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March/April 2017 Volume 33 Number 2 COVER: TOOTHY TARGET Verner Daffue with a 22kg king mackerel — aka ’cuda — caught on his Stealth Fisha 500. He was fishing off Umdloti using a snoek fillet as bait. Photo by Mark de la Hey.



Team Work Pays Off! How to land a 500 lb-plus marlin on 20 lb tackle — by Dave Martin


Challenge of the Legends 30th TOPS at Spar Billfish 15 000 — by Blyde Pretorius and Lyn Adams


It’s a Fine, Fine Day Billfish 15 000 winners celebrate — by Michael Fourie



DIY Calliper Service Dealing with hydraulic trailer braking systems — by John Frankiskos


What’s Hot? Colours that incite a strike — by Erwin Bursik


Surprise Catch Witsand’s first black marlin — by Justin Normand


Broadbill Hot Spot It’s hard to beat Kenya’s night fishing — by Calvin du Plessis



Reunion Island Visit to an Indian Ocean gem — by PJ Botha


When Dreams Come True Captain Bill Harrison’s new book — by Erwin Bursik

DEPARTMENTS 8 9 55 56 57 67

Editorial — by Erwin Bursik Postbox Subscribe and WIN! Kingfisher Award Rules Kingfisher Award Winners Reel Kids

51 69 77 79 80 81 82

Mercury Junior Anglers Marketplace 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 Accountant: Jane Harvey Executive Assistant: Kim Hook Boat Tests: Heinrich Kleyn Contributors: Lyn Adams, PJ Botha, Erwin Bursik, Calvin du Plessis, Michael Fourie, John Frankiskos, Capt Bill Harrison, Dave Martin, Justin Normand and Blyde Pretorius. ADVERTISING – NATIONAL SALES: Angler Publications Mark Wilson cell: 073 748 6107 Joan Wilson (031) 572-2280/89/97/98 ADVERTISING – Gauteng & Mpumalanga: Paul Borcherds — 082 652 5659 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.

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HE conundrum and ethics of releasing fish caught by sport anglers is becoming more complex as the followers of this doctrine multiply every year — as they have done over the last two or three decades. People have been catching fish for consumption and sport for centuries, and just a few decades ago the mere thought of letting a fish swim free at the point of capture was unheard of. There are still many of us “old timers” around who experienced the era of loading all the fish caught into the boat and only putting back any inedible species that happened to forage our baits. Erwin Bursik The practice of releasing fish caught by sport Publisher anglers commenced in South Africa in the early 1980s with a move to release sailfish and marlin. This practice was largely driven by editorial comment and exposure in the international deep sea fishing magazines as well as by local marine biologists who began to press for billfish to be tagged and released. To begin with a large contingent of offshore anglers did not buy in to this concept and, although their numbers have dwindled considerably, some still exist to this day. Invariably whenever a sailfish or marlin is dragged off the boat and loaded into a bakkie or hung on a gantry you’ll hear justifying remarks like “It’s the angler’s first marlin” and/or “tagging results just tell the longliners where our billfish are being caught”. There’s some merit in the first comment because most of us fishing for billfish up to 1990 did just that, so we should not cast stones at others who want to take home one memorable fish. However, when it comes to informing the longliners, I think that’s very unlikely. Since the 1990s the dedicated followers of the release ethic have increased exponentially in southern and East Africa to the point where I believe that over 85% of all billfish caught these days are released. The likes of Rudy van der Elst of the Oceanographic Research Institute in Durban first proposed the concept of releasing fish — especially billfish — in around 1978 or 1980, thus breaking new ground. If they’d been told back then that in 30 years’ time the vast majority of billfish caught recreationally between Cape Town and Lamu on Kenya’s north coast would be released, they would never have believed it possible. Fortunately more and more offshore anglers are making a conscious decision to release all captured billfish, including the young boys and girls who want to see their first billfish swim free. The follow-my-leader syndrome is catching on extremely quickly and the list of species being released is rapidly expanding, with GTs (giant trevally) in particular being a firm fixture on that list. Once again the majority of these — and the lesser kingfish species — are set free nowadays. I believe strongly in using the coercive influence of the majority of anglers who practice the release principle rather than demeaning the few who boat a billfish or GT for one reason or another. These few will soon change their habits when they realise that the majority of their mates and the general angling fraternity frown upon their actions. In late January I attended the Mauritius International Billfish Release Competition held out of Black River and I was extremely chuffed to note that over the last three years the sportfishing community in Mauritius has taken the bold step of introducing the release ethic to anglers who have been accustomed to dispatching every marlin caught off that beautiful island. Reunion Island however still maintains a practice of killing most of the fish caught there — see the article by PJ Botha on page 59 where his group had no option but to boat the magnificent GT they caught. There is light on the horizon though, even on Reunion, where a few dedicated sport anglers who own their own craft are setting an example by releasing the billfish they catch in the fervent hope that over time other charter operators will follow their example. Many of us who have personally witnessed this transformation in the sport of offshore angling and who have taken more than our fair share of billfish and GTs are grateful we have seen the light and now release all billfish and kingfish species in an effort to set an example for others and do our bit to preserve these species. Till the next tide.

Erwin Bursik


GET FISHING GIRLS! Dear Editor, I was recently read the Rapala Lip article in the November/December 2016 issue, and for the first time I really could see myself in the story. A few years back I disliked fishing a lot; every vacation you would never see the boys because they’d go fishing in the early mornings and when they came back that’s all they talked about. I was like “Rapala Lip” — always the only girl on the trip. It was such a hassle to get the boats ready, sort out all the gear and early morning boat packs — and then I would spend the vacation on my own. That was until I met my husband. He is the kind of guy for whom deep sea fishing is his life, his boat is his girlfriend and fishing is his reason for living. I knew that from the start, so I just said to myself, “You have to try this fishing thing otherwise you’ll spend weekends, holidays and any other off day alone.” I told him I want to fish too, but that first morning I was so nervous about the famous Sodwana and its surf, but the launch was quickly over and we got the lines in the water. That is still the best day I’ve had at sea. I’m not sure if it’s because that’s the day I fell in love with fishing or that my first fish was a 38kg yellowfin tuna, but either way our lives are now planned around fishing. We dream to fish in other countries and talk about all the great fish released and all our trips to sea — like the time we lost the grander or the time only my husband and I were on the boat and I was fighting a marlin on 10kg line ...There are so many awesome memories. I can’t believe I never liked it because fishing is now such a big part of my life and I love every second of it. A huge shout out to the girls out there with husbands, boyfriend or friends that fish — give it a try, it might just change your life for the better. JANINE VISAGIE <>

SCARBOROUGHS FOR AFRICA Dear Editor, I’ve just read Erwin Bursik’s wonderful article on Scarborough reels in your latest issue of SKI-BOAT magazine. I’m an aspirant collector, but my neighbour in Plettenberg Bay has a collection to make one’s eyes water. In December I spent a wonderful and very enlightening couple of hours with him talking wooden reels. Erwin would have done his nut! TOM LEWIN <> Thanks for those photos, Tom. I was on holidy in the Eastern Cape in December and saw a beautiful collection of Scarboroughs in the Green Lantern restaurant in Kei Mouth. See the photos below. — Ed

SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 9




URING the dry season of late November 2011, about 45nm off the West Coast of Guatemala, on board the 37ft Cabo Mojo, and fishing out of the Marina Pez Vela, my first wild and utterly exhilarating thrill of hooking and fighting a blue marlin on 20 lb light tackle was realised. The fish came up on the flat line where I was stationed, momentarily poking its bill out of the relatively calm Pacific Ocean behind my ballyhoo/halfbeak which was rigged with a 7/0 Eagle Claw circle hook. The action instinctively prompted me to gently drop that bait back into its ever-searching mouth

Returning to the docks — SA flag on the left rigger, marlin flag on the right rigger and a happy Dave Martin in the middle.

and to free-spool it with absolutely zero drag or resistance. Thinking it was a sailfish, I was still processing the hookup procedure in my mind when the captain shouted in his heavily accented Spanish-English, “Marleen! Marleen! Marleen!” At the time I didn’t know that, five years later, this experience would prove invaluable in helping me make the split second, yet absolute confident, decisions needed to release the fish of a lifetime. That marlin took off like a dragster, greyhounding non-stop on the surface and peeling off line at a rate of knots, first away to my left, then doing an about-turn back towards the boat and to the right of me, causing the captain

to execute some hasty but nifty manoeuvres to keep us all aligned. The fish’s behaviour probably played a huge role in me being able to successfully release that light tackle marlin which was called in at a respectable 250 lb. Firstly the fish tired itself somewhat by staying on top and greyhounding out all its oxygen supply. Secondly, during its over enthusiastic display it double backed on itself, leaving a significant amount of free line in the water. I reeled that in, mostly without having direct contact with the fish, and we were able to back-up on the marlin while it was still near the surface, making it easier for me to execute a tip and release in accordance with the ILTTA competition and IGFA rules.

Sunset over Club Nautico de San Juan.

My very next experience with a blue on 20 lb was only two days later in the same international competition, but this time with different results. The sea was upside down to put it mildly. The 26ft press boat had capsised out at sea the previous day, and on this day fellow Protea angler and captain at the time, Russel Hand, was fishing on the 54ft Penultima which managed to break an outrigger by dipping it into the ocean as it rolled onto its side. I mention this because I don’t know if the sea conditions had anything to do with this marlin’s behaviour, but after only a few halfhearted jumps it headed for the bottom of the ocean — or so it seemed. I was not immediately perturbed, after all Shelly Beach was my home turf and I had pulled some decent tuna both on Protea and off the Cape. Besides, I’d released a marlin just two days before so I could surely do it again. Wrong! Wake-up call! This experience also prepared me well for my subsequent fight and release of my lifetime fish. Initially I went up on the drag to nine or ten pounds — about 5kg — as opposed to the set 6.5 lb/3kg, and proceeded to pump and wind, tuna style. The media personnel were on the Penultima with us and were in close proximity, capturing the event on film, which gave me more stamina than nor12 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2017

mal, but no matter how hard I pumped that fish, or how high I went up on the drag, that stubborn marlin just stayed put. It never budged and I gained no line back; so different to my first experience. Racing against the watch on the time limit given to release a fish according to competition rules, I went right up on my drag. Something was bound to give — either me, the line, the fish or the reel! As fate would have it, my expensive Italian reel (no names mentioned) with a history of handle failure gave in first and, as the time ran out, the 20 lb line popped. My ego stayed right there on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean with that marlin which had just kicked my butt good and solid! Over the next coupe of years I released a few marlin on 20 lb and continued to experiment, and test out and tweak different light tackle fighting options. THE STAGE IS SET The International Light Tackle Tournament Association (ILTTA) hosts an annual tournament at different locations, targeting only billfish on 20 lb test tackle, using only non-offset circle hooks for safe release and strictly in accordance with the IGFA Rules. The number of teams participating varies from about 20 to 35 depending on loca-

tion. These are seasoned anglers, some of whom release hundreds of billfish each year, so they are significantly more experienced than us South Africans, especially on the use of circle hooks. The format for this competition is particularly challenging — but fair — in that participants do not fish together as a three-man team from the same country on the same boat, but are rather split up to fish against two competitors from opposing teams or countries, on one boat, changing competitors and boats each day, for four days. This means that one competes directly against one’s opposition, rotating at half-hourly intervals from the left outrigger, then on to the flat line, to the right outrigger, back to the left outrigger and so on throughout the day, with only one line in the water at a time, per angler. Your two opposition anglers are now not only your direct competition on the boat, but also become your unofficial referees and judges. This creates great camaraderie and a respectful competitive spirit between the anglers, bound by absolute fairness to the ILTTA and IGFA rules. The challenging part with this format is that most times only one billfish will come up into the spread or on to a particular teaser at a time. If it happens to be on your bait and you make a hash of the hook-up, you can be virtually

