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News: Fishing

Big on Game and Bill Fish: St Lucia Ski Boat Club

Discover awesome facilities, including the famous ski-boat club restaurant and pub, and the best billfish and game fishing spots straight from the locals at St Luci Ski Boat Club

One of the few ski-boat clubs where you get an awesome view of the ocean and the estuary mouth where hippos laze and crocs lie smiling. Set inside a World Heritage Site, the deep sea angling at this club is all surf launch and focused on game fish and billfish. And they have awesome facilities, including one of the most popular restaurants and pubs in St Lucia.

Discover St Lucia Ski Boat Club: exceptional views, great food, a family-friendly atmosphere and one of the most beautiful beach launches in South Africa.

Awesome view from St Lucia Ski Boat Club by nauti-tech Suzuki

WHAT MAKES ST LUCIA SKI BOAT CLUB UNIQUE

“Our view sets us apart from every other ski-boat club in the country,” says St Lucia Ski Boat Club chairman Johan Engelbrecht. “You can sit down here and have a view of the ocean or the estuary, where hippos show off their teeth and crocs lie baking in the sun.

“And, if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a shark fin in the estuary, indicating an individual patrolling his territory in the waters. We’re situated on a World Heritage Site, you know, and it’s a beautiful and special place. That’s why it’s also an SA Marine Protected Area, so we only launch and out to the deep see to catch billfish and game fish exclusively”

Surf luanches and Game Fishing at St Lucia Ski Boat Club in KZN South Africa by nauti-Tech Suzuki

ABOUT ST LUCIA SKI BOAT CLUB

Somewhere around 40 years old, St Lucia Ski Boat Club, on Sugar Loaf Road right next to the St Lucia estuary, has around 322 members that meet at least once a month, and for the club’s many famous fishing competitions.

Club members are very proud and protective of their beach, described as one of the most beautiful and unique surf launches in the country – it’s a World Heritage Site, after all. But did you know that the club runs 24-hour beach control onsite? And the club also assists with launches and support for the local NSRI station in St Lucia.

Surf luanches and Game Fishing at St Lucia Ski Boat Club in KZN South Africa by nauti-Tech Suzuki

COME SOCIALISE: ST LUCIA SBC RESTAURANT AND BAR

“We’re perhaps best known for our restaurant and bar,” Johan says, “because it’s open to everyone, members and the public, to come and enjoy breath-taking views and very good food. We do delicious seafood and perfectly grilled steaks, as well as wood-fired pizzas.

“Of course, our members get special discounts on food and at the bar. But we welcome everyone, whether you’re  a member or not to come and have a drink and share a meal in our awesome restaurant and pub.”

St Lucia Ski Boat Club Restaurant and Bar by Nauti-Tech Suzuki

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACILITIES

And St Lucia Ski Boat Club caters for the whole family, too. “Families are very important to us because those kids are our future anglers, so we want to make everyone feel at home.”

And they do. St Lucia Ski Boat Club boasts facilities from the restaurant and bar to ample toilets and showers, a beautiful braai space and an awesome kiddies play area – complete with jungle gym and swimming pool.

St Lucia Ski Boat Club Restaurant and Bar by Nauti-Tech Suzuki by Nauti-Tech Suzuki

FACILITIES FOR BOATS

Although the club’s not allowed to offer storage on site, they do have 24-hour beach control and a tractor that helps with surf launches.

Family Friendly St Lucia Ski Boat Club by Nauti-Tech Suzuki

BOAT LICENSING AND SPECIAL SERVICES

St Lucia Ski Boat Club is able to assist with boat licensing in the St Lucia area. And they’re also an excellent training ground for fishermen, focussed on developing game and bill fishing as a sport. The club prides itself on supporting anglers achieve their provincial colours.

Fishing at St Lucia Ski Boat Club by Nauti-Tech Suzuki

FISHING COMPETITIONS AT ST LUCIA SKI BOAT CLUB

Very popular for game fishing, St Lucia Ski Boat Club is famous for the Marlin Legends fishing competition. There’s also an annual Snoek Derby that really draws a crowd. But one of the most popular has to be the annual 12 x 12 Species Fishing Tournament.

