At the age of 70, local resident Brian McFarlane will represent South Africa in the fourth World Angling Games hosted in South Africa this year. He will also receive his full Protea (SA) colours for the first time.
McFarlane will participate in a Men’s Pairs team with partner Charl Marais, also a Protea angler.
He explains there are various facets to angling, but the one he will specifically be engaging in is shore fishing.
What makes McFarlane stand out is that he will compete with anglers much younger than he is in this category.
“Representing the country in the biggest fishing competition in South Africa is such an honour,” says McFarlane.
There will be 51 countries competing for the crown of World Angling Games Champion. According to McFarlane, the games are seen as the Olympics of fishing, and there is only one of its kind.
“Receiving Protea colours is not as easy as one would think,” he said. “The top anglers in South Africa come together and fish against each other, and then receive a ranking.
“If your performance has been consistently good for three days over a three-year period you get chosen for Protea colours.
“Wearing the Protea colours is the highest honour you can get. You are an ambassador for the sport and South Africa and you have to respect it.
McFarlane started fishing competitively 15 years ago, but has been fishing all his life. Both his father and grandfather were well-known fishermen in Hermanus, and it is all he has ever known.
“If you cut me to find out what I bleed the answer will be salt water. It simply runs through my veins.”
From catching sharks to kabeljou there is no fish McFarlane has not caught.
In preparation for the World Angling Games, which will take place from Thursday 7 February to Monday 11 February, McFarlane and all the other contestants decamped to Langebaan on Saturday 2 February, where they have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the surroundings, conditions of the waters, for workshops and practise runs.
McFarlane explains the competition is so big that it brings many thousands of people into the country to experience the beauty of South Africa.
“This sport is like music – it brings people together,” he said.
According to McFarlane, the scale of fishing in the Overstrand has decreased over the years owing to various factors, such as over-fishing and climate change. “There is no control over our fishing,” he points out.
“People are not aware of leaving something for tomorrow and for the future.”
McFarlane says angling is such a great example of responsible fishing, in which fishers catch, measure and release, and also make use of special hooks that do not hurt the fish.
He hopes to return as World Angling Champion and continue pursuing his one true passion, untrammelled.
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