The 2nd to the 10th of April saw Loskopdam, one of South Africa’s premier inland fishing destinations as the aquatic playing field where anglers and teams from all over South Africa came together to compete in a showdown of angling skill and patience on the angling waters.
The districts being represented were Mpumalanga, Northern Gauteng, Southern Gauteng, Limpopo, Central North West Province and Cape Winelands.
During the Championship anglers competed either in four-person or two-person teams with two anglers allowed per boat.
What distinguishes Artificial lure fishing from other angling disciplines apart from the fact that only artificial lures may be used, is that anglers are primarily awarded points for the variety of fish species caught and not only the number or weight of fish caught.
The old adage that variety is the spice of life is not different when it comes to Loskopdam and its feeder rivers. Loskop is incredibly unique in the South African context with regards to the biodiversity of fish species contained in its biosphere. This body of water is home to well over twenty species of fish. Ranging from the minute Mosquito Fish that can be shorter in length than a matchstick to predatory power of the African Sharptooth Barbel that can attain weights in excess of 30kgs.
During the championship and trials, the following species were caught:
African Sharptooth Barbel, Carp, Largemouth Bass, Papermouth, Silver Catfish or more commonly know by the Afrikaans name Makriel, Mosquito Fish (a relative of the Guppy), River Sardine or more commonly known as Glassfish, Silver Robber (Dwarf Tigerfish), Mozambique Tilapia (Blue Kurper), Banded Tilapia (Vlei Kurper), Redbreast Tilapia, Southern Mouthbrooder or Dwarf Kurper, Rednose Labeo (Mudfish), Redeye Labeo (Mudfish), Threespot barb a.k.a Ghiliemientjie. Catches of undersized Yellowfish were also made but these were immediately released as the minimum legal weight for catching Yellowfish is 300mm according to Mpumalanga provincial by-laws.
As part of the conservation effort all live fish were awarded additional points at the weigh-in. The organizers and anglers went to great extents to assure that the indigenous fish were safely returned to the water. A temporary fish chute or slide equipped with water pump was constructed to facilitate the expedient return of the fish to the water from the weigh inn area. An official from the Department of nature conservation Dr. Andre Hoffman was also present to inspect the health and condition of the fish as well as to help with the identification of the more difficult species.
The Weather seemed to play along nicely for the two championship days with the wind only picking up in the afternoon and somewhat overcast conditions causing the latter part of the day to become quite challenging with respect to sight-fishing species like Carp and Barbel.
After two days of very competitive angling with some remarkable and unexpected catches the results were as follows:
The top honours for the A teams went to Northern Gauteng consisting of Bernard Venter, Rudolph Venter, Evert Laubscher and Marco Jordaan. They were followed by Mpumalanga A team in second and in third place, Cape Winelands.
Northern Gauteng was able to clinch the top three spots for the B teams. The Northern Gauteng B1 team in firsts place was represented by Damon Nell and Tersius Oosthuizen.
In the Manager category Mpumalanga reigned victorious followed by two teams from Northern Gauteng. The Mpumalanga team that took the gold in this category was the father and son team of Wayne Naude and Noddy Naude.
The Junior teams performed exceptionally well with the podium echoing the A team results: Northern Gauteng in the lead and Mpumalanga and Cape Winelands following in second and third place. The Northern Gauteng Junior team putting up their hand for firsts place was Michael Mardon, Ignus Jordaan and their Skipper Aubrey Mardon.
The two Development teams from Northern Gauteng showed great promise for the future with a first and second place. The D2 team comprising Dian Gildenhuys, Carmen Toms and Morne Toms as skipper were able to take the lead in the junior development category.
The senior- and junior individual trials followed after the championship days. In these trials individual anglers competed against each other for placement on the national rankings list from which the Protea and SAALAA teams will be selected.
SAALAA is also proud to announce that Loskopdam will play host to the 2019 FIPSed International Carnivorous Artificial Boat Angling Championship which in essence is the World Cup of Artificial lure angling. Well over 20 countries are expected to send teams to represent their nations at this prestigious event in March 2019. Anglers who performed well during the trials, stand a good chance to be selected for the Protea team who will face up against the challengers from the rest of the world in 2019.
During the senior trials the following anglers distinguished themselves for the top 8 spots in the 2018 trials. In order from one to eight: Anrich vd Berg, Damon Nell, Rudolph Venter, Wayne Naude, Jaco Erasmus, Norval Feuth, Evert Laubscher and Fanie Fourie Jnr.
Junior anglers who turn 18 years of age during 2018 were permitted to fish both the Junior and Senior Trials.
The Juniors that managed to rank top in the trials were: Michael Mardon, Anrich vd Berg, Ignus Jordaan, Francois Pretorius, Nickey Janse van Rensburg, Eric Streicher, Darren Potgieter, and Henry Fourie.
During the final Gala evening that concluded the proceedings, the 2018 championship and trials were hailed as a one of the most successful championships in recent years by Magriet Coetzee, the chairperson of the South African Artificial Lure Angling Association under whose auspices the trials and championship were held.
This 2018 Nationals goes to show that Artifical Lure angling is alive and well in South Africa and that the focus is not only on growing and maintaining the number of angling competitors nationally, but that conservation of our natural fish and habitat resources are among the biggest key values envisioned by the Artlure fraternity in South Africa as a whole.
For more photos on the action see the SAALAA Facebook page!