01 Dec 2011

The annual Tuna Derby held at Hout Bay (Oct 31st - Nov 5th) was a huge success this year with rough but fishable seas yielding some great catches.

Boating World client Graham George and crew fishing off the impressive Fairline Squadron 52 certainly made their mark taking both the top spot and second place in this exciting event.  The team comprising Dave Alexander, James Sara, Paul Holmes, Anton Boonzaaier and Peter Owens have fished together regularly since Graham bought his boat four years ago.

Graham says this was one of the best Tuna Derby’s ever! Unlike previous years the leader board changed continuously which led to a nailbiting finish for all the anglers and particularly his crew members Anton Boonzaaier and Paul Holmes. Their respective 95.7kg and 95.5kg Yellowfin Tuna’s were both caught on the last day - to the dismay of some the other successful anglers among the 135-strong contigent of competitors.

And no Wonder they were disappointed - there was a SeaCat 465 ski boat powered by 2 x 55hpYamaha motors & a galvanised trailer at stake.  And second prize included a 42”plasma flat screen TV and many fishing and boating accessories. (Other successful anglers were somewhat mollified on receiving other stunning prizes from the 25 prize categories).

28 boats took part in this popular event though not all of them launched every day due to bad weather conditions. Unfortunately the first day (Tuesday) had to be called off due to four metre swells and 20-knot winds.

Wednesday - the first fishing day started with a traditional Mass Start at 6am – quite spectacular to see all the boats vying for position. Initially a very lumpy sea and wind made fishing uncomfortable but the conditions moderated and all boats recorded catches including three Yellowfin (93.5kg , 89.6kg & 84.0kg) and one Longfin (18.65kig).

Thursday dawned with similar conditions but anglers were determined to beat the benchmark 93.5kg fish already caught but this was not to be - though a 91.2kg fish temporarily landed the angler from Durban in second place.

Only 9 boats ventured out on Friday – which proved to be Graham and his crew’s lucky day. Their decision to head about 40 miles out to the deep and stick behind a Hake trawler was their best move of the week.

It soon became news that some big fish were in contention and a huge crowd gathered to see the scale register Paul Holmes’ fish at 95.5kg. Next up was Anton Boonzaaier...and to everyone’s amazement Yellow Fin weighed in at 95.7kg …a mere.200gr more than Paul’s - taking the honours. The weigh master even instructed a re-weigh just to make sure...but there was no mistake. Needless to say the Squadron Fairline 52 won the Top Boat Overall category.

What a breathtakingly exciting way to end a great competition... (Saturday was blown out because of the inclement weather). Graham added that though the Squadron 52 was not designed as a fishing boat, he has modified it by enclosing the rear,adding fish boxes, rodholders and other Sport Fishing conveniences without compromising on the lines and design of this beautiful cruiser. So now he has the best of both worlds!