Big Ones and Winners 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. Plus: See the winners!
All species of marlin. Daily prizes. And the big overall prize for the best performance over the 5-days of awesome bill fishing. One of SA’s original conservation-minded comps, the Mapelane Billfish Invitational, took place 16–22 February 2020 in St Lucia.
TEAM THUNDERSTRUCK WINS
Perhaps you’ll remember this boat: It’s the one we fitted SA’s first pair of the new model Suzuki DF325, owned by Eugene Engelbrecht from St Lucia Ski-Boat club. Yes, the 2020 Mapelane Billfish Challenge winners are Team Thunderstruck:
Congratulatrions to team Thunderstruck who won the Mapelane Billfish 2020. The team were Johan Engelbrecht, Johan Lange, SD Nel and Andre Opperman.
MAPELANE BILLFISH INVITATIONAL
2020 Having been 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.
The 20th Mapelane Billfish Invitational took place 16–22 February 2020 at Mapelane Ski-Boat Club in the Mapelane reserve near St Lucia. Registration was on Sunday afternoon 16 February at the clubhouse, with 5 fishing days planned from Monday 17 to Friday 21 February, weather permitting.
Teams launched at 6pm on fishing days, with lines up and weigh-in at 2pm every day. And the closing and awards ceremony took place on Saturday 22 February at the clubhouse.
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 you a successful release on a sailfish could help boost your chances for the overall prize.
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.
And you get more info and follow the comp on the Mapelane SBC’s Facebook page.
MAPELANE BILLFISH INVITATIONAL
Some pics here by Kenau Ballot.
Also see who’s competing in this year’s Richards Bay Billfish Interprovincial.
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.
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