Tough Weather and Even Tougher Tuna

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It was that time of the year again when the selected provincial anglers from all over the country set off to the fairest Cape to do battle with the big Yellowfin tuna. This year the famous competition was hosted in the beautiful Hout Bay.

Every year the best anglers in SA look forward to testing their mettle against the mighty Yellowfin, armed only with 10 kg line, their wits, angling skills and endurance. There is nothing more challenging than to battle it out with the famous Cape Yellowfin tuna ranging in size from 45 kg to as big as 110 kg – the fights sometimes lasting as long as seven hours.

May 2012 saw Dr Frank Scholtz from BDSAA breaking the previous long standing world record with a monster of a Yellowfin of 106.75 kg on 10 kg line fishing from Simons Town. This year, every angler arrived hoping to be the one to break that magnificent record.

The most pristine fishing waters of the Cape lies about two and half hours’ boat ride due south of Cape Point, ranging in depths of between 200 and 1000 metres. The competitors hunt amid the stern trawlers, tuna pole boats and long-line hake trawlers, looking for shoals of fi sh or marks on the echo sounders which indicate the presence of giant Yellowfin tuna.

Cape Town offers a world class fishery for Yellowfin tuna as well as Longfin tuna. Bigeye tuna are also a target species but are not as abundant as Yellowfin and Longfin. The odd Southern Bluefin tuna has also been caught by anglers from Western Province Deep Sea Angling Association in club tournaments, the biggest one weighing 135 kg in 2011, but, sadly, these aren’t often seen around the Cape anymore.

This year saw teams from Southern Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Province, KwaZulu-Natal, Freestate, Northern Gauteng, Western Province, Mpumalanga, and the South African Deep Sea Angling Association (SADSAA) Team vying for the top spot. With the Western Province being the host province, the renowned Atlantic Boat Club in Hout Bay did the hosting and teams launched from there every morning.

On Monday evening the welcoming function was held and all the teams and skippers were introduced. The newly selected SADSAA Team consisting of Dr Frank Scholtz Captain (BDSAA), Nish Ebrahim (WPDSAA) and Colin Barris (EPDSAA) were capped by the SADSAA selectors Chris Jacobs and Ted Horn, where after the home team Western Province DSAA consisting of Daniel Hughes (Captain), Chris Pike and Lee Wiid were also capped. The traditional boat draw then took place and the tournament was set as each team knew on which boats they will be fishing and who their skippers would be for the duration of the tournament.

Day 1 – Tuesday
With anglers raring to start the hunt, the boats headed out without a hitch, but it was to be a slow start to the day. The teams had to work hard. Chris Rothmann of the Mpumalanga Red Team eventually boated a 38.32 kg Yellowfin and the challenge was on, this fish put them in the lead for day one. Stef Bester from Mpumalanga Blue fishing off Kaskazi fought a Yellowfin for just under seven hours before losing the fish! The Western Province team had been alongside the two Mpumalanga teams and decided to move away from the area where most boats were congregating. The wind and sea started to pick up in the afternoon which was ideal conditions for Longfin and Bigeye tuna. The Western Province team picked up three nice Longfin, all over 23 kg, the biggest one weighing 26 kg caught by Lee Wiid on Indigo.


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