Stealth Kayak Fishing – Mozambique Challenge May 2010 E-mail
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 08:36

Marlin

After a gruelling 17 hr drive, dodging corrupt cops, pot holes and the odd Mozambican, we finally arrive in Paradise. Paindane is one of the best and most beautiful fishing destinations along the east coast of Africa, offering world class game fishing only 500 meters from the beach.  A quick and very unorganized offloading of the vehicles into the chalets and off we went down to the beach bar for a quick chow, a few cold ones and an update from the fellow competitors who had arrived a day earlier on how the fishing had been so far. From the initial reports it was quite clear the fishing was really good, so we rushed a few beers so we could get back to the chalet to rig up our rods for the following days fishing.

Day 1: (May 2, 2010)

On the beach, before sunrise, we launched at Guinjata Bay and as we rounded the point the reels were screaming with Bigeye Kingfish all around. After a few laps, we split up to check our marks to get an idea of which fish were in town. It didn't take long to see that there were GT's, Yellow and Green Spot Kingfish, Kakaap and plenty small Bonny's. While Squid Jigging on one of my favourite Kingfish spots I hooked a beautiful Sailfish on a mackerel I was drifting on the surface for that exact reason. 30 minutes later I had the Saily, bill in hand with the sail complete expanded for a quick photo. I then unhooked it, revived it for a while and watched it swim off strongly. What an awesome fish. My first Saily on a ski (kayak), as it has been a real bugger fish that I have photographed for others many times, but never had the honour of being in the photo myself.  Shortly after we called it a morning and headed back to Paindane for breakfast, to exchange war stories with our fellow competitors, only sharing very limited info of course. That afternoon we fished Paindane and my plan of action was to catch a live Bonny, pin it and head out to the deeper reef for some Squid Jigging. 30min later I was on the northern mark of the deep reef, with a live Bonny out and getting into my jigging rhythm when I heard my reel ratchet click over. I turned around to a large Marlin (estimated between 80 and 90Kg) going mad 15 meters behind my ski. I grabbed the rod, set the hooks properly at which point all hell broke loose. The Marlin took off breaking the surface many times trying to shake the hooks. Realizing it was well hooked it headed for the horizon. Shouting for a photographer while I got towed out to sea at speed, I started to put the heat on the fish. After about an hour and a half, with two very tired arms I finally started to get the fish up to my ski. It kept trying to go under my ski so I grabbed the leader with both hands and started lifting it for a quick photo. It was at this point that it shook its head and parted my very chafed leader right next to my ski. I unfortunately didn't get the photo I was hoping for but the fish did swim away strongly.  We were now sitting in 80 meters of water and a long paddle from the beach. I realized that we were quite close to an Amberjack mark so I decided to go have a look to see if I could complete a grand slam. Luckily they weren't there, don't think I had enough left in me for an Amberjack that day but I had to have a look, just in case. What a day Sailfish and a Marlin in the same day and this was only day 1.

BeachGroupShot

Day 2: (Couta Comp, May 3, 2010)

Day two and it was Couta comp time. No Rules, R50 in the hat to enter and biggest Couta wins all.  I woke up feeling like “death warmed up”. After visiting Ralph a few times and seriously considering skipping the couta comp all together, I finally felt as ready as I could and we made our way to Coconut Bay. We chose Coconut for two reasons, the first being because of the stories of couta madness from the day before there and secondly we needed to get a better idea of what was happening there before the main comp kicked off.  We had a pretty good day on the water, I got 3 Couta between 12 and 16Kg, dropped another Saily and got a nice Bonny and Kakaap. Scott “Morde” Mordecai Jones and Peter “Pistol Pete” Stayner both also got a nice couta of about 10Kg each. Mark Greenslade released a very nice Golden Kingfish of about 15Kg as well as a small couta, while Markus Potgieter watched MNET all morning. We headed back to the weigh in to weigh our Couta only to find out that Wesley Moolman had already weighed a very nice 18Kg Couta which turned out to be the overall winner.  That night the Beach Bar was once again a buzz with excitement, as it was quite clear that the fishing was really good. I had already racked up 8 species in the two days leading up to the competition.  Peaking too early perhaps but I couldn't help it, my rods were on fire. I was now beaming with confidence and was really starting to get a few of the top contenders a little bit rattled. We registered and received our very generous goody bags, overflowing with all sorts of useful things. A quick briefing, a few beers later and we were all off to bed, everyone chomping at the bit for the comp to start.

For those of you who aren't familiar the a species comp format, basically the way it works is you multiply your overall weight or points by the number of species of game fish you catch. It is very much geared towards catch and release, rewarding competitors more for releasing fish, than by keeping and weighing them. This is done by means of a photographic measurement system awarding a certain amount of points per species based on its fork length  measurement. So basically catch as many species of game fish as you can and try get one or two big ones in between.

Day 3 (1st day of the competition)

The Species Challenge kicks off at 11:00am at Paindane on the first day. It creates an amazing atmosphere and some fantastic film and photograph opportunities having some 100 or so anglers on paddle ski's launching at the same time. It is quite a sight to behold.

