This year’s Mallards/Mercury Shelly Beach Ski-Boat Festival produced plenty of excitement and excellent catches.
Over 150 anglers from across the country converged on Shelly Beach Ski-Boat Club for the 19th annual event, which got underway on Wednesday and wrapped up on Saturday.
The competition got off to a cracking start with a lot of boats landing some good-sized Yellowfin Tuna. The lead changed hands several times throughout the afternoon, but eventually, it was held by Sean Hewitt, fishing on Carl Gutzeit’s boat “Sea Fishient”, with a Yellowfin of 21.2kg. Second fish overall was Chappie Stoltz’s tuna of 19.6kg.
The juniors also did really well with Pietie Bodenstein getting a tuna of 15.7kg and Conrad Viljoen getting a tuna of 15kg on “Bliksem”. The top junior of the day was Megan Barclay on her dad Clinton Barclay’s boat “Devocean.” Another notable catch, and the only other species weighed, was also caught by a junior, young Finlay Davison’s yellowtail of 13.1kg.
Day Two saw tricky NE conditions for all the teams. Again, the majority of the boats launched out of Shelly Beach and landed some good-sized Yellowfin Tuna. The lead changed several times throughout the afternoon again, with Nicky Momberg on the boat “Nitro” overtaking Hewitt’s fish with a decent tuna of 24kg.
However, the afternoon belonged to the team on board “My Deere” who brought a beast of a tuna of 58kg to the scales, caught in the deep on a kona lure. Second heaviest gamefish also changed places to a 21.3kg GT caught by Greg Defilippi on “Amberwon”. Despite several good fish caught, Barclay remained the top junior with her 18.6kg tuna on Day One.
Day Three was always going to be the best weather day of the competition. The surf launching was tricky up the whole coast and there were several boats that chose not to launch. As often happens, the best weather doesn’t always mean the best fishing and this proved the case with very few fish weighed.
The weigh-in featured mainly shoal tuna with the biggest for most of the afternoon coming from the boat “Poker Face”, a fish of 18.8kg. There was an Amberjack weighed by Defilippi of 13.5kg that created some interest and added to the species count.
The main attraction for the day was the battle for top junior and several fish were weighed. Ultimately, it was Owen Barclay’s yellowfin tuna of 22.5kg that took the junior honours and heaviest fish of Day Three on his dad’s boat.
Saturday turned out to be an unexpected pearler and all teams went out to search for the winning fish. Despite the great conditions, the fishing was tough and at scales, only a few teams managed to weigh fish. There were some good tuna weighed and some different species.
With a fantastic spread of prizes, the winners of the various categories were announced at prize-giving. Owen Barclay (22.5kg tuna) bagged the top junior award, while his sister Megan Barclay (18.5kg tuna) won the ladies prize. In third place overall was Momberg (24kg tuna), and finishing second (heaviest gamefish of a different species) was Defilippi (21.3kg GT).
Crowned overall winners were Team “My Deere”, who held the lead since Thursday with their 58kg Yellowfin Tuna caught by Julius Heyneke. The team won themselves the magnificent first prize of a Mallards Cobra Cat, on a trailer, with two 60Hp Mercury four-stroke motors sponsored by Mr Clean, GR5, Mercury and Mallards Boating.
Photos by Justin Klusener Photography