23 May 2014

The sun peeped over the horizon at Harbour Island recently to find an excited crowd of 90 anglers already wide awake and ready to conquer the Cape’s Tuna grounds in the popular Gordon’s Bay Offshore Classic.  The crisp morning air bristled with anticipation as competitors gathered for the mass start – all dreaming of catching the prized 90kg Tuna or the largest Billfish over 200kg.

At stake a fantastic Suzuki-powered skiboat Cat worth R250 000 –and no-one was passing up the chance to take home this big prize.  An exhilarated group of three made up the Boating World team on the boat “Monish” and Greg, Ockie and Chris were rearing to head off to The Canyon’s to try their luck.

(Owner Nish would join them on day two). Their powerful 32’ Cat was well stocked up with everything necessary for an action-packed day off shore.

Every eye scanned the skies for the burst of the 1000ft starter flare which would galvanize the boats into a race across False Bay and out to sea. “There’s nothing like the smell of the sea and the surge of power beneath you as your boat bursts into life and of everything in you is  set on beating the field to the best fishing spots,” Greg said. “The wind and spray on your skin makes you feel so alive and in touch with everything around you – it’s an amazing experience that you never get tired of.”

But back to the fishing! Perfect conditions added to the buoyant mood of the anglers who fished feverishly for a good haul until lines up at 4pm. The first Yellowfin to the scales weighed in at 72.50kg's, followed by a flood of catches. Some of the larger Tuna weighed in around 40kg's and the biggest fish of the day was 80.75 Kg.  Loads of Longfin were caught as well.

Team Boating World was right in the thick of things with their haul of 15 Yellowfin Tuna. The biggest was a 60kg beauty caught by Ockie and they brought in three Longfin Tuna. This was a good day’s fishing and enough to boost the mood for day two.

Owner Nish joined party for the second round but unfortunately the weather turned. The north westerly roughed up the sea creating sharp swells of around 2.5 – 3m which made the ride out a lot more challenging. Undaunted, the party managed to catch some small fish in the seven-hour stint till 3pm. Overall there were fewer fish caught with the biggest weighing in around the 50kg mark.

The third day was a rest day as only the best four of the five fishing days would be counted. This gave the anglers a chance to regroup for the final two days.

Thursday’s launch at 5am saw fair conditions which required some innovation to generated catches.

This is where experience of Team Boating World’s seasoned anglers proved invaluable. They directed their attention to fishing trawlers and stern trawlers which attract game fish. As these boats pulled in their lines the Tuna made a bee-line for the left-over’s causing a frenzy of fish around boat.   Greg and his team soon picked up Tuna markers on the sounder and baited up for some good catches.

Chumming with sardines also attracted many fish which would come within 1 – 2m of the boat. Greg said, “It was so exciting to see fish right there and to watch them taking the bait right in front of our eyes.”

The final day dawned with pristine hot conditions and flat waters. The team made their way back to The Canyon where they finally came across a nice shoal near the end of the day. The biggest Tuna of 70kg was caught by Ockie and Greg’s excellent 60kg beauty was caught on 50lb line.

If Chris, Andries (who fished the last day) and Greg were tired, there was no sign of it as they finished off with an exciting triple-up in the final minutes of the competition. After quite a fight in this nail-biting end to their tournament, all three managed to land their fish before 3pm. The exhausted but exhilarated party finally turned for home, racing back for weigh-in cut-off.

Anglers poured into the prize-giving to discover that no-one had caught fish of the weight stipulated for the first prize boat. The winner Jason Jooste’s Yellowfin Tuna of 80.75kg won him a cash prize of

R30 000 as well as fishing accessories.

Team Boating World’s Ockie won a prize for his 70.35kg fish. Greg was delighted to be part of this group and to fish with three experienced anglers, gaining invaluable fishing knowledge.