Author Archives: puppy1952

About puppy1952

I am making the most of the South African Lifestyle and hope with my blog to share some of the adventures my husband and I are having in our retirement. We live at the Southern Tip of Africa in the small coastal town of Struisbaai. Earl and I have a Gecko off-road caravan and we travel around South Africa frequently. We are bird and wildlife enthusiasts so are often in game reserves.

Share Your World Monday 6 March 2023

Here are my answers to this week’s Share Your World from Di

Does your spouse/partner (or do you) help with the household chores?

We are fortunate enough to have help in the garden and the house every Saturday but of course, there are daily chores to be done. I do most of the cleaning in the house. My husband is not averse to helping. He often cooks and likes to tidy up too. He also does all the outdoor stuff. Years ago we did a little quiz we found in a book which was titled, “101 Things to do to make your partner happy.” I can’t remember the exact title or the author but there was a section for the wife to answer and a section for the husband to answer. Well, we tested each other and the scores were exactly even! So I guess we have an equal relationship.

My philosophy is this – If something needs to be done either do it yourself without complaint or ask your partner to do it. I drop everything to do something for my husband and he drops everything to do for me if we ask each other nicely.

What is your least favourite chore

I don’t really have a least favourite. All chores are boring so I put in earphones and listen to an audiobook or podcast while doing them. I can’t just sit still and listen. My hands have to be occupied or I have to go for a walk.

As a kid, did you have to do chores to earn your pocket money/allowance?

Not really. I did some chores and was responsible for keeping my room tidy. I also had a much younger sibling whom I helped look after but that was more fun than work.

When we were helping our daughter raise her two little boys, they had regular chores – not for money but to instil in them that when families live together everybody needs to help. They were very good at doing their chores. One day while I was chatting with a visitor in our open-plan lounge/dining room, our youngest appeared and started to set the table. She was amazed. “Who asked him to do that?” she asked.

“Nobody. It’s one of his regular chores and he doesn’t need to be reminded,” I answered, proud as punch of the little chap! I certainly was not as helpful as he was when I was a kid.

The boys also shared a paper round. They alternated the days and when one had a sports match or for another reason was not able to do his round the other covered for him. This is what gave them their pocket money.

Did you save any of your pocket money or spend it all?

I did not get very much pocket money. It covered a monthy magazine and a few chocolate bars when I was at school. As a college student, I got less than anybody else I knew so had very few treats but I survived as all essential expenses were covered by my bursary.

Sometimes we take so much for granted

Share Your World 27 February 2023

This week Di asks questions about being part of a group. Here are my answers.

Did you attend Sunday School at your local church as a child? 

Yes – I went to a protestant Sunday School when I was very small. My parents then decided that we should return to the Catholic church and as we attended a government school my siblings and I went to Catechism on Wednesday afternoons. In my teens, I went to a protestant youth group and did not attend the Catholic church again. As an adult, I don’t attend church having become disillusioned with the hypocrisy but I do consider myself a Christian and have my own faith. I have no regrets about attending protestant or catholic churches. They were all part of forming my character. My main reason for nonattendance is that I dislike being told what to think and do. Christianity is about faith, not rules.

Did you attend after-school classes ie. drama, sports, as a teenager? 

Yes – sport was compulsory at the schools I attended. I played social tennis and netball. I wasn’t any good at sports but in my early twenties I started playing squash and I loved it. In my early thirties, I started jogging and loved that too. I stopped at around 55 years of age but continued walking and aerobic gym.

Did you go to evening classes after you had left school? 

I went to a sewing class but sucked at it. Later my neighbour taught me to sew and for many years I made most of my own clothes and those of my kids. I no longer sew.

In my forties, I attended a creative writing class which I was part of for about 10 years. Maybe if I hadn’t gone I would have finished my book sooner? Just joking – I really enjoyed those classes.

Do you now belong to any groups/meetings (ie WI, single (not dating), young Mums, slimming clubs, young wives, Men’s hobbies ) 

I belong to The Cape Bird Club and was secretary for 10 years. I am now 200 km away so am not as involved as previously but have done an online beginners’ course for them. I don’t attend the monthly meetings unless I happen to be in Town. Because I’m a member, I can go to the outings and/or camps when I’m able to.

A Group of CBC members on an outing

The Earl and I are also members of the Cape Boat and Ski-boat club in Cape Town and here in Struisbaai, we are members of The Diepsee Angling Club. Hubby, being the fisherman, is involved more than I am. We go to all the social functions. I am mostly involved when asked to take photographs for competitions or to write reports on them.

