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Big Ones at the 2024 Mapelane Billfish Invitational

We spoke to the club chair: What to expect, the programme, dates, venue, eligible species, rules and prizes at this year’s Mapelane Billfish Invitational

All species of marlin. Daily prizes. And the big overall prize for the best performance over the 4 days of awesome bill fishing. One of SA’s original conservation-minded comps, the Mapelane Billfish Invitational, takes place 13–16 March 2024 in St Lucia.

MAPELANE BILLFISH INVITATIONAL

With 2024 being its 24th year, the Mapelane Billfish Invitational was one of the first – if not SA’s first-ever – marlin comp that’s 100% tag and release from when it was started in 2000 to today. And it’s, of course, for club members and by special invitation only, for anglers who share the club’s conservation ideology – it’s inside parkland after all.

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TOURNAMENT PROGRAMME

The 24th Mapelane Billfish Invitational is on 13–16 March 2024 at Mapelane Ski-Boat Club in the Mapelane reserve near St Lucia. Registration is on 13 March at the clubhouse, with 4 fishing days planned up until 16 March, weather permitting.

Teams launch at 6AM on fishing days, with lines up and weigh-in at 2pm every day. And the closing and awards ceremony will take place on 16 March at the clubhouse.

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QUALIFYING SPECIES AND PRIZES

Black marlin, blue marlin and striped marlin were the only species that counted towards the daily prizes. And, again, it’s tag-and-release only (see the comp rules below). 

Note that sailfish didn’t count towards your daily score in this comp, but they counted towards your overall score for the big prize. So, club chairman Les Hartley says a successful release on a sailfish could help boost your chances for the overall prize.

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SPECIFIC TAG-AND-RELEASE RULES

Being one of SA’s pioneering billfish release comps, the club and the Mapelane Billfish Invitational organisers have over 20 years of experience in ensuring billfish safety and conservation. How a successful catch here works is, as soon as you have a hook-up, you radio it into beach control.

Now, they will have supplied each angler with a colour band, and you snap a picture of the fish on the leader with the angler and the colour band around their arm, all visible in the picture. And then you release the fish.

After lines up, the organisers will just review the call-in time, your photo and your recorded time etc. And if everything’s in order, you got yourself a successful release.

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And you get more info and follow the comp on the Mapelane SBC’s Facebook page.

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MAPELANE BILLFISH INVITATIONAL

13–16 March 2024
Mapelane Ski-Boat Club, Isimangoliso Wetlands Park, KZN
Phone: 083 446 5297
Follow their Facebook page

Some pics here by Kenau Ballot.

Also see who’s competing in this year’s Richards Bay Billfish Interprovincial.

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See more fishing competitions in March and a collection of the year’s big fishing tournaments.

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Also nearby, check out St Lucia Ski-Boat Club. Plus: See all the ski-boat clubs in Zululand and billfish champ Henk du Plessis on how to rig halfbeak for sailfish. Also see how to make a proper wind-on leader.

St Lucia Ski Boat Club, 12 x 12 Species Fishing Competition, 12 x 12 species boat fishing competition st lucia by Nauti-Tech Suzuki

 

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Plus: Deep sea, ski-boat, river or cabin cruisers: See all our custom-built new boats. And discover everything we’ve repowered, refitted, refurbed and all new launches + their motors, all under our collective of boats.

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