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March/April 2016 Volume 32 Number 2 COVER: RECORD CATCH! Mariëtte Hendriksz’s 100kg yellowfin tuna is a new record on 50 lb line. See page 27. Photo by 4 Roomz Photographic Studio.



Chungaa — Something’s Happening! 2015 Billfish 15 000 Tournament — by Lyn Adams


Victory! How the plan came together — by Piet Taylor


Drum Tuna The perfect birthday present — by Mariëtte Hendriksz


Overcoming Your Nemesis Part 1: How to choose the ideal 4x4 — by Malcolm Kinsey and Erwin Bursik


Hitting the Ships


Big FADs ripe for the fishing — by Shane Dennis


Tease! Part 1: Tactics to draw in game- and billfish — by Erwin Bursik


The Ultimate Challenge Catching monster marlin from small boats — by Johan Zietsman


2016 Fishing Calendar Dates to diarise


Round We Go Using circle hooks on lures for tarpon — by Craig Thomassen


Register Here KZN Launch Site Monitoring System has value — by Bruce Mann and Jade Maggs



An Alternative Viewpoint A contrarian look at our linefish resources — by Jack Walsh


Where to Fish in Africa Wildfly Travel takes you there

DEPARTMENTS 8 9 52 65 66 69

Editorial — by Erwin Bursik Postbox SADSAA News Subscribe and WIN! Kingfisher Award Rules Mercury Junior Anglers

70 73 82 83 88 89 90

Reel Kids Property Sales & Rentals Smalls & Ad Index Business Classifieds Charters & Destinations Directory Rapala Lip — Last Word from the Ladies

The official magazine of the South African Deep Sea Angling Association

Publisher: Erwin Bursik Editor: Sheena Carnie Advertising Executive: Mark Wilson Editorial Assistant: Vahini Pillay Advertising Consultant: Joan Wilson Administration Executive: Anne Bursik Accountant: Jane Harvey Executive Assistant: Kim Hook Admin Assistant: Sunny Kandaswami Boat Tests: Heinrich Kleyn Contributors: Lyn Adams, Erwin Bursik, Shane Dennis, Mariette Hendriksz, Malcolm Kinsey, Jade Maggs, Bruce Mann, Piet Taylor, Craig Thomassen, Jack Walsh and Johan Zietsman. Advertising – National Sales: Angler Publications Telephone: (031) 572-2280/89/97/98 Mark Wilson cell: 073 748 6107 Joan Wilson ADVERTISING – GAUTENG & MPUMALANGA Lynette Adams (011) 425-2052 or cell 083 588 0217;; Publishers: Angler Publications cc PO Box 20545, Durban North 4016 Telephone: (031) 572-2280/89/97/98 Fax: (031) 572-7891 e-mail: Subscriptions to SKI-BOAT: R160 per annum (six issues). New subscriptions and renewals: SKI-BOAT Subscriptions Department, PO Box 20545, Durban North 4016. Telephone: (031) 572-2280/89/97/98 Fax: (031) 572-7891 • e-mail: • Through, or • E-zine digital subscriptions — visit > SKIBOAT > SUBSCRIBE, then choose your option. • Click the E-zine short-cut on the magazine’s home page,, or visit Reproduction: Hirt & Carter, Durban Printer: Robprint (Pty) Ltd, Durban Full production is done in-house by Angler Publications & Promotions on Apple Macintosh software and hardware for output directly to plate. SKI-BOAT Magazine, ISSN 0258-7297, is published six times a year by Angler Publications & Promotions cc, Reg. No. CK 88/05863/23, and is distributed by RNA, as well as directly by the publishers to retail stores throughout South Africa. • Copyright of all material is expressly reserved and nothing may be reproduced in part or whole without the permission of the publishers. • While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this magazine, the publishers do not accept responsibility for omissions or errors or their consequences. Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers, the managing editor, editor, editorial staff or the South African Deep Sea Angling Association.

8 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016




NTERESTING is the only polite word I can think of as I try to make any sense of all the rules and regulations that we recreational/ sportfishermen have to abide by if we want to put a line in the water from a craft at sea. In the January/February 2016 issue of SKIBOAT magazine we carried Stan Walters’ article clarifying the implementation of the new regulations governing the use of VHF radios on all sea going craft. No sooner had that magazine hit the shelves than the rules were changed. On 21 January 2016 SAMSA issued Marine notice 4 of 2016, extending the deadline for Erwin Bursik compliance from 1 January 2016 to 1 January Publisher 2017. Of course by that time a number of skippers had already incurred the expense of buying new radios and getting their operators’ licences. This amendment was a very good move, but it should have been made well prior to the 1 January 2016 deadline. I really believe that the deadline should have been extended by at least another year until January 2018, by which time the necessary infrastructure should be installed and effective and hopefuly the DSC will work the way it’s supposed to. On a very different front we have a tricky situation developing in the Tsitsikamma Marine Reserve in the Southern Cape which has, for many years been an extremely important research area. With a mere stroke of the pen the Department of Environmental Affairs and SANParks decided to open up 20% of this pristine section of the South African coastline to registered fishermen from the Tsitsikamma and Koukamma municipal areas. Trudie Nichols, a partner in Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution Department, explains, “On 19 November 2015, the Minister published draft notices and regulations in the Government Gazette calling for public comment on the feasibility of opening up four areas within the TMPA to shore fishing, by 1 February 2016. “Notwithstanding that the public comment process was underway, on or about 30 November 2015, SANParks and the Minister, announced that a pilot project for recreational angling would be permitted from 15 December 2015 for the benefit of the Tsitsikamma Community only and for research purposes.” Friends of Tsitsikamma, supported by over 6 000 concerned citizens and South African marine scientists took the Department to the Pretoria High Court to interdict SANParks, the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Tsitsikamma Community from implementing a decision to permit recreational angling in the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (TMPA) pending the outcome of a review application. All three respondents were interdicted from implementing the decision to allow recreational angling within the marine protected area. The decision to implement the pilot project for recreational angling was also reviewed and set aside. The Friends of Tsitsikamma are delighted with the outcome although members of the Tsitsikamma Angling Forum were not. On a lighter note, with the full extent of summer being felt along most of the Southern African coastline, the consensus is that those of us fishing offshore are experiencing improved catches of gamefish. This augurs well for both the associated marine industry and the anglers who will hopefully be able to enjoy successful gamefishing expeditions rather than just spending the day on the ocean playing with their boats. After a number of lean years of fish catches, we all hope that the trend continues and that more anglers participate in the numerous competitions that take place along our beautiful coastline. Competition fishing is great fun as it generates increased effort, anglers learn a lot from one another and the wonderful social side of these events encourgaes people to go fishing more often. If you haven’t particiated in one of these events in the past, give it a try this year. Till the next tide.

Erwin Bursik

POSTBOX WHY AWARD ANGLERS FOR CATCHING COLLAPSED SPECIES? Dear Editor I’m a keen recreational ski-boater and reader of your magazine. What I’ve specifically been following over the last few years is the issue of marine management — sometimes the lack thereof — and the banning and then unbanning of species, specifically the red steenbras issue. This brings me to my question of accountability. I refer to the article in the January/February 2016 issue of SKIBOAT magazine, “Dire Straits”. Page 39 shows a table of fishing stocks where the red steenbras and garrick are considered collapsed, yet on page 69 awards are giving for catches of both these fish. I have no problem with anglers catching them, but the red steenbras was definitely not released as the photograph depicts it hanging. Is awarding someone for catching — and not releasing — an endangered species not sending out the wrong message? CHARLES SCHLOESSER Dear Editor Thank you for a great magazine. As a keen deep sea fisherman who believes in the sustained exploitation of our natural resources I would like to comment on the “Dire Straits” article in the January 2016 issue of SKI-BOAT. I see that the article shows that red steenbras stocks have collapsed, but in the Kingfisher Awards the catch of the month was awared to someone who caught a 47kg red steenbras. It makes me sad to see this size of fish and species on hook. An award was also given to the angler who caught and killed a garrick. Maybe you should exclude species which have collapsed or are overexploited from being eligible for your awards. Just thought that I should share this. SCHALK VAN HEERDEN <> Gentlemen, the thoughts and feelings expressed in your letters are easy to understand, but tricky to deal with when the individuals submitting photos of their catches are displaying legally-caught fish. As you know, at the moment it’s permissible by law to catch and land both red steenbras and garrick, providing the catches fall within the bag limits pertaining to those species. We feel that of the many pictures we receive of individuals proudly displaying their catches, credit should be given to a few exceptional catches, thereby helping to keep our sport alive.

Something on your mind? Write to The Editor <> However, we at SKI-BOAT magazine fully support the releasing of billfish, gamefish and bottomfish and will continue to run articles about the state of our resources and scientific articles backing that up, as well as articles which explain how to release fish in good health, all in an effort to educate the anglers about the best way to enjoy fishing while also ensuring the sustainability of our fisheries. When the idea of tagging and releasing billfish first came about we pursued a policy of promoting this ethic which was subsequently extended to giant trevally, and you may have noticed that we no longer run photos of dead billfish or GTs unless it’s a record. We only show photos of these species on the Kingfisher Awards page and the Junior page if the fish were released. Statistics show that between approximately 1990 when the vast majority of billfish were still being boated, to the current day when over 90% are released, the convention among anglers to release has gained momentum and that mindset now extends to other species. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk as a deep sea fishing magazine, and our job is to continue to cover the fishing that’s happening, but we take your points to heart and will continue to encourage catch and release among our readers. — Erwin Bursik

STARTING EARLY Dear Editor I thought I would share this photo with you — this is my son Andrew (8 months old) with his favourite reading material during his morning visit to the potty. His grandfather and I are avid light tackle boat anglers and we enjoy skiboat fishing ver y much when the opportunity presents itself. We own a 16 foot Z-Craft Invader Cat. I certainly hope that Andrew inherits our love of this wonderful sport. Thanks for the great magazine. STUART KNIGHT <>

DESPERATELY SEEKING A SKIFF Dear Editor This is probably a little different to what you usually get asked, but does anyone know of any manufacturers making craft similar to the one shown in the photo alongside? I’m looking for something small, light and easy to manoeuvre in estuaries, river mouths, harbours etc. The ability to f ly over sandbanks with ease is also very important. The skiff in the photo is made in the USA, so there is always the possibility of importing it, but the exchange rate makes this an exercise I would rather not participate in at the moment. JIM GRANTHAM <> Hi Jim, It’s not quite a skiff, but you might like to have a look at Yamaha’s new Machete 20 (pictured above). It’s still in production phase but will be run on a 25- or 30hp outboard. — Erwin Bursik SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 9

REMEMBER TO GET A VHF LICENCE Dear Editor With regard to the article “Radio Clarity” in the January/February 2016 issue of SKI-BOAT, a critical point was omitted, namely the fact that you not only need an operator’s certificate but also a licence for the device. This licence must be obtained through The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). I hope to help some readers avoid the pit I fell into. I am fairly new to the offshore boating community, and in the past I’ve only had a boat for dams and estuaries, but last year I bought a boat on the internet. The boat was in fairly good condition and seemed to have all the required safety equipment and all the normal documentation that goes with it. Once a few small extras were added to the boat and I had my Categor y C skipper’s ticket I was informed that I needed to complete the VHF operator’s certificate with SAMSA and that I required an ICASA certificate for the device on the boat (Ship station). I did my SAMSA certificate and got my results within a week — outstanding and friendly service from all the people with whom I dealt. Once I had my operator’s certificate I could apply to ICASA for the ship station certificate and a call sign. That’s were it got interesting. The first thing I would like to share with the readers is that if you are buying a secondhand boat equipped with a VHF radio, ensure that there’s an existing licence for the device. If you buy a second hand device, make sure that you can actually obtain a licence for the device as it’s illegal to have a VHF radio without having a licence for it. I applied for the licence on 8 July 2015, paid for the application on the same day and paid for the licence within a week of that day. I have sent more than 30 emails to five different people at ICASA and still todate I do not have a licence. I am not sure where to go from here as clearly ICASA is the authority to deal with this issue and it seems they just don’t care. To all the skippers out there, my advice is to apply for your licence as soon as possible as it may take years to actually receive it. CHRIS ROTHMANN <> Radio licences for both VHF and 29mHz radios have been necessary for decades, and as such Stan Walter presumed everyone would know that. Our apologies for the confusion that omission caused. With regard to the problem of getting licences through ICASA, my personal experience here in Durban presented no problem, but that was before the new system was imposed.

The good news is that within a day of sending this email to us and ICASA on 19th January, Chris received an email from the Chief Operating Officer of ICASA, Willington Ngwepe, and eight days later he had his licence. — Erwin Bursik. GREAT ADVENTURE FOR VAALIES Dear Editor My son, Clayton, and I recently had the opportunity to board a ski-boat launching from Rocky Bay; it certainly was high adventure for landlubber Vaalies of old. Fortunately Clay and I escaped the dreaded green-cheek-fever on the pondlike Indian Ocean. We began by snapping on mediumsized Kona feathers in a darker shade of brown and maroon as it was an overcast day. Time melted away as the cat hull slowly thumped and swayed up current ever so slightly, bending the vibrating tips of our hardly used short rods. There was a sudden change in the purr of the outboard motor as the gear selector shifted to neutral, the hull broaching starboard. The cry to get the

lines up sounded far louder in the sudden silence of the 80hp engines. We swapped our rods for stiff sticks and plate-sized crank reels holding line that seemed as thick as an HB pencil, then threaded freshly defrosted chokka onto already rusting circle hooks. A sudden bark of “Down lines!” signalled the release of double-hook nylon traces which were tugged quickly down and a lead sinker as big as a woman’s fist. Short instructions of what to expect were murmured, and we held our breath, waiting for sudden strikes by fish trying to deprive us of the squid bait. Every rod seemed to send out the Morse code; tap-tap-tap coming up from 80 metres down. As suddenly as it started it stopped. Two bowed fishing poles were held by straining and grunting fishermen and eventually we lifted a wonderful bounty from the sea. They were both red fish and a discussion ensued about the legal size of this species — we were within the allowed limits and the haul was kept.