A collage of participating boats in one of the competitions

Every day is a gift to share

Class of 1970 Reunion – Fish Hoek High School

The class of 1970 from Fish Hoek School was meant to celebrate 50 years since Matric in 2020. COVID restrictions made this impossible and so we were a little late in having our gathering. About forty of us matriculated in 1970. Most of us started school together in 1959 at Fish Hoek Primary and continued together right till Standard Ten. Ronald, with a great deal of effort and perseverance, managed to find every one of our past classmates and some who had matriculated elsewhere but were with us for most of their schooling. Only about 15 managed to make it to the reunion week. Some of our number have passed away, many are just not able to travel anymore, and those who are far across the oceans, simply could not make the long journey.

Not all of us are in this photo – Can you find yourself, pupils of 1970?

One of our classmates who now lives in Port Macquarie, Australia, did the great trek back to her homeland and hometown to catch up with us all. Anne was also part of our planning committee and would zoom with us at what was stupid o’clock for her but simple o’clock for us in South Africa! Others came from different parts of the country too and it was really wonderful to get together again after so many years.

On Monday 21 February, the weather was really stormy and we had planned two outdoor functions! But the gods were kind and we had a beautiful day on Tuesday and our evening bring and share function at Trish Thompson Richard’s house was awesome. The infamous south easer did not blow and the outdoor ambiance of her garden and patio was just perfect. Everybody brought a platter to share and it was all totally delicious. But best of all was catching up and reminiscing about our school days. We had so many laughs especially when Ken regaled us with his hilarious stories.

Don Mac Alister, Ken Welthagen, Neil Crawford (Head Boy) Ronald Meaker
Trish Thompson Richards, Evelyn Field Gould, Theresa Thomas Haslam (Head Girl) “Oh that was funny!”
Anne Anderson-Dennet (all the way from Oz) Linda Sanders Pickels, Val Johnston de Munnink, Marilyn Cable
Anne Anderson-Dennett, Helen Pnematicatos Fenwick, Don Mac Alister (Photo Heather Mac Alister)
A wonderful outdoor ambiance
Twinkling Candlelight – Loadshedding didn’t spoil a thing

We had a lovely fire pit around which we all sat and shared stories. Ronald gave a brief speech and we toasted our teachers, absent classmates and those who have passed on.

Ronald giving a speech

We especially remember those of our classmates who have already passed on. RIP Boetie Bester, Frances Eastern, Anne Garden, Garick Lotze, Jean Rix, Heather Soloman and John Willis. Also from Primary – Linda (Bierman) Harrington

Back row Ronald Meaker, Don Mac Alister (Pink Shirt) Evelyn Field Gould, Trish Thompson Richards, Neil Crawford Second row Ken Wlelthagen, Helen Pnematicatos Fenwick, Marilyn Cable, Theresa Thomas Haslam, Anne Anderson-Dennett, Linda Sanders Pickels, Val Johnston de Munnink

On Wednesday morning we hoped to sit outdoors at The Bistro at Fish Hoek Beach but after staying away for the evening function the South Easter could not hold it in anymore and it came gusting in with a bit of a chill too. A few of us sat outside for a while and then went to join the less robust indoors! We had a few more past pupils who could not make it the previous evening join us and what fun we had catching up with them too.

Colleen Walker Mc Dougall, Anne Anderson-Dennett, Marilyn Cable
Linda Sanders Pickels, Barbara Bauwer, Raymond Bauwer
Denise Chant Laker, Alan Laker (Also an old FHHS boy a year ahead of us) Neil Crawford
Helen Pnematicatos Fenwick, Earl Fenwick, Trish Thompson Richards, Anne Anderson-Dennett
Trish, Barbara, Ray
Evelyn and Theresa
Colleen and Marilyn
Linda, Barbara, Raymond, Alan, Denise

Our final function was a dinner at Dixie’s in Glencairn. This was a really special time. We were seated in a secluded area of the restaurant and had wonderful service from our waiter, Jason, and the food was excellent. Thank you Dixies for helping to make this a memorable occasion.

Ken – still the class clown
The rest of the class ready to laugh at his antics
Trish and Ron having a giggle
Anne from Oz and Theresa who often travels to see her scattered kids and grandkids
Marilyn came from Greyton, Linda came from Addo and Evelyn still teaches music at Star!
Helen a very local girl now living in Struisbaai and Neil who is visiting from Port Elizabeth
Still very much bonded – Trish Thompson Richards, Ronald Meaker, Theresa Thomas Haslam, Neil Crawford, Evelyn Field Gould, Linda Sanders Pickels, Kenneth Welthagen, Helen Pnematicatos Fenwick, Marilyn Cable, Anne Anderson-Dennett.

