What a busy month it has been on the tournament scene!
Straight after Christmas we kicked off with the Powercat Marine Bribie Island Gamefish Club 21st Tournament of Champions. This tournament was postponed to 12-14 January due to bad weather but it proved to be a blessing as plenty of fish were landed.
I fished from Sunshine Coast vessel Ymer on the first two days but only managed to tag one fish during tournament hours. Bribie Island Club President and Black Watch 34’ Blue Black owner John Williams finished with one sailfish, five black marlin and several other species. Marksman slipped into second place and Luna secured third place. Luna was skippered by Manutea owner Russell Caporn. Aquasition, a 680 Haines Hunter Patriot, won the champion boat under 7.5m and champion Bribie Island angler went to Zane Williams off Blue Black. Karen Williams took out champion female angler and Bribie Island Gamefish club kept the Interclub Shield. Alex Fenwick from Compromise, a 38’ Mustang, took out champion senior angler.
The Fenwicks and Compromise continued their good form at the Moreton Bay Boat Club Game and Sportfishing Section Moreton Bay 8kg Billfish Challenge.
Slotted in between these two tournaments was the Gold Coast Gamefish Club Riviera Light Tackle Masters held at Hope Harbour’s Chancellor Resort on 20-21 January. Forty-seven boats fished the Gold Coast so it will be interesting to see if the Little Ship Gamefish Club Yamaha Lees Industries Gamefish Classic held at the One Mile at Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island can eclipse it.
It was a shame that only three vessels (The Phantom, Big Business and Ymer) from the Sunshine Coast contested the Gold Coast tournament. It was certainly worth the travel for The Phantom and Ymer which took out 1st and 3rd. Ymer tagging three black marlin and a sailfish on the way to the tournament and The Phantom also tangled with a couple of marlin.
Prior to the tournament the bite had been south of the Seaway but the Tweed and up north of the Seaway were the places to be during the tournament. Ian Walker was the only male aboard The Phantom with an all female crew of wife Rene, daughter Jess and other members of Mooloolaba and visiting Townsville Club ladies. After day one a few boats had landed two marlin but the girls got onto two early fish on Sunday morning.
Craig Newton’s MV Grinner came out in front of a few boats with three tagged marlin and a few other species. Champion junior went to Paul Corby (Reel Deal) and Kingsley Young’s Men in Black took out the champion boat under 8m. A tagged wahoo would have been the difference for them between fourth overall and third overall.
The next event will be the Sunshine Coast Gamefish Classic and then the Surfers Paradise Gamefish Club All Tackle All Species Couran Tournament on 17-18 March.
There have been one or two hot heavy tackle bites out on the shelf in recent months. David Granville has been fishing almost exclusively with heavy tackle on the Noosa and Cape Moreton Canyons. Fish have been around each trip, including a couple of the biggest blue marlin he had ever seen. Big fish are certainly around as Reelax discovered recently when fishing off the Gold Coast. They raised five and tagging one after playing a few more. Darryl Beutel’s Riviera Outrageous also tangled with some of the Gold Coast’s big blues over Christmas and tagged three from four.
When fishing with light tackle you’ll find that are here today and gone tomorrow. Small bites have been lasting a week or two before conditions change and they move on. The fish are widespread with the run of small black marlin stretching from Agnes Waters right down to South West Rocks in NSW.
Inkwazi was out chasing the female flyfishing record for black marlin with Dean Butler. Before Christmas hardcore anglers were sight-casting to black marlin from the top of Fraser Island. This made for extraordinary pictures with some even fought and landed from the beach.