FABULOUS HOLIDAY FISHING Dear Editor I was the Bell Reel Kids winner for January/February 2016 and I just wanted to thank Bell Equipment and SKI-BOAT magazine for my awesome prizes. My family and I were at the Shelly Beach area during the December 2015 holiday and we had some great fishing. My sister, Anjone, very seldom goes fishing with my dad, Johan, and I, and the last time we went out she only managed to get a small yellowfin tuna on the end of her line. On 19th December she and my dad went fishing without me because I was busy getting my skippers ticket from Anton Gets. I watched them them launch and then stay close to shore because they were worried that a srong southwesterly wind might come up. About 9am we got a Whatsapp message from her and there she was holding her first dorado — a 6.3kg beauty. A few days later we went out on my best friend’s boat, Poker Face, and my dad caught an 8.9kg dorado and a small yellowfin tuna. The cherry on top was that my best bud, Gert Grugell (top left), caught a strong 15kg yellowfin tuna on a dorado rig. He’s a great mentor to me and we caught a bunch more fish that week. What a great holiday at one of our favourite venues. JOHANDRE DEACON <> SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 11


14 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

2015 Billfish 15 000 Tournament

SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 â&#x20AC;¢ 15

“Our song and feast shall flow to the fame of our name...” — Thomas Campbell By Lyn Adams


NCE in a lifetime the three threads of fate, nature and man interweave to make a dream of dreams come true,” said Erwin Bursik in the brochure to commemorate the 1992 Billfish 15 000 Tournament. It seems perhaps that doesn’t only happen once in a lifetime, because the same words could be used to describe the 2015 Billfish 15 000 event. From the moment I walked into the marquee for the sponsors’ evening I knew it was going to be a great week of fishing and camaraderie. The stage had been set by the organisers and the magnificent first place prize of an F200 ZCraft fitted with twin 100hp Yamaha 4strokes on an LA Axle Trailer, with a year’s insurance cover thanks to Club Marine Insurance would be a dream prize for any team. The organising committee of Blyde Pretorius, Willie Pretorius and the team from Dorado Ski-Boat Club must be congratulated on a job well done in catering to all the needs of the billfish anglers. Over the years this tournament has grown from strength to strength, and with prizes worth R1.5-million up for grabs it was no surprise that a record number of teams entered the 2015 event. Of course the skins were additional bonuses and were well supported by all the teams. What amazed me was the professionalism of many teams — their boats, 4x4s and clothing all looked impeccable, not to mention the tackle display on each boat. At the opening function Jaco Hendriksz’s welcoming address made note of the almost palpable vibe among the anglers who were itching to go out and release as many billfish as possible. That evening the national anthem was sung by all the participants with pride and spirit ... the games had begun! I last participated in this tournament quite a few years ago and was very pleasantly surprised to see a large number of old faces that I recognised and also to meet a host of new aspiring billfish anglers who are moving up the ranks. As usual Beach Control was fully in charge, and Tannie Betsie sure had her hands full with a fleet of boats eager to take to the waters each day. Everyone knew not to overstep the bounds with the Iron Lady aka Strand Matron, though, and by the end of the week Tannie Betsie’s professional manner, wit, constant assistance and encouragement had won her many fans. With SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 17

Bill Rider receives abit of help from Manitou.

Manitou’s machines helping to launch and retrieve the boats through the very soft sand, everything went smoothly. The weather for the week was certainly challenging, but it was just another obstacle for man to conquer in his hunt for the billfish of the seas. The big boats and billfish masters including Hot Line, Seevarkie, Certainty, Kit Kat, Jasper, Magnun, Real Passion, Sea Ducer, Mrs Seevarkie, Navigate, My Lady, Joy Cat, Lyfie, Go Boy Go and Chungaa took to the oceans at top speed to find those enchanting fish to catch and release. It’s all about strike, hook-up, catch and release, but although the billfish strikes were plentiful, for the most part sea conditions did not favour the hookups. There was still a great deal of action, though, and Jaco’s words often came to mind: “The Billfish 15 000 is always won on the last day!” Daily stats were displayed each night at the gatherings and sponsors were given great opportunities to market their products and hand over the many lucky draw prizes. This year’s auction item was an Iveco Double Cab truck which was eventually purchased by one of the anglers aboard Kit Kat. The week’s action started early on day one with Brangus releasing their first marlin at 5.42am, and Certainty releasing two striped marlin on day one. However, the final battle would be between Chungaa skippered by Piet

Taylor and Bill Rider skippered by Dr Coetzee. By the end of day two Chungaa, Bill Rider and Certainty were all in the running. Day four was crunch day, with Chungaa and Bill Rider each releasing another billfish, going into the last day with only two points separating them! Although they didn’t release any billfish this year, day four was also a big day for the team aboard Kit Kat. Lady Luck bestowed a wonderful 40th birthday gift on Mariëtte Hendriksz in the form of a 100kg yellowfin tuna (read the full story on page 27). Many an angler walking into the tent on that Thursday night was in awe at this TOP TEN BOATS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Chungaa . . . . . . . . . . . . . .614 pts Bill Rider . . . . . . . . . . . . .612 pts Deejay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .485 pts Certainty . . . . . . . . . . . . .480 pts Pinnacle . . . . . . . . . . . . . .349 pts Go Boy Go . . . . . . . . . . . .347 pts Brangus . . . . . . . . . . . . . .225 pts Break Away . . . . . . . . . . .225 pts Aviva XL . . . . . . . . . . .225 pts Seevarkie . . . . . . . . . . . .224 pts

Day one Day two Day three Day four Day five

STRIKES 16 21 20 21 15

HOOK-UPS 11 11 6 11 11

incredible catch by a woman angler. The yellowfin — a new South African ladies’ record and All Africa ladies’ record — was the biggest fish for the week and bagged the Calcutta prize of a whopping R64 000. Day five was slow with poor weather conditions, and it turned into a very long day for Chungaa and Bill Rider. Piet Taylor and the crew aboard Chungaa were thrilled when the final bell eventually rang and they were announced as the winners of the 2015 Billfish 15 000. Sadly for Bill Rider they were pipped by two points, and although they didn’t take home the boat, they still took home a superb Lowrance unit as their second place prize. Billfish angling is an amazing game, especially at Sodwana Bay, South Africa’s main billfish grounds, and the stats for the 2015 event make for interesting reading: Black marlin — 21 releases Blue marlin — 5 releases Striped marlin — 3 releases Sailfish — 5 releases The 2016 Billfish 15 000, the 30th running of the tournament, promises to RELEASES 9 8 2 8 7

These graphs show the depths at which billfish were caught (left) and the spread of catches throughout the week. SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 19

Here’s to 2016!

Chungaa’s crew celebrate their win.

Bill Rider took second place at the 2015 Billfish 15000. be a very exciting event with some great prizes and sponsors coming on board. Mark your diary now — 14th to 18th November 2016. Without sponsor participation competitions like this cannot happen, so a big thank you to this year’s sponsors: Z-

Certainty’s crew had to be happy with fourth place.

Craft, Yamaha, LA Axles, LA Sport, Club Marine Insurance, Lowrance, KWV Brandy, US Trucks, Iveco, Ford McGee, Manitou, Fishing Pro Shop, Seevarkie, Sodwana Bay Lodge, Maroela Flats, Gutter Man, Shayamoya Lodge, Tropical Dream Tackle, Corrosion Block, Medi

spine, Ski-Boat magazine and many others. Sponsors who would like to be involved with this year’s tournament are welcome to contact Blyde Pretorius on <> — the 30th anniversary tournament is going to be a big one! SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 21

By Piet Taylor


HE team aboard Chungaa at the 2015 Billfish 15 000 consisted of skipper Piet Taylor, Jan Woller and two first-timers — Herme Smit and Nickus Heinlein. On the Sunday evening before fishing began we sat down to decide on our gameplan for our five-set lure pattern for targeting marlin. When Monday dawned we launched from Sodwana Bay and proceeded north towards the deep canyons. We were soon ready to get our lines in the water, set the marlin pattern and start fishing. Herme Smit halted our activity for a second or two and had fun playing referee, asking: “Blou span is julle reg?” (Blue team, are you ready?) “Wit span is julle reg?” (White team, are you ready?) Then the whistle was blown and fishing officially started for the day. We first set our shotgun/Japan lure followed by our two smaller lures with half-beaks inserted within the skirts positioned on the outriggers. Finally we set our short- and long corner lures behind the boat. With the pattern set we worked depths from 100m to 350m. Before long one of the outrigger clips snapped open, the reel screamed and we identified the fish. We reported our positive hook-up of a marlin to Beach Control, and I began to fight the black marlin which I subsequently

22 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

released with the help of my crew. That marlin was caught on a Pulsator Jet Head lure with a half-beak. We were thrilled that our tactics had worked so well and determined to stick to the plan of pulling two smaller lures with half-beaks for the rest of the week’s fishing. On the Tuesday we repeated our routine, only setting our pattern once Herme blew the whistle. That day hours passed with very little action until the short long started screaming. Nickus Heinlein was the lucky angler in the chair, and once again we reported a positive hook-up on a marlin. Nickus fought hard and a while later we successfully released our second black marlin, this one caught on a Pink Pakula lure. That Tuesday evening Jaco Hendriksz announced Chungaa was in the lead. The pressure was on. We stuck to our gameplan on the Wednesday, but this time it produced no results. We consoled ourselves with the fact that it was a very slow day for many boats fishing the Billfish 15 000. With two days fishing lying ahead of us, the completion was still very open. On the Thursday we hooked a nicesized sailfish early in the morning which Jan Woller fought. The sailie came in aggressively on the short corner lure — an Ilander black and orange lure — and was soon successfully released.

That evening we were still in the lead, but we knew that anything could happen on the Friday. Our gameplan had worked so far, so we stuck to it for the final day’s fishing, setting our pattern early in the morning and working the water around the canyons in the north. This time we worked deeper water, though, mainly between 300m and 800m. A few hours had passed with no action when, all of a sudden, our shotgun line snapped out of the outrigger clip. White water appeared and a very aggressive billfish jumped around the boat. It was my turn to jump into the chair and get the marlin under control so that the fight could begin. I fought hard, but after a while the hooks pulled — a great disappointment, but that’s fishing for you. We searched in vain for another marlin, and eventually at 3pm lines-up was called. We had an idea that we’d managed to hold onto our lead, but the final announcement would only be made that evening at the prize giving function. Eventually it was made official — Jaco Hendriksz announced that Chungaa had won the 2015 Billfish 15 000 Tournament! • Chungaa’s crew are proud Amberjack Ski-Boat Club members who are affiliated with Gauteng.


The perfect birthday present by Mariëtte Hendriksz


OR the Kit Kat crew, tuna have always been livebait, nothing more, nothing less, but our opinion changed dramatically during the 2015 Billfish 15 000 Tournament. Sodwana Bay is definitely not the tuna capital of our country although the odd “drum” is caught there from time to time. In light of that, I can understand why most of the anglers who listened to the excited radio report from Kit Kat when we boated a yellowfin tuna very close to the magical 100kg mark, thought we were being a bit optimistic in our weight estimate. Let me begin at the beginning ... Thursday, 12 November 2015 dawned with a moderate to fresh southwesterly blowing and a fairly choppy sea. Manitou’s machines ensured we had a safe launch, and our game plan for the day was to look for black marlin and sailfish in water up to 100m deep, until the sea settled. Just before the 9am call up we moved to the 300 metre contour and worked the area just north of Jesser Point. My father-in-law, Jan, loves to refer to the area as his teëlplaas (breeding farm) because he’s had great success there in the past. We had a couple of Pulsator Lures in our spread working close to the boat, but our main attraction was the array of Ilander Lures with strip baits which were smoking beautifully on the left and right long lines as well as on the centre rod far back. Being the only lady angler on the boat, I was in the “kitchen” on my knees, preparing us a snack when all hell broke loose at the stern. The 50 lb stand-up rig on left long was bent double and line was peeling off the Shimano TLD 50 at an alarming rate. SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 27

Mariëtte Hendriksz with her 100kg yellowfin tuna caught off Sodwana — a new record on 50 lb line. The deck was quickly cleared and the lines expertly brought in by a welltrained crew. On Kit Kat we work on time to decide whose turn it is to catch the fish; our team of six each got ten minutes, and we worked from the youngest (me) to the oldest (Jan Hendriksz). Lucky for me, there was still one minute of “my” time left! In two ticks I was in the fighting chair, ready to do battle with what we hoped was a marlin of some sorts. The fish never jumped to reveal its identity, though, and we were debating the decision we’d made to fight this fish from the fighting chair with a stand-up rig, but the sea was just too bumpy for a safe stand-up fight that might well go on for hours. The fish calmed down quickly, but we had about 500 metres of line in the water. After a short fight right on the surface the fish sounded and we started having our doubts about its identity. My husband, Jaco, speculated that it might very well still be a marlin even though it didn’t jump, since we caught a 350 lb blue marlin a couple of years ago that didn’t show itself once during the gruelling five-hour battle on 50 lb stand-up gear. This positive attitude and the continuous encouragement from the whole crew was a real blessing. I really battled working the short butt rod in the chair, and initially I was so excited and full of adrenaline that I wasted a lot of energy reeling without winning back any line, but then Jaco reminded me I needed to conserve my energy for later in the fight when I would really need it. He instructed me to keep enough tension on the line without forcing the issue or wasting energy. 28 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

I heeded his words and settled into a comfortable rhythm. After a full hour of ducking and diving we started to win back some line, 20cm at a time. Fortunately, I had a very experienced skipper at the helm and he could handle the bad sea conditions. He was truly worth his weight in gold. Eventually we slowly started to believe that we could actually conquer this mysterious fish. The unknown species on the other end of my very tight 50 lb line changed from a marlin to a tuna, to a shark and back to a marlin a couple of times during the fight. An hour and a half into the fight I was taking serious strain; blisters had formed on my right hand and my legs and lower back were working overtime to fight the sea conditions and the large fish. Thankfully, the fight changed at that point and I managed to get two full turns on the reel with each go. By that stage we were sure the fish had died on us and we were pulling a dead weight up from the depths. The whole f leet was anxiously awaiting the outcome of this fight. I was very aware that a long fight like this often ends in tears for the angler, but I took courage from the fact that I had a Springbok angler as skipper, a Protea angler as a husband and coach and wonderful crew members who applied sunblock, turned the chair and kept me hydrated and motivated. I believe that support tilted the odds in my favour. After a gruelling three-hour fight we finally saw the wind-on leader coming up with a very shiny fish on the other end of the line. I cannot describe my feelings of jubilation when I saw those enormous yellow sickles breaking the

surface; I yelled in excitement, as this really was a dream come true. As the fish surfaced, we saw that it was tail-wrapped which explained the uncharacteristic fight. Obviously the gamefish gaff was of little use, but the fish was already stone dead and after a huge effort from the whole crew we hauled the enormous “live bait” into the boat. The Ilander Lure and its stripbait had been completely swallowed by the giant yellowfin tuna. A proud Oupa Jan reported the catch to beach control and congratulations poured in from all the boats at sea. Curiosity soon got the better of our friends and they insisted on photos of the catch. The photos spread like a veld fire and the good news travelled fast. We were welcomed on the beach by a number of curious bystanders who were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the giant yellowfin tuna. I had to giggle at the expression on a couple of faces when they heard that I was the lucky angler — they varied from disbelief to disgust and, in one or two cases, jealousy perhaps. Mostly though I was congratulated whole-heartedly by fellow anglers. On the eve of my 40th birthday I could not have asked for a better gift — the fish of a lifetime! I hurt all over the next day and could not get out of bed for the Friday’s fishing, but since it was my birthday I was given the day off. This awesome fish was not only worth R64 000 in prize money, but is also a new line class ladies record both in SA and All Africa. That’s what you call the cherry on top. Is Sodwana the next yellowfin tuna Mecca? Probably not — unless Lady Luck (or is it lady’s luck?) has something to do with it!