12 x 12 Specia Trophy at St Lucia Ski Boat CLub

HOW IT ALL STARTED: THE HISTORY OF ST LUCIA SKI BOAT CLUB

Founded in the mid-70s by veterans Ralph Jones, Basil Ashington and his son Trevor – then members of the old SA and Natal Ski Boat Associations – and later joined by Lafras and Dorothy Uys, the club had no facilities and used to meet at Mtubathuba, some 23kms away.

Initially modelled after the constitution of the old Transvaal Ski Boat Club, the club formalised in the 80s and eventually secured the lease of land from the old Natal Parks Board – on a prime World Heritage Site location – and the building started, largely funded by donations.

History of St Lucia Ski Boat Club by Nauti-Tech Suzuki

Those who remember will know that there was a time when the St Lucia estuary mouth was physically closed by authorities for some time, which meant boat crews couldn’t launch from the estuary near the club, which made it difficult for the club to grow. But the good news is that the mouth is now open, which allowed the club to flourish and build the new restaurant and beautiful facilities. And today St Lucia Ski Boat Club is one of those you just have to visit, even if just to enjoy the company – and the good fishing.

St Lucia Estuary Back When it was still closed

FISH SPECIES YOU’LL FIND AT ST LUCIA

How good’s the fishing? Very good. But remember that this is a Marine Protected Area, so bottom fishing is not allowed. Out here, it’s all about the game fish and billfish.

Dorado fish catch at St Lucia Ski Boat Club by Nauti-Tech Suzuki

Dorado is one of the most common species here. And the dorado here tends to grow big, very big. Snoek and couta are also very popular catches in and around St Lucia.

But the club is perhaps best known as a billfish destination. You can catch come very impressive sailfish here during the summer months. And there are some 10 species of marlin, including white and the monster black marlin. Of course, catch and release of these species is recommended and greatly appreciated.

Legends Marlin Tournament, St Lucia, by Nauti-Tech Suzuki

THE BEST FISHING SPOTS AROUND ST LUCIA

WRECK OF THE JOLLY RUBINO

One of the best fishing spots in St Lucia is the site of a fairly recent tragedy: The wreck of the Jolly Rubino, some 11kms south of St Lucia. In 2002, the Italian cargo ship caught fire off the coast of Richards Bay and was carried by severe weather conditions to St Lucia, where it became trapped. (This is incidentally why the estuary mouth was closed for all those years: to prevent pollutants from this wreck entering the estuary.)

After burning for some time, authorities eventually performed a controlled explosion, breaking the vessel apart and leaving the elements to consume it. Now, almost 17 years later, the wreck of the Jolly Rubino has caused an explosion of life and become a haven for small fish species. And that, in turn, caused a renewed explosion in predatory fish populations, making it an excellent game- and bill fishing spot.

Jolly Rubino Wreck Near St Lucia Fishing Spot by Nauti-Tech Suzuki

CAPE ST LUCIA LIGHTHOUSE REEF

15km South of St Lucia is the historic Cape St Lucia lighthouse. And close by is a reef that serves as a nursery for plentiful species of fish – it’s a popular diving and spearfishing site, too. Again, this attracts the predators, so dorado, snoek and billfish are quite common here.

To the north, just past the popular hiking route along the coast through Mission Rocks in the nature reserve, is a little-known limestone spot called Bat Cave. Again, it’s a hiking destination, but there’s said to be some very good game fishing just offshore.

Ask the members of St Lucia Ski Boat Club, they’ll know.

Boats Coming in at St Lucia Ski Boat Club

CONTACT ST LUCIA SKI BOAT CLUB

Sugar Loaf Rd, St Lucia Estuary, KZN
Phone: 035 590 1376
Email: chairman@slsbc.co.za
Also on Facebook

ST LUCIA SKI BOAT CLUB MEMBERSHIP FEES

R700 per year

FACILITIES

Restaurant and bar, toilets and showers, braai place, swimming pool and jungle gym. 24-hour beach patrol and a tractor to assist with surf launches.

A special thanks to chairman Johan Engelbrecht, Carmen, Larina and the entire team for contributing to this post!

Also discover Shelly Beach Ski-Boat Club and Meerensee Boat Club.

See the big fishing competitions in June.

GIVE YOURSELF THE EDGE

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Suzuki Lean Burn Control System, Fuel Economy Outboard Technology by Nauti-tech Suzuki

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