The bond you have with the kids you grew up with runs deep. You think you will be friends forever but life happens and you drift apart. You might be on the same path for a while, watch your kids together at the beach, mix in the same social circles then drift off again. We change in different ways and become teachers, naval officers, administrators, school principals, librarians, businessmen and women, etc not to mention taking on the role of, parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents and then suddenly we’re seventy and invited to a school reunion. Will we still have anything in common with those long-ago teenagers? Hell, Yes! It’s like no time has passed. We have a shared history and we simply pick up where we left off. We want to know how each other’s lives have panned out. We listen to each other’s stories and our hearts soar with joy at their highs and break at their lows. We cannot help but feel for these wonderful people we grew up with. Although we have all gone in different directions and achieved different things, the foundation for each of us is the same, thanks to growing up in Fish Hoek and attending the two awesome schools.

Each and every one of us at this delayed Fiftieth Anniversary of Matric had the most amazing time. We all want to do it again very soon! No waiting another ten years! Please, everyone from the Class of 1970, keep in touch and try to join us at the next reunion.

A few more photos taken by Marilyn and others.

Trish and Ronald
Linda and Evelyn
Ronald, Marilyn, Ken, Evelyn
Anne and Theresa
Helen, Marilyn, Neil, Trish
Hubby and me!

The Seventeenth Two Oceans Marlin Tournament – Day 4 Anglers’ Stories

Day Four of the tournament proved to be the most exciting of all. Here are the exciting stories from Chris Hepburn Brown, John Leppan, and Willem Skein all crew members of John Graeme , Werner Kotze of Indigo and Hannes Smuts of Bayswater.

First Fish of the Fourth Day by Chris Hepworth Brown (John Graeme)

Wednesday the 15 February was a day I will never forget. We got onto a bumpy sea early and we were all well aware of what we had to do.   At the 12-mile bank, the colour of the sea was a deep gunmetal and the temperature was close to 23 degrees C.

After catching some Bonita which we put out as live bait the action started. Just after 8 am out the first line went. It was my turn on the rod and I settled in with a big black marlin. Being my first marlin, this was a daunting fight ahead. The fish jumped early in the fight and then went deep. After 30 min we brought the fish to the side and managed to measure and successfully release  

  This was probably one of the best experiences I have had. Catching this magnificent fish and then successfully releasing was a moment of extreme joy. I thank our skipper Chris Goatly and the crew for making this possible. Long live the marlin.

A Day I will never forget/ ‘n Dag ek sal nooit vergeet nie – Werner Kotze (Indigo)

Thank you Werner for your very exciting story and for writing in both English and Afrikaans. Ons waardeer dit baie.

Ek kry n uitnodinging vroeër die jaar van Eugene om met hom op die boot Indigo wat deur die legendariese Gawie Bruwer besit en geskip word te kan gaan deelneem aan die TOMT. Die 4e dag se besluit was gemaak, nadat Serge Wessel ons eerste gestreepte Marlyn die vorige dag suskesvol gevang het om weer ver te ry op soek na n suksesstorie.

Radio calls came in of several Marlin being fought and even successfully released from the complete opposite direction from where we found ourselves. Although our water looks great and we lost hours to reach our GPS coordinates, it feels like the Marlin gods have turned yet again against us, could it be true…absolutely not!

Ek draai na Eugene en vra vir hom ; “Het jy dit ook nou gesien?”

Terwyl ons na die “spread” kyk sien ons hoe n Stripey die starboard outrigger slaan en vas is ons. Met die knip van n oog slaan daar nog n Stripey die portside outrigger en dit verander in ‘n malhuis op die boot. Ongelukkig verloor ons altwee visse, maar ons weet ons besluit om ver te hardloop was reg. Vinnig is al die stokke sommer weer in die water en ons bespreek wat moontlik verkeerd kon loop, bad luck is die gevoel en fokus skuif na die mooi water en so paar verdwaalde voëls. Elke persoon op sy pos in afwagting op die volgende strike.

