By Holly Konig
Rod in hand, Thomas is a familiar face at local fishing spots and said his favourite one is “the whole South Coast”.
Having made it through the required rounds, the KZN fisherman now baits up for the 2017 national championships, which will take place in Mossel Bay from 28 January to 3 February.
The championships entail three days of fishing, where the KZN team will go up against six other provinces. Each contestant will be judged on their catches and as a team. Awards will be made at the final prizegiving. Three local shore-anglers will be joining him for the championships – Keagen Murgatroyd and Sian Pretorius (U21 team) and Kegan Lloyd (U16 team), all in the KZN team.
Thomas’ love for the ocean drove him to take up the sport four years ago. Being a hobby that requires more patience than most, many don’t understand the craze. “After your first catch, you’re hooked,” explains the avid angler.
He matriculated from Westville Boys High School last year and admits many hours and even contests were sacrificed as he put his head down to ace his final exams.
“Over the holidays I was both out of time and luck,” said the fisherman, who concedes there were good catches from others. Last week he made up for his unfortunate past few months, by landing his best catch, a 53kg sandshark and the same night his biggest catch, a 65kg diamond ray.
He is working as a part-time barman, making the most of the season’s festivities and now intends on doing his apprenticeship in tool and dye.
Fishermen have a reputation of leaving more than just their footprints on the beach, but the shore-angler insists that both he and the members of Benders Fishing Club are very aware of the danger their hooks, line and bait packets pose to the environment, marine life and other beach users.
“I can only talk for myself and the people I fish with, there are others out there who are careless when it comes to cleaning up their area,” Thomas admits.
He goes on to describe fishing as a sport where a novice is mentored by older, more experienced fishermen.
“When joining the Benders Fishing Club, I didn’t know much,” admits Thomas. He gives thanks to all the people who have helped and supported him along the way. “Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
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