Columbia Billfish Classic
The South African Deep Sea Angling Association (SADSAA), launched the 4th Columbia Billfish Classic tournament on February 22, 2012. Through the efforts of SADSAA President Marius Vermaak and the generosity of this also marked the beginning of the first IGFA Great Marlin Race to be held in the Indian Ocean, as well as the first in the southern hemisphere.
The first morning of the tournament saw beautiful weather by South African standards (perhaps what may be called ‘rough’ to those lacking substantial sea legs, as South African fishermen do). It was at 9.40 am that Riann Charmers fought a 150 kg blue marlin for 35 minutes, which was tagged by Darren Grey aboard the Big W. The second day of the tournament brought brutal winds from the southwest, which forced the tournament to be called off for the day. Early on the morning of the third day, a 70 kg marlin was fought and tagged by Eric Visser, aboard the Enigme after a 35-minute bout with the Blue. The day proved a bit rougher than it started out, with NE winds picking up later in the day. Saturday was also a sloppy day at sea due to the mix of NE winds and no current. The boat Trinity was the winner, having released three marlin during the tournament, more than any other boat.
After the tournament, on March 28th, three more tags were deployed on Blues from boats fishing from Maphelane Beach. The Mitsufishi hooked up with a 120 kg Blue at about half past six in the morning. After a 40-minute fight by Divan Coetsee, the fish was tagged by Hansie van Wyk and released unharmed. A 200 kg Blue hooked by Malcolm Buchanan was tagged and released from the Ocean Explorer about an hour later. The fifth tag was deployed on a blue marlin by Marius Vermaak after it was hooked and reeled in by Peet Grobbelaar in a 55-minute fight. The stubborn Blue weighed in at 220 kg from the Hlatikulu and tagger Vermaak stated on the data sheet that it “was an honour to let the fish go with a sat tag,” demonstrating the conservation-mindedness of the anglers participating in the IGMR.
On April 28 a sixth tag was placed on a 100 kg Black marlin caught by Hardus Rothman on Little Joey. Tag seven went out May 2 on another 100 kg Black caught by Lizette Walker on Proxima. And the eighth and final tag was placed on “Bob the Marlin,” a 95 kg Black caught by Jan Hofman fishing from Ocean Commotion…