32 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT March/April 2016


Part 1: How to choose the ideal 4x4

The sand trap! Over a lipsoft sand causes this vehicle’s front to slide laterally, causing the front of the trailer to start ploughing sand exacerbating the problem. By Malcolm Kinsey in association with Erwin Bursik


OU’VE just had a fantastic day at sea off Sodwana — hot, windless and a fish or two to brag about. With the sun just passing its zenith you slide your beloved craft up the beach. You, the skipper, high-five the crew because it’s just been one of those magical days to remember. Ten minutes later your blissful day has turned sour, horribly sour. The hot

sand is scalding your feet, your nerves are becoming frayed and your patience is wavering as your tow vehicle lies axle-deep in soft beach sand. The boat is halfway up onto its trailer and the incoming tide is lapping up against the craft’s transom ... Suddenly Heaven has turned into Hell as brother shouts at brother and wives and children stand back, well back. The welcoming party has turned ugly. It’s a scenario we’ve both personally experienced a number of times and one

we have witnessed happening to others many more times than we care to remember. So who’s at fault? How is it that this normally simple task of getting the boat off the beach has suddenly gone horribly wrong? Is it because of the “cursed truck”, driver error, a lack of concentration, insufficiently deflated tyres or the crew that were not paying attention? Each time this happens many excuses come to the fore, but by far the most common root cause is human error. Having said that, there are a number SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 33

Every vehicle pictured tows a boat and the majority tow long distance. If the vehicle doesn’t get you to the launch site you simply DON’T GO FISHING! of issues that play a major role in determining the success — or failure — of the process of hauling one’s craft across the beach, launching into the surf, retrieving it, retrailering it and moving it off the beach. These issues will all be discussed in this article where we’ll look at the technical and practical issues that need to

be considered before one even attempts to transport one’s ski-boat across a sandy beach and launch it into the ocean. We also want to ensure you’ve got all the information you need to be able to take your craft off the beach without any trouble and end your day on a high note.

This powerful ‘disco’ with correctly deflated tyres manoeuvred a fairly large rig with ultimate ease under all beach conditions.

34 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

THE TOW VEHICLE First and foremost, remember that the tow vehicle you decide on is not only going to do the arduous beach work required of it, but also has to tow your craft from your home to the beach — often a distance of hundreds of kilometres. The most important thing is to

ensure that the 4x4 vehicle you acquire has sufficient power to do the job. Any “short cuts” taken in terms of power, correct tyres or suspension might be barely perceptible during a long tow over tar roads, but you’ll certainly feel them when you get to the beach. The sea sand and beach profile changes virtually everyday and they will find a way of making your task difficult. Your power requirements are totally dependent on the size and weight of the craft you own.You also need to take into account whether the trailer has a single axle or double axles. The ideal make and horsepower of the vehicle is also open to much discussion, as everybody has different rigs to tow and different beaches to launch from. Your vehicle choice might also depend on how far you plan to tow your rig. Are you going from say, Gauteng to the coast or from Durban to Sodwana? Then of course there’s the question of affordability! Our advice here is to do your homework thoroughly. Don’t just scan through vehicle adverts and decide to buy one based on which one looks best or is the cheapest. We personally believe in watching what’s happening on a busy beach and seeing how vehi-

Any 4X4 can get stuck. Get wise and solicit help. cle X or Y handles a craft of similar size to your own ski-boat. It’s also a good idea to chat to those who already use the vehicle you’re interested in and get their opinions on the various aspects of its performance. The rated towing capacity of the vehicle you are looking at is ver y important to consider, because you need to ensure you are complying with legislation as well as insurance requirements, especially when you’re towing long distances. The next question is whether to go for a manual or automatic gearbox. Both work well on the beach and the general consensus is fairly evenly split. From our experience, a tow vehicle with an automatic transmission needs all of its power to properly pull a rig, whereas the driver of a manual vehicle

that is marginally under-powered can use its various gear select-options to obtain the torque required. Is an SUV as good as or better than a double- or single-cab “truck”? Decisions, decisions! Our feeling is that if you’re looking for a vehicle that is going to be used solely for towing and launching a craft from the beach a 4x4 truck is preferable. However, most boaters use their vehicles to a much larger extent for general running around, so comfort and ride-ability tip the scales in the SUV’s favour. Rest assured, the correct SUV matched to the right-sized craft works very well when asked to do a job on the beach, the trick is getting the right match. LAUNCHING A SKI-BOAT Make sure you only use your vehicle within its capabilities and remember that pushing your rig too deep into the shore break very often results in the boat being knocked sideways as it slides off the trailer. Not only can this damage your boat, but it can also jam the trailer under the craft meaning the driver won’t be able to pull the trailer out and up the beach. In the tense situation that ensues, it’s easy to over rev SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 35

A big boat and strong winch can exert enormous strain during the loading process. Done correctly an effortless task.

A perfect retrailing of a big craft on a soft sand beach.

the tow vehicle and dig its wheels into the very soft, water-logged sand, exacerbating the trouble. One of the hardest moments in skiboating is to know exactly how far and how fast one needs to push your trailer into the water to execute the launch. LOADING A SKI-BOAT Another challenging task is loading your craft onto the trailer at the water’s edge. Here are some tips: When you’re beaching choose a stretch of beach that is preferably horizontally flat with an even gradient up the beach and then, by controlling your power, slide your boat up the beach as far as is safely possible. This is especially important on an incoming tide. If you’re not able to avoid a lip in the sand and you end up with your craft listing heavily on one sponson be extremely careful trying to load it conventionally. If possible winch the bow of the craft laterally until both sponsons support the craft’s weight evenly. When you’re re-trailering, the aim is to use your 4x4 vehicle’s forward power to slowly push the trailer under the craft while using the winch to centre the craft and assist with pulling it upwards on the trailer’s rollers. Too much combined torque can flex the trailer’s longitudinal frame as the winch cable will be pulling down on the top end of the breakneck trailer’s frame. If you try to re-trailer in uneven conditions, not only can the craft slither sideways, but you can also distort the trailer’s frame. If the vehicle is directly in line with the boat and the push-and-pull strain is evenly exerted, the reloading should be very easy. Should the vehicle be used to try and straighten the loading process in very soft conditions, there’s a good likelihood you’ll end up digging your vehicle into the sand. If a stalemate is reached where neither the vehicle nor the boat can be moved, unhitch the trailer from the boat and attempt to overcome the problem by straightening up the vehicle, trailer and boat and start again. USING YOUR VEHICLE’S POWER Be extremely careful when using the incredible strength and torque of a 4x4 vehicle’s engine; slow and steady is the answer to beach operations. If you end up in a situation where stubborn persistence only makes the situation worse, seek help. It’s often far easier to put one’s pride in one’s pocket and use another vehicle to pull you out of trouble. • Part 2 of Overcoming your Nemesis will appear in the May/June 2016 issue of SKI-BOAT and will focus on choosing the correct tyres and tyre pressures.

36 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016



Power (KW@RPM): 130 @ 3600 Torque(NM@RPM): 380 @ 1800 - 2800 Cubic capacity/cylinders: 2999cc/4-cylinders Gross vehicle mass (KG): 3100 Auto/Manual: Automatic Towing capacity (KG): 3500


Power (KW@RPM): 183 @ 4000 Torque(NM@RPM): 600 @ 2000 Cubic capacity/cylinders: 3.0-litre/6 cylinder Gross vehicle mass (KG): 3240 Auto/Manual: 8 speed auto (with paddle shift) Towing capacity (KG): 3500


Power (KW@RPM): 140 @ 3800 Torque(NM@RPM): 441 @ 2000 Cubic capacity/cylinders: 3.2-litre Gross vehicle mass (KG): 3030 Auto/Manual: Automatic Towing capacity (KG): 3000


Power (KW@RPM): 147 @ 3000 Torque(NM@RPM): 470 @ 1500 - 2750 Cubic capacity/cylinders: 3.2-litre/5-cylinder Gross vehicle mass (KG): 3200 Auto/Manual: Automatic Towing capacity (KG): 3500


Power (KW@RPM): 129 @ 4500 Torque(NM@RPM): 420 @ 2000 Cubic capacity/cylinders: 2.2-litre/ Inline 4 Gross vehicle mass (KG): 2123 Auto/Manual: 6-speed auto Towing capacity (KG): 1500


Power (KW@RPM): 118 @ 5200 Torque(NM@RPM): 241 @ 3800 Cubic capacity/cylinders:2.7-litre/ Inline 4 Gross vehicle mass (KG): 2510 Auto/Manual: Manual 5-speed Towing capacity (KG): 1500 SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 â&#x20AC;¢ 37


Big FADS ripe for the fishing

Doneld Sutherland with a respectable kawa-kawa taken right next to a tanker. By Shane Dennis


ISHING around the ships is considered a highlight on the calendar for many KwaZulu-Natal anglers, especially the Durban fishing community. From late November to early March, every boat that launches is armed with an array of light tackle gamefish rods and braided spin-

ning outfits. What makes the fishing around the ships exciting, is the variety of different species you get to target. In this article I will share the different tactics that I use and which I find to be most effective when fishing around the ships. YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND To me the ShipFinder App is almost as important as your wife or girlfriend. The information that’s available on this app is just phenomenal and includes a photograph to identify it, the GPS coordinates of where it’s anchored and the length of time the ship has been at anchor. The longer a ship has been at anchor, the better results you will achieve when fishing around it. If you aren’t able to get the app, you can easily tell if the ship has been at anchor for a long period of time by checking for barnacles and green sea weed on it. The trick is to really give these ships a good going for, as the odds are definitely in your favour.

The Ship Finder App is a huge help.

DORADO Dorado are by far the most commonly targeted species around the ships and they’re generally the easiest fish to catch. They are aggressive eaters and are seldom fussy about what bait they’ll take. You can target dorado either with livebait or by trolling plastics around the ships. I generally prefer to use livebait because I find this method more

Martin Summerville with a 22.8kg wahoo caught near the ships. successful. When using livies it’s best to start on the side of the ship where the anchor is set. Start at the bow and slowly work towards the stern of the ship, either drifting or slow trolling depending on the current. If you are fishing the ships early in the morning, you will generally have success on both sides of the vessel as the sun has yet to form shadows on the water. If you fish a ship a bit later in the day, you will often have more success on the shaded side. I usually fish three-up on my boat and get my two crew members to try different tactics. One member of the crew will be pitching a livebait at different spots against the ship, whilst the other works some form of spoon, plug or popper. As the skipper, I will set up a livebait on a trap stick out back and stay focused on keeping the boat a comfortable distance away from the ship to give the crew the room they need to work the livebait and top water lure. As I mentioned, dorado are not too fussy when they’re in a frenzy, but we have experienced a better hook-up rate when using smaller baits such as maasSKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 39

Two up and coming junior anglers. Kieran McKay (left) shows off his beautiful queen dorado caught near the ships. Ryan Brewitt (right) with his dad, Mark, proudly displaying Ryan’s first dorado. bankers and tiny shad. The bigger baits do work, but you often have to allow the fish to eat for a lot longer period of time, which generally doesn’t result in a good hook-up. When we’re rigging up a livebait we use the set ups shown below to ensure the hook sets properly and doesn’t turn back on itself, allowing the fish to throw the bait. When the dorado do become fussy, we hook a plain sardine through the mouth and troll it at a fair speed, allowing it to skip slowly on the surface. For some reason this becomes an irresistable treat for dorado. When we’re targeting the dorries on livebait we generally use a spinning outfit for pitching baits with 30 lb braid and 50- to 60 lb leader. My hook of choice is a Mustad 6/0 Big Gun or the 6/0 Eagle Claw circle hook. is another website which shows where ships are anchored. TUNA SPECIES More often than not, after the dorado frenzy comes to an end most anglers up lines and run for the next ship. What they don’t realise is that the tuna species such as yellowfin, kawa-kawa

Placing the hook just in front of the dorsal fin allows the livebait to be slow trolled without drowning it.

and skipjacks, also enjoy taking cover in the shade below the ships and picking off any prey that comes by. Once the dorado go off the bite I normally allow myself at least two more

The tail hook up. This method is best used when pitching baits towards the ship or feeding fish. SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 41

Smokey lures work a treat when they’re pulled between ships. The one above is a favourite of dorados, and wahoo love the one below.

Shane Dennis has had great success fishing near anchored ships off Durban.

circles around the ship to ensure there are no other gamefish around for the taking. For this exercise I like to slow troll, setting four rods baited with livebaits at different depths. I set one nice and deep with an 8 oz sinker, then one with a 5 oz sinker, another with a 3 oz sinker and lastly a surface bait set roughly 40m behind the boat. By doing this you know you are covering most of the water column and have a chance at hooking a nice tuna species. Be sure to constantly keep an eye on your fishfinder to see if there are any showings and at what depths. We often see bait balls on the screen and know that the predators are generally at the same depth hunting the baitfish. When we’re slow trolling the livebaits we use the same hook set up as when we’re targeting dorado. I find this set up works well as the livebait generally swims down and lasts longer. When I target the tuna species I still like to fish with the Mustad 6/0 Big Gun, but use a 60- to 80 lb fluorocarbon leader. It’s risky fishing a straight leader, though, as the wahoo also enjoy taking advantage of a passing fluorocarbon set up. WASTING WATER In Durban we are very fortunate that the majority of the ships anchor in close proximity to one another, and often the boats will arrive at a ship, fish it quickly and then run to the next one. What most anglers don’t realise is that they’re missing out on fishing some top quality gamefish grounds if they don’t

42 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

have a line in the water while they’re running between the different ships. The best way to cover the grounds between ships at a decent speed is to troll a variety of high speed Halcos or Rattlers, partnered with a spread of Konas. I generally pull five rods between the ships — two Halcos on the outside, two smokers just behind them and one Japan line set far out in the middle. It’s advisable to try to get all your rods with the Konas on to stand up, as this definitely promotes a better action in the water. My favourite colours for the Halcos and Rattlers are the red and black, plain white and the purple. When it comes to Konas I like to pick one from the Smokey Lures range; the colours and sizes they produce are truly incredible and have proved to be very effective when fishing between the ships. I would suggest running two smaller ones just behind the Rattlers, because the Rattlers attract the fish and you stand the chance of getting a double strike if they’re close together. I usually put a bigger lure on the Japan line in the hopes of hooking a bigger fish. While trolling between the ships you’re likely to catch dorado, wahoo and sailfish, and you may even be fortunate enough to hook up with a lost marlin. The only other way to be more successful on the ships is to put in time on the water and try different techniques. The information and tactics I have shared in this article have proved successful for me, but as with everything in fishing, there’s always room for improvement.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 â&#x20AC;¢ 43


Part 1:Tactics to draw in game- and billfish by Erwin Bursik


EFT teaser, left teaser! Bill up!” shouts the sportfisher captain. Seeing a sailfish or marlin suddenly appear, all lit up and anxious to whack the teaser, is not just a wondrous sight, but also one that instantly

kicks an angler’s mind into gear. No words, no sights, no experiences in offshore fishing are more exciting and none galvanises the crew and anglers into action quicker. Even before the captain shouts for the angler to bring the left flat line into position, the angler

should be at the transom with the left flat line rod held perpendicular, thumb on the reel, which is in free-spool, desperately manoeuvring the lure or strip bait into the billfish’s angle of vision. It’s not an easy task, with the boat movement and wake turbulence tend-

