Winners Bag Big Prizes at Standard Bank Tuna Classic

www.MyPE.co.za: The
frantic high speed dash from 60km off Cape Recife on Thursday afternoon
paid off for Pierre Westerveld and his team on Bigger G when they
clinched the top prizes in the annual Standard Bank Liberty Life Tuna
Classic, that ended at PEDSAC on Saturday.

The skipper (Pierre Westerveld) realised that time was running out as
his fellow angler, Ali Matthysen, was fighting a big fish whilst they
were 30 miles south of Cape Recife. After a 25 minute battle with the
yellowfin tuna, Ali, fishing in his tenth Tuna Classic, eventually
hauled it on board and the race against time to meet the 16h00 cut-off
at the harbour mouth began. They made it with just three minutes to
spare.

2009 Tuna Classic WinnersTheir magnificent
catch topped the scales at 56.3kg to take the top
prize in the annual contest, winning a Pertec Navnet 3D system, valued
at R55 000, plus R20 000 cash. They also bagged the Top Boat prize,
with two yellowfin weighing 79.1 kg.

The Bigger G crew of Westerveld, Ali Matthysen, Dave Mould, Zane
Zurcher and Karin Harrison won two nights accommodation at Ikhanda
Luxury Lodge, on the Bushman Sands estate, for 8 people, plus 8 rounds
of golf, presented by Jonathon Bishop.

The anglers had varying fortunes over the five day contest, which
started with the “Blessing of the Fleet”, by Rev Ruthel Johnson, on
Tuesday morning, off Shark Rock Pier, followed by the spectacular start
as the 40 boats headed off to the tuna waters 80km off Cape Recife.

On Tuesday, 22 tuna were caught, but only two were above the minimum
weight of 20kg to qualify for the contest. The tuna fleet stayed ashore
on both Wednesday and Friday, with strong westerly winds making it too
dangerous to fish.

On Thursday the anglers caught 6 tuna, of which 2 qualified for prizes.
The fleet set off at first light on Saturday, but when they reached 20
miles south of Cape Recife, big seas and strong winds forced the
organisers to cancel the tuna fishing for the day.

Twenty eight yellowfin, weighing 124kg, were landed this year. Apart
from the winner, the other three qualifying fish were caught by 2005
winner, Tielman Niewoudt, on The Ghost (23.4kg), who won accommodation
at the Cape St Francis Resort, Pierre Westerveld (22.8kg) and Kurt
Oelofse, on Glory Days, (21.6kg). The bonanza prize of a Toyota Yaris,
valued at R120 000 was not won.

The new Inshore Challenge was fished on four of the five days, with
only Friday being cancelled due to strong winds. The anglers caught 26
fish, with 24 Geelbek and 2 yellowtail crossing the scales, totalling
200.1kg.

Pancho ViviersPancho Viviers, on
Spiced Gold, skippered by Peter Alexandris, won the
Inshore Challenge with his catch of a 9.9kg geelbek, winning R30 000
cash, three Amfi-Craft cooler boxes and sponsorship from Yellowfin
Events for the 2010 tuna classic, totalling R40 000. Willie van Zyl, of
Instigator, placed a close second (9.8kg) and Joseph Craddock, skipper
of Channelle, was third (9.6 kg).
   
The total catch of 324.10kg will be distributed to the underprivileged
of Nelson Mandela Bay through the Verbatim “Fish 4 Friends” initiative.

Another new competition this year was the Garrick (leervis) Catch
& Release, which was fished on all five days, open to all types
of craft. Three fish were weighed and released, with Karl Kretzman, on
a jetski, winning a 25hp Yamaha outboard motor, valued at R25 000-00,
sponsored by Kretzmarine, with his catch of 10.6kg. Bennie Bosch, on
Max, placed second (6.7kg) and Hein Scheepers, on Heineken, was third
(4.9kg).

The Garrick daily prizes, sponsored by Castle Lager, Brent Oil and The
Oil Centre, were won by Hein Scheepers (Wednesday), Bennie Bosch
(Thursday) and Karl Kretzman (Saturday). The Inshore Challenge daily
prizes were won by Craig Gericke (Wednesday), Joseph Craddock
(Thursday) and Pancho Viviers (Saturday), and the Yellowfin daily
prizes were won by Pierre Westerveld (Tuesday) and Ali Matthysen
(Thursday).

The prize for the heaviest yellowtail went to Bennie Bosch (3.1kg) and
the Bonanza Prize of a Kretzmarine Explorer 465, with 70hp Yamaha
motor, on a trailer, valued at R145 000, for the heaviest yellowtail
over 19.5kg was not won.

Last years top skipper, Roger Peter, of Sea Bear, who died in a tragic
accident late last year, was remembered through the new Roger Peter
Memorial Trophy, which was presented by Nigel Fox, of The Oil Centre.
The floating trophy will go to the angler displaying an outstanding
contribution, sportsmanship and commitment to the fishing event.

This year’s award was shared by Curt van der Merwe, skipper of 1st
Strike, and Martin Gierz, skipper of Son of Jamaica, who went to the
assistance of “Esperanza” late on Thursday afternoon when the crew were
limping back to Port on one motor. The crew had lost a motor, were
taking on water and were being buffeted by strengthening winds, so the
two boats escorted them back to Port, arriving after dark.

Stanford
Slabbert
.

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