write us a 500 word story about your trip and you could be the next lucky Bell Reel Kid! See page 59 of this issue for further details.

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SKI-BOAT November/December 2023 • 63


Last word from the ladies

DOWN BUT NOT OUT By Angelique Meyer


FEW months ago my sister Natasha asked me for the third time to join her crew of women at the Queens of the Ocean fishing competition. This year it was held in September and not November, so I said,“Yes, let’s do it!” The excitement grew as we prepared our team shirts, flasks, crooks’ outfits, booked accommodation and planned boat lunches. Before I knew it, we were on our way to St Lucia. This was my first time catching gamefish, and as we drove towards St Lucia the nerves started taking over, but my teammates were over excited and full of life and I soon relaxed. When we arrived in St Lucia, we booked into our accommodation and headed straight to the ski-boat club for our briefing.The “gees” was unbelievable! After supper we went straight to be to ensure we got enough sleep for the next morning, our first fishing day. There were slight Rapala Lips when we woke up at 3am with loadshedding and no water, so we couldn’t shower and had to pack everything by phone light, but still the “gees” was there to chase away the nerves. By 4.15am we were at the launch site listening to music and enjoying our free coffee while we waited for our boat, Ocean Commotion, to arrive. Finally, we jumped onboard and drove on the beach where we would launch. While we waited some more, Natasha and Fiona briefed me on how to catch gamefish by keeping the line tight, and everything that goes with it. Suddenly the weather committee called everybody for a meeting, and that’s when my lip dropped dead on the sea sand.They announced a blow-out! Everyone was bitterly disappointed; all the preparation, boat lunches, rushing to get coffee and muffins and being at the beach at 4.15am was all for NOTHING? My teammates had been through this in previous years, and they recovered from the shock quickly. Before I even made sense of what just happened, we were at Turtle Bay Lodge playing Beer Pong for breakfast, and the “gees” was back. Later that day we walked 13 000 steps in the forest trying to find a nice fishing spot, but eventually the fear of hippos won and we settled for the beach and the wind. Finally I made peace with the blowout decision; the wind and the sand were insane, and I felt relieved that I was on land and not at sea on a boat. At 2pm we were dressed in our crooks’ outfits and on our way to the ski-boat club for the Wild West theme party. Once again, the food was great and everything was so professional. I met new people from all over, but around 9pm I was exhausted and left the party early. On day two, we again woke up at 3am and were greeted by load shedding, but this time we were prepared and most of the things had been packed the previous night. This time our boat arrived at the launch site 64 • SKI-BOAT November/December 2023

long before us, so we hopped on and set off for the beach.The wind was quiet and the sea was calm everything looked set for a good day at sea. Ocean Commotion was number seven in line and after we launched our skipper took us to catch some snoek. After 30 minutes of nothing we were off to try catch the big fish. I was first in line, and just minutes after the lines were dropped the first reel screamed, follow closely by the second reel. I ran to the rod but then stopped in my tracks not remembering what to do! I heard Natasha shout from the back:“She doesn’t know what to do, help her!” Within seconds the rod was pushed into my hands, my bucket was secured and everybody was shouting “Lift, drop & reel! Lift, drop & reel!” Slowly I brought the line in. My hands were numb and my arms were sore, but at least I was not fighting this fish on my own. Next to me Sulesda was busy outwitting another tuna and our team was cheering behind us. Adrenaline and the “gees” kept us going. Within minutes I outsmarted my catch and it was gaffed on board. My first gamefish was a skipjack and I was super proud of myself. Everybody cheered and gave me high fives. Later that morning we caught two other small skipjack which we used for bait. Eventually the wind started picking up and the “gees” started dropping after we lost two big ones. After more than an hour without a single strike our fishing day quickly turned into joyless sorrow, and I realised why its called “fishing” and not “catching”. We beached early so we had some time to unpack the boat and relax before weigh in. At this stage I was still in my element at having caught my first gamefish and I showed it to everybody I could, but then…. At weigh in I grew my second big Rapala Lip of the weekend. Before my catch was weighed, I was told to get ready for my “straf dop” – my skipjack weighed 3.94kg; the minimum weight was 4kg, and I had to hang my head in shame. All the adrenalin, all the “gees”, all the fishing fever that I experienced earlier drained from my body. Our team now only had one fish in the competition – Sulesda’s 6kg yellowfin tuna.After that my energy slowly faded away, and we left to have a rest before heading back to the prize giving at 7pm. That evening Natasha was crowned as Miss Gaff but the other teams walked away with all the rest of the prizes. The evening was again run very professionally, and despite our lack of fish, ever ybody’s “gees” was back in full force as by the time we enjoyed the delicious supper. I experienced a lot of firsts that weekend, and even though I had two Rapala Lips, the positive experiences far outweighed the negative ones. I am now hooked, and Queens of the Ocean will see me again next year. Being skunked and left without a qualifying catch was truly disappointing, but persistence will help me reclaim my name as a proud lady angler.

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