The recent 2015 Tuna Nationals were held at the Atlantic Boat Club in Hout Bay (Cape Town) and what a competition it was, with anglers vying for top spots at every turn. Registration took place and the scene was set for an epic battle for top boat, top skipper, top angler, and of course, top province. Waiting anxiously for the briefing, competition rules and the opening ceremony, there were many familiar faces as well as a variety of new faces amongst the field of enthusiastic entrants.
The competition began with an 05h00 breakfast in the clubhouse before competitors got ready for the first day of fishing. It was set to be a hard week and by 05h50, all 12 boats were chomping at the bit before the mass start. As the start sounded just 10 minutes later, it was throttles forward as all entrants charged off in a group. There is something exhilarating and magnificent, yet unexplainable about being part of a mass start.
Piranha Group’s boat, Fish Tales, skippered by myself, had the Griquas team onboard and the day was sure to be an eventful one. Each province had three anglers in a team who were only allowed to fish with 10 kg class line. Not everyone is used to this type of restriction, which meant for the next few days skippers and anglers needed to work together with plenty of patience and skill to earn maximum points and land the monsters that were lurking below in the deep blue sea.
The time limit restrictions for catching fish during the competition were from the 06h00 launch to 15h00, when lines needed to come up. A one hour extension was offered to those who were fighting fish hooked before the 15h00 cutoff. On average, it took us two hours to get to the fishing grounds and only then can the search for the fish begin. This puts a lot of pressure on the skippers to find the fish!