During the month of November, Sodwana Bay, South Africa’s premier billfish destination proved to be a world class fishery. The news of billfish in abundance travelled the globe and little titbits spread via international billfish reports all over the World Wide Web.
The season kicked off with the annual Mercury OET Bill and Gamefish Tournament. This tournament in its 34th year of existence produced 120 Billfish during the five days fishing – it was the same story the following week with the Billfish 15000 celebrating their silver anniversary - 137 billfish were reported during this tournament. Both tournaments were blessed with 5 different billfish species, blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin, sailfish and shortbill spearfish.
The promise of fish in numbers and a record breaking year was high – but the weather gods decided to intervene... The tournament could be defined as a constant battle against the elements – strong winds and buckets of rain was the order of the day causing a constant small craft advisory on the weather forecasts.
The weather committee had their hands full and it was only on the third day of the tournament that the boats entered the ocean. The ocean allowed the anglers to fish for another two hours the following day and that was it.
The initial induction of the first Tri-Facet SADSAA National Championships in 2010 proved to be a great success. The SADSAA council once again decided to award the tender to host the event to the Mpumalanga Deep Sea Angling Association (MDSAA).
Twenty five teams competed in the event from provinces including Gauteng, Border, Northern Gauteng, Southern Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Griquas and Zululand. Anglers gathered at the official opening function and skippers briefing where SADSAA President, Marius Vermaak and MDSAA Chairman, Lappies Labuschagne welcomed all teams and opened the proceedings. As tradition demands, national selectors, Tim Scholtz "capped" all the new anglers competing at this level for the first time.
Heavy Tackle Billfish Nationals
Eleven teams competed in the Heavy Tackle Billfish National Championships and fished the tournament on 37kg line. The SADSAA Masters on the boat Mitsu-Fishi took first place with the release of two stripers on the first day of the tournament. The first striper was caught by team captain Andre Strydom and the second by Wian Terblanche earning the team a valuable 1 870 points. Team mate Dawie Kotze did a sterling job on the leader with skipper Hansie van Wyk at the helm.
The Limpopo team jumped into second place with a blue marlin of 227.9 kg caught by Paul du Toit on the boat Gladius skippered by Theo de Marrilac. This fish earned the team 1 214 points.
Third place was secured by team Mpumalanga with a blue marlin released by angler Handro Swart on the boat Famuse. This fish earned the team 935 points thus giving them third place on a count out.
Other teams releasing a single fish included Southern Gauteng Green on the boat Reel Tight and Southern Gauteng White on the boat Enigme – both these teams earned 935 points and were placed in fourth and fifth position respectively. Northern Gauteng Deep Sea Angling Association secured sixth position with the release of a sailfish earning the team 15 points.
Light Tackle Billfish Nationals
Eight teams competed in the Light Tackle Billfish National Championships and fished the tournament on 10 kg line. The SADSAA team secured first place with the release of a striped marlin and a sailfish securing the team 200 points. The team consisting of Wynand Wiering, Anton Lingenfelder and Jacques van Wyk fished on the boat Fishaholic skippered by Vollie van Vuuren.
Second place was secured by the SADSAA Masters on the boat Go Fish skippered by Michel de Kock. Paul Borcherds released a sailfish earning fellow team members Kobus van Zyl and Wayne Huddlestone 100 points.
Six teams competed in the Gamefish National Championships and fished the tournament on 6kg line. Southern Gauteng took a big lead on the first day of the tournament which saw them taking first place with ease. The team consisting of Neil Coetzer, Johan Mare and Marcel Mare secured 1 434 points on the boat Voicemail. The team caught three species on the first day including the biggest fish of the tournament in this facet, a King Mackerel of 20.6 kg.
Mpumalanga secured the silver medals from the boat The Gaffer. Team members Paul Whitacker, Jaco Jordaan and Lise Smit managed to gather 258 points. Third place was secured by the SADSAA team with 242 points from the boat Vladi. Martin du Plessis, Richard Hartley and Trevor Spence made up the SADSAA team.
For more information and results visit www.sadsaa.com or the Mpumalanga Deep Sea Angling Association website on www.mdsaa.net