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Benguela 530

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2 x Yamaha 60hp (power trim & tilt) 2-stroke motors, galv. b/neck trailer. Full s/s kit incl. keelstrips, bowrail, anchor roller & bollard, screen rails, rollbars with rod holders, hydraulic steering, livebait well, plus much more!

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Benguela 530

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March/April 2018 Volume 34 Number 2 COVER: GOLDEN GLORY A beautiful dorado caught at Hell’s Gate, Moçambique. Photo by Dave Lewis



All Ship Shape 2017 Billfish 15 000 Tournament — by Lyn Adams


We Did It! Billfish 15 000 winners share their story — by Elize Smith


Big Fish Season Bazaruto produces big blacks galore — by SKI-BOAT Reporter


The Fish of a Lifetime Patience rewarded with a proper size marlin — by Bobby du Plessis



Boat Review: Butt Cat 660 A top quality, solid fishing craft with a soft ride — by Erwin Bursik


Tournaments List 2017 Fishing competition calendar


Paying the Taxman Investigating shark depredation of hooked fish off KZN — by Bruce Mann


Monster Mamas Decking for the Great Barrier Reef’s big black marlin — by Ryan Williamson


Bagging the Big Chief Targeting Canada’s West Coast salmon — by Dave Lewis



Malaysian Memories Fishing the South China Sea — by John Hughes


Another Revolution in Innovation Suzuki launches new DF325A outboard

DEPARTMENTS 8 44 55 57 72

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

65 75 79 80 81 82

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

The official magazine of the South African Deep Sea Angling Association


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

8 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018




N South African terms, 2018 has been mooted as a year of change — politically, economically and socially. For us at SKI-BOAT magazine 2018 sees a slight change in the way we manage the realm of digital magazine publishing and circulation. Seeing as I have limited influence in the first three branches of South Africa’s recovery I will direct my attention to the latter —SKI-BOAT magErwin Bursik azine’s digital move ahead. Publisher Being of the old school, it’s taken a lot of convincing to semi-convince me that digital publishing is the right way to go. It’s said that printer’s ink flows strongly in the veins of those involved in the print industry and, with over 33 years of publishing SKI-BOAT magazine behind me, my veins must be full of printer’s ink. When each new issue of SKI-BOAT lands on my desk, the smell, feel and touch of the magazine gives me a great deal of satisfaction. Print costs have risen dramatically in the last few years, but I’m still not prepared to give up the paper feel of my favourite magazine. I could not come to terms with the idea of only having a digital version of the magazine and therefore insisted that, for the foreseeable future, SKI-BOAT magazine will still be printed in “hard copy” and, as in the past, it will be available in this format in shop newsstands and via subscriptions through the post. I know of a great number of our readers who religiously collect and file their copies of SKIBOAT, so relax, you will still be able to add to your collection. Now that we’ve clarified that, as the acknowledged leader in magazine publishing with regard to the recreational sport of deep sea angling, primarily pertaining to South and Southern Africa, I believe it is also our responsibility to keep up with digital technology. For those readers who want access to their magazines at the touch of a button — whether they’re out at sea or up in the air or relaxing at home — we have a new free solution for you ... For the past five years we have published a digital version of SKI-BOAT on Zinio, but from the March 2018 issue, seven days after the paper version hits the shelves, anybody with a device connected to the internet can access a downloadable copy of SKI-BOAT from <> — free, gratis and mahala. Anybody anywhere in the world will be able to access the digital version of SKIBOAT for free, thereby greatly increasing our circulation and providing much more exposure for our advertisers. Links on each advert in the digital version will enable readers to jump immediately to the advertisers’ websites to obtain additional information about their products. At the time of writing our first digital-only copy of FLYFISHING magazine had been available for free on Issuu for a couple of weeks. The statistics blew me away — of the 2 000 odd people who read FLYFISHING digitally in the first few days, 20% of them were from outside South Africa including some from Slovakia. Even more astounding was the fact that 53% of those readers were looking at the magazine on their phones. The times have indeed changed much! Regardless of the medium in which you wish to read SKI-BOAT, we wish you happy and interesting reading. Our ardent desire is to continue publishing an offshore sportfishing magazine that upholds the legacy of the past well into the future. Till the next tide.

Erwin Bursik


10 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

2017 Billfish 15 000 Tournament By Lyn Adams Photos by Actual Image The Sea of Life presents us With some Currents that confuse And many “ships” are needed On this memorable Cruise Apprentice-ship and Workman-ship Can form a worthy crew Leader-ship and Statesman-ship Can help steer us through Wor-ship is a Flag-ship That is carefully designed And proper navigation Can leave Hard-ship far behind Though the sea of life’s uncharted At times, it must be said The finest craft is Friend-ship When it steams full speed ahead! — John M Robertson

SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 11

Elize Smith and her crew aboard Mrs Seevarkie were thrilled with their first place prize of a Carry Cat 670 on a trailer, with two Yamaha F70hp motors plus plenty of extras — in total a prize worth almost R650 000.

S John Robertson’s poem rings in my head, this is how I sum up the Billfish 15 000: It is a competition of friendship, apprenticeship, workmanship, hardship and most of all it’s about your ship tagging and releasing fish ... The 2017 Billfish 15 000 tournament was once again hosted by Dorado Ski-Boat Club, at Sodwana Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. With a new base and new image it was once again a big success thanks to the hard work behind the scenes and the buy-in from sponsors and anglers alike. The camaraderie there is really something special. Last year the event’s base was moved to the Sodwana Bay Lodge, and with a new stage and bar trailers, it looked spectacular. The sponsors all


seemed very impressed with the Billfish 15 000’s new look. On the Sunday, all the boats were registered for the event and the tent was packed with all the teams excited to get on the water and start fishing. On Monday 13 November 2017 the Billfish tournament started off very slowly and only four billfish were tagged and released. Ever y night was tent night and there were prize give-aways galore, with happy hours and much game-plan chatter. Numerous daily cash prizes as well as prizes like limited edition cooler boxes, compressors and battery vouch-

ers from Probe Corporation, lure packs, reels, and lots more were handed out. It was a very emotional time for everyone present when Oupa Attie Janse van Rensburg, aged 94, (pictured below) had an opportunity to speak to the crowd. He’s a real angling legend and had most people in tears. On the second day all the boats went to sea but the billfish just did not want to be hooked; in the end only two billfish were released. On Wednesday things changed dramatically and the lucky crew aboard Mrs Seevarkie released three billfish before 10am and took the lead in the

SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 13

Captain Fine placed second at the 2017 Billfish 15 000 and Sea Breeze came third. tournament. Mrs Seevarkie and her team had certainly upped their game to ensure they were among the legends at the 2017 event. Sadly Thursday was a blow-out. On the Friday the game was still on and all the teams had their eye on the first prize — a Carry Cat 670 on trailer, with two Yamaha F70hp motors, equipped with an Onwa fishfinder and lots of extras. The winners would also walk away with a R25 000 clothing voucher from Columbia and an invitation to the Offshore World Championship in Costa Rica, as well as insurance on the boat from Club Marine — in total a prize worth almost R650 000.

The team aboard Mrs Seevarkie, stayed focused and made sure that they won the 31st Billfish 15 000 tournament after 22 years of trying! On the last day they quickly released their fourth billfish for the tournament, and knew that they could start celebrating. With one blue, one black and two striped marlin for the week, they had 1 123 points on the board. Mrs Seevarkie had 500 more points than the second placed team — Captain Fine (last year’s winners) — which had 510 points; they won a Lowrance HDS12 Gen.3 fishfinder, worth R53 250. Team Sea Breeze came third with 508 points and won a Zeon

Platinium 12 000 Warn winch worth R44 400. The week ended with a total of 35 billfish released and culminated in a spectacular prize-giving event! Mrs Seevarkie’s crew proudly stood on their new Carry Cat 670 while their theme song — Jo Black’s Skepe — played in the background! The Dorado Ski-Boat Club committee would once again like to thank all the loyal sponsors, anglers and everyone else involved for another great Billfish 15 000 Tournament. We can’t wait to see all of you at Sodwana for the 2018 Billfish 15 000 Tournament — it’s going to be fantastic!



N the marquee 300 of our country’s top billfish anglers eagerly awaited the opening of the 2017 Billfish 15 000 Tournament. All the lights were off and the focus was on the spectacular new stage with its LED decor. All was quiet ... total silence ... and then the thunderous chorus of We Will Rock You started to echo through the cheering crowd and swept them up in an electric atmosphere of anticipation and excitement. An intoxicating mix of adrenaline and excitement rushed through my veins. Within a couple of moments it would be my turn to entertain and inform the crowd. Does that sound intimidating? You bet it is! It is a great privilege to be Master of Ceremonies at such a world class event, and the Billfish 15 000 never fails to take me on an emotional roller coaster ride of note. Just when I think I’ve got the majority of people’s attention and blessing on what I’m doing, then some or other negative issue breaks my stride and I have to build the atmosphere from scratch. To laugh, fight and cry within minutes from each other is the job of an actor, not that of a normal fisherman who battles with the English language like I do. That being said, I must say that the view from the podium remains a super special 14 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

experience year after year. I never get tired of watching the teams being called up to the stage to pose for a photo and get recognition for a billfish release. Although it is definitely the goal for each and every angler to feature on stage with a billfish release or two some time during the week, it still seems to surprise the anglers when they get that loud applause and pumping music to escort them to the stage where they stand next to the score board with their champagne in hand and smiles all around. The highlight for me, though, is the tears of joy from the many anglers who catch their first billfish and then briefly share their story with the crowd. During that short speech presented by the angler or skipper, one truly senses the spirit of camaraderie that exists on the boats and among the teams. This is one of the many contributing factors that make our sport and especially the Billfish 15 000 tournament so special. In summary, it is just about impossible to accurately describe the sights I see from the podium and the electric atmosphere I enjoy with anglers and supporters alike, but I am convinced it is that something special that the teams participating in this awesome event possess, that put the Billfish 15 000 tournament in a class of its own. If you reckon I am exaggerating even a bit, come and experience the week with us in November — you will be transformed.

TACTICS The team on Mrs Seevarkie: Johann Smith, Leandri Smith, Elize Smith, Albert Kruger and Jaco Albrie.

