False Bay anglers keep their hooks in the water

False Bay Angling Club president Brendan Felix hands over the “potty prank”award to Gordon Smeda.

Bolander was a guest at the recent award ceremony of the False Bay Angling Club prize-giving, held at the Radloff Park Baseball Club premises.

The angling club was established in 1962, and has 57 active members, of which 25 are the proud bearers of Western Province colours, and 26 of their members are Proteas (like the Springboks of fishing).

Having been league champions in the Western Province for the past 21 (consecutive) years, the club has some of the most seasoned anglers in the business, and to round things off nicely, they won the league championship for 2020.

Willie van Heerden was also announced the overall league champion angler in the Western Province for 2020.

Shore angling is a sport that is only done from beach areas and rocky shorelines, and participants make no use of man-made structures.

There are certain designated areas where the competitions are held, including Die Damme, areas along the West Coast, Struisbaai, and local shore spots from Macassar to Gordon’s Bay.

The False Bay Angling Club also has the most women anglers in the history of shore angling in South Africa.

Competitions aren’t limited to South African shores or anglers, and members regularly head overseas to take part in international competitions, or host them here in our waters, in places like Durban and Jeffrey’s Bay.

Most fish that are caught in the competitions are “catch-and-release”, and great care is taken in handling the fish, and removing the hook before placing them back in the ocean.

Daily restrictions are set for all fish species, and anglers are allowed to keep a certain number of edible fish, and release all non-edible fish.

The sustainability of the sport lies in every angler’s hands, and they endeavour to set an example of responsible angling. All the clubs have an environmental officer, whose duties include inspecting the fishing areas after each competition, to make sure it is left pristine.

At the prize-giving event was Grandmaster Wilhelm de Jongh, who has been with the club for 46 years, and his sons Willem and Gowie – and for the first time in the clubs history, a father and two sons were all in the Top 10 in the Western Province league.

Youth involvement is a focus of the club, and they have a division for development teams for young anglers in the Western Province, starting with under-15 categories and going up to under-21, at which time anglers progress to being a senior, then a master, and finally a grandmaster.

The sport has not been left untouched by Covid-19, despite being held in the great outdoors, and they have a “backabuddy” system in place for people struggling with the impact of Covid-19, like helping to pay for fees, equipment, etc.

The dedicated Covid-19 officer for False Bay Angling is Peter van Vollenstee, who makes sure all the protocols are adhered to.

Anita Bunn, one of the women on the team, says: “What I really love, and I’m proud of this, is as a woman angler, in a traditionally male-dominated sport, is that the men are welcoming and encouraging of women anglers, especially in this club.”

Master of Ceremonies, Marius Beneke, provided guests with plenty of delightful anecdotes about members and their experiences, and the trophies were handed out by club president Brendan Felix.

After the dinner, there was an animated raffle, with prizes donated by Strand Spur, Somerset Sport, Fishing Republic, Jacita Bait and Tackle, T-Line, and Magic Rabbit compost.

There was also a huge, homebaked Christmas cake, clothing items and a solar shower as part of the raffle, and the tables were decorated with beautiful proteas by Roulene du Preez, along with home-made preserves to take home.