STILBAAI NEWS - On the weekend of 27 to 28 February the third annual Kayak Fishing Classic was held in Stilbaai.
With a record number of entries, it promised to be an eventful weekend for the participants, who came from far and wide.
After a weather warning was sent out by the South African Weather Services, the organisers decided to change the competition to the Saturday only, as the weather on Sunday promised to deliver quite a show.
Then came Friday, 26 February. The usually quiet town of Stilbaai came alive as vehicles arrived with kayaks loaded - and you could feel the excitement building.
"We set up base at the local NSRI station, overlooking our beautiful bay at 04:00 on Saturday morning. The first to launch on the river, Schalk Burger (no, not that one), sent through his launching details and the competition was officially under way," said Eugene van der Walt, an organiser.
As the full moon set in the west and the first light broke to the east, the kayaks start making their way out of the harbour, each person with his own idea of where to head and what to target. All indication was that by 10:00 the wind would pick up and you would have to be off the sea, so every second counted.
It was not long until some started coming back out, opting for the safety of dry land or the comfort of the less choppy river.
Most of those putting their feet back on shore did so with some big smiles on their faces and some great stories. Some had the privilege to battle it out with some bonito, known for putting up quite a fight, quite an experience from a kayak.
As the day progressed, you started hearing rumours of some exciting catches and some disappointing losses, although the participants kept most of their catches a secret. The competition concluded at 18:00, with final score card hand-in at 19:00.
The certificates aimed to honour those, whom over the course of the competition, performed exceptionally:
- Most competitive - Manie (probably spends the most time on the water every year);
- Bad luck - Schalk Burger (for falling over while pulling his anchor and losing all his fishing gear);
- Most generous - Taariq (for giving away all his fish to the needy);
- Most eager - Lood and Gordon (for pitching at 04:00 to go out to sea);
- Friendliest - George and Cornia (life is just too great for this couple, as not even forgetting their paddles could get the smile off their faces);
- Weird weigh-in - Jerome de Koker (forgot to measure his fish, so after filleting, he retrieved the bones from the bin and measured them);
- Most determined - Arno Cloete (his car broke on Friday just before Stilbaai, he got it back to Mossel Bay that evening, fixed it by 08:00 on Saturday and came back to Stilbaai to fish later that day;
- I thought I got commission from every entry - Nicky Deetlefs (single handedly got the most people to enter);
- Most valuable player - Gerhard de Beer (helped with the arrangement of the competition as though it was his own competition);
- Weirdest catch - Christiaan van Wyk (caught some serious sunburn);
- Over confident - Daniel Swanepoel (he got tipped over in the choppy sea and lost some of his catch due to his hatch not being closed);
- Can't even catch a fish with a net - Juandre Wiese (after hours of getting nothing on the line, his kayak partner was busy fighting a big one. Juandre had one job, "kry die net en vang hom". Unfortunately it seems Juandre is not even capable of doing that).
1. Eduard Groenewald; 2. Devin Muir; 3. Alan Neate. Honorable mentions: Nicky Deetlefs, Hans Kombrink, Gawie Fourie, Danelle Viviers and Brian Wheal.
1. Alex Liebenberg; 2. Ruan de Kok; 3. Jauckie Viljoen. Honorable mentions: Taariq, Hans Kombrink and Danelle Viviers.
Saskia de Beer
Smallest fish submitted for weigh-in
Danelle Vivier, 20cm stompneus
"We want to thank all our sponsors who support our competition. Thanks to all for your participation; we have thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie. See you in 2022," Van der Walt concluded.
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