National Selection - Namibia

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National Selection - Namibia

Postby Jeri on March 27th, 2017, 1:47 am

Hi All,

A report – unfortunately without pictures.

Our annual Namibian clubs, team trials have just finished, where we fish in club teams for 3 days under International rules to allow the selectors to see the quality of players they have for all the categories of teams they have to fill places for. The daily fishing is split into adjoining zones – 10km for the men over 16, then 4km for the ladies and under 16’s.

All the usual aspects of any big tournament are held, the meet and greet function, Captain’s Meetings, Bait issue and daily roll call at ‘early o’clock’ on the beach, all rounding off in a prize giving function where the announce all the results and teams for the coming Internationals later this year, as well as all the awards for merit from the past year.

Fishing this year has been tougher than usual, as we are going through a response period after the strong El Nino from the past 2 years, and we have had very mixed water conditions. We have had periods of bounty, but the doldrums periods in between are very quiet. Being a purely weight competition, the main focus is on medium size sharks which are generally more abundant than the bigger Bronzies. About 150 anglers competed, with attendant managers and assistants to drive them on the beach to change spots within the daily zones.

I was the manager for our clubs ladies and under 16 junior, so very busy with that bunch each day moving them up and down the beach trying to get them all onto worthy fishing spots. There is no actual ‘team’ trophy for the ladies, but they are all fishing for themselves to show their potential and skills to the selectors, as well as lady league points. First day was tough, with the area being mainly broken ground and a section of very deep water; it should have been good given the conditions, but just didn’t quite live up to potential. There were only 3 Bronzies caught amongst the 27 anglers in our section and a few small sharks. The frustrating part was that I had all 5 anglers in my charge in one section for the afternoon period which is usually good for Bronzies, and they all had wire traces and shark baits out, but as Murphy usually interferes, the two ladies either side of my ladies hooked up!!!!Both were fine fish in the 100-140lb range, and obviously immediately pushed those ladies to the top of the leader board. 3 of our ladies caught that day, but no big weights and our junior was struggling to get the big distances needed, but as he is only 10 his efforts were duly noted.

Day 2 took us further south along the coast, still sea conditions were good, and we had strong hopes for the day – each day is a new one, and should be started with fresh enthusiasm. My focus was to try and get our non-scorers of the previous day hooked up, as well as getting everybody into good spots – looking to not move so much. My wife, the non-scorer and the junior were put into a deep hole a gap between two reefs with good potential for Spotted Gully sharks, and the others were spread about on the deeper water sections. Junior was having a really hard time, just about every bait he cast was attacked but small catfish, even when he used huge shark hooks – so he was moved to the open water with the other non-scoring lady. As the day wore on it became apparent that despite the good conditions, pickings were going to be slim, just no sharks or even fish were coming out. One of the other juniors, about 11 years old hooked and eventually landed a 120lb Bronzie, but that spot son became flooded with about 10 anglers – which always limits the probability of catching anything.

My wife in the meanwhile had a near 40lb Gully shark, so she was content to stick it out, and I moved the rest of the ladies down to the deep water. Two were bitten off on the casting leader, where the Bronzies guide down to pick up the bait with an open mouth, and snag the heavy braid casting leaders. Junior also got bitten off, and while very frustrating on a day when it was a challenge just to get a bit, they all kept focus. One of the ladies that had caught the previous day hooked up, but her trace failed, and it got off after 40 minutes of fighting. Then just in the last 20 minutes our non-scoring lady of the day before had a huge pick up and it was almost irrelevant to strike as the shark took off at serious speed for Brazil!!! Then as the first serious run started to slow against the drag the problems started, the Penn reel she was using was having huge problems with the drag, but worse was to come with over 250 metres of line out – the gears were jumping and winding was a very fruitless and difficult experience. Standing next to her, I coached her to take small turns against the line gained, and after a very worrisome 35 minutes we saw the fin in the surf, it wasn’t the hoped for Bronzie, but a large Smoothhound, but certainly good points. I waded in and tailed the beastie, and dragged it up the beach to a very relieved young lady – 35lbs of pure muscle and speed.

