Boat: Fish Tales (8.3m Carry Cat)
Team: Justin van der Walt (Skipper & team Captain), Christo Hendriksz & Johann Kruger
Great food, camaraderie & of-course Tuna fishing! Those words are synonymous with the Cape Boat & Ski Boat Club’s (CBSC) Tuna invitational.
It’s 6pm Tuesday evening & it’s the opening function of the competition, but I’m still wearing my fishing gear. We’ve just docked after another successful tuna charter with the biggest fish weighing just under 90KG.
After cleaning, re fuelling & baiting up the boat, Team Fish Tales is ready for the comp set to start at 6:30am the next morning.
4:30am Day 1: Tired & sore but I’m up & we go to the CBSC clubhouse to have a proper breakfast…. With our bodies refueled we put Fish Tales into the water & wait for the blessing of the fleet & the mass start of the competition at 6:30 am.
There’s quite a bit of South Easter blowing & we know it’s not going to be a easy ride out, but we are amped and ready for this day. After the blessing, the entire fleet sets off to the tuna grounds at once. What a spectacular sight to see 32 boats running to the deep together.
As we reach our initial area to start fishing there is still plenty of wind blowing so I decide to put the backlines in first (which consist of top water & deep diver lures) to see if we can find the fish. After a hour or so, this proves as boring as watching paint dry & I decide to make a blind chum. Chumming consists of cutting sardines into smaller chunks & throwing that into the water on a consistent basis in order to lure any would-be fish in the area towards your boat, while you have a line in the water with only a hook (no sinker) and a piece of bait.
We are boat alone in this area, just the way I like it! Only seeing another boat every now & then as they pull their backlines past us.
Its not long & the first rod gets a pull…..But it’s only a shark..
Tik tok goes the clock. 3pm is lines up & we have to stop fishing then. 10am and we hear that a few other boats have caught fish already. But we are just catching sharks. Christo has already gone to have a nap in the bow of the boat, but he doesn’t get much sleep because it seems as if his little nap was just what we needed.
His reel starts screaming, then mine and then Johann’s and its complete chaos on the boat, before long we have 5 Yellowfin on the boat. By this time the other boats also caught wind of our catch & all of a sudden our little secluded patch looks like a town with boats all around us & the fish disappears.
We head out slightly further to the west today to try and find fish away from all the other boats again. On our way out we find a area with multiple stern trawlers and I decide that we should try our luck in that area. But the water colour is not perfect & after an hour with only sharks we head out a bit further. After a few nautical miles the water’s colour starts to become a beautiful blue colour and there’s plenty of birds circling in the area.. Right, stop the boat & make another blind chum with no boats in sight.
Again, sharks sharks & more sharks. So Johann & I ask Christo to go and have his goodluck nap… And low and behold its not long… I bring my bait in to check it & re bait. As I start stripping my line back into the water a yellowfin takes the bait & shoots off. Then Christo gets up & re-baits his line only to go tight almost immediately as well… But these two fish had other plans & made our life hell forcing me & Christo untangle lines twice.. After a while both yellowfin are in the boat & now it’s Johann’s turn with his line also going tight. Johann is not the type of guy you should joke with & tell to bring his fish in quickly. He takes his fishing very serious & proves a point by getting his fish of 63.7KG to the boat in less than 5 minutes 🙂
3x Yellowfin in the boat.
As with the previous day, the other boats gets wind of our fish & as they start pulling in one after the other the fish disappears… so we move off to try & find fish somewhere else. After a while we arrive in a area where a few other boats have been catching fish & start to work that area, but by now its starting to get very close to cutoff time.
In the final countdown with 25 minutes to spare Christo hooks into another tuna. Again this tuna is not interested in coming into the boat & wraps the line around a longliner’s boy-rope. But we also have other plans & I quickly reposition the boat & get the line free to boat the fish with a few minutes to spare. So that gives us a total of 4 yellowfin for the day.
Day 3 & the wind is howling so the weather committee calls the day’s fishing off, giving us all some much needed rest & I go home to spend some time with my family.
Day 4 – Saturday & the final day of the competition. Lines up is at 14:00 & there is NO extra hour extension for fighting fish.
There’s a plenty of wind at sea & the weather committee just can’t seem to make their minds up whether or not to let us go to sea. We have already decided that we will go out irrespective of their call & fish casually if the competition is called off.
At 6:30 they make the call at long last & the competition is called ON. But we have lost valuable time so we need to make the best of this & quickly.
When we get to the tuna grounds, the sea is rough with lots of wind chop, so its in with the backlines again.
After a bit of trolling we are rewarded with one skipjack, which does not count 🙁
But the sea is plentiful & we see a piece of wood drifting & trawl past it. Nothing on the backlines but I get a on-off on the spinner, we do another circle & decide to stop & make a drift with bait & start chumming.
In under a minute Johann is rewarded with a nice 4.2KG Dorado. Arguably one of the best eating fish in the sea. BUT, as with the skipjack, this does not count for points.
With time off the essence, we can’t really move from this spot & decide to stick it out to the end & continue with our chumline. Once again we are rewarded & Christo hooks into a nice 73KG yellowfin & gets it in the boat chop chop.
Time’s up & we are heading back. All in all we did very well, not losing one fish that we hooked into for the entire competition.
Later that evening we attend the prize giving without a clue of the current standings.
We know that Christo will be in the running for Top Angler, but other than that, we’re all in the dark.
We were quite surprised with the results:
2nd Top skipper – Justin van der Walt
2nd Top team – Team Fish Tales
2nd Top angler – Christo Hendriksz
What a great competition!
Big thanks to CBSC & all the sponsors for bringing us yet another brilliant competition!
Top 3 Competition standings:
540.39 points – Tim Twine
510.65 points – Christo Hendriksz
337.61 points – Mark Felgate
1038.88 points – Fortuna
949.83 points – Fish Tales
767.55 points – Sea Dodger