guaranteed that your opposition will have a shot at that fish. Not only does your team lose out on a possible score, but you can virtually give away points to your opponents, creating a double whammy. Puerto Rico island is a USA state situated in the Caribbean Sea, south-east of Cuba and right next door and to the east of the renowned bill fishing destination of the Dominican Republic. It is only marginally north of Guatemala and is equally renowned for its hot billfishing. Its capital city, San Juan, was the location for the 76th ILTTA which started on 17 November 2016. I was fortunate enough to be included in and honoured to captain the South African Protea Team to this event. My two team mates were Jaco Lingenfelder and Mike Ross, also from Southern Gauteng. Practice days provided us with the opportunity to shake the cobwebs from our circle-hook fishing closet while giving us the chance to familiarise ourselves with the fishing conditions prevalent at the time. We spend practice days together as a team to encourage and learn from one another where necessary and generally share experiences. During one such practice day Jaco hooked into a smaller Atlantic blue marlin, just the size one wants to hook into during a timed fishing competition, but

what that fish lacked in size, it made up for in fight. As my dear departed friend and mentor Ted Adams would say, it was “full of piss and vinegar”. After some aerobatics, the fish sounded for some distance down and there it stayed. Only after riding away from the fish a few times to change the angle of pull did it eventually surface and Jaco could tip and release it. While Jaco was in full battle, Mike and I observed closely, and the only comment I made was that I might have reduced the drag a bit. However, Jaco is an experienced angler and he got to release a marlin during practice, where Mike and I fell short. SWEET BITE On the second day of the comp I was assigned to fish onboard the beautifully turned out and impressively fitted 48ft Cabo Sportfisher Sweet Bite, fishing against its owner Dr Hans Mangual from Puerto Rico, and Wally Heinsen from the Dominican Republic, a good friend made through the years of fishing the ILTTA. They are both highly experienced locals with superior knowledge of the fishing conditions and waters. To top it all, over the peak billfish season Hans contracts in a seasoned professional crew of five people from various local Caribbean countries, to operate Sweet Bite to ensure the

greatest angling success, a tactic that obviously works. During the competition the flat line angler has control of the teasers and may move his baits in or out, to the left or right teaser, depending on which teaser the fish comes up on, in order to present his bait to the fish and to coerce the fish into a bite. However, the outrigger anglers may not “pop” their baits out of the rigger clips unless they are being actively pursued by a fish or the fish itself knocks the bait line out of the rigger. The outrigger baits are generally some distance behind the teasers and therefore — theoretically — do not get direct benefit from the action of the teasers. Our teasers at the time were Mouldcraft squids rigged daisy-chain style, just like we use locally in SA, trailed by a marlin lure loaded with a Spanish mackerel about 30- to 40cm in length, clinically gutted and re-stitched to provide a lifelike decoy of a fleeing baitfish. The whole set-up is irresistible to a frenzied billfish. For obvious reasons the flat line position is often the most productive spot on the boat and hence the reason for the rotation system. On the 11.30am rotation I moved to the left rigger, looking astern, putting Hans on the flat line and Wally on the right rigger. I duly changed my ballyhoo/halfbeak bait, and from force of SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 13

A typical bait cooler for the day — rigged ballyhoo — and (right) Wally Heinsen, Dave and Hans Mangual enjoying a cold one. habit I automatically checked the terminal line for damage by running it through my thumb nail and forefinger; sometimes the line gets scuffed from a bill strike or similar. There were lots of small wahoo about and there were a few nicks in the mono just before the circle hook. I momentarily considered disregarding the damage and getting my line back in the water as soon as possible, as it really was minor damage. However, I would never feel easy on a fish with tackle that I was not 110% confident in, so thank goodness sanity prevailed and I went for a change of bait and terminal tackle. Although the sea was running a oneto two metre swell, there was very slight chop and virtually no white horses. In an attempt to negate the opposition’s advantage of a teaser, I put the head of a small flathead soft lure, completely trimmed save for a few rubber strands about 1cm in length, directly behind the circle hook, still with a small weight snuggly secured between the gill plates on the underside of the ballyhoo. I hoped that would create enough disturbance to attract the attention of any fish in the area. I must admit that this is not a bait set-up that I would normally favour as I always fear that the head could interfere with the delicate circle hook hookup procedure. However, during our practice days we found that a small softie head in front of the bait was inviting more strikes than a naked weighted ballyhoo. “Left teaser, left teaser, big marlin, big marlin!” That is what we as competitive billfish anglers wait to hear as we sit out on that big ocean all day in the sun for days on end. No matter how prepared one is and no matter

how many billfish one has caught during that day, week or year, one’s heart gets a kick-start of note and instinct takes over in a split second. That big mother jumped all over the left teaser and, being on the flatline, Hans dropped his bait back to the teaser where the fish had repositioned itself, probably to launch another attack, and it diverted its attention to his fresh ballyhoo. MIXED EMOTIONS At this stage one has a bucket of mixed emotions. It’s a huge high to witness a marlin attack on a teaser — or on a bait for that matter —knowing that you could have a go at it at any time now, but you are gut-wrenched because the attack was not targeted at your bait. At the same time adrenalin is coursing through your veins and, quite frankly, you would be just as happy to see anyone catch that fish as long as someone catches it, such is the camaraderie and respect for one another — competitor or not. However, I cannot tell a lie and inwardly I was hoping against all hope that Hans duffed that fish which could give me a chance at it. Luck was not on Hans’s side and he could not make the bite stick. By that stage the marlin was as mad as hell and it turned on the teaser yet again and absolutely obliterated it. The electric teaser reel, on full drag lock, started peeling off line as the marlin latched onto it like a pitbull. Then the outrigger through which the teaser ran suddenly snapped back and half a daisy-chain of squid came rebounding out of the water back towards the boat. The marlin had swallowed the kona with the Spanish Mackerel, snapping the teaser mono in the process before disappearing under the water again.

“That’s a beeg feesh, five-hundred plus,” said Captain Jose Edgard Diaz, in a subdued tone, almost with a breath of despair in his voice. Just about then my ‘rigger clip popped and boy was I ready for it… “C’mon baby, you’re mine!” I dropped back on freespool and let the bait sink, waited for a second or two longer than what I normally would have and, without the line peeling off at any noticeable change of pace, eased up on the drag to the set 5 lb and… nothing. No way? Nothing? At this stage the only thing pumping harder than your heart, which by now is near your tonsils, is the adrenalin pumping through your veins. No time for crying — yet! I lifted my rod as high as I could into the air as I reeled my line in a bit to get the bait back up to the surface and to get it working again and held it there with bated breath, virtually not even breathing, just like a rookie. I asked the captain if the bait was okay, which he confirmed, and waited in anticipation of a water explosion at the end of my line. Instead I saw the bow wake before I saw the fish; it was like watching the submarines in Red October. The marlin broke the surface behind my bait like a true lady, all in line, all in an orderly fashion, without white water and without all the previous pomp and ceremony, as it honed in on my ballyhoo. The moment I saw that bill pop up I dropped my rod down, pointed it at the fish on absolute freespool and this time, knowing the size of the fish and its capabilities, I went up a bit earlier than usual on my drag. By now the deck was the scene of organised chaos, with the crew shouting commands and giving advice to everyone on the boat — all in Spanish. SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 15

16 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT March/April 2017

The fish clearly became agitated when she felt the pressure of the 5 lb drag. At the time there was a great deal of water coming over the transom. Everyone on the boat spoke Spanish except me, so I calmly (as calmly as can be expected) went about securing my hook-up and I raised my arm to indicate such. At that, the mate and wireman, a gentle giant of a man by the name of Carlos Matos from Venezuela, came over to me and when he saw the line being dispatched from my reel, peeling from side to side on the spool like a windscreen wiper on maximum, all he shouted was something like “Lock-up! Lockup!”. My reaction was simple: “I’m already vas,” a natural locally South African reply that was understandably lost in interpretation but which was not questioned in the moment. A situation like this is when the appreciation for a well-organised and synchronised boat crew came to the fore. Carlos immediately shouted to the captain to backup, without first considering the other guys’ lines in the water. This crew, as well as Hans and Wally, were just as eager as I was to own this marlin. Captain Jose slammed the throttles in reverse and the twin Caterpillar C-18s responded with the same sense of urgency. I concentrated on the task at hand as the marlin broke the surface in a majestic display of aerial acrobatics, launching itself completely out of the water before starting to impress us with its greyhounding skills. Right then, as if

watching a kyk weer on telly, I saw scenes of my previous catches flash before me. I hesitated for a moment as some of those scenes ended in disaster for me while others had a good ending. Against logic — except for that of maintaining a constant drag pressure on a rapidly diminishing spool diameter — I came back on the drag quite significantly, probably to about 2- or 3 lb. At the same time I told the big man Carlos, who had not left my side since the hook-up, to tell the captain to back-up as fast as he could to retrieve some of the 350 metres or more of line that had been spooled off. To have so much line of that class in the water with a marlin on the end is courting disaster. Any rapid acceleration and change in direction from the fish will easily burn the line off in the water, as had happened to me before. As the turbo chargers kicked in, releasing all of the 1 015 horsepower of each Cat C-18, I put all my faith into the Shimano Talica 20 BFC’s 6.7:1 retrieval ratio to help me claim back my property. This got off to a delayed start, as it took me a moment to realise that I was not gaining back any line having come so far back on my drag. Thus started the mind games of me and my drag setting. From there onwards it was a constant adjustment and re-adjustment of the lever drag.

Backing into the swell, the aft deck completely filled with water like a jacuzzi. This was a 48 foot craft and having so much water in such a big boat was at times quite concerning for me as I was standing up to crotch level in water. On two occasions the captain had to come off the throttle, go into neutral and ease forward while Carlos opened the fish loading gate in the transom to drain some water, with the crew as far forward as possible. It was particularly challenging for me during these times as I was trying use as little drag as possible so as not to spook the fish into a jumping frenzy again, while still maintaining contact with it. We were finally above the fish and just as I thought I was gaining the upper hand, with only about 100- to 150m of line out, the marlin went straight down. Déjà vu all over again. I lost easily another 100-150 metres on this run and the line was still screaming off. Considering the loop of line in the water and the depth of the fish, we had lost its direction as well. On a dead boat, line going straight down and an evapourating spool, I didn’t have many options left. Let’s face it, the odds were stacked against me from the start, by 25:1 at least, but more so now that I did not have the heavy tackle resources of rod and reel and heavy line at my disposal, never mind the time. SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 17

Jaco Lingenfelder, Mike Ross and Dave Martin at the flag ceremony.

