Big billfish on light tackle
  |  First Published: March 2007

The Redcliffe Annual Light Tackle Billfish Challenge was held over the Australia Day long weekend and attracted anglers from as far abroad as Victoria and New Caledonia.

Day One started at 7am with near perfect conditions and plenty of fish were around. The first billfish, a black marlin, was hooked and tagged at 7:25am. The opening schedule revealed several boats had hooked and tagged blacks despite bait schools being difficult to locate early. Most baitfish were holding close to the bottom.

Down riggers featured highly when targeting fish deep in the water column. By midday the active bait schools had lifted and the hook-up rate increased after the turn of the tide. After the midday schedule the lead boats had two tagged billfish for the tally. The weather held out until the end of fishing time at 4pm. As the boats steamed back to the Scarborough Boat harbour the lead boat had three tagged black marlin, and a swag of other teams had two tagged marlin.

The next morning yielded northerly conditions that increased quickly to 20 knots. The marlin that had been located the previous day in 35-40m of water had moved and were making for a hard morning’s trolling. However some boats managed to tag fish further out at 60m. The winds soon strengthened to almost 30 knots with seas becoming too large for boats under 7m. The fishing had slowed and it was hard to keep lures and baits in the water. Some competitors did persist and continued to land to wahoo and marlin. The majority of the fleet decided to stop fishing before the 4pm end time due to worsening weather conditions.

Junior female competitor Halley Longhurst was fishing on Shakara when she hooked and landed a 24kg wahoo on 8kg line. The monster fish was weighed in and is a pending Australian and world record for the line class.

Peter and Alex Fenwick were fishing from Compromise and tagged two marlin which brought their two-day capture to four black marlin. It also won them the lead by only one fish. Compromise took out champion overall boat as well as first billfish tagged, champion angler day one, champion angler day two, champion angler male, champion angler overall, champion boat over 7m, champion team over 7m and champion team overall. – Jay Perham

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