WE DID IT! Billfish 15 000 winners share their story

By Elize Smith


BELIEVE you need a good team spirit with heaps of patience and positivity to be able to participate in any billfish tournament, and if you really want to do well you need to add the provision that flows from our Father above, all honour to Him. I just knew that we were going to have a good week at the 2017 Billfish 15 000 because my crew aboard Mrs Seevarkie — Johann Smith (my son), Leandri Smith (my daughter), Jaco Abrie and Albert Kruger — are all full of life and we work really well as a team. Leandri made a special trip from New Zealand to join us at the tournament this year, whereas the other three were all part of my crew last year. Our week began on Saturday 11

November when we all got together on the boat to go through some drills and to pray for success for the week ahead. Jaco came up with our team’s theme song for 2017 — Skepe by Jo Black. I thought it was the perfect song for a good beginning. On Sunday we went to sea for a practice run because the weather for the rest of the week didn’t look very good. We went home with two skipjacks which were delicious on the braai. Sunday afternoon heralded the tournament opening function in the marquee — always a time of great excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead. On Monday morning we went to sea in a reasonably strong northerly wind but luckily it was still fishable until about 11am. We only caught a wahoo

and the billfish were very scarce all round; only four marlin were caught that day among the fleet. Tuesday morning arrived with the northerly still blowing strong, but we were determined and managed to fish until about midday. Again the marlin were scarce and only three were caught, none by us. On Tuesday afternoon while we were preparing for the next day, my crew and I decided to change our gameplan — we would just put out a spread of Pulsator Marlin Magnet lures. On Wednesday we launched with our usual prayer on the backline, the crew set out our lines with five Marlin Magnets and we blasted our theme song across the water. I decided to work a particular area in front of Jesser Canyon, and as we reached the 330m SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 17

mark the elastic snapped on the left line — a fruit salad coloured lure. We had a striped marlin on the line! Johann was in the chair; it was his first stripey and he was ecstatic. It was also the first fish of the day. About 25 minutes later we had the stripey alongside and safely released it. High fives were the order of the day and then a thank you prayer. We reset the lines with the same lures and headed further out to sea. Things were a little quiet to start with, but about 90 minutes later we noticed the short left elastic stretching; the next minute the elastic snapped but the fish wasn’t on. At the same time the elastic on the long left line broke, but again the fish wasn’t on! When I turned around, though, I saw the fish grab our “Japan” lure and sit tight. This time the lure was on a bird — a small BBI Pulsator lure in fruit salad colours. It was a fairly large blue marlin and Jaco had to be on his toes to land this one on 50 lb gear. The fight lasted about an hour and then we safely released the fish. There was great excitement aboard because the TV boat was stationed near us and they filmed the entire fight. It was Jaco’s first blue marlin, but was his fourth marlin caught on 15 November aboard Mrs Seevarkie during the Billfish 15 000. A great tradition to uphold! Overjoyed with our second fish for the day, we quickly set about letting out the lines. The teamwork was incredible. We were still busy setting the lines and the elastics when our Japan stick in 18 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

the rodholder on the T-top started screaming. Unfortunately the fish was off before we could get to the rod. When we turned around to check if there was a fish in the spread, Leandri spotted a marlin coming in on the short left. He broke the elastic but missed the lure, but the next second he was on the long left line. It was Albert’s turn in the chair and his first marlin — a stripey. Once again the line was the popular fruit salad coloured Marlin Magnet. Just 25 minutes later the fish was safely alongside ready to be released. We stood there amazed and overjoyed at what we’d achieved that day, exceedingly grateful to our Creator for the privilege of fishing these waters. We soon got organised again and continued trolling, looking for another fish. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t playing along and around 1pm a thunderstorm forced us to beach. We’d had a brilliant day but Leandri was disappointed about the weather because the forecast for the next two days wasn’t looking good and she also wanted to catch a marlin. That night we discovered we were the day’s winners and also topped the leaderboard. Thursday’s fishing was called off as a result of a strong southerly wind, rain and big waves. When Friday dawned things weren’t looking promising, but all the same the whole team was ready to go. Eventually we got the call that the competition was on and in a flash we were on the beach with the boat. We were under pressure to head out and defend our lead.

The sea was quite rough and we were soon very wet, and Leandri and I both already had colds, so we weren’t excited about the conditions. However, we were determined to see the competition through, so we followed the same routine as Wednesday with the same Marlin Magnets out and me working the same line as before. The sea was so rough that at that stage we couldn’t go out further than 100m without me becoming concerned for our safety. Eventually I turned and started working slightly shallower water around the 70m mark and then turned to go deeper again. The next minute the elastic on the right long line snapped and we had hooked a black marlin. Leandri finally had her turn in the chair and acquitted herself very well, bringing the fish alongside in just 20 minutes. The black had eaten the luminous medium-sized Marlin Magnet. It was only the third fish of the day and we were over the moon. The black marlin was the only fish we caught on Friday, but still our week ended with a tally of four marlin — two stripeys, one blue and one black. Once again we thanked our Creator for the blessings He bestowed on us. On Friday evening we were officially crowned the winners of the 2017 Billfish 15 000 tournament; it was a surreal experience! We would like to thank the Dorado Ski-Boat Club and all the sponsors for a fantastic tournament. We’ll definitely be back to defend our title in 2018.


By SKI-BOAT Reporter


ESPITE the relatively few boats that fish the giant black marlin season off Bazaruto compared to other venues, the number of quality fish that are caught there every year makes it one of the best destinations in the world to catch a very big marlin. Those who made the short trek up to the Moçambican archipelago between September and December of last year can testify that the 2017 season was once again nothing short of remarkable. Here’s an overview of all the action… Although the heavy tackle season usually starts

A 500 lb marlin jumps towards Big Bob before being released. Photo by: Killian Danes 22 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

around mid-September, those fishing six weeks prior had a preview of things to come. At 25°C, the water temperature was remarkably high for early August, and boats were finding exceptional numbers of juvenile marlin in the 20- to 80kg range. These fish were actually bycatch seeing as everyone was primarily light tackle gamefishing for the big winter wahoo and sailfish as well as other game fish. This was the scene up to mid-September when, at a time when it was supposed to rise, a big low pressure system actually brought the water temperature down to around 24°C. But the ocean never ceases to amaze with its unpredictability, and despite only rising another 0.4°C over the next

seven weeks, the bite never slowed down; in fact, it increased. By mid-September a few boats brought the heavy tackle out. It wasn’t firing, but there were lots of big yellowfin, wahoo and dorado along with a good number of black- and blue marlin up to 400 lb, to keep things interesting. Then, by the end of the month and into early October the numbers started to come up and the first big fish started being seen. After going five for six in the first six days of October, on the 8th, Vamizi released the first big fish of the season — a 700 lb beauty. Two days later they had six fish for the day, of which four were over 500 lb. The hooks pulled on a 700 lb marlin right by the boat, and they released a 600 lb fish out of a double hookup on yellowfin livebaits.

Estimated 400 lb black marlin jumps before being released aboard Vamizi. Photo by: Duarte Rato

After being down south for over a month, the fish were now mostly showing at the northern end of Bazaruto. They had mostly been caught on lures up to then, but suddenly they were tuned into the big yellowfin tuna livebaits. Fortunately the yellowfin were also around in good numbers. The big blacks find these 8-12kg baits irresistible, but they do not provide the best conversion ratios, and there were quite a lot of nice fish missed or lost after fairly long fights. It was interesting to note that during this time and for the next five weeks, instead of most bites occurring around the tide changes, as normally happens in this fishery, the bites were predominantly in the very early morning when the baitfish were up on the surface.

Small to mid-size black and blue marlin were abundant in August and September before the action with the really big fish started. Photo by: Duarte Rato

It was a big fish season at Bazaruto but in mid-November huge numbers of juvenile marlin appeared in the shallow reefs. Many were caught on light tackle when boats were looking for bait, such as this one released at dawn by Vamizi. Photo by: Duarte Rato | SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 23

This 814 lb fish caught by Rian Chambers got tail wrapped and had to be boated on Vamizi. Photo by: Darrel Lourens Unfortunately very few boats took advantage of this prodigious bite, but Sailfish got a few up to 500 lb and Marlin, Little Hooker and Potency all enjoyed great daily action. Vamizi had a great week thereafter, seeing 17 marlin and releasing eight up to 500 lb. The following week they had a group from the UK. None of the anglers had ever caught a marlin before and in five days they released five marlin, including an 800 lb fish, a 700 lb fish, a 400 lb fish and a couple of smaller ones. After a ver y calm August and September, October 2017’s weather was a mix of a few calm days, lots of challenging days and some non-fishable days. However, these big fish like it rough, and with the excellent bite no one was complaining about the “sporty” conditions. Some hefty low pressure systems came through, including a couple of really big ones in midto late October that kept everyone on dry land for a few days. By this stage the fish were now split between lighthouse area and down south at the canyon. After the wind eased up, four boats found a great bite early on 24th October down at the canyon, although the fish were mostly being picky. That morning Ibo released one out of five bites on the lures, Sailfish lost two fish up to 600 lb on livebaits and Big Bob released a midranger out of two bites on the dead baits. On the same day Vamizi hooked up on a lure on the only fish they saw, but it was a real one. It was Andrew Carrick’s first marlin, but after sun-setting it for the last 40 minutes they got her to the boat for a release in just under two hours and estimated she weighed 1 100 lb. Two days later Vamizi once again hooked up to a big fish on the same lure in the early morning. Unfortunately, it got tail wrapped and they had to boat the fish which weighed in at 814 lb. Big Bob also released a few up to 400 lb, Sailfish got some up to 550 lb and Marlin released a few up to 650 lb.

The good run continued well into November with many fish caught during the first week of the month. After two slow days, the first slow lull for over a month, there was once again a big fish bite on the morning of 3 November. Big Bob released one out of three fish up to 350 lb, Marlin one out of two — a 600 lb-plus beauty, Fish Therapy got another at 600 lb and Vamizi released one 700 lb fish out of four bites, pulling the hook on an 800 lb mama right by the boat. Sailfish did really well over the next two days, releasing three up to 500 lb. Then, after a week of picture-perfect days, on 8 November there was a severe south-easterly predicted to arrive around noon. Big Bob and Vamizi each got a fish in the morning and then, as the wind arrived and everyone started tacking home, Vamizi hooked up again and released a 600 lb marlin. Around the same time, but much further north, Roger MacDonald’s Alladin also hooked up, but to a much bigger fish. They hooked it on a downrigger-fished live skipjack and Nick MacDonald fought it in the maelstrom for two-and-a-half hours. The fish came belly up, and after a gruesome fourhour rough ride home they weighted her at 945 lb. After this steady blow the water turned horrible green with lots of dead plankton and jellyfish on the top. However, as everyone knows, blacks can and do eat in green water and it was more a mental challenge than anything else seeing as most boats were still finding the big blacks over that period. A visiting boat from Zambia, Squmfemfe, did really well with a good number of fish up to 600 lb. Vamizi released four to 500 lb, while Game Changer, Copper Bullet and Sailfish all got nice fish. Big Bob did extremely well, and besides a few fish up to 700 lb, they released a huge fish for Schalk Theron which they conservatively estimated at 900 lb-plus. Finally, on 16 November a real nice body of deep blue, ideal, 26°C degree

An estimated 500 lb black marlin on the snooter before being released aboard Vamizi. Photo by: Duarte Rato

Estimated 700 lb black marlin released by Vamizi in early November. Photo by: Duarte Rato

To compliment the big black marlin action boats also had a chance to catch blue marlin, striped marlin and sailfish. Photo by: Duarte Rato

SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 25

Mike Gooch with the first big fish of the Bazaruto season and his first marlin. Photo by: Duarte Rato | water pushed in. Although it looked great, slowly but consistently, except in the shallows, the bait started to disappear. Up to then sailfish had been scarce, but in those conditions lots of sailies showed up, as did lots of very small blacks in the 15-30kg range. They were being caught on the bait rods daily, mixed amongst the bonnies in around 20 metres of water. Overall, however, despite this being the time when there were the most boats around (±14) the big fish bite slowed down. Diversity rather than quality seemed to be the order of the week, with a good number of small blues and stripies being caught. That being said, early on 17 November, fishing out of Sailfish Bay, Quatro hooked a monster fish on a lure. After fighting it for nine-and-a-half hours on 130 lb tackle, they lost it in the dark when the line got caught and cut on the propeller. They estimated the fish to be in excess of 1 400 lb. Aside from that, only three fish over 500 lb were caught that week, with honours going to Big Bob, Vamizi and Bazaruto Explorer. Tamos Juntos had some seriously harsh luck, losing two big fish boatside. By the end of November and into early December good numbers of big blacks started showing once again, but unfortunately by that time there were only two or three boats focused on marlin fishing. With the lack of bait, the fish were picky to say the least. Having already released a number of good fish, the guys from Soolyman Sportfishing aboard Bazaruto Explorer ended their magnificent two-week trip with a 912 lb marlin. The fish was hooked late in the afternoon on a yellowfin tuna livebait and boated in the dark.