And so it happened – sitting on a beanbag next to the portside outrigger (aka the ugly one) a similar sound to a .22 gunshot broke the silence. The tagline’s elastic band broke off, a Penn International starts screaming insanely and a black Marlin starts jumping and dancing off the stern of Indigo. Teamwork is the key! Clear the rods, clear the deck, get in the chair, and start filming! Twelve years of trying and even losing marlin, I could only think of one thing, ‘DON’T F… THIS ONE UP! ‘

With precision skippering and excellent crew members, we managed to release a beautiful black Marlin that lives to fight another day. The fight and release lasted about 40 minutes, and with Lourens Odendal filming everything, I will always remember 15 February 2023 as a day full of excitement, adrenaline, and conquering my nemesis. Thanks, team Indigo!!!

Third Fish of the Fourth Day by John Leppan (John Graeme)

Having boated the first fish on the 4th day our skipper nominated me to be next in the chair.  After locating the bonnies we set about catching two fresh baits and getting them rigged.  All the while we were listening to the radio as Indigo had just hooked their second fish.  Our job at hand was clear, we needed that third fish!

Fifteen minutes after setting our baits the ratchet on the starboard reel brought us all back into focus.  No sooner had it started than it abruptly stopped.  As the realisation of this lost opportunity sank in, silence befell the crew.  Fortunately, this didn’t last as a portside rig exploded into life and brought us all back to our senses. 

Turning off the ratchet to calm the situation we allowed the fish to peel off line whilst I got into the harness.  Still not knowing what we were dealing with I tightened up the drag and on cue, a beautiful black marlin surfaced 200 metres off the stern and walked in search of freedom.  Having set the hook I then got as comfortable as possible and tried to concentrate on the job at hand. 

The John Graeme crew have always been generous with their advice.  Knowing that we needed to boat this fish to get back pole position we all set about our jobs working hand in hand with our very able and calm skipper Chris.  We tried to subdue a fish that was having none of it.  Spending more time in the air than in the water this majestic beast tried every trick in the book to throw the hook.  At times I had brief thoughts about being the guy who lost the fish.  During this epic battle, and knowing the fleet was listening closely, we finally got hands on the leader and brought the fish alongside.   As we were getting ready to bill and measure, the line parted, allowing the fish to swim away strongly back to freedom. 

The celebration ensued with high fives all around and with man hugs that could be disturbing in different circumstances!

I would just like to thank the crew and especially our skipper, Chris for his kindness and generosity.

My First Malin by Willem Skein (John Graeme)

As was our usual custom we were taking hourly turns to be on rod duty.

All three of my crewmates had caught their first marlins ever in this tournament. The last two were caught a mere four hours before it was my turn. And the pressure was on to try to catch my first marlin and complete an unthinkable hat trick of three blackies in a day for John Graeme.

As we set out from the harbour earlier that morning for what was to be the last day of fishing, I told  Hepburn-Brown confidently that we were going to catch 3 fish today.

At that time we were neck to neck with Indigo, and the competition could still go either way. Everyone on board could sense the tension of the possibility of getting pipped at the post,  as had happened to John Graeme two years ago.

The two earlier fish took line around 8h00 and 10h00 respectively.

Shortly after noon I quickly brushed thoughts of doubting my own prediction out of my mind.

At 12h25,  my heart rate instantaneously skyrocketed to the urgent sound of my reel’s screaming ratchet.

Excited shouts of, “Come on Doc, your fish is on,” urged me into action.

The fish stripped 200 m of line in no time, entertaining us with several impressive acrobatic aerials.

Thankfully I saw it was not such a heavyweight as my crewmates had to deal with. And by this time our skipper had advanced to the next level of marlin skippering, making me look even better on the rod.

Twenty minutes later a beautiful black was craftily ushered to the side of the boat.

I felt a kind of humble gratitude towards this beautiful fish when I stroked it before it was eloquently released to go and reign the oceans again.

Then the relieving and joyous thought that this fish gave us a likely unsurpassable lead started to descend on all of us.

What a privilege it was to have been part of this incredible crew and to continue the legacy of love for the ocean and fishing.

An Amazing Team with a love for fishing and the ocean

Last Fish of the Fourth Day by Hannes Smuts (Bayswater)

On Wednesday 15th February 2023 at 14:45 we had the first strike on the boat. Piet called it in and we got extra time. I was the angler on the rod. The fish jumped out of the water at least six times which was the most beautiful site ever! I had it on the line for one hour and forty-five minutes. This was the strongest fish I ever had on a line and probably the biggest! I had the fish right next to the boat and Kokkie was on the leader and according to him, this was at least a 300 kg fish.

