Leisure Boating: What is your earliest memory of fishing and where did it all begin?
Thelma Jonker: Definitely the first trip approximately 20 years ago on our boat on the Gamtoos River when I caught two cob and one grunter. From that day on I was hooked on fishing and still am.
LB: Do others fish in your family, and how were you introduced to the sport?
TJ: I grew up in a family who loves fishing. As a kid I was not interested in fishing at all but enjoyed accompanying my father and brothers when they went fishing. I met my husband during the days that beach driving was allowed. I loved accompanying him but never fished during the early stages of our relationship.
I started fishing from river banks and when beach driving was banned, we bought our boat. We joined angling clubs and I got my Eastern Province colours. I was ranked top lady SA angler for three years.
I was looking for a new challenge when we were introduced to RASSPL (Rock and Surf Super Pro League) about six years ago and that is when I started with rock and surf fishing. I used my boat fishing skills at first and my husband started training me more in the direction of sea fishing.
My son who is 23 is a keen fisherman and also started fishing as a small kid. We love to fish together as a family.
LB: When did you realise that you had a knack for fishing?
TJ: Since the day that I caught my first fish, I was hooked. I have a lot of patience when it comes to fishing and like to experiment with different baits, combinations of baits and various ways to rig up.
LB: Does your husband fish and if so, do you compete actively against each other when fishing socially?
TJ: My husband introduced me to fishing and taught me the basics. We fish during all our spare time and we sometimes compete, just for the fun of it.
LB: It must be the perfect marriage to have a couple that both enjoy fishing?
TJ: To enjoy the sport with my husband is such a blessing. We spend all our spare time together fishing and we both have a passion for fishing. Sometimes we’ll even pack up the tackle after work and go fishing, it’s the best stress relief you can get.
We have lots of fun together while fishing and we never go on holiday unless there is fishing involved. Basically all our trips are for fishing competitions and we enjoy every moment of it.
LB: Can you tell us where some of your favourite spots are?
TJ: My favourite spots are most definitely in the Transkei region – we’ve fished at Trennereys Hotel twice and we also enjoyed fishing in Mozambique once. Nearer to home, my favourite fishing spot is Paradise Beach where you get many different species.
LB: You have achieved numerous fishing records. Do any stand out more than others?
TJ: No one record stands out more than the other because every new record is an achievement for me. In RASSPL competitions we target species. The more different species you catch during a competition, the more points you get.
However, if I have to mention one that stands out more than the others, it must be the White Steenbras of 54.5cm.
LB: What is your favourite piece of fishing gear at the moment?
TJ: My Shimano Ultegra 5500 Grinder.
LB: What brand of rod and reel and line is your preferred choice?
TJ: I love my Poseidon HMG36T Ultra-Light 11’6” rod and Shimano Ultegra 5500 grinder with braid. I only use grinders and Shimano has been my preferred choice for
all my years of fishing. My next upgrade will be Penn and I mean the whole outfit.