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Expect Big Ones at the 20th 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 5-days of awesome bill fishing. It’s time for one of SA’s original conservation-minded comps as the Mapelane Billfish Invitational gets underway 16–22 February 2020 in St Lucia.

“We’re expecting good fishing,” says Mapelane Ski-Boat Club chairman Less Hartley. “It’s our marlin season now and we have all the species in our waters, black marlin, striped and even blue, all tag and release, of course.”

MAPELANE BILLFISH INVITATIONAL

Now in its 20th 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.

But Les says they have about 21 boats and teams entered. And conditions are looking great for another exciting comp.

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TOURNAMENT PROGRAMME

The 20th Mapelane Billfish Invitational takes place 16–22 February 2020 at Mapelane Ski-Boat Club in the Mapelane reserve near St Lucia. Registration is on Sunday afternoon 16 February at the clubhouse, with 5 fishing days planned from Monday 17 to Friday 21 February, weather permitting.

Teams will launch at 6pm on fishing days, with lines up and weigh-in at 2pm every day. And the closing and awards ceremony will take place on Saturday 22 February at the clubhouse.

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QUALIFYING SPECIES AND PRIZES

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

Note that sailfish doesn’t count towards your daily score in this comp, but they do count towards your overall score for the big prize. So Les says you might find that 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.

Team Ilander releasing the 4th Marlin of the competition at the recently held Mapelane Billfish Invitational 2017. This Marlin was caught on an Iland Express Flasher E Red/Black/E Red. Angler was Walter Leibrandt and this was his first Marlin caught.1st place went to team Piromero for their Marlin that was caught on Tuesday;2nd place went to team Kuluma Njalo for their Marlin that was caught on Wednesday;3rd place went to team Gringo for their Marlin that was caught on Thursday;4th place went to team Ilander for their Marlin that was caught on Friday.Only 4 Marlins were caught and successfully released during the 5 day competition.Well done to the teams and especially to the winning team, team Piromero👍🏆🍾Again well done and thanks to Mapelane Ski Boat Club for once again hosting a superb Billfish competition. With Marius Vermaak, Roy Roy Travis and Robin Vermaak that organised the competition👍

Posted by Cor Van Niekerk on Monday, 27 March 2017

 

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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THE PUBLIC ARE WELCOME TO COME CHECK IT OUT

Anyone not taking part in the tournament is still very welcome to come down to Mapelane Ski-Boat Club – it’s a bit of a drive into the parks, but a beautiful spot right on the bay. Les says that you’ll always just have a member sign you in, but the public is welcome to come and meet the locals and see some of the action during the comp

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

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MAPELANE BILLFISH INVITATIONAL

16–22 February 2020
Mapelane Ski-Boat Club, Isimangoliso Wetlands Park, KZN
Phone: 083 446 5297
Follow their Facebook page

Some pics here by Kenau Ballot.

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

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Also nearby, check out St Lucia Ski-Boat Club.

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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