So, at the end of the second day, we had ladies in 4th and 5th spot, and the others on the leader board – just junior to get hooked up – was the challenge for the last day. New area which should have fished its socks off, but big seas made for all the obvious difficulties as well as a considerable amount of weed being pushed along by the current – very difficult. Again junior was plagued by catfish, while the others were getting good pulls and a few minor tackle failures or getting broken off in the kelp and reefs. After a long day, we finally got a little action of some low points scoring fish out deep against a sand bar, and that was about the best we could do for the day. One very good lady angler that had blanked on the first two days managed to pull out 2 Gully sharks, so she had some good weight for the score board.

Junior did manage to get on the score board with a small shark, just inside the minimum weight, so as a manager I felt that in tough conditions we had all succeeded. Coming off the beach after 3 days of intensive competition is sometimes a joy, this time it was just a relief, and we all got back to the team house and started the inevitable job of emptying the cars and cleaning all the tackle and gear ready to go home. Just the final prize giving to stay awake for, but adrenalin seemed to keep us all awake long enough. A full blazer and tie type event, and first they had trophies for the best of 2016 and I collected the trophy for highest scoring Grand Master, and a medal for biggest shark by a Grand Master, so some silverware on our team table. As a club we got 2nd overall in 2016, so we were all pleased with medals for that – then the main event. My wife came in a credible 6th lady, and the others came in 7th, 10th and 11th, so a credible score for a number of our ladies, especially given that two of them had only started surf fishing less than a year ago. Junior got a prize for the youngest angler, the trophy was nearly as big as him!!! Our main mens team got 2nd overall in the team event, beaten by just 40kgs over the three days. Best Bronzie of the competition was well over 250lbs, and although the competition was a low weight affair when compared to past events, the pressure and effort of all the anglers was still just as intense.

On the international teams side, from our club there were 4 men in the ‘A’ team selection, two of the team managers came from our men, and 3 of our ladies were selected for ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams. Personally, I was selected to be manager of the Ladies ‘B’ team, and that will keep me busy until the end of October.

From a work side, we had a successful event, a new design of surf blank was thoroughly tested, it is a new design that incorporates three different strengths of carbon and some layers of Kevlar in the butt section. The report that it casts like a dream and gives awesome distance with big baits is encouraging, but the fact that the guy testing on loan, said just send me the bill – was testament to the design – he’s not returning it.

Hope this was an interesting read, as we slowly fish our way out of summer towards our winter season.

Cheers from sunny Africa,

Jeri
Jeri
 
Posts: 130
Joined: March 26th, 2015, 9:35 pm
Location: Namibia - Where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Namib Desert

Re: National Selection - Namibia

Postby JustinEdge on March 28th, 2017, 12:17 am

It's not just you - fishing's been super slow here on our side of the pond as well. Not just sharks either - seems everything's been a bit reluctant to bite the last year or two.
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Re: National Selection - Namibia

Postby Jeri on March 28th, 2017, 3:01 am

Hi,

I personally think that we just don't know enough about the effects of these big weather systems and how they influence the inshore zone. El Nino and La Nina are just two systems that have huge effect, but nothing that really has been documented. Folks are more interested in researching the effects on inland weather, we have just come out of 2 years of drought, and now just about every where in sub-Saharan Africa is getting floods.

How these systems effect our coastal waters in perhaps much lower on the scale of economic interest, so we will have to wait a few years before the scientists do the work. What we have seen is that the huge shoals of Sardine have virtually disappeared from on the continental shelf this past year, causing huge peoblems to the fish and cannery industry. Move the food, and the predators follow???

Just a thought for idle times.

Cheers

Jeri
Jeri
 
Posts: 130
Joined: March 26th, 2015, 9:35 pm
Location: Namibia - Where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Namib Desert

Re: National Selection - Namibia

Postby JustinEdge on March 28th, 2017, 10:20 pm

Yes, definitely 'move the food and the predators follow.' It would seem common sense that the entire food chain follows the weakest links by necessity.
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