26 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

When everyone else was having a horrible hookup ratio on the lures and livies, Big Bob continued fishing their livebait program (skip and swim baits) and had had a great run since mid-November. They ended it in style, catching a good number of marlin up to 700 lb in the first week of December, including an amazing day where they went four for five with fish up to 600 lb. By the end of the year most of the boats were focussing on light tackle gamefishing, but with the water at 26°C good marlin were still being seen and caught on a regular basis to January. The marlin fishing on the archipelago should fire up again from March to mid-May, both on blacks and blues, but if you dream of tackling a real big black and having a shot at that elusive grander on your doorstep, make sure you make the short trek to Bazaruto between September and mid-December of this year. For further information on charter boats in Bazaruto contact: • Capt. Duarte Rato 31ft Vamizi & 38ft Game Changer Phone: +258 84 639 0466 or +258 82 805 7160 <> <> • Capt. Morgan O’Kennedy 27ft Sailfish & 25ft Spanish Fly Phone: +258 84 5665006 <>

SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 â&#x20AC;¢ 27


Patience rewarded with a proper size marlin By Bobby du Plessis


N Sunday 26 November 2017 Xuadrack Lukas, Gussy Bunbury and I woke up at a leisurely 7am as we had to wait for the tide to come in so we could start loading the boat with all the gear to take Mark de la Hey and his film crew back to Inhasorro after they’d spent a few days fishing with me on the island. We made the crossing in calm weather in around 35 minutes and quickly said our goodbyes before heading back to Bazaruto. As we set course for Bazaruto it began to bucket down with rain which continued all the way to the lighthouse. It was then that I started to doubt we had made the right choice about trying to fish in the sloppy conditions. Wet to the core and shivering from the 20 knot south-easterly that was

blowing, we got lucky and managed to get a nice kawakawa right away. I quickly bridled him up, sent him back overboard and started dragging him out to the deep away from the sharks that were feeding on the bait shoals inshore. On the way out we saw some birds and I threw my plug and went tight on a nice 10kg yellowfin which I horsed to the boat in record time on my heavy popping stick to get him away from the many sharks. This yellowfin was also quickly bridled up and went back overboard to join the kawa. We put the kawa on the starboard rigger and I was holding the yellowfin on the trace just a few metres out the back. As soon as we reached the 100 metre-plus line, the yellowfin shot right back to the boat and stayed between the engines. I threw him back out and again he shot back and this time was swimming right up against the

hull of the boat with his tail beating the side of the hull like a drum. I immediately realised he had seen something that he did not like and my first thought was that it must have been a big shark as we had been dodging them all week long. We’d also lost many a beautiful bait to sharks, as one does when you’re livebaiting off Bazaruto. As I looked out the back, expecting to see a filthy yellow shadow, there was a massive boil on the kawa and the rigger clip popped. I free spooled the fish while Gussy got the yellowfin back onboard and into the luna tube. Finally I locked up the drag and the 130 lb Penn International screamed off at a steady pace. Still thinking it was a shark, and having not seen the fish, I pushed the drag to little over strike but that only made the fish accelerate even more than before. At that moment I looked up to Bobby du Plessis, Gussy Bunbury and Xuadrack Lukas with the monster marlin of ±1 012 lb, caught off Bazaruto.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 29

30 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

Finally alongside, but unfortunately tail-wrapped and dead. the south and saw the beast clear the water; it was then that we realised that we had indeed hooked the fish that I had been after for the last eight days... I jumped in the chair while my skipper, Xuadrack, stayed on the wheel with Gussy getting in behind me to drive the chair while I went to work. The fish sounded after her initial big run and I worked her back up eight times. Daylight was fading fast in the light drizzle and overcast conditions, so we ran out ahead of her and changed the angle of pull. That made her come to the surface where she jumped; Gussy managed to get a great shot of her trying to clear the water. I had her on the trace 30 minutes later but she was still very green and went back down deep. After a few vigorous head shakes and short runs she just went heavy and I felt a dead weight on the end of my line.

By this stage it was after 7pm and it was pitch dark; I was worried the sharks would get her as a good billfish was eaten right on the trace two days before in the same area when Luis Nunes and his crew were fishing aboard Tamos Juntos. Concerned that the same would happen to my fish, I pushed the lever to sunset and slowly used the big swell to edge her up foot by foot with the reel in low gear. Xuadrack did a superb job on the wheel, keeping the boat in the best possible position while Gussy also had my chair in the right direction throughout the whole fight and even managed to snap a few great shots in the low light conditions. Eventually, after 30 more agonising minutes, we saw her colour in the black water as she floated up ten metres behind Bazaruto Explorer. It was only then that we saw her true size. The three of us onboard all SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 â&#x20AC;˘ 31

swore in unison, something along the lines of “Holy f**k look at the size of this thing!”’ By that stage we were completely exhausted and the wind was blowing a steady 15 knots with small white caps, and the current was pulling hard. We managed to roll the fish over and unwrap the leader from her rigid pecs and enormous propeller, and I tried to hold onto the bill while Xuadrack got a rope ready to tie her up alongside. A bigger than normal swell pushed the fish into the side of the boat with me hanging on for dear life, and then the fish drifted back about a metre again with the roll of the big swell. Hanging on with the last bit of energy I had, determined not to let go, I lost my footing and fell head over heels over the gunnel, onto the fish and into the cold, black water. Let’s just say with a dead, bleeding fish in Zambezi-infested waters, I swam round to the engines and got back onboard in record time; Chad le Clos would have been impressed! Totally shattered but pumping with adrenaline, we finally managed to get a rope around her tail and around her thick bill. Knowing all too well that we had no chance to pull her onboard, we secured the rope to the base of the fighting chair and started to tow her back to Pestana Lodge at low speed.

Lucky for us, the tides were in our favour and we had full high water at 8.30pm when we arrived, so we drove the fish right up to the high water mark. Most of the village and lodge staff had already heard about the catch and were waiting to claim their slab of fish to feed their hungry kids and family back home. Unfortunately no scale was available on our side of the island so measurements were taken; based on the girth and thickness all the way to the tail the fish was estimated to weigh 1 012 lb. We didn’t weigh it so we can’t really claim it, but I’m more than happy to call her 950 lb+ and the memories of that afternoon and evening will never be forgotten as long as I live. There are some real big girls out there off Bazaruto and the Zimbabwe boys on Quatro fought a fish they called well over 1 400 lb for 9.5 hours on 130 lb tackle a few days earlier. Unfortunately she outsmarted them and got free a few metres from the leader. No strangers to big fish, Bruce de Burg called her “absolutely ridiculous” in size and the biggest fish he has ever seen. We also had our fair share of bad luck in the week before, losing four good fish in the 600- to 850 lb range in a row, with hooks turning back into the bait and hooks pulling just out of reach before we could grab the leader. That’s

marlin fishing for you — ten hours of mind numbing boredom for that one hour of pure adrenaline pumping ecstasy! It’s definitely days like those when you lose good fish that make one truly appreciate the days that a big fish is landed and when all the odds are in your favour and a plan comes together. Once again my sincere and heartfelt thanks and gratitude go to my skipper Xuadrack whose local knowledge of the Bazaruto waters is unparalleled and his dedication and passion to catch big marlin is something you don’t see too often. Thanks also to Gussy for being there to offer support, help catch bait, pass me beers and drive my chair while still being able to shoot some great shots with her camera. Thank you also to all the staff at Pestana Lodge — Louise and her team are absolute legends and ensured we were well looked after as always. And finally, thank you to Mark for the use of his beautiful villa and boat; without your friendship and generosity I would not have been able to catch this fish of a lifetime and experience the beauty that is Bazaruto Island. I have a few more adventures planned in the upcoming months — Kenya, Costa Rica, Cape Verde and more... — but I’m hoping that time will pass quickly so that Bazaruto comes around again real soon.

SA ANGLERS ARE TOPS 2017 Billfish Foundation T&R Awards


ACH year The Billfish Foundation recognises the best of the best in the billfishing community to acknowledge the significant effort they contribute to the Billfish Foundation’s Tag & Release Program and billfish conservation in general. Since its inception in 1990, the program has grown to accrue nearly 240 000 tag and release records to become the largest private billfish tagging database in the world. In the last year alone,TBF has collected nearly 15 000 records! The information gathered through tag and release efforts has been invaluable to help better manage billfish stocks, better understand these fish, and preserve the sport we love.This has only been possible through the efforts of conservation-minded captains and anglers across the globe. Winners were recognised at the 2017 International Tag & Release Awards Ceremony held at Miami’s Jungle Island Treetop Ballroom on 16 February. A few South Africans featured promi32 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

nently among the anglers honoured, some of whom are regular contributors to SKI-BOAT magazine. Sean Van Veijeren (left) was third in the category for Top Pacific Black Marlin Release Anglers. Stuart Simpson (below, left) was first in the category for Top Atlantic White Marlin Release Captains and second in the category for Top Atlantic Blue Marlin Tagging Captains. Brad Philipps came second in the category for Top Overall Release Captain and second in the categor y for Top Pacific Sailfish Release Captains. Darr yn Du Plessis of Soolyman Charters was first in the category for Top Indian Ocean Sailfish Tagging Captains, second in the category for Top Indian Ocean Sailfish Release Captains and third in the category for Top Indian Ocean Sailfish Tagging Anglers. Congratulations to these men — we’re proud to be associated with you. For the full list of winners visit <>.


THE LAST SHALL The Butt Cat 660 by Nauti-Tech

36 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

Reviewed by Erwin Bursik



AVING reviewed three of Nauti-Tech’s Butt Cats on a balmy day off Port Elizabeth during the spring of 2017, I was presented with a dilemma as to which of these craft I would feature in our November/December 2017 issue of SKI-BOAT magazine. The three craft — Butt Cat 25 Yellowfin Edition, Butt Cat 930 XL and the Butt Cat 660 — are all very different from one another, both in their overall size as well as the markets they’re targeting here in South African waters. In the end I chose to feature Fundays, the latest 25ft Yellowfin Edition, first. That decision was largely influenced by the fact that we were heading into the Cape Point yellowfin season, South Africa’s undisputed world class fishery. She is a fabulous craft with many design features specially chosen for her specific intended use as a tuna hunter. Next up was Hooker, the 930XL sportfisher and the flagship of the Butt Cat Range. Her full review appeared in the January/February 2018 issue of SKIBOAT magazine. Her exposure both in narrative as well as pictorially provided many of our readers with tantalising information to digest over the 2017/18 festive season. Finally, I now get to put into print my appreciation of a craft I thoroughly enjoyed putting through her paces in the waters off Port Elizabeth. My primary reason for exposing her third in line is that this craft falls into the six metre-plus categor y which appeals to both the sport- and gamefishing brigade as well as those who hunt the reef fish that are widely targeted along the east and southern South African coast starting from Richards Bay in the north to Cape Point and stretching right up the west coast to Lambert’s Bay. This latter stretch of coast has blossomed over the last decade, attracting more and more offshore boaters to the area, both as holiday makers and permanent residents. I would hazard a guess that the class this six metre offshore ski-boat fits into is the largest, number wise, in South Africa. In essence it’s a size craft that’s relatively easily launched off the beach and estuary both for surf launching and slipway harbour operation. Boats of this size can be towed comfortably with most of the three-litre class 4x4 vehicles and fall into the price range that most ski-boaters deem affordable. The Butt Cat 660 fits easily into this class and as I boarded her to commence my review I had the immediate feeling of being at home and comfortable. It was a feeling of neutrality, not the awe that has to envelope one, as I experience when boarding a much bigSKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 37