A teaser packed with chum works very well at attracting fish, providing great action in the water as well as a chum slick trail. SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 47

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Great attractors. The tuna “flappers” displayed on the previous page along with the Kona teasers to the left and the spreader bar (below) which drags six lines of plastic squid as teasers, are tried and tested by Pulsator Lures.

ing to give the lure a mind of its own. Then there’s the climax as, with no apparent effort, the billfish turns onto and virtually engulfs the lure/strip bait right there in front of your eyes. It’s an experience that all billfish anglers dream about, and when it happens and the plan comes together it’s thrilling. As you drop the rod tip and point it at the billfish, at the same time controlling the line being stripped off the reel before and after the gradual increase of drag, you’re virtually guaranteed that the billfish you teased is now a hooked fish. Going back over the action in slow motion to re-capture the moment, it is the teaser or rather one of the teasers the craft has been monotonously dragging around the ocean since the spread of lures was deployed that has done its work. There are many differing views on the use of teasers and the make-up of the teasers if the captain decides to use them. It’s interesting to note that the vast majority of sailfish-targeting captains worldwide deploy teasers whereas among those who specifically target marlin there is a greater degree of divergent opinion as to their effectiveness. Over the last few years the redesigned make-up and deployment of the “dredge”, a style of teaser that has been in use for at least twenty years, has made a strong comeback among recreational gamefish and billfish anglers. Furthermore, new camera technology has enabled anglers to attach a video camera to the centre of the umbrella shaped “dredge” to capture the movements of fish as they investigate the trolled dredge. Video clips of the fish that are drawn to this style of teaser are mind-blowing and prove to the skeptics that they certainly do tease up a large variety of gamefish including tuna, wahoo and amberjack as well as the full array of billfish. The Doubting Thomases of our fraternity often scorn this method because they can’t see the attracted fish as the new style dredges are towed well

Outrigger in normal extended position



Hookless strip 30ft behind boat

Teaserman Angler Hookless strip Teaser 40ft behind boat

An example of how to set out your teasers if you’re targetting billfish. below the wake’s surface and are not easily seen, even from an elevated position on the flybridge. Before explaining in detail how, why and when a dredge works, let’s backtrack to the origins of teasers, especially those that are far easier to use from a smaller boat such as the ski-boats we use off the east coast of Africa south of the equator. Historically, anglers and commercial

fishermen realised that because it needs to find food, a gamefish’s senses are honed to detect any underwater surface activity in the vast ocean. Japanese tuna anglers subsequently began trolling what we now know as “birds”. Using birds — with or without hooked rigs following behind it — still works very effectively in today’s sportfishery. It is said that in both recreational and commercial fisheries the biggest SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 49

“Birds” in various configurations have been popular as teasers for decades. teaser a boat’s captain has at his disposal is the craft he is skippering. Any activity on the water’s surface will attract the attention of predatory fish. However, we all know that fish are not stupid; the fish sees a big commotion on the water’s surface and instinct persuades it to investigate. The big tuna-pulling boats use the boat and then spray water around the boat to imitate supposed baitfish action. To further entice the predators, they toss small quantities of livebait into this turbulent water. When the gamefish “turn on” they voraciously attack anything that’s in the water, including the poler’s lures. Sportfishers and ski-boats trolling for game- and billfish indirectly do the same thing. The craft is the first signal to a fish. If the fish is attracted and, as it gets closer, it sees other “baitfish” — live bait, dead bait or lures of any design — that may trigger the fish’s instinct to attack and feed. If a fish sees the craft’s commotion on the ocean surface but sees no associated baitfish around the boat, it will quickly lose interest. However, if three teasers are deployed, each having six to

ten bait-sized squid or skirts slapping on or near the water’s surface, the fish’s interest might be further piqued and it may come even closer. As it does so, it will see, in its peripheral vision, an imitation baitfish around the size it wants to eat skipping through the water at the right speed. Without any further thought the fish will strike at it to ensure it does not miss an opportunity to feed. In essence it sounds very simple, but that’s exactly what happens. The vest majority of charter captains pull teasers because they firmly believe in this scenario. Being in the right area with the right teasers and a proven array of lures in your spread is the recipe that enables you to catch fish, they say. In the mid-1950s the first plastic type lures started to come onto the market; the concept of the modern kona-style trolling lure subsequently come into being. That process simplified the making of a string of plastic skirts and later plastic squid that allowed ski-boaters to make their own teasers. The use of teasers amongst ski-

The artificial baitfish shown above attracted a lot of sailfish attention in Kenyan waters, whereas the “bottle” teaser we added to the spread was of more interest to the anglers and deckies. 50 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

Two variations of some teasers currently available featuring imitation baitfish and artificial squid. boaters did not really take off until the early part of the 21st century for the simple reason that most fishing for billfish and big gamefish was done using bait — alive or dead — at a slow troll. A further reason that our style of fishing lagged behind those methods used in top international billfish areas was the size of our craft. Pulling teasers from a small, outboard-powered ski-boat with just three or four crew on board was largely impractical. To make matters worse, if a teaser line was unintentionally left to dangle it invariably ended up in the outboard motors’ propellers and caused untold damage. However, with the advent of larger ski-boats and an increased number of sportfishers in our waters, skippers who were trolling big artificial lures were encouraged to introduce teaser lines into their spread. With today’s larger ski-boats all sporting outriggers and most of them being equipped with teaser reels (some electric), the use of teasers for billfishing has increased significantly. In the May/June 2016 issue of SKIBOAT we’ll take a closer look at modern-day teasers — dredges.


Geoffrey Wanvig, SADSAA President


HIS year SADSAA has started off with much calmer seas on its “political” front compared to the formidable storms that plagued us for the whole of 2015, long may it last. On another positive note, our members seem to have experienced fantastic offshore fishing over the festive season and into early 2016. From what we see happening on social media and have experienced ourselves, from Dassen Island on the West Coast right up the East Coast and into Moçambique great catches of most of our target species of bill-, game- and bottomfish are being made. This is great considering that catching fish is the sole reason we as offshore anglers go to sea and that we at SADSAA exist. From a conservation perspective it is encouraging to note that the trend of anglers releasing billfish and giant trevally, as well as many other gameand reef fish, is still on the rise. The release ethos that SADSAA has encouraged through its interprovincial competitions has gained momentum and is now “the in thing to do”. Not only does this practice help to sustain the resource, but it also enhances the image of all anglers in the minds of those who are anti-fishing.

SAMSA The first day of 2016 was a bit of an anticlimax in terms of the big changeover from 29meg radios to VHF radios with the DSC Emergency (red) button. The Marine Notice enforcing this change has been replaced by a further Marine Notice issued by SAMSA extending the date of compliance to 1 January 2017. This means that all boats surveyed prior to 31st December 2015 which were legal for 2016 and which get resurveyed prior to 31st December 2016 will only need to change to VHF radios for the 2017 boat inspections. 52 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

PRESIDENT’S REPORT SAFETY Thanks to the enormous effort by SADSAA’S staff in the Pretoria and Durban offices we have managed to submit to SAMSA the bulk of the skippers’ ticket applications that were in our position prior to the Christmas business closures. The new year has brought with it a sense of reality, and despite the recognition of the major fraud of 2015, the ongoing safety administration is progressing calmly and efficiently. It is anticipated that by the end of March 2016 all the administrative matters relating to these tickets and the associated fraud should be completed, leaving just the legal issues to be worked through in the judicial system. SAMSA have, in the interim, authorised our National Safety Officer, Stan Walter, to issue second interim proficiency certificates should they be needed before the SAMSA skippers’ tickets are issued.

SADSAA COUNCIL MEETING The SADSAA National Council Meeting will take place in Johannesburg on 4 March 2016. All provincial chairmen will attend together with those executives who were appointed at the AGM. There’s an extensive agenda with numerous issues to be deliberated, and it must be borne in mind that only provincial chairmen or their nominees are able to vote on any resolutions that need immediate decisions to be made. 2016 NATIONALS: INTERPROVINCIAL CALENDAR • Bottomfish Nationals: Awarded to Eastern Province 15-19 March 2016 • Tuna Nationals Awarded to Western Cape 9-14 May 2016 • Gamefish Nationals Awarded to Natal 25-29 April 2016 • Heavy and lightweight tackle Awarded to Mpumalanga 21-25 November 2016 • Junior Nationals Awarded to Natal 18-22 July 2016 • All Coastal To be hosted by Border 22-24 April 2016 • All Inlands To be hosted by Mpumalanga 2-6 May 2016

ILTTA SADSAA has elected Jaco Lingenfelder as a nominated South African Director of the International Light Tackle Tournament Association.

NATIONAL RECORDS For many years SADSAA’S National Records Officer, Dave Oostingh, has consistently updated the SADSAA Line Class and Open Tackle Fish Records as well as the All African Record listings. He still faithfully undertakes this task and issues all the record certificates for approved records. Record-keeping is one of those functions that often seems irrelevant — until you catch a monster fish of a specific species on a set line class, at which stage record-keeping suddenly becomes SADSAA’s most important function! SADSAA’s fish records, all based on IGFA criteria, are of great interest to any avid offshore angler and are also of tremendous scientific value, so remember to submit the information about any suspected record catches to Dave. A SADSAA fish record certificate is a keepsake that will last a lifetime, so don’t forget to apply for yours when you catch that monster you’ve been chasing.

DEVELOPMENT The development programmes within each of SADSAA’s provinces are overseen and promoted by SADSAA’S Development Officer, John Luff, who has had a significant impact on this portfolio over the last two years. It’s critical that we have development within the ambit of our sport which falls under the umbrella of SASCOC. Whether it’s the promotion of the under-privileged, lady or junior anglers, or the courses offered to all anglers who wish to advance their knowledge of the sport of deep sea angling, this development is critical to our existence, so please support these programmes whenever you see them being advertised.




54 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

CHALLENGE Catching monster marlin from small boats

by Johan Zietsman, IGFA Ghana representative Article courtesy of IGFA magazine


ESPITE owning a 35-foot Bertram, the 31-foot Bertram Karma, and captaining the 40-foot Woodnutt Duyfken over the years for blue marlin charters, my thrill always was to “hunt,” hook-up and fight big marlin from a small to mid-size trailer boat. Since I bought my first 16ft twin-hull sportfishing boat in Kenya in 1992, I have also used three other trailer boats from 19 to 30 feet for marlin fishing in Kenya and Ghana. Most significant was my 19ft monohull Marlin Merger with twin 85hp Yamaha outboards and a 130 lb fighting chair that I used to help pioneer Ghana’s phenomenal blue marlin fishing. During the first three years of charter fishing in Ghana with Marlin Merger, we caught 80+ blue marlin with an estimated average weight of 600 lb. We estimated the biggest blue released from Marlin Merger weighed around 1 200 lb; he well known underwater videographer Gerard Aulong was the lucky angler that time. With many global economies recently being challenged by skyrocketing fuel prices, more and more offshore anglers are buying trailerable boats for big game marlin, swordfish and bluefin tuna fishing. In my opinion, probably the most influential factor making the usage of trailer boats affordable has been the United States’ regulations for outboards which have led to fuel consumption and emissions improvements with the use of 4stroke innovation and 2-stroke outboards with fuel injectors. Sweden’s Cimco Marine Diesel, in cooperation with General Motors, recently launched a 200hp turbo diesel. Cimco’s revolutionary and robust outboard, at 529 lb, reportedly uses 50% less fuel with four times the range compared to a 2-stroke or 4stroke outboard in the same class. Another German company, Neander Shark GmbH, is also expected to

launch a revolutionary, lightweight 55hp diesel outboard, with unsurpassed durability and fuel consumption, suitable for small long-range big game trailer boats. Long-awaited diesel outboards may just be the future of big-game offshore fishing. With innovations in outboard technology providing a longer range of travel, smaller boats now can push the limits by reaching and discovering faraway fishing grounds. CHOOSING YOUR BOAT The selection of a trailerable boat for big game fishing largely depends on your budget, sea conditions, range, and launch location. The vessel should have twin or multiple outboards for added insurance if one of the outboards malfunctions. Ideal gunnel height of 74cm from the deck is a plus, reserve fuel capabilities are necessary, and you also need to consider having a transom splash-well and safety equipment such as an EPIRB or satellite phone. One of the most important things is to have a totally watertight or sealed self-bailing cockpit with large scuppers which is set above the waterline when the boat is fully loaded.

For deep sea marlin fishing, I prefer a trailer boat with a modified-vee of 17 to 20 degrees deadrise that provides stability, while at the same time offering a dampening effect. TACKLE AND SMALL BOAT OUTFIT A lightweight but strong 130 lb aluminium fighting chair is essential on trailer boats. If the boat’s size, layout and hull design render enough stability, then consider putting a half tuna tower on the boat, too. It might be harder to run the boat to the fishing grounds from the half-tower, but once there the height advantage of a tower will help to spot marlin in your spread. When I’m targeting big marlin, especially blues, I use only only 4X strong bent butt rods with Shimano Tiagra 80W reels (Penn International 80s will also do), spooled with 70% IGFA pretested f luorescent yellow 130 lb Spectra backing and 30% Amilan-T 130 lb test monofilament topshot. This arrangement will pack much more line on your reel and you only need to change the topshot when your line gets damaged or after fighting a big fish for a long time. The monofilament’s stretch provides better shock absorption when the fish gets close to the boat. On smaller boats I prefer using 80 lb reels over 130 lb reels. The bigger 130 lb reels are generally too heavy for most anglers and lead to the angler fighting the tackle rather than the fish. The Shimano Tiagra 80Ws A centre console ski-boat all rigged up to catch a marlin.

have never let me down. Here’s a golden rule when fishing for giant marlin: Do not mix 130 lb line in the water with 80 lb or lighter lines. In my own experience, Murphy’s Law applied in many cases where a monster marlin broke the lighter line and the fish was lost after a long fight because not enough drag pressure could be applied or the abrasion wore out the lighter line. Besides, IGFA rules classify the catch under the heavier of the two lines. Another important point is that rod tips must clear the transom corners. The narrower transoms of trailer boats make it quite possible for rod tips to clear transoms provided the fighting chair is not positioned too far from the boat’s stern. Because of space limitations on a trailer boat I leave most other rods at home except for two Shimano TLD25 rods for catching baitfish. Take only the necessary tools, lures and accessories needed for marlin fishing, and don’t complicate or clutter your fishing space with unnecessary gear. When space is limited it’s important to put away rods that are not in use. Wind-on leaders are essential when wiring a marlin on a small boat. Due to the lack of deck space, the wireman should not dump any leader line onto the deck as that will create a major safety risk to both angler and crew. Using a wind-on leader also helps maintain consistent pressure on the marlin, and you’re less likely to spook the fish like the wireman would if he grabbed the leader. With a wind-on leader, a marlin can potentially be pulled right next to the boat for the wireman to tag and release. Carbonfibre outriggers or lightweight but stiff aluminium outriggers, about 22ft long without spreaders, are best for small boat applications. Contrary to the beliefs of many veteran marlin captains, I’ve found that tag lines (one set at the top of each outrigger and the other half way up) help to improve hook-up rates when fishing lures for marlin. A tag line helps eliminate the huge amount of slack created when a line pops out of the clip on a vertical outrigger with the line held directly above the rod tip. When a marlin strikes the lure, I want the line to tighten immediately against strike drag which I set at about 25% of the line’s breaking strength (±30 lb when using 130 lb test line). When fishing from a small boat, the weight of the tag line will immediately bring the clip down within range so you can secure the fishing line again and let it straighten out to slide back into position. FIGHTING CHAIR OR STAND-UP? A major advantage of having a small

