Thursday, August 03, 2006

Fisherman's encounter with a Great White shark...IN his fishing boat!

The winter weather has made fishing difficult and very few catches have been reported. The temperature of water in this part of False Bay varied from between 12,5 to 14 degrees during the past weekend. Shore angling was very limited and only a couple of real die-hards reported catching the odd Galjoen and White Steenbras.

Although the water has been cold and had the perfect pea-soup colour needed for Kob fishing, I have not received any reports of Kob catches.

I did however receive reports of some large Snoek, up to 40 per man, caught in the deep off Hermanus. Boytjie Samuels and his crew on BJ told me that they were catching the Snoek in 30 fathoms of water. This is hard work, especially if the Snoek are big. Boytjie said some of these Snoek were in the "Bokwa" class.

Last week one professional Strand crew said that while fishing from Gansbaai, they managed nine bak of medium size Geelbek in the 5 to 7 kg class.

During the weekend the WP Inshore West League was held from Gordon?s Bay. Not many boats took part in the competition due to the cold water and catches were few and far between.

Cape Boat and Skiboat skipper, Earl Fenwick, who was fishing off his boat Kiora in the competition, told me that Pieter Welmoed and his son on Mandrie won the competition with a few Snoek.

Keith Finkelstein, on his boat Finky, had one Yellowtail from near Cape Point. Keith said he only saw one other angler in that area catch a small Yellowtail on a rubber duck.

Small fish Earl said that although he and his crew fished from Buffels Bay and ran right up to the five mile limit, allowed by competitors, at Hangklip they only managed to boat six smallish fish and were unfortunately not able to locate Snoek.

He said they only managed to weigh two Romans and two Hottentot for their efforts. Deon Strydom (junior) fishing aboard Earl?s boat had the two best fish on the boat, namely Red Fish of 1,5 and 1,8 kg.

Earl said that besides the time they spent on the water and the wear and tear on the boat, food and bait he used over 200 litres of petrol to cross the bay to Hangklip, fish all day, weigh in fish at Gordon's Bay and then run back across the bay back to Buffels Bay.

A friend of mine told me that in a documentary about White Sharks it was claimed that the Great Whites frequent a number of places in the world, but they have only been seen breaching or lunging out of the water, unprovoked, in Australia.

I would just like to state that this is incorrect, for on many occasions while fishing for Geelbek and other species in our bay between Strand and Swartklip and even while fishing for Snoek in Table Bay, I and many other anglers have seen Great White Sharks leaping out of the water.

Small craft About 33 years ago, when small craft angling was much more popular and fishermen were much more active, there were frequent sightings of Great White sharks jumping out of the water.

In the old days I used to fish with a number of shark hunters and myself witnessed a few leaping Great White Sharks on different occasions.

One famous story occurred when a Great White Shark actually leapt right out of the water and landed in a fishing boat right on top of a fisherman.

The incident occurred many years ago when two Greek brothers, Peter and Dimitri Mammacos from Fish Hoek were fishing off Macassar Beach for Geelbek and Red Fish. A Great White Shark then suddenly leapt out of the water and landed inside the boat on top of Dimitri, breaking his pelvis.

Dimitri, who had been sitting at the back of the boat and was facing the engines, was now pinned between the engines and the console and the shark was thrashing about on his lap with its head stuck in one corner of the boat and its tail churning up the water.

His brother, not knowing what else to do, grabbed an oar and beat the shark over the head continuously until it stopped thrashing around.

According to witnesses the situation was pretty frantic with the shark thrashing around, Dimitri screaming and his brother beating the shark with the oar.

Eventually the shark became subdued, but it was too big and heavy to lift off his brother so Peter radioed the NSRI for assistance, who arrived shortly afterwards and towed the boat, shark and all, back to the harbour.

Once in the harbour the shark was pulled off Dimitri with the help of a crane and positively identified as a Great White Shark, which weighed over 1 000 pounds.

More incidents and stories involving sharks and fishermen will be featured in future columns.


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