The Seventeenth Two Oceans Marlin Tournament – Prize Giving

Weather prevented the anglers from going out on Thursday and Friday but the previous four days were hugely successful and in total eight marlins were caught, measured, and released. To celebrate the winners a closing function and prize-giving was held at Suitpunt Deep Sea Angling Club on Friday night.

On the menu tonight – braaied chicken
A delicious plateful

The prizes are thanks to the amazing sponsors without whom this competition would not be possible.

Thank you to the following for their generous sponsorship,

The generous sponsors this year were:

  • Blenco
  • Bon Courage Wines
  • Buffelsfontein/Halewood
  • Central Forklif
  • Chas Everitt
  • Claudia Weyers/Magds’s Leather
  • Four Cousins
  • FPM Supplies
  • Garmin SA
  • Glenwood Wines
  • Greenwish
  • Heinrich Tips
  • Henk Aggenbach
  • Husqvarna
  • Jacita Bait & Tackle
  • Jebo Connect
  • Rawson Properties
  • Lourens Odendal
  • Matthee Fire & Tackle
  • Mercury
  • Ocean Runner Marine
  • Peninsula Beverage
  • Pulsator Lures
  • Ray Marine Avion
  • Robertson Toyota
  • Seaport Supplies
  • Ski-Boat Magazine
  • South African Breweries
  • Springfield Wines
  • Struisbaai Caltex
  • Suidpunt Marine
  • Tuckers Tackle
  • Koos Pretorious
First Prize
Second and Third Prize
Fourth Prize

Every participating boat received a prize.

Club President, Dudley Rosslee saying a few words

Throughout the tournament Spotter One and Marlin Control dedicate their time to ensure safety at sea. Not only do they keep the boats updated on the latest hookups but they inform on the weather, take orders for meals and announce when lines in and lines up. They also keep up cheerful banter over the airwaves keeping the spirits of the anglers up and encouraging them to go for the big one.

Trevor Brinch (Spotter One) and Andrew Perrins (Marlin Control) were presented with gifts for manning the radios throughout the tournament – This year’s organiser, Grant van der Westhuyzen on the right

My small part is to take photographs, write daily reports and nag the anglers to send in their stories. It’s something I look forward to every year. (I must just mention here that although I write about many interesting topics on my blog, I receive the most attention during TOMT week!)

Thank you Grant – I do it for the wine!
Waiting to hear the results

In fourth position this year was Bayswater who caught the last marlin of the tournament.

Michael de Kock and Piet Wessels (Skipper) of Bayswater with Garmin Agent Chris Gilllet and Tournament Organiser Grant van der Westhuyzen

Our third-place winners were the marvelous men from Mojo.

Jacque van Niekerk (Skipper) Gareth Beaumont, Chris Gillet, Anthony Tait, Hannes Schreuder, Grant van der Westhuyzen

In second place the amazing anglers from Indigo

Chris Gillet, Werner Kotze, Eugene Terblache, Serge Wessels, Gawie Bruwer (Skipper) Lourens Odendal, Grant van der Westhuyzen
Chris Gillet, Chris Hepburn Brown, Wilem Steyn, Wayne Cooke, John Leppan, Hylton Goatley, Chris Goatley, Garth van der Westhuyzen
Team John Graeme happy and proud of their achievement

Congratulations to all the winners and we hope to see all the teams back again next year.

The sun sets on another successful TOMT

Anglers’ Stories Day 4 to follow soon

The Seventeenth Two Oceans Marlin Tournament – Anglers’ Stories 2 and 3

Day 3 of the Two Oceans Marlin Tournament.

Two anglers have sent in reports of their exciting experiences catching marlin in this year’s Marlin Tournament. Thank you Serge Wessels from Indigo and Grant’s tells how Jacque got his first stripey

Serge’s Story

I was on the boat, Indigo, skippered by Gawie Bruwer. Being a novice to Marlin fishing, I did not realize what a team activity it was, and what experience was required by the other crew. Without the skipper keeping the fish correctly positioned in relation to the boat, the crew member pulling in the leader and grabbing the bill, the member removing the hook and importantly the camera person confirming the catch, there would be a very slim chance of successfully catching and releasing such a magnificent fish. I was fortunate to catch a striped marlin and be part of the crew to catch a black marlin thus, being able to witness the glorious colours of both excited fish as they lit up close to the boat. The black Marlin gave us a fantastic aerial display, making for memorable moments.