According to the compettion rules, after one hour the line must be cut. Recalling my previous experiences, I had no option but to do the unthinkable again — come almost completely off the drag in the hopes that the beast would believe that it no longer had anything to fight against or run from, and would return to the surface. I virtually stopped breathing again and, while still losing line, I backed off the drag to probably less than one pound. That is half a kilogram — madness, surely? I had no other options. Even if I went up to 16-, 18- or 20 pound drag there was no way I could winch this denizen up from that depth in an hour. All this time I was telling Carlos what I was doing and it didn’t take long for him to realise that what I was doing appeared to be working. Unlike some other mates, he left me to fight the fish in my style, in my time, while occasionally communicating with Captain Jose. Remarkably, after losing even more line, the spool eventually slowed until there was just a slow but constant backwind. Eventually I went up on the drag and could retrieve line without feeling any excess pressure. Surely the beast was surfacing? Eventually Capt. Jose caught sight of the marlin. Indeed it had risen, and the cat and mouse games began — retrieving line without applying too much pressure, while cautiously

Gerald Torres (Puerto Rico), Dave Martin, Rafael Tova (Chairman ILTTA, Venezuela) and Wally Heinsen (Dominican Republic) celebrate the catch at the marina. backing up on the prey. As if we’d rehearsed it, Captain Jose and I worked in unison and in complete calm. The rest of the crew on the other hand were going absolutely nuts, realising that we had a real chance of pulling this one off. It would be a big feather in the caps of the crew and would most certainly earn them some bragging rights — at least until the next morning. SKILLFUL SKIPPERING Captain Jose skilfully kept me on the same side of the marlin as we inched our way towards the big shadow in the water, slowly but surely closing the gap between us. This is the most nerve-wracking stage of the battle as far as I’m concerned. The last thing I wanted was to spook the fish so that it screamed off again, taking us back to square one with the clock ticking! So near, yet so far…. A surge of reverse thrust hitting a sizeable swell completely drowned me

in water, but at that moment everyone else on the boat burst into a tumultuous roar of exaltation. I couldn’t see anything and continued with the stealth-like approach on my prey while everyone else, including my competition, cried victory. The knot of the three-metre leader had been pulled through the top eye of my rod and, in accordance with IGFA rules, this is a legal catch or tip and release. It was a somewhat hollow victory feeling for me, though, as I had not personally witnessed this death knell and therefore, in my mind, in my own battle against this beast, I could not realise true satisfaction in victory! However, we had to cut the trace off as close to the hook as possible, so Captain Jose continued to stalk the prey in stealth mode until eventually I was able to lunge forward while reeling that damn leader almost onto the reel. The elation, jubilation and relief then was overwhelming, but when Carlos took hold of that leader and SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 19

Everyone was excited about the achievement, be they friend or foe. applied unfettered strain on the line and the fish, it absolutely exploded into the air right next to the boat. At that moment the true size of the beast became apparent and everyone just went ballistic. It was a huge feat to pull off, and without such a professional captain and crew on such a magnificent sportfisher like Sweet Bite, and without the teamwork that went on, I doubt whether

20 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2017

this story would have had a happy ending. It was a team effort — as most marlin angling is — and I thank all of those that made it possible. Luck, skill, or chance? I don’t know, a bit of it all I think; you decide. I guess a bit of past experience may have helped a bit too. Either way, let the records show that we pulled in a 500 lb-plus marlin on 20 lb tackle — officially a 25:1 record.

• With 11 international caps, seven as captain, Dave Martin is the most capped Springbok or Protea deep sea angler. He has personally released over 200 billfish, needing only one striped marlin to accomplish the prized IGFA Royal Slam.

X-RATED! The X-28 Walk Around by X-Boats

The X-32 Walk Around




HE word “riviera” simply refers to coastlines, ideal sub-tropical climates and green foliage, but it invariably conjures up notions of an ideal leisure lifestyle all over the world where great yachts often make up an essential part of our biggest dreams and wildest aspirations. Then there is the real Riviera — the original — a gorgeous stretch of coastline in southern France that stretches all the way to the principality of Monaco. It’s the place where James Bond outfoxes the casinos and global criminal masterminds while seducing a Russian spy all in the same night; the place where F1 drivers show their true grit in front of superyachts that line up close to the side of the track and where the parties never stop; it’s the place where a beautiful South African swimming champion can become a real princess and follow in the footsteps of the classiest woman of the past century, Princess Grace. Okay, we’ll grant you Coco Chanel as a close second. Each country claims its own Riviera and Capetonians love calling the

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Clifton stretch their Riviera. You can bet that if a country has a coastline — however murky or mozzie infested — some developer or hotel magnate will lay claim to it being the local equivalent of St Tropez and Brigitte Bardot’s late night water-skiing jaunts in the moonlight. The one other nation that can truly lay claim to fantastic beaches is Australia. After all, it is one gigantic island in the middle of absolutely nowhere. We have all seen the pics of the Great Barrier Reef and the Gold Coast that stretches for miles down the east coast. Perfect temperatures, lifesavers with tanned bodies, surfers, the whole caboodle, complete with waterways and canals. It’s only fitting then that the manufacturers of the most exciting yacht ever built in Australia, the deep sea game-fishing luxury cruiser Riviera settled on this name. If they were looking for one short name that would capture all of the potential lifestyle excesses one could enjoy with a good yacht, they found it in this 7-letter R-word.

The good news is that the Riviera is robust enough to stand up to the toughest conditions found off the South African coastline, and local agent Derrick Levy of Boating World has delivered several top-end Rivieras to serious gamefishermem and captains of industry in South Africa over the past few years. Several of those craft have made it deeper into Africa and up the African coastline, as well as to Indian Ocean islands such as the Seychelles. The kind of person who owns a Riviera wants the best, whether they’re talking about the boat they own or the place where they moor, cruise, party or fish. JOIN THE RIVIERA FESTIVAL Riviera owners all over the world share many of the same passions. The Aussie home office recognises this and therefore invites all current and prospective owners to come and enjoy their Riviera Festivals down under. No matter what their country of origin or particular yachting interest, each Riviera owner is part of this family of people living the good life built around their yachts.

LIFESTYLE This year the Riviera Festival stretches over three days of fun and learning on the Gold Coast. Now in its sixth year, and with new workshops spanning the full spectrum of marine education being added each year, attendees can choose from themes such as night navigation and safety at sea through to a new fishing clinic. The organisers have also added a special new Skippers Program for those aged 18-25 years. One seminar that’s particularly alluring is called “Living the Riviera Dream.” It covers the joys and rewards of extended cruising, detailing an amazing journey from Auckland to Fiji and over 5 000 nautical miles around the Pacific onboard the luxurious Riviera 61 Enclosed Flybridge, Communique. Some of their most popular workshops return with brand new content and hands-on activities, including the Ladies’ Skipper Program, Safe Towing and Anchoring, Understanding the Weather, Offshore Seamanship, Understanding Navigation and Radar Operation, as well as the Preventative

Maintenance Tricks of the Trade, Emergency Procedures and Radio Communications. As with previous festivals, the people at the helm use this get-together to display the latest luxurious designs on the water with a red-carpet showcase. This year it includes guided tours through the internal prototype of the new 68 Sports Motor Yacht ahead of her World Premiere in mid-2017. The fully narrated Riviera factory tour, via the Riviera Express train ride or air-conditioned bus, is another mustdo and offers first-hand insight into the world-class production processes of the largest luxury motor yacht facility in the southern hemisphere. Riviera manufactures a wide range of yachts from the lower end 30ft craft to the ultra-luxurious 77ft Enclosed Flybridge. There is something to suit everyone’s taste and pocket, and owners put their yachts to a wide range of uses. What we find truly attractive about their approach is how they cross and combine genres. A serious gamefisher with a bunch of mates can chase

deep out in the ocean with every possible piece of rig and tackle in exactly the right place at the right time, while their partners can lounge along in total luxury and sip margaritas as if on a Sunday sail around the harbour. There is just no substitute for experience and good responsiveness to client needs, and after many years in the game, Riviera gets it right like very few others do. Boating World, with offices in Cape Town and Durban, exclusively represents many of the world’s very top yachting brands in South Africa and they consider Riviera to be one of their f lagships. If you think it’s time to upgrade to something really special, you’ll be in good hands speaking to Derrick Levy who has more than 40 years’ experience in the industry. Take the first step to the perfect lifestyle today by contacting Derrick Levy at Boating World via email <> or phone 082 881 2607 / 0861 324 754 (national). Alternatively visit <>. SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 23

COMPETITIONS The team aboard Captain Fine were thrilled with their win.

24 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT March/April 2017

By Lyn Adams, Blyde Pretorius and Team Navigate


OVEMBER 2016 marked the 30th running of the Tops at Spar Billfish 15 000 invitational hosted at Sodwana Bay by the Dorado Ski-Boat Club — arguably the best tournament of its kind. Last year the full tag-and-release event attracted some new sponsors who ensured that prizes worth over R1.5-million were up for grabs. That alone was great motivation for the stiff competition that ensued between the 75 boats entered. At this tournament all the competitors walk away with not only memories, but also generously donated sponsors’ products. As always tropical weather and rain are big factors at Sodwana in November, but Columbia Clothing took along enough stock to dress all the wet anglers. The tournament started on Saturday, 12th November 2016 with the very well organised sponsors’ night where the sponsors received certificates acknowledging their contributions and commitment towards the Billfish 15 000 tournament. On the Sunday it was the anglers’ turn with registration where everyone entered received goody bags bulging with shirts and other goodies from the many supporting sponsors. On the Sunday night everyone gathered in the huge marquee for the skippers’ briefing and, as always, Jaco Hendriks was in fine form. Tactics, statistics and sponsors — and the weather foreast — were all big talking points at the briefing. On day one the weather was a bit dodgy, but the conditions were fishable and ever yone was raring to launch; the tractors provided by Bell Equipment went a long way to ensuring that process went smoothly. The fishing action was soon hotting up, with plenty of yellowfin and dorado around for livebait, and it seemed that the 2015 winning team aboard Chungaa would be the legendary team to beat. By the end of the first day 12 marlin had been successful released. Chungaa skippered by Piet Taylor was in the lead with one blue marlin and one black marlin on the board. Bill Rider was firmly in second place after releasing two sailfish and one black marlin. Although the anglers are at the tournament first and foremost for the fishing, the evening weigh-ins and SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 25

These anglers celebrated receiving T&R certificates after day one. prize-givings are also great reasons to join attend. For the 2016 event Dorado Club member Riaan van Wyk, entertained everyone with a few songs on his guitar. On day two the weather was not fabulous, but the mighty waters were still fishable. Tanie Bets Von Wielligh, the legendary Beach Control “Madam” and Elizma Els were in full control of launching and beaching procedures, as always working hand in hand with the team from Bell. At this stage the tournament was still wide open and the game was on. Nine marlin were released on day two, with Bill Rider’s black marlin release helping them take first place from Chungaa. Chungaa slipped into second place with Captain Fine in third. The legendary teams were setting the pace heading into the finishing straight. The third day dawned still ver y unsettled weather wise, but all the teams bravely went out to sea, determined to upset one of the leaders. It was still an open tournament for everyone to win, and indeed things were turned aound thanks to the tournament’s unique point system that gives more points for multiple species and double hook-ups. The team aboard Naughty Cat had some luck on their side with their double hook-up on striped marlin. They had already released a black marlin on the Monday and were now securely in second place. Chungaa’s anglers had no luck on day three and moved into third place. Meanwhile Captain Fine, skippered by Michael Fourie, took the

Dorado SBC committee delivered yet another fantastic tournament.

These graphs show the number of fish caught each day and at what depths. SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 27

Naughty Cat placed second.

Bill Rider came third.

Team Caveman after a great day out.