ger and more opulent craft. Because the 660 is much the same size as my personal craft, I had a good benchmark to measure her against. I was immediately taken by the Butt Cat 660 which was powered by twin DF90A Suzuki four-stroke outboard motors that were swinging 19 pitch three-bladed aluminium props. Despite having scrutinised her ride over water and apparent acceleration during the period I spent photographing her from every conceivable angle, it was only when I was aboard her with Len van Kempen and had command of the vessel that I fully appreciated how well the two Suzuki 90hp motors made this craft perform. What’s more, when I got to experience how she performed on one motor I was even more surprised and impressed. The Butt Cat 660 is a sleek looking craft with a very distinctive, finely chiselled flowing bow and a substantial centre console with styled T-top that complemented her overall looks but still allowed easy access past the helm station to the forward fishing area. As I stated in my reviews of the other two models, on the day of the test the sea off Port Elizabeth was very flat with a long swell moving in from the south and a light breeze that barely put a chop on the water. In essence it was only by using the wake action of the accompanying photo boat that I could judge what one could expect in rougher sea conditions. I assessed her ride at varying trim settings combined with speed to accentuate the craft’s hull ride over water. In doing so, I re-established what I had found with the other two craft I reviewed on the same day, namely how soft her ride was and how flat her forward trajectory is. In addition she also throws a very flat spray well aft as is very apparent when viewing the photographs of this craft moving at reasonably fast speeds. During speed trials I got her to 30 knots at 5 000 rpm but she really loved riding at 20 knots with the rpm sitting at 3 700. Through the trolling range between 600 rpm and 1 800 rpm she achieved an SOW ranging from 2,5 knots to 6 knots which also produced a very flat wake ideal for gamefishing. What really surprised me, though, was her ability to plane on one motor with the other trimmed right up. Working the port motor, she got onto the plane at 14 knots and with two of us aboard maxed out at 4 500 rpm giving us a speed of 19 knots. Using the starboard motor she maxed out at 5 000 rpm and held 20 knots at full throttle; when I backed down to a comfortable 4 000 rpm she planed at 16 knots. What this means is that, should one experience a problem far from port or beyond the backline, a safe and SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 39

speedy return can be expected. As this model of the Butt Cat range is bound to find its way into the realm of surf launching, I deemed it necessary to do extensive simulated trials with this in mind. This craft likes a prone attack in a head sea, so I did not use a lot of bowup trim during these trials and found her very responsive when going into a 360 degree turn at speed and then pulling out of the turn, by digging herself out the hole and out of trouble. Her performance was excellent and no matter what I tried I could not get her to cavitate. As a general comment regarding fishability, the Butt Cat’s heritage as a boat designed for the southern- and eastern Cape sea conditions and primarily bottomfishing comes to the fore. The 660 reviewed was rigged out for this arduous form of boating and fishing and her layout was perfect for that. A few necessities/niceties that caught my eye were the quality and manufacture of the forward anchor bollard and front roller, as well as the stainless steel protection plate protecting the forward rub rail from chain and/or rope chaffing. In addition, an anchor retrieval plate (pictured below) situated on the starboard forward gunnel will assist in the pulling of the anchor rope/chain and anchor itself for stowage in the forward anchor locker. It’s these touches that an ardent bottomfisherman will appreciate when undertaking this dangerous task. When looking at this craft’s aft sportfishing cockpit area, transom trolling boards and livebait well/insulated bait box, it’s obvious that anglers using this craft for gamefishing are also extremely well catered for. An interesting addition is the provision of two aft padded seats and backrests which were created by modifying the transommounted trolling boards. In action these are comfortable and will be appreciated by the crew during a long run home. To further emphasise both the comfort and aesthetics of this craft’s layout — something you don’t generally find on a bottomfishing craft — I took note of the upholstered seating and gunnel inserts and the carpeted decking. All that tells me that the owner of this Butt Cat 660 enjoys his comfort and likes having a craft that he can be extremely proud of. The entire helm station including its seating, its protective windscreen and its robust and aerodynamically designed T-top, combine to provide the skipper

with an exceptionally welldesigned, practical and comfortable “Captain’s Perch”. Over and above the positioning of all the electronics and gauges, I found the steering positioning at a raking

angle and the position of throttle controls was very practical to use even when executing extremely tight turns at good speed. Again I must comment on the substantial windscreen and semi-side SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 41

screen protectors which provide the skipper and the crew member, who has seating space next to the skipper, with a great deal of protection. With the Butt Cat 660 I again spent an inordinate amount of time inspecting the finishes — the actual glass work as well as the hardware fitted and, above all, the extremely good stainless steel work and fittings. The standard that Warren Rachman and Len van Kempen are achieving in this regard is extremely high and is a credit to their dedication to overcoming the “Achilles heel” that the Butt Cat had a few decades ago. In conclusion I must again reiterate what I have tried to convey to readers who are not familiar with the Butt Cat range: their well proven on-water performance and “soft rides” are not just a myth. Their attack stance is different to most other boats, and it took me a while to adjust my thinking in regard to the trimming of these craft to maximise power utilisation and optimise fuel consumption whilst covering distances at good speed. I thoroughly enjoyed the craft’s ride and sea-keeping capabilities, but being surrounded by all the niceties and top class finishes made me appreciate the Butt Cat 660 to its fullest. In short, if you’re looking to buy a boat in this category and want a serious offshore fishing craft, then make sure the Butt Cat 660 is among the craft you examine closely. 42 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018


AWARDS NATAL Deep Sea Angling Association (NDSAA) recently held their annual prizegiving presentation. Among the awards recipients was young Tristan Schreiber (below, centre) who was honoured for the world record 35.8kg ’cuda (king mackerel) he caught on 10kg line in May last year.

Also present at the NDSAA annual prize giving were all the Natal anglers who have also received their Protea colours (right). They were honoured for the high standing they’ve achieved in South African angling circles.

44 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018


HE 2017/2018 festive season has come and gone, and from what I have seen on social media most of our fraternity from Sodwana Bay to the west coast had some very enjoyable fishing outings and, more importantly, catches over the holiday period. For my getaway in Sodwana I not only saw many T&R flags flying but was also able to catch a few on my boat Stephe. A huge number of our SADSAA members also colonised the entire southern Moçambique coastline from Ponta right up to Inhassoro, not only catching a lot of pelagic gamefish but also enjoying far better weather than we had here in good old RSA. The long-awaited SADSAA office is busy being established and will be situated in Glen Anil, Durban. It will be fully operational by the end of February. Full details including contact numbers will be circulated as soon as all the communication facilities have been installed and connected. I must place on record a message of sincere thanks to those of our executives who, over the last 25 years, have made office space and facilities available to the staff who have been running the SADSAA administration and safety portfolios. Below is the list of SADSAA officials for 2018 together with the contact details that we neglected to include in my previous President’s Report. It’s going to be an exciting year ahead and I am sure that SADSAA will continue to grow and that the momentum of the main essence of SADSAA’s Charter, the promotion of competitive angling, will be strongly preserved by all our associated provinces. On page 46 of this issue of SKI-BOAT you’ll find a full list of the scheduled 2018 tournaments. President, Phillip Marx: 083 655 8521 <> Vice-President, Jaco Lingenfelder: 082 537 1597 <> Treasurer, Erwin Bursik: 082 570 0329 <> Secretary, Chris Schorn: 083 284 5969 <> National Selections Convenor, Barry Turk: 082 808 7845 <> PR Officer, Hymie Steyn: 021 976 4454 <> Tournaments Officer, Dick Pratt: 082 800 8439 <> Records Officer, Dave Oostingh:082 774 8606 <> Development Officer, Niel Coetzer: 082 806 4492 <> Environmental Officer, Mark Beyl: 082 610 0102 <> National Safety Officer, Carl Krause: 083 700 8593 <> Dep. Safety Coastal,Anton Gets: 083 626 5917 <> Dep. Safety Inland, Jannie de Jonge: 082 456 5726 <>



ADSAA is excited to announce that the European Federation of Sea Anglers (EFSA) have asked us to host the 2019 World Championship in Richards Bay. Invitations to this presitigious event have already been sent out. EFSA hosts a World Championship each year, and in 2018 the event will be held in the Azores Islands. The last time South Africa hosted a world championship event it was held in Cape Town in November 2002 and was run out of the Cape Boat and Skiboat Club’s facilities at Miller’s Point and at Simonstown. At that event South African teams swept the board, taking the top three places. The photos alongside will no doubt bring back proud memories for those anglers and remind other South African anglers that we The SADSAA team of Dave Jacobs, Tim Christy and John Henshilwood (capt.) need stand back for no-one. took first place at the 2002 EFA World Championship.



HE only Protea team selected since the last report was the team which will participate in the EFSA European Boat Angling Championship in Olasvik, Iceland, from 28 May to 1 June. The fiveman Protea team consists of Martin Gierz (Eastern Province) — Captain, Allen Ford (Border), Daniel Hughes (Western Province), John Luef (Border) and Rory Leonard (Border). Congratulations, gentlemen, we wish you tight lines in Iceland.

ABOVE: Dr Johann Terblanche, then Vice President of SADSAA (far right) congratulating the SADSAA development team of Mark Smuts, Quinton Edmund and Ron Davis on their second place achievement at the 2002 EFSA World Championship. BELOW: The Springbok team of Dale Nicolay, Trevor Roseveare and Chris Jacobs took third place at the tournament and were congratulated by Gavin Paulse, then Speaker of the City of Cape Town (far left).

READERS’ QUERIES SADSAA’s President, Phillip Marx, has undertaken to answer a limited number of readers’ queries regarding SADSAA in each issue. If you have a question you would like answered,email him on <>. SADSAA CONTACTS: Email: << • Website: <> SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 45



DATE 2-4 5-10 11-17 12-16 23-25

TOURNAMENT Richards Bay Billfish Interprovincial Cape Vidal SBC Marlin Struisbaai Marlin Tournament Mapelane Billfish Invitational Neptunes Interclub

VENUE Richards Bay Cape Vidal Struisbaai Mapelane



5-9 8-11 21 21-25 24-25 30-1 30-1 30-7

SGDSAA Rosebowl Interclub Cape to Rio Amatikulu Durban Ski-boat Club Junior Day Legends Marlin Competition Umkomaas Interclub Richards Bay 40th Bonanza East London Game- and Bottomfish Interclub Gamefish Interclub

St Lucia Cape Vidal Durban St Lucia Umkomaas Richards Bay East London Richards Bay

SGDSAA Amatikulu

2-5 7-8 7-8 14-15 26-1 27-28 27-1 27-1 28-29 28-5

Bottomfish Interclub Shelly Beach Interclub Couta Classic Warnadoone Interclub Tuna Classic Marlin Ski-boat Club Gamefish Classic SADSAA Bottomfish Nationals All Inland Interprovincial/club Durban Ski-boat Club Festival GBBAC Tuna Classic

Jeffreys Bay Shelly Beach Umlalazi Warnadoone St Francis Bay


East London Sodwana Bay Durban Gordons Bay


6 9-12 11-13 13-19 18-20 21-25 25-26 25-27 1-3 2-3 4-8 11-15 20-23 23-24 22-24 23-25

Durban Ski-boat Club Ladies’ Day Saltwater Masters Pennington Interzonals SADSAA Tuna Nationals Meerensee Gamefish Interclub SADSAA Gamefish Nationals Park Rynie Interclub Mapelane Trophy Interclub Zinkwazi Interclub Richards Bay Interclub 21st Guinjata Species Bonanza Nomads Closed Gamefish Interprovincial Snoek Derby Mapelane ’Cuda Derby Junior Interprovincial

Durban Diaz DSC — EP Pennington Gordons Bay Meerensee Shelly Beach Park Rynie Mapelane Zinkwazi Richards Bay Guinjata Mapelane Zinkwazi St Lucia Mapelane Richards Bay

3-7 7-8 13-15 16-20

Shelly Beach Ski-boat Festival 21 Species Mapelane Junior Interclub SADSAA Junior Nationals

Shelly Beach Meerensee Mapelane Shelly Beach


7-11 10-12

Kleinbaai Interprovincial Rod & Reel Interclub

Kleinbaai Durban



Bottomfish Interzonals



1-5 15-20 26-28

Limpopo Interclub/Letaba SBC Comp Rumbly Bay Interprovincial 12 x 12 Species

Pandaine, Moz Miller’s Point St Lucia



5-10 5-10 12-17 19-23 19-23

Hout Bay Tuna Derby OET Billfish/Gamefish Billfish 15 000 SADSAA Light Tackle Billfish Nationals SADSAA Heavy Tackle Billfish Nationals

Hout Bay Sodwana Bay Sodwana Bay Sodwana Bay Sodwana Bay






INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENTS MAY/JUNE 28-1 EFSA Bottomfish SEPTEMBER 14-20 EFSA Big Game Championships SEPT/OCT 29-6 FIPS-M World Championship NOVEMBER 11-16 ILTTA 46 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

