Anglers aim to pull in Classic mega-prize

Shaanaaz de Jager

DEEP-SEA anglers from around the country will be hoping to reel in a record-breaking fish at a national competition this week – and drive away in an expensive vehicle.

It is the “bonanza prize” at the annual BLG Logistics Tuna Classic, registration for which is between 4pm and 6pm tomorrow.

Organisers say 40 boats have been confirmed for the Algoa Bay event – up from 27 last year.

Nick Oosthuizen, of auditing firm Mazars, will brief skippers about the three-day tournament’s rules at 6pm.

The top prize is a R459000 Ford Ranger double- cab diesel bakkie if a record-breaking yellowfin tuna is caught.

Other prizes include R100000 for the heaviest yellowfin tuna – excluding the Eastern Province record-breaking, bakkie prize-winning fish of more than 92kg – and R50000 for the top boat.

The competition this year marks the 21st anniversary of event hosts, the Port Elizabeth Deep Sea Angling Club (Pedsac).

“The emphasis this year is to celebrate the classic’s 21st anniversary and the host club has lined up some top local musical talent to liven up the evenings,” Pedsac tournament director Richard Donaldson said.

“The three massive prizes are attracting the anglers back to the event and we anticipate that at least 45 boats will be at the start off.”

The boats will gather for a “blessing of the fleet” off Shark Rock Pier at 6.30am on Thursday. A flare will then set them off, and they will head for the continental shelf, popular yellowfin tuna grounds about 80km south of Cape Recife.

Sponsors BLG Logistics will donate all fish weighed to charity or, alternatively, they have applied for a permit to sell the fish and use the proceeds in aid of their selected charity.

Classic winner in 2008 Shane Gerber said: “We believe that the 2013 classic will see the event reestablished as a feature event on the calendar.”

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