The New South Wales Game Fishing Associations Interclub Championship is 1540km from Tasmania, yet the history and prestige of this tournament travels that distance with ease. It is a bucket list item of most Game Fishers in Tasmania and this year Team PENN decided to make that journey.
The first part of the journey was via the TT lines Spirit of Tasmania. This allowed team members Hooch and Mozza to refresh themselves for the 1100km drive that remained once they dis-embarked.
The tow vehicle for this trip was a VW Touareg that had the pace set less like Too Fast Too Furious and much more like ‘Too Plush Too Luxurious’. The travel distance was eaten up without so much as a yawn and within 30 minutes of arriving at Port Stephens they found themselves at the Presidents Welcome. The atmosphere was incredibly friendly and the lads spent the evening taking in all the helpful tips that came their way.
Final team members Clinton Howe and John Farrell were flying in to Sydney as they partook in light refreshment. One o’clock had Mozz and Hooch home to PENN central before they turned into pumpkins and the other two arrived a short time later.
Next morning the crew were up bright and early to head round to lure maker Mario Zac. Mario is a huge supporter of Team PENN and was keen to share his local knowledge. The Team PENN Surtees boats 6.7 Game Fisher had some duties at the Bluewater Expo held at the local RSL.
Friday night was the team’s first chance to really ready the gear for battle. The crew gave some of their kit a bit of a tweak on the basis of information they had garnered off the locals, but basically it was business as usual.
The sail past was a big eye opener for the crew from Tasmania , but nothing compared to hooking their first marlin after less than two hours. The great luck continued for Team PENN and after the first weekend of competition led the tournament with 4 marlin and 3 yellowfin tagged. The buzz at the weigh in was amazing and all Team PENN could do was marvel at the tag flags as they hadn’t used anything like that in Tas before.
The five days that split the second weekend of competition had Port Stephens talking of the visiting team from Tasmania showing them how it was done. Team PENN were adamant the weather and a bit of luck played a good part in the first weekends result, but were still keen to prove themselves as no flash in the pan.
The Deegan Marine prepared Surtees 6.7 had them on the grounds in great form for both days of competition. Frustratingly and quite common while lure fishing marlin the lads managed to raise several marlin only to drop them after very short battles. The pressure mounted and the high fives told the story after they managed to tag and release a nice sized black marlin in the last 2 hours of competition.
This fish was enough to have Team PENN – Reel GOLD hold onto third outright in tag and release points for the event. – Kelly HuntReads: 460