Iceland Azores Frontignan Guatemala








PAYING THE TAXMAN Investigating shark depredation of hooked linefish off the KZN coast By Bruce Mann, Oceanographic Research Institute, Durban


HE occurrence of sharks taking fish hooked on line has been taking place in KwaZulu-Natal waters since linefishing began in our waters in the 1800s. Known as “depredation” by scientists (i.e. an act of preying upon or plundering), ski-boat anglers commonly refer to this phenomenon as “being taxed” or “paying the taxman”. In the past, losing one or two fish to sharks was regarded as bad luck, but it was generally accepted that this would happen from time to time. However, in more recent years the incidence of shark depredation appears to have increased substantially and there are now certain areas where it is almost impossible to get a hooked linefish to the boat before it is taken by a shark. This situation raises three important questions: 1) Why has shark depredation increased to such an extent? 2) What impact is this having on our linefish stocks? 3) What can we do about it? These questions are not easy to answer, but I will attempt to tackle them one at a time. Sharks have been around for millions of years and are extremely well adapted to survive as top predators in the marine environment. While most sharks target specific prey, many are also opportunistic scavengers and won’t let an easy meal pass them by. Using their remarkable sense of smell and their ability to pick up vibrations and faint electrical fields in the water, sharks can hone in on a hooked linefish very quickly as the struggling fish is emitting all the right signals to excite a hungry shark. Now if you consider that sharks are far from stupid and are capable of learning to react to certain stimuli in their environment (for example in the aquarium we can train a shark to come to a target and be rewarded with food in about two

weeks), then it follows that sharks can learn (or become conditioned) to take hooked linefish. Add to this the fact that many of our shark species are slow growing, long-lived animals capable of reaching ages in excess of 30 years and some can remain resident in certain areas for extended periods of time, you are left with the logical conclusion that we have inadvertently taught or conditioned our local shark populations to recognise an easy meal when we go fishing! As fishing effort has increased along the KZN coast during the past 100-plus years, so more and SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 51

Once the sharks figure out where lunch is being served, anglers very often draw the short straw. more sharks have been exposed to an easy meal of a hooked fish on a line with the inevitable results that we are witnessing today. Practises such as chumming — whether it be to attract tuna up to the boat or to attract sharks for divers — have undoubtedly compounded the problem. There may also be other factors at play such as the greatly reduced sardine run over the past few years. Whether this is due to overfishing or climate change (or both), the fact remains that many of the shark species that annually migrate with the sardines — such as copper (bronze-whalers) and dusky sharks — are long-lived animals that are now faced with a situation of reduced food availability (i.e. fewer sardines). They may respond to this shortage by feeding on alternative food sources such as hooked linefish. However, if these two species were the main culprits, we would expect the shark depredation problem to be much more seasonal in nature. Blacktips, Zambies and tiger sharks (in addition to duskies and coppers) appear to be the main species involved, and while all three are capable of undertaking long distance movements, tagging results suggest that they do remain resident in localised areas for extended periods of time. This lends further support to the “conditioning” hypothesis. Many ski-boat anglers believe that there has been an “explosion” in shark numbers and that there are a lot more sharks around now than there were in the past and that this is the reason for the increased shark depredation. Following on from the above discussion, this may be true to some extent as the conditioned sharks are benefitting from a regular food supply (i.e. hooked linefish) and are thus increasing in number. However, along the KZN coast the KZN Sharks Board has been deploying large-mesh gillnets and more recently drumlines as bather protection devices since the early 1960s. All sharks caught are recorded and the Sharks Board’s stats do not show significant increases in shark numbers, in fact the opposite is true for some species. While another element of learnt behaviour such as net avoidance may be affecting such statistics and they may not accurately reflect shark numbers further offshore — the nets are generally set just behind the backline in about 14m depth — they do not support the idea that there has been a dramatic increase in shark numbers. The second question about what impact this is having on our linefish stocks is even more difficult to answer. In an

unfished, pristine environment most fit, healthy linefish species would be able to avoid predation by sharks and it would only be the old and sick that would succumb. However, in a fished environment it is the strong, fit fish that are hooked and it is these fish that are being taken by sharks. These fish are not reflected in catches reported by either recreational or commercial fishermen and thus make up an unknown, unreported portion of the total “catch”. Over time this can result in a fish population becoming overfished. A case in point is our annual geelbek migration where these fish move up from cooler Cape waters and aggregate to spawn on reefs off central KZN during late winter and spring each year. Large catches are made, particularly at night, by recreational and commercial fishermen targeting these spawning aggregations. Over the past few years sharks appear to have cottoned on to this phenomenon and hang around the geelbek shoals waiting for the fishermen to arrive. Once the fishermen on their boats arrive and baits go down, dinner for the sharks is served! I have spoken to some commercial fishermen who claim to have lost over 200 hooks a night to sharks. Because hooks, line, swivels and sinkers cost money, fishermen tend to respond by moving away and locating another shoal of geelbek, but the sharks are never far behind and once a few fish are landed the rest are taken by the sharks. In one night from one boat this can be 200 or ±1 200kg of healthy, mature geelbek eaten by sharks and not boated or reflected in catch statistics. In this situation it is impossible to conduct an accurate stock assessment and determine sustainable levels of harvesting such a stock. The third question, and perhaps the most important, is what can we do about the current situation? Many fishermen are understandably fed up with continually losing their fish to sharks and they feel that the only solution is to bring in the longliners and cull the sharks. Unfortunately this sort of kneejerk reaction will ultimately result in an even bigger problem environmentally, not to mention the outcry that it would cause from the environmentalists. Sharks play an extremely important role as top predators in marine ecosystems, and without them the health of the marine environment would deteriorate. It is quite amazing, but research conducted on pristine, unfished reefs in the Pacific Ocean has shown that stable, healthy marine ecosys-


Total fishing outings

Outings with reported shark depredation

Total fish reported taken

Average number of fish taken per outing

2014 2015 2016

28 605 31 789 29 004

183 (0.64%) 247 (0.78%) 211 (0.73%)

1278 1116 794

7.0 + 7.8 sd 4.5 + 4.5 sd 3.8 + 4.3 sd

52 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

Months with highest occurrence May, Jun, Oct May, Jul, Sep Jan, Jul, Nov

Areas with highest occurrence G-53, D-56, L-44, J-46 G-53, J-46, N-39, L-43 L-43, J-46, G-53,AH-13

tems have inversed food pyramids where the biomass of large predators (including sharks) greatly exceeds that of primary producers (opposite to that found in most terrestrial ecosystems). It is the high productivity of primary producers coupled with the long life span of the predators that helps to keep these ecosystems in balance. As anglers we need to accept that sharks are an integral part of the marine ecosystem and that losing some fish to shark depredation is in fact just like paying tax to these wolves of the sea. What we must not do is to fish in specific areas on a repetitive basis in a manner that results in conditioning of sharks. Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks are two areas that immediately come to mind. Don’t chum for tuna in these areas and try to avoid fishing in specific areas where there are known high densities of sharks. Key areas on both these reef systems have recently been proposed as no-take marine protected areas and preventing fishing in these areas will undoubtedly help, both with the shark conditioning problem and with helping to boost resident linefish populations. To try and get a handle on the scale of the shark depredation problem, ORI introduced a short question on the daily launch registers completed by skiboat anglers available at most launch sites along the KZN coast a few years ago. To give you an example of the type of response we got, we briefly analysed the results from the past three years. (See the table on the previous page.) Based purely on these results, most would agree that this simply cannot be such a big problem with less than one percent of fishing outings reporting shark depredation events over the past three years. However, rather than being a reflection of reality, we all know that this is mainly due to laziness (or unwillingness) on the part of ski-boat anglers who do not fully complete the launch register. Understanding that only about 30% of anglers bother to complete the catch return portion of the register after returning from a fishing outing, further highlights this point. On the positive side, the results do suggest that the number of hooked linefish taken by sharks has declined over the past three years. Although occurring throughout the year, winter and spring months appear to be when shark depredation is at its highest. Protea Banks (G-53), Aliwal Shoal (J-46) and Warner Beach, Amanzimtoti area (L-43) are the areas where shark depredation events are most commonly reported. Hopefully the recent initiative launched by Stuart Mckellar and the NDSAA in January 2018 will help to improve our understanding of the scale of this problem and how to deal with it more effectively.

SURVEY INTO SHARK TAXATION INCIDENTS OFF KZN We need cooperation from all anglers


ATE last year Stuart McKellar, a doyen of the recreational and charter boat offshore fishing community in the central Natal region for the last 40 years, decided to launch a one-off survey into incidents of fish lost to sharks offshore on the KZN coastline. Stuart’s initiative has the backing of the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) as well as the president of the Natal Deep Sea Angling Association, Nick Nel. They sincerely hope that all deep sea anglers — recreationals, charter operators and commercials — will embrace and support this study which will run for the duration of 2018. All who fish the KwaZulu-Natal waters from Sodwana Bay to Port Edward suffer extremely high “taxation”which has increased significantly over the last five years. The shark problem has become so bad that many recreational anglers no longer target the summer gamefish like king mackerel in the traditional inshore grounds where these fish have been caught for decades. “I’m not feeding beautiful ’cuda to sharks,” is the sentiment often voiced by anglers who are well aware that targeting ’cuda or yellowfin tuna on these reefs will result in over 90% of hooked fish being eaten by sharks. However, as much as anglers complain about this shark problem, very few have noted their losses in the catch return register; instead they just drown their sorrows around the club drinking hole where they recount stories of their losses to the taxman. Stuart has taken up the cudgels for the rest of us. He is attempting to gather a set of comprehensive statistics which will be used by him and NDSAA to help the scientific community fully understand the magnitude of the problem. We appeal to each and every offshore angler — recreational, charter or commercial — to fill in the survey forms. Please note this applies equally to paddleski, jetski and boat anglers who launch anywhere along the KZN coastline as well as inland visitors to the coast. A small version of the survey form is shown below. If you haven’t received a copy of this from your club then please contact Stuart McKellar <> or Nick Nel <>.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 53

SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 â&#x20AC;¢ 55

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

Meritorious Fish

Outsanding 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: .............................................. 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: .................................... Digital emailed photographs should be high-resolution.