Stripey caught by Serge of Indigo

Jacque’s Fifth species of Marlin – Story by Grant van der Westhuizen

From zero to complete pandemonium can best describe the sensation of raising a marlin and enticing it to strike in the 2023 Two Oceans Marlin Tournament. The hours of preparation, maintenance, planning, research, and monies that go into catching one of these beautiful creatures of the deep and extremely vast oceans all become worth it when you finally see the silhouette of one of these majestic beasts in the spread.  

The skipper and crew of Mojo had managed to raise a couple of Striped Marlin on day one and two of the tournament and to the frustration of all aboard the fish just wouldn’t commit to what we had to offer. The fish on these days seemed well-fed, lethargic and hesitant to strike. After careful deliberation, we decided to stick to our guns and fish the same area as we did the previous day, after all, we had seen the fish.

Now let me paint the scene for a more than typical day in the 2023 TOMT. Generally, the day starts out full of optimism and as the day grinds on without any result or worse, disappointing results the mood can change, and combined with a little sun, wind, salt, and doubt it can become a mental marathon.

At the start of day three, we reached our fishing grounds and started setting the spread running two teasers short (starboard and port) with a flasher in between with two short Konners, two long and the Japan running way back. The usual tweaking to get the Konner’s running at their optimum and the continual adjusting to keep them running at their optimum in the ever-changing conditions is a responsibility bestowed on Mojo’s fishing master (Gareth Beaumont) and myself.

It had been pre-arranged that be it a Striped marlin skipper Jacques “Mojo” van Niekerk would be on the rod after all the man has a Pacific Blue, Atlantic Blue a Black and a White marlin under his belt and it would only be befitting to give him the opportunity to catch his fifth specie of marlin here in his local waters.  

We had been trolling for a half an hour when one of the competing boats literally five hundred meters away from us went tight on a Marlin. As in the nature and the spirit of the 2023 TOMT we were happy for them, but it was disheartening to say the least. Not long after the vessel Indigo and skipper Gawie Bruwer and crew had successfully caught and released a healthy-sized Striped Marlin. The pressure was on.

We kept grinding away and at 12h00 under the watchful eyes of Beaumont and me we spotted the dorsal fin and shoulders of a Marlin protruding from the beautiful purple blue colour of the ocean behind the Long. As per usual the adrenalin shot threw my veins just in time to see the fish disappear and just before the disappointment could set in the fish was back. The anticipation of a screaming rachet was short-lived as the fish disappeared again and before all hopes were crushed the fish was back behind the same Konner for a third time. Surely this was the moment but to everyone’s despair the fish vanished again just to reappear, and this is when the fish decided to commit. Within milliseconds the unmistakable screaming of a Marlin reels ratchet blasted the silence.

Enter the well-oiled crew of Mojo kicking into action to man their designated stations for the day.  Skipper Jacques van Niekerk stayed behind the wheel as fishing master Beaumont very carefully and patiently set the hook. As the fish took of Beaumont moved to the wheel and Hannes Schreuder leader man and vocals, Anthony Tait cameraman and I scurried to bring in the lines, clear the deck and to get the skipper in the fighting chair. This was it the moment we had all been waiting for. The skipper was a couple of minutes into the fight when this beautiful Striped Marlin breached and showed herself in all her majestic glory. From here it is hard to say how long the fight lasted but after what always feels like an eternity the fish was leadered by Hannes Schreuder and after a quick measurement and tag with the hook removed the fish was released to fight another day. High fives and congratulations all around and the Konners were back in the mix.

What an absolute privilege to see the speed, strength and agility of these animals. See you in the 2024 TOMT.

First Stripey for Mojo!

Watch this space for the final results and Prize Giving as well as more stories from the anglers.

The Seventeenth Two Oceans Marlin Tournament – Angler’s Story 1

Thank you to Wayne Cooke of John Graeme for his story of how he bagged his first marlin and the first one of TOMT 2023

It is Day One and we are lines in for my 5th Two Oceans Marlin Tournament  Struisbaai. I must admit I do not have high expectations as I have yet to catch a Marlin or even be part of our team catching one.  As normal the Bonnies are set and ready for action. As has happened over the years the boat gets quiet as the day starts to drift on.

After a while, I’m told that it’s my turn for the next hour to watch the rods. Around mid-day, one reel starts to slowly give line and there is something eating my Bonnie. The next minute our other rod also goes stiff and starts giving line.

“SHARK,” one of the crew calls as surely it’s not possible to hook two Marlins especially as I have never even seen one live.

Hylton Goatley takes charge of one rod and I take the other. I promise myself that I am going to give whatever is on the other end time to swallow the bait, and I give free line for about 2 minutes.  

