When the 17-year-old Danae Marais has a fishing rod in her hands, she means business, and she has good reason not to stand back for any of her rivals.
Danae who was introduced to fishing at a very young age, and took a more serious approach to the sport when she kicked into competitive mode in 2017.
“I grew up next to the dam, always accompanying my dad who loves angling. I don’t have a brother, and I gladly took on that role next to the fishing waters. It has always been my mission to catch a bigger fish than him and his friends. I guess this is where fishing and competitive angling tickled my fancy.”
Danae was recently announced as the first female ambassador for Skydam 2021, a national supplier of pre-tied specimen, conventional and saltwater rigs.
She was invited to the national trials for boys u/19 and was selected to be part of the South African Freshwater Bank Angling team for young women. “I did not get a place in the team the previous year, so to be selected on merit in my second year, was a shock. I was extremely excited to be able to tour with the other women from other provinces and to fish with them. It was my biggest milestone and I knew it is only the beginning.”
Danae’s first and easiest competition was a league-meeting at the Nyl Dam in 2017 since she was the only junior angler and won by default. Her hardest was the South African Championships in 2019 at Bloemhof Dam.
After three days of strong competition against top junior women anglers, she was crowned as the Victrix Ludorum. “I won the categories for the heaviest bag of fish, the most fish, the biggest carp and biggest grass carp, as well as being part of the Limpopo team which claimed victory at the championships. My personal best is a carp of 12,6 kg caught in the Tzaneen Dam in 2015.”
The best part of fishing for Danae is when she can successfully land a fish after a long struggle or wait. The worst is when a fish gets away during a competition, which can cost her a podium position at the end of the day.
“The most difficult about fishing is to find new flavour combinations to lure the fish, while taking all other aspects into consideration. I wanted to conclude this year as young woman angler on a high note, by finishing among the top three in the country at the annual South African Championships, but due to the lockdown the competitions for 2020 have unfortunately been cancelled. My long-term goal is to fish for the Protea ladies one day.”
Story: Maretha Swanepoel
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