Hi All
Well, here we are, back on-line after hibernating for the winter. Not
that it has been a particularly severe one, on the contrary, and this
is my opinion only, our winter this year was quite a mild affair.
Judging by the amount of fish that were caught at Cape Point during
the winter months, they seem to think so too.

BUT, the big news is that the yellowfin tuna are back. We have been
watching the satellite generated sea surface temperatures for the last
few weeks, (Oh, the wonders of modern technology) and the water in the
tuna grounds has been looking particularly good for this time of the
year. One must bear in mind that the tuna usually only arrive in the
first week or two of October. Early last week I received a report that
a pelagic longliner caught a few tons of fish about 120 miles SE of
Cape Town. Then on Friday a tuna boat had some yellowfin around 6
miles south of the canyon and on Sunday one of our club boats, "Ivory
Madonna", caught 6 yellowfin behind a hake longliner in the same area.
Although the fish were not big, i.e. around 40kg ea, they did
apparently lose a few bigger ones. Perhaps the anglers are a bit rusty
after the extended lay-off!! Nonetheless, these are the first
confirmed reports of tuna and from now on things should get better and
better.

It is no secret that I regard this tuna season coming as a bit of a
watershed. We have had fairly poor tuna catches in the last three
years. This, combined with the nagging rumours, reports and stories of
dwindling tuna stocks by the prophets of doom tends to create a gloomy
outlook for the future of tuna fishing and in particular the yellowfin
tuna. The yellowfin, our most prized fighter, and without a doubt one
of the most sought after gamefish to be caught in our waters, is being
targeted more and more by a fleet of foreign vessels in the Indian
Ocean. The tonnages that these boats are taking is frightening and I
have it on good authority that IOTC (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission) has
just awarded another 500 or so licenses to target tuna in the Indian
Ocean alone. How will this increased fishing pressure affect our tuna
stocks and catches? Who knows? At the moment it is a complete thumb
suck, but if the stories the tellers are to be believed, then the days
of the yellowfin tuna are numbered. A really worrying prospect. "Time
will tell" as they say. On the bright side though, the fact that the
fish have popped up earlier than usual augurs well for the season.
October and November are traditionally two of the best months to hunt
these brutes and the average size of the fish at this time can be
upward of 60kg. Fish of 80 to 90 kg are common and to catch one of
these always has been and will remain a lifetime achievement.
To put things in a nutshell, if you have not yet caught one, or have
already done so and would like to do it again, now is the time to come
out with us and catchem', before they go the same way as the broadbill
swordfish and the giant bluefin tuna.

To get back to Cape Point, the winter season just past has been one
of the best we have seen for many a year and the snoek even came right
into the traditional areas of False Bay. Something we have not seen
for about 15 years, if my fading memory serves me correctly. In
addition to this, the yellowtail fed up a frenzy and although August
is traditionally a month when one just does not catch any, many
yellowtail were caught at rocky bank during August........... and
July....... and June. A friend of mine informed me that he has taken
to tagging yellowtail because he feels bad about catching too
many......He has personally caught 321 yellowtail on spinner in the
last few months.

On the rock and surf scene, the bronze whalers have already put in an
appearance on the beaches of False Bay, (also very early) and a number
of anglers did quite well a while back. After a south easter (or
whilst it is still blowing) is the right time to look for them. There
were some exceptionally good catches of belman on the Swartklip
beaches last month and I heard stories of anglers catching them "throw
for throw". Hopefully they stuck to their bag limits, but I have my
doubts. Fish of 6kg were common!
Gareth, (Yes, the same one that takes you out on "Tyler") has been
busy poking tags into white steenbras at his "secret spot" at
Silversands this winter and he has done very well there. If you want
to know where it is, call him and I am sure he will take you to his
honey-hole. I am a bit worried that he is going to hang up his tuna
rods and play with his surf tackle this season!

Finally, the Hout Bay Two Oceans Tuna Derby is coming up in November.
If you are interested, Tyler is still available for charter for this
competition. For more info, drop us and e-mail and we will get back to
you.

Thats it for now. Not much news I am afraid, but we are entering our
busy period and by end October we should have more news about big fish
caught and lost.
Tight lines, see you at the water.
Regards
Alan

The development on the island has forged ahead and shortly there
will be a runway on the island. The developers have asked me to start
bringing in some groups and within a couple of months it will be worth
a visit. But I will keep you all informed as to when and how. The
initial prices they have quoted seem to be very reasonable.

Lynx is still working with the commercial tuna license and "Tyler",
the 30ft Buttcat, is working well as the primary charter boat. Fast
and comfortable, she is a pleasure to run out to the tuna grounds.
Gareth Beaumont is running Tyler, and as those of you who have fished
with him will know, he is a fishing nut with too much energy. What
this means is that if you do go fishing with Gareth, chances are you
will have a very busy day! We have also added a 28ft Butt Cat "Met
Eish" to the fleet and she will be catering for smaller groups in the
coming season. Fuel prices are really hurting us, and our clients, for
that matter. Hopefully the slightly smaller boat will make it a bit
more affordable for groups of three and four.