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

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

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

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

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

Submit application to: Kingfisher Awards, PO Box 20545, Durban North 4016 or email


Decking for the Great Barrier Reef’s big black marlin By Ryan Williamson


TANDING braced against Top Shot’s transom with back-up spray covering the cockpit and the angler using all his remaining strength on the 130 lb rig while the giant black marlin gets closer with every turn of the reel handle is a mind blowing experience. For at least 20 years marlin fishing has been my obsession. In order to fulfil my lifelong quest to learn all I can about targeting this species, I have continually gravitated to stories and articles about the grander black marlin off 58 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the skippers and crew that hunt there. My wishes were answered this year when a great opportunity came my way. Captain Ross Finlayson of the renowned Top Shot, and one of the Barrier Reef’s top skippers, asked me to work as a deckhand on Top Shot for the 2017 marlin season. Ross has targeted huge marlin in this area for the last 35 years, during which he and his original sportfisher Sea Baby and now Top Shot have acquired legendary status. Gloved up I stood at the transom, the wire leader barely 5m beyond my grasp and at the end of that a giant

black marlin. Stay focused, I told myself. Adrenaline was pumping, the excitement was overwhelming and, with trepidation, I took the initial grab of the leader and executed the initial wrap which would hopefully bring this great beast under control. Talk about David and Goliath — me weighing in at 90kg on one end and mama black marlin over 1 000 lb at the other end of 30ft of 450 lb wire leader. It was daunting to say the least. This was one of the highlights of my life, even though I’ve landed many, many marlin. Bringing in a grander black marlin is the pinnacle of this

Tug of war with a grander. Ryan Williamson using all he has learned tracing marlin to bring this magnificent beast alongside to be released.

sport and a factor hallowed amongst the deckies of The Great Barrier Reef who are rated according to the number of granders they have leadered. Despite this excitement, my main aim during my stint on Top Shot was to learn everything I could possibly learn from Ross during the black marlin season that runs from mid-September to the end of November each year. I share these snippets of information here in the hope that they will give the marlin anglers in South Africa an opportunity to appreciate the magnitude, the complexity, total dedication and absolute perfection of the top skippers and crews of the boats that fish the Reef for grander black marlin. You’ll be able to adapt many of these practices to your own “tackle box” of knowl-

edge and marlin fishing adventures. Having just returned from a full season decking very successfully in Cape Verde for blue marlin, I was bowled over by the difference in thinking and tactics on The Reef where the vast majority of marlin caught are blacks. Our black marlin tally for the season was two over 800 lb, two over 900 lb, five over 950 lb and one monster weighing in at 1 128 lb. This is a big black marlin destination, as you can tell by the size of the fish that were caught over that period of time. We also caught a large number of smaller black marlin — male fish that are around these big female marlin that are breeding. I would say that 90% of the marlin that we caught were blacks, and the remainder consisted of a few

blues that we caught while trolling in deeper water. Let’s take a closer look at the various facets of this fishery. BIOLOGICAL FACTS First and foremost it is accepted fact that the big female black marlin which grow to this formidable size arrive during this period to breed. Accompanying them are the much smaller male blacks which hover around a solitar y big mama in a specific area, seeking an opportunity to mate. With black marlin being a lot more shy than their blue counterparts, it takes a lot of persistence and patience to get these fish to come up in the water column from their preferred depth of 60-100 metres. SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 59

Standing at the transom with a mere 15m between you and a huge black marlin is an unforgettable experience.

The topography of the traditional fishing area is in deep waters alongside the Great Barrier Reef and in the canyons that have formed tangential to the actual reef. (See map alongside.) The inshore current developed by the perpetual south-east trade winds congregates the shoals of baitfish into the top end of these canyons and this food source draws in the foraging big black marlin.

ABOVE: The edge of the Great Barrier Reef where the big blacks are targeted. Note the incredible dropoff on the outer edge. Depth is in feet. BELOW: A simulated image on the sonar screen — this is what the sportfisher captains look for while trolling the reef’s outer edge. The bigger bottom arch would be the “big mama” and the other arches show the males hovering above her.

60 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

SONAR DETECTION These days with the advanced technology incorporated into sonar devices the boat captains rely very heavily on “spotting” marlin and can differentiate between the big mamas and the two or three males generally hovering above the females. (See diagram alongside.) When a sonar mark is picked up — ideally above the 80 metre depth as those are likely to come up to the surface — the captain will stay in that area, sometimes for the entire day. By trolling around in a pattern up to a kilometre over the marks, eventually one of the males will come up and attack a bait. With persistence, usually in the late afternoon, the big girl will come into the spread. The eventual ferocity of the strike when she decides to attack belies the supposed shyness of these fish and the time it takes to get them to rise in the water column. What I learnt from this was the importance of using a sounder and the patience necessary over “marked” fish.

TOP: Ryan Williamson displaying a ’cuda rigged to be used as a big skip bait. ABOVE: A queenfish and bonito rigged as swim baits. Note the lacing up of the gut, gills and mouths of these baits to obviate wash-through, thereby extending the length of time these baits can be used. TACKLE AND HOW IT’S USED The captains mostly use only 130 lb rod, reels and line, with them going to lighter tackle only on the client’s insistence when targeting for world records. The heavy tackle is pretty standard, but the way it’s put to use and the make-up of the terminal tackle is very interesting and that’s what enables them to obtain the results they achieve. Using heavy rods with bent (banana) butts and extremely sturdy fighting chairs is relatively normal, but when the Barrier Reef captains are trolling the rods are placed in the gunnel holders so that the rod tip is straight up as opposed to the way we run them when trolling lures. This way the rod tip is positioned a lot higher, and after breaking from a very lightly set rigger clip, the line is able to stay as high as possible above the water for longer. For

the strike the reel is set on what they call a running drag, which is only there to stop overwind. After a fish has eaten a bait it doesn’t swim off too quickly as it’s relaxed in its natural environment. After a ten second free spool the angler pushes the lever drag up to 10kg, then slowly increases the drag to 20kg, then 25kg, then 30kg. Once you feel the head shake on the tip of the rod, you generally know that the hook has turned into the corner of the mouth. The general rule is: No head shake, no hook up. Only then, once the captain believes a hook-up has been achieved, is the drag reduced to below 10kg to enable the angler to remove the rod from the rod holder and reposition it in the fighting chair. Once the angler is harnessed and settled the drag will be increased to 20kg. Thereafter backing down on the

fish is undertaken as soon as possible as captains prefer to fight a big fish as close to the boat as possible. Unlike blues which run long distances after being hooked up on a lure, these big blacks seldom take more than 300 metres of line, but they are extremely dogged fighters. TERMINAL TACKLE Only Mustad 18/0 and 20/0 circle hooks are used. The 18/0 are used in the swim baits and stinger baits which are 2-5kg in size. (Stinger is what we call centre-rigged or Hong Kong here in South Africa.) For the big skip baits which range in size from 6-15kg, the 20/0 circle hooks are used. These hooks are attached to the single strand “Aussie Wire” which is a hard, galvanised wire that has a breaking strain of about 450 lb; they use a piece SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 61

less than 30ft in length and attach it to a ball bearing swivel clip on the end of a 10ft double line with a Bimini mono from the single to double. Why, you may ask, do they exclusively use wire trace? I discussed this with Ross quite extensively. Years of experience has taught them that this rigid wire attached to the circle hook slides more easily through the scissors of the marlin’s jaw and that if the leader is caught in these scissors it will not be cut or damaged as is the case with heavy nylon leaders. A big black can exert enormous pressure when clamping its jaws, and over the last 40 years the single strand wire has proved it can stand up to that pressure. BAIT Careful bait acquisition, stowage and rigging is vital. Whilst the bait freezer on Top Shot will hold 500kg of bait, we ensured that at least 20-30 baits — both skip and swim — were either freshly caught that morning or thawed from the freezer stock, ready for deployment once we commenced fishing. During a normal day on the reef, bait is targeted between 8am and 10am and thereafter it’s marlin time from 11am to lines up at 6pm. Whilst baitfish are plentiful, so are the “choppers” when one commences fishing for marlin. A lot of time is spent

62 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

trolling close to the reef and even though one is in 50-80 metres of water, the boat could be as close as 40 metres to the semi-exposed coral reef. The “choppers” — primarily very big ’cuda (king/mackerel) up to 50kg — decimate bait, so going through 20-plus baits a day is fairly normal. TROLLING SPREADS Black marlin are generally more shy than blue marlin, so the spread is set a lot further aft than we would pull lures for blue marlin. The other reason for this is that one is generally attempting to pull a black marlin up through the water colours. Pulling the baits so far aft means the marlin is initially being attracted by the craft and then the big skip bait. By the time the marlin reacts to the excite-

ment and swims up, the boat — trolling at 5- to 6.5 knots SOW — will be passing the fish, leaving the bait to divert its attention from the boat’s teasing action. In general only three baits are trolled behind Top Shot. From the right rigger a swim bait is set approximately 50 metres behind the transom and usually runs a bait of about 1-5kg. From the left rigger, about 26 metres aft, they set a big skip bait of 6- to 15kg. The centre rigger is attached to the stinger bait of about 2- to 5kg which is skipped 66 metres aft of the boat. While trolling, the deck crew — myself and Dave from Hawaii — had to ensure that the trolling pattern was maintained at all times. Ross is pedantic, saying a black will only eat a bait that is in the water, not one that’s lying displayed on the deck. Hence if a bait was “chopped” while one of us was reeling it back in, the other deckhand would be streaming a substitute bait to be clipped on to the line as soon as the “chopped” leader was unclipped. Then the remaining bait would be cut off and thrown back into the water so that the opportunistic chopper would focus on the bait head in the water and not keep attacking our swim baits. In the May 2018 issue of SKI-BOAT I’ll cover fighting, landing and releasing The Great Barrier Reef’s grander black marlin.


Targeting Canada’s West Coast salmon

Doug Olander, editor-in-chief of Sport Fishing magazine, with his 30 lb 8 oz salmon — officially a tyee! SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 65

By Dave Lewis


T first glance the hustle and bustle that greets you inside Vancouver Airport’s south terminal on a summer’s morning will be all too familiar, not unlike similar establishments you’ll find all over the world. Soon, however, you will note the clientele are almost exclusively male, dressed for a day in the outdoors rather than some city business meeting. Most will have a beaming ear-to-ear smile, very unusual for such an early hour, and many will be toting slim alloy tubes. A cursory glance at the short row of check-in desks will reveal the names and logos of various fishing lodges that you’ll find along the spectacular British Columbian coastline rather than airlines, while a spectacular glass case containing impressive mounts of chinook and coho salmon will be the final clue: welcome to sportfishing central!

CHECK-IN It was here that I, complete with beaming smile and tubes of fishing rods, checked in for the 7.30am, 350-mile flight north to Bella Bella on the central British Columbia coast of western Canada, a province which shares a border with Washington State, USA. From there a five-minute drive took me to the town’s quaint little harbour, and a further five minutes aboard a boat took me to Whiskey Cove Lodge near Shearwater, base for Central Coastal Adventures, with whom I’d be fishing for the first three days of my North Pacific adventure. Just hours after touchdown I was proudly holding my first coho salmon, a fin-perfect, polished-pewter example of piscine perfection, one of a dozen similar fish my companions, Doug and Jackie Olander, caught that first glorious afternoon. Doug is well known to many South Africans as the editor-in-chief of Sport Fishing magazine, one of the USA’s most popular fishing publications.

Unlike Atlantic salmon, the five species of Pacific salmon — chinook, coho, sockeye, pink and chum — feed in the sea within close proximity to the coast. Atlantic salmon feed thousands of miles offshore near Greenland, and by the time they migrate back to the coast they have long stopped feeding. Ranging from northern California right up to Alaska, salmon are the number one species of saltwater sportfish for the huge numbers of anglers who fish the Pacific coast of North America, with chinook, or king salmon, and coho, or silver salmon, topping the list. Both species can be caught on various methods, but the technique of choice for most is trolling using either artificial lures or baits fished off downriggers, in conjunction with long, soft mooching rods and reels. HUNTING BIG CHIEF BULLDOG FISH The morning of our first full day we were up before sunrise. Our skipper,

Dave Lewis with a decent chinook salmon and, below, the anchovy bait rigged for trolling.

66 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

Trevor Gustafson, was keen to have baits fishing at first light, the prime time for chinook, especially the much sought 30 lb-plus trophy fish known as “tyee”, which means “big chief” in local first nation dialect. Trevor took us to a small rocky cove off the southwest shoreline of Hunter Island, a secluded and tranquil place, if ever there was one. The shoreline was thickly fringed with kelp and overhung by tall cedar and spruce trees that cling precariously to the thin patches of soil between the rocks. A light mist covered the calmest of seas. The bait, a slim anchovy, was mounted inside a plastic hood and fished a few feet in front of a colourful oblong f lasher or dodger that serves as an attractor. As instructed by Trevor, I slowly lowered the downrigger down to 44ft, set the rod in the holder and sat back to wait for a bite. Immediately the tip of the soft rod started bouncing, and naively I assumed that must have been

caused by the heavy downrigger ball bouncing off the kelp. “Fish on, grab the rod!” shouted Trevor, instantly snapping me out of an early morning state of caffeine-deficient drowsiness. I grabbed the rod, reeled the line tight, then lifted the rod to set the hooks. Fish on! Already the previous afternoon’s fishing had taught me these sea-run salmon fight hard and run fast. The 812 lb coho I had caught the previous afternoon had provided excellent sport, each making several long, hard linestripping runs before succumbing to the net, but the first fish I hooked that morning off Hunter Island was in a class of its own. The first run effortlessly ripped upwards of 50 metres from the reel, the handle spinning in a skinsplitting frenzy. These direct-drive mooching reels aren’t called “knuckledusters” for nothing! Time and time again the fish surged off in sizzling, line-ripping runs, often

with the tip of a dorsal or tailfin slicing through the surface film. Frequently it changed direction and swam rapidly straight back towards the boat, forcing me to reel as fast as was physically possible to keep the line tight, or else the barbless hooks — mandatory for all salmon fishing in Canada — might slip out. Several times I managed to bring that fish almost to within range of the net, but with a knowing grin Trevor sat back as yet again the powerful salmon surged off on another long run. That first chinook would have weighed perhaps 20 lb, a solidly-built bulldog of a fish, and by the time we moved on a few hours later, Doug and I had landed at least a dozen more, plus a similar number of coho. My biggest chinook weighed 28 lb, not quite a tyee, but worth every second of the fight. CHASING PACIFIC HYPER-FLATTIES Looking west towards Goose Island the open sea outside of Hunters was a slick

Trevor Gustafson with a halibut and, inset, a salmon head on circle hook bait for halibut.