Never the less received the bycatch prize. lead with extra points for multiple species after releasing a striped marlin on the Monday, a blue marlin on the Tuesday and a black marlin on Wednesday. It seemed Captain Fine was the team to beat and that evening statistics and game plans were once again reviewed by all the teams. The weather did not look good for the rest of the week and Thursday ws a blow out. Captain Fine’s anglers were praying for another blow out on the Friday while the other competitors were praying for a weather change and just one more day of fishing. When Friday dawned the weather still did not look good, but the weather committee was sent out to see if it was possible to fish for the day. Behind the backline the wind was gusting at 25 knots with very rough seas — the mighty ocean had spoken. The team aboard Captain Fine were declared the winners of the 2016 Billfish 15 000, adding their names to the list of legendary teams of this com-

petition. At the main prize-giving on the Friday night everyone was commended for a great week of camaraderie which was capped when all the competitors stood to sing the Dorado Song with the billfish committee. Probe Corporation had made sure the weigh-in station was up to date for all the by-catches and Team Never the Less, received R65 000 for the biggest by-Catch of the tournament. As winners of the 2016 Billfish 15 000 tournament the team aboard Captain Fine walked away with a cheque for R250 000, a clothing voucher from Columbia worth R40 000 and an invite sponsored by Prop-shaft Master to the Offshore World Championships. From a statistical point of view, if one compares the 2015 stats to those of the 2016 event, once again they just prove that the ocean is a puzzle. Where to go and what to target and how — these are the questions that plague deep sea anglers. A very well known

billfish angler once told me:“Trust your gut feeling daily and the mighty waters will reward you. Have commitment and patience and, most of all, be prepared for the unexpected.” Dorado Ski Boat club would like to thank all the anglers, sponsors and everyone involved in the Billfish 15 000 tournament for making it such a legendary event. Make sure you book your spot now for the 31st Billfish 15 000 which will run from 13 to 17 November 2017. TOP TEN BOATS BOAT


1. Captain Fine . . . . . . . . . . . . . .801 2. Naughty Cat . . . . . . . . . . . . . .798 3. Bill Rider . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .727 4. My Lady . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .605 5. Chungaa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .510 6. Bullship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .509 7. Real Passion . . . . . . . . . . . . . .225 8. Viskoors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .223 9. Strike it Tight . . . . . . . . . . . . . .223 10. Certainty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .222

SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 29


By Michael Fourie, skipper of Captain Fine


N 12 November 2016 two of my crew members — Marius Botha and Charl van den Berg — and I left Richards Bay enroute to Sodwana Bay for the annual Billfish 15 000 tournament. Our other two crew members — Aubri Volskenk and Alister Frans — were due to meet us up there. On the Sunday evening after registration we set out to do the final preparations of sharpening our hooks, going through our leaders and testing our drag settings. We left the lure selection for last as this is a prestigious competition and requires thorough planning. Finally we were 150% prepared, completely focused and had the right mindset to win this competition. On the first day the weather was pretty bleak and the start of the tournament was a little delayed. We were actually the last team to launch as we were unsure of what the weather was going to do. When we eventually did launch we decided to go south to Diep Gat. This is where most of the catches were made during the OET a week or two before. We stayed there until about noon with no luck, and then decided to go north. When we arrived at Klein

30 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2017

Witsand we noticed some baitfish showings on our Lowrance fishfinder. Not long afterwards we spotted a striped marlin; he came into the spread, missed the long left and got hooked on the centre rigger. Aubri was in the chair and the fight lasted about 25 minutes, then the beautiful stripey was released. We had made our target for the day — our gameplan was just to release one marlin per day. The next day we were one of the first boats to launch, after all, we’ve heard often enough that the early bird catches the worm. Inspired by our catch the previous day we decided to head back to Klein Witsand. We had only been there about five minutes when Marius screamed,“There! There!” I jumped up and saw a small marlin chasing the big lure. He missed the first time, so I let the line freespool and he bit. Alister was in the chair this time and after a 20-minute fight we released our second marlin of the competition. The plan was working! After two good days we were really motivated, and the next day we were once again the first boat to sea. We realised that if we caught another marlin that day we could well take the lead. The morning was very quiet for us, but other boats around us were making catches and we started to get nervous.

Eventually we got a hit on the long right. We hadn’t seen anything so it was just the “Whirrrrrr” of the reel that notified us of the bite, and then chaos ensued. Charl jumped into the chair, and the small blue marlin was soon released. Meanwhile Naughty Cat had a double up of two striped marlin, and we knew that time was a big factor and it was important to be the first to catch the fish. We also knew that the Billfish 15 000 cannot be won on the third day and the winners are only finally announced at 3pm on the final day. That evening at the tent the five of us were surprised to be given the yellow caps which indicated we were the leaders. When the fishing was cancelled on the fourth and fifth days due to bad weather conditions we could finally celebrate our win; it was the most amazing feeling! To my excellent crew members — Marius, Charl,Aubri and Alister — thank you for being such an awesome team, especially as this was the first time we’d fished together. The Captain Fine team would also like to thank the sponsors and organisers of this prestigious event for putting together such a fantastic tournament; it’s an honour to be invited to the World Offshore Championships and we’ll try to make you proud.

MAINTENANCE By John Frankiskos


HE braking system fitted to most ski-boat trailers these days is based on the hydraulic systems used on the majority of motor vehicles and which has generally proved to be highly efficient and reliable. We have come to accept that when brakes are needed they work and work efficiently. Based on this premise and, added to it, the legal requirement that when you’re towing any trailer with a gross mass above 750kg on the public road it is required to have a braking system that complies with the law. Another factor to consider is that insurance companies carrying the risk of boats and trailers expect that the braking system on an insured rig is fully operational and able to exert the required braking pressure when the tow vehicle’s brakes are applied or, on a downhill, that the inertia effect of the weight of boat and trailer is sufficient that its forward velocity is reduced.

So, in simple terms, as the tow vehicle driver, you need the brakes on your boat trailer to work perfectly for your own safety — regardless of the legal and insurance requirements. But, and it’s a big but, most ski-boat trailers are submerged in saltwater each and every day your craft is launched, and that’s not good for brakes or other components. For this reason, unlike on your motor vehicle which only needs its brakes serviced every 30 000 kilometres, a boats trailer’s brakes need to be serviced virtually every month. I was prompted to write this article when, after a 15km tow from my club’s launch site in Durban towards my home in Mount Edgecombe, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw flames coming out of my left hand trailer wheel! When I pulled up in the estate the two regulation ski-boat fire extinguishers failed to suppress the blaze and I could visualise my entire rig bursting into flames. Fortunately a neighbour, a nearby stream and a bucket system eventually doused the flames. The fire was caused by the friction

A discarded brake calliper taken off a Durban-based rig. This could not be repaired and new replacement callipers had to be installed. Note that the piston had not been replaced with a stainless steel one as we did on my trailer and Mr Ski-Boat’s.

By comparison, look at this recently serviced calliper attached to Mr Ski-Boat’s trailer. The calliper was removed from the trailer to be photographed six weeks after being serviced and after three launches into sea water. material of the brake pads igniting due to excessive heat and/or the oil from the oil-filled axle which had leaked out of the overheated stub axle seals and ignited. The sad part is that the wheel bear-

ings and brake callipers had only just been serviced “professionally” three months before this incident. I’m mechanically minded, so I inspected the damaged callipers and wheel bearings at the trailer workshop SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 35

in an effort to try to understand the cause of the fire. Once all had been replaced and the callipers sent out for professional refurbishment, I towed the unloaded trailer home thinking my troubles would now be over. To my surprise and dismay the wheel hubs were, in my opinion, excessively hot after just a 10km tow. In sheer frustration I personally removed the callipers and made up a jig to recondition them myself. During this exercise I not only discovered that the incorrect seals had been installed, but also that the stainless steel hydraulic pistons I had initially replaced at considerable expense were not operating smoothly. I honed the piston bore and polished the pistons, fitted the correct seals and reassembled the callipers. I also found there was a blockage in the line from the brake booster to the callipers which was not allowing the hydraulic fluid to freely flow back into the booster bowl when the brake was released. The braking system on my trailer now works extremely well. There’s also no sign of heat on the wheel hubs and I have to date launched the ski-boat both into the

harbour and off the beach at Vetch’s six times without any signs of overheating of the wheel hubs. Mr Ski-Boat’s trailer was experiencing similar warm hubs and I offered to help Erwin Bursik service his trailer’s brakes. What should have been a two hour job ended up taking us virtually two days. One of the callipers was marginally okay, but the other piston was rusted into its housing and could not be released using air pressure with the device I had manufactured. In the end we had to use hydraulic pressure by reinstalling the calliper without the disc pads and pumping the handbrake to eventually extract the piston from the brake calliper. The next challenge was to locate the correct seals over the Christmas holidays. We didn’t know the exact model of brake callipers that were originally installed which meant frequent trips to the motor spares company until we got the correct seals. We then found out that the seals used four months earlier when it was “professionally” serviced were, in fact, incorrect and the outer seal was not seated correctly because it was oversized, thus allowing

water to get into the piston housing. Again this major service included honing of the piston bore and cleaning up the rust on the piston on a lathe before it could all be reassembled. Erwin assures me that the brakes are now working perfectly, and even after three launches into Durban Harbour the wheel hubs no longer get warm when towing. Even when descending the ridiculously steep Buttery Road in Umgeni Park when the effects of a pushing trailer/rig are excessive, the brakes are not overheating as they do their job of slowing down the rig. A word of advice: make sure you know the make and model number of the brake callipers that have been fitted to your trailer to ensure that replacement seals are correct. I accept that doing this exercise oneself is onerous, but now that I have done it twice I’m happy to say that “it’s no big deal”. If you go the service centre route please ensure that the work is undertaken by fully trained technician and not a “wrench and hammer” labourer — your life and your expensive skiboat could be at stake.

THE following photographs show the sequential steps when servicing callipers... 1. After jacking up the trailer and removing the tyre it’s a relatively simple task to remove the calliper — just disconnect the hydraulic hose and take out two bolts. 2. Remove the the brake pad securing clip, then remove the two brake pads. They should slip out very easily.


36 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2017

3. Once the brake pads are removed the butt end of the piston becomes visible. If this is the first time you have seen the workings of your trailer’s brake calliper, the piston should be stainless steel and hopefully not rusted like the one in the main photo.

4. I attach an air line from a compressor to the hydraulic pipe connected to the calliper, but only after I strategically place a block of wood and a soft cloth to catch and protect the piston which can come out with speed and surprising force as compressed air is pumped into the piston bore.

4. 5. Close to the top end of the piston bore an O-ring is fitted into a groove in the bore. This creates the hydraulic seal between the piston and the bore. At the exposed outer end a concertina boot seal is fitted; this boot has a flange on the bottom end which fits into a groove at the top end of the piston bore. The other side of the boot has a flange that seats in the top end of the piston. This seal prevents dust and, in our case, water from entering the piston bore.



6. If all goes well, and provided you have the correct calliper replacement parts, this entire exercise of servicing the trailer’s brake callipers should take approximately one hour per wheel, although this may depend on their condition. At least you’ll have peace of mind that the job you did has been done properly. SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 37


By Erwin Bursik


HE lures anglers troll in their quest to catch the most majestic fish in the ocean — the mighty marlin — are, to say the least, the single most important aspect of the quest. Read any book or magazine, watch any video on the subject or walk into any tackle shop and one’s mind goes into information overload. So many sizes, so many shapes and, above all, so much colour that a rainbow is positively dull in comparison. So, what is the correct one to buy and use? Lappies Labuschagne of Black Magic fame is the marlin doyen at Sodwana, and I once went into his locker after he had spread out all his konas to sort. I was staggered; not only were there at least 100 lures lying in rows, but the variation in size, head design and, above all, colour variations made my mind do double somersaults. Lappies just laughed, and

said,“Wherever I have fished, especially overseas, I am a sucker, and when I’m told that a certain lure, colour, or head design is hot, I have to buy it.” Over the past two decades I have covered many of the top marlin and sailfish competitions, both in South Africa and Kenya, and in the course of each weigh-in, I have seen every lure being presented to the weigh master/recorder for verification. With that information I should have stood a better chance on the ocean the next day. I even have photographs of the majority of the konas that have caught fish, but and instead of being in a uniquely well-informed position, I am often the most confused angler in the tournament. In my view there is almost never any correlation in the size, shape and colour that works for different anglers. In desperation I once asked Ryan Williamson of Pulsator Lures for the breakdown of the most popular colours — only colours — of the lures he sells world wide. He just laughed. “It’s a trade secret,” he said,“but let me tell you, virtually every country I sell to demands certain colour variations. As an, example pink and white is popular in Kenya, whereas that colour won’t sell in South Africa. There are many examples of anglers’ favourites spread out over colour and style variations. At Pulsator we have to produce a huge range of colours, as you can see in our brochure, and I can assure you that we sell them all, otherwise we simply would not produce them.”

Fuschia, silver and black with fuschia solid skirt on the inside.

