IGFA Representative Johan Zietsman
Captain Johan Zietsman grew up near the ocean on a farm in South Africa and began fishing with his father at five years old. All holidays and free time were spent fishing for trout, carp, and bass in the mountains. In 1990, Zietsman moved to Kenya where he was introduced to offshore fishing. It's also where he braved the elements in his first boat, a tiny 16-foot skiff.
Zietsman fished numerous prestigious billfish tournaments, including the 1998 Masters Invitational Fishing Tournament in Cancun, Mexico, as well as multiple International Light Tackle Tournament Association (ILLTA) tournaments. In 1997, Zietsman worked along the ILLTA and the South African DeepSea Angling Association (SADSAA) to host the first ILLTA tournament in Watamu, Kenya.
Zietsman has spent much of his fishing career promoting sport fishing in Ghana, which he now calls home. In 1999, he pioneered the Ghana Blue Marlin Fishing Charters, an operation that put Ghana on the map as a top destination for blue marlin fishing. Working with veteran angling film producer Gerard Aulong, Zietsman’s Ghana Blue Marlin Fishing Charters recorded over 400 free-swimming marlin. Additionally, he produced the film Blue Marlin of Ghana.
IGFA President Nehl Horton with IGFA Representative Johan Zietsman
A blue marlin tagged by Zietsman off Ghana, Africa
An avid conservationist, Zietsman worked with IGFA Trustee and Fishing Hall of Fame Member Stewart Campbell and Captains Charles Perry and Bark Garnsey to deploy the first archival satellite pop-up tagging on marlin off Ghana. Zietsman was instrumental in assisting governments along West Africa to curb illegal trawler fishing, and he continues to campaign for a total ban of bottom otter midwater trawlers destroying West Africa's ocean floor.
After he was appointed as an IGFA Representative in 1999, Zietsman helped anglers register multiple IGFA World Records. Over his 20 years of service, he's advocated for ethical angling practices among the local recreational angling community. He's authored numerous articles for prominent angling publications, including several featured in past issues of the IGFA's World Record Game Fishes.
Currently, Zietsman is working with the IGFA on ways to further bring the IGFA mission, vision and strategy to life in Africa. The IGFA is honored to have Johan Zietsman as an IGFA Representative and we thank him for his service over the past two decades.
Zietsman has authored numerous articles for prominent angling publications, including several featured in past issues of the IGFA's World Record Game Fishes.