At the same time, Hylton goes tight on the drag and a big black marlin jumps clean out of the water. There is now total chaos on the John Graeme.   Some run for the black magic and others just run from sheer excitement.

 I then decide to tighten up the drag on my reel, still not believing what is happening. I am happily looking out the back of John Graeme expecting whatever was on my line to show itself as not too much line is being taken. Well, if I bother to look ninety degrees to my left, I will see a massive Marlin jumping and going crazy.

All attention is now on me as I hear skipper, Chris Goatley, radioing that we have not hooked the first Marlin but are still hooked up on the second. I have never had so much attention from the crew before.   I am offered water and asked if I am feeling okay. The doctor on board is even happy to inject me if I require a boost at any stage. 

I am pumped with excitement as I realise that it is up to me to catch this one for the team. This fact is mentioned to me more than once by my team mates!

“Don’t F **k it up, Cookie,” I hear one of them warn.

Well, with great skill from our skipper Chris Goatley and 55 minutes of hard fighting, my first Marlin shows itself next to the John Graeme and with all the skill of the crew and lots of shouting the fish is measured and released to fight another day.

It is a day I will always remember but most importantly the pleasure it gives us all to see it swim away is just magical.

John Graeme proudly flies the “Caught a Marlin” flag.

The John Graeme is on the scoreboard, but little do we know there is much more to come……..

Watch this space!

The Seventeenth Two Oceans Marlin Tournament – Day 4

Apologies for not posting yesterday. It was a very busy day and some of the material I needed was not available in time.

Today the boats did not go out to sea due to inclement weather.

Tuesday 15 February 2023

Thanks once again to Koos for sending me some really amazing photographs. Some show exactly why he and his crew stay out at sea as late as possible. Is there any better place to be than out in the wide ocean with a rod in your hand? Well, these anglers certainly think so.

Heading to the deep
Gee Spot Crew Members – Vasco and Bruno

Today the weather continued to play along although the wind is picking up and it was slightly cooler and overcast.

As those of you who have been following these reports know, John Graeme caught the first marlin of this tournament on Sunday. Well today we were surprised to hear that the first call of a hook-up came in at 08:20 was again from John Graeme and Chris Hepburn Brown was the one in the chair. And he fought it for almost an hour before releasing a back marlin.

Pulling her in
Now to remove the hook
And Away she swims

But that was not enough for this intrepid team. At 10:06 another hook-up on John Graeme was called in. This time John Leppan was in the chair until he released a blackie at 10:38.

Surely the sea gods have their favourites for at 12:17 Indigo who landed a stripey yesterday called in their second hook-up of the tournament. At 13:00 Werner Kotze released a blackie.

What a beauty
Indigo Proudly flies the “We Caught Marlin Flag”

Throughout the day other boats called in hook-ups but it was a while before the next successful one was reported – and would you believe it – John Graeme again with Willem Skein landing a blackie!

John Graeme flying the flag again!
Well done Team John Graeme

Indigo almost got another but lost the battle and just when we thought the day was over Bayswater called in and after a short battle brought in a blackie. I was unable to get a good fish clip from their video so will just show you the angler.

Hannes Smuts

The weather started to turn this afternoon. The wind turned to the northwest, clouds gathered and we had a shower or two of rain.

This evening we were treated to another delicious meal of burgers, ribs and chips (French Fries).

Marinda and her amazing staff braaing the ribs

For the past three years, special awards have been made to exceptional anglers who have contributed to the tournament and to the sport. This year Gawie Bruwer presented the award to Ted Horn who is now 83 years old and still participating in competition angling. Ted is also well-known for his amazing singing voice and sang Danny Boy with as much gusto as any man half his age!

Who Me?
Ted receives his special award from Gawie
My Favourite Angler, Ted, and Me

Then Andrew (Marlin Control) changed hats and became an auctioneer, calling for bids on some excellent wines and other items to raise funds for the Suidpunt Deep Sea Angling Club.

The Auction

I also managed to get a few team photos. More to follow on prize giving night.

Team Heat Seeker Werner Booyson, Richard Donaldson, Mike Wienk, Chris Schorn
Team O2 Fish Bester Els,Stefan du Toit, Anton Steyn, Louis Phillips
Team My Way Gerhard von Bonde, Simon Lowe, Byron Mayer

Once again, apologies for the late posting. I received the last video just a little while ago. I am still waiting for the anglers to send in their stories which I will post as they come in.

