The guys at Honda Somerset West were kind enough to let two of the Leisure Boating crew, Gary and Richard, tag along on the new Point Runner 660 for some recent Yellowfin adventures in the Cape.
Whenever an opportunity of a fishing trip to the deep arises, the staff members of Leisure Boating get overly excited. Their love for angling is of such a nature that they can be found champing at the bit (or more likely, chewing on office supplies at their desks) in restless anticipation two days prior to the commencement of such a trip. And when a day at the tuna grounds aboard the exciting new Point Runner 660 was presented by Honda Somerset West, it was no different and Leisure Boating’s Richard Brown and Gary Randall were fi red up, to say the least!
It is astonishing how painless it is to get up before the crack of dawn for a day of fishing as compared to gathering enough strength and courage to rouse oneself for a workday – particularly on those bleak, blue Mondays. And so it proved again when I got up effortlessly on a stilldark Monday morning in the middle of February and drove to Miller’s Point where our little fishing party was set to launch from.
As I arrived, the eye-catching Point Runner was geared up and ready to go. The Honda team put us into the water without any fuss and off we went to the tuna grounds as the pinkish orange dawn broke over the majestic and towering Cape Point.
There were five of us onboard the 6.6-metre Point Runner and she accommodated all of us comfortably as we headed towards the deep at a brisk yet pleasant 24 knots. Jayson Gilham was at the wheel, Andre Bloemhof and I leant against the backrest directly behind the skipper, Jason Daniel was seated in the bow and Gary sat behind us on the cushioned catch box, and although the swell was fairly sizeable on the day, my knees barely felt it as the little fisher zipped from crest to crest. Unfortunately for Jason Daniel, the Sickness hit him pretty hard early on and he remained green for most of the day.
For the rest of us it turned out to be a perfect day at sea with water temperatures of around 22°C and as we arrived at the hunting grounds – around 30m from the Point – we put our spread out and started trolling. After a while without luck, we received a tip-off from one of Jayson’s mates on a commercial fisher and we slowly headed in their direction. Once in the area, we started chumming and dropped some bait in the hope of luring the big Yellows our way. It wasn’t fi ve minutes before the first reel let rip with that distinctive screech that gets a grown man as excited as a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert, and Gary, nominated to take the first fish, clearly still isn’t immune to the effects of a squealing reel as he anxiously fumbled to get his harness strapped on. After a lengthy wrestle with his own kit he finally took over from Jayson and the fight was on at last!
Right from the off it was clear that Gary had a large fish on the line and it wasn’t long before a heavy sweat had covered his brow. He fought bravely, though, and despite a great deal of panting and wheezing he brought the gleaming Yellowfin to a gaffable distance from the boat after about 20 minutes. It turned out to be a beauty of about 50 kg!
In the meantime another reel had started protesting vigorously and Andre eagerly volunteered to take up that rod as I had my hands full trying to video record Gary in his breathless battle.
However, we seemed to be in the thick of it now, and Andre had just about landed his Yellowfin before I was on the next one!
I strapped on the effective and back muscle-saving Black Magic, took the rod from Jayson who had brought the drag under control, and the tussle with my first tuna of the day had started.
At first the fish came up rather willingly and at one point it was swimming up towards the boat at such a pace that I thought it had come off, but I kept reeling optimistically and was eventually relieved to feel the sharp tug as the big Yellowfin dived again. 15 minutes later and after quite a bit of physical exertion I finally had the fish close to the boat and it was making its last few turns when a Mako shark suddenly appeared and my heart sank as it caused the tuna to dive away with renewed and panicky energy.