SA Bass

32 TOURNAMENT NEWS

Meeting the Legends

- >> Gary Peter

Meeting the Legends” At the beginning of October South Africa had the great privilege of hosting the 13th World Black Bass Championsh­ip on the Vaal river. This meant that we were able to host some of the best anglers in the world here at home – Gary Peter

At the beginning of October South Africa had the great privilege of hosting the 13th World Black Bass Championsh­ip on the Vaal river. This meant that we were able to host some of the best anglers in the world here at home. Of course without taking anything away from the other nations the huge hype was to meet the top bass pros from the states and legends in our sport.

Lionel Botha our ex-Protea captain who immigrated to the USA to pursue his career in profession­al fishing was selected to represent the USA at the world cup.

Lionel who was always a good friend of mine contacted me a few months before the event and we began chatting about the USA team and what I could do to help them when they arrive in SA. This presented me with the honour of getting to chat to some of the guys in the team prior to their arrival. I chatted weekly with their management, Lionel, David Frits and Charlie Evans a legend in his own right.

We arranged performanc­e “Cracklebac­k” bass boats through Escape Boating for them to pre-fish on and use during the world cup which was an opportunit­y to present our local boats and industry to them and make new friendship

FLW sensation and bass icon, Scott Martin, was to captain the team of, Fred Boom Boom Roumbanis, Scott Canterbury, James Watson, Mark Rose and of course legend and hall of fame angler and Bassmaster Classic Champion, David Frits. Wow, these icons of our sport were on their way to our shores and were going to fish right here at the Vaal River. The excitement was electric and all over social media and everyone was talking about it.

Having been lucky enough to meet them and to get to chat to them I can honestly say that I have never met a bunch of guys who are so humble and accommodat­ing to fans and everyone who wanted to talk to them.

What stays in my mind is that each and every time I saw them they always had these huge smiles. Scott Martin and his TV-show sidekick Brandon (spinner worm) were so playful and full of fun and games.

In an end what I took away from the experience is that they are just fellow anglers in this great sport of ours just

like every other angler at our local FLW events and social anglers you meet out on the water. I learned that bass fishing truly is an internatio­nal brotherhoo­d of good guys with a love an obsession for that green fish that drives us all crazy.

They loved South Africa and said over and over how friendly and hospitable South Africans were and that “boerewors” is an acquired taste. They also said that the level of our anglers is very impressive. They did say the fishing is a bit tougher here than in the USA and all of them will definitely be coming back to spend more time here.

Wow, how far our sport has come, FLW is now in South Africa and presents us all an opportunit­y to qualify to fish the Costa FLW Series in the USA; we have just hosted the best anglers in the world here on our home waters and our Protea Team boys did us all proud by winning the world championsh­ip, beating the USA “dream team of legends” into second place. We also got to meet and watch our heroes fish competitiv­ely at the Vaal River, who would have believed all that five years ago. I still have goose bumps writing this article.

What our Protea Team showed us is that South Africans can FLAT OUT FISH with the best of them.

So tackle up people and welcome to the next level of bass fishing in South Africa!

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