TOP: Doug and Jackie Olander aboard one of Central Coast Adventures’ boats and, above, Trevor Gustafson with a coho salmon caught on casting jig. SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 67

The Canadian reefs produced some beautiful rockfish including this yellow-eyed rockfish for Dave Lewis.

Doug Olander was pleased with his silver grey rockfish.

Dave Lewis with a vermillion rockfish.

Jackie Olander and George Cuthbert with a coho salmon.

George Cuthbert shows off a lingcod. 68 â&#x20AC;˘ SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

calm, lifted by the gentlest of swells. It was perfect for halibut fishing, so that’s what we did next. There’s not much I can say about halibut fishing other than from what I experienced that day. Catching these muscular Pacific hyperflatties up to 70 lb is nothing more than a formality. Doug and I elected to fish lures, with me choosing a 385g Storm Wildeye Giant Jigging Shad, a firm favourite with Atlantic halibut in Norway. Trevor fished local style — salmon heads and filleted frames on a circle hook. Bites were instant, assuring seriously bent rods from the first drop. Doug got a 70 lb slab on little more than a bass spinning outfit — sportfishing in the extreme. One of the many highlights of this trip for me was when late one afternoon Trevor took me to fish off a river mouth for a couple of hours. When we arrived salmon were jumping everywhere. At times it was impossible to look across the water and not see at least three salmon airborne, mostly bright silver coho. I fished a 65g redand-white Williamson Yabai jig, and by the time we arrived back at Whiskey Cove Lodge in time for another excellent dinner, I had caught and released six fish. The next few days flew past in a blissful blur of bent rods and shining salmon. On one of the days Trevor took us to a small reef where we dropped lures in the hope of introducing me to some of the plethora of different species of rockfish caught in the area. The action was fast and furious. All too soon I was checking out of the homely comfort of Whiskey Cove Lodge and waving goodbye to Trevor when he dropped us off at our base for the second half of the trip — King Pacific Lodge. FISHING LUXURY King Pacific Lodge, base for West Sport Fishing in a sheltered bay on the remote eastern side of Millbanke Sound, can best be described as a sumptuous, five-star floating sportfisherman’s paradise. The facilities and standard of service and food are, from my experience, unsurpassed. Guests are f lown back and forth from Bella Bella via helicopter, and from the time they arrive until they leave their every need is catered for. West Sport Fishing runs a fleet of superbly equipped sportfishing boats, including all of the tackle you’ll need for your trip. All you need bring is a healthy appetite, and trust me, you’ll need it! Guests fish either with a guide or, as Doug and I did, on a self-drive basis. Cheney Point on the western shoreline of Athlone Island is the hotspot for

hours of daylight salmon fishing, once again very successfully, we ran some 2030 miles to fish a sandbank west of Day Island, passing a pod of killer whales enroute. Halibut were our target, and again catching these proved to be a formality as we landed several just under 60 lb. George knew I was keen to fish for other species so, having quickly caught our fill of halibut, we headed back to fish a jagged reef to the east of Day Island. In the short time we fished before returning to the lodge for lunch we boated several voracious lingcod up to 38 lb, some chunky silver-grey rockfish, and I got a stunning 11 lb yellow-eyed rockfish. After lunch Doug suggested a run to fish some reefs south of Wurtele Island, where I dropped my 90g Shimano Bottom Ship jig over twenty times before it came back fishless. In total that afternoon I caught nine different species of rockfish.

Dave Lewis and George Cuthbert with a beautiful chinook salmon. salmon in Millbanke Sound, and barely five minutes after leaving the dock at King Pacific Lodge you’ll be lowering those first baits into clear water off Cheney in high anticipation of hooking a chinook or coho. Doug and I hit Cheney at first light the following morning, and it came as no surprise when, minutes after we started to troll our “plug cut” herring baits on one of our bent rods suddenly snapped upright. A salmon had hit the bait hard, instantly pulling the line free from the release clip. Normally when trolling natural baits for sportfish your primary objective is to make the bait swim as naturally as possible to replicate a livebaitfish. Not so when fishing Pacific salmon. The head of a herring, the usual bait, is cut off at an angle, with the bait mounted to swim headless end first off a pennel rig. Trolling at around 2mph the bait constantly oscillates through the water, an action salmon find irresistible. The salmon is clearly the number one draw in these waters, but as I have already alluded to, there are also other fish to target. One day George Cuthbert who runs West Sport Fishing offered to take us fishing. After spending the first

LAST FLING All too soon it was our last morning and Doug and I started at first light off Cheney. As we fully expected, we didn’t have to wait long for a bite, and within minutes Doug was tight into what clearly was a very big, very powerful salmon. Playing that fish while I tried to keep us away from the shoreline and other boats was tricky at first, but soon we were out in open, deep water and Doug could relax and enjoy the fight. As soon as I scooped the fish into the net I knew it was our biggest chinook of the trip, and the scales back at the dock confirmed that. It weighed 30 lb 8 oz — a tyee! As delighted as Doug was at catching his trophy fish, it was still a long way from his personal best chinook caught off British Columbia several years ago, a monstrous great salmon that weighed a jaw-dropping 60 lb! FACT FILE: I flew to Vancouver direct with Air Canada and stayed the first and last nights at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel, located right in the terminal building. On the return trip I had with me 50 lb of salmon fillets, and the hotel happily stored these in their freezer until just before check-in. For more information on fishing with Central Coastal Adventures visit <>, and for information on West Sport Fishing visit <>. For general tourist information on British Columbia, there’s a handy site at <>. If you’re travelling through Vancouver I recommend the Fairmont Hotel <>. SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 69

MY FAVOURITE THING by Zach Potgieter (6)


STARTED fishing with my dad in December 2016 from a two-man kayak off Simon’s Town. My dad bought me a Big Boss 5 000 fishing reel and an Elbe Ski Pro rod. We go out trolling and I caught my first mackerel by trolling with a Rapala. I was so excited when I saw my fishing rod bending and my dad shouting at me: “Fish on!” Then I took my fishing rod out of the holder and felt the fish tugging my line. It felt like a massive fish and my arms were getting tired as I was trying to reel it in as fast as I could. Seeing my first fish come up was the biggest excitement of my life. It felt even better because I was the only one catching fish on that day! This has become such a competition now between my dad and I to see who can catch the most or biggest fish. The scariest moment for me was when I had a fish on, and when it came to the top I saw that I had caught a one metre long pyjama shark. I passed the rod to my dad and said,“You are on your own; please get it off my line.” Since then I have also caught lots of mackerel and bonito. My biggest joy would be to catch snoek and yellowtail,

but they have been very scarce around Simon’s Town and Cape Point this season. I can’t wait for the weekends to go fishing with my dad; the snacks my mom packs us are yummy too and come in handy for these long fishing trips. I’ve learnt a lot about fishing from my dad but it takes lots of patience, especially when you’re dropping line. Being out fishing is very relaxing too and you can see the seals swimming under the water. They make lots of bubbles, but I don’t like them around us because they steal my fish off my line and then, the seal shows his head above the water while throwing my fish from side to side! I have seen some interesting things at sea; one day we were trolling saw a fin come up next to the kayak — it was a bronzie (shark) and he circled us twice. I have told a lot of my friends what fun fishing is and I make my dad buy every issue of SKI-BOAT magazine. I have seen so many pictures of yellowfin tuna being caught and I would love to go out on a big boat one day and catch some.

SKI-BOAT magazine, in conjunction with Mercury, is proud to offer all junior deep sea anglers the opportunity to win awards for excellence in angling. If you are 16 years old or younger and you submit a photo of yourself and the fish you caught, you will receive a handsome certificate suitably inscribed confirming the catch. And there’s more ... Once a year the names of all junior anglers whos photographs appeared on the Mercury Junior Angler page will be included in a lucky draw and the winner will receive, courtesy of Mercury, a fantastic prize of a 2.5hp outboard motor. All you need to do is send us a photograph of yourself and your catch, together with the following details: • Your name address, telephone number and date of birth • Species and weight of the fish you caught • Line class used • Date and place fish was caught • Boat and skipper’s name All entries should be sent to : Mercury Junior Angler SKI-BOAT magazine PO Box 20545, Durban North 4016 or email your entry to <>. There is no restriction on the number of awards that can be applied for, and SKI-BOAT magazine reserves the right to use the photographs as it sees fit. A selection of five award winners will appear in each issue of SKI-BOAT magazine. Junior anglers, Mercury and SKI-BOAT magazine acknowledge that you hold the future of our sport in your hands. Here’s your chance to show us what you can do!

74 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018


MALAYSIAN Fishing the South China Sea By John Hughes


Y wife and I have travelled a lot and we have been to Singapore and Thailand on several occasions. Having looked at maps we wondered what Malaysia was like. Not knowing what to expect, we decided that I should do a recce tour on a low budget. This I duly planned and, having caught sailfish in Thailand before, looked up some info on fishing in Malaysia. I was delighted to find out there’s good sailfishing in Kuala Rompin and I set up a day’s fishing in that area with a guide, Captain Lam. TRAVEL To reach to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia I took a low budget f light on Etihad Airways from Jo’burg (about R8 000 return). I stayed in Kuala Lumpur for a

76 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

few days at a decent hotel overlooking the twin tours at a very reasonable rate of about R800 per day including breakfast. While there I arranged for my travel to Rompin using the local bus system which was well-organised. The six to seven hour trip cost R180. In Rompin I booked into the Rompin Beach Resort which was good enough for my purposes. That afternoon Captain Lam came to the resort and I paid him the balance of the fees. This was the only expensive part of my trip, but I have always maintained that when you’re going fishing at a new venue one should have the best local with you in order to get the best result. Captain Lam took me out to supper that evening at a local sidewalk Chinese restaurant which was nothing fancy, and we arranged that he would collect me at 7.30am the next morning.

FISHING Captain Lam collected me as promised the next morning and we drove out to the jetty about 10km out of Rompin. On the way there I asked about the fishing and, in particular, if the tackle was on the boat. To my surprise he said it was in the boot of his car! When we got to the jetty, there were about 10-15 boats tied up and he told me to make my way across one or two boats to the one he indicated. He opened the boot of the car and there were small bundles of two-piece rods, a camera box of reels and a six pack cooler box of tackle. That was all! We left the jetty and travelled down the Rompin River and straight out into the South China Sea. While travelling Captain Lam made up the rods, which were 6’6” 10/15kg rods with large top quality centre pin (coffee grinder) reels. He also made up some smaller rods.