Most contenders headed out onto the deeper reef for a lap or two and a few jigging drifts, before heading to Guinjata Bay some 3.5km north. Arriving at Guinjata, we found Shaun Hayes landing a fantastic Great Barracuda, only to find out that he had already lost two or three prior. The general plan was to get a live Bonny, pin and down rig it and catch a Couta or Barracuda while jigging or drop shotting on the downwind drift. Live Bonnys seemed to be the order of the day, although you should have seen the look on Brad Arthur's face when my dead Bonny was smashed right next to his live Bonny, Priceless!! Getting live Bonnys was a lot harder than it sounded as the wind was pumping and if you found a school of them you had to sneak off very quickly to get a throw at them. Most of the guys ended up back at Paindane later that day with many nice Kingfish falling victim the irresistible “Gladiator Squid Jigs”. All in all, it was a pretty good day on the water with many Great Barracuda, Couta and various Kingfish being caught. The wind was blowing strongly from the NE with the current, which had really taken its toll on the paddle ski anglers who were defiantly feeling it that evening.

In the evening there were a few lucky draw prizes including lure packs, sunglasses etc. They were followed by the coveted “Dick of the Day” nominations which had plenty of contenders.

The comp was now well and truly underway.

Day 2 of the Competition

Early Wednesday morning and the wind was already blowing strongly from the NE again with the current, making it very difficult for the paddle ski anglers. Most of the contestants decided to head further north to avoid the strong current, while Markus Potgieter, myself and one or two other anglers decided to stay in Paindane.  We figured it would be very quiet and we wanted to get the Bigeye Kingfish out the way, as you only catch them very early in the morning just before daybreak. I got mine on the first run and got another Great Barracuda a bit later on a live Bonny. Markus got a nice GT of about 6-8 Kg which we photographed and released. Other than that it was very quiet. The current and wind weren't too bad earlier on, but once the tide started to drop it was hell, taking about 30 minutes to paddle 300 meters.  I met up with Markus on the Paindane Express (The main reef of Paindane and justifiably named so) at which point he was moaning about a live Bonny that he had pinned that hadn't been touched for over an hour. He was clearly tired and wanted to head in. I needed more species and decided to head out to the deep marks for a few drifts to try to get a GT. It was at that point that Markus's reel started screaming. I heard a huge splash a few meters away from me and asked what it was. “Marlin” replied Markus and when I looked back at him it appeared as though he had been broken off by the “Marlin” as his head and rod were both down and he was drifting down current.  I headed out deep for a few drifts and after not getting anything, and seeing as I was the only one left on the water I headed in. Arriving on the beach Markus came up to me and asked “Are you smiling?”“Nope” was my reply at which point he said come look here. I didn't even want to know. I followed him up the beach to find that he had landed a massive G.T. It was at that point that I realized that my comp was over as I had fallen too far behind. But what a fish and what a fisherman! Turns out the whole time he was fighting the GT trying to keep it off the reef he had the wind and current working into his hands to do so. What jumped? Who knows? He was only joking with me as he heard the splash too. He ended up half way to Island rock (the best thing that could happen when fighting a GT).  The GT weighed in at 44.06Kg dwarfing Michael Braak's 19Kg Couta (biggest couta in the comp).

Biggest GT of the competition

Reports started to come in from the days fishing with plenty of fish having been caught. Some of the standouts included Muir Robertson landing and releasing the first and only Marlin of the comp, estimated at between 70 and 80 Kg. Darryl Brokenshaw who got a couple species including some Bonefish which couldn't resist his “Gladiator Squid Jigs”. Even Laird Shooter was catching fish on squid jigs, while Brad Arthur who was with them at the time was watching MNET. Micheal Braak got a very nice 19Kg Couta which ended up winning the biggest couta of the comp. Clive Murphy quietly increased his species count. Markus Potgieter took over the Yellow Rash Vest from Brad Arther by taking the lead in the comp, with plenty more competitors finding themselves on the scoreboard. That night the paddlers where looking battered by the elements and clearly feeling the effects of the wind and strong current, but nothing some R&R's couldn't sort out. “Team Pink Drinks” were battling in the fish comp but were dominating the lucky draws. 9pm and the resort was dead quite.

Day 3 of the comp and guess what? It was windy, Again!!!! Good news though as it was predicted to moderate in the afternoon. We headed off to Coconut Bay for some relief from the current. We got a few early Kakaap, convinced that mine would weigh I headed deep for some more species. Unfortunately Coconut Bay was dead, after trying all the closer Marks without a touch I decided to head in so that I could fish Paindane in the afternoon. 5 minutes after I left Markus Potgieter and Mark “the Mamba” Greenslade they each got a Kingfish, typical!! They decided to paddle from Coconut to Paindane via the reefs along the way, getting a few fish in the process. As the crow flies it's about 10Km, but when you zigzag between reefs it ends up being almost double that. Not bad for a Ballie from JHB (Mark “The Mamba” that is).  That morning a couple Sailfish came out off Paindane with Muir Roberson getting one to add to his Marlin from the day before and Weigh Master Mike ”The Sea Pike” upgrading his nickname to Mike the “Sailfish Slayer”. The Dorado had also come on the bite with a couple anglers catching them. It was inevitable that a Wahoo would come out with the clean water that was around and Mark Richardson brought a lovely Wahoo to the scales, unfortunately loosing an even bigger one earlier in the day.  As luck would have it my Kakaap only weighed 3,88Kg (Min weight is 4 Kgs) while Mark and Markus which were exactly the same length weight 4.01 and 4.11 respectably. (Note to self: pack more 1 ounce sinkers in my tackle box next year.) But I did at least get a Bonny, a Yellowtail Kingfish and one or two other fish to add to my tally.