The author advocates using a harness that is suitable for both stand-up fights and use in the fighting chair.

boat with a centre console is that both fighting chair and stand-up fishing can be done. For the angler’s safety it is ver y important for the boat to have a non-skid deck, especially when it’s wet. A nonskid step-up platform can be installed at the boat’s bow — no higher than one foot, though — with a bow rail for safety. A strong, fit angler can stand up to a giant marlin if he has good tackle like a Penn International or Shimano Tiagra 80W on a lightweight, stiff but heavyduty 130 lb class rod that is not too short to clear the transom. I recommend the latest Calstar graphic fighter rods, made out of both fibreglass and graphite, for fighting a marlin stand-up or from a chair. If the angler does not have the size or stamina to handle a Shimano Tiagra 80W spooled with 130 lb class line for stand-up marlin fishing, then a Shimano Tiagra 50W spooled with 80 lb is the next best alternative. I recommend you get one harness that’s suitable for both fighting-chair and stand-up fishing. Braid’s Brute Buster Harness with a 130 lb fighting belt and quick release snap-clips allows easy switches between the fighting chair and stand-up fishing. Stand-up versus fighting chair may require a rod with a shorter butt (for stand-up) that could be extended by a butt extension

for the fighting chair. With AFTCO’s Extend-A-Butt, a stand-up rod with a shorter butt fits into a fighting chair’s gimbal with extra rod length to clear the gunnel or transom. Once a marlin is hooked up, the angler can either fight the marlin from the fighting chair or, once the other lines have been cleared, pick up the rod straight from the rod holder and slip the rod (without butt extension) into the fighting belt and move to the bow to fight the fish. When the angler is ready to move to the bow to fight the marlin standing up, the captain should turn the boat around to “chase” the marlin. Great skill and consistent coordination between the captain and angler are necessary, taking into consideration the sea conditions, stability of the boat and angler, line recovery and boat speed as well as the particular marlin’s fighting performance. When the angler gets tired fishing stand-up or sea conditions get too rough, then he/she can move to the fighting chair by unclipping the harness clips and reattaching the butt extension. For IGFA record purposes it is very important that nobody aside from the angler touches the rod, reel or line when adjusting or attaching the fighting belt or butt extension. SELECTING YOUR CREW I prefer to take only two or a maximum of three anglers on board a ski-boat to make up the following team of five: captain, wireman, deckhand (to help with rods, teasers and to tag or gaff fish), one angler to fight fish and a second angler to steer the fighting chair. If the boat is large enough, then a third angler could be allowed to rotate, take photos or assist as deckhand. FINDING THE MARLIN As mentioned earlier, it’s a big advantage if you have a half-tower as a vantage point to spot marlin in the spread.

Bird activity will often lead you to bait balls which will often lead you to billfish. SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 57

58 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

In most cases, however, a small boat has distinct limitations to outfitting it with a tower. I’ve learned that this disadvantage is actually a trade-off, since being closer to the water sharpens my senses. I’ve also learned to pay attention to bird behaviour which can be categorised as circling, actively diving on baitfish, following fish that are just below the surface, hopscotch fly-and-sit activity, feeding frenzy diving or the passive signs of birds just sitting on the water surface. Airmar, Raymarine and Furuno’s latest CHIRP transducer technology with accuracy down to 3 000 metres (10 000 feet) and precise separation between baitfish and gamefish, is almost an unfair advantage on any boat. I recently outfitted my big-game 30ft skiff with a Raymarine E95 9” HybridTouch and a pair of 1kW transducers. Besides identifying baitfish and gamefish such as marlin separately, also look on the fish finder’s screen for bait balls tightly packed together — that’s a sign that the bait has been chased or balled together by feeding gamefish. Mark such spots on the GPS and troll that area for some time to see if you can hook-up a fish. It is common for predators such as marlin that often hunt in a team to start pushing bait together and to wait for other marlin to join in to help pack the bait ball tightly together before actually starting the feeding frenzy. That’s why we often spot marlin on the sounder that are more interested in rounding up bait than eating a plastic lure or skip bait. When marlin go over in a feeding frenzy mode, then your chances of getting a hook-up increase greatly, but monster female marlin are mostly solitary ocean dwellers and their strikes normally come unexpectedly from nowhere. Another interesting advantage that modern multifunction chart plotter/ radar/depth sounder anti-glare screens or displays offer, is the ability to connect underwater cameras that can be pulled behind the boat with cables plugged in to display live underwater footage in HD resolution of marlin coming up in the spread, in particular to cover the two short lines. Bear in mind that the cables connecting the underwater cameras or lenses need to be supported by stainless steel cables tied off to the boat’s transom. BOAT HANDLING A small boat simply cannot be backed up safely like you can do on a large sportfisher with high transom. After a hook-up, the following step-by-step sequence is my suggested plan of action on a small boat: pull in and clear the extra lines/teasers immediately, turn the boat around, chase the marlin at a controlled pace so that slack doesn’t form in the line or belly, position the

When you’re fighting a marlin from a ski-boat, try to keep the marlin on the side of the boat, and the boat moving in the same direction and at the same speed as the marlin. The resistance from the bowed line will help to tire the marlin. Try to keep the line at 30 degrees to the fish to ensure constant pressure. Also (unlike the illustration above) try to ensure the hook in the marlin’s mouth is on the side closest to the boat to avoid the hook pulling. Diagrams courtesy of IGFA magazine.

boat as soon as possible on top or to the side of the marlin, and then push up the drag from strike position to 50-70 lb fighting drag depending on the angler’s size and stamina. It is very important to limit the amount of line the marlin peels off because unnecessary line recover y will tire the angler and increase the risk of the marlin “throwing” the hook or dying due to exhaustion. The angler will have to reduce the drag to about 15-20 lb to get the rod out of rod holder, but as soon as he/she straps on the harness and is seated in the fighting chair they must push the lever back up to the 30 lb strike drag mark and keep it there while the marlin is peeling off line or jumping. The lever must only be pushed to the 50-70 lb fighting drag mark when the boat is on top of or next to the marlin. Go the extra mile and test all drag settings with a hand scale every morning before fishing and mark the three drag setting positions with different color tape next to the drag lever. If the marlin suddenly starts jumping or peeling off line, reduce the drag to the 30 lb mark and wait for the fish

to settle before pushing the drag back up to the 50-70 lb mark. It’s essential to reduce drag when the marlin is peeling off line or jumping to prevent the water friction or the line’s belly in the water from breaking the line. This routine needs to be followed over and over again while the captain attempts to keep the boat as close as possible to the marlin. FIGHTING AND WIRING MARLIN The distinct advantage of smaller boats over larger inboard sportfishers is the fact that they are agile and nimble, allowing fast recovery of line, and can turn quickly to deal with unpredictable fish. As mentioned earlier, the captain should try to put the boat “on top” of the marlin as soon as possible, switching the reel to fighting drag to get the marlin in the shortest period of time. The quicker the fight and the release of the marlin, the greater the chances of the marlin surviving. Long battles increase the marlin’s mortality rate, and in places where there are other predators, the marlin can become shark food. During prolonged fights with monSKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 59

Great care must be taken when leadering a billfish off a small boat. Do not try to bring it in when it’s still green. deckhand in front keeps holding onto the fish. Also try to keep the boat on ster marlin on a small boat, always try the marlin’s bill, dragging it next to boat the side where the fish is hooked to to keep the line’s angle about 30 through the water, the angler must prevent a hook pull out. I’ve pulled degrees (going into the water) on the wind the leader’s slack onto the reel for hooks a few times in the past when I’ve fish and attempt to force the marlin to safety. The wireman or second angler placed the boat on the opposite side of constantly alter its swimming pattern can then tag and release the marlin where the fish was hooked. and direction. When you’re attached to after dislodging the hook. When it comes to leadering the marvery large granders that typically set off I’ve stopped using double hooks on lin, use heavy-tackle leather leadering swimming steadily at four knots in one lures for safety while unhooking marlin. gloves soaked in seawater for better direction for hours, it is very important Although it’s open for debate, in my grip, lock your knees onto the boat’s to get some “control” over the fish by experience my hook-up rate on lures gunnel and take double wraps one at a trying to change its swimming pattern with single hooks is better than with time, keeping your centre of gravity and direction as often as possible. Only double hooks. Always have pliers or low, just above waist level. Try to lead then are you likely to get such a giant side cutters ready to remove or cut the marlin in head-first on the starboard closer to the surface and hopefully hooks that are difficult to remove. I side because it’s easier for right-handed close enough to the boat to be leadalways attempt to remove all hooks crew to work off the starboard side of a ered, tagged, released and — in some from marlin and very seldom have to small boat. rare cases — taken for weigh-in. cut the leader to let the marlin swim The drill is as follows: the wireman A method that works very well to away with a hook in its mouth. gently leads or wires the tired fish in tire big fish, is to settle the marlin and Because blue marlin frequently next to the boat, never jerking on the then place it about 45 metres directly change directions or jump during leader, with the deckhand moving in opposite the boat’s port or starboard fights, they often get tail-wrapped. A front of the wireman to grab the marside at the 30-degree angle. With both big marlin tail-wrapped is a nightmare lin’s bill with gloves. As soon as the the boat and marlin moving forward at for any captain or wireman, but even wireman grabs the leader, the angler the same speed and direction, create a more so off a smaller boat because of must drop the drag to just above free belly of about 70 metres of line in the its limitations in backing up. spool to allow the wireman to freely water. If the marlin changes direction Experienced marlin anglers can easily “drop” the leader in case the marlin and speed, the skipper should also tell when the leader has gotten takes off again. If the marlin takes off, change the boat’s direction and speed wrapped around a marlin’s tail — the immediately increase the drag again to to match. rod tip starts to jerk erratically as the its 50-70 lb fighting drag mark. The marlin will usually tire because marlin’s tail kicks against the leader. In Resist the temptation to wire a big it’s pulling against the resistance of the such a case the wireman must take marlin that is still green, especially line’s belly. Providing the boat does not extreme caution because the fish will when the fish is heading away from the run out of fuel, this method can be safecontinue to swim away from the boat at boat. Most monster marlin are lost right ly applied for hours with little risk of full strength. In those instances the next to the boat because the captain tackle failure while the angler leans captain and wireman have no option and crew were too hasty — that’s the back in the fighting chair with knees but to extend the fight to first tire the way you pop leaders and pull hooks. locked. fish before attempting to wire it. The biggest challenge when bringing Following big marlin swimming In some cases tail-wrapped marlin a marlin close to a small boat for wiring ver y deep or at mid-depth directly will drown because the fight can last is avoiding the protruding propellers of below the boat in the same direction much longer and their forward moveoutboard motors. The fishing line and for a prolonged period is counter-proment to aerate their gills for oxygen leader must never get too close to the ductive. Giant marlin can swim contincould be restricted. You can revive a propellers during the fight. With this in uously for hours on end at depths of 60big tail-wrapped marlin by grabbing its mind, it’s best to keep the marlin midto 200 feet, with the flow of water aerbill and pulling it through the water ship or with an angle off the transom. ating their gills. Read the currents and alongside the boat, but can take much Always keep the boat in slow forboat movements and use them to your longer than usual before its beautiful ward gear and moving in the same advantage to “plane” the fish up to the fluorescent blue colours are restored. direction as the wired marlin. While the surface by keeping the angled line on SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 61

TO BOAT OR NOT? I’m a strong advocate of releasing all billfish. In Ghana we have released 95% of the 950 blue marlin caught in the last five years, with an estimated average weight of 550 lb. Occasionally a marlin will come up dead, in which case we will boat the fish and take it home for local villagers to eat. Nothing gets wasted in Africa, and my policy is to boat marlin we fail to revive, whether they’re small or big. A handful of grander blue marlin or potential record fish caught off Ghana in the past have been taken to be weighed, but small boats typically do not have transom doors to load a fish. Catamaran-hulled vessels which have self-bailing decks can, however, have marlin doors fitted into their gunnels. From experience, the maximum size marlin we were able to pull into my 19ft ski-boat Marlin Merger was 600 lb. It took four strong men and, I must admit, the tilting gunnel was dangerously close to the water’s edge. I subsequently came up with the following practical and safe way to simply tow grander-sized marlin behind the skiboat, at 16 knots, more than 36 nautical miles back to our base. Once the marlin is next to the boat, use extra-large cable ties or a broad Velcro strap to close its mouth. It is important to keep the marlin’s mouth closed so no water gets in, otherwise the water pressure will break open its stomach. Use a soft, fluffy 34⁄ ” dock line and make about seven half-hitch knots in a row, starting from the base of the marlin’s bill, knotting all the way up towards the tip of the bill. Let the marlin out about 15 feet and tie the dock line to a cleat or the transom’s U-bolt. Now slowly speed up the boat until a wake is created. Position the marlin on the downside of the wake or “surf” of the wave by making the dock line shorter or longer. Once correctly positioned, a marlin can be “surfed” at 16 knots for miles without any damage. Despite me having come up with this way of towing marlin, I appeal to all

The author tagged and released this ±950 lb blue marlin off Ghana. skippers and anglers to rather revive and release all marlin; please only take them out if they’re potential world records. When you do fish for IGFA world record marlin in remote places, make sure you take along a portable certified load cell scale capable of reading up to 2 000 lb. To claim a world record you need to make sure the scale’s certification is valid and capture parts of the fight, the weighing-in and the scale’s digital reading on a video camera such as a GoPro or Garmin’s VIRB Action camera. As a lone fisherman with my trusted local crew and two or three angler friends on board, there is nothing more thrilling than combing uncharted waters in remote parts of the world with a small but well-equipped boat, searching for elusive monster marlin. Have a go, you’ll love it. • For further information contact Capt Johan Zietsman via email on <>.

