The 2015 St Francis Bay Tuna Challenge run by the St Francis Bay Ski Boat Club from 7th to 11th was again hugely successful and, as ever, a popular event on the Eastern Cape’s fishing calendar. With 16 boats and 66 anglers, it was always going to be a tough competition and with the weather deciding to play foul with no fishing possible on the Tuesday or Wednesday. Thankfully Thursday saw a break in the weather but with further bad weather forecast for the weekend, competitors had to pull out their ‘best hooks’ to stand a chance of winning the fabulous prizes on offer. As it turned out, Saturday also proved a ‘no go’ day so the catches of Thursday and Friday would dictate the final honours.
One wouldn’t consider fishing a contact sport, although the fish probably don’t see it that way and now, possibly, neither does the skipper of Sahara, John Robson. On Friday Sahara was hit by a large wave, broadside on, that flung John across the cabin against the opposite bulkhead, tearing the ligaments from his collarbone and shoulder , and knocking him unconscious. We understand that John is currently recuperating in the Kruger Park, but unfortunately will have to undergo surgery to his shoulder on his return to the Eastern Cape.
Prize giving was held at the Ski Boat’s headquarters at Port St Francis on the evening of Saturday 11th. The first prize up for grabs was for the first fish caught on Thursday and the prize of R3000, sponsored by Lyons Construction and Lyons Glass and Aluminium, went to Francois Ellis on the boat ‘Catari‘. Next on stage, for the first fish caught on Friday with a prize of R1000, sponsored by GeCat Marine went to Leroy White on ‘Sahara’. Whilst there was a prize for the juniors, no fish were weighed in this category so no prize could be awarded.
As the evening progressed, so onto the main prizes of the challenge, TOP BOAT and TOP ANGLER!
TOP BOAT with a fantastic prize of eight return tickets to Chobe in Botswana, valued at R51,600 , sponsored by Airlink Airlines, went to ‘Sahara’, skippered by John Robson, somewhat recovered from his nasty mishap the day before.
And so to the Top Angler prizes with third prize going to Etienne Dreyer on ‘Red Herring’ with a Tuna of 18,2kg who took home R2000 in cash sponsored by Jadsoft Systems as well as Spotlights sponsored by Haywire Electrical.
Hein van Rooyen on ‘Punt Lager’ with a catch of 18.9kg, took home second prize, a Garmin Vibe Camera valued at over R6000 sponsored by Nautitech in Port Elizabeth and a cash prize of R4000 kindly sponsored by the Kennedy Family and John Henrick.
And so let the drums roll for the accolade of TOP ANGLER and a prize valued at R44,500 and sponsored by Suzuki Marine and Bayview Boating – a 15 HP 4-stroke Suzuki outboard motor and Suzamar Rubber Duck…. The winner, Francois Ellis on ‘’ with a Yellowfin of 22.4kg !
Article by Colin Watt – Photos – Barrie Webb