I am not sure whether tomorrow will be a fishing day. If it is it will be the last day of the competition and Prize Giving takes place tomorrow night. Watch this space for all the results.

The Seventeenth Two Oceans Marlin Tournament – Day 3

Thank you to Koos Pretorius on Gee Spot I have some lovely photos of the morning’s early launch to share.

Some of the Fleet in Struisbaai Harbour
Sunrise and Gee Spot
Dory looking delightful in the glow of the sunrise
Early start for the good ship, Bad Company
Chris, Dudley, Andrew, Johan and Emil

Today turned out to be very exciting. At 09:45 Indigo called in a hook-up halfway between the Alphards and 45s. They fought until 10:10 when a stripey was measured and released.

Stripey caught by Serge Wessels
Indigo proudly displays the marlin flag
Well done Indigo

At 11:17 Hannes Schreuder on Mojo, closer towards The Alphards, hooked a stripey and released it at 11:57

Striped Marlin caught and released by Jacques van Niekerk

While I was waiting for the last boats to return to shore I received a call to please go to the end of the harbour wall to capture a very special photograph. Gareth Beaumont had promised to allow himself to be towed back to the harbour on a surfboard if their boat caught a marlin. And of course, they did.

Gareth on the surfboard bearing the flag and yelling proudly
Whoo Hoo – We did it!
Don’t you love the green wetsuit!
Gareth in his notorious green wet suit

Today is Valentine’s Day and although most of the anglers are without their wives and girlfriends we all celebrated the day. The bar ladies made a special effort.

Looking pretty in red with a heart tattoo on her cheek
Heart tattoos and red lures for decoration
And I got choccies from Mike
And a love song and chocolate from Ted

Dinner tonight was a delicious mussel soup followed by battered swordfish and salmon fishcakes and for dessert, we were treated to decadent chocolate eclairs.

I am trying to get as many group photos as possible and will post these in a future post. I am also collecting the anglers’ stories so watch this space to read about their exciting experiences catching and releasing the hard-to-catch marlin!

I cannot resist posting a few photos not quite related to the fishing. Struisbaai harbour is famous for some very special residents, namely the Short-tailed Stingrays and the Cape Clawless Otters. You can read about Parrie, our most famous stingray here

I have lived in Struisbaai for almost eight years and have never seen the otters but today although it was quite busy at the harbour one of them was there swimming with the stingrays.

I got a video of him but can’t post it here but I hope the link below can take you to it on Youtube
Three visiting stingrays
My friend, Stephen swimming with the ray.

The Seventeenth Two Oceans Marlin Tournament – Day 2

The fleet set off in beautiful weather once again and the anglers had calm seas and warm sunshine with just a hint of a breeze.

Early this morning a frolic of seals were seen and photographed by Koos on Gee Spot

I did not manage to get a photograph of Gee Spot yesterday so Koos kindly sent me one of his much-loved vessel.

Gee Spot in Struisbaai Harbour
Vasco on board Gee Spot

Thanks to Koos, too, for sending this photo of the live bait used to catch a marlin.

Marlin Control is operated from my house so when the calls of hook-ups come through on the radio we all get quite excited and then a little disappointed when the marlin turns out to be a shark. We had quite a few bronze and mako marlins today!

Keeping tabs on where the boats were and when they hooked up on anything was Marlin Control (Andrew Perrins). Rue, his constant companion and competition mascot helped keep an eye and ear on things too.

At the Office
The Marlin Control Team

Toward the end of the day Bad Company had a hookup and fought for over an hour but the marlin won and swam away free. So there were no marlins caught, measured and released today.

“How was your day?” I asked the anglers as they returned to the harbour. “Always good,” most of them replied because a day at sea whether you catch a fish or not is always better than a day at work.

Not such bad company
A Boat in a Bay of Water
No fish but we had a good day
A good attitude from Catitude
Short-tailed stingrays don’t care about marlin
Charlie’s crew
Gracefully gliding back to shore
Yes Heat Seeker found the day quite warm
A Kelp Gull looking for a snack
A tranquil Indigo in the harbour
Dory drifting back to shore
John Graeme back from the deep
That’s the way to do it
Multi moving in
Oh to be at sea!
Magical Mojo
Cat of the Sea

Once again the fleet was well-fed by Marinda and her team. The steak kebabs and roast veggies were delicious.

Team Charlie’s Cat – Denzyl, Nick, Charlie, Frik
Team Catitude – Colin, Donald, Mike and Michel