Fished right across the world on the July 4, the World Cup Blue Marlin Championships attracts a substantial field of teams all vying for the large cash prize purse, which generally exceeds $300 000, and can be much higher depending on the number of teams entering.
The winner is the team who weighs the largest blue marlin exceeding 500lb during the eight hours of fishing. This year, teams from Angola, Portugal, Madeira, Azores, Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Mexico, Virgin Islands, French Polynesia, and US locations including Kona, Louisiana, Cape May and New Jersey fished in the World Cup, along with a lone Australian team.
I was lucky enough to be invited aboard the Cabo 40, Nitro Express for the competition along with owner Mick Goold and crew Kym Lynch, Dan Smith, Conor Lynch and Ronan Lynch. With some respectable blue marlin being caught in recent months off the Gold Coast, including several blues being released that were well over 700lb, the Nitro Express crew thought they would give it a shot this year.
They worked the Jim’s Mountain and Mick’s Mountain areas for much of the morning with little success. It was early in the afternoon before the first strike was registered, as the team again approached the eastern side of Jim’s Mountain. This resulted in a 30kg plus yellowfin hitting the deck.
With a full spread barely reset, the long rigger, sporting a Dan Smith handmade slant-face in the popular green luminescent skirt, was again the successful candidate. Mick went to work in the chair and landed his second fish for the day – a striped marlin around 80kg that was tagged and released. Two strikes from respectable blue marlin were registered during the afternoon with neither connecting successfully.
For the second time in five years, Queen of hearts, a Bermuda based team took out top honours amongst the 138 teams that fished the World Blue Marlin Championship. They weighed a 768lb blue marlin, which was one of only two marlin caught during the event that exceeded the 500lb minimum weight.
Several smaller marlin were released, many of them tagged to aid in research. The winning fish was caught by angler, Glen Astwood on a Black Bart Zulu, which coincidentally was the official lure brand of the World Cup. It is only the second time in the event’s 28 year history that the same team has won the event twice. Happy Hooker, fishing out of the Verde Islands, also did it in 2006 and 2010.
This event has never been won by Australia and surprisingly few Aussie teams have previously fished the event despite our waters definitely holding blue marlin large enough to take the cash. Hopefully Nitro Express will be joined by several other teams representing Australia for next year’s event.Reads: 419