Deep-sea anglers can win prize money of up to R315,000 in the 2023 Williams Hunt ISUZU Tuna Classic, to be held from 27-29 April in Gqeberha.
Registration and the opening function are on the evening of Wednesday, 26 April at the Port Elizabeth Deep Sea Angling Club (PEDSAC) in the harbour.
The annual angling event has been a firm favourite on the South African fishing calendar since 1991 and, with Williams Hunt ISUZU as the headline sponsor for the past six years, it is going from strength to strength.
It is regarded as one of South Africa’s biggest premier tuna tournaments in terms of total number of anglers and boats entered and total prize money offered.
“The angler who catches the biggest fish will be getting a minimum of R50,000 and so will the top boat,” said PEDSAC Club Captain Pierre Westerveld, one of the organisers of the competition. “We will be having prizes for the top five boats and the 10 best tuna.”
Westerveld said the capable and experienced organising committee had been trying to improve the “Tuna Classic experience” for both anglers and spectators not only through increased prize money but also with entertainment at the club.
“We will again be having our free sushi bar, and local artist Wayne Kallis will perform on both evenings on Friday and Saturday.”
Having a main sponsor in Williams Hunt ISUZU helped PEDSAC to lure top anglers to compete for the huge prizes, along with other sponsors such as Butt Cat Yamaha and GV Donald Africa.
“We are very dependent on sponsors as they enable us to cover the organising and infrastructure costs as well as vital prizes,” said Westerveld.
“Our anglers have also had a better early run of fish than in past years and we are hoping things continue to improve with bigger fish tending to arrive around the competition time.”
“Pedsac boats have already landed two marlin this season and will be expecting to get a few more in the months to come. This year’s dates should allow competitors the chance to get quality fish and enjoy the good weather that goes with this time of the year.”
Tuna are not the only game fish anglers will be chasing at the end of April, as there are also prizes for marlin and dorado.
In 2022, a 45.5kg catch of a yellowfin tuna earned Gqeberha angler Lisa Coetzee the title of overall winner. The Top Boat prize is awarded to the entrants with the heaviest overall haul of fish on their boat, and Le Corsaire managed to reel in 157kg of fish last year.
In addition to attracting visitors to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, the Tuna Classic remains a significant date on the local sporting calendar and contributes more than R2-million to it’s the region’s coffers.
Registration is in the Wheelhouse at PEDSAC on Wednesday, 26 April, with R700 entry fee per person. The prizegiving is at the same venue, at 7pm on Saturday 29 April.
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