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25 Apr 2024

Umdloti Beach Ski Boat Club’s annual fishing competition sees thrilling action in challenging conditions

Jacqueline Herbst Picture: Ray van der Poll, Dylan Richardson, Calvin Koster, Rowan Coleman, Gregg Seppings and Sean Dunbar had a good haul in tough conditions.

The weather gods blessed Umdloti Beach Ski Boat Club (UBSC) with clear skies for its annual fishing competition held on Saturday.

The Umdloti Beach Ski Boat Club buzzes with activity as weigh-in draws to a close and fires are lit to braai some fresh fish for everyone.

A determined 73 entrants launched their boats, jet skis and kayaks at first light. The flat seas however concealed Umdloti’s infamously treacherous shore break that made for a deceptively technical launch. The eight second wave period did not allow for much of a lull between sets, resulting in a few touch-and-go launches.

Although the weather was perfect, the water was dirty and only 11 fish were weighed in.

“Due to a combination of a north-east wind blowing beforehand and river water entering the sea earlier in the week, we had dirty water on the inside and the deep water was quite green. It can be a double-edged sword because you want the south-west to blow and bring in some nice clean warm water, but at the same time, when that happens it means it’s a frontal system and can bring some big swells. So now we had the north-easterly wind blow beforehand and no ground swell but it meant the colour was off,” said UBSC vice-chairman, Guy Bishop.

With loads of cars, boats, jet skis and fishing rods on the beach on Saturday, Umdloti resembled Sodwana Bay.

The biggest catch of the day was an 18.4 kg couta hooked by Calvin Koster off Westbrook on mackerel. Mark McCarthy released a bus of a giant trevally kingfish measuring 110 cm, equating to 25.92 kg on the conversion scale.

“In this competition it is compulsory to release kingfish, queen fish, garrick and billfish. They were not allowed on the scale,” said Bishop.

The fishing may have been slow but the day delivered its share of drama when a competitor’s fishing jet ski took on water and required rescuing by the NSRI who were on standby.

The angler let off a red distress flair about 500 metres out to sea. The crew used their jet ski and sled to bring the skipper of the ill-fated craft back to shore and then began the technical task of towing the water-logged jet ski to safety.

With the UBSC being loyal supporters of the NSRI, proceeds from the competition were split between the NRSI and Umdloti Smart Village. As always, it was a fun day that brought the Umdloti community together with festivities lasting into the night.

Top Boat went to Sean Dunbar for his 14.1 kg couta, Top Kayak to Jared Stow for his 16.9 kg couta and Best Release to Mark McCarthy.

1st Calvin Koster – couta 18.4 kg; 2nd Rowan Coleman – snoek 8 kg; 3rd Mike Rodger – bonito 3 kg; 4th Pierre Scholtz – couta 15 kg; 5th Shane Grove – couta 11.30 kg; 6th Gary Galway – Ccuta 10.9 kg; 7th Ray van der Poll – snoek 6.8 kg and 8th Curt Silver – snoek 4.2 kg.

For more photos see online article.