Riviera 33 Gunners makes stunning debut!

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The Riviera 33 named Gunners recently made her maiden voyage and what an inauguration it was! Great weather, tuna and even marlin were on the cards for the beautiful sportfisher and her crew, but not without a crisis that threatened to ruin what was to be a great day out in the deep.

Riviera 33 Gunners inside view
Riviera 33 Gunners inside view

It was just before 05h00 on the dawn of Human Rights Day when the new owner, Ismail Bhorat; his captain, Chris Gerber; and a few crew members including myself, Nishaad Ibrahim and Mario (friends of the owner); all met at the Blue Flag Marina in Granger Bay to prepare the Riviera 33 named Gunners.

The weather was pristine with warm temperatures, not a breath of wind in the air, and perfectly still water. This was the Riviera Gunners’ maiden voyage and we could feel the excitement in the air. The vessel was to leave Granger Bay for her new home in Gordon’s Bay.

We left the berth just after 05h00 and headed south down the coast towards Cape Point. By that time the water had developed a slight chop and reports had forecast a two-metre swell. En route we discussed and planned what direction we would take as well as where to start trolling for our target hours to reach while cruising at around 18 knots. We took it slow and really got a chance to experience why Riviera boats are such sought after vessels – the chief reason for me being comfort! While skipper Chris Gerber manned the helm and set the course on the auto pilot the rest of us were free to relax, and relax we did – mostly lying around on the soft leather couches in the saloon, listening to our choice of music and sharing past fishing experiences. The ride was extremely smooth considering the sea conditions and we never felt anything but safe and comfortable on this strong sports fisher.

As we reached our destination, we set the rods up for trolling. We had six rods in the spread with our choice of Halco/Rapala lures and some soft squids which are known to be extremely effective for Yellowfin.

It wasn’t long before we had our first strike and the fish pulled the entire rod clean out of the holder and overboard it went. It was gone! Very disappointed but staying positive, we grabbed another rod, set it up, and made sure we tied each and every rod to the boat!

Soon the reel was screaming once more as another fish took the hook. Ismail was up first and while he grabbed the rod we started to clear the lines to prevent any burn offs or tangles. Then two of the other reels screamed as two more fish where hooked! It was a triple up! We excitedly cleared the remaining lines and began the three-fish battle. One fish managed to throw the hook – this happens sometimes for a number of reasons and you just have to roll with the punches and carry on.

We managed to bring the second fish alongside the boat; it looked to be approximately 15 kg. Nishaad was quick to grab the gaff and successfully gaffed the fish but as he hauled the tuna over the gunnels, the front treble hook of the Halco went straight through his finger! We both jumped on the fish to make sure it didn’t move around too much, grabbed a set of pliers and quickly removed the second hook from the fish’s mouth. But with no bolt cutters on the vessel we were in trouble.

We tried with all our might to saw through the hook with side cutters but nothing could cut through it. We then decided to flatten the barb of the hook to try and remove it, but this proved unsuccessful as the barb was still slightly protruding and actually put us in a worse situation with it now being lodged inside his finger.

It was then decided that we would head home and take Nishaad to the hospital to safely remove the hook – he was, as you can imagine, in some serious discomfort by this stage. However, he proposed we radio some neighbouring boats to find out if anyone had bolt cutters. The fish were on the bite and it would be a huge loss to pack up and leave at this point.


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