Offshore

As mentioned before, the tuna season will be remembered for a lack
of fish and lousy weather. We did however do about 40 trips into the
deep and apart from a couple of blanks, we did manage to get fish. Not
the volumes we have been accustomed to, but anything from 1 to 4
yellowfin tuna and more than that on a few occasions. The longfin
season was pretty good and the sizes were exceptional. We regularly
had longfin in the 30kg class and a few even pushed 35kg. These big
longfin are not usually our target species, but when they are around
they come very thick and they really can pull. The 101kg yellowfin was
a real highlight and well overdue. We have caught well over a thousand
yellowfin in the last few years and last we landed the magical 3 digit
fish. In addition to this we lost another two that I am convinced
would also have made it into the 100's. but they are still swimming
and we'll never know for sure. One fish bit through a 100lb
fluorocarbon trace after about two hours into the fight and another
broke off right next to the boat. On both occasions the anglers
involved were almost reduced to tears. I guess it would be fair to say
that ones' chances of landing a 100kg plus yellowfin are about a
thousand to one. A notable highlight of the season was the frequent
occurrence of killer whales. We hardly ever see them in our waters and
this year we saw them regularly for about a month. One even took a
yellowfin off our line and proceeded to throw it around like an old
rag before devouring the fish.

The Gordons Bay Offshore Classic was unfortunately a practical
blow-out. We did fish one day, but should probably not have been out
there in 25 to 30 knot conditions. some of the diehards ventured out
and a few fish were caught, but the organisers decided that the big
prize, a 21ft ski-boat donated by Unathi Yachts, would not be up for
grabs. A wise decision considering the fact that most of the smaller
boats in the fleet (and some of the bigger ones) turned for home in
the really lousy weather. That about summed up the season. Fuel prices
have been ridiculous and we are really concerned that the increased
prices we will have to charge in the coming season will chase many
potential customers away. I really hope not.

Cape Point and False Bay

The less said about Cape Point, the better. There were almost no
fish for Jan Feb and March and the other months were only slightly
better. We ended up taking Tyler to Struisbaai for february and it
proved to be a wise move. False Bay had its usual sprinkling of summer
kob and other smaller fish, but once again, the cape salmon did not
arrive in good numbers. A few were taken by the local commercial
ski-boats at night, but it really was a poor show.

Struisbaai and Agulhas Banks

The Struisbaai Marlin Tournament was a huge success. The marlin were
prolific and apart from the fact that the strike to hookup ratio was
absolutely shocking, everyone had a ball. There were somewhere in the
region of 60 strikes and only 12 fish were caught and released. There
has been much debate as to why this is so, but if the truth be told, I
think we simply do not know what the hell we are doing. But this is
how one gains experience. we have all gone back to the drawing board
and come up with some really diabolical plans for next year. Stripeys
watch out, we will be back, armed with an array of new plans. We did
manage to release a stripey of about 85 kg and lost a black of about
200kg after fighting it for an hour. He/she simply jumped out of the
water and threw the kona right out of his/her mouth. Bummer.

As mentioned, we took Tyler to Struis for the month of Feb and took
a few charter groups out there. We had some really good days and on
one particular day we really got stuck into the dorado. We found a
floating tree and around it was a mess of dorado up to 14kg. we caught
some, then we got in and speared some, then we caught some more and
then we speared some more. The clients, Duncan Napier and friends, had
a ball. We also did three trips to the Alphard Banks and apart from
one trip being a blank, we got stuck into cape salmon, yellowtail,
seventy four, red steenbras and some other stuff. The Alphards are one
of the few places left along our coast that gives me butterflies in
the stomach everytime we go there. One just never knows what fish to
expect there.

We will be taking Tyler to Struis again in Jan and Feb next year
Book your places. we are going to have a ball.

I once again had the privilege of going to De Hoop with the MCM guys
in Feb and July. All the fish we catch there are released unharmed,
but for a numbered tag inserted near the dorsal fin. I have been doing
this for 12 years now and Feb was my turn to catch a big cob. I landed
a fish of 1.51m long, estimated at about 40kg. Not quite a 100
pounder, but believe me, it was my fish of a lifetime. I brings a lump
to the throat to catch a fish like that and then to release the old
bugger back into the sea and watch him swim away. My previous biggest
cob from the beach was one of 17kg that I caught when I was 15. I am
now 48. To crown it all, my fishing partner, Jason Brink, who's
pictures feature on this web site, caught one of 1.55m long two days
later. Talk about beating the odds.

Anyway, that is about it from the fairest cape of them all. I hope
the big winds don't hammer us this summer. Only another month to wait
for the yellowfin. Hopefully we'll see you all on the water this year.
Regards - The SSS team.

Cheers