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“FLW South Africa Championship” The very first official FLW South Africa Championship took place at the Vaal River, Vanderbijlpark where one hundred of the best local bass anglers competed to see who the very first FLW South African Champions would be. – Hannes Lindeque
“FLW guarantees international representation in the Forrest Wood Cup!”
The championship was held over three days and the anglers had to rely on their skills rather than luck. We started off with an official registration and pre-tournament meeting where tournament officials were introduced and each sponsor was thanked for their valuable assistance. The tournament rules and procedures were explained and all questions were answered.
Every morning the boats had to be lined up and ready for the start at 07:00. The master of ceremony, John Badenhorst, kept the anglers informed and entertained. We also had live coverage on social media to keep the families and friends updated. Although everything seemed to be relaxed, the anglers were anxious to get a kicker on the scale. Pretending to be all okay their nerves were shot. Winter fishing is tough and a good bag on any day is just what everybody needed to get a head start on the rest of the teams. At 07:30 the boats were pushed off for an orderly start and many teams decided to race downstream towards their honey holes.
The weather was great and not as cold as expected to be this time of year. Unfortunately, the pre-frontal conditions played havoc and the anglers had to fight consistent winds.
Back at the weigh station our tournament weigh master, John Bulpitt, made sure that no short or dead fish were weighed. John himself is a legend in the bass fraternity and was the very first South African who represented our country in the USA.
On day one the leaders were Michael Matthee & Wayne Louw with a 5 fish bag of 6.23kg followed by Frans Swanepoel and Lesley Montgomery with 5.435kg
Day two also turned out to be difficult and nervous anglers were driving up and down the river looking for hidden spots. There was a sombre atmosphere at the weigh station when some teams realised that they had two bad days in a row making it impossible to win. The leaders of
day one dropped to 6th place while Justy Varkevisser and Greg Schluep took the lead with a bag of 5 fish weighing 3.98kg. The Ras brothers came back from nowhere into second place with a total bag of 3.745kg followed.
Day three was the tie breaker and some teams still haven’t figured out a pattern to outsmart five fish. Hennie Schoeman and Ruan Wahl took the lead with 4 fish weighing 4.04kg followed by Neels Beneke who fished the tournament alone. Neels had a great bag on day one, but something went wrong on day two and he couldn’t weigh a single fish. On day three he retaliated weighing a 3 fish bag of 3.96kg. In his neck were Justy Varkevisser & Greg Schluep with a 5 fish bag of 3.905kg
The scores of day three were kept secret not to spoil prize giving which was held in the Kilimanjaro Hall at Emerald Resort & Casino. Prize giving was well attended and after the lucky draw prizes were handed out, the winning teams of Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Western Cape received their Grand Prix trophies.
There was a twist in the cable when the four FLW South Africa ambassadors were announced. The first ever FLW South Africa champions are Michael Matthee and Wayne Louw. Runners up were Justy Varkevisser and Greg Schluep, but according tournament rules Greg Schluep forfeited the fourth slot which was passed on to Henry Petersen. Henry was overwhelmed and everybody shared in his joy.
These four anglers will represent FLW South Africa officially and compete against the best professional anglers from the USA, Canada, China, Mexico and South Korea. The Costa FLW Series Championship will take place on Kentucky Lake, Paris, Tennessee in November 2017.
FLW guarantees international representation in the Forrest Wood Cup! FLW South Africa anglers only compete against other anglers in the FLW Series International Division (Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea) to advance to the following year’s Forrest Wood Cup for the chance to compete on the sport’s biggest stage for the biggest payday in bass fishing. That is a 2 in 10 chance of qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup.
We wish our FLW ambassadors all the best for this international event.
Sponsors & Suppliers:
FLW South Africa would like to thank the following sponsors in supporting our first FLW South Africa Championship: Garmin SA, MasterCars Wonderboom, Yamaha Distributors SA, Arma Iuris, Brilliant Effects, Cube Design Innovations, Emerald Resort & Casino, HillBilly Poisen, LK’s Products (Pty) Ltd, Branding.co.za, Outdoor Warehouse, Varkenelli Custom Baits, Wayne Louw, Wolf Lures, Commitment Promotions, Kroko South Africa and SA BASS magazine.
Our next tournament season starts at the end of August. All the dates, venues and tournament rules are on our website www.flwsouthafrica.com
About SA BASS Cast-for-Cash
The Cast-for-Cash tournament trial is a one day bass angling money tournament giving anglers an opportunity to compete in teams for prize money and build their self confidence. Many of these anglers who started off as rookies have been awarded Protea colours. To give our local anglers a “dream come true” opportunity SA BASS has an exclusive licensing agreement with FLW to present FLW bass-fishing tournaments in South Africa.
FLW, headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, USA, is the world’s premier tournament fishing organization providing unparalleled fishing resources and entertainment to our members, anglers, sponsors, fans and host communities. Through a variety of platforms including tournaments, expos, international media and creative marketing strategies, FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the best in fishing, on and off the water.
FLW conducts more than 240 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Korea and South Africa.
*Hannes Lindeque is the founder and publisher of SA BASS magazine, the tournament director of the SA BASS Castfor-Cash bass angling tournament trial and FLW South Africa.
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