18 Mar 2015

It was a blast – although the much anticipated Marlin competition in Richards Bay did not yield all the catches hoped for - 105 anglers took up the challenge with much enthusiasm. Mike from “Reel Magic” was to end in style with two great Marlin catches – to win the coveted R100 000 cash prize

The sumptuous registration dinner on the Wednesday night turned out to be a festive affair, setting the tone for a fantastic atmosphere over the next three days. Even though the weather was “iffy” this did not dampen the spirits of the contestants who were determined to beat the odds.

Boating World’s Greg from Cape Town and Wayne from the Durban office joined Kim Labuschagne on his Riviera 37. This was one of several of these stunning Sport Fishers taking part - including a Riviera 40 and a 47 model. Also on board were David Labuschagne and Ismail.

Fishing off the 37 is always a pleasure! Her large cockpit which is wider-than-usual gives more space - ideal when fighting fish - and the high gunnels add extra protection in rough conditions. Kitted out with a fighting chair, outriggers and a host of other fishing conveniences sets anglers up for great catches.

The early morning start on the first day saw the party heading far north east in search of the right water temperature and depths. Getting there was effortless with twin diesel Volvo D6 (370 HP) engines and four-blade propellers which handled the chop with ease.

 After a short while of fishing in the deep warm water, they had their first strike. Greg took the rod thinking it was a small Wahoo but when the fish got close to the boat, his teammates clearly identified it as a short-billed Spearfish.

There was great excitement as this was one of the targeted species in the competition. They immediately radioed in the catch and after successfully photographing the fish (which was worth 60 points) - it was safely released back into the ocean.

On Day 2, Ismail had an exhilarating fight with a large 17.5kg Dorado bull which gave an incredible acrobatic display. This was his first Dorado catch and what a spectacular trophy bearer!

After resetting the lines and putting out the lures – the group was again galvanised into action by a Marlin strike. This was an aggressive fish which peeled off 500 - 600m of line in a matter of seconds.

 Everyone manned the deck to bring in the lines while Greg took the rod and jumped into the chair. Shortly afterwards it appeared that the fish had turned and swung towards the boat and he started regaining line but then it went slack and they realized the fish had been lost.

Later that day Wayne was delighted to land a Wahoo of about 8kg. On their way back that afternoon they had another Marlin hookup (on one of the outriggers) but again they were unable to successfully hook it.

After all the action, the group were ready to relax and recharge with the rest of the anglers during happy hour. Lucky draw prizes got everyone’s attention and lifted their spirits!

Sadly the weather turned foul on final day and within 2.5 hours of launching, they were back at the Tuzi Gazi moorings, without having wet the lines!

Despite the unstable choppy conditions which dogged the tournament – the camaraderie among the anglers never flagged. Every effort went into each of the three fishing days and though there were 21 Billfish strikes and only eight were landed.

 Everyone agreed that this was a well-organized and most enjoyable tournament.

They’ll definitely be back next year – with great expectation!