STUDYING MARLIN BEHAVIOUR RENCH underwater photographer Gerard Aulong spent almost a year aboard the Ghana Blue Marlin Fishing Charter fleet observing marlin behaviour. After examining hundreds of hours of footage of big blue marlin pursuing and striking trolling lures,Aulong made some interesting observations that could help anglers improve their hook-up ratios. Aulong observed that just 30% of the fish came from below to strike trolled lures, while 70% pursued them laterally at the surface. The initial strike usually came from the inside out — the marlin generally pursued a lure from an inside track then struck or slashed at it while heading toward the outside of the spread. Medium-sized lures rather than jumbo sizes seem to catch more fish, and big fish at that, with granders and one estimated double-grander hooked and lost on a medium Williamson lure. About 70% of initial strikes at lures come from the marlin’s bill, perhaps with the intention of stunning or injuring the prey. Aulong’s videos suggest that even if the fish misses, anglers should continue to troll straight ahead for at least five minutes before turning to go back around. Footage shows that when marlin miss and “disappear”, they are often just hanging back and may return for another hit.

F 62 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

64 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

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OUR 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 skiboaters the unique opportunity to win awards for excellence in angling. All deep sea anglers who achieve laid down prestigious 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 certificate, suitably inscribed, PLUS a hand-embroidered cloth badge – both confirming the catch achievement.

Complementing this section is the second award category: 2) Kingfisher Award - Outstanding Catch To satisfy the requirements for this award, anglers can catch any recognised fish and the weight of that fish must equal or exceed certain laid down fish weight:line class ratios. Awards will be made in the following ratio categories: 3:1 – Bronze Award 5:1 – Silver Award 7:1 – Silver Award 10:1 – Gold Award. Applies to IGFA line class 1kg , 2kg, 4kg, 6kg, 10kg, 15kg, 24kg, 37kg and 60kg. Certificates Certificates will carry all the information about the catch (fish, weight, line class and ratio), the successful angler's name and the date on which the catch was made. Digital emailed photographs should be high-resolution.

RELEASED BILLFISH AND GT (Ignobilis) KINGFISH With the strong trend towards releasing these and other fish, we have decided to amend the Kingfisher Award rules to provide for acknowledgement of all released fish. All we need is a photo of the fish being released or prior to release (e.g. GT held on boat) and the approximate weight of the fish which should fall in line with the stipulated weights set out below.

SPECIES Gamefish: Barracuda Dorado Kingfish (Ignobilis) Garrick (Leervis) King Mackerel (’Cuda) Black Marlin Blue Marlin Striped Marlin

NOMINATED WEIGHT 20kg 15kg 20kg 15kg 24kg 225kg 150kg 75kg

SPECIES Gamefish: Prodigal Son Sailfish (Pacific) Spearfish (Longbill) Spearfish (Shortbill) Tuna (Big Eye) Tuna (Longfin) Tuna (Yellowfin) Wahoo

RULES: 1) There is no restriction on the number of awards which can be applied for. 2) Award-applicants must submit a photograph of the relevant fish with the application form, preferably a photograph of the angler holding the fish. 3) SKI-BOAT reserves the right to use the photograph as it sees fit. 4) Entries must be on the official form which is included in all issues of the magazine. 5) Entries must be received within 45 days of capture. 6) Certificates awarded will be as follows: Meritorious Fish - Gold

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

Meritorious Fish

Outanding 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. Signature: .............................................................................

NOMINATED WEIGHT 18kg 35kg 20kg 20kg 30kg 25kg 50kg 20kg

SPECIES Gamefish: Yellowtail Shark (Hammerhead) Shark (Mako) Shark (Thresher) Shark (Tiger) Bottom Fish: Kob (Daga) Musselcracker (Black)



The Kingfisher Award will be made for fish caught in two sections: 1) The Kingfisher Award - Meritorious Fish To satisfy the requirements for this award, anglers are required to catch a fish included in the list detailed hereunder, equal to or better than the nominated weight. Tackle used is of no consideration here, the fish's weight being the main criterion. The different eligible fish and their corresponding minimum nominated weights are as in the accompanying list below.

A gold certificate and a hand-embroidered cloth badge will be awarded for this achievement.

NOMINATED WEIGHT 18kg 200kg 80kg 110kg 200kg 30kg 27kg

Outstanding Catch 3: 1 - Bronze; 5: 1 and 7: 1 - Silver; 10:1 - Gold. Cloth embroidered badges will be awarded in all categories. 8)

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. 9) A selection of award winners’ names will be announced in future issues of SKI-BOAT, along with relevant photographs. 10) Award applicants should allow 30-45 days for processing of applicants. 11) There is no charge for Kingfisher Awards.

Meritorious Fish Species: ....................................................................... Weight: ........................................................................ Date of Capture: .......................................................... Where Caught: ............................................................ Skipper's Name: .......................................................... Outstanding catch Category applied for (tick appropriate box): 3:1




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


2016 FISHING DATES TO DIARISE DATE 2-4 March 4-6 March 4-6 March 11-13 March 15-19 March 25-27 March 26-27 March 10-16 April 11-15 April 15-17 April 16-17 April 22-24 April 22-24 April 24-29 April 30 April - 1 May 9-14 May 13-15 May 20-22 May 26-29 May 26-27 May 30-31 May 5-11 June 5-11 June 16-19 June 18-19 June 25-26 June 24-26 June 28 June - 2 July 7-10 July 8-10 July 10-15 July 17-23 July 9-13 August 12-14 August 7-9 October 8-9 October 14-16 October 22-23 October 7-11 November 12-13 November 14-18 November 21-25 November 21-25 November

TOURNAMENT VENUE Marlin Club Billfish Tournament Richards Bay Ski-Boat CLub <> Offshore leg 1 Western Province Shelly Beach Interclub Shelly Beach <> Natal Rod and Reel Interclub Natal Rod & Reel, Durban <> SADSAA Bottomfish Nationals Port Elizabeth Richards Bay Fishing Bonanza Richards Bay < > Couta Classic Umlalazi SGDSAA Rosebowl Interclub Richards Bay <> All Inland Interprovincial 2016 Sodwana Bay Warnadoone Interclub Warnadoone Offshore leg 2 Western Province Pennington Interzonal Pennington All Coastal Bottomfish Gonubie SADSAA Gamefish Nationals Shelly Beach < Durban Ski-Boat Club Festival Durban Ski-Boat Club <> SADSAA Tuna Nationals Cape Town <> Umhlanga Prestige Interclub Umhlanga <> Pennington Interzonal Pennington Mapelane Trophy Interclub Mapelane Zinkwazi Interclub Zinkwazi Offshore leg 3 Western Province Guinjata Bonanza Guinjata <> Nomads Club Closed Competition Mapelane <> Mapelane Couta Derby Mapelane Offshore leg 4 Western Province Abbot van Rooyen Snoek Derby St Lucia Durban Boat Show Durban Shelly Beach Ski-Boat Festival Shelly Beach <> Mapelane Junior Interclub Mapelane 21 Species Festival Meerensee Ski-Boat Club TSC Closed Shelly Beach <> SADSAA Junior Nationals Shelly Beach <> Kleinbaai Bbottomfish Interprov. Kleinbaai,Western Province Johannesburg Boat Show Johannesburg Cape Town Boat Show Cape Town Offshore leg 5 Western Province 12 x 12 Species Comp St Lucia Offshore leg 6 Western Province OET Bill- & Gamefish Tournament Sodwana Bay Offshore leg 7 Western Province Billfish 15 000 Sodwana Bay <> or <> Light Tackle Billfish Nationals Sodwana Bay Heavy Tackle Billfish Nationals Sodwana Bay

INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENTS 2016 30 July - 7 Aug Puerto Rico Billfish International August Hawaii Billfish International 18 October ILLTTA 68 â&#x20AC;˘ SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

Puerto Rico Hawaii Puerto Rico

TECHNIQUES Baby tarpon caught on an unweighted plastic lure rigged on a circle hook.

Circle hooks on lures for tarpon By Craig Thomassen


An unweighted plastic lure rigged on a circle hook.

70 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

RECENTLY undertook a trip to the Kwanza River in Angola, on a mission to target tarpon on artificial lures. I have caught these amazing fish before and know that they are masters at throwing hooks, so before I left I did a bit of research online to try to pick up some fresh ideas to try out on my trip. Tarpon have ver y large mouths which they open quickly, creating a vacuum which sucks their prey right in, and you need to take this into account when you’re fishing. Often after hooking a tarpon you’ll find that your leader has been abraded a long way up; this is because the bait/lure gets sucked very deep in and the line gets abraded by the fish’s rough mouth when you go tight and pull the leader back out of the fish’s closed mouth. Anglers who target tarpon on bait only use circle hooks because they set properly and are seldom thrown by the fish during the fight. I had been considering ways of rigging artificial lures on

circle hooks for a while, and my online research gave me some interesting options. Tarpon like slow-moving lures that don’t sink too fast, so soft plastics are ideal, especially as they still have a lot of enticing movement even at slow speeds. With this in mind, most of my rigging was for soft plastics, although I did rig some hard baits with circle hooks as well. For most fish species we rig the hooks at the back of the lure, but because of their big mouths and the way they gulp down the whole bait, when you’re rigging for tarpon it makes more sense to place the circle hooks at the front of the lure. Take note that this method would not be ideal for fish that slash at the back of lures. WEIGHTLESS SOFT BAITS These weightless soft baits are excellent for tarpon, as they remain suspended in the water between twitches and can be worked nice and slowly. I took a bit of soft wire along with me and cut it into short lengths to make some bait keepers — basically the same things

The wire spring keeper. that bass fishermen often use on swimbaits. I attached one end of the wire to the shank of a VMC Tournament Circle hook with a couple of twists, then bent the wire into a spring shape. The soft plastic lure was then screwed onto the spring until it sat f lush against the hook. This leaves the hook gape completely open and facilitates a good hook up when a fish gulps the plastic into its mouth. The trick is not to strike, but simply to tighten the line — quite a thing to remember when you’re fishing lures, as striking at a bite is so deeply ingrained! SOFT BAIT ON A JIG HEAD This system is for when the fish are holding a bit deeper and you need the lure to sink down to their depth. To begin with I cut off the hook on the jig head just after the bend in the hook, then I rig the plastic on the jig in the normal way so that the keeper and the remainder of the hook help to hold the plastic firmly in place. The next step is to use a small cable tie to attach the jig head to a VMC Sports Circle 3x strong hook by threading it through the eye of the jig head and then tightening it around the shank of the circle hook. I wind a small piece A plastic on a jig head rigged on a circle hook.

Jack crevalle caught on a circle hook. of tape around the shank of the circle hook to stop the cable tie from slipping up too far. This method was very successful with a number of species of fish on the trip. HARD BAITS Rigging a hard bait like a Rapala minnow or a small stickbait on a circle hook was done using the same principles as those mentioned above. I removed the hooks from the lure and ensured that it could still swim enticingly without them, then I basically bridle-rigged the lure by taking some spare braid and rigging it through the line attachment ring on the lure and tying it to the circle hook. All of these rigs worked well and it was fun trying them out. Unfortunately we didn’t get a shot at any big tarpon as

a current had brought in some nasty water, but we scaled down and caught a number of small fish in the river on the same setups. I also caught some nice big jacks offshore using the circle hooks on plastics while trying for big tarpon. I’m keen to try the same thing on a smaller scale for springer/skipjack in our estuaries; I think these rigs would work well for them as they have similar feeding habits to tarpon. I can’t wait to get back to the Kwanza River next summer and have another shot at those big tarpon, hopefully under better conditions. Kwanza is known to be one of the places where world record size tarpon are usually in abundance, and I know there’s a huge one there somewhere with my name on it!

A hard bait rigged on a circle hook.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 71

MY FAVOURITE HOBBY by Wiarnie Mew (12)


Y dad, Willie, and granddad, Corrie, introduced me to fishing, so I have to thank them because I really love fishing. When I was very small my granddad bought a Z-Craft ski-boat; I was just four years old when I went on the boat with him for the first time. At the moment I am the youngest member of Team CMew. I especially love it when my grandfather lets me stand next to him and help steer the boat. I love fishing in Moçambique, but we only get to go there in the school holidays. My first deep sea fish was a 4kg kingfish and my heaviest fish was a 17kg tuna. I have been the top junior at the Platinum Ski-Boat competition three times, and top junior at the Guinjata Bonanza once. My grandfather and grandmother moved to Moçambique a while back and I don’t get to see them as much any more, but it’s really great when we go there and fish in the holidays. My grandfather’s house has a lovely view of the beach and sea and the air is so fresh and clear over

there. We also go swimming in the sea and play on the beach, but we do not fish from the beach, we only fish from the boat. It’s a lot of work getting the boat ready for a fishing trip, but it’s worth it. Although we keep some fish to eat, most of them go back in the sea after we take a picture. We sometimes fish where it’s very deep — about 230 metres — and catch mostly tuna and ’cuda. Once I nearly caught a sailfish, but it got away. I also have a brother, Merinus, but he does not like to fish; he keeps himself busy with games and other things if we go to Moçambique for a vacation. We are so blessed to have such a lovely holiday destination where we can go whenever we want to. Some people never go on holiday, and that is why we are blessed. If I win this competition, I want to give the two Tiagra reels to my grandfather, the Bell truck to my brother and the cap to my dad.