Blue and silver with half yellow, half green underskirt. 40 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2017

Ryan, together with Stuart Simpson who charter skippers off Cape Verde and Kenya, recently developed a new style of kona skirt colour largely for use in the Cape Verde marlin season. When I heard about them I persuaded Ryan to let me in on his quest so that I could try to document his thinking at this stage of the development. I wanted to share with our readers what Ryan and Stuart were trying to emulate by way of colour, and the process that was being undertaken to achieve the desired results. I was very eager to find out how this process worked, starting with the the idea, progressing through the research and design stage, on to the prototype and the final colour combination that will hopefully catch marlin not only in Cape Verde, but also here in South Africa .... Having spent four weeks in Cape Verde during the height of the 2016 marlin season, working the deck of Capt Stuart Simpson’s sportfisher, Ryan Williamson believes he learnt a great deal about the marlin fishery there. In fact, he rated the experience so highly that he’s returning to spend another 16 weeks doing the same thing during the 2017 season.

When Stuart was back in his hometown of Durban for the Christmas season he and Ryan decided to relook at the colours of the lures Pulsator makes and revise them to hopefully suit the tastes of Cape Verde’s blue marlin. Ryan and Stuart took into account the predominant colour of the water prevailing in Cape Verde and the type and size of baitfish that are abundant in these waters, and came up with a few new colours for skirts on Pulsator’s most popular lure, the Marlin Magnet. They experimented a great deal with various skirt colours to ensure that when they were skimming at 7.5 knots through the blue-green Cape Verde waters, from the marlin’s perspective (i.e. from below and from either side), the lures would better emulate the local baitfish than the colour lures Ryan had taken to Cape Verde in 2016. Only time will tell if their new colours improve the hookup rate, but Ryan will return from Cape Verde with first hand experience of how the new Marlin Magnet lures worked and will hopefully provie us all with a breakdown of how each colour variation worked. After giving me some details about how he went about creating the new colour variations, Ryan offered me a whistlestop tour of the skirt moulding section of the Pulsator factory. Always eager to find out exactly how things are made, I spent a long time watching his staff go about their tasks and tr ying to photograph the basic steps involved in creating a lure, while still

Purple, silver and blue with black stripes inside skirt.

Purple with green inside. SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 41

Dipping the first colour.

Heating with a blowtorch before redipping. Ready for the oven.

Spraying an extra colour band of white on black. The flame seals the colour after spraying.

Cutting the strips. respecting Pulsator’s need to keep certain ingredients under wraps. I have to admit I was staggered at how much goes into the production of what appears to be a simple lure skirt. The lures are dipped, sprayed, redipped, fired, redipped — again and again — until the correct thickness and colours are achieved, and then finally they’re hung in a big oven for the final stage of curing. 42 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2017

Once the skirt has cooled and been removed from the mandrel, a worker inspects it before placing it in a formidable press on top of a specially arranged set of blades and voila — one ends up with the finihsed skirt. The skirts are then fitted to the numerous array and styles of kona heads that Pulsator has produced for so long and which are used by the majority of offshore marlin anglers fishing South African waters.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 â&#x20AC;¢ 43



By Justin Normand


ITSAND is a small coastal town situated near the mouth of the Breede River. It is well known for the fantastic estuary fishing, in particular the big kob and grunter that are caught in the river. Everyone who lives in the area is connected to the river and sea in one way or the other. Although estuary fishing is Witsand’s main attraction, the deep sea fishing also has a lot to offer. The biggest challenge for ski-boat anglers is having to navigate “The Bar” — the tricky exit/entr y point between the river mouth and the sea. The Bar can be a treacherous place and many boats have capsized there so skippers need to make sure the sea and tide conditions are right and that their boat is seaworthy and capable of handling the conditions. Wihan Wegewarth and I have been fishing together for many years; we fish at sea when conditions allow, but also fish the river for kob and grunter. Wihan is also a very keen spearo. We had made a few trips to sea in January and mostly caught some kob and bottom fish. Every year we get a run of yellowfin tuna — not the same class fish as they get down in Cape Town but good fun on light tackle and a nice change from kob. The tuna were early this year and we had caught a couple in mid-January. Our plan for the morning of 19 January was to have a late launch and just to go and look for a couple of tuna around the Infanta Point. Wihan’s wife, Jana, and my fiancé, Hanelle, were going to join us that morning, but by the time we had eaten breakfast and got the boat ready the wind had come up and the sea was a bit bumpy so the ladies decided to stay on land. Eugene, another local fisherman, was already out and he called us to say there were some fish around and conditions were not too bad close to the Infanta Point so Wihan and I decided to have a look. We launched Zeus around 9.30am and when we got to Infanta Point we did not see much activity, so we headed up to “The Line” — the border of the De Hoop reserve — planning troll back towards Infanta Point. We trolled for a while and saw some birds working on the inside and trolled towards them but had no luck. Next we trolled back towards The Line along the cliffs, hop-

Justin Normand with the marlin he and Wihan Wegewarth unexpectedly caught off Witsand.

BOAT DETAILS: Seacat 565 CC with 2 x 70hp Yamaha motors TACKLE USED: Rod: Penn Legion 24 to 37kg Reel: Shimano Tyronos 30 Line: 50 lb (T-Line!) Leader: 85 lb (.90mm) Kingfisher ing to pick up a yellowtail, but again nothing. The conditions were getting worse so we decided to turn back before we got to The Line. The plan was to troll back towards the Infant Point, around the point and then home. Wihan was at the helm by that stage as I was bored — trolling is not my thing. I pulled in the Rapalas to check they were still swimming properly then reset them for the run around Infanta Point where we hoped to pick up a nice yellowtail. We were a few hundred metres from the point in about 18m of water when the rod with the pink Rapala Magnum started to scream. I picked the rod up and felt it was a solid fish, so I called Wihan to clear the other three rods. The fish headed directly out to sea. I heard some big splashes to my left but did not see what it was as I was still looking at the line coming off the reel. My initial thought was that I’d hooked a

decent tuna, but once I heard the splash I though perhaps I’d foul hooked a mako shark. Wihan was still clearing the rods while my reel was being emptied. I shouted at him to hurry up, but I don’t think he fully understood the urgency until he saw my empty spool. He quickly tidied away the rods, then got behind the wheel to follow the fish. The monster was heading directly out to sea on a long run, and at that point we were still not sure what it was. Then it stopped and came out of the water, shaking its head; there was no mistake — we were on with a marlin! We were completely shocked. We didn’t know how big the fish was, but I backed off my drag a bit and asked Wihan for a bucket (we did not have a harness on board) as this was clearly going to be a long fight if we could stay attached. We knew our chances were not good, and by all accounts everything was against us, but we were going to give this our best shot anyway. The fight seemed to go on forever, and every time I got some line back the fish would take it all back again. I never really felt in control of that fish; it was just too powerful and heavy to pull on the tackle I had, and without Wihan’s encouragement and control of the boat it would not have been possible to even stay connected to the marlin. Eventually we found ourselves well into the San Sebastian Bay and the sea conditions were not making it any easier. We were far away from the protection of the Infanta Point and the strong south westerly had jacked up the swell and chop. My arms were aching and I told Wihan to take the rod for a bit. He refused. “This is your fish and you must catch it.” The struggle continued. The marlin eventually slowed down and came close to the surface; we could see the leader and I thought we were almost done. Wihan angled the boat alongside the fish and I pulled as hard as I could. We finally saw the fish properly for the first time and were shocked by its size. At that stage the fish was swimming parallel to the boat, but there was a problem — it was tail-wrapped and I could not pull it any closer to the boat. Every time I got onto the leader the fish would give a few kicks of its tail and it was gone again. I just could not hold it or angle its head toward the boat and I was almost completely exhausted. I insisted that Wihan take the rod, or SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 45

the Rapala. Wihan was now holding the bill with two hands and I reset the gaff. Luckily the fish was now completely exhausted, but we still needed to secure it. We decided to feed a piece of rope though its mouth and out the gills. This is easier said than done as the fish was sinking and one of us had to hold the fish up while the other worked the rope through and secured it to the bow rail. We were both completely drained, but managed to get it done. The fish was now vertical next to the boat so next we had to re gaff it near the tail and slip a rope around the tail. We got this done and secured the second rope to the stern rail. The marlin was now securely tied up on the starboard side of the boat, but we could not relax; we still had to get the fish on board in order to get back through The Bar. I decided we would head back in towards Cape Infanta and use the Infanta Point as a lee; the sea was calmer there and that would be our best chance of loading the fish. We were still about 6km out with the fish tied to the side of the boat, so we had time to catch our breath and make a few phone calls. We eventually reached the calmer water inside Infanta Point, loosened the ropes and pulled the fish toward the stern. Wihan’s right hand was damaged from the hook and bill, but we managed to pull the fish on board head first over the transom between the motors. With the fish secured, we made ready for our

else we would lose the fish, but he again insisted that I must catch the fish. “It’s very close and almost done, just pull it,” he tried to encourage me, but I could not go on. I put the rod in his hand and he took over the fight while I took control of the boat. The fight carried on, with the fish now swimming in circles around the boat. One good thing was that in our mission to ensure the fish did not go under the boat we somehow untangled the tail wrap. Wihan pulled hard and the fish came toward the boat, head first this time. I gaffed the fish but the next problem was how to boat it; it was much bigger than we’d expected and we were both too exhausted to pull it over the gunnel. Even if we could have managed that it would not have been safe to try in those sea conditions. While Wihan was holding the gaff I cut a section of my anchor rope and tried to slide it over its head, but it was too big and I had to cut a longer piece of rope. While I was doing that Wihan shouted that the gaff was pulling and that I needed to hurry. He was now holding onto the bill with one hand and the gaff in the other. We did not have a second gaff so we had to get a rope around the fish quickly. Suddenly the gaff pulled out the second hook of the Rapala went into Wihan’s hand! I hit a small panic; my worry was that if this fish found some life and took off again my mate would be attached to it. I rushed over, grabbed the bill, managed to cut the hook loose and clear

trip through The Bar and back to the slip where a crowd of locals was eagerly waiting for us to get back; everyone wanted to see this fish and congratulate us. Once we’d beached the boat the next problem we faced was how to unload the marlin and get it processed. The local residents came to our assistance in a big way. Durrie Pretorius said we could offload the fish in his shed and he also called the municipality to arranged for the digger loader to offload it. Eugene Beukes arranged the scales and helped to offload and weigh the fish. Pieter Human offered his cool room and eventually processed and vacuum packed all the meat for us. The meat was subsequently shared out amongst the locals, municipality, family and friends. This spectacular black marlin measured 2.81m and weighed in at around 180kg. As there’s no hoist to weigh a fish of this size in Witsand, the best we could do was hang her from a pole; she was leaning against a pillar at the time, so she probably weighed a bit more, but a 400 lb marlin on 50 lb line is not bad! The capture of this fish created a great deal of excitement in the small town and we received a lot of positive feedback from the local community. Wihan and I are extremely grateful to the locals and the municipality who assisted us, and especially Oom Pieter who made sure the fish was prepared and packaged correctly and that nothing was wasted.



ELOW you’ll find some dates for upcoming fishing competitions being held during 2017. If you know of any others that aren’t listed, or if your club would like to list some upcoming events, please email the details to <>.

