Sunday 13 February Day 1 of TOMT
Thirty-three boats of varying sizes with between 3 and 6 excited crew members onboard launched early this morning for the first day of this much anticipated annual, Struisbaai event. Weather conditions were favourable starting with overcast skies, little wind but the slightly choppy sea made the ride out to the 12 mile bank a tad uncomfortable. My good intentions of photographing some of the boats launching came to naught as the eager skippers made sure they were out there before competition with the chuckies prevented them from getting to the fishing grounds before lines in at six o’clock. I did, however, on my walk with Andrew’s dog, Roo, get one or two lovely photos of our beautiful harbour and one of the competitors took a pre-dawn photo too.
“Chuckies” are commercial fishing boats and all called after the chuck-chuck sound that they make when starting up.
Marlin fishing to most keen anglers is the ultimate in offshore game fishing. This is because these magnificent creatures are huge and powerful and give the angler an excellent fight. Marlin is also rare and for this reason, the modern fisherman will usually release his catch. This competition is strictly measure and release and below is a summary of the rules.
Artificial lures live or skip baits may be used. Circular hooks must be used in all forms of bait fishing.
Lines in is at 06h00 and Lines up at 16h00 but these times can be changed depending on weather conditions.
Videos of the catch and release must be submitted and it is the angler and boat owner’s duty to convince the Marlin Control committee that the fish is swimming away safely.
There will be no points scored for fish that died or were killed and brought in. The tournament is strictly release with a strong emphasis on conservation.
An independent panel of judges will review photos/video footage and award points accordingly.
Hearing the calls of hook-ups, progress of fighting, sometimes winning and sometimes losing brings much anticipation and tension in my house. It can only be a fraction of what is felt amongst the fishermen out at sea. There were a number of strikes called and we held our breath to see if they would come to fruition. Some turned out to be massive mako or bronze whaler sharks causing great disappointment to the angler.
After fighting for over an hour Bayswater sadly lost a big Black Marlin. There were two successful catches. Congratulations to Catitude who safely released a 60kg Striped Marlin. The strike was called at 14:26 and ten minutes later the fish swam away safely.
Soon after that Multi called in a strike at 14:41 and at 15:03 successfully released a 136kg Black Marlin. Well done to Team Multi.
In a later blog, I will be posting the stories along with photographs of the successful releasing of marlin as related by the crew themselves. Watch this space!
Lines up was called at 16h00 and I went down to the harbour to photograph the fleet. It was great to see the joy on the faces of the fishermen who even if they had not had a strike thoroughly enjoyed their day out at sea.
Once again Marinda and her team catered a lovely dinner of fried fish and prawns which was thoroughly appreciated by all.
And of course there were a few forfeits to be paid for misdemeanours.