KZN Launch Site Monitoring System has real value By Bruce Mann and Jade Maggs


WAZULU-NATAL (KZN) has a large recreational and commercial boating industr y, which includes craft involved in line fishing, scuba diving, spearfishing, whale watching and other activities, but until fairly recently no-one had any idea of when, where or how many launches were taking place. We also had no idea what craft were being used or the purpose of these launches. In response to the beach driving regulations that were implemented in January 2002, beach launching in KZN was formalised and restricted to officially licensed beach launch sites. From the outset KZNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s provincial government took responsibility for the management of beach launch sites, which is

now governed by national legislation controlling launch sites (see Government Gazette No. 37761). Stakeholders in these launch sites include various government and nongovernment institutions as well as the launch site licence holders (normally the relevant municipality), the launch site operators (normally ski-boat clubs) and the boat users themselves. Collaboration between these stakeholders in KZN resulted in the development of the Boat Launch Site Monitoring System (BLSMS) in 2004, which included maintaining a launch register at each licensed boat launch site. While we fully appreciate that it can be a real pain for skippers to complete the register before they launch (especially if there is a queue at 4.30am) and to sign back in on their return from sea,

this system is producing some really useful and valuable data. Each boat launch recorded in the launch registers is transferred onto the BLSMS database at the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) and we now have ten years of comprehensive, resource-use data showing that more than 50 000 sea launches take place along the KZN coast each year. Analysis of the data shows that the majority of launching takes place at Sodwana Bay, Cape Vidal, Richards Bay, Durban, Umkomaas, Rocky Bay and Shelly Beach, with highest launching activity occurring during the school holidays. Ski-boats are the most frequently used vessels, followed by inflatables and jet-skis. Interestingly, the use of inf latables has been decreasing, while the number of jet-skis launching SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 â&#x20AC;˘ 75

It’s important for KZN skippers to fill in the launch register before they head out to sea and to complete it in full. is on the increase. Paddle-skis only account for 3% of launches, but bear in mind that they are not obligated to launch from boat launch sites except within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Private recreational fishing is the most important activity conducted by boats launching along the KZN coast, accounting for 45-59% of the total number of launches. Charter scuba diving is the second most important activity (particularly at Sodwana and Umkomaas), followed by charter fishing, which generally accounts for 9-12% of launches in KZN. Commerical fishing is the fourth most common activity, but normally only accounts for 3-4% of launches. While commercial operators are required to record their launches in the register, they do not have to record their catches as this is done independently and is monitored by the Department of Agriculture, Forestr y and Fisheries (DAFF). According to recreational and charter boat fishing records, 51% of their time on the water is spent targeting gamefish, 35% of their time is spent fishing for bottomfish, 12% for baitfish and 1% for billfish or sharks. Amongst recreational and charter boat outings, around 120 species are recorded each year, with slinger, soldier, king mackerel, yellowfin tuna and dorado tending to dominate reported catches. Possibly the most valuable aspect of the BLSMS is that it gives us a good approximation of total fishing effort in angler-hours in the KZN boat-based line fishery. Total effort is very important for evaluating fisheries, but is seldom known. Thanks to the BLSMS, KZN is the only province in South Africa where an accurate estimate of total boat-based recreational fishing effort is available on an annual basis. Similarly, the BLSMS 76 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

also records information on what fish species anglers are targeting, which is also unique in South Africa. This is the first attempt at a province-wide monitoring initiative for boat launch sites in South Africa and, thanks to the cooperation of all stakeholders, has proven very successful. All the launch data recorded in the registers each year is made freely available in the form of an annual report which includes site-specific feedbacks and which is widely distributed to all stakeholders. Despite the overall success of the BLSMS, there has been continual poor completion of certain fields in the boat launch register, especially “destination”, “targeting” and “catch”, with these fields being completed in less than 30% of recorded fishing outings. It appears anglers do not want to disclose what fish they caught and where they caught them. Some anglers also think that reporting catch information will ultimately result in stricter regulations such as reduced bag limits and increased size limits. We implore anglers to take a more responsible attitude towards management of the fishery and to realise that good fisheries’ management can ensure healthy fish stocks which is of benefit to all of us, including future generations. Here is some advice for the correct completion of the register so that the most accurate information is captured onto the database: • Handwriting should be neat and easily readable. Our data capturers have to read and capture information on each of the 50 000 launches; this is a very laborious job and is made very difficult when they have to try to read poor handwriting. • Launch details are important for monitoring resource use, but also

serve as the starting point for a rescue operation should you experience trouble at sea, and they should be completed without fail in the unshaded section of the register before launching. The intended destination — which is often left blank — can be used by rescue personnel as a starting point for a search operation if the need arises. The section shaded in yellow should be completed after beaching the vessel. • The species group you targeted while fishing, such as gamefish or bottomfish, is very important to researchers when they assess what was actually caught and the number of hours spent that were fishing for that species group. Please fill that in for every fishing trip. • If you caught no fish, please write “NONE” or “BLOB” in the catch return so that we can see that you didn’t simply forget about this section. When researchers analyse catches, outings on which no fish are caught are just as important as those outings on which fish were caught. • One register entry is to be used per vessel when launching. Although it’s time-consuming, we always prefer that a separate register entry be completed for each launch. However, multiple launches on a single day by a single boat as in the case of charter scuba boats or where a boat is being used for launching practise can be indicated under the section “multiple launches”. We would like to thank all the boat skippers for continuing to record their launches in the register and encourage them to continue doing so. By doing this they are supporting much needed marine research which aims to sustain our resources for the long-term.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 â&#x20AC;¢ 77




A contrarian look at our coastal linefish resources By Jack Walsh


ONG-TIME SKI-BOAT magazine readers will know I have a long history of alternative and contrarian views regarding the management of our linefish resources and, for that matter, many other fisheries’ resources. However, please do not for a moment think that I disagree with Bruce Mann and his co-authors’ conclusions in the January/February edition with regard to the state of our linefish stocks. (See “Dires Straits” article in the January 2016 issue of SKI-BOAT.) Rather, it is how they arrive at those conclusions that worries me, and it would be nice to hear their specific opinions of how the decline might start to be corrected. I have, for instance, often criticised stock evaluation based mainly on CPUE. I still believe, as do many scientists, that mathematical models with several statistical inputs including, where relevant, CPUE must be the way to go. Management of small pelagics in this manner is carried out successfully all over the world. Admittedly, the parameters of input for linefish would be very different for obvious reasons. In addition, I do not fully support the view taken by the authors of that article in regard to “sex change” of polygynous species. It has always been accepted that the trigger for sex change (sequential hermaphroditism) has been the need for male fertilisation in a particular group of such a species. Size is probably irrelevant other than the fact that the largest females of the group then undergo this change. It has also been shown that it is possible for males of these species to revert to the female gender although this is probably less common. Stock calculations always were, and still are, suspect, although the more knowledge we learn to accumulate, the more relevant they can become. I well remember a fisher y scientist, Marc Griffiths, with whom I became friendly, and who was the first to identify that our Western and Southern Cape Kob (family Argyrosomus) stocks consisted of two independent resources, namely “japonicas” and “inodorus”, with a third northern West Coast, Namibian and Angolan resource consisting of the “coro78 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016

nus” species, all of which look exactly the same to most anglers. Marc also feared as long ago as the ’90s that the former two species were overfished, particularly the dusky kob (japonicus) which is vulnerable to most types of exploitation, namely rock and surf, estuarine and inshore boat fishing. However, due to the evidence of declining catch levels, Marc was convinced that the geelbek (Cape salmon — Atractoscion aquidens) was most vulnerable of all. Their population along the same coastline of some 2 000+ kilometres had reduced, he suggested, to below 5% of pristine level. And yet, in 2000 this whole coastline from the Cape to KwaZulu-Natal was subject to the greatest influx of geelbek in living memory — and it continued for a couple of years. Where then did that huge recruitment arise? Who knows. The sad truth was that this coincided with the basic collapse of already poor fisheries compliance efforts. Everybody — hundreds of recreationals as well as the commercials — made a killing, with catch limits being totally ignored instead of advantage being taken of this unexpected windfall to ensure future improved stock levels towards sustainability! According to the authors of the Dire Straits article, scientists believe only 1 000 fully mature dusky kob are still alive along our whole coastline and in all our estuaries. I think that is a poor presumption although it in no way alters the fact that the stock is seriously depleted, overfished and in urgent need of protection towards rebuilding and future sustainability. INTERBREEDING Bruce Mann et al also promote the suggestion that the reduced level of kob stocks could have led to what in effect amounts to interbreeding of separate species. We all know of very rare occurrences of such, but they are probably far more unlikely in the marine environment where the spawn and milt of different species are often haphazardly found in the same water column from time to time. The natural block to such an eventuality must surely be even more effective in the marine environment and, logically, much more likely to occur in

times of plenty, not scarcity! Perhaps I should mention that I nearly lost my job as a purse-seine skipper in the 1960s when I proposed that: • the SWA pilchard resource was being over exploited; • the activity of so many vessels was interfering with their spawning migration; • the scientists had their growth curve wrong — they said maturity occurred at three years instead my suspicion of two years. “I told you so” are such useless words when you are proved right, because by then it’s usually too late. Another scientific matter I disagree with relates to the suggestion that a resource can become extinct as a result of overfishing. In an environment so alien to us humans, I believe only natural changes to that environment could have that effect, not man alone. I was so glad to read of the “BOFFFF” (big, old, fat, fecund female fish) hypothesis, and again “I told you so” were the words that sprang to my lips, although here I can only take credit for being the messenger. At a linefish symposium held at the Air Force Base near Arniston, in 1999 I think, I was laughed off the floor for proposing that the protection of the large individuals of any linefish resource was much more relevant than the size limit determined to allow juveniles to reach the first spawning maturity before they could be legally caught. I based my theory on research in the USA on certain freshwater species, where it was being proposed that spawn (roe and eggs) from large adult fish produced stronger larvae which were far more likely to survive than those of smaller individuals of the species. I surmised that this phenomenon must logically apply to all spawning species, and then tried to prove mathematically that the protection of juveniles, with their inevitably low natural survival rate, could be irrelevant. I still believe this, and would rather see five immature kob landed than even one large individual. Present regulations allow for this patently negative protection, whereas bag limits could be adjusted to much better effect the other way around. I have, for instance, never understood

the need for recreationals to be allowed to catch more than five fish in total of all species per day, subject to individual limitations for a particular species. Neither can I understand why recreationals should be allowed to fish at night when the imperative is to reduce exploitation effort levels. I am, of course, well aware that night fishing is now banned on my lifelong favourite estuary, the Breede River. Why only there? Why not on all estuaries as hugely important nursery areas and, for that matter, the open sea? ARE CATCH RETURNS ANY USE? Catch returns are, in my opinion, a waste of time unless they’re completed at the launch site on the anglers’ return and are subject to inspection. If that’s not the case they are prone to manipulation by a very large percentage of recreational fishermen in order to seek advantage. In the case of licenced commercials, the percentage of honest returns is probably a single figure, so they’re of doubtful validity unless they’re completed during inspection which could still be subject to manipulation. The only way to improve this is to improve the quality and training of more carefully selected inspectors. Any decent fisheries inspector should also have a passion for the environment in which he would be working. It is common cause that for the last two decades, the department responsible for sea fisheries management has been completely ineffective in carrying out this responsibility. It is also imperative that commercials, who incidentally should be allowed to fish the open sea at night, and the coming small scale entrants, who should not be allowed to fish at night, be restricted to a single point of entry and exit. In light of our fast deteriorating resources, the fact that the ski-boat commercial fleet is allowed to move at will from one venue to the next in order to hunt down any concentration of fish wherever it raises its head, is totally beyond my comprehension. Please note that I am not a scientist and am, at best, only a layman researcher, but biology and the management of fisheries resources has been my hobby ever since my interest was fired by a lifelong friend,Alan Noyce. He was an outstanding natural sciences lecturer at Stellenbosch University specialising in marine fauna and flora, amongst other subjects. An unquestionable “Mr Chips” to his students, he was also a lifelong semi-commercial and recreational fisherman who I met 60 years ago. I, too, have been a lifelong recreational and competitive fisherman, initially a semi-commercial linefisherman, and then a full time participant in our fishing industry, both at sea and on shore for 52 years until my final retirement. I have always been passionate about our oceans and the marine environment, and

I have been criticised virtually all my life by the recreational lobby for having a commercial agenda, and by the commercial lobby for being on the side of the recreationals. I hope I can finally be accepted as unbiased. We in South Africa are blessed with extraordinarily strong and valuable fisheries resources which should be utilised to the fullest extent that is sustainable by both the commercial industry and the recreational industry who probably equate to much the same GDP value. Yes, of course, in a country where fast progress is necessary to give everybody a job and the ability to earn a living without being a burden to the state, smallscale artisanal-type participation is also an imperative. However, this must only be allowed to find its level with as little detriment as possible to both the major industries that presently exploit these resources, and always within the bounds of sustainability. PROPER MANAGEMENT ESSENTIAL How do we improve and ensure the proper management of these resources? Firstly, with an effective ministeriallymanaged stand-alone department — only one — with the right quality managers. One aspect that is presently lacking in this department is an efficient and competent compliance sector, particularly with the advent of the new small-scale fishing participants. The principle of loss-of-rights for transgressing regulations must be far more strictly applied across the board. As far as the recreational sector is concerned, club membership and peer influence must carry the day in a field that is fast becoming better controlled by the individual fishermen themselves. Good regulations and their strict application help, but voluntary self-control for

the benefit of our successors is the key. Incidentally I, like many others, was overjoyed when the courts threw out the departmental decision to ban the landing of red steenbras. What about red stumpnose and others that are very probably under greater threat? And what about the fact that the department aligns itself with SASSI despite the conundrum of fish or fishing practices being negatively highlighted by the latter whilst commercial exploitation of such resources is allowed by the former? Both are wrong in differing instances, and if alignment is sought by either, let alone both, they should come to realistic agreement. On that subject, I believe all fish in need of protection should be on the restricted recreational list, including red steenbras, red stumpnose and several others. Seventy-four should also be elevated to this status, because in the fifty years-plus since catching them was banned, the resource must surely have recovered, even if it has changed its territorial habitat. Anyway, how on earth do you check a fish’s improved status if they can’t be landed? It’s common cause amongst many fishermen that species like those mentioned above (excluding Red Stumpnose) are again being seen more often, and of a larger size, in their catches. Peer pressure, catch-and-release and appropriate catch limits will eventually enable the resource to recover. As for our scientists, by all means take issue with them, but please also remember that without their input and expertise all would be lost as our wonderful marine resources — misunderstood and unquantified — would sink inevitably to the bottom of the oceans instead of giving us so much food, wealth, jobs and enjoyment.

REBUTTAL Bruce Mann and Nadine Strydom responded as follows: JACK Walsh raises an age-old concern in traditional fisheries management, albeit negated here in modern times by genetic studies and modern modeling practices. CPUE can be biased (his concern), but practicing fisheries scientists at DAFF are well aware of this and have developed innovative and internationally recognised techniques of standardising CPUE data to reduce bias and derive more realistic stock assessments. South Africa also subscribes to the FAO code of conduct for responsible fishing which recommends taking a precautionary approach in situations where fish stocks are at high risk. The whole point the reader raises is mute as stock declines in dusky kob are now evidenced by genetic studies by some of South Africa’s leading fish geneticists using international techniques so the CPUE evidence from declining stocks is actually supported in the genes of the fish population in question. As for his issues around sex change, not all fish families and species undertake sex change in the same way. Some change sex at a certain point in their lives, other species change sex in response to external stimuli etc. In the case of poenskop, our case remains, as we have a large database on maturity for this species to work from to fully understand the reproductive biology. Further information on kob genetics research is available from Bruce Mann <>. SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 79




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AZZ up your boat with the ver y latest OceanLED lights — they look good and attract both gamefish and bait! Lowrance South Africa has the most popular lights in

stock, and all other models will be available on request. These lights, which are suitable for all sorts of hulls, are extremely bright with incredible nighttime lighting effects above and below the water. The new Xtreme Trailer Series has a higher lumen output with a sleek bezel design and a robust, impact-resistant body. They’re easy to install, boast low powerdrainage, reverse polarity protection and 40 000 hours of life. Lowrance SA carries the XT-4 (4 lights) in blue, green and white and the XT-8 (8 lights) in blue, green and white. Prices include VAT but are subject to exchange rate fluctuations. • 4-light unit: R2 350 • 8-light unit: R4 350 For more information call Lowrance SA (031) 368 6649 or visit <>.



uncle, Julie Lentz, aboard Lentz’s boat Jay-D. Brad credits much of his APTAIN Brad Philipps (44) released his 30 000th career billfish on success in later years to the solid foundation set for him at a young age 28 November 2015 — the first person in history to have reached this massive milestone, a truly astounding accomplishment in a while ski-boating and growing up in South Africa. He went on to obtain highly competitive international arena. Brad has released over 1 000 Border colours and was one of the youngest anglers to win an interblue marlin, a couple hundred other comprovincial competition. That same year he bined species of marlin, a few swordfish and attained Full Blues for angling from the spearfish and over 28 000 sailfish, the majoriUniversity of Cape Town. ty of which have been caught on his 40ft Brad has spent the past 21 years as a Gamefisherman, Decisive, while fishing out full-time sportsfishing professional in many of the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. His sevenof the world’s top billfishing locations, but year-old son, Darren, caught the 30 000th has called Guatemala home for the past 16 fish. seasons. He is very involved in billfish conBrad and his long time crewmates, servation, having introduced countless Kennedy Hernandez and Johnny Garcia, have anglers to the importance of catchaccumulated close to 7 000 combined fishandrelease and to the benefits of using circle ing days off Guatemala alone. Brad’s top hooks which reduce damageto the fish. years included 2 759 billfish releases in a sinBrad has released almost every one of gle season and as many as 91 sailfish in a sinthe billfish he has caught, with only a few gle day on 10kg line, 73 sailfish for a single world records or truly exceptional marlin angler in a single day and 51 sailfish releases being weighed. His biggest blue marlin for a single angler on flyfishing gear. He has weighed to date was a 1 254 lb fish which released double digit blue marlin and giant was caught off Cape Verde. bluefin in a single day, and has released both Some of the numerous accolades Brad Pacific and Atlantic grander marlin (marlin has been awarded include being named The weighing more than 1 000 lb). Billfish Foundation’s Release Captain of the He has also spent three seasons off Nova Year for 16 of the last 17 years. Scotia, Canada, releasing many giant bluefin When he’s not captaining his boat in tuna over 1 000 lb and weighing two fish Guatemala or running a boat in another top which where due to be taken to market, one destination, Brad spends a few months of of which weighed in at 1 038 lb. each year back in South Africa giving fishing Brad’s fishing career started in South seminars and guiding trips for his internaAfrica off the Eastern Cape coast where he tional clientele. learnt the ways of the sea, conservation and Johnny Garcia, Kennedy Hernandez, Brad Philipps and For further information visit the camaraderie of ski-boating from his Darren Philipps releasing his 30 000 billfish. <>.

