SA anglers shine in Zimbabwe
Three EP juniors cap first national appearance with gold medal
Three junior Port Elizabeth anglers have their sights set on bigger fish after they helped team South Africa claim gold at the Junior Bass Angling International tournament held in Zimbabwe recently.
The trio of Liam Taljaard, Cullum Rea and Luke Zahn were among 13 of the country’s best junior anglers selected to compete at the event held at the Darwendale Dam, situated to the west of the capital city Harare last weekend.
After being slightly on the back foot following the first day of competition, the Proteas dug deep with some brilliant team tactics and perseverance in trying weather conditions. Torrential rain and high winds forced both teams to leave the water for almost three hours before it was safe to continue.
The South Africans managed to surpass Zimbabwe by quite a comfortable margin at the official weigh-in later that day.
Anglers were divided into two per boat and were tasked with catching 10 fish. Once all anglers had caught their allotted number of fish, the catch was weighed, with the heaviest total being declared the winner.
The triumph was the first-ever for the SA Junior team at Darwendale Dam and it was also their first win in Zimbabwe since 2012.
The junior Protea anglers have now claimed back-to-back title having taken top honours at Witbank Dam last year.
Having represented South Africa for the first time at the competition, Cullum, 14, who is a member of the Eastern Cape Bassmasters Angling Club said: “It was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me. To represent my country doing the sport I love is so rewarding.
“It was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me. To represent my country doing the sport I love is so rewardingCullum Rea on representing South Africa
“Getting the win only makes the experience so much more special, because although the Zimbabweans are very good anglers, I knew we would be capable of doing well too,” Rea said.
“The bad weather did not really affect us too much. A few of our boats already had some fish, so going back in we knew that Zim did not have too many fish which made us push to do our best and we managed to pull it off in the end,” he said.
Luke said the team felt more like a brotherhood, having bonded during the years of fishing against each other for their respective provincial teams.
Doing the sport since the age of five, Luke, another EC Bassmasters Angling club member, was not too pleased with his exploits on the practice day but managed to improve his performance to help the team to victory.
“After the first day, we were under a bit of pressure to catch up on them but we knew that if we stick to our plan, we would make up the deficit, which we did exceptionally well on day two,” he added.