The 19th Let it Swim Tiger Fishing Tournament 2016 is over and did it exceed all expectations? Absolutely and for or a number of reasons!!!!
First and foremost though this would never have been possible without your valued support and contributions, so, on behalf of each and every angler, thank you very much indeed – we are very grateful and look forward to your continued involvement in 2017.
Well most of us, I’m sure, thought that the 2016 event was going to be a ‘wash-out’ – how very wrong we were! After the high winds, torrential rain and 18°C temperatures on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the weather steadily improved on Thursday and by Friday the conditions were ideal! Sixty Five teams consisting of 193 anglers took to the water at a leisurely pace on the Friday morning and by lines up at 18h00 on the first day 48 qualifying tiger fish of 500mm + had been hooked, boated, recorded and released including, what proved to be, the 670mm winner caught Rob Mingard fishing on ‘Team Fisch’.
Saturday dawned and the weather really played it’s part – conditions were absolutely perfect. The teams, again, took to the water at first light and by lines up at 16h00 on the final day a further 60 qualifiers had been caught and recorded bringing the total for the comp to 108. A great result and certainly the best in terms of quantity since computerised records began 9 years ago.
Whilst the results are indeed the best ever there is every likelihood that the numbers were significantly higher than normal due to the severe drought conditions. Jozini Dam is at it’s lowest level that the Let it Swim event has ever experienced at only 46% of it’s carrying capacity and the fish are arguably more concentrated in certain areas of the dam.
Many fish caught appeared very thin and ‘out of condition’ which is also very worrying as they should be ‘fattening up’ for winter. Their poor condition can best be attributed to the lack of their primary food sources of bream/kurper (Oreochromis mossambicus), (Tilapia rendalli) and barbel (Clarias gariepinus) that are not only under pressure from the drought conditions and reduced breeding areas but also the rampant illegal gill-netting that is going on at the dam. If we, as recreational, catch and release anglers are experiencing the possibility that the fish are more concentrated then you better believe that the poachers are finding the same – possibly why they have increased their areas of operation to include most of the dam and much of the Western shoreline (some netting in broad daylight). A number of tiger fish caught during the event were caught up in pieces of net and were carrying gill-net damage. All very sad and we will be doing whatever we can to raise and increase awareness of this scourge in an effort to get the relevant authorities and interested parties to fight this wanton destruction.
Back to the event and the top angling results were as follows:-
Top 10 ‘Longest Tiger Fish’ Places:-
- 1st Place – Rob Mingard (Team ‘Fisch’) – 670mm – R15 000 cash, Shayamoya Tiger Fishing and Game Lodge week-end, Craig Bertram Smith print, Shimano rod and reel combo, Inside Angling/Roam Free gear, Tiger Safaris sleeves, African Fisherman magazine subscription and other sponsored prizes.
- 2nd Place – Kurt Wiesinger (Team ‘Pot Bellies’) – 650mm – Whispering Waters – Club Leisure 3 night stay for 4, Inside Angling/Roam Free gear, African Fisherman magazine subscription and other sponsored prizes.
- 3rd Place – Glynton Reed (Team ‘Forever Young’) – 640mm – Lake View Bush Camp – Kosi Bay week-end for 6, Inside Angling/Roam Free gear, African Fisherman magazine subscription and other sponsored prizes.
- 4th to 10th Places:- Carl Frankenfeld (640mm), Rob Hanson (600mm), Julio Chainho (585mm), John Grace (585mm), Eddie Venter Snr (585mm), Chris Benecke (585mm) and Peter Flanagan (570)
Longest Tiger – Printing Industry:-
- Brandon Swanepoel (Team ‘Khwela’) – (565mm) – R1500 cash and the Intamarket Graphics floating trophy, Inside Angling gear, Sappi and other sponsored prizes.
Most Tiger – Team (including 400 – 499mm):-
- Team ‘Restless’ with 32 fish (Louw Geldenhuis and Tony Talbot – sponsored prizes by Ecopress, Paarl Web and others).
* There were no fish caught on fly so the prize/s for this category are carried over to 2017.
The top 10 anglers received prizes and there were also raffle and lucky draw prizes, a barbel prize, boat pack gifts and the anglers received sponsored shirts and caps. These were all very kindly sponsored, in random order, by the following companies and individuals:- Antalis, TBA Design and Print, Pratley Adhesives, African Fisherman, African Hunter, MJH Machine Tools cc, Shayamoya Tiger Fishing and Game Lodge, Dyna Castings, Inside Angling, Whispering Waters, Tiger Safaris, Midlands Firearms and Outdoor, Roam Free, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Wild Fly.co.za, Barry Aylward, The Pumpsmith, Durban Mailing Services, Eco Press, Paarl Web, Kenart, Shave and Gibson, Africa Memories Travel, Aquifer Still Water, The Kingdom at Victoria Falls, African Sun, The Victoria Falls Hotel, Khwela Print and Sign, Emcom, Intamarket Graphics, Everest Ice, Bell, Hi Tec Plumbing, Sappi, Dimple Paper, Compendium Insurance Brokers, Kosi Bay Lodge, Lake View Bush Camp – Kosi Bay, Papercor, Jaques Mitchley, The Complete Angler, Afrihost and Ghoti Gear.
The top 3 raffle ‘getaway’ prizes were drawn and chosen as follows:-
- Keith Dalton – The Kingdom at Victoria Falls & The Victoria Falls Hotel High Tea Voucher kindly arranged by Natalie Knibbs of Africa Memories Travel and who also kindly sponsored 3 x R500 travel discount vouchers.
- Deon Roestorff – Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Nkonkoni Hunting Camp kindly arranged by Rahman Devduth of EKZNW.
- Glynton Reed – Kosi Bay Lodge kindly arranged by Louw Geldenhuis of Midlands Firearms and Outdoor.
There were many other raffle prizes on offer and it is anticipated that the R10 000 raised will go towards the control and ‘policing’ of Jozini Dam against illegal gill-netting and/or Save the Rhino Survivors Campaign – this disbursement is still to be decided.
This year we were very fortunate to have visitors from GT Productions with us. They, together with Roam Free, have very kindly been involved with sponsorship of the Let it Swim TFT over the past 3 years and have always shown interest in the scoring/catch and release method used at LISTFT. Many thanks to Gareth George, Brad Cartright, Rhuan Human and Mark de la Hey and his team for their patience and professionalism.
Much goes into the organising and running of an event such as this and it is only possible with the assistance and commitment of the following individuals and companies that make it all possible. I would, therefore, like to thank the following persons in no specific order:-
Daryl Scott (Fishwicks), Rob Perry (Integrated IT Solutions), Paul Strydom (PS Webb), Juanita Scott (TBA Design and Print), Mark Henderson (Kenart), Deon and Brandon Swanepoel (Khwela Print and Sign), Oliver Sclanders (Everest Ice), Cheryl Johnson (Flying Colours Designs), Barry Aylward, Peter Edwards (Dyna Castings), Ferdi Myburgh and his team (EKZNW) , Dries and Lea Drieselman and team (Siyapheka Caterers), Dave Nisbet (Dave Nisbet Photography) and Lientjie van Rensburg (First Aid) and Zahed Moosa (Ghoti Gear).
My apologies if I have inadvertently left anybody out.
Many thanks again to all involved and I look forward to your continued support in 2017 for the ‘big’ 20th Let it Swim TFT. The event will take place in March next year and dates will be advised soon.