80 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016



AKO’s wide variety of sunglasses means there’s one to suit everyone’s needs.

The Blade offers one of the most versatile sunglass frames on the market — the light, comfortable frames fit all sizes and shapes of heads while the wrap-around design reduces light entering from the side and distracting your focus. The lenses are glass, giving you the most scratch-resistant fishing sunglasses available today. What makes these lenses so unique is the use of Mako’s new High Definition (HD) technology which filters yellow light passing through the lens, giving you unrivalled clarity, because yellow light distorts vision. The Blade also comes in a photochromic option which adjusts to your surrounding light levels. The Blade is available in the following options: blue mirror with copper lens; green mirror with rose lens, photochromic light adjusting lens and regular grey. The Escape sunglasses boast reinforced frames which are strong and durable, and the glass lenses which are more scratch resistant than any polycarbonates. They’re designed to fit snugly for intense activities.

The Escape range also features Mako’s new HD technology as well as Infra-Red (IR) technology which limits the amount of infrared light from the sun that passes through the lenses, increasing eye protection and reducing eye fatigue in harsh conditions. It also significantly reduces the amount of heat passing through the lenses to prevent wearers from developing dry, itchy eyes. Escape sunglasses are available in the following options: blue mirror with black frame, blue mirror with white frame, grey lens with black frame and copper lens with tortoise shell frame. For further details on Mako sunglasses contact Lloyd Pereira on <Lloyd@>.



OWRANCE is excited to announce there’s a brand new touch screen option available in the Elite range for 2016. Available in 5inch and 7-inch single touch screen units, the Elite Ti units are affordable and easy-to-use, offering great performance and spectacular underwater views.

One of the most exciting features of this Lowrance series is that the units can be paired with the all new Total Scan transducer. Total Scan allows for broadband sonar, CHIRP sonar, down scan and side scan all built into one powerful transducer. This is the first time that side scan imaging has been made available for units outside the HDS range. Having all your favourite elements in one good-looking transducer means no more multiple installations. You won’t miss out on any structure or fish with Lowrance’s new Total Scan transducer. Elite Ti can also be paired with any other sonar or HDI transducer, so if you want to upgrade the head unit on your boat, but you’re still happy with your transducer, you can opt to purchase the Elite Ti on its own. The Elite 5 Ti has NMEA 0183 connectivity and the 7-inch version offers NMEA 2000 (limited) and allows for the addition of an Xi5 Motorguide control and Point 1 antenna. Thanks to built-in Wi-Fi (in both units) you’ll also have access to the GoFree™ Cloud where you can download Insight Genesis social maps without even leaving the water. Other fabulous features include: • Highly accurate 10Hz internal antenna • Widescreen and backlit colour display • Better image definition and target differentiation For more information and pricing details call your nearest dealer or contact Lowrance South Africa <>.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 81


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Anantara Bazaruto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Anglers Apparel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 Atlantic Suzuki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Billfish 15 000 sponsors . . . . . . . . . 23 Boating International . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Boating World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Boating World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 Butt Cat for hire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

MALLARDS Cobra Cat 575 with 2 x 90hp Yamaha motors, GPS, fishfinder, fighting chair, outriggers and doubleaxle break-neck trailer. Price: R180 000 Contact: Pieter on 082 852 9479


SEACAT 636 with 2 x F150 Yamaha outboards, only one owner. Includes Garmin GPS Map 7012 touchscreen, GHC 10 Garmin autopilot, 29MHz radio, Garmin VHF 100i, FM radio, freshwater deckwash, high pressure saltwater deckwash, fighting chair, bait station, luna tubes, livebait well, deck lights, push plate and dual battery system. Price: R580 000 Contact: Paul on 082 336 4187

COBRA CAT 700 Sportfisher with 2 x 140hp Suzukis with counter rotating props, Furuno GP 7000F, 1 KW transducer, fighting chair, outriggers & bases, electric downrigger, double-axle trailer with oil-filled axle and disc brakes, freshwater deckwash, Cat B safety equipment, hydraulic steering, navigation lights, Flotex carpets, bed and toilet, basin, 2 fuel cans below deck, fish hatches with pumps, bait station, livewell system and pumps, luna tubes, boat cover, shade cover for the rear, VHF radio, 29MHz radio, 4x Scotty rod holders, 7x stainless steel flush mounted rod holders, shot gun rod holders on the T-top, plus clears. Price: R485 000 Contact: Russel Fear on (031) 263-0333

Camp Carlos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Club 15 Fishing Kenya . . . . . . . . . . 12 Club Marine Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Durban Boat Show . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Durban Ski-Boat Club Festival . . . . . 30 Durban Yamaha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Eikos Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Four Roomz Photography . . . . . . . . 12 Garmin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Guinjata Sportfishing Club . . . . . . . 46 Inside Angling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Landrover Umhlanga . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Lowrance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Lucky’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32


Mako Eyewear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 McCrystal Insurers . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 MDM — Raymarine . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Mr Winch. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Natal Caravans & Marine. . . . . . . . . . 2 Natal Powerboats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Rapala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43


2004 Mercedes Benz Atego 4x4 truck with insulated sleeper cab. 104 000km. Mint condition. Price: R450 000 Contact: Mark on (011) 333-7790 or 082 6100 102

Rapala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Rutherford Marine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Rutherford Marine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Shelly Beach Ski-Boat Club Festival . 53 Ski-Port Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 SMD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

43FT BOBKAT (built by Two Oceans Marine) with 2 x 440hp Yanmar diesel inboard engines (turbo charged and intercooled). Equipped with aircon, fridge, bathroom, kitchenette, two cabins, spacious galley with table and seating area. Interior helmstation is equipped with Lowrance HDS 7, Navstar radio, Simrad autopilot and audio radio connected to outdoor Lowrance speakers. Flybridge is fitted with Lowrance HDS 7, HDS 9 and Furuno radar. Deck and flybridge cover are brand new. Contact: Daniela on 082 5588 186 or Monique on 083 260 7125

DEADLINE for the May/June 2016 issue of SKI-BOAT magazine is 16th March 2016.

Solly’s Angler’s Corner. . . . . . . . . . . 43 Southern Power/Volvo Penta . . . . . 77 Supercat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Suzuki Marine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 The Kingfisher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58


TOPS @ Spar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38


Two Oceans Marine . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Phone Joan on (031) 572-2289 or Lyn on (011) 425-2052

Turboformance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Vanguard Insurance. . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Wildfly Travel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 Yamaha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Yamaha Seacat 510 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Z-Craft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 • 83


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SKI-BOAT March/April 2016 â&#x20AC;¢ 89

Last word from the ladies


N the last issue of SKI-BOAT I wrote about “dealing with the stink”. I truly thought that after that little rant my beau would have realised how frustrating the stink can be to a person. I have to give him a wee amount of credit where it is due, though, instead of dumping his clothes next to the washing machine; he now dumps them outside my kitchen door so at least our house no longer smells like sardines that have been left in the sun all day to ferment. Another small bonus is that it’s now marlin and dolly season so I don’t have to worry about him climbing into bed stinking of snot, but at the rate this month has flown by, winter will soon be on our doorstep and I’ll be swatting him on the head with my paddle again, encouraging him to shower. Lucky for him my paddle is made of carbon and is pretty light, but these little arms know how to swing a paddle. Despite him leaving his dirty clothes outside, I still have to endure a sweaty, stinky beau snoring on my lovely couch with it’s fresh fluffy cushions and my favourite teal couch blanket, with his blood-smeared feet up on the arm rest. It’s truly a sight to behold. I’m not going to hold my breath, but I am hoping darling Beau reads this article and it finally sinks in that there are some habits I could do without… Another of his bad habits is leaving things lying around for months on end. I kid you not — after my darling’s extended fishing trip last year his precious “babies” remained coddled in my favourite teal blankie on my lounge f loor for a whole two months! Whenever I tried to move them I was promised that they would be cleared the following day, but — surprise, surprise — that never happened. Thank heavens for house guests and their wee little kids with tender-toes-that-may-notbe-pierced, otherwise those lures and my blankie would most probably still be on my lounge floor and my amazing domestic would still be polishing them and treating them like royalty. Now my season — triathlon season — is fast approaching and I’m hoping to do a triathlon next month, but my bike light (aka his new navigation light) still has not been returned! And yet every time I head out my darling reminds me to “stay safe” — the irony is obviously lost on him! I must admit I don’t often make new year’s resolutions, but after writing my last Rapala Lip I decided it was impera-

90 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2016





tive for my sanity — the little that remains — so here are my resolutions... • #resolution1 — beau showers before getting into bed or sleeping on “my couch” after a day’s fishing. • #resolution2 — label all my sports gear. I might even have to draw a big yellow line down the centre of the garage — left side for wifey’s gear and right side for hubby’s gear. • #resolution3 — tr y to keep my Rapala Lip in check. I recently came across a post on Facebook which gave the following definition for fish: “Fish n. pl. fish or fish-es — An animal that grows the fastest between the time it’s caught and the time the fisherman describes it to his friends.” That really rang true for me. Men always say that women can talk nonsense and gossip, but for those ladies out there who are not married or dating a fisherman, let me give you some free advice: Don’t believe a word that comes out of a fisherman’s mouth when it comes to “size”. Beau and I share an office and I often overhear him chatting to his buddies about fish that have been caught and I cannot believe the variations his buddies come up with! I may be biased but I really think my beau is pretty honest about what he has caught — his friends not so much! It’s funny how men always need to justify size and elaborate on it, especially once a few beers have gone down the hatch. Recently Beau got a call from a friend who is renowned for telling fan-

tastic camp-fire stories, and who had been living abroad at one of those fabulous places where sailfish are tagged and released in abundance. The call lasted a good hour and we got every last detail of one day in particular on which 15 sailfish were caught. Later that day I went onto Facebook and, to my amusement, I stumbled across a picture that boasted a mere ten sailfish flags…. The truth finally emerged — only ten sailfish had been caught that day! Let that be a lesson — Facebook reveals the truth! Passop! Here’s some more free advice — this time to the new fishermen out there: Never divulge your secret fishing marks; they won’t be secret for long. I know of far too many camp-fire stories where secrets have been shed — and are then quickly followed by an oopsie-daisy-Ihad-one-too-many-beers apology. If you thought girls could gossip and whine you obviously haven’t heard a fisherman — they take it to a whole new level. And no fisherman moans like the fisherman who’s suffering from fishing withdrawal symptoms. As I sit here writing, my man hasn’t been fishing in about a week and his Rapala Lip looks like it’s fixed in place. I keep praying that the weather gods send a westerly our way so that he can get out on the ocean again. Despite all of this, we love them to pieces and somehow find the strength to put up with all the hassles of being a fisherman’s wife. I keep reminding myself the perks are still there — if you look hard enough.








Gamefish 170 Centre Console 2 x 30hp Suzuki motors From R199 000

Gamefish 510 Centre Console 2 x 50hp Suzuki motors From R289 000

Gamefish 510 (2013) 2 x 70hp Yamaha autolube motors, with trim and tilt. R230 000

Yeld Cat 15 6 CC 2 x 50hp Yamaha motors, galvanised breakneck trailer. R129 000

Kosi Cat 16ft (2004) 2 x 40hp Yamaha electric autolube motors. R129 000

Gamefish 17ft (2013) 2 x 2011 Mercury 4-stroke trim and tilt motors. R275 000

Orion Cat 15 6 2 x 40hp Yamaha electric and pull start motors. R109 000

Ocean Master Cat 24/7 2 x 200hp HO Evinrude Etec motors, galvanised trailer. R495 000

Kosi Cat 18 6 FC 2 x 90hp Mercury motors, galvanised breakneck trailer. R229 000

Orion Cat 15 6 2 x 40hp Yamaha Electric motors. R125 000

Sea Chaser 26ft 2 x 250hp Suzuki 4-stroke trim and tilt motors. R550 000

Invader Cat 14 6 CC 2 x 40hp Yamaha motors, galvanised breakneck trailer. R95 000

Gamefish 625 FC 2 x 115hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors. R295 000

Swift 190 2 x 90hp Yamaha trim and tilt motors. R239 000

Cobra Cat 640 2 x 135hp Mercury Optimax motors with trim and tilt (273 hrs & 285hrs) R289 000

Citation 700 CC 2 x 150hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors, galvanised breakneck trailer R785 000

Citation 900 Cabin (2014 model) 2 x 300hp Verado Mercury supercharged 4-stroke motors (350 hrs), full house. R1 395 000

V-Cat 20ft 2 x 90hp Yamaha motors R249 000

Cobra Cat 630 2 x 115hp Suzuki EFI 4-stroke lean burn motors, hydraulic steering, Flotex carpets, galv trailer From R549 000



Cobra Cat 525 Centre Console 2 x 70hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors From R399 000

Ski-Boat March 2016  

Since 1985 Ski-Boat magazine has been providing deep sea anglers in South Africa and abroad with top quality content. Articles cover all asp...

Ski-Boat March 2016  

Since 1985 Ski-Boat magazine has been providing deep sea anglers in South Africa and abroad with top quality content. Articles cover all asp...