DATE 3-5 March 4-5 March 18-19 March 20-24 March 21-25 March 25-26 March 1-2 April 2-7 April 13-16 April 15-16 April 29-30 April 30 April - 5 May 6-7 May 8-13 May 13-14 May 19-20 May 20-21 May 25-27 May 27-28 May 4-10 June 5-9 June 16-18 June 23-25 June 24-25 June

EVENT Richards Bay Billfish Interprov. Umkomaas Interclub Shelly Beach Interclub Mapelane Billfish Invitational All Coastals Interprovincial Durban SBC Interclub Couta Classic SADSAA Junior Bottomfish Nat. Richards Bay Fishing Bonanza Warnadoone Interclub Durban SBC Festival All Inland Interclub/Interprov. Pennington Interclub SADSAA Tuna Nationals Umhlanga Interclub Marlin SBC Gamefish Classic Durban SBC Ladies Day Mapelane Trophy Interclub Zinkwazi Interclub Guinjata Species Bonanza SADSAA Gamefish Nationals Mapelane Cuda Derby Gamefish Interclub Snoek Derby

VENUE Richards Bay Umkomaas Shelly Beach Mapelane Struisbaai Durban Umlalazi Port Alfred Richards Bay Warnadoone Durban Sodwana Bay Pennington Miller Point, CT Umhlanga Port Edward Durban Mapelane Zinkwazi Guinjata, Moz. St Lucia Mapelane Richards Bay St Lucia

DATE 7-8 July 7-8 July 11-15 July 11-15 July 11-15 July 14-16 July 4-10 August 10-12 August 25-27 August October 20-22 October 6-10 November 13-17 November 18-19 November 23-27 November November November

EVENT Mapelane Junior Interclub TSC Club Closed Mercury Shelly Beach Bonanza Nomads Closed Hoedspruit Junior Junior gamefish Interprov. Bottomfish Nationals Junior Gamefish Interprov. Rod & Reel Interclub Northerns Sailfish Interprov. 12 x 12 Species OET Bill- and Gamefish Bonanza Billfish 15 000 Durban SBC Jetski Comp Cape Vodal Interclub SADSAA LightTackle Nationals SADSAA Heavy Tackle Nationals

VENUE Mapelane Shelly Beach Shelly Beach Mapelane Sodwana Richards Bay Durban Shelly Beach Durban St Lucia Sodwana Bay Sodwana Bay Durban Cape Vidal Sodwana Bay Sodwana Bay

INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENTS 27 May - 4 June ILLTA World Champs Dominican Rep. 28 July - 6 Aug Europe Boat Champs Norway 25 Sept. - 1 Oct International Billfish Tournament Puerto Rico 9-17 September Hawaiian Internat. Billfish Tourn. Hawaii September World Championship BGF TrollingAlgarve, Portugal





Y first experience of catching a broadbill swordfish was in Kenya with my brother Philip (Bobby) back in November 2009. We were fishing with captain Adam Ogden aboard Black Widow, slow trolling a small spread of soft head lures with a strip of squid and a light stick attached to the trace which was something completely new to me. I was fascinated at how trolling in the deep water around 18 nautical miles out in complete darkness could produce strikes. The method certainly worked, and on that trip we managed to tag and release three smallish broadbill in addition to a number of other strikes and lost fish. Nowadays anglers use a number of methods to target broadbill at night and during the daytime, but here in Kenya the preferred method at night is still by trolling. I have been running my charter boat in Kenya for the past three seasons now, but everytime I target broadbill I get the same feeling I experienced on my very first trip. My preferred area to target them lies further out to sea on the North Kenya banks which lie approximately 38 nautical miles north east of Malindi. Out

there the water is very deep and the currents run very strong, hold a great deal of baitfish and sea life that moves up from the deep water at night, thus bringing the broadbill up towards the surface to feed. Near the end of November 2016 my crew — Daniel, Jacob and Katana — and I took advantage of the calm weather conditions and decided to head out to the North Kenya banks for an overnight trip. This particular trip will not soon be forgotten as the number of strikes and the action that we experienced, kept us busy throughout the long, dark night. We left our mooring in Malindi Bay at around 1pm and set a course for the deep side of the North Kenya banks. It would take a good five hours of steaming out at trolling speed so, as always, we had a smoking spread of lures out the back and picked up some nice wahoo and dorado enroute. We also missed a strike by a sailfish. We moved into the deep water past the drop off about 20 minutes before dark and the crew got busy changing lures and setting the broadbill spread in the last few minutes of fading light. At 7.30pm we had just finished setting up and clearing space on the deck when the rod on the downrigger had a strike and pulled off some good line.

My first thought was that it was a yellowfin tuna, as it was not yet properly dark and we weren’t even in our target area. The fish put up a quick fight on the 50 lb Tiagra and within ten minutes we caught sight of it. It was a broadbill of around 15kg. As soon as it saw the boat it made a short run back down, but we managed to get it onto the trace and next to the boat for a clean release at 7.45pm. Quickly setting the spread again, we got moving into the deep and it was only a few minutes later that we had another strike on the downrigger. That one failed to connect, and it was followed by a strike on the short outrigger that also missed its mark. Another two missed strikes followed over the next twenty minutes. It was only 8.30pm and we’d had a ridiculous amount of action! By 8.50pm we were in the hotspot and immediately had a hookup on the downrigger followed by a second hookup on the center rigger further back. Both fish put up a short strong fight and within ten minutes we released the first one, closely followed by the second fish. It’s always nice to get a double header of billfish, but to land a double header of broadbill at night, well that’s a SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 51

Right: A beautifully lit up broadbill about to be released.

Below: Tega at rest after a good night’s fishing.

really good feeling and only happens when there’s tight team work and communication between anglers, wireman and skipper. So far we’d released three broadbill and it was only 9pm; things were looking good. Ten minutes later we missed a strike on the outrigger, but at 9.30pm we hooked up again on the downrigger. We fought the fish for 20 minutes before getting it boatside for another clean release. This fish was a bit bigger — around 45kg. The lines went out again and over the next ten minutes we had three more strikes that all failed to stay connected. This often happens when small fish are in an area; they attack the lure but the leader often gets caught up over the fish’s bill or around its rigid pectoral fins and the lure simply slides off as soon as the fish changes direction or shakes his head before the hooks find purhase. Over the next hour things slowed down a little until we had a strike that missed the hooks at 11.05pm. The next two hours were quiet which allowed the crew to catch up on a little sleep, but around 1am we broke the “dr y spell” with a hook-up on the outrigger and within ten minutes we had another small broadbill alongside for a tag and release. Another dry spell over the next two hours was broken at 3am by a solid strike on the downrigger that pulled a serious amount of line. The fish stayed up near the surface and jumped a few times. The light stick was visible with around 300 metres of line out and the fish was still running strong only to have the hooks pull a few seconds later. After the disappointment of losing a decent fish the lines were quickly set again in the hopes of us getting another 52 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2017

chance. Within five minutes that’s exactly what happened. The fish made a good initial run of about 100 metres and then settled down to start the battle from his end. Working the fish on a 50 lb Penn International with a stand up harness allowed us to keep a lot of pressure on the line and 40 minutes later we had another good size broadbill boatside. The next hour past 4am was quiet, and approaching 5am I knew we had our last chance as dawn was breaking with a thin, grey line over the horizon. At 5am that last chance came in the form of a fish hooking up on the downrigger and within ten minutes we released another small broadbill to bring our total for the evening up to seven fish caught from the 16 strikes that we had. My sincere thanks to Daniel, Jacob and Katana for a fantastic effort in making it a special night to remember. It is positive to note that we saw a number of smaller fish up to 20kg, indicating a healthy stock of juvenile broadbill for future breeding. In closing, it’s interesting to note that the last four overnight trips following this one were also very successful. Five more broadbill and a black marlin were caught and released on the next trip out, another three broadbill on the trip after that, two on the following one, and in January an overnight trip accounted for five more broadbill. That brings the boat’s total to 22 broadbill and a black marlin in four consecutive trips. Exciting fishing indeed. • For further information on these overnight trips and fishing with Capt. Calvin on Tega email <> or visit <>.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 â&#x20AC;¢ 53


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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: ..........................................................


REUNION ISLAND VISIT TO AN INDIAN OCEAN GEM By PJ Botha ooking for a gem of a holiday destination? Look no further than Reunion Island. That was the venue for our family’s January 2017 holiday. Reunion is a fourand-a-half hour flight from South Africa, either via Mauritius on Air Mauritius, or direct with Austrial Airlines, the official Reunion Island Airline. As it’s officially part of France, the currency on Reunion is the euro (€). The first two days on the island were spent exploring the town, eating local food and drinking their local beer, the Bourbon. Then it was time to arrange some fishing for the boys and I. On the third day we decided to test the bus service and headed to one of the most beautiful towns in the region, St Gilles les Baines, which has a fair size port and, most importantly, is home to the Reunion Fishing Club. On arrival at the port we found the Reunion Fishing Club situated between two lovely waterfront restaurants. The club is a well-stocked fishing store with very friendly staff who spoke limited English. We found plenty of information about them on the internet <>, but I believe it is always good to visit first before booking a deep sea fishing trip. I discussed a species target with my sons — PJ junior (18) and Greg (11) — and it was clear that anglers catch monster GTs (giant trevelly) in Reunion, so that was our choice. At around 12.30pm Reunion Fishing Club’s two sportfishers returned from fishing trips and they showed off some small yellowfin, one sailfish and two nice longfin tuna. We took a closer look at one of the boats, Abaco, and our eyes lit up when we saw the luna tubes. Even better, the captain of Abaco, Joel Le Guen, understood English and we discussed our target plan with him. He was very excited and offered us a trip the next morning, leaving port at 7am with lines up at 12 noon. We hired the boat with captain and deckhand, which


A very proud Greg Botha with his pending world record dogtooth tuna caught off Reunion Island.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 59

could accommodate six anglers, for myself and my sons and paid €420 for the morning. Once we’d organised that we walked around the port and found the Blue Marlin Burger Den, where we ate massive burgers and chips for around €5 a person. After a little shopping and exploring the port, we took the return bus trip of 20 minutes to St Leu. Sam cooked a great dinner while Greg connected the 1.5mm leader to 100 pound braid on our two Stella 18 000 reels which we’d taken with us. At 5.30am the next day we caught the bus right outside our flat so that we could be at St Gilles les Bains in time for our planned trip at 7am. On arrival at the port it was quiet, with just a few locals proceeding to sea on their boats to fish. FIRST DAY OUT The captain and deckie arrived at 6.45am and greeted us with big excited smiles; we soon cast off and the boys and I settled in, expecting a long run to find bait. Just two miles from the port we found the birds and we immediately brought out our daisy chains from home. Big mistake; the deckie just shook his head while declaring “No! No!” We were open to learning the tricks of the Reunion Island trade and watched closely as the deckie pulled out a tackle bag filled with small rubber fish coloured light blue/gold — very close to our 3-inch dropshot lures. He then stripped some 10 lb fluorocarbon leader off a roll and we attached the lure and 10 lb leader to our bait rods. Looking down into the water with my Mako glasses I then understood — the extra light leader and small lure were perfect, as the water was indigo blue, extremely clean and probably had 30m visibility. The skipper lined up the birds and we let the lures out about 60-70 metres behind the boat. The sportfisher’s inboard motors create a huge wake with a white water trail and the small lures need to be visible beyond the wake. We battled initially to get a bite, but then changed tactics and gave the lures a flick action. We soon had two bonnie baits of about 2-3kg each in the tubes. We ran for about another mile before we stopped to prepare rig our baits. Captain Joel, who already holds world records for GTs, came down from the bridge to check the length of our leaders and traces. We measured in at 8.2 metres, well within the 9m maximum length stipulated in IGFA rules. Our deckhand then brought out an electric reel attached to a rod with a roller pulley on the tip, and below it the downrigger ball — a 7kg lead weight which would run our bait to the required depth. We rigged the bait



