A friend of mine, Johan, has just gone and bought himself a sport fishing boat! She is christened “Impi” and is moored on the Island of La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands, sitting way out there in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Johan´s idea was to create a charter operation to allow people like himself to have a chance to get out into the ocean and fish for some of the most iconic sport fish that you can find anywhere. 

When I first heard it “Impi” struck me as an unusual name and in explaining its significance I can do no better than quote from the blog of the website created for this new venture:

Impi is the Zulu word to describe a group of warriors. It also means “combat”. Sportfishing, for large blue marlin and giant bluefin tuna in particular, is a team sport requiring almost military precision, full commitment and flawless execution of the allocated role by each team member, very much like an infantry operation. Catching large fish on rod and reel implies a magnificent battle between man and beast – this, along with the great feeling of releasing the fish after the battle and the spectacular aerial displays that billfish put on during the fight, is what gets the adrenaline flowing and leads to the passionate commitment displayed by most serious fisherfolk.

The website of the new business has just recently come online. It provides, amongst other things, the full specifications of the boat, details of this year-round fishery, as well as information about the island of La Gomera, a world heritage site. 

Here is the link:  https://impi-fishing.com/

My personal experiences of being afloat when fishing have been limited to me bobbing around in a float tube or getting a numb arse from the wooden seat of a traditional Irish lough fishing boat. Impi of course is a completely different kettle of fish. She is fitted out to cater for a very specialised form of fishing for some of the largest, most powerful and most spectacular game fish including blue and white marlin, blue, bigeye and yellowfin tuna and many more besides.

I am hoping, perhaps as early as next year, to sign up to the experience myself and fly out to the Canaries for a few days. I will of course tell you how I get on on the blog. 

I have personal reasons for being excited about Johan´s new venture beyond the hope of climbing aboard Impi myself one day. I was fortunate enough to have heard about Johan´s plans when they were still at a formative stage. He told me about it when we spent a few days together on the Guadalhorce. The river was thin in the summer heat and thoughts of azure oceanic waters and huge marlin were far from my mind but not, it seems, from Johan´s. He told me that getting a boat like this has been a lifelong dream and that he had planned on doing it years ago. 

As a teenager his dad, who himself is a very well known South African game fisherman, took him to one side and told him that, while he understood his obsession with fishing, he really ought to go and get himself a college degree. Okay, fair enough. I guess that is the same sound advice most of us would give our kids. He pointed out that he could always do the boat thing later.

And that is pretty much the way things worked out. Off to college he went and then life followed a pretty familiar trajectory: along came qualifications, he got married, kids showed up and he found himself engaged in all the things which serve to keep us busy and keep us away from the water. And despite becoming very successful in his field (he is a lawyer) and busily engaged in family and work commitments that boat dream of his never did go away.

And so on the bank of the Guadlahorce river just three of four months ago, he told me that he felt that time was moving on and if that boat were ever to materialise he would need to get on the case. 

And so he did. 

The result, after much negotiation, sea trials, technical and mechanical inspection, red tape and bureaucracy and a whole lot more that I probably don´t even know about, was that what had been a beautiful but privately owned boat has become Johan´s new boat and is now available for charter.

Needless to say I wish him every success in his new venture and can´t wait to step aboard Impi myself and steam out into the open Atlantic to see if there are any marlin knocking around!

Impi at her mooring

Johan with a black marlin he caught many years ago