01 Feb 2012

Riviera triumphed in an international Billfish competition held in Tanzania last year as owner Frans du Plessis on board his 37 Riviera Sport Fisher and crew member Christiaan tagged and released the winning fish.

Around 104 anglers comprising 26 teams from Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa took part in the Vodacom Latham Open in November – a very popular annual event renowned for good catches.

According to Frans the fleet of boats set off from Dar es Salaam Yacht Club at midnight travelling about 45 nautical miles out to sea towards the best fishing grounds which are found around Latham Island. Competitors soon claimed their spots within a 15 nautical mile radius of this tiny island “about the size of a rugby field” which suddenly appears in the middle of the ocean expanse.

Lines went in at 6am the next morning and fishing began in earnest even though conditions were rough with big swells. Frans’s enthusiastic team consisting of Dana Bekker, James Redfern and Christiaan and Captain Ali Harazi were soon hard at work. To their delight Frans hooked a 140kg Blue Marlin on 30lb tackle early in the afternoon.  After a short fight of about 40 minutes he was able to bring the fish in close enough to measure and record his prize before releasing it back to the sea.

After fishing all day lines were up at 5pm and the anglers made their way back to Sinda Island to weigh in the rest of their catches (different species), have dinner and refuel. After catching some welcome shut eye, it was back to the water at midnight to repeat the process on day two.

While conditions were not much better, this time it was to be Christiaan’s lucky day. Using 50lb tackle he caught a 160kg Blue beauty after of a fight of only 20 minutes (which was also released) just an hour before the end of the competition.  Both Marlin were caught using Ilander Sailures. At lines up the exhilarated anglers went back to Sinda Island for the prize giving celebration and to share stories of the “huge ones” that got away.

Sunday morning breakfast was held back at the yacht club in Dar es Salaam before the competitors caught their flights back to their respective countries.

Frans has been a proud Riviera 37 owner for three years and he says that he goes out with friends and family virtually every weekend and any other given opportunity.  This 13.9 m Sport Fisher offers luxurious interior appointments, spaciousness and more than enough power to easily handle rough conditions and the long distances to find those perfect fishing spots.

The large cockpit which is wider-than-usual is ideal for entertaining, offers extra protection at sea and has enough room to accommodate a party of five anglers.

Four to six family members or friends can spend the night on board in absolute comfort and style – complete with air conditioning and great sound in the saloon, cockpit and flybridge.

 Frans adds that he is again considering putting his Riviera up for charter in the New Year.