Markus and Brad once again swapped positions with Brad resuming the number 1 position and” dropping Markus back down to number 2.  Mark Greenslade, Darryl Brokenshaw, Muir Robertson keeping the fishing ski numbers respectable. I was sitting in 13th at this point.

Day 6: (Day 4 of the Species Challenge, 7 May 2010)

It was the last day with a weigh in at 12:00 Noon. I need five species to challenge for top dog. Not much wind today and the current had eased, but guess what? Dead!!!! I managed a nice Bigeye Kingfish of 78cm on a “Gladiator Squid Jig” in the dark while the other guys got the odd fish here and there but generally it was very quiet. Even the live Bonny I had out died of boredom. Too much fishing pressure from the week had clearly sent the fish packing. We decided to try getting an Amberjack out deep but even they weren't there. Markus landed a huge Kakaap of about 7Kg, and I dropped one shortly after that but otherwise it was very quiet. I returned to the Paindane Express to give it one last bash but all in vain. Brad and Markus fished till the dying seconds both ending with 10 Species. With the main comp now done and dusted.

BigGroupShot

In the end Markus narrowly piped Brad to take the honours; both fishing very well during the comp, challenging each other until the dying minutes, with only a few points separating them. They were followed closely in third by Clive Murphy.  As for me the unluckiest fisherman in the comp (even won the hard luck prize), Neptune had clearly decided that I had had my quota before the comp started. I ended a respectable 12th and still won myself a Garmin 90 Fish Finder (I think they were trying to tell me something). I had battery problems and therefore had no fish finder for the last two days of the comp. They say “For nature there's Instinct, for everyone else there's Garmin”, I clearly had neither. So the comp didn't go the way I had planned, but nobody can dispute that I got to experience some of the best Mozambique had to offer.  After all I landed a Sailfish and a Marlin in the same day. Beat that!!!! I'll be back next year hungrier than ever, so watch out!!!

(Note to self: next year don't fish before the comp and get pissed every night)

That evening was a jol, knowing that you didn't have to paddle in the wind again the next day.  R&R's where flowing, prizes where flying and even a few unfortunate guys who blobbed in the comp managed to secure a lucky draw prize. We braai'ed our own steaks while comparing war stories from the week.

Day 7: (Day after the Species Challenge, 8 May 2010)

So guess what? Not a breath of wind and the flattest sea you have ever seen. Go figure

Final Results:

1st Markus Potgieter 10 Species 1382.2 Points

2nd Brad Arthur 10 Species 1208.2 Points

3rd Clive Murphy 7 Species 798.56 Points

4th Mark Richardson 9 Species 777.06 Points

5th Peter Steenkamp 6 Species 576.48 Points

6th Heinrich Kleyn 6 Species 467.32 Points

7th Mark Greenslade 6 Species 348.72 Points

8th Darryl Brokenshaw 6 Species 345.48 Points

9th Muir Robertson 6 Species 324.36 Points

10th Mike Bruyn 5 Species 317.30 Points

11th Shaun Reid 6 Species 306.00 Points

12th Scott Hunter 5 Species 255.70 Points

13th Jaco Franken 5 Species 226.50 Points

14th Jaco Greyvenstein 4 Species 205.00 Points

15th Laird Shooter 4 Species 201.12 Points

16th Pierre Scholtz 5 Species 150.30 Points

17th Rudi Knoetze 3 Species 100.54 Points

18th Scott Mordecai Jones 3 Species 89.94 Points

19th Brian Gibbs 3 Species 82.20 Points

20th Sean Wethmar 3 Species 68.88 Points

Biggest Fish

Biggest Fish: Markus Potgieter 44.06Kg GT

Biggest Kingfish: Clive Murphy 23 Kg GT

Biggest Couta: Mike Braak 19Kg Couta

Biggest Tuna: Shaun Reid 6,7Kg Yellowfin Tuna

Biggest Other: Mark Richardson 16,52Kg Wahoo

Other Categories

Die Hard of the competition: Mark “The Mamba” Greenslade

Unluckiest Angler of the comp: Scott Hunter

Stealth Award : Johan Fourie

Billfish Award: Muir Roberson

Top Lady: Linda Els

What really was impressive as well was the complete dominance of the Stealth evolution range of kayaks.  When you consider over 75 anglers competed and 16 of the top 20 anglers were on Stealth kayaks.  It is very evident the evolution range of kayaks with superior speed, great stability and awesome all round fishability continue to take kayak fishing to the next level.

 

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