MEMORIES About 10km out we stopped at some reefs which the skipper had marked and caught baitfish (10-15cm long) — a mackerel as well as some red, quite slender fish. Once we had about 30 or 40 livies we went further out to sea and started looking for black tern-like birds. We only saw one or two together, but once we saw them we stopped the boat. Captain Lam got out the bigger rods which he’d rigged while we travelled. The make up of the line and tackle was very simple — reels were loaded with 15kg braid and 30/35kg four-metre long nylon leader with a 6/0 semi-circle hook. A livie was hooked on and a baton tied over a loop on the line; two rods were put out to drift at a time. Within about 15 minutes there was a splash around one of the batons. The reels were set on free spool, and soon the line was peeling of the reel. After

about 7-10 seconds I tightened up (closed the free spool) and as I went tight, a small strike and I was into my first South China Sea sailfish. Using a left-hand coffee grinder was strange, and after two or three sailies we changed to right-handed. This went on for most of the day and eventually we had a tally of nine strikes, seven hook-ups and six releases. We lost one when the leader broke. I really wanted to toast my adventure with a cold one, but Malaysia is a Muslim society where alcohol is not freely available all over. However I had bought a few Liger beers in Kuala Lumpur, so I sat on my hotel room verandah overlooking the South China Sea and toasted my good fortune alone. Supper that evening was once again at a Chinese Restaurant, and the next day I was back on the bus to Kuala Lumpur.

CONCLUSION My day’s fishing was excellent and it seems you are almost sure to catch a few sailies on any visit. Captain Lam has been fishing in Rompin for 20 years and has released about 3 000 sailies. He tells me he has wealthy Japanese clients who visit every year for two weeks, fish for ten days and average 3.5 sailies per day. The day after I was fishing a group of three Aussies went out and got ten sailies for the day. If ever you are travelling in Malaysia or Singapore make the effort and organise a Rompin sailfish outing. It’s certainly not Hemingway’s style in Kenya, but although it’s a bit rough and ready the fishing is very productive. For more details contact John Hughes <> or Captain Lam <>.

SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 77


ANOTHER REVOLUTION IN INNOVATION Suzuki launches new DF325A outboard


UZUKI proudly introduces the NEW DF325A — an outboard that perfectly balances awesome power and thrust with outstanding fuel-efficiency and trusted reliability, all in a stylish, lightweight design. Built with everyday use of larger boats in mind, this market-leading outboard has been engineered to run on low octane 91 RON fuel and is the first four-stroke outboard over 300hp in the world to achieve this. The high-tech, innovative DF325A has been designed to be robust, easy to use and versatile, making it the ideal outboard for large boats and any task. POWER PLUS EFFICIENCY Suzuki’s engineers set out to build a compact, lightweight outboard that delivers the high power required, whilst also maximising operating efficiencies. Additionally, they set the goal of making the DF325A run on low octane 91 RON fuel which, combined with legendary Suzuki reliability, makes the outboard ideally suited for a wide variety of large boats around the world. The traditional single propeller design creates forward thrust, but also produces a significant amount of rotational energy. Suzuki’s engineers have captured this wasted energy and turned it into productive power by utilising a dual-propeller technology. Suzuki’s engineers know that the lower unit shape and propeller design have a critical impact on performance. The innovative contra-rotating propeller design provides more grip underwater and also helps to achieve a smaller, and far more hydrodynamic gear case. It does this by distributing the 78 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

engine’s torque evenly over two propellers, so that the torque per propeller is decreased, enabling the gear diameter to be reduced. A three-blade/three-blade propeller set-up has been developed to provide incredible acceleration and high performance. In testing, this configuration recorded high speeds even under heavy load and at high rotation speeds. The propeller blade geometry has also been optimised to work in the new configuration, resulting in incredible grip and acceleration across the rev range. One of the most remarkable benefits is exceptional directional and transverse stability which is achieved by each propeller rotating in a different direction, to balance the turning. DUAL INJECTORS Injecting fuel achieves two things — it atomises the fuel and it cools the cylinder. To provide the power and cooling needed, the fuel must be completely injected at precisely the right time and angle. The all-new Dual Injector System uses two smaller injectors, providing immense precision, improved atomisation and increased fuel efficiency. ATTENTION TO DETAIL With a high compression ratio (10.5:1) more advanced technology is required for the pistons than ever before. Not only does the surface have to withstand greater forces, but the connecting rod and hardware do too. To help the piston withstand the added lateral pressure, a switch has been made from the standard surface texture treatment to shot peening. Shot peening creates fine dimples on the sur-

face that evenly distribute the pressure created during combustion. It’s a more expensive, and a far more involved manufacturing process, but this is what makes it possible to create a piston worthy of the “ultimate” title. COOLER, DRY AIR The unique combination of the Direct Intake System and the Dual Louver System ensures a direct f low of air whilst eliminating water intake, even in the face of the most severe on-water testing. The Dual Louver System incorporates a double shield of blades — the outer row removes the spray from the boat and the inner louvers capture and drain the remaining mist. As a result, intake air is free of moisture and is kept close to ambient temperature. MORE THAN JUST HORSEPOWER While power and speed are critical factors, the added dimensions of efficiency, reliability and stability at this top-end level make the DF325A a welcome addition to Suzuki’s range of ultimate fourstroke outboards. Yasuharu Osawa, Executive General Manager, Global Marine & Power Products Operation, Suzuki Motor Corporation, said,“The latest high-spec, high-output outboards all require highoctane fuel. As far as we know, there is no other outboard over 300hp that runs on RON 91, which is regular fuel in some key markets. This also makes the DF325A a very attractive outboard for the commercial sector.” For further detailson the DF325A and the rest of Suzuki’s line-up, visit <> or contact your local Suzuki Marine dealer.


SMALLS QUOTE TO BUILD A BOAT INYONI Yami Swaziland Irrigation Scheme (IYSIS) invites interested parties to quote on constructing a boat to be used as a booze cruiser on Sand River Dam in NE Swaziland. The boat should be able to carry 20 people and be equipped with a suitable outboard motor, a steering console, a braai, a table, some seating, a toilet and roof. The quote should include costs of a trailer and delivery. Submit designs and quotes to <livestock@realnet.> by 31 March 2018.

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Stefan Britz receives his prizes from Bell Equipment Product Marketing Manager, Tim Beningfield.



ACH year one lucky Reel Kids entrant has his/her name pulled out of the hat and they win a magnificent Shimano rod and reel courtesy of Bell Equipment. At the end of 2017 that lucky winner was 12-year-old Stefan Britz from St Lucia who appeared in the July 2017 issue of SKI-BOAT magazine. In that edition of Reel Kids Stefan told the story of catching his 29kg prodigal son — a new SA and All Africa record. Stefan and his family went to the Bell Equipment branch in Richards Bay to receive his prize. If you’re 16 years of old or younger and would like to feature on our Reel Kids page and stand a chance of winning a Shimano rod and reel, write us a 500 word story about a memorable fishing trip, your favourite fish to catch or why you love fishing, and email it to <>. The child whose story features in each issue of the magazine receives a jacket, cap and Bell model vehicle courtesy of Bell Equimpment. Go to page 72 of this issue to read the latest Reel Kids story.

Cobra Cat 700 sportfisher with clears, moulded hatches, livebait wells, luna tubes, deck wash, basin and toilet. Includes 2 x 175hp Suzuki 4-strokes, one battery per motor, two batteries for ancilliliaries, Furuno Navnet, radar, fishfinder, autopilot, VHF & 29mHz radio, boat/motor covers, telescoping outriggers and cat. B safety equipment. New trailer with hydraulic-assisted brakes and extendable disselboom. Price: R743 428 (excl VAT) Contact: Charley on 082 493 5400 or email <>

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SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 79


80 â&#x20AC;¢ SKI-BOAT March/April 2018


SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 â&#x20AC;¢ 81



It’s a gift of tongues only the fisherman can properly understand


EING a non angling wife I’ve had a lot of time to “observe” fisheren in general, and one fact stands out above all the rest: fishing the way my father and grandfather used to do is as extinct as the dodo and the dinosaur. When a guy whent fishing in those good old days, he took a rod, reel, fishing line, hooks, bait and a stool to sit on while he patiently waited for fish to bit. It was a leisurely pastime that calmed his mind and cooled his temper. It provided time for him to reflect on life and it was a relatively inexpensive sport; anyone could play. And back then his boat — if he was lucky enough to have one — definitely was not his mistress. It was an inanimate object which had its occasional uses, usually involving the whole family. My onld dad is now an octogenarian and though he doesn’t fish much anymore, he watches the comings and goings of the fishermen in the family and tells me ghe doesn’t believe that the modern day fisherman has half the relaxation of his yesteryear counterpart. It has become too much of a science; there are too many statistics, too many “meetings” and too many rules. In general there’s just too much stress. As for tag and release, my darling dad looks at the articles on that in his favourite fishing magazine and just shakes his head in amazement. He thinks it’s the most absurd thing any self-respecting fisherman could do. He cannot for the life of him see the sensein going to all that trouble and expense to catch a fish and then let it go again! Usually when discussions on these topics come up he just shakes his head and says he’s glad he was able to fish when it was still fun. Dad also makes the point that the anglers of today speak in a language of their own when the subject of fishing crops up. “Why can’t they use the language properly so that everyone can understand?” he asks. Indeed, he is not alone, because I too have noticed that the modern-day angling fraternity has its very own lan82 • SKI-BOAT March/April 2018

Last word from the ladies guage and this applies to all facets of the sport. For sure, someone should compile a dictionary for the benefit of those among us — old salts included — who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about most of the time. When I read articles on fishing or when I listen to anglers talking about fishing, I am at a loss to understand much of their terminology. I would even go so far as to suggest that the time has come for them to put a name to their “language”. Every language has a name, doesn’t it? What these people speak is certainly not the Queen’s English, and it’s not even American English, as different as those two are. It can’t even be termed “Double Dutch”, can it? “Fin-nish” would be closer to the mark if you get my drift. Or what about “Tuna-isian”? Or maybe “Whale-sh”? To my mind gobbledy-gook would be about right, but I believe that’s already taken. The said dictionary should be pocket-sized so that us non-fisherfolk could take it along to fishing gatherings and competitions for quick reference, because for us to follow a conversation between anglers is really difficult, if not impossible. I have been to more fishermen’s cocktail parties, dinner parties, competitions and the like than I care to remember, and without fail there are always wives and girlfriends present who stand around with bored, vacant expressions. It’s not their fault either — it’s simply that most of them really do want to participate in the chit-chat, but how can they when they don’t speak or understand the lingo? In fact, perhaps I should research and write the dictionary — I would learn a thing or two along the way and could start a fund to support the bored wives club. The only question is

whether I have the stamina to see it through. It’s going to be a slog! Here are a few phrases befuddled phrases to start the ball rolling: • “The south-easterly is pumping.” Pumping what? • “The ’cuda are shoaling.” So what, isn’t that what fish do? • “Let’s do a bit of chumming.” I see! • “Within minute of putting in his line he was vas!” Sounds like he got stuck. • “He’s got a fuel-injection system.” Is he a druggie? • “He trolls with plastic skirts.” Oi vey! • “So-and-so got a grand slam.” What the heck kind of fish is that? • “Last week he got a super slam!” A bigger one than the former? “Pity he didn’t get a fantsy slam, eh.” What kind of “fishing” are these guys actually into? I’m more than happy to accept other contributions to my dictionary, so get thinking, ladies. I remember quite clearly when we were newly wed and I overheard my husband talking on the phone. The conversation went like this: “I was ecstatic the way she performed! Running down the coast with the wind in our faces she purred like a kitten...” Silence while the other person contributed, then “Oh, she behaved beautifully! She gives such a soft ride and is worth every cent they want for her.” More silence, followed by:“Oh yes, I speak from experience when I say that she handles like a dream.” What was he saying? The swine! Needless to say I was ready to pack my bags and head home to mom. It took him quite a while to reassure me he was actually talking about his boat. Mind you, the way some men treat their boats they might as well be married to them. They call them “she”, they pamper them, they rub them down after they’ve been in the water, they spend heaps of money on them — and they never go on holiday without them! As my old dad says, times have changed — and the language with them!




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Skiboat March 2018  
Skiboat March 2018  

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