OOGLE is a fantastic tool and my wife, Sam, made all the flight, accommodation and related bookings for our holiday, directly either on Google booking sites or with the establishments via email or online bookings on their websites. On the way to Reunion we stayed over in Mauritius for one night at a boutique hotel called Le Sokoa. They hosted a new year’s party to remember on the beach with great fireworks and great company. The next day we took a taxi to the airport for our 30-minute flight to Roland Garros International Airport on Reunion Island. Of course we arrived on New Year’s Day — a public holiday and “babbelas day” — and we battled to find a taxi to take us to our self-catering flat on the west coast of the island, in a small fishing village called St Leu. It was even more difficult because we required an SUV as we had seven bags including rod tubes, surfboards and dive gear. Eventually we came right and a very helpful taxi driver arranged for a 10seater to drive us the 59km to St Leu, a 55 minute drive on a very safe, well marked road, with very strict traffic control. We paid €110 for the trip which was fairly pricey, but considering it was New Year’s Day, it was to be expected. The normal fee for that trip is €80. Our three-bedroom self-catering flat was in a complex called Residence’ Plage aux Tortues situated just 10m from the shorebreak and had a magnificent view of the ocean. Nine nights in the flat cost €880; for a family of four, in a three-bedroom unit on the seafront, this was really affordable. We walked into town to purchase groceries and found Fairprice Dealers supermarket just 1.5km from our flat — fully stocked with all our needs. The price for groceries in Reunion is on a par with the rest of Europe — bread was €1.80, 1.5 litres of coke was €1.70, six Bourbon beers cost €4, eight hamburger patties cost €4, spaghetti was €1.20, frozen chips cost €3 and tomato sauce was €2.20. The first two days on the island were spent exploring the town, eating local food and drinking their local beer, the Bourbon. At a beachfront restaurant in St Leu we ordered thrree large pizzas and a drink each and, with an additional two beers, the bill came to €60. In every second block along the beach there are sandwich and beer stalls and take-away restaurants called Le Dodo le la, which means “the beer is here”, identified with yellow umbrellas featuring the dodo bird. Their sandwich is a foot-long roll filled with fillings of your choice at €2.5 which was a meal in itself. The bus service on Reunion is first world, well-serviced and clean. It cost €1.80 per person one way from St Leu to St Gilles les Baines. The biggest challenge on Reunion Island is that only about 5% of the population speak English, but we overcame this thanks to the Google translate app we downloaded on our phones. We would type the English on the app which immediately translated it to French, and the person we were “speaking” to could answer by setting the language to French and typing in return which immediately translates to English.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 61

62 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT March/April 2017

Above: Greg Botha (11) fighting hard against a dogtooth tuna his own size and weight! Inset: The little rubber lures used to catch livebait. Right: Greg, Captain Joel and Abaco’s deckhand record a new junior record. Catalina-style with a very sharp Mustad size 12 circle hook. On the downrigger rod we had a 1 metre, 1.5mm nylon leader with a snap swivel at the top, another 500mm below it another snap swivel and then it was crimped to the lead weight. We used a pulley type outrigger clip which was attached to a looped piece of dacron attached to the bait rod leader. We dropped the livebait and the downrigger ball and, as our depth range was between 58m and 65m, we set the electric reel to 58m and started putting into the current. The structure underneath us was flat coral reef, probably 50m wide and ran in the shape of a horse shoe. Not even five minutes later the downrigger rod started bouncing. PJ Jnr grabbed the Shimano Trevala XXheavy with the Stella 18 000, allowed the fish to swallow the bait and tightened up on the drag. “Fish on!” PJ Jnr knows these beasts love to cut you off on the coral reef, so he kept his drag on ±20kg. The fish made several short runs and then settled into a stale mate. Judging by the rod action, the very distinctive nods confirmed it was a GT. After a 20-minute fight we had a showing of colour, but it was very dark whereas we’d expected to see a shiny silver fish. PJ Jnr backed down on his drag and worked the beast to the surface. The deckie grabbed the leader and pulled the fish onto the platform off the stern of the boat and high fives followed. When I asked the captain why the fish was so dark, he commented that it had fought to the death. We estimated the GT to weigh between 38and 40kg.

Greg, my 11-year-old son’s turn was next. We rigged the second bait and down it went. Greg adjusted the waist bucket to his size and as he turned around to face the rod, the bounce was already happening. Greg grabbed the rod and allowed the fish to swallow the bait before tightening the drag. “Fish on!” The moment the fish felt the pressure it picked up speed and Greg shouted “Shimano music!” in excitement. The first run was 80 metres and then Greg and the fish settled into a stale mate for 15 minutes. All of a sudden the fish swam up to the surface about 100m from us and then darted back down again; this happened four times. This fight was totally different to the last one and Captain Joel said it might well be a shark. About 45 minutes into the fight we got colour — very silver and shiny. By that stage Greg was sweating profusely and his whole body was shaking. I poured a bottle of cold water over his head and was rewarded with a wide smile and “Thank you, Dad!” The fish dug its head in, but Greg held him and pulled as hard as he could. The number plate was eventually identified as a big dogtooth tuna! We were all very surprised and tried hard to be patient while the adrenaline pumped at full pressure. When it got close enough the deckie grabbed the leader, gaffed it in the mouth and pulled the doggie onto the deck. Great celebrations followed. It was a real beauty and we estimated the fish around the 45kg mark. By then the sun was directly above us and the bait had sounded, so we decided to call it a day. At the scales on

shore PJ Jnr’s GT weighed in at 35.8kg — a personal best for him. Gregory’s dogtooth tuna pulled the scales to 50.2kg. We were all amazed at what we’d achieved for the day. Captain Joel was already on the phone chatting to the IGFA representative for Reunion Island, to confirm whether Greg’s doggie was a new junior all tackle world record. It was confirmed that the weight far exceeded the previous junior record, so we took all the measurements and filled in all the necessary paperwork. I looked at Gregory and then back at the fish; my brain was burning. The SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 63

JP junior and JP senior with their 35.8kg and 47kg GTs respectively. Although many countries encourage anglers to release the GTs they catch, that is not the case on Reunion Island. The fish were kept by the Reunion Fishing Club and PJ had no say in the matter. As the Reunion Fishing Club is a commercial fishing company they have the right to sell fish caught on their boats. fish’s measurement from tip of tail to tip of head was 162cm, its girth was 100cm and it weighed just under 50kg. I asked Greg to stand to attention and took the tape measure to him; we were astounded when we realised Greg’s height was 162cm, his girth around his shoulders was 100cm and he weighs 50kg! Greg matched his own weight, size and height and strength, what a brave young man. BACK TO THE DEEP One day was just not enough, so the following day we were back on the bus at 5.30am, arriving at 6am with time for Greg to tie us new leaders. We left port at 7am after Captain Joel gave the other boats time to leave the bait spot so that we would have a better opportunity to catch livebait. It was still a battle, but around 8.30am we came right, and there was big excitement as the bait went into the luna tubes. We had a southerly wind blowing at 5 knots — very different to the previous day’s trip during which a 5 knot 64 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2017

northerly wind was blowing and the current was in the opposite direction. We repeated the same drill — the bait was dropped to 58m, but this time we pulled the bait on top of the coral reef for an hour without a bite. Around 9.45am we decided to check the bait and found it was swimming on its side so we made some minor adjustments to ensure it swam upright. It was my turn on the rod and I was so focused on the rod tips that even if a naked woman had to pass I would not have noticed. Eventually the rigger’s rod tip started bouncing, I grabbed the Trevala, let the fish swallow the bait and tightened up. “Fish on!”. The first run was very hard and I had to tighten up the drag twice to stop the fish. She settled for about ten minutes and took another hard run of about 50m. By that stage the captain had positioned the boat in the middle of the horse shoe, which meant we were over sand and the fish could not cut the line on the coral reef. The beast settled into very distinc-

tive nods and I could feel she was tiring as I gained line. Eventually the boys could see some colour; the fish was very silver and initially Greg thought it was another doggie, but I was convinced by the distinctive rod nods that it was another GT. “It’s a bus GT!” PJ Jnr shouted. Backing down on the drag, I very gently worked the GT up to the surfaceso that the deckie could grab the leader. More hugs and high fives f lowed, and we estimated the GT’s weight at 45kg. It was 11.15am, so we set our lures to try to catch another bait, but unfortunately it was too late; with the sun too high, the bait had sounded. We upped lines and headed back to port. My GT weighed in at 47kg, which was a personal best and there was another conincidence — born in 1969, I was 47 years old. It was certainly meant to be! Reunion is a spectacular location to catch some of the world’s largest GTs — a real gem in the Indian Ocean.

KINGFISH TALES by Sheldon Kruger (8)


N December 2016 we once again went to Inhassoro for our Christmas holiday. The first day we went fishing around Paradise Island and I caught a small yellowspot kingfish and a ramora both on pink Squiddy Jigs. The second day we went fishing on Uncle Derek’s boat, Shameless. We started trolling some deep divers and I managed to catch a small ’cuda before we decided to start jigging on 25 Mile Reef. After a few drops something very big took my squiddie jig and the line started to peel off the reel. After a nice fight I had another yellowspot kingfish next to the boat and my dad lifted it into the boat so we could take a few pictures before releasing it. A few days later we went fishing on our boat with Aunty Jules and Uncle Trevor; I was really hoping to catch my first GT. My dad decided that we should fish near Bazaruto Island and we had loads of fun casting small spoons into the bait balls and catching bonito. I managed to catch two bonito on dropshot. Aunty Jules and I had a double hook up and she made me giggle all the way. She reckoned her fish was going to Jamaica and she couldn’t believe how strong I was to bring in my big bonnie so quickly. Then we started jigging. On my very first drop I got a bite and after I set the hook I was almost pulled over the side of the boat. Mom had to hold onto my rod bucket belt to prevent me from being pulled overboard. There was a lot of head shaking from the fish and I could feel that this was a very big and strong fish. After a few minutes I was really struggling and my arms were getting very tired. My dad insisted that I give it everything I had and give short pumps of the rod and retrieve the line a little bit at a time. I was starting to win the battle and gaining line on the fish. After about ten minutes the fish was at the surface; Dad grabbed it and lifted a beautiful golden ignoblis into the boat. It was one of the most beautiful fish I have ever seen and I smiled from ear to ear. We took pictures of the fish then released it to swim back to its home on the reef. The following day we headed out to 25 Mile Reef and started trolling. My mom caught a very nice yellowfin tuna and I caught a few ’cuda. After trolling for a while it was time to start jigging again and I was ready as usual with my squiddie jig. After a few drops I got a big bite and set the hook. The fish was pulling hard shaking its head a lot. Mom immediately said that this had to be a GT; I was so excited and really hoped she was right. Dad was standing next to me holding onto my belt and I started to gain line on the fish. A few minutes later the fish was next to the boat and I couldn’t believe it when mom and dad started shouting that it was in fact a GT — my first ever. Dad lifted the GT into the boat to take pictures. The smile on my face says it all. We released the fish and there were high fives all around on the boat.The GT weighed about 7kg — not a monster, but hopefully my first of many. I have now set my sights on catching my first amberjack!

68 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT March/April 2017



By Capt Bill Harrison

BOOK: A Young Fisherman’s Dream Come True AUTHOR: Captain Bill Harrison

LWAYS eager to share his extensive fishing expertise with fellow anglers, Captain Bill Harrison sent us this useful tip for tangle-free bottom fishing. He calls it the Bill Harrison No Tangle Rig and says it works particularly well for bottom fishing with a live skipjack, bonito or small tuna.


FIRST met Capt. Bill Harrison many years ago when a contingent of very experienced anglers from Florida in the USA came to South Africa to fish a social competition off the KwaZulu-Natal coast. Each time I visited Florida after that Bill and I always got together to chat over a few beers. We also published a few of Bill’s articles in SKI-BOAT magazine over the years; his knowledge is unsurpassed and very valuable to us as it covers the same style of fishing we employ off the South African coast. A while back Capt. Bill told me he was writing a book and I was eager to receive one. The book arrived just before Christmas which gave me ample time to read during our December holiday period. I thought I had come to know Bill reasonably well, but having read all 40 chapters of the 308-page book I must admit I had no idea what he had accomplished as a charter captain and commercial linefisherman over the period stretching from the early 1960s to date. The book highlights chapters of Bill’s life experiences, from working Miami’s offshore fish during his early years as a wharf rat and deckhand to those as a charter sportfisher captain at the major marlin and bluefin tuna fishing destinations around the world. Each chapter is a story in itself, conveying details of the actual catching of various fish — reef dwellers, local gamefish, marlin, sailfish and bluefin tuna — and introducing the clients that followed him and the crew that work the deck for him and who form such an important part of a fishing craft’s operation. If one reads between the lines, so to speak, there is a wealth of knowledge that can be dredged out of this book. Some of these stories have had me emailing him for advice and more details on rigging certain baits he predominately used as skipbait for blue marlin. I intend putting this advice to good use in the very near future. Another aspect that intrigued me was the modus operandi he used when commercial linefishing for bottom dwellers such as amberjack and grouper over the many wrecks along the Florida/Miami coastline and the “frightening” quantity that he harvested by today’s standards. Of course I knew Capt. Bill loves fishing, but the depth of this love and the inordinate amount of time he spent chartering or fishing his commercial craft has staggered me. A Young Fisherman’s Dream Come True is a very good read that will captivate any offshore angler, especially those of us who experienced the era from 1960 onwards — an era of exciting fishing without the advantage of echo sounders, GPS units or any other modern technology, back when landmarks noted in a little black book were a skipper’s most valuable assets.


STEP ONE Use a heavy piece of wire such as that from which wire coathangers are made, about one metre long. Stainless steel, copper or brass rods also work well and, even though they are expensive, I prefer to use them on my boat because steel coathangers rust and leave marks on the teak deck.

STEP TWO Slide a swivel down the piece of wire and make two complete Haywire bends. This locks the swivel in place and provides support for the upper rig.

STEP THREE Make a small loop roughly 23cm below the top swivel and loop. Again do two complete Haywire turns and end with the long end of the wire facing the same direction as the top short end.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 71

USING THE NO TANGLE RIG STEP FOUR Bend the two loose ends (about 18cm each) together using two complete haywire twists.

A live skipjack, bonito or small tuna can be dropped to the bottom without worrying about tangling. You can also use it to drop a large deadbait on heavy tackle. It’s important to remember to reel up the same amount of line as the length of your leader or trace; in this way you will not hook the bottom. Sometimes a big bottomfish will reef you, so you should carry several of these rigs. The amount of weight required is determined by the size of the bait and the strength of the surface current, so you can add or subtract weight as required. HINTS: • The rig may require some bending to “true” the angles before use; it can also become distorted when fish are caught, so check it regularly. • The maximum pressure exerted should not exceed the weight of line used.

STEP FIVE Slide another swivel over the remaining long end and make a small loop to hold the swivel in place. Keep the distance as short as possible.

Surface of water current

With this rig swivels are an absolute necessity because the livebait will fight against being dropped to deep water and will sometimes spin. The fishing line is therefore tied or snapped to the top swivel and the leader or trace is tied or snapped to the swivel on the extension or arm.


The weight can be snapped or tied on.

72 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2017





OWRANCE, a world-leading brand in fishing electronics since 1957, has added a pair of widescreen displays to the Elite Ti standalone series of fishfinder/chartplotters. The new Lowrance Elite-12 Ti and Elite-9 Ti touchscreen fishfinder/chartplotters include the same great features found on earlier Elite-Ti series units but on bigger 12- and 9-inch high-resolution, widescreen displays. Features include an easy-to-use touchscreen interface, bluetooth and wireless connectivity, proven Lowrance navigation technology and high-performance sonar including CHIRP, Broadband Sounder and StructureScan HD with SideScan and DownScan Imaging. The new displays are still available at an affordable price. CHIRP sonar offers improved fishtarget separation and screen clarity, while the StructureScan HD sonar imaging system with exclusive Lowrance DownScan Imaging delivers photo-like


OWRANCE has put together the ideal electronic set-up for all deep sea anglers, delivering outstanding value and unbeatable convenience all in one high quality bundle. The Ski-Boat Bundle includes: • 1 x HDS 9 Gen 3 networkable unit. Includes CHIRP sonar & GPS • 1 x Autopilot for hydraulic-steer outboard motors • 1 x HST-DFSBL transducer — transom-mounted dual-frequency 600W. All for only R49 999! This is a saving of R11 821. The offer applies only while stocks last; terms and conditions apply and there will be no negotiation. For more information contact Lowrance SA on (031) 368-6649 or your nearest dealer.



OT off the press is the news that the 2017 Johannesburg Boat and Watersport Show will be held at the centrally located Kyalami Grand Prix circuit. The SA Motoring Experience will take place at Kyalami over the same period. This benefits both exhibitors and visitors to the Boat and Watersport Show. Each year this boat and lifestyle show brings together the entire recreational boating industry — manufacturers, dealers and liffestyle consumers. Over 150 exhibitors will be showcasing the best the water world has to offer. The event will be host to some of the best known boating, fishing, marine lifestyle and watersport brands. Categories include: Boating; accessories; fishing; lifestyle; watersports; outdoor; destinations; travel and scuba diving. On average 10 000 visitors come through the doors each year, but the 2017 event is expected to bring over 30 000 motor and watersports enthusiasts to Kyalami over the weekend of 1 to 3 September. Diarise it in now — you don’t want to miss out on this year’s big show.

images of fish-holding structure on both sides and directly beneath the boat. For the ultimate in on-the-water navigation, Elite-12 Ti and Elite-9 Ti displays feature a highly accurate, built-in GPS antenna that displays position on either Navionics, C-Map or FishTec charts. With integrated wireless connectivity, the Elite-12 Ti and Elite-9 Ti operate directly through the GoFree Shop for downloads of mapping and software updates. Elite Ti also works seamlessly with the Insight Genesis map-creation service, which allows users to make custom, high-resolution contour maps from recorded sonar logs, with bottomhardness and vegetation overlays, as well as Insight Genesis Social Map community chart sharing. Bluetooth and wireless connectivity also provide control of single or dual Power-Pole shallow water anchor installations, as well as access to the GoFree Link app, which allows anglers to view and control the display from an iPad or android tablet. “With the addition of our new 12and 9-inch fishfinder/chartplotters, we are adding even more value to the EliteTi family,” said Leif Ottosson, CEO, Navico. “We are confident our customers will be excited about the premium features and affordability of these new widescreen displays.” The Elite-12 and Elite-9 Ti are protected by the Lowrance Service and Support program and can be purchased from authorised Lowrance South Africa dealers. For more information and details on pricing contact Lowrance SA on (031) 368-6649 or your nearest Lowrance dealer.



OWRANCE recently released a high-performance addition to the HDS series of fishfinders/chartplotters — Lowrance HDS Carbon. The new Lowrance HDS Carbon adds a high-performance dual core processor, multi-touch SolarMAX HD screen, dual channel CHIRP and Network Dual Sounder to the proven features that have made HDS multifunction displays the choice of anglers at all levels. The HDS Carbon series includes 12-, 9- and 7-inch models. Anglers in the market for a want-itall integrated system need a processor that can smoothly drive the high-tech capabilities of HDS Carbon like StructureScan 3D with SideScan and DownScan Imaging, dual channel CHIRP sonar, StructureMap and Broadband Radar. HDS Carbon takes processing power to an unprecedented SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 • 77

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purchases directly to the unit, HDS Carbon features bluetooth control of multiple Power-Pole shallow water anchors and Bluetooth audio streaming from the SonicHub2 marine entertainment system. HDS Carbon supports radar, SmartSteer control of Motorguide Xi5 trolling motors and Lowrance Outboard pilot, and full engine data integration through compatibility with Mercury VesselView Link. “Our new HDS Carbon displays are not only more than capable of handling our current technologies, but are also designed to grow with our future innovations for years to come,” said Leif Ottosson, CEO, Navico. “From the enhanced viewability of our SolarMAX HD displays, our new dual channel and Network Dual Sounder technologies, to the high-performance processor, we are confident our customers will be as excited about the increased performance they get from HDS Carbon as we are.” For more information and pricing contact Lowrance South Africa on (031) 368-6649 or your nearest Lowrance dealer.

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SKI-BOAT March/April 2017 â&#x20AC;¢ 81


Last word from the ladies


OW does a man become a successful angler? Let’s see ... All anglers swear that being successful is inherent in their make-up, but most concede that they owe some measure of their success to a support group — their family. I’ll share my thoughts here on the married variety of successful fishermen, assuming that the younger, single ones are offspring, siblings or apprentice-type friends of the above. Here are a few pointers on how to become a “supportive spouse”. Gary Player said that the more he practised the luckier he got, so if your man wants to be really good he must practise — often. In order to do this he will expect you to spend your weekends alone while the children are young and to be able to cope with small crises like measles or broken bones in his absence. It will certainly take a load off his mind if you could take over the responsibility of the garden and basic home maintenance. You should learn to jump-start a motor vehicle, change a wheel, mend a fuse, clean the spark plugs on a lawnmower — and other little things ... As the children get older you’ll spend plenty of time on the beach so you may as well learn to drive the 4x4. This will mean that not only will you be in a position to help with launching the boat and parking the trailer, but you will have the added advantage of being able to drive from rock pool to rock pool without having to carry bags, beach balls, brollies — and baby too! Encourage your young children to make their friends amongst the offspring of other dedicated anglers’ wives. They will, after all, be spending the annual holiday in the company of those kids at Sodwana, Cape Vidal, Hout Bay or Port St Johns for many years to come. Beginning to sound familiar? A short course in budgeting at home wouldn’t go amiss either. That way you can save at home in order to provide equipment for your successful angler’s gillie (perhaps your son) later on, and perhaps to enhance his expertise by buying a state-of-the-art fishfinder. It might be worth mentioning at this point that in order to “make it” hubby will need to experiment with many, many different weights, lures, hooks, swivels and lines. You’ll notice that as your man gets better at fishing he becomes more involved with the administration and politics of the sport. To help him with this aspect you will need to know a bit about catering for competitions, radio control 82 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2017

and the Australian point scoring system. Your door must remain open for meetings and you must be capable of typing up both the agendas and the minutes of these meetings. You’ll also need to be able to draw up a spreadsheet showing comprehensive records of his catches, which species was caught on which line, where and on what bait. Similar lists and spreadsheets will also make the logistics of preparing for a three-week long camping/fishing trip on the “wild side” much easier for you, leaving him free to worry about the hook, line and sinker! The old adage states:An army marches on its stomach. In this instance it should read: The fleet fishes on its boat lunches. Think about it — although the man is perfectly capable of putting last night’s leftover braai meat into a plastic bag and cutting slices from a loaf of bread on a boat, he will tell you that his concentration (and results) are greatly improved if you roast a chicken (preferably stuffed) or make some meatballs (not too heavy on the thyme, please). His mates enjoy a nice meat pie, he’ll say, but make the pastry so it doesn’t stick to the roof of the mouth when cold. He may concede that wholewheat cheese sarmies do indeed sustain one, but will claim that the thought of a Cappies and Coke on the beach at the end of the day does a better job. He will

tell you that it is inspiration he needs, and that he can only get that from white rolls stuffed with shrimp and mayonnaise, with some chilled watermelon or grapes for afters. In short, ensuring you have imagination and creativity in the general area of cuisine preparation is part of your role as a supportive spouse. You also have to take your successful angler at his word when he says your personal appearance helps him fish better. He can focus better on his fishing when he knows you will meet him on the beach at the end of a long day looking good and smelling sweet. Practice the “cool look” so that even if you have spent half the day medicating blue bottle stings on the small fry and even if your teenage daughter hasn’t returned from her “ten minute” beach buggy ride with the local Lothario, you can still manage to look relaxed as you meet the boat on the beach, happy box in hand. And for goodness sake make sure there’s no sign of a Rapala Lip on your end, even if you were counting on fish for dinner and there is none! All this dedication on your part will be worth it when your man “gets there” — whether this means wearing the green and gold, catching a record marlin or perhaps just being acknowledged by his peers as being “a jolly good angler”. In his heart he will know that without your support he could never have done it.






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Ski-Boat March 2017  

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 2017  

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