BOATING WORLD CATCHES THEIR “BIG ONE” AT THE BILLFISH 15000 IN SODWANA!

24 Nov 2011

Boating World’s Greg Alice took part in the popular Billfish 15000 competition at Sodwana recently where he caught his first Marlin ever.

 A record number of Billfish were tagged and released during this competition which marked the 25th anniversary of this prestigious event on the angling calendar.  Around 95 boats and close to 500 anglers took part to mark the occasion. An amazing 153 Billfish were hooked, photographed and released over this five-day event – a world record!

A very festive sponsors evening took place on the Saturday night (Nov 12th) complete with dancing girls in elaborate head dresses to wow the appreciative crowd.

It was a very early start the next morning and Greg found himself on the beach and ready to launch at 4.15am. He was part of Team Club Marine which included Club Marine’s Operations Manager Russell Duvenhage, Paul Trollope from Boating International and skipper Mark de la Hey ( well known angling celebrity and TV presenter).They were lucky enough to be fishing off an Ace Glider 750 with twin Mercury 250 Verado’s which Greg says were very smooth with incredible power.

At last three rockets lit up the sky - an impressive launching signal which immediately unleashed a roar of engines as excited anglers sped off to their favourite fishing spots. Team Club Marine made their way to the south side but intrepid weather conditions did not allow much action -although some fish were caught (by other teams) before fishing was called off by 9.30am.

Two Marlin strikes the next morning got the adrenalin going but it was not to be and the team lost them both shortly after.

Wednesday dawned beautifully clear and it was a delighted Russell who hooked his first Blue Marlin of 80kg’s. After bringing her up to the boat for tagging, she was released to live yet another day.  This excitement was followed by no action at all on Thursday and so all hopes were pinned on the final day to come.

And what a day it was – Greg’s big moment was soon to present itself in the form of a Striped Marline of 100kg which took  a 30 minute fight to bring in before releasing this beautiful specimen. Greg says this was one of his most unforgettable moments and nothing could detract from the excitement of realizing this really was “the big one”. The pain was all forgotten and all I could focus on was the magnificence of this experience.” He says.

After getting a tip to head for the deep, the team then raced about 27kms out to sea where they spent about 1.5hours watching flying fish being chased by big Gamefish and Billfish but they didn’t even so much as get a bite.

With the day’s fishing drawing to a close, they decided to go back in close to shore and with half and hours to lines up Paul hooked up a 180kg Blue Marlin beauty after a 40min fight. So it was one in the bag for each of the intrepid anglers and a delighted Mark de la Hey who skippered them to victory.

The prize giving took place that evening and the team won second place for the day taking home Luna Tubes and medals for releasing their catches.

In total there were five different species caught – Blue Marlin, Black Marlin, Striped Marlin, Sailfish and Short Bill Spearfish.