King of Kings!
A 41.6 kg King Mackerel claimed the crown at the 2012 Mallards/Mercury Ski-Boat Festival, held recently at Shelly Beach, KwaZulu-Natal. This huge Cuda sets the stage for what was a brilliant competition with fish aplenty! We check out what went down at the competition, and what was reeled up.
It will be a long time before those who were privileged enough to see this remarkable fish will forget the 2012 Mallards/Mercury Ski-Boat Festival. Of the 236 anglers who entered, not one had ever caught – or even seen – a King Mackerel of this scale. Even the Balies who have been fishing since they were kids could not remember a Cuda as big as this, which is not surprising as Cuda over 35 kg are very rare, especially this far south. In fact, the SA record is a mere five kilograms heavier at 46.4 kg.
It is difficult to describe the rest of the competition as everything that had gone before was forgotten when Craig Montgomery brought his 41.6 kg Cuda to the scales on the Saturday afternoon. Everyone wanted a piece of the action; if Charlize Theron had walked across the stage in a bikini the paparazzi of photographers would have been hard pressed to divert their attention from the magnificent fish.
Greg Cunliffe brought his boat Rya Mara down from Durban to brave the more difficult launch at Glenmore. He then headed down to the spot just south of The Wild Coast Sun known as “Red Sands” where he had heard rumours of a few fair sized fish caught. His efforts were certainly rewarded when, on the very last day of the competition and after fighting it for an hour, the winning fish eventually came aboard. One theory is that the big Cuda were hanging around there waiting for the Sardines. In fact, the boats who went down there were fishing amid